Palm Beach County hosts 5th annual “Dark Sky” festival Saturday

A photo taken at the Pine Glades Natural Area, west of Jupiter Farms. (Photo: Tania Melendez)
A photo taken at the Pine Glades Natural Area, west of Jupiter Farms. (Photo: Tania Melendez)

The fifth annual Dark Sky Festival is set for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at Okeeheelee Nature Center, in Okeeheelee Park, 7715 Forest Hill Blvd., one mile west of Jog Road.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is organized by the county’s Environmental Resources Management and Parks & Recreation departments, to “celebrate the night and turn down the lights” by exposing people to astronomy and the importance of protecting dark skies for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

The festival will include stargazing with local astronomers, nighttime photography lectures, exhibits, vendors, nature walks, a children’s activity area, food trucks, a campfire and more.

For more, call 561-233-1400 or visit the event’s Facebook page.

County delays vote on Iota Carol development project

Palm Beach County commissioners voted 5-2 Monday to postpone a decision on comprehensive plan changes to accommodate the Iota Carol/Delray Linton Groves development project west of The Acreage.

Commissioners had given preliminary approval to changes last year, which were then reviewed by state government officials. Two of the commissioners who voted in favor of those changes have been replaced by new commissioners, and new County Mayor Paulette Burdick – who has expressed concern about over-development in the county – now chairs commission meetings.

Burdick and Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, whose district includes the project site, voted against the postponement.

The project, which calls for the construction of 1,030 homes on a 1,288-acre tract, will be reconsidered by the commission when it meets on April 8.

 

Palm Beach County Commissioner Paulette Burdick talks about her desire to discuss issues regarding Uber and public safety, instead of putting it off, during a Palm Beach County Commission meeting on Sept. 22, 2015. The commissioners voted to extend Uber's temporary operating agreement until the end of March 2016 or until the state legislature makes any decisions. (Brianna Soukup/Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick (Brianna Soukup/Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach County administrator: We’re not a sanctuary county

trumpsanctuaryOn Thursday night — around the time the mayor of Miami-Dade County relented to pressure from the Trump administration about Miami-Dade’s designation of “sanctuary county” — Palm Beach County commissioners received an email from a “tax paying, registered democrat voting citizen” who urged them to follow the lead of their neighbor to the south.

There’s one problem.

“We never considered ourselves a sanctuary county,” Deputy County Administrator Jon Van Arnam said. “The board of county commissioners never took any action to make ourselves a sanctuary county.”

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in a statement that it’s Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s policy “to follow Federal law as it relates to federal immigration detention requests. Furthermore, ‘PBC never has been or will be a sanctuary county’, per (Bradshaw.)”

Trump said earlier this week sanctuary cities — locales that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities — could lose millions of federal dollars. Many cities are vowing legal action, arguing the threatened punishment would be unconstitutional.

“Right decision. Strong,” the president tweeted Friday morning of the Miami-Dade action.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Clean up your act! Palm Tran installing hand sanitizers on all 158 buses

Palm Tran driver supervisor Matthew Harris tries out new hand sanitizers Palm Beach County's bus company plans to install in all its buses in early 2017. (The Palm Beach Post/Eliot Kleinberg)
Palm Tran driver supervisor Matthew Harris tries out new hand sanitizers Palm Beach County’s bus company plans to install in all its buses in early 2017. (The Palm Beach Post/Eliot Kleinberg)

Turned off by the idea of touching anything on a public bus?

Palm Tran is installing hand sanitizers on all of its 158 vehicles.

The battery-operated devices will cost the county bus system around $4,130, which will come out of money in its maintenance budget.

The wall-mounted units will be installed starting next week and all should be up by the end of February, maintenance manager Jack Kavaliunas said at Thursday’s meeting of the Palm Tran Service Board, an advisory panel.

Each unit, with refill and mount, costs about $26. They’ll be bought through the county’s purchasing warehouse.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com

Palm Tran Service Board re-elects Chair Dwight Mattingly

Mattingly
Mattingly

Dwight Mattingly, chair of the Palm Tran Service Board for the last year, was reelected Thursday.

Mattingly was selected at the regular meeting of the advisory board for the county’s bus system.

Mattingly is himself a Palm Tran driver and for several years has been president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1577, which represents drivers.

