• This Week in Palm Beach - July 29, 2016
  • Travel Ruled Out in Florida’s 2 Suspected Cases of Local Zika Infection
  • Civic Association's Voters Guide for Palm Beachers Published
  • Algae Bloom Stirs Everglades Restoration Concerns
  • Primary Candidates Meet and Greet Event

 

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This Week in Palm Beach - July 29, 2016
Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 29, 2016 edition.
Travel Ruled Out in Florida’s 2 Suspected Cases of Local Zika Infection
Florida epidemiologists have ruled out travel as a possible source for two Zika infections — one in Miami-Dade and one in Broward — suspected of being the nation’s first cases transmitted by local mosquitoes, State Surgeon General Celeste Philip said Tuesday during a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott and health officials.
Civic Association's Voters Guide for Palm Beachers Published
The Civic Association is releasing its online Voters Guide today and mailing the 8-page printed version to Civic Association members next week.  Become a member today to get your free Voters Guide.
This Week in Palm Beach - July 22, 2016
Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 22, 2016 edition.
Algae Bloom Stirs Everglades Restoration Concerns
By Michele Dargan, Special Report from the Civic Association. When foul-smelling blue-green algae coated Treasure Coast waterways just days before the Fourth of July holiday, Florida officials scrambled to respond.
This Week in Palm Beach - July 18, 2016
Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 18, 2016 edition.
Primary Candidates Meet and Greet Event
Come meet and greet the candidates running for office in the 2016 Primary.
North County Road Shade Tree Project Is Approved
UPDATE: North County Road will have a new look this fall.  The Town Council accepted a donation from the Palm Beach Civic Association on Tuesday to pay for a project to add more than two dozen shade trees along the street from Royal Poinciana Way to Park Avenue.
Top Stories
This Week in Palm Beach - July 29, 2016
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Thursday, 28 July 2016 17:34

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 29, 2016 edition.

 To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

Top Stories
Travel Ruled Out in Florida’s 2 Suspected Cases of Local Zika Infection
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Wednesday, 27 July 2016 12:10

Florida epidemiologists have ruled out travel as a possible source for two Zika infections — one in Miami-Dade and one in Broward — suspected of being the nation’s first cases transmitted by local mosquitoes, State Surgeon General Celeste Philip said Tuesday during a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott and health officials.

“The individuals do not have travel history themselves,” Philip said at the Broward health department in Fort Lauderdale. “That’s the only mode that we feel pretty certain has been ruled out.”

As state health officials reported six new Zika infections on Tuesday, raising the statewide total to 364 people affected this year, Philip asked for patience while Florida epidemiologists undertake the labor-intensive investigation.

Click Video Below to Find Out More [1:13]

Read More (Miami Herald)

Florida Zika Virus Tracker Daily Florida Zika Virus Tracker

Florida particularly at risk

With an abundant, almost year-round population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the bloodsuckers capable of transmitting the illness) and a high volume of travelers from Zika-prone countries, the Sunshine State is especially vulnerable to an outbreak. None of the cases in Florida and elsewhere in the continental U.S. have been transmitted locally by mosquitoes and only a handful are confirmed transmissions by sex.

Read More (Miami Herald)


Action in the Town of Palm Beach

Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar has said the most important issue at this stage of the Zika Virus outbreak is preventing the spread of mosquitos. The Town, sponsored by the Civic Association and Citizens Association, is holding a Forum on August 3rd in Town Hall.

Town of Palm Beach

Palm Beach Civic Association
Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach

COMMUNITY FORUM

ZIKA VIRUS

Everything you need to know...

Learn the dangers of the Zika virus
Prevent Zika and protect yourself
Get your questions answered

Presenters

The Honorable
Maggie Zeidman, Town Council Member

Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager

Gary Goode, Palm Beach County Environmental Program Supervisor

David Paladino, Native Pest Management

Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 10:00am

Town Council Chambers
Palm Beach
Town Hall

Everyone Welcome • Free Admission

Please join us for this important community program.

Questions? Please call the Civic Association (561) 655-0820

 

Zika prevent mosquito bitesZika Experts: There’s A Lot We Don’t Know About the Virus

By Michele Dargan, Special Report from the Civic Association

Dr. Robert Jacobson, a retired hematologist/oncologist, was raised and attended medical school in South Africa, where mosquito-borne illnesses were common and protective measures had to be taken.

