Blogger, Tweeter and international man of mystery Aaron Wormus will host a free community game night at 6 p.m. Monday, June 26, at West Palm Beach’s waterfront green.
Wormus, the “guy” behind the aGuyonClematis Twitter account and blog, will lead the event at the city’s outdoor art exhibition, Aesop’s Tables, where picnic tables are painted with themes of Aesop’s fables.
Equipped with silly games, ice breaker activities and prizes, Wormus will warm us with all things fun while showcasing the exhibition, created by 19 local artists.
For information about Aesop’s Tables and other West Palm Beach summer events, visit wpb.org/events.
Fourth on Flagler, one of South Florida’s largest Independence Day events, returns to the waterfront Tuesday, July 4, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.. The free event will feature a military honor ceremony, larger-than-life games like human foosball and giant Jenga, as well as an art exhibition, live music, and an 18-minute fireworks display.
Guests can also tee-off on the tropical-themed Glow-Fore-It, a 9-hole glow-in-the-dark mini golf course along the Intracoastal Waterday.Children can also create their own life-size fairy tale using giant cut-outs of traditional storybook characters in StoryVille or engage in crafts and games. For a complete schedule, please visit: http://wpb.org/events.
Community members will gather for an in-depth discussion on the impact of the local opioid crisis Wednesday, June 28, at 5:30 p.m. Presented by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, featured speakers are State Attorney David Aronberg and Alexa Lee, Director of Programs at the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition. They will discuss the growing issue of opioids use in Palm Beach County and how the community can help.
The event takes place at the Federation, 4601 Community Drive.
The Teens Unite! Summer Block Party Series brings together teens from West Palm’s many neighborhoods to socialize and enjoy the summer in a positive environment. The series, free for young men and women ages 12-to-18, runs every Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. through July 29. Teens can enjoy free food, a video game truck, DJ, basketball, talent shows, pool parties, and dance parties.
The June 24 block party takes place at The Salvation Army; 600 N. Rosemary Ave. July 1 it’s at De George Boys & Girls Club; 4105 Pinewood Ave. Student ID is required. A dress code of ‘no hoodies and no hats’ will be enforced. Parents are welcome. For more information, contact Kevin Jones at 561-822-1413.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium presents “Forecast Extreme” June 24, in which local amateur radio groups prepare for hurricane season with kid-friendly, interactive activities. Safety and weather experts will give presentations, and children will have the opportunity to make weather-related arts and crafts. Guests will be able to interact with local HAM radio operators and see how these operators communicate. The program is from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the science museum, 4801 Dreher Trail North.
All activities are included with paid Science Center admission. Adults are $15, children ages 3-12 are $11, seniors ages 60 and up are $13 and members are free. For information, call 561-832-1988 or visit http://www.sfsciencecenter.org.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, in partnership with the Caritas Smile Charity, invites locals to splash into sea science during the third annual Festival del Mar on Saturday, June 17.
The event aims to engage the local Latin American community and promote ocean conservation and education worldwide. The day will include cultural performances, arts and crafts, family Zumba, bilingual planetarium shows and a story time.
Festival del Mar also aims to encourage Latin Americans to pursue a career in a science field.
“Statistics show Latinos are significantly less likely to earn a degree in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields, compared to their Caucasian peers,” said Lew Crampton, museum president and CEO.
Caritas Smile surprises children in need with gifts at hospitals, schools and orphanages as well as offering service mission trips to Dominican Republic and Nicaragua for university students and volunteers called Take a Trip Change a Life. The charity empowers, educates and provides programming to communities around the globe.
Festival del Mar starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the South Florida Science Center, 4801 Dreher Trail N. Admission is $15 for non-member adults and free for children under 12 and Science Center members. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Admission includes access to the latest traveling exhibit, Amazing Butterflies.
To collect fisheries information about the county’s largest estuary, Palm Beach County and its partners in the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative will hold the second annual Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge, from May 26 through July 9. The initiative is collaborating with the Snook & Gamefish Foundation and the West Palm Beach Fishing Club to host the challenge as a fun citizen science contest.
