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May 20, 2008

City Commission condemns attack on Parkland Chabad

Parkland officials have condemned the recent vandalism of the Chabad of Parkland and vowed to ensure such incidents are not repeated.

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"We will not tolerate this kind of behavior," Mayor Michael Udine said. "We are an inclusive community. This is against everything that Parkland stands for. We are against all kinds of racial or religious hate crimes. The incident is deplorable."

Rabbi Yosef Biston, who leads the Chabad of Parkland congregation, Representative Martin Kiar and former mayor Robert Marks were present when the Udine read the resolution condemning the incident. The commission members later voted unanimously in support.

The incident happened last week. On Wednesday, a Jewish schoolboy was the first to see three swastikas spray-painted on the synagogue building on Loxahatchee Road. Someone also had spray painted "4 Hitler" on a nearby stop sign.

In a release, Sheriff's Office officials called the Parkland incident an "offensive hate crime of malicious vandalism" that probably occurred Tuesday night.

"We're looking at everything," said Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Alesia Russell. "We're not ruling anything out."

The FBI is investigating the incident. For details, read this report. Recently, the Chabad of Miami Beach in South Beach burned to the ground. The FBI is treating the Miami Beach fire as a possible hate crime.

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PHOTO: Rabbi Yossie Biston, left, meets with a law enforcement officer following the anti-Semitic vandalism of the Chabad of Parkland. The act took place on Yom HaShoah, the day when the Jewish community remembers the Holocaust. Submitted photo
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May 26, 2008

Parkland's problem with unlocked cars continue

In Parkland, some residents are forgetting that an unlocked vehicle is a recipe for disaster.

Parkland Broward Sheriff's Office Chief Paul O'Connell, and his staff, have repeatedly asked residents to make sure they leave their vehicles locked, but people clearly aren't listening. A look at the city's police blotter confirms this, with eight burglaries involving unlocked cars happening in less than two weeks.

On May 10, someone got into a woman's car that had been left unlocked in the 6400 block of Northwest 57th Lane and stole sunglasses, credit cards and $10 in currency.

On May 14, a man got lucky when a few people informed police when they saw someone steal a leather coat from an unlocked car. The police caught the burglar and the car owner got his coat back.

The others who got punished for leaving their vehicles unlocked weren't as lucky:

On May 19, a man living in the 8000 block of Northwest 126th Terrace left his car unlocked and lost a GPS unit worth $750. The previous day, three burglaries occurred involving unlocked cars, one in the 7800 block of Northwest 105th Lane, another in the 8000 block of Northwest 125th Terrace and the third in the 12500 block of Northwest 67th Drive.

On May 20, a woman in the 12100 block of Northwest 77th Manor found how costly leaving a car unlocked can be when someone entered it and stole a GPS system worth $350. The same day, another burglary involving an unlocked car happened in the 9900 block of Northwest 58th Court.

May 27, 2008

Springs, nearby cities sign cooperative fire protection deal

Officials in Coral Springs and nearby cities have realized it makes sense to join hands for common good.

The Coral Springs City Commission approved an agreement with Margate, Parkland and Coconut Creek for regionalizing fire and rescue operations. When there's a problem, the closest unit will automatically respond.

The cooperative fire protection deal - in effect through September - provides aid for putting out fires, dive-rescue operations, vehicle extrication, communication and training for the four cities.

”The arrangement will eliminate duplication of services and allow for the sharing of resources and enhance emergency response times," a commission memo said. "Each party agrees that this agreement is an equitable exchange of services that shall not require monetary exchange for services."

May 30, 2008

University Drive extension issue close to a solution, says Senator Ring

Senator Jeremy Ring, who represents people in Coral Springs and Parkland, chooses his words carefully every time he is asked to comment on the University Drive extension issue. This was no different Wednesday night, when the topic came up at a town hall meeting in Coral Springs.

"I won't take a stand," he said. "I represent people in both cities. But I believe [University Drive] will go through because of the proposed expansion of the casino in Coconut Creek."

The issue is close to a solution, Ring said. "I know people in Coral Springs want the road to go through, while people in Parkland and West Boca are opposed to it," he said. "Right now, Coral Springs does not have a tremendous amount of standing on the issue. I know various options are being looked at. They are talking about expanding State Road 7/U.S. 441."

Representative Ari Porth, who was also present at the meeting, was more vocal about his preference. "I represent Coral Springs, and I want to road to go through," he said.

Parkland officials are vehemently opposed to the idea of the road being extended to Palm Beach County. Members of the West Boca Community Council, too, are against the idea as they feel it will result in thousands of vehicles driving through residential areas dotted with schools.

