Doris to talk West Palm issues on public radio tomorrow

Tune in tomorrow at 1 p.m. to public radio WLRN, to hear Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Tony Doris and Florida Bulldog Editor Dan Christensen — former colleagues from the Miami Daily Business Review — talk about news and issues in West Palm Beach and the State of Florida.

The Topical Currents call-in show airs at 91.3 and 101.9 FM.

 

 

Mrs. Muoio goes to Washington

Mayor Jeri Muoio

Mayor Jeri Muoio has been in the nation’s capital this past week, shaking the money tree and the policy tree.

The mayor, along with City Attorney Kimberly Rothenburg, has taken the city’s issues to U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings and Lois Frankel, to Sen. Bill Nelson and a member of Sen. Marco Rubio’s staff. She’s met officials of the Justice and Transportation departments and the Coast Guard.

If you’re trying to connect the dots between those people and agencies and West Palm Beach issues, here’s the big picture:

The mayor said she went to the Army Corps of Engineers to express her administration’s continued opposition to extending State Road 7 along the western perimeter of the Grassy Waters Preserve, “and our hope they will not grant them a permit.”

“They know us now and they always have been helpful and open to discussion so we talked to them.”

We’ll see how that works out. Word down here is that the state is weeks away from putting shovel to dirt for the project, which would link Northlake and Okeechobee boulevards.

She also spoke with the Coast Guard to ask whether the Royal Park drawbridge can stay down during morning rush hour. When it opens at 8 a.m. every weekday, it tends to lock up downtown traffic.

“They told us there’s an application process and how to do that,” she said, encouraged. The city will have to use data from its mobility study to make a case for the change. “It’s amazing to me they have an application process to do that. Obviously we’re not the first one to ask.”

The West Palm officials also spoke to people at the Department of Transportation, about how to get money for infrastructure, such as a transit hub downtown, a dedicated express bus lane, or even light rail. Light rail is an expensive option, certainly but, “It’s a blue sky goal that I’ve had, but if there’s federal funding….” All the transportation money is hard to get but worth pursuing, Muoio said.

She said she also was urging our congressional delegation to fight cutbacks in block grants for housing, some of which in the past has gone to providing housing for the city’s homeless.

She also pressed for support for the Drone Federalism Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation that would give localities the power to control where and when drones can be used, currently a matter mainly of federal law.

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend brings West Palm Beach Spring Art Festival 2017

West Palm Beach Spring Art Festival 2017 opens May 26 and continues through Memorial Day, May 29, at Danieli Art World, 925 North Railroad Ave.

The European-styled fine arts festival will feature 50 European and American artists, who will create works on shipping containers that are 20- and 40-feet-long. The large containers will serve as each artist’s own gallery/atelier, where guests will be welcomed to collect works from them, while getting closer look at the world of these world-class creatives.

A live auction by A.B. Levy’s of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach will be held on site during the festival. There’ll also be live entertainment, special performances and delicacies from Islander Grill of Singer Island.

Danieli, one of the leading private art collectors in the world and an opera tenor, has invited West Palm Beach curator Rolando Chang Barrero to assist in the curation.
Among the invited artists: Laurent Dareau, Kennth Walker, Dana Donaty, Amber Dawn Tutwiler, Alejandro Mendoza, Roland Rucco, Adolfo H2O LaTorre, Sami Makela, Ray Fernandez, Petrina Easton, Ray Gross, Kim Prisu, Ismael Munaray, Zack Knudson, Nadia Utto, John Rachell, T.D. Gillispie, Anouck Jourdaa, and William Halliday and others.

There’ll also be sculptural installations by Iena Cruz, Giants in The City, Beju, and Anouck Jourdaa.

For information, call 561-537-1135.

 

Free Grassy Waters guided walks on National Trails Day

Grassy Waters Preserve (Tony Doris / The Palm Beach Post)

National Trails Day is coming up June 3, and West Palm Beach’s Grassy Waters Preserve is offering three free programs for the public to enjoy our stretch of the Everglades.