Participating is easy and free. Interested anglers can register online, then log the fish they catch using a free downloadable app for their mobile device or by signing into their online account. By taking photos of their catches in the lagoon and reporting them as part of the challenge, anglers will contribute valuable data that could steer future lagoon habitat restoration and will be eligible for awards.
“It was so exciting to see a number of kids participating in this event last year and seeing parents utilizing this opportunity to get their families outdoors,” said Rob Robbins, director of Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM). “By sharing details about the fish being caught in the lagoon, participants will help us better understand this local treasure that we are working hard to protect, restore and enhance.”
Approximately 20 miles long and a half-mile wide, Lake Worth Lagoon extends from North Palm Beach to Ocean Ridge. The estuary is home to a variety of fish species and offers many fishing spots accessible from land or by boat.
The Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge is open to anglers five years of age and older. Entries can be submitted throughout the six-week challenge. For more information about the challenge, including how to register and prize details, visit www.LWLI.org/FishingChallenge or contact ERM at (561)233-2400 or at ERM-FishingChallenge@pbcgov.org.
The Everglades Trust is hailing as a major victory the Florida House passage Tuesday of Senate President Joe Negron’s plan for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to filter and feed water to the parched River of Grass.
The House passed the plan 99-19, following in the Senate’s footsteps.
“With the passage of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s reservoir, which was approved and authorized by Congress in 2000, the legislature advances to the Governor the long-awaited and urgently-needed Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir legislation for his signature,” the nonprofit, led by former West Palm Beach Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell, said in a statement released this afternoon. “Today marks the most significant victory for Everglades restoration in more than two decades.”
“This is a very big day,” Mitchell said.
Keep Florida Fishing, advocates for the American Sportfishing Association, also hailed passage of the plan, saying it would provide money to speed creation of the reservoir to reduce fertilizer-contaminated releases to coastal estuaries.
The vote also drew praise from U.S. Sugar and Florida Sugarcane Farmers, who strongly opposed earlier versions that would have required more farmland be taken out of production to build the reservoir.
“Senate Bill 10 has been greatly improved, takes essentially no privately owned farmland and even removes the threat of eminent domain,” Judy Sanchez, Senior Director for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for U.S. Sugar, said.
“The House deserves credit for quickly passing legislation that can provide some protection for our water resources while also protecting our farming communities and vital food production.”
She added: “U.S. Sugar always supports solutions that are based on science, which, in this case shows the source of the water significantly impacting the coastal estuaries flows from north of Lake Okeechobee, not the south. Obviously, you’re going to have to build some solutions north of the lake to finally fix the discharge problem. We look forward to working with legislators in the future to get that done.”
Florida Sugarcane Farmersalso issued a statement praising the lawmakers for not taking private farmland out of production.
“While not perfect, Senate Bill 10 will ensure the planned reservoir is eventually completed on existing state-owned land,” the farmers group said. “Having turned the page on buying additional land south of Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Legislature in a future session can focus on plans that will address the excess water and nutrients originating north of the lake, which science shows can reduce the frequency of discharges by more than 60 percent.”
Not happy with the process was another landowners group, Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers, Inc.
“Farm families like mine were very concerned when government leaders, out of the blue, announced a plan to take our private land without even speaking to us,” member Keith Wedgworth said.
“Fortunately, they ignored an ill-intentioned, flawed plan championed by the anti-farmer Everglades Foundation and rewrote Senate Bill 10 to protect our private property,” he said. “We urge the Legislature to now focus on plans that will actually tackle water problems at their source, which is the only way to reduce discharges, clean pollution and avoid future algae blooms in the estuaries.”
West Palm Beach’s urban planning consultants, Gehl Studio, this week released recommendations on how to bring the downtown and neighborhood scenes to life. For downtown, the challenge the consultants saw was that, the second you step off Clematis Street, or away from CityPlace, walkways are uninviting and that breaks up the connectivity that makes it fun to go from one place to another.