Parkland has a lot to lose if the road is extended. The city's proposed annexation of nearly 2,000 acres of Palm Beach County land will take place only if the road extension idea is dropped permanently.

June 1, 2008

Parkland officials talk of a “pay more fund”

Parkland officials are toying with the idea of giving residents an option to pay more to get extra services.

It was Mayor Michael Udine who suggested, at a recent strategic planning session, that the city do so. “I have had people say to me that they are willing to pay more for more services. I know there are people who will pay more for convenience. Let’s allow them to do that,” he said.

Commissioner Dave Rosenof thought the idea had merit. “There are cities that charge more for providing extra services. We should think of raising more money by offering VIP-level service. This option should only apply to add-on services, not core services,” he said.

Besides discussing the “pay more fund,” city officials also talked about successes of the current year and mulled over challenges before the city in the coming year.

The coming year will see budget cuts in every department, Udine said. “It will be a difficult budget year," he said. "Anyone who does not understand this is no longer living in reality. Some things may need to be put off. Governments right now are easy targets. There is a tremendous amount of resentment among citizens, and not just in Parkland.”

June 5, 2008

Mena criticizes FDOT secretary on University Drive extension issue

Coral Springs Commissioner Ted Mena was an angry man as he came out of a joint meeting of the Broward and Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization last Friday. The meeting discussed the proposed extension of University Drive.

Much of his anger was directed at Florida Department of Transport District 4 Secretary James Wolfe. "We were given seven proposals to consider," he said after a city commission meeting Tuesday night. "Wolfe then told the meeting that he did not think that the extension of University Drive is politically viable. He should have kept his opinion to himself and let us take the decision."

Mena believes the extension of the road is the only solution to the longstanding problem. "They are now talking about a 10 or 12 lane State Road 7/U.S. 441," he said. "Where is the land going to come from? They will have to take parking lots of businesses. Tell me, is that viable?"

Mena said he did, however, enjoy what Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs said at the meeting.

"She literally told Palm Beach County officials that they can keep the wedge," Mena said. "Palm Beach is trying to get rid of the land. I'm sure what Kristin said has them worried."

June 10, 2008

Parkland extends date for energy incentive reward program

Parkland is giving its residents a few extra days to take advantage of its energy incentive reward program. The program, and Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz who came up with the idea, had attracted national attention when it was introduced.

Last week, the City Commission unanimously passed a resolution extending the application cycle for incentives to July 31. As part of the program, the city gives financial incentives to individuals and businesses for environmentally conscious purchases. Only purchases after Jan. 12, when the ordinance came into effect, will qualify.

The plan incorporates the following 12 program models: 1) Hybrid cars; 2) Incandescent light bulb replacement; 3) Solar power landscape lighting; 4) Ultra low flow toilets and shower heads; 5) FPL Sunshine Energy Program; 6) Energy Star Program; 7) Exotic invasive tree replacement; 8) high efficiency air conditioner replacement; 9) Isolé IDP-3050 Plug Load Control; 10) A/C duct system test & repair; 11) Solar panels for the home; 12) city of Parkland solar water/pool heater program.

Applications for the programs are available at www.cityofparkland.org or at City Hall, 6600 University Drive.

June 11, 2008

Schools in Parkland and Coral Springs receive top honors

Great schools are one reason young families flock to Coral Springs and Parkland. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and J.P. Taravella High School have been named two of the best high schools in the country.

The two high schools are on a list of eight Broward County Public Schools that were recognized by Newsweek magazine as the top high schools in the nation. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland was ranked 25th in Florida and 136th in the nation, while J. P. Taravella High was ranked 80th in the state and 656th in the country.

The achievement was recognized by the Coral Springs City Commission at a recent meeting.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Principal Ann Andersen-Kowalski thanked the community and the parents for the award. “We’re very fortunate to have such a supportive community and parents who actually enable us to have the kind of programs, rigor and relevance that we do,” she said.

Schools in Coral Springs feel the support of the City Commission throughout the year, said Shawn Cerra, principal at J.P. Taravella High. "We are blessed to have outstanding students and a great faculty. The award is about their hard work and effort,” he said.

For details, visit www.browardschools.com.

June 12, 2008

Parkland officials discuss city's problem with unlocked cars

The increasing number of car burglaries in Parkland, most of them involving vehicles left unlocked by owners, came up for discussion at a City Commission workshop Wednesday.

Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz wanted police and city staff to come up with some educational program to make residents aware of the need to prevent such soft crimes.

"Crime has increased in Parkland over the last couple of years," he said. "We will be able to bring the number of incidents down if people are more careful about keeping their vehicles locked and garage doors closed."