With the mosquito-borne Zika virus becoming a worldwide concern, Dr. Jacobson urges residents to take precautions when going outside. He emphasizes the importance of screens on all windows and any outside porches or patio areas.

Read More (Civic Association News)

 

 

Top Stories
Civic Association's Voters Guide for Palm Beachers Published
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Tuesday, 26 July 2016 14:42

The Civic Association is releasing its online Voters Guide today and mailing the 8-page printed version to Civic Association members next week.  Become a member today to get your free Voters Guide.

The Palm Beach Civic Association is a nonpartisan organization that believes all civic minded citizens will want to make informed decisions in the August 30, 2016 Primary. This Voters Guide details only the candidates on the Palm Beach ballot.

2016 Primary Election Voters Guide CoverELECTION NOT JUST A PRIMARY RACE

Every registered voter in Palm Beach is eligible to vote on the August 30, 2016 primary ballot. That’s a change from the days when primary elections were strictly closed elections for Republicans and Democrats to select their candidates for a November General Election.

This elections cycle, Democrats still have closed Primary Elections on the Primary Ballot for U.S. and State Senator, County Commissioner, and Port of Palm Beach Commissioner. Republicans have closed Primary Ballots for U.S. Senator.

All voters will vote for Public Defender, Judges, Property Appraiser, and Sheriff. Winners (more than 50% of vote) in these races will go into office without having to compete in the General Election in November.

Runoffs, if a candidate doesn’t win more than 50% of the vote, are held during the General Election.

Click Here to Go to the Civic Association Elections WebpageElections Webpage

 

 


Thanks to South Florida Grassroots Research, LLC for the online guide on our site.

This Week in Palm Beach
This Week in Palm Beach - July 22, 2016
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Thursday, 21 July 2016 16:32

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 22, 2016 edition.

 To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

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Top Stories
Algae Bloom Stirs Everglades Restoration Concerns
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Thursday, 21 July 2016 12:46

By Michele Dargan, Special Report from the Civic Association.

When foul-smelling blue-green algae coated Treasure Coast waterways just days before the Fourth of July holiday, Florida officials scrambled to respond.

Although the slime surfaced in parts of Palm Beach County, including the island, it wasn’t close to the magnitude suffered by Martin and St. Lucie counties.

State and federal officials scrambled trying to rectify the situation.

The algae in Palm Beach was seen from the south end of town to the Lake Worth Inlet, said Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar.

“The highest concentrations were in the Ibis Isle/Sloans Curve area, which is in close approximation to C-51 canal discharge point,” Mr. Boodheshwar said.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in four counties, including Palm Beach, and the Army Corps of Engineers decreased the flow of water out of Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries to try and stop the spread of the algae blooms, which thrive in fresh water containing nutrients phosphorous and nitrogen.

This year was the perfect storm for a widespread bloom to occur, scientists say. Large amounts of winter and spring rain combined with the nutrients in the lake formed blooms; while, at the same time, the water rose so high from the rain that the water needed to be released in order to prevent the dike from bursting.

Last weekend, the Corps further reduced the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee.

Image: Blue-green algae polluting waters up and down the Florida coasts.

BLUE GREEN ALGAE 600

“As a result of water releases, drier conditions and decreased inflows, the lake level has started to recede,” Col. Jason Kirk, the Corps Jacksonville district commander said in a statement. "Although the lake is still high for this time of year, current conditions are providing us with the opportunity to further reduce discharges and bring some degree of relief to the estuaries experiencing above normal seasonal algal blooms."

The Corps must keep water levels in the lake down, while it continues to reinforce areas of the aging 143-mile aging Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Since 2007, the Corps has spent more than $500 million in improvements to prevent the dike from bursting, according to the Corps’ website.

The South Florida Water Management District authorized storing additional water in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes north of the lake and in Florida Power and Light’s cooling pond at the Martin Clean Energy Center.

Last weekend, the Corps further reduced the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee.

Susan Gray, an ecologist with the South Florida Water Management District, said algae blooms remain in Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Estuary. There are small patches of algae - off and on - in the Lake Worth Lagoon, she said.

 “The initial bloom in the lake was 33 square miles and now it’s about a hundred square miles, but it’s patchy and streaky now as opposed to a continuous mass,” she said. “On a body of water as large as Lake Okeechobee you can’t treat it or move it around. If this is the type producing toxins and you break it up, it releases toxins into the water.”

