Thousands pack West Palm waterfront for fireworks

Congrats to West Palm Beach’s events staff for packing the waterfront with happy revelers on the 4th. Here are a few photos of the fireworks display over the Lake Worth Lagoon:

$4 pet adoptions today at PBC Animal Care

 

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control is offering pet adoptions for $4 dollars today for all animals.

Whether you’re looking for a dog or cat, rabbit or guinea pig, your new best friend is available and will be spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, current on vaccinations, and come with a free bag of Science Diet pet food and more.

Adoptions hours are from 11 a..m. to 6 p.m. today, at the facility at 7100 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach. Visit www.pbcgov.com/animal for more information or to see a listing of all animals available.

For general questions, call 561-233-1200.

Free classes in short story writing at downtown library

A free class in “Mastering the Short Story,” starts at 6 p.m. today with Nicole Cassanetti as presenter in the Mandel Public Library.

Cassanetti gives participants an in-depth look at the art of short story writing, covering a different aspect each week, from the first idea for a story to getting it published.

She will examine elements of good storytelling that will help each writer gain the tools to write compelling short stories.

No registration needed. The classes take place from 6-8 p.m., Mondays, July 3 10, 17 and 24.

For more information, call the library at 561-868-7701. The Mandel Public Library is at 411 Clematis St. There’s inexpensive parking at the city garages on Clematis and Banyan Boulevard.

Why is Val Kilmer coming to West Palm Beach?

Actor, writer and director Val Kilmer is scheduled to appear at Palm Beach Improv July 9, to introduce a screening of his one-man play about Huckleberry Finn- and Tom Sawyer-author Samuel Clemens.

The show, Citizen Twain, played to sold-out houses in Los Angeles and now Kilmer will present the West Palm Beach screening of his directorial debut about Clemens and his writings as Mark Twain.

Samuel Clemens, 1835-1910.

Kilmer, who appeared in Top Gun, Batman Forever and The Doors, will introduce the 90-minute film and conduct a question and answer period with the audience afterward.

VIP ticket holders will have an opportunity to chat with him after the Q&A.

The show starts at 7 p.m. General admission is $30. VIP tickets are $70. Open to 21 and over, two-drink minimum. Visit http://www.palmbeachimprov.com for more information. Palm Beach Improv is in CityPlace, at 550 S Rosemary Ave.

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.

 

 

Hot-button waterfront plan to be discussed by West Palm reps

Materio smiles after being appointed to the commission

UPDATED:

Word that Mayor Jeri Muoio’s staff was moving ahead with a plan that could put an office tower near the waterfront sent city commissioners’ phones ringing this week.

Commissioner Paula Ryan said she’d fielded 700 emails on the hot-button issue. The mayor said she also had a folder filled with inquiries.

Problem was, the commission hadn’t been filled in so there wasn’t much they could say on the matter — the mayor’s Development Services staff had been treating it as an administrative matter* at this stage and planned to bring it to the commission in the months ahead, after going through the Planning Board and Downtown Action Committee.

That’s going to change.

At Commissioner Shanon Materio’s request, Muoio this week agreed to schedule a mayor-commission work session on the plan, which would allow developer Related Cos. of New York to build a 25-story office tower on a site near the waterfront now limited to five stories.

It was Related that came up with the idea, but the city took the ball and ran with it, citing a shortage of first-class office towers with which to attract employers.

Since spot-zoning —  changing the zoning to favor a specific parcel, even if at odds with current zoning — isn’t Kosher, Related proposed that the city create a whole Okeechobee Boulevard business district that would include its site near the First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Materio said the point of her request was to slow the approval process down a bit, so commissioners, the city’s policy-making body, can have a better sense of where the administration is headed before the plan goes to the other boards.

“We have no idea right now of what is being put together,” she said.

*Note: The Mayor’s Office objected to this characterization. Here’s what spokeswoman Kathleen Walter said in an email Wednesday:

“Your blog post states, ‘the Mayor’s Development Services staff had been treating (the Related Cos. project) as an administrative matter.’ That’s not accurate. To clarify, the City has not been treating it as an administrative matter. The City’s Development Services Department stated from the very beginning that the changes that the City was going to require were the creation of a new zoning district and a comprehensive plan change. Neither of these requirements is an administration matter, and public input is required. The matter requires a formal review by the Downtown Action Committee, the Planning Board, and two public hearings with the City Commission. In an effort to publicize and receive input on these proposed changes, the Development Services Department  held a workshop on April 12, 2017 with the Downtown Action Committee and on April 18, 2017 with the Planning Board. Both of these meetings lasted approximately four hours, and the City received a lot of public input. The meeting agendas are publicized and shared with board members and commissioners to inform everyone of what is being discussed in each of these meetings.”

Who’s running for office in West Palm Beach?

Sylvia Moffett

It’s that time of year when campaigns grind into gear for the March 18 city commission races.

Three of the five commissioners are up for re-election: Sylvia Moffett in District 1 in the North End, Paula Ryan in District 3, which stretches roughly from the El Cid area to the Northwest, and Shanon Materio in District 5, in the South End.

Ryan

So far only Moffett faces a challenge, from pastor Martina Tate Walker, who ran unsuccessfully against her in 2016.

Martina Tate Walker

Materio is holding her campaign kickoff at 5:30 p.m. today, June 28, at the Palm Beach Zoo, 1301 Summit Blvd.

 

How do you want West Palm Beach to spend your money?

Mayor Jeri Muoio and City Commissioners are inviting the public to participate in a series of Community Budget Workshops, as they make decisions about which projects and programs get how much money.

The new budget year starts Oct. 1 and the planning process has begun. Time for the public to weigh in.

The workshops will be hosted by Mayor Muoio, Chief Financial Officer Mark Parks, and Budget Manager Linda McDermott. They will be held in each of the City’s five districts:

  • July 24, 6 p.m.: Fire Station #3, 5050 Broadway (District 1).
  • July 26, 6 p.m.: Fire Station #5, 500 N. Congress (District 2).
  • July 27, 6 p.m.: Flagler Gallery at City Hall (District 3).
  •  Aug. 1, 6 p.m.: Fire Station #7, 8011 Okeechobee Blvd. (District 4).
  • Aug. 2, 6 p.m.: Location to be announced, in the Northwest (District 3).
  • Aug. 3, 6 p.m.: Fire Station #2, 4301 S. Dixie Highway (District 5).

    For more information, contact Budget Manager Linda McDermott at 561-822-1342.

Game night 6 p.m. Monday on waterfront green

Aesop’s Tables. (Contributed)

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.

Aaron Wormus, fresh from a morning bath at a nuclear waste dump.

 

 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County hosts school supply and backpack drive

Members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County show off their new backpack donated by Tropical Shipping in last year’s school supply drive. (contributed)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is hosting a school supply and backpack drive, from now through July 21, to benefit club children and keep them on track for academic success.

Every year, Boys & Girls Clubs works with community partners to send disadvantaged children to school prepared with the supplies they need to succeed. Community members can donate school supplies or host a supply and backpack drive in their neighborhood or office.

Suggested supplies include backpacks, composition books (wide rule), spiral notebooks, construction paper, copy paper, pencils, pens, color pencils and markers, crayons, highlighters, post-It notes, glue sticks, tape rolls, student scissors and other office supplies.

Donations of gift cards to office supply stores or retail vendors are also welcomed and will be used by the clubs to purchase needed supplies from school-issued lists.

For information and drop-off locations, visit www.bgcpbc.org or call 561-683-3287.