Andre Cadogan, a regular Palm Tran rider and a “citizen at large” board member, was nominated for

Cadogan
Cadogan

chair; he opted to vote for Mattingly, saying he was doing a good job. Cadogan is a Wellington engineer and is co-founder of the National Black Republican Coalition.

Thursday’s vote of the 12-member board was 8-2; absent were Vice Chair Myra Goldick and board member — and Boca Raton City Council member — Robert Weinroth.

The board then elected Cadogan as vice chair without opposition.

Delay for zoning of pot dispensaries gets initial approval

Palm Beach County moved forward with plans for a one-year moratorium on zoning applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers.

Commissioners voted 6-0 in favor of the moratorium, which they have said would give state legislators time to come up with rules the county would follow when it establishes regulations.

Last year, voters approved a change to the state constitution to permit the use of medical marijuana.

The moratorium will be considered for final approval when commissioners meet on February 23.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

County library system to host Black History Month events

Palm Beach County’s library system will host a series of events in February to celebrate Black History Month.

The events will include musical performances and discussions of books, film and history.

A kickoff event, scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. on February 4 at the main library at 3650 Summit Blvd. in West Palm Beach, will include performances by the Bak Middle School of the Arts Step Team. Jazz saxophonist Shenole Latimer will lead an exploration of jazz, which will be followed by a discussion of the music of the civil rights movement led by Naima Johnston Bush.

Other events will be held at various branch locations throughout the county. More information on those events and on how to register for them can be found here.

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Palm Beach County aviation chief: security at Trump visits will be “tweaked.” Not “tweeted.”

 

Pelly
Pelly

A tweak is not a tweet.

Palm Beach County Airports Director made the slip Tuesday at a workshop presentation on flight restrictions that will be in place when President Donald Trump is at Mar-a-Lago, his “winter White House.”

The new president is notorious for tweeting out comments at all hours.

In his initial remarks. Pelly noted that Trump hasn’t made a visit yet since he was sworn in on Friday and that “things will be tweeted after the first visit.”

That brought snickers from county commissioners, and a few piped up that Pelly probably meant “tweaked.”

Pelly corrected himself, saying, “I shouldn’t have used that term.”

Commissioner Steve Abrams laughed that “now we’re going to get a tweet.”

Melania Trump’s focus on bullying gets attention of PBC

Melania Trump said she’d make cyber bullying one of her areas of focus if her husband won the presidency.

Her husband, Donald Trump, is now President Trump. And Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay wants the county’s Children and Youth Services Department to reach out to the new first lady to see how the department’s efforts could dovetail with those of Melania Trump.

“That’s a great suggestion,” Children and Youth Services Director Tammy Fields said. “We’ll look into that.”

123116 PBDN Meghan McCarthy Melania and President-elect Donald Trump leave the dance floor before midnight at Mar-a-Lago Club Saturday December 31, 2016 in the Town of Palm Beach.

Some 42 percent of 10- to 22-year olds surveyed last year listed bullying as a social/emotional issue faced by young people.

That survey was part of an overview Fields gave commissioners Tuesday on the work her department did over the past year, including the establishment of a web site that has information on youth needs and services.

Commissioner Mack Bernard expressed frustration, saying the web site isn’t enough.

“I’m really bothered by that,” he said. “I want to know what are we doing?”

The department, established two years ago, has collected data on youth in the county and established a series of “community challenges” and “action areas.”

The work of Fields and the department were praised by McKinlay and County Mayor Paulette Burdick.

Palm Beach County libraries chief: 4.6mm visitors last year

042910 met library 3.jpgDon’t tell Palm Beach County library people no one uses the library any more.

The county’s library system saw more than 4.6 million visitors on the 2015-2016 budget year, county commissioners heard Tuesday in an update at a workshop.

Crane
Crane

“I’m happy to report our library system is thriving. Our libraries are being used in record numbers,” Director Doug Crane told commissioners.

But all that love means added pressure on the library system, formed in 1969 with one branch in Tequesta and a bookmobile, Crane said. He said the system needs to grow. It already has a spot in mind around the Canyon Town Center west of Boynton Beach. And, Crane said, it’s looking to expand in central and northern Palm Beach County.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.