Not enough shade trees, street lighting or bicycling facilities; too many obstructions like utility posts blocking the sidewalks. Big roadways like Okeechobee Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue act as barriers. Flagler Drive blocks the waterfront.
The urban planners came up with proposals for pilot projects for six areas, from just south to just north of downtown. The city commission will be considering these recommendations in the weeks to come. We plan a full story about this for this weekend, but for now, here’s a neighborhood-by-neighborhood summary of the challenges and “potential moves” for the six areas, culled from the Gehl presentation:
Complete Clematis.Challenges: Clematis’ eastern and western edges could use some love. On the west, crossing Tamarind Avenue from the Tri-Rail station is difficult, and the end of Clematis has little shade or pedestrian interest. On the east, everyone loves the waterfront but it’s empty most of the time, there’s no way to interact with the water, no shade and few everyday activities. Recommendations: Create an artistic gateway tot he city at the TriRail Station; make Tamarind easier for pedestrians by adding a signal and pedestrian islands; Add shading to make walk up Clematis from the station more comfortable; run bike lanes from Tri-Rail to Rosemary Avenue; String lighting from Tri-Rail to the waterfront; add movable seating to the Flagler Drive green, so people can follow the shade; make the FEC rail and Quadrille Boulevard intersection feel safe and comfortable; widen the waterfront park by taking under-used space from Flagler Drive and install docks that step down to the water. Include eye-catching lighting to draw people to the waterfront.
Historic Northwest. Challenges: Need to stitch this neighborhood and downtown back together. Banyan Boulevard acts as a barrier, too many dark sidewalks, sidewalk obstructions, lack of shade and few things to do. Getting downtown on foot is tough. Rosemary Avenue, once commercial heart of Historic NW, has fallen into vacancy and disrepair. Need to leverage city’s investment in the Sunset Lounge, the historic jazz bar, and set stage to renew Rosemary as a ‘Main Street.’ Recommendations: Create a gateway to the neighborhood at Banyan and Rosemary, with art and bright lighting and redesign intersection to make it safer and more appealing. Paint vacant buildings and sidewalk obstructions bright colors to create an eye-catching pathway on Rosemary. Install artistic lighting along Rosemary leading from Clematis to the Sunset Lounge. Install traffic calming and pedestrian and cyclist improvements on Rosemary. Create a ‘Vacancy Lab’ to test different uses for vacant lots such as sports fields, community garden, food truck pop-ups, plant nursery, tree grove. Consider adding trolley stop. Improve connection across the tracks and to the water along 3rd Street.
15th Street: Safety and comfort from school to pools. Challenges: 15th crosses both railroads, connecting schools with Pleasant City, Gaines Park and the waterfront. Need to make 15th “a truly great pedestrian and bike street that is safe and enjoyable for school children and all WPBers.” Recommendations: Promote walking and biking to school with mural-painting and other events and traffic school for kids. Add shade, lighting, continuous bike lanes, improve intersections, add ‘rest stops’ with seating, shade, ‘playful interventions,’ bike pumps and the like.
Pleasant City: Challenges: It’s a food desert, with few outlets for affordable food, whether in stores or restaurants. Northwood Village has great restaurants but they’re too expensive for many neighbors. Getting to the water from Northwood and Pleasant City is challenging because it feels far. Recommendations: Give Pleasant city residents something to do in Blum Park while helping address shortage of affordable food in the neighborhood. Connect the neighborhood to the water and Currie Park while creating a new destination: the Sunset Pools. Sunset Pools would be a ‘mobile harbor bath in the Intracoastal Waterway that allows people to get into the water and can be moved to serve different neighborhoods. Add activities to Blum Park by building barbecue pits, a weekly or biweekly food truck program with local entrepreneurs, add picnic tables and shade. Build on the community garden on Spruce and connect to a kitchen. Create a community/commercial kitchen in a vacant building or repurposed shipping container to supply the food truck program and provide job training. Install pedestrian and bike improvements on Spruce, leading from Northwood to Merry Place. Add a trolley stop at Dixie Highway and Currie Park.