Grassy Waters Preserve offers guided environmental learning opportunities on the edge of a 23-square-mile wetlands.  This vast watershed was historically the headwaters of the Loxahatchee River system and the gateway to the Northern Everglades.

The city’s Public Utilities Department manages, protects and enhances this remnant Everglades ecosystem that supplies the fresh drinking water to more than 130,000 people in West Palm Beach, the Town of Palm Beach, and the Town of South Palm Beach.  The Preserve includes a nature center, an accessible boardwalk trail, hiking, biking, guided canoe and kayak programs.

All Trails Day activities are free, but space is limited, so reservations are required, by calling 561-804-4985.

Here are the walks:

Swamp Tromp

Take a walk on the wild side during this hike through the cypress swamp.  Be prepared to get wet and muddy! This hike is on a rugged trail that requires stepping over and ducking under vegetation and other obstacles. Wear closed-toed shoes & clothing that can get wet and muddy. Bring water & bug repellent.

Time:   10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Ages:   8 and over (with participating adult).

Location: South Campus, 8264 Northlake Blvd.

Hog Hammock Trail Hike

Enjoy an easy paced hike through the Northern Everglades on a mixed dirt and boardwalk trail. Along the way, you’ll discover the unique history and ecology of this important hammock forest habitat. Wear closed-toed shoes and bring water, hat, bug spray & sunscreen.

Time: 1 – 2 p.m.

Ages:   8 and over (with participating adult).

Location: North Campus, Hog Hammock Trail

8537 Northlake Blvd.

A Walk through Time: Boardwalk Hike

Learn about Florida’s first supermarket: our Everglades wetlands. Discover the food, tools and shelters used by our area’s Native American tribes on this relaxing hike along our Cypress Boardwalk Trail.  Wear closed-toe shoes & bring sunscreen, hat, and water.

Time:   3 p.m – 4 p.m.

Ages:  4 and over (with participating adult).

Location: South Campus, 8264 Northlake Blvd.

 

West Palm Beach Jobs Fair this morning

This,  from the City of West Palm Beach:

More than 100 young job seekers and approximately 50 business owners, corporate hiring managers and agencies will take part in the Young Adult Job and Resource Fair hosted by the City of West Palm Beach.

Now in its fifth year, this live hiring event provides an opportunity for employers to meet some of West Palm Beach’s most motivated and responsible young adults seeking employment opportunities.The City will also have resources available for internships, apprenticeships and future career paths.

Guest speakers will include Mayor Jeri Muoio, and there will be live entertainment courtesy of X102.3’s Reggie Dee! Participants can register for the event at www.wpb.org.

WHEN: THIS MORNING, Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. to noon.

WHERE: Mary McDonald Wilson Center at Gaines Park;

1501 North Australian Ave.

 

Fitteam becomes name sponsor of Palm Beaches Marathon

The Marathon of the Palm Beaches is back, with a new name: The FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon.

FITTEAM, a Palm Beach Gardens healthy lifestyle company, announced Friday that it signed a three-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the event, which was recently acquired by Ken Kennerly’s K2 Sports Ventures.

The event, which was cancelled in 2016, is scheduled to return Dec. 1-3.

Kennerly, who also is executive director of the Honda Classic PGA golf tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, sais K2 also hopes to add fireworks and entertainment to the running event.

Fitteam is a good fit as a marathon sponsor, because the company is focused on Wellness, Kennerly said.

“Our strategy is to create a three-day weekend experience for runners and their families to come and enjoy everything we have in Palm Beach County with the Sunday marathon as the anchor of the weekend,” he said.

For more information on The FITTEAM Palm Beaches Marathon, visit palmbeachesmarathon.com.  In-season registration is open through October 31 at $100 for the Marathon, $80 for the Half Marathon and $35 for the 5K. Prices then increase an additional $5 through race week.

Urban League to honor Williams, McKoy

Chief Clarence Williams

Urban League of Palm Beach County and FPL will host the 43rd Annual Equal Opportunity Day Awards Luncheon on May 23, with keynote speaker Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer Walgreens Boots Alliance and author of “A Chance in the World.”

