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.
Palm Beach County Commissioners voted 7-0 at Tuesday’s meeting to pay a Miami firm $1 million to coordinate the sinking off the “Gray Ghost of the Florida Coast” in about 90 feet about 1½ miles off the Juno Beach Pier.
For decades, a 320-foot Cold War-era submarine has been a floating tourist attraction in downtown Charleston S.C. Now a group hopes to sink it off Jupiter, perhaps as early as this summer, as part of Palm Beach County’s renowned 150-plus piece artificial reef program and as an “underwater museum.” Organizers said it would be the first sub ever turned into a reef in Florida.
Palm Beach County plans to sink the USS Clamagore, the “Gray Ghost of the Florida Coast,” in about 100 feet, according to a memo for Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
County Commissioners would vote to approve paying a Miami firm $1 million. The money will come from a vessel registration fee trust fund.
The diesel-powered Clamagore, built in 1945, just after the end of World War II, ran up and down the Atlantic coast from Key West to Charleston and trained sailors to track Soviet nuclear subs. It was retired in 1975 and since 1981 has been docked since at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston.
According to the memo for Tuesday’s commission meeting, while the sub has been a popular draw, it has “structural fatigue” so extensive it’s not practical to repair it enough for tourists to safely tour it. Several groups had suggested new homes for the sub but couldn’t come up with the money.
A former analyst for Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management faces ethics charges for allegedly trying to intimidate a business owner into giving him an auto repair discount, and two Delray Beach employees received “letters of instruction” for incidents in that city, in rulings Thursday by the county’s Commission on Ethics.
The charges against analyst Rowan Hughes stem from a November 2015 report by the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General that said he “threatened or intimidated members of the public by falsely identifying himself as a well field inspector and making statements that he would have to conduct a well field inspection following a business’ refusal to reduce the price of repairs to his personal vehicle.”
The county fired Hughes Dec. 21, 2015, after he admitted driving the county vehicle for personal use, ethics commission documents show.
The panel also ruled Thursday that Joseph Lang, a firefighter paramedic and a rescue driver, was paid $10,834 from the city in 2014 and 2015 for an outside business he owned that supplied and serviced automatic external defibrillators for city buildings and fire-rescue trucks.
And the panel ruled Rashod Smith, a supervisor for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, let TennilleDecoste, the city’s Human Resources administrator, hold a Thanksgiving Day dinner for her family and friends after hours in the city’s Pompey Park Recreation Center.
The third season of Palm Beach County’s “Adventure Awaits” series starts up next month. It features, through November, 15 events and a family-friendly festival.
Naturalists from Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management will lead cycling and paddling tours, “a swamp tromp,” nature photography classes, butterfly encounters, and more, including the popular stargazing event.
Events are free but space is limited and advance registration is required. Adventures vary in challenge from “beginner” to “advanced.”
Baker said Friday that Palm Beach County now has four 2-person crews applying chemicals on the ground, searching for and emptying water containers, and educating residents, and has a person on call in the Glades. She said workers will be armed with “newer, lighter and more effective backpack sprayers and hand foggers.”
Baker also said the county’s mosquito control hotline has received an “unprecedented” volume of calls. She said the county’s health department has begun training local medical professionals to conduct educational seminars with homeowner associations. And she said, several agencies have stepped efforts to find and get rid of illegally-dumped waste tires, which fill with water and become prime mosquito breeder sites.
Baker said some 240,000 flyers have been distributed. They’re being put in county water bills and sent to county libraries and other county locations as well as Palm Beach International Airport and the Port of Palm Beach. She said the county’s working with local cities and utilities to distribute the materials as well. The flyers include one from Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (left).
On Friday, just after dusk, DEP people came to take samples and “couldn’t find the bloom,” Rob Robbins, head of Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management, said Tuesday. “Looks like the wind shifted it and moved it off.”
On Saturday morning, Robbins said, parks workers came to the spot and couldn’t find the bloom either. So Call reversed himself.
“The no swim advisory has been lifted,” County Administrator Verdenia Baker texted county commissioners around 8:45 a.m. Saturday.
Call said Tuesday this never would have been comparable to the Jaws situation because the closure affected only Peanut Island, not all the county’s beaches. But, he said, while he works closely with tourism officials and area businesses, “we always want to err on the side of caution.”
But ERM Director Rob Robbins said Tuesday that delays emerged in the work to punch holes in the ship, in preparation for sinking, and to remove all hazardous materials and schedule a final inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard.
He said a tentative date has been set for July 13.