Solid Waste Authority: post-Matthew pickups should catch up by weekend

Wind blows coconut trees during the pas(AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
(AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Garbage and yard trash pickup, backlogged by preparations Solid-Waste-Authorityfor Hurricane Matthew, should be caught up by this weekend, staff told Tuesday’s meeting of the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County‘s governing board.

The authority reported last week that volume was about 40 percent higher the Monday and Tuesday after Matthew’s Oct. 6 near-miss than it was for Sept 26-27, before the storm became a threat.

The authority said Matthew knocked down a lot of vegetation but that people also took the opportunity during preparation and cleanup to do mini-spring cleanings. The problem grew geometrically when pickups were canceled for Oct. 6-7.

Matthew generated about one day’s worth of additional garbage and three to four days of additional yard trash, Chief Operating Officer Mark Eyeington old county commissioners sitting Tuesday as the authority’s board.

“We’re slowly getting back to normal,” John Archambo, the authority’s director of customer relations, told the board. He said garbage pickups are caught up and yard pickups should catch up by Saturday.

The authority board also voted Tuesday to renew for one year its $250,000-a-year agreement with the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General.

And it agreed to a 3.5 percent merit raise for Mark Hammond, executive director for the past nine years. He currently earns $199,971.

Scott meets with PBC officials, urges vigilance on Hurricane Matthew

After a briefing at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center Monday, Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians to remain vigilant as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

“If Matthew impacts Florida, the destruction will be catastrophic, and you will need to be prepared,” Scott said.

Matthew’s projected path initially had the storm staying well west of Florida’s coast, but recent updates now take the storm closer, heightening concerns about effects from a storm packing 140 mile per hour winds.

“These storms can change at the last minute,” Scott said. “They can change directions. They can get stronger.”

Scott met with a range of county officials, including county commissioners, County Administrator Verdenia Baker, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and Superintendent Robert Avossa. The governor, who has declared a state of emergency for every county and put the Florida National Guard on alert, praised Palm Beach County’s elected officials and emergency personnel, saying they work well together.

Much of Scott’s focus, however, was on urging Floridians to get prepared for the possibility that the storm could change direction and bring its drenching rains and devastating winds to the Sunshine State.

He said residents should be prepared to take care of their own needs for three days, as storm damage could make it impossible for emergency personnel to reach some areas.

Scott also underscored the importance of heeding warnings from emergency officials. With the storm still hundreds of miles west of Florida, no school closings have been announced, nor have any evacuation orders been issued. But that could change if the storm’s path changes.

Residents should evacuate if ordered to do so, Scott said.

“You must leave before it’s too late,” Scott said. “We can rebuild a home. We can rebuild a business, but we can not rebuild your life. Do not ignore the direction of local officials. This is serious, and your safety depends on you being prepared.”

In addition to warning Floridians about Hurricane Matthew, the governor reminded residents about an ongoing threat – standing water, which serves as breeding pools for mosquitoes that could carry the Zika virus.

With Matthew expected to bring heavy rains to the state, Scott asked residents to act now to get rid of standing water.

“Get rid of standing water,” Scott said. “Wear bug repellent. Wear protective clothing. We’ve got to continue to fight Zika.”

Gov. Rick Scott
Gov. Rick Scott

 

 

More than 2,000 voted early Wednesday in Palm Beach County

Early voting at Jupiter Community Center Thursday, August 18, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)
Early voting at Jupiter Community Center Thursday, August 18, 2016. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Perhaps heeding authorities’ pleas to get it in ahead of this weekend’s possible tropical weather, more than 2,000 people, the largest total so far, took part Wednesday in early voting in advance of Tuesday’s election, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.

The total of 2,048 brought the grand total as of Wednesday evening to 16,830. Early voting runs through Sunday.

At the state level, the Florida Division of Elections’ Thursday morning totals show 303,767 people voted early, and 1,308,507 have requested mail-in ballots, with 1,027,347 already having turned them in. Of the ballots requested, the breakdown was 525,070 Republican, 499,763 Democrat, 33,973 “other,” and 249,701 “no party.”

The National Hurricane Center has said the system in the eastern Caribbean has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical storm by Monday.

On Thursday, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who oversees the Florida Division of Elections, said that “although it is too premature to determine if voters will be impacted by adverse weather conditions, I am in constant contact with Governor Scott, the Division of Emergency Management, and Supervisors of Elections. Any updates that have the potential to impact Florida voters will be immediately communicated.”

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher has said her office has a contingency plan and if any polling places are unusable, the law allows for last-minute switches to backup sites.

Live noon Q&A with Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher:

Related

Wednesday was the last day to request a mail-in ballot be mailed to you, although voters can pick up ballots in person up to Election Day. For your vote to count, your signed ballot must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday at the main office, or by 5 p.m. Tuesday at branch offices.

To see a sample ballot for the Aug. 30 vote, or for more information, contact the elections office at 561-656-6200 or visit www.pbcelections.org.

MORE ELECTION COVERAGE

Read all The Post’s Aug. 30 election coverage atmyPalmBeachPost.com/2016primary

Read The Post’s Know Your Candidates guide,myPalmBeachPost.com/kycp2016Eearly082516

 

Trimming your tree in advance of storm? Don’t do it.

101712 palms 01Planning to trim your trees in advance of this weekend’s possible storm? It’s too late.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County is urging people not to trim trees or do major yard or construction projects until the threat passes. The reason: the authority might not be able to get to all those piles of yard trash, and if the storm comes, they’ll be piles of potential missiles.

For more, call the authority at 561-697-2700 or visit its special hurricane page.

 

Palm Beach County set to urge feds: fix Lake Okeechobee dike now

DikeFail
(US Army Corps of Engineers graphic)

Palm Beach County Commissioners are expected Tuesday to tell the federal government: Free up money to finish fixes to the Lake Okeechobee dike before something bad happens.

The commission is set at its regular meeting to vote on a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to find the money for the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation project, the first major rehab in some 75 years, and calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to expedite its repairs to the dike to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare of the cities surrounding Lake Okeechobee and the Corps’ ability to manage the lake’s water level in a way that will significantly reduce the impact to the coastal estuaries,” an agenda item says.

The first part of that refers to concerns about breaches in the dike during the hurricane season; it’s just now starting its busiest stretch. The second part is related: heavy rains have left the giant lake swollen and high, and to reduce pressure on the dike, the Corps has been sending millions of gallons of fresh water down to the St. Lucie Inlet in Stuart and the Caloosahatchee estuary in Fort Myers, where the imbalance altered the fresh-salt mix, endangering plant and animal life and leading to a massive, odorous and ugly algae bloom that’s devastated the Treasure Coast economy.