Posts Tagged ‘West Palm Beach’

Brightline, Indian River County duke it out before House panel

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Brightline railroad supporters and Treasure Coast counties opposing the higher-speed train planned from Orlando to Miami debated their cases Wednesday before a Florida House committee, showing the high stakes of their fight.
Officials from the train company, and two other train companies, were joined by officials of one of the counties, Indian River for a panel discussion before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, pitting the local’s concerns for safety versus the companies assurances that safety already is addressed.
“This is going to be a tremendous benefit to the entire state of Florida,” Brightline General Counsel Myles Tobin declared.
“It is a railroad, and the cost of doing business is to make it safe,” declared Kate Cotner, assistant county attorney for Indian River County.
At stake is Brightline’s ability to upgrade a rail line and operate privately-run passenger trains from West Palm Beach to Orlando, which will traverse four counties at speeds up to 110 mph without actually stopping in any of them. Two of those counties, Indian River and Martin, are suing, and pushing the Florida Legislature for safety measures beyond what Brightline has deemed necessary.
That fight is a large reason why Brightline has thrown out its timetable for completing the construction and beginning the service. At one time the company anticipated being able to do so late this year. None of the construction has started, and now the service indefinitely delayed.
Also complicating matters are bills pushed by Treasure Coast lawmakers that would require some additional safety measures – universal four-arm crossing gates at all road crossings, strategic fencing, and other items.
The committee was not explicitly hearing House Bill 269, introduced by Republican state Reps. Erin Grall of Vero Beach and MaryLynn Magar of Tequesta. But that bill and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 386 from Republican state Sen. Debbie Mayfield of Melbourne were often cited by railroad officials as

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Tim Kaine coming to Gainesville, Orlando, South Florida

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Democratic vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine will be leading rallies in Gainesville and Orlando Sunday and in South Florida Monday, the Hillary Clinton campaign announced.
Kaine, of Virginia, will be the University of Florida for a 2:30 p.m. rally on Sunday and at the  Dover Shores Community Center in Orlando for a 5:30 p.m. rally.
After that he’ll head to south Florida. The time and place of a Miami rally have not yet been announced, and on Monday he’ll be at a 3:30 p.m. rally in West Palm Beach.
This will be Kaine’s third visit to Orlando since he was nominated in July.
The post Tim Kaine coming to Gainesville, Orlando, South Florida appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Anheuser-Busch providing drinking water to communities hit by Matthew

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Anheuser-Busch announced Friday that it would deliver more than 450,000 cans of drinking water to communities around Florida dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
“We are humbled to be able to help out our neighbors in urgent times like this,” said Craig Tomeo, Senior General Manager of Anheuser-Busch’s Jacksonville Brewery. “Putting our production and logistics strengths to work by providing safe, clean drinking water is the best way we can help right now.”
The company said Deerfield Beach, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, Orlando, Melbourne and Daytona Beach would get shipments from their Cartersville, GA, brewery.
So far in 2016, Anheuser-Busch has delivered more than a million cans of drinking water in the wake of natural disasters, including the historic flooding in southern Louisiana earlier this year, and has also contributed $1 million to the Red Cross as part that organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program.
Hurricane Matthew is the first major hurricane to hit Florida in a decade. The storm began tracking along the state’s east coast Thursday, causing an estimated 125,000 South Florida residents to lose power.
The storm has moved north and remained about 50 miles east of Florida’s coast and is expected to continue along the Georgia and South Carolina coastlines this weekend before making an eastward turn into the Atlantic.
The post Anheuser-Busch providing drinking water to communities hit by Matthew appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Hundreds of thousands flee Florida coast to escape Matthew’s fury

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of anxious people boarded up their homes and businesses and grabbed a few belongings to flee inland as Hurricane Matthew gained strength and roared toward the Southeast seaboard on Thursday.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the state, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever” as Matthew menaces almost all the state’s Atlantic coast.
As people hurried for higher ground, authorities in South Carolina said a motorist died on Wednesday after being shot by deputies during an altercation along an evacuation route.
Scott said Florida, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever” as Matthew menaces almost all the state’s Atlantic coast.
About 2 million people from Florida across Georgia to South Carolina were being encouraged to head inland and away from the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade. Matthew killed at least 16 people in the Caribbean as it sliced through Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.
“This is a dangerous storm,” Scott warned. “The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida.”
Hurricane Matthew is barreling over the Bahamas and taking aim at Florida, expected to near the Atlantic coast starting Thursday night. The Category 3 storm has top sustained winds of 125 mph. Florida hasn’t been hit by a storm this powerful in more than a decade.
Florida emergency officials said 48 shelters in schools already have begun providing refuge to more than 3,000 people, some with special needs, mostly in coastal counties where evacuations both mandatory and voluntary were underway. Patients also were transferred from two Florida waterfront hospitals and a nursing home near Daytona Beach to safer locations.
Major theme parks in Orlando, central

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Sally Swartz: Development runs rampant without state controls