Measurements from the algae in Palm Beach County show little or no toxins, she said.

The Lake Worth Lagoon is less likely to see an algae breakout of a large magnitude because the lagoon has “more tidal exchange” and less amounts of freshwater coming into it, Ms. Gray said. 

Lisa Interlandi, a senior staff attorney with the Everglades Law Center, spoke at the July 12 meeting of the Palm Beach Town Council.  

Ms. Interlandi asked the council to draft a resolution that would move up the timetable for building a water storage facility south of Lake Okeechobee.

Council members directed staff to work on a resolution that would be ready for review at the August meeting.

Peter Antonacci, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, also spoke at the council meeting.

“There’s no silver bullet,” he said.

Many factors, including the amount of nutrients in the water, the rate of water flow into the estuaries, and the hot weather, contribute to outbreaks of algae blooms, Mr. Antonacci said.

The district owns 105,000 acres of land north of the lake, but is waiting for agreements to be inked to determine a schedule for building reservoirs, he said

The district has a schedule of approximately 50 different projects that will help with keeping Florida’s waterways clean, but it will take anywhere from 25 to 50 years and cost $8 to 12 billion, Mr. Antonacci said.  

Gaston Cantenz, vice president of corporate relations for Florida Crystals, responded to environmentalists who are calling for the state to buy more land, south of the lake, in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Since the mid-1990’s, 107,000 acres of farmland in the EAA have been acquired for Everglades restoration, Cantenz said.

“We just lost 42,000 acres three short years ago,” Cantenz said. “Now they want 15 percent of the entire farming basin on top of the 107,000 we’ve already lost. Two sugar mills have already shutdown over that time and those jobs and that economic activity in the Glades region has been lost.”

There are five storm water treatment areas that are operational in the Everglades Agricultural Area and are built on former farmland, Mr. Cantenz said. Those areas have treated more than 16 million acre-feet of water and reduced phosphorous in the water by more than 80 percent, according to the South Florida Water Management newsletter.

In 2014, there was a breakout of algae blooms without any water releases from Lake Okeechobee, according to a June 2016 fact sheet from the South Florida Water Management District.

“The nutrients and fresh water that can fuel growth of naturally occurring blue-green algae also comes from local storm water runoff and septic tanks,” according to the district’s fact sheet.

Mr. Cantenz pointed to information from Martin County’s Comprehensive Plan, which cited a 2013 breakout of algae blooms in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon and attributed it to – in part – “on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems.”

Gov. Scott has proposed new funding for a 50/50 matching grant program for communities that are affected by the algae blooms. If approved by the legislature for the 2017-2018 budget, the voluntary program will provide half the funding to residents who agree to change from septic tanks to sewer systems and the state will pay the other half.

Image: SFWMD Everglades Projects

SFWMD EVERGLADES PROJECTS

There are an estimated 300,000 residential septic tanks along the Indian River Lagoon, said Brian LaPointe, an environmental scientist with Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce.

“Ninety-six percent of the water coming into Lake Okeechobee comes from the north,” Mr. LaPointe said. “The watershed from Lake Okeechobee reaches all the way up to Orlando and water flows downhill. Major rainfall transports the nutrients from urban areas and farms to the lake.

“In May, when we began to see the green algae form blooms in Lake Okeechobee and the water levels were very high, the Army Corps had to release water into the estuary,” Mr. LaPointe said. “As the water moves into the estuary, the bloom continues to grow. It can double its biomass in less than a day if the nutrients are there.”

Most of the solutions need to be done long term, he said.

“We must clean up the nutrients at the source and we need more water storage both north and south of Lake Okeechobee so we won’t have to release so much water,” Mr. LaPointe said. “A lot of these are big projects that are underway and some are awaiting funding from the federal government.”

Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, said he spent three days visiting with local officials and members of the business community in Martin County.

“This is our Flint Michigan,” Mr. Eikenberg said, referring to Flint’s polluted drinking water. “It’s heartbreaking to actually see the toxic algae in the marinas. What’s most impactful is the smell – it literally takes your breath away. The people working in the marinas are all wearing industrial masks. It’s a health hazard, an ecological disaster and an economic hit. It has to stop. How many more outbreaks do we have to tolerate?”

Four projects from the Central Everglades Planning Project are part of the solution, he said. Building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is one of those projects, Mr. Eikenberg said.

The four projects will connect Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Keys, clean up the water and significantly reduce the amount of water that goes east and west, he said.