Broward Sheriff's Office Chief Paul O'Connell said the police would continue educating residents. "We will put up message boards in various parts of the city," he said. "The good news is that Parkland had the second smallest rate of crime among cities in Broward last year."

Mayor Michael Udine said he was not as concerned about crimes that happened due to carelessness of individuals as he was about other crimes. "Adding more police officers is not going to stop such crimes," Udine said. "We need individuals to take responsibility."

June 16, 2008

Parkland makes solar lighting mandatory for businesses

Parkland is going greener.

The city, which already has an incentives program in place for environmentally conscious purchases, will soon introduce a law that makes solar powered lighting mandatory in all shopping centers. The City Commission discussed the proposed law at its meeting last week.

All outdoor lighting installed on commercially zoned property after Jan. 1 next year has to be solar powered. Existing businesses will get ten years, from the date of adoption of the ordinance, to comply. However, all replacement lighting after Jan. 1 has to be totally solar powered.

Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz, whose idea it was to provide incentives for residents who go green, said the commission was not singling out shopping centers. “We are looking at this in city structures, too," he said. "Lighting at the new fire station and some of the lighting at Pine Trails Park will be solar powered. The signboard at the new fire station will be solar powered as well.”

San Francisco gives incentives to business to go solar, but we are a much smaller city and can’t do that,” Moskowitz said. “This technology is not cheap. That is why we are allowing a very large window. This will give shopping centers the time to invest in the technology. All outdoor lighting in Parkland should be solar powered by 2018. ”

June 20, 2008

Holmberg Road improvements in Parkland begin

Holmberg Road improvements, the single biggest project Parkland has taken up in many years, has begun. Residents who normally travel on the road are better off seeking alternate routes when work is in progress.

The city has signed a $2.7 million contract with Weekly Asphalt for the project that begins at State Road 7/U.S. Route 441 and continues to Parkside Drive where the road will be resurfaced and two four-foot bicycle lanes will be added. The city will also install 16 fire hydrants and extend the existing water main from Parkside Drive to Riverside Drive, along Holmberg Road, to service the Pinetree Estates subdivision.

At a City Commission meeting in May, Mayor Michael Udine said the goal was to minimize the inconvenience to residents due to the work. “It is an exciting large capital project, the single largest project Parkland has taken up in years. Much of the work has to be done during summer.”

Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz wanted the city to inform people of the work. “There will be inconveniences but people will be happy once work is over,” he said.

A lot of staff coordination is needed for successful completion of the project, Commissioner Mark Weissman said.

Work on the project will likely be completed in six months.

June 24, 2008

Moskowitz proposes environment assessment fee in Parkland

Parkland Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz wants to take the city’s green drive another step forward.

At a recent City Commission meeting, Moskowitz proposed a “nominal” environmental assessment fee of $5 per household to raise capital that can be used for protecting the environment. The idea is to raise about $40,000 a year, he said.

“I’m not aware of any other city in the state that is doing something like this,” Moskowitz said. “The assessment fee will offset the environmental impact we have while conducting business. The money can be used for anything from buying hybrid vehicles to preserving native trees.”

Moskowitz said he expected residents to react positively to the proposal. “They have supported all our environmental initiatives and I expect them to do the same this time, too," he said. "This is something that will help the city in the long run.”

Parkland resident Stuart Krantz said he liked the idea of the city taking measures to save the environment. “Jared is trying to do things, but you need a certain amount of money to run a city well," he said. "I have all along held that the city should adopt a millage rate of 5.1. If they had not lowered the millage rate from 4.1 to 3.4, they would have had the money to do this. I guess they are more comfortable doing it this way.”

The City Commission will discuss the proposal once City Attorney Andrew Maurodis drafts an ordinance. If it passes, the impact fee will be the latest in a long list of conservation efforts the city has taken up in the last few months.

Recently, the commission decided to go paperless and at its last meeting, switched to paperless commission agendas. The move has commissioners taking home backup material in memory sticks and reviewing them on computer screens at the meeting.

It is a step in the right direction, Mayor Michael Udine said. “The backup material this week was close to 1,000 pages, and we made many copies," he said. "Besides going green, the city is also saving money.”

June 25, 2008

University Drive extension evades solution

Anyone who has been following the University Drive extension issue knows officials in Coral Springs and Parkland do not see eye-to-eye on the topic.

Coral Springs wants the road to be extended to connect Broward and Palm Beach counties, while Parkland is happy to leave the road as it is. Let me share a few technical details about the various options the two cities are supporting.

While every other party involved in the issue, from Broward and Palm Beach counties to cities like Parkland and Coconut Creek are backing five options each, Coral Springs has just four alternatives on the table - 1g, 1a, if, and ib.