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

A nightmare development scenario playing out in Palm Beach County is bad news for proponents of local control statewide.
It’s almost unbelievable: new developments with thousands of homes in preserve areas that now provide drinking water for cities and water for a wild and scenic river. Ten-lane and 12-lane highways, including double-deck, high-rise roads and elevated interchanges that still can’t handle all the traffic.
And the worst blow of all: Counties have no choice. Florida lawmakers allow the new development and counties are forced to go along.
It’s happening in northwest Palm Beach County and in central Florida, growth management lawyer Lisa Interlandi told Martin County Conservation Alliance members last week.
It soon could happen anywhere in Florida, said Interlandi, a land-use and environmental lawyer with the Everglades Law Center. The nonprofit law center represents individuals, communities and neighborhood groups on Everglades or large-scale environmental issues.
Developers of the 3,800-acre Minto property, in western Palm Beach County, wanted to build on their property and got the Legislature to designate it as an agricultural enclave, Interlandi said. That gave them the right to develop at a special rate and took control away from the county.
“Palm Beach County tried to say no,” Interlandi said. Instead, Minto got additional commercial space designated. Roads aren’t adequate to handle the traffic new development will generate.
Developers have to pay a share toward improving roadways, but paying for all the pressures a development creates “is no longer a development problem,” she said.
Next, GL Homes tried to get the Legislature to OK its plans to develop 5,000 acres south and west of North Lake Boulevard. Palm Beach County fought it, and the developer didn’t win. But now the county “is supposed to negotiate,” Interlandi said. It has an incentive to not say no “because the county could get a worse project forced by

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Terri Susan Fine: You need no special talent to help fight hunger

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

The United Nations itself had not yet been officially established when its Food and Agriculture Organization was formed. The U.N. opened Oct. 24, 1945, eight days after the FAO, and not until 1948 did the international body ratified its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The way these events unfolded suggests that ahead of individual human rights and world security is one of the most basic human rights: access to food and nutrition. The chronology of events speaks to food security as surpassing all other human rights.
What is the value of other human rights if the most basic goes unfulfilled?
It’s also interesting that the U.N. named Oct. 16 as World Food Day and not World Hunger Day, focusing on the solution although we have no choice but to look at hunger.
Each year millions of people across the world that day focus their attention on world hunger with the intent of eliminating it. Activists focus their attention by taking part in public-awareness campaigns, educating the public about the severity of hunger in local communities and in the world, and otherwise engaging in projects and activities to alleviate hunger.
Recent statistics on malnutrition show that in the United States alone, 49 million people – including 17 million children, live in households with hunger or the risk of hunger. Those numbers represent 11 percent of the U.S. population.
Worldwide, hunger is experienced by 923 million people, while about 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes each day.
Malnutrition of children affects critical life experiences, because preschool and school-age children who suffer severe hunger tend to exhibit higher levels of chronic illness, anxiety, depression and behavioral problems, when compared with children who are fed. Among the poor living in developing countries, 820 million are undernourished: They consume less than the minimum amount of calories and nutrients needed for sound health.

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Timothy Hullihan: Traffic, traffic, and more traffic

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

The proposed State Road 7 extension in Palm Beach County north to Northlake Boulevard has sparked many stories and much debate.
The debate pits residents in the rural northwest against a gated golf community, so the demographic polarization keeps the discussion lively and interesting. Both camps, though, would be wise to join forces against looming developments that will make the S.R. 7 project seem a bike path by comparison.
I recently discussed with County Engineer George Webb the traffic implications of two large developments planned in and around the western communities of northern Palm Beach County. They’re about the same size as Minto West, approved earlier this year. Those two projects – GL Homes and Avenir – together would bring about 22,000 new residents to that rural area in addition to about 14,000 approved at Minto West.
From a traffic planning perspective, the facts are disturbing on many levels.
The relatively small number of people who chose the pineland tranquility and dirt roads dozens of years ago say the State Road 7 extension is an overdue relief that can’t be built soon enough. But those earlier residents may not realize that when estimates are done on additional traffic those two new huge developments will generate, the reliever road they crave is already being used to justify and soften the projects’ stated effect.
The Ibis Community says the road project will threaten the environmentally sensitive lands to their east, and the city of West Palm Beach is a powerful ally because that sensitive land is an important part of the city’s water supply. They may not realize, though, that a 12-lane-wide Northlake Boulevard through the heart of the Grassy Waters Preserve is a far greater threat to not only the water within these pristine wetlands, but to quality of life in northern Palm Beach County.
The S.R.

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Jac Wilder VerSteeg: West Palm’s version of Wikileaks

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Open government sustained a serious setback this month. For this, you can “thank” the city of West Palm Beach, along with West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and spokesman Elliot Cohen.
As reported extensively in The Palm Beach Post, the city – in response to public records requests – posted information online that revealed the names of several undercover officers, police informants and people who are the subjects of continuing criminal investigations. The posts contained information about local and federal probes.
Edward Snowden and Wikileaks would be proud. Except in this case, the government isn’t the victim of a whistleblower. The government did this damage to itself.
How did it happen? Well, there’s one benign explanation and one not-so-benign explanation.
West Palm has had a series of shoot-out murders in its northern section. It turned out that surveillance cameras deployed in the high-crime area weren’t working properly. Reporters seeking information about the crimes and cameras filed public records requests. They were trying to find out, for one thing, who was responsible for the failed cameras.
Instead of checking the records and police emails for sensitive information, city spokesman Cohen blasted all of it onto the Web under the heading “Transparency.” The blowback has been embarrassing and vicious, with the police union correctly demanding Cohen’s head.
Mayor Muoio has claimed the original impulse was her idea. She said she earlier had floated the idea of adopting a policy in all cases of posting for all to see the names of those who requested public records and then the documents they requested.
Sounds like a good idea that furthers government openness, right?
But reporters suspect a not-so-benign motive. They think Muoio and Cohen were trying to undermine reporters working to publish scoops. Publishing the public records request would alert other members of the media; publishing the requested documents would eliminate

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