“There’s no solution to stop the damage you’re seeing today, but if we don’t start on these projects, it’s going to be another 15 to 20 years. People are tired of toxic algae ruining their real estate and impacting tourism. The lake continues to fill and we’re in the middle of the rainy season and God forbid if we get a hurricane that goes over Lake Okeechobee.”

All sides agree that moving forward with Everglades restoration is the solution, but it won’t be solved in the short term.

According to the South Florida Water Management District:

The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is a 50-50 cost sharing between Florida and the federal government. To date, the federal government has spent approximately $1.1 billion on design and construction of CERP projects; while the state has outspent the federal government by investing approximately $2 billion in land acquisition, project design, and construction. As federal funding has lagged, the district has stepped in to expedite construction of key projects. Congress could expedite completion of authorized CERP projects by appropriating enough money to erase the difference between state and federal CERP spending.

 Fast Facts on Blue Green Algae

  •  Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can multiply in rivers, lakes and canals. An overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorous create algae blooms.
  • Algae blooms are most common in the summer when growth conditions are ideal - the water is warm and the weather is calm.

  • The nutrients and fresh water that can fuel growth of naturally occurring blue-green algae also comes from local storm water runoff and septic tanks. Algae blooms have occurred in past years, such as 2014 when there were no lake releases.
  • Many cyanobacteria species are capable of producing harmful toxins. Cyanobacteria can cause taste and odor problems in public water supplies and can kill domestic animals, pets, and fish and wildlife that drink or are otherwise exposed to untreated contaminated water or toxic biota.

  • Although a major focus for public health officials is cyanotoxins in drinking water supplies, increased concern for the possible risk for human illness through recreational exposure is on the rise.

  • There is no effective large scale treatment method that exists to remove blue green algae blooms. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not recommend any form of treatment because it may release toxins.

  • No proven connection has been found between cyanobacteria and neurodegenerative disease.

  • The South Florida Water Management District is holding more water in the Upper Chain of Lakes north of Lake Okeechobee. The district took extraordinary measures to decrease lake releases, including storing billions of gallons of lake water in the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin.

  • The district advises the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the Corps is solely responsible for authorizing and conducting lake releases to coastal estuaries for flood protections.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife, South Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

This Week in Palm Beach
This Week in Palm Beach - July 18, 2016
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Friday, 15 July 2016 13:45

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. July 18, 2016 edition.

 To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

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Top Stories
Primary Candidates Meet and Greet Event
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Friday, 15 July 2016 11:04

Come meet and greet the candidates running for office in the 2016 Primary.

 Primary Candidates Meet and Greet

Co-Sponsored by:
Palm Beach Civic Association
& Citizens Association

Election 2016

August 17, 2016

5:00 - 6:30 PM

Event Location

Nick & Johnnie's Palm Beach

Public Welcome

Free Valet Parking

Call for information: 561-655-0820

 

 

Top Stories
North County Road Shade Tree Project Is Approved
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Friday, 15 July 2016 08:31

UPDATE: North County Road will have a new look this fall.  The Town Council accepted a donation from the Palm Beach Civic Association on Tuesday to pay for a project to add more than two dozen shade trees along the street from Royal Poinciana Way to Park Avenue.

Resident John David Corey, head of Palm Beach Walks, initiated the project last fall to protect pedestrians and create a more pleasant stroll for shoppers along the busy business corridor.

N. County Rd. before and after “I think that when the residents come back for season it’s going to be like a new area of town,” Corey said. “I think people are going to turn that corner and see all these beautiful trees, and feel safer and experience something totally new. We’ve really defined the commercial area really well.”

Over the weekend Daphne Hoge, a resident of Palm Beach, sent this email thanking the Civic Association and John David Corey:

“We would like to express hundreds of residents thanks to the Palm Beach Civic  Association for the installation of shade trees on North County Rd. from Royal Poinciana Way to Park Avenue. It is an important improvement to our daily lives; specifically, the comings and goings by foot, whether visiting our churches and temples, lovely beaches, businesses,  friends and neighbors; we are all indeed grateful for this important act. As we all know, there are many months that the sun and heat takes a hard toll on those who walk on unshaded cement. May I speak for many of us when saying that this project is less about beautification than making our fortunate way of life more livable, for both young and old alike.”
 
With big thanks,
Daphne Hoge and local neighbors!

Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)