Tamarind Avenue: Challenges: It’s a commercial street plagued by vacancies, illicit activities, a tough stigma, lack of lighting and shade. Locals say bus stops are uncomfortable, and though there are hang-out spots near corner stores, there is nowhere to sit and nothing to do. Recommendations: Bring amenities to the Coleman Park neighborhood along Tamarind, where no one should ever be more than two minutes from comfort, services or neighborhood shops. Create clusters of activity around existing, organic hang-out areas at corner stores and bus stops and put eyes on the street by adding services the neighborhood needs. Add shade, lighting, seating. Add ‘pop-ups’ to energize Tamarind, such as a mobile library, WiFi stations, bike repair shop, computer access points, outdoor exercise equipment, street games. Make cycling between 15th and 23rd streets more comfortable by clearly marking that this is “a neighborhood green street/commercial main street.”
Howard Park: Challenges: The under-used northern end of the park is potentially a great amenity for the southern part of downtown, but with Okeechobee Boulevard in the middle, it’s hard to navigate between the park and downtown. Recommendations: Improve Okeechobee crossings by tailoring crossing times to pedestrians, widening ends of medians to make the crossings shorter. Add shade, lighting and other pedestrian improvements between CityPlace and Howard Park. Add a SkyBike bicycle rental station. Create “a playful connection” through the park, with features like Los Trompos, the big “tops” formerly located on the waterfront. Try putting a trolley stop at the park, and if there’s demand, a trolley stop at the Art Walk in the Warehouse District.
Windows on the Floating World: Tropical Wetland Garden is scheduled for groundbreaking at 11 a.m. tomorrow Friday) at Mounts Botanical Garden, 531 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach.
The new garden will feature a series of see-through walkways and permanent and changing aquatic plant displays that will allow visitors to feel and connect to the tropical wetlands around them.
“The immersive installation of Windows on the Floating World will reveal a full spectrum of the Tropical Wetland Garden at Mounts,” says Ron Rice, Director, Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension. “Boardwalks, benches and displays constructed over and around the wetlands will allow visitors to relax, reflect, and learn about ecology and our critical need to conserve and protect fresh water.”
Expected to open in Spring 2017 and designed by artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, in collaboration with Wantman Group’s landscape designers, Windows on the Floating World will feature transparent, open-gridded, 4-foot wide walkways on the surface of the wetlands to give visitors the feeling of walking on water. Within these walks are four “windows” that will be planted with aquatics and changed out with rotating and seasonal botanical exhibits growing from submerged containers. Additional highlights will include waterfalls flowing over natural stone, an area for wading birds, and a wall covered with Bromeliads, offering some of the best foliage colors in the plant kingdom.
“Most importantly, our Windows on the Floating World Tropical Wetland Garden will be a place for demonstration and education,” says Rochelle Wolberg, Interim Operations Manager and Director of Programs at Mounts. “For school children and their teachers, it will be an exceptional model to educate on water quality and usage, and the role each one of us can play in water conservation.”
The internet caught fire today with the story of Bobby, the Christmas sweater dog. He was a ‘code red’ animal at Miami Dade Animal Shelter, a designation that meant he was considered to be unadoptable and to be put down.
The original story, which melted hearts, said that he, “still wears the green Christmas sweater volunteers at the shelter dressed him up in, with hopes he would attract the attention of a family looking to adopt a very sweet dog.” Bobby’s owners dropped him off at the shelter on December 16, just before Christmas.
Thankfully there’s a happy conclusion to the story, due to the amount of press that it received, Bobby was quickly adopted.
This weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to find your own Bobby. West Palm Beach is hosting Paws in the Park from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 14 at Waterfront Park, 101 N. Clematis Street.