The event celebrates the work and commitment of local community residents and leaders in improving the lives of under-served minorities through the Urban League’s mission of social and economic equality.

This year’s event will celebrate the lifetime achievement of Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence D. Williams, III and community volunteer and former Urban League Board of Director, Beatrice McKoy.

Also receiving honors at this year’s event:

  • Deputy Chief Michael Gauger from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will receive the Trail Blazer Award.
  • Teon Smith President of the Urban League’s nationally award winning Project Ready NULITES program will receive the Youth Achievement Award.
  • David Bernhardt will receive the Urban League Special Recognition Award.

Proceeds from the event will support the Urban League of Palm Beach County’s service to more than 17,000 clients in the community providing housing, jobs, education, youth development, community service and health programs.

For more information about the Urban League of Palm Beach County please visit www.ULPBC.org or call 561-833-1461 ext 3002.

 

 

Twin tower downtown project ready to go?

Developer Jeff Greene says he’s ready to start building One West Palm, his $250 million, two-tower office/hotel/apartment project that won city approval in January 2016.

In recent months, Greene has been waiting for approval of its foundation plans, the complex underpinnings for the site at 550 Quadrille Blvd. Now he could pull the permit and get started “tomorrow, if I wanted,” he said Wednesday.

He’s waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to approve the buildings’ 30-story height but is confident that won’t be a problem, since there are other tall buildings nearby.

“I may not wait for that,” he said, adding he’s finalizing contractor selections and the numbers add up well.

“I’m ready to go with it. I’ve run the ribbon so it works for me.”

The sister towers, designed by Miami’s Arquitectonica, would be the tallest in the city.

The plan calls for shops, restaurants and corner parks at street level. The glassy office tower will contain 200,000 square feet of Class A office space and 200 luxury hotel suites.

The adjacent tower, which will house 326 apartments, echoes the office tower’s block-like design but is a bit shorter.

The complex will feature a top-flight restaurant, a day-care center, a 34,000-square-foot fitness center with putting green and indoor tennis courts, in addition to the complex’s outdoor courts, Greene said.

City officials and business development boosters have been pressing for construction of more top-tier office buildings downtown. They say that existing office buildings are full and that companies considering moving to the city have gone elsewhere as a result.

New York-based Related Cos., developer of CityPlace, has been trying to get the city to change its downtown zoning so that Related can build a 25-story office tower near the waterfront, off Okeechobee Boulevard. Current zoning, established by a public vote, allows a maximum of five stories there.

Meanwhile the city has commissioned a mobility study to address the worsening congestion brought on by development.

 

 

 

FPL breaks ground on hurricane response center

fpl-hardened-center
The facility, built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, adds to FPL’s emergency capabilities by bringing its power delivery operations under a single roof.

Florida Power & Light Company broke ground Wednesday for a hurricane-hardened emergency control center in West Palm Beach.

The  storm center at 4233 Upthegrove Lane, adjacent to the company’s existing command center, is meant to leverage advanced technologies to ensure reliability and more efficient communication, collaboration and response during emergency events, FPL said.

fpl-center-interior

 

5-tower Prospect Place project up for city approval today

prospect-place

A big turnout is expected at City Hall today to oppose the Prospect Place project, a five-tower condo complex planned for 3111 S. Dixie Highway, a quarter-mile south of Belvedere Road.

The 14-story towers are proposed to replace a mostly vacant, one- and two-story office complex. In addition to the 300 condos, plans call for six one-story retail buildings lining South Dixie in front of the towers.

What’s before the city commission, which meets at 5 p.m., is a requested zoning change to allow residential use of the 9.3-acre site.

City officials say that even without the approval, the property owner, 311 Prospect Place Equities LLC, could build a project of similar density or intensity. But many residents, including members of nonprofit Citizens for Thoughtful Growth, say the project would tower over the houses in the surrounding neighborhoods.