Alternative 1g, Coral Springs' preferred alternative, includes a six-lane University Drive connection between Lox Road and Palmetto Park Road and a eight-lane State Road 7 that has six lanes for automatic traffic and two lanes exclusively for transit.

Alternative 1a is similar to 1g, but has no exclusive transit lanes on State Road 7. Under this alternative, State Road 7 will be a six-lane facility between Sawgrass Expressway and County Line and as an eight-lane arterial between County Line Road and Glades Road.

Alternative 1f also has a six-lane University Drive connection between Lox Road and Palmetto Park Road. This alternative includes eight lanes for automatic traffic on State Road 7 between Sawgrass Expressway and Glades Road.

Alternative 1b includes a four-lane University Drive between Lox Road and Palmetto Park Road. State Road 7 will be six lanes between Sawgrass Expressway and County Line and a eight-lane arterial between County Line Road and Glades Road.

Parkland backs options 1d, 2a, 2b, 2c and 3d. Its preferred option, 3d, has a six-lane State Road 7 from Sawgrass Expressway to Glades Road and two exclusive transit lanes. Importantly, this option takes University Drive extension out of the equation. The common factor in the other four options chosen by the city is the absence of the University Drive extension element.

Parkland believes an east-west roadway is needed to address traffic concerns rather than a north-south roadway, said Commissioner Dave Rosenof, the city's representative in the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization. "Extending University Drive will cause destruction of existing neighborhoods. There are also safety issues due to the number of schools that are located along University Drive.”

It is imperative to extend University Drive to link the two counties, Coral Springs assistant city manager Erdal Donmez said. “It’s not a choice or a convenience," he said. "University Drive has to be open to address future traffic needs of this area. It is the shortest and least costly connection as FDOT owns the right of way. All the data available validates our position. How much more proof do we need?”

July 3, 2008

New traffic light comes to Parkland

Parkland roadways are getting a little safer.

The city has announced the installation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Pine Island Road and Trails End. The City Commission decided to make the traffic light a top priority because of its close proximity to two elementary schools and Pine Trails Park.

McMahon Associates, Inc., will design the traffic signal and plans will be sent to the county for approval. WCI Communities, Inc., will partner with Parkland for the project, which is of no cost to the city. Installation for the traffic light is scheduled for next spring or summer.

July 8, 2008

Library launches summer reading program

The Parkland Library got hit with budget cuts this year and faces more of the same next year, but the news is not all bad. The library has managed to rope in a sponsor for its popular summer reading program.

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The program, which features segments for children, teens and adults, is based on the book, “The Wizard of Oz” and will continue until mid-August. “Oz” memorabilia, on loan from city residents and the Cornell Museum in Delray Beach, has been displayed to create a museum-type atmosphere.

“We have never had a sponsor before,” said Michele Andrews, library program coordinator. “We are happy National City Bank has come forward to help us. We’ve really transformed the entire place.”

The library is offering prizes to readers this time, Andrews said.

It also encourages people to read and bring new members to the library, said Kathy Buchko, a Parkland resident. “Things are in jeopardy after the budget cuts and the library needs all the help it can get,” she said. “I have been a member since the beginning. It is a great place. I love the hometown atmosphere.”

Read the complete article and see more photos in the July 10 issue of the Coral Springs Forum.

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PHOTO: The Parkland Library recently had a "Wizard of Oz"-themed show. Library Staff Michelle Andrews, library program coordinator, greeted visitors. Staff photo/Marta Mikulan Martin
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July 14, 2008

Vendors needed for Parkland Promenade event

The Parkland Women's Club is looking for vendors to participate in Parkland Promenade, formerly known as Arts and Crafts in the Country.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland.

The club is looking for vendor items that include artwork, crafts, embellished, buy-to-sell or "green market" items.

Space fees range from $60 to $100. Net proceeds go to charitable organizations supported by the Parkland Women's Club.

Call Pat Mirabello at 954-662-5770 or visit www.parklandwc.com.

July 24, 2008

YMCA launches Kidz Club

The Parkland YMCA is starting a Kidz Club after school program.

The program provides transportation from various schools in Parkland and Coral Springs. Between 2 and 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, students participate in homework time, fun and fitness activities, youth sports and arts and crafts. They also get a healthy daily snack.

The cost for members is $240 a month per child. Non-members pay a month per child. There also is a $55 registration fee per family.

Call 954-384-9622.

August 1, 2008

Two crusaders organize fundraiser

If you are one of those who likes shelling money out for a good cause and enjoys good food and fun in return, this one is for you.

