Boost for pollution-fixing Everglades protection plan


Kimberly Mitchell

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 Farmers also 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.”


Road and dock closings for SunFest

Fireworks light up the crowds watching during the final night of Sunfest in downtown West Palm Beach on May 3, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

City docks will close for SunFest next week, and there’ll be road closings and detours downtown. Here’s the official schedule from the City of West Palm Beach:

Road Closures
Wednesday, April 26, 9 a.m. – Wednesday May 10, 6 p.m.:
Flagler Drive Closed between Banyan Blvd. and Lakeview Ave.
Narcissus Avenue between Evernia Street and Datura Street.
North Clematis Street between Lantana Avenue and Flagler Drive.
Evernia Street between Narcissus Avenue and Flagler Drive.
Limited Access 
S. Clematis Street between Narcissus Avenue and Flagler Drive.
Datura Street between Narcissus Avenue and Flagler Drive.
Fern Street between Olive Avenue and Flagler Drive.

Sunday May 7, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Limited access

Access from Australian Ave. to West Bound Okeechobee Blvd. will be closed.
The Police Department may close portions of Clematis Street to allow for pedestrian traffic.

No On-Street Parking
Wednesday, April 26

Flagler Drive between Banyan Boulevard and Lakeview Avenue.
North and South Clematis Street (east of Narcissus).
100 Block of Datura Street.
Narcissus St. between Datura St. and Evernia St.
Friday, April 28

Palm Beach Post Park Parking Lot.
100 Block of Fern Street.

Wednesday to Sunday, May 3 to May 7
Portion of the 200 block of Datura Street (Handicapped parking).
Trinity Place between Olive Avenue and Chase Avenue.
Banyan Boulevard between Narcissus and Flagler Drive.
Friday to  Sunday, May 5 to May 7
300 Fern Street between Olive Avenue and Dixie.
300 block of Datura Street (Handicapped parking).

All road closures and meter bags are subject to change.

SunFest will re-open all roads by 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 10.

Dock Schedule
Thursday, April 27 – Wednesday, May 10, docks will be closed.
All docks will re-open Wednesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.

What did the consultants say about your neighborhood?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.





Name changes for roads near convention center: Welcome to S. Rosemary Ave.

The road that runs by the new convention center Hilton to the center garage is up for a name change, to make life less confusing for guests.

The road, currently part of Florida Avenue that runs from Okeechobee Boulevard to the garage, is to be renamed South Rosemary Avenue.

The city commission is scheduled to vote Monday on the name change, at the request of the Palm Beach County Convention Center, The Related Cos. and the CityPlace South Tower.

They’ve also requested two other changes:

1. That the private driveway south of the South Tower Condominium be named “Kiwi Drive”. This section of roadway is co-owned by the Related Companies and CityPlace South Tower.
2. That the unnamed street on the south side of the Hilton West Palm Beach Parking lot be named “L” Street.

Top local mural artists picked for Canvas outdoor art show

050116 eos jan pick yoromural (1)
For last year’s CANVAS Outdoor Museum Show, Sean Yoro created a mural on the underside of the Royal Park Bridge. (Joe Capozzi / The Palm Beach Post)

CANVAS Outdoor Museum Show has selected eight artists to participate in the 2016 Local Showdown Nov. 11 in Northwood Village

The Showdown is part of the ten-day CANVAS Outdoor Show that runs through Nov. 20. The winner will receive a position in the CANVAS 2017 artist lineup.

Applicants residing in Palm Beach, Martin, Broward or Miami-Dade county were required to submit work that was unique and suitable for public viewing. The applications were reviewed by a hand-picked selection committee comprised of business leaders and professionals from the area.

The seven selected artists will execute their designs on 20-foot-long shipping containers on 25th Street, in Northwood Village, from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11. Once the murals are completed, the public will have the chance to vote for their favorite CANVAS Local Showdown mural using the official CANVAS Art app, until Nov. 20. The winner will be announced at the closing of CANVAS.

“The goal of CANVAS is to captivate the imagination and enrich public space with art through various mediums,” Nicole Henry, the downtown gallery owner who founded CANVAS said. “During CANVAS Local Showdown, we are bringing people to historic Northwood Village to highlight and promote its artistic and cultural dimensions while beautifying public spaces to further enrich our community.”

The artists participating in this year’s CANVAS Local Showdown include:

  • Jhonattan Arango, Palm Beach County
  • Ron Burkhardt, Palm Beach County
  • Jennifer Chaparro, Martin County
  • Cheryl Maeder and Marilyn Walter, Palm Beach County
  • Eduardo Mendieta, Palm Beach County
  • Ruben Ubiera, Miami-Dade County
  • Luis Valle, Miami-Dade County

CANVAS Local Showdown was created to draw attention to one of the oldest and truly art-centric neighborhoods in West Palm Beach through a central theme of “connection.” The murals will depict the connection theme by illustrating what that means to an artist and to the world that experiences art. CANVAS Local Showdown is sponsored by West Palm Beach Art in Public Places (AiPP), the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and CANVAS Art Charities.