Parkland resident Lisa Beggs and Ellen Tacher of Coral Springs, two women whose lives have been affected by blood cancer, will organize an event on Oct. 3 at the Parkland Golf and Country Club. The event will raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of South Florida. The fundraiser and cocktail party will feature dancing, live entertainment, food and music.

“Our special guest, Tito Puente Jr., will pay a musical tribute to his father, Tito Puente Sr. We will also have a very popular band from the Bahamas playing,” Tacher said.

Tacher said she hopes the event raises more than $100,000. "We need all the help we can get to battle blood cancer,” she said.

The event will go from 7 p.m. to midnight.

For more information, call Lisa Beggs at 754-245-0029 or e-mail her at lisagbeggs@aol.com. Ellen Tacher is available at 954-709-9606 or by e-mailing ellentacher@hotmail.com.

August 2, 2008

Top Priority to rock Parkland this Saturday

Top Priority, a South Florida classic rock band, will enthrall music lovers in Parkland Aug. 9 at Pine Trails Park Amphitheater, 10561 Trails End. The concert, which starts at 7 p.m., is free and open to Parkland residents only.

The concert is the latest in a series presented by JM Lexus. Until this year, such events were organized by the city, but following a decision by the City Commission, staff has been trying to rope in sponsors for as many events as possible.

Top Priority has Brian Beauvais (lead vocals, guitar and keyboards), Ben Robinson (lead guitar and vocals), Danny Kelley (bass and vocals), and Greg Sherman (drums and vocals.) The band members have played together for about 20 years, making it one of the longest surviving bands in South Florida.

Residents can bring lawn chairs and blankets to the event, but tents, pets and alcohol are not allowed.

For more information, call Colleen O’Dea at 954-757-4120 or e-mail codea@cityofparkland.org.

August 5, 2008

Parkland teenagers put their summers to good use

Two Parkland teenagers are giving the city a good name while making life better for those at the Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale.

It all began with Ben Gajus deciding to put his summer to a worthwhile use. After a few years of going to the Coral Springs Medical Center with his mother during Christmas time to donate toys, the teenager wanted to take the next step. Bill Strode, his friend and teammate on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team, was excited to become involved.

Over the last few weeks, Ben and Bill have been collecting gently used items for the children at the Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center. The medical facility provides care for uninsured and under-insured children with chronic illnesses like HIV, diabetes and cancer.

“The economy is so bad that they need all the help they can get,” Ben said. “We are trying to get as much stuff as we can. We have fliers that we have put all over our neighborhood. Every week, we solicit soliciting used clothes, shoes, toys, games, books, sporting equipment, and baby items. We have had some really great days and some so-so ones.”

The two teenagers have already collected about 6,000 toys and clothes items after visiting about 250 houses in the neighborhood. Bill is hoping the school football team will make it a tradition in the coming years.

Read the full story in the August 7 issue of the Coral Springs Forum. Arun can be contacted at 954-574-5339.

August 12, 2008

Parkland to finally get another elementary school

It's a long time coming, but Parkland will finally have its third elementary school.

Elementary School “Z,” to be located on 12 acres of land, will open in time for the 2009-2010 school year and will have space for 960 students. The new school will be the first one in the county to have a photovoltaic roof system that collects solar energy as a source of electricity. Special energy efficient transformers have also been included in the school’s design.

Skanska USA Building Inc. will be the construction manager for the project.

The opening of the 126,376-square-foot school is expected to provide relief to Riverglades Elementary School and Park Trails Elementary, both of which have experienced overcrowding in recent years. The new school had been a part of the school board’s plans for the last few years and would have opened earlier if not for a decision to switch sites.

The new school would be great for Parkland, Mayor Michael Udine said. “It is a big, big benefit for the city. The schools in our area are so good that they are getting overcrowded. Anything that can be done to provide relief is a big win for Parkland. The building will use solar energy; that fits right in with what we are trying to do.”

Read a longer version of the story in the Aug. 14 issue of the Forum. Reach Arun at 954-574-5339.

August 19, 2008

Parkland schools to get additional classrooms

Schools in Parkland will have more space to accommodate students by 2009-2010.

When school reopens sometime in September 2009, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will have 30 additional classrooms and six new science labs. Westglades Middle School will grow too, adding 24 classrooms. The new elementary school that will open in time for the next academic year is expected to provide relief to Riverglades and Park Trails, the existing two elementary schools in the city.

The addition of classrooms at the high school is part of the plan for class size reduction, school board member Stephanie Kraft said. “School enrollment, in general, has gone down in the area as people are moving out of South Florida. Our goal is to have a class size of 25 students in a high school, 22 in middle school and 18 in elementary schools.”