A series of events will take place between now and the launch of CANVAS 2016 including an Art Gala on Oct. 22 at Graffiti Garden Warehouse, 501 Fern St. Proceeds from the gala will support CANVAS Art Charities. Visit for updates.

Kids admission free at zoo on Labor Day Weekend

zoo 8-28-16 (213)
Mexican spider monkey Raven welcomed a newborn at the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach on Friday night, August 26, 2016. The baby spider monkey has been clinging to its mom and nursing since it was born.

Children under 13 get free admission with a paid, regular-price, adult admission at the Palm Beach Zoo this weekend.

There’s a limit of six free child admissions per paid adult and the offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

The deal starts 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 and ends when the ticket booth closes at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5.

Northwood gets Florida Main Street designation


This, from West Palm Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency:

Northwood Village has been designated a Florida Main Street by the Florida Division of Historical Resources, the agency that preserves and promotes Florida’s historical, archaeological and folk culture resources.  The Main Street designation and program focuses on economic development in the context of historic preservation.

While concentrating on revitalizing Northwood Village’s historic commercial center, the program will seek to enhance the economic vitality, quality of life, and civic pride of the community, and encourage citizen participation in shaping its future.

The CRA will provide $150,000 over three years to the Northwood Village Main Street program to help renew and revitalize this community center, one of the city’s oldest historic neighborhoods.

Upcoming science museum exhibit: “Our Body: The Universe Within”

our body - the universe within

Getting a glimpse of the body’s inner workings won’t require an anatomy class this fall – just a trip to the West Palm Beach-based South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

The exhibit, Our Body: The Universe Within, debuts Oct. 22 with 200 real-life human specimens in a fascinating, artful, educational and dignified display.  The exhibition is presented in partnership with Jupiter Medical Center and Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. and will be on display through April 23, 2017.


Appropriate for all ages, Our Body literally goes “under the skin” on an organ and systematic level to reveal the mysteries of human anatomy.  Visitors will see three-dimensional human bodies, specimens and organs, which were preserved using a process known as polymer impregnation.

Polymer impregnation is a relatively new method of preservation whereby bodily fluids are replaced by liquid plastic, which is then hardened to create a solid, durable anatomic specimen that will last indefinitely.  Most impressively, the process leaves even the finest, most delicate tissue structure virtually intact, down to the microscopic sphere, making the process invaluable for medical study.




Our Body: The Universe Within was developed and provided by the Anatomical Sciences & Technologies Foundation in Hong Kong.  The specimens in the exhibition were provided by various accredited Chinese universities, medical schools, medical institutions, research centers and laboratories to further the goals of the Anatomical Sciences & Technologies Foundation which are to promote educational and medical research of the human body.

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium during Our Body: The Universe Within is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and $14.95 for seniors aged 60 and older.  Science Center members and children under 3 are free.  Planetarium shows are not included in general admission pricing.


For more information about Our Body, or other Science Center programming, please call 561-832-1988 or visit

Up against the wall on Clematis Street — in a good way

The Alley Climbing Sketch

Subculture’s alley is slated for a 50-foot climbing wall. But will climbers be given cup-holders for their coffee? Here’s the full story:



Deadline here for muralist Local Showdown submissions


CANVAS Local Showdown logo

 Local artists, today’s the deadline, Wednesday, July 13:

The CANVAS Selection Committee is accepting proposals from local artists interested in creating a mural for the CANVAS Local Showdown taking place in West Palm’s Northwood Village on Nov. 11.

The committee is encouraging artists from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. Seven winners will be chosen to paint murals on containers for the competition.

Here are the details, as provided by CANVAS:


Continuing the vital investment by the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency in Northwood Village, the CANVAS Local Showdown will call attention to one of the oldest neighborhoods in West Palm Beach through a central theme of “connection” – what that means to an artist and to the world that experiences their art – expressed through site-specific contemporary art murals. The CANVAS Local Showdown is a community-activated endeavor that will highlight and promote the historic area as an enclave for artistic and creative cultivation.

  • Highlight local artists to an audience that spans the globe
  • Encourage artists from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply
  • Activate Northwood Village historical significance and creative uniqueness
  • Beautify public spaces and enrich the community



JUN 1     Call for Local Artists Issued
JUN 15   Artist Information Meeting
JUL 13    Artist Information Meeting
JUL 30    Artist Application Deadline
AUG 17   Selection Committee Review
SEP 1      Finalists Announced
SEP 30    Site-Specific Rendering Due
OCT 5     Site-Specific Mural Approval
NOV 5     Mural Painting Starts
NOV 11   Murals Completed/Local Showdown

– 7 local artists chosen by an esteemed panel
– Only local artists will be considered and should currently reside in one of the four counties: Palm Beach, Martin, Broward, and Miami-Dade
– Only (1) application per artist individual or artist team
– Artwork must be unique, scalable, and suitable for public viewing by all ages
– Each selected local artist will receive a wall, artist fee, and a budget for materials
– Painting begins on November 5 and must be completed by November 11
– Artists must be present for the CANVAS Local Showdown on November 11
– The public will vote for the artists via the official CANVAS app
– The winning artist will win a spot on the CANVAS 2017 artist lineup