Douglas High principal Ann Kowalskis said she was excited by the classroom addition. “The classrooms will be ready at the end of this year or the beginning of the next academic year. We’ve needed this ever since we had critical overcrowded status. We have 38 portables on campus now; we may end up keeping them. We are continuously growing; enrolment continues to increase.”

Parkland School Advisory Board chairwoman Becky Eikevik welcomed the classroom addition at the high school and middle school. “It’s something we have needed for quite a while. There is growth in Parkland and our schools needed to grow too. If the city gets the wedge, we will need new schools.”

Read the complete article in the Coral Springs Forum on Aug. 21. Reach Arun at 954-574-5339.

August 20, 2008

Parkland library gets back some of its lost hours

With constraints in the 2007-2008 budget, the Parkland Library was forced to reduce its hours from 57 per week to 46. This year will be better for the library, which will operate 52 hours a week.

The increase in number of hours is due a $21,000 grant to the city by Friends of the Parkland Library, an organization that has worked for the expansion of the library since 1992. The money will be used to pay salaries until September 2009. The library has 10 employees, six of which are part time staff.

Existing part-time employees will get some of the hours they had lost, said library director Suzi Hayes. “Most libraries are reducing hours. In the current climate, it’s unusual for a library to be expanding its hours. It’s wonderful to have such a great support group. Last year, they spent $50,000 for the construction of the library patio.” Natalie Bigio, Friends of the Parkland Library president, said the organization did not want the library to suffer due to budget cuts. “We had the money because we have no administrative expenses. When this need came, we had to act, and we did."

The library will now be open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

August 26, 2008

No outsourcing of Parkland building department

The Parkland building department has not seen much activity over the last year with the real estate market being what it is, but the city is not planning to outsource its operations. At least, not yet.

"The city does not need to outsource the department, but it needs to operate better," City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young said at a budget workshop Wednesday. "We will be implementing uniforms for staff. Jeans, shorts or sneakers won't be permitted. Internal coordination and customer contact will be improved. We will have an ombudsman and also shorten the time period for processing permits."

Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz said he would let the economy dictate his decision. "Last year, we had 5,400 permits. This year, it is 2,300. If the number goes down further, the department will become a significant expense to the city. Let us see where we are in January," he said.

Mayor Michael Udine also wanted to see what the situation would be in January. "I would like to see how it works out," he said. "I also like the idea of an ombudsman."

August 27, 2008

All Parkland schools to have SROs

All schools in Parkland will have their own school resource officers during the current academic year.

The two elementary schools, middle school and high school in the city had their own SROs last year as well, but city officials had recently discussed the feasibility of making the two elementary schools share a SRO. The other officer was to add to BSO’s presence on city roads.

At a recent budget workshop, Mayor Michael Udine said, “This year, every school will have SROs. It’s paid for; it is budgeted. The issue is pretty much resolved.”

Udine’s comment came in the wake of the safety sub-committee of the city’s education advisory board asking the commission to ensure all schools in Parkland have an SRO each.

Becki Eikevik, EAB chairperson, expressed happiness at the commission’s decision. “We have been told that the new elementary school that is coming up will also have an SRO," she said. "Many parents were upset when they heard the commission might make the existing elementary schools share an SRO."

Read the full article in the Coral Springs Forum on Aug. 28. Arun can be reached at 954-574-5339.

September 1, 2008

Parkland officials shoot down four-day workweek

Some cities in Florida have voted in favor of a four-day workweek, primarily as a cost-savings measure, but Parkland officials do not think the idea suits the city.

“Switching over to a four-day week will have a positive effect on the environment,” said Barbara Hastings, city finance and administrative services director. “It will decrease the city’s electric bill by $12,000. It will also increase employee productivity. There will be less absenteeism.”

Vice Mayor Jared Moskowitz said a savings of $12,000 was not sufficient to justify changing over to a four-day week. “I was willing to let economics dictate my decision, but we are not saving much. I don’t see it as a good policy.”

Mayor Michael Udine said Parkland did not have the employee base to warrant a change. “It’s a good concept," he said. "I can understand bigger cities doing it. Coconut Creek has a significant number of employees. I don’t think we should be doing it.”

Margate city administrative offices will work only four days a week starting Sept. 29 while Coconut Creek switched over about a year ago.

Read the full article in the Sept. 4 issue of the Coral Springs Forum. Arun can be reached at 954-574-5339.

September 3, 2008

Parkland gets ready for its 45th birthday

The burial of a time capsule containing a slice of the city’s past and present, a birthday cake big enough to feed 2,000 people, and old fashioned family-oriented games will be the main attractions when Parkland celebrates its 45 birthday this Saturday.

While the city will ring in the day with a renewal of Parkland Days at the Equestrian Center, the Parkland Historical Society will give a time capsule to the city.

The time capsule is to be opened in 2063, when the city turns 100. Although most of the items inside it will remain a secret, it will contain the city seal, a printed copy of the city's Web page, a message from the mayor, and photos of various historical landmarks.

The 45th birthday bash will be at the Equestrian Center, 8350 Ranch Road in Parkland. The event is free and open to all city residents.

Read the full article in the Sept. 4 issue of the Coral Springs Forum. Arun can be reached at 954-574-5339.

September 10, 2008

Mandatory background checks for volunteers in Parkland

Parkland wants to make its playgrounds and fields a safer place for children.

Next month, the city will soon join the growing list of cities that have instituted mandatory criminal background checks for all volunteers involved in city-recognized sports leagues. The city’s decision comes in the wake of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the National Alliance for Youth Sports recommending a comprehensive screening process for all volunteers.

The mandatory background check will apply to all adult managers, coaches, and other person 16 years or older who have supervisory or coaching responsibilities. League board members will also have to go through the process that will cover the whole gamut from sex offenses, felonies and misdemeanors. Volunteers will be screened on an annual basis.

Once the City Commission adopts the ordinance at its next meeting, sports organizations utilizing city space will have to provide the names of all volunteers to the city and pay $20 for each volunteer for the background checks. Southeastern Security Consultants Inc. (SSCI) will be in charge of the comprehensive screening process. SSCI has an impressive track record, performing background checks for the U.S. Army, national governing bodies, law enforcement agencies and churches.

“This is exactly what we were looking for,’ said Commissioner Dave Rosenof. “I would like the city to see of volunteers can be given ID cards. Parents need some affirmation that the person coaching their children has passed a background check. In Fort Lauderdale, they have ID cards for volunteers.”

September 18, 2008

Brook: 'My focus will be on economic development'

Candidates in most local elections within Broward County are pulling out all stops to ensure they end up winners, but their counterparts in Coral Springs and Parkland have made it without even facing the voters.

All three candidates in Coral Springs, Mayor Scott Brook, Commissioner Roy Gold (seat 3), and Tom Powers (seat 5), won’t be on the ballot in November. The same goes for Parkland commissioners Dave Rosenof (district 3), and Mark Weissman (district 4). Since no one qualified to run against them, all five automatically won seats.

Brook said he was elated at having another chance to serve the city. “I am happy the residents have confidence in me, and I will work hard to see the city progress," he said. "My primary focus will be economic development and phase two of the downtown area."

Brook said next year's budget will be a challenge because of the economy and the legislature. “We will meet the challenge head on," he said. "Over the course of this year, we will work creatively so that we will be able to reduce the amount of cutbacks in future.”

September 25, 2008

Parkland pumpkin patch will stay, thanks to a resident

The Parkland pumpkin patch, which was in danger of fading into history, will stay at least one more year, thanks to the efforts of a resident and a few of her friends.

Debra Rowars took it upon herself to organize the community event after the Parkland Woman’s Club decided it no longer had the resources to make a success of it. Budgetary constraints have forced the city, which had in earlier years lent a helping hand, to stay away this time.

Rowars said she couldn’t bear to see one of the city’s true community events disappear. “I’ve been involved with the event for 12 years now. Over the years, it has taken on a life of its own. We have people coming in from other cities, sometimes even from places as far off as Jenson Beach. I must be crazy to take this on, but I want to try.”

The success of the 16-day event will depend on the number of volunteers, Rowars said. “We will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. We will need many volunteers to get the pumpkins off the truck on Oct. 11 and 18. We are looking for vendors to rent booth space during the weekend and for sponsors to underwrite the cost of the event.”

The Parkland Pumpkin Patch will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Oct. 11 to 26 at 8500 Holmberg Rd, the field next to the city’s Equestrian Center. E-mail bewitched96@mac.com.

Cities discuss organizing events jointly

What do you think about Coral Springs and Parkland coming together to observe national day of prayer? How about the two cities joining Tamarac, Parkland, Lauderhill, Coconut Creek and North Lauderdale in one big July 4 celebration?

It just might happen.

Coral Springs and neighboring cities have started discussions on the possibility of coming together to organize events jointly, sharing financial resources, staff and volunteers.

Officials and staff from Tamarac, Parkland, Lauderhill, Coconut Creek and North Lauderdale attended a meeting held in Coral Springs last week to discuss the idea that was mooted by the city’s multi-cultural advisory committee. The idea is to save money in the current difficult economic climate.

Staff from each city who are in charge of organizing special events are likely to get together soon to discuss the feasibility of the proposal and work out the logistics.

Following that meeting, the idea will be discussed by the city officials of each city before a decision is taken.

Coral Springs Commissioner Ted Mena, who heads the committee, said everyone who attended the meeting was “very receptive” of the idea. “They all agreed the idea has some merit and were willing to look at it. Unfortunately, we did not have anyone representing Margate, but we want them to be a part of this too.”

Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook said he favored the idea of cities working together and combining events to save some money. “We observe national day of prayer; Parkland don’t have something like that now. We can ask it to join us in organizing the event. By joining Tamarac for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day Celebrations, we can be a part of a larger community gathering.”

“It was just an introductory meeting,” Udine said. “I want to discuss the idea with the City Commission and staff.

October 4, 2008

Where is the public, asks Udine

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine has had enough of residents not turning up at public workshops on the budget.

“I don’t want to deny anyone the right to participate, but no one goes to them,” said Udine. “And I don’t think it’s fair to staff to stay extra nights. For citizen’s meetings instead of 2 or 3 we should have 1 or 2 to save money. Every time staff stays here it costs more money.”

Udine certainly has a point. At two public workshops on the budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 that the city held, one man - Bob Meyersohn - turned up.

Last week, the City Commission adopted the budget with no increase in the fire assessment fee or the millage rate. Like most other cities, Parkland also had to make cuts in all its departments due to the increasing costs of providing services to its residents and the slowing economy that has impacted all cities across Florida.

However, the city is increasing public safety personnel. The city will pay for an additional School Resource Deputy and overtime pay will be provided for additional police presence within the city.

“It was a difficult budget year," Udine said. I’d like to say that I hope it gets better next year, but I doubt that.”

October 7, 2008

Parkland pumpkin patch to return to Old City Hall

The Parkland pumpkin patch is returning to its original location - Old City Hall.

Debra Rowars, a resident who is organizing the event this year after the Parkland Woman’s Club decided it no longer had the resources to make a success of it, had earlier picked the field next to the city’s Equestrian Center as the venue. However, her appearance before the City Commission last week led to a change of plan.

“The Parkland Woman’s Club lost $10,000 last year because the event was moved to Liberty Park,” Rowars said. “If we moved to the field next to the city’s Equestrian Center, it would have been the third location in three years. I’m glad we have Old City Hall. I’m a resident since 1983. I hope we can always enjoy fun family times in the shade of some of our older country settings.”

“We are still accepting applications for vendors to join us on our second weekend, Oct 18th and Oct 19th, for our harvest festival. We also hope to get adult volunteers for unloading the pumpkins at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 11 and Oct. 18,” Rowars said.

The Parkland Pumpkin Patch will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Oct. 11 to 26 at Old City Hall, 6500 Parkside Drive, Parkland. E-mail bewitched96@mac.com.


October 10, 2008

Westglades Middle takes the lead on disability awareness

Shortly after he returned from a disability convention in Orlando, Garrett Mayersohn, a wheelchair bound eighth-grader at Westglades Middle School in Parkland, wrote a letter to his school principal.

Gov. Charlie Crist, Garrett wrote, had signed a bill asking Florida public schools to recognize the first two weeks of October as disability history and awareness weeks. During that period, the school should offer programs that create awareness about disability among its students, he said.

Christine Flynn, the principal, and staff were only too willing to oblige.

“These are exciting times for us,” Flynn said. “All through this week, we have programs that create disability awareness. A lot of our clubs have embraced the idea. We are doing this for the first time but I’m sure this will become an annual tradition here. In the coming years, the scope will broaden further, too.”

Garrett, understandably, is a happy young boy. “I’m glad they are doing so much. People sometimes make fun of those with disabilities. Creating awareness will prevent that from happening. My friends treat me like a regular kid, but not every child with a disability is as lucky as I am.”

The commission has tried to bring in as many programs as it can for special needs children, Mayor Michael Udine said. “I am not surprised that Garrett took the lead in making this happen. He is an unbelievable kid and a very good friend. He is going to be a leader.”

Disability history has been largely ignored in curricula at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, said Robert Mayersohn, Garrett’s father. “This is a step in the right direction. Twenty-five years ago, there was a lot of segregation between kids with disabilities and mainstream children. Some schools even used to hide children with disabilities.”

Parkland lends helping hand to Young at Art

It has had a not-so-great first year, but Young at Art Children’s Museum is trying hard to make a success of its alliance with Parkland.

Mindy Shrago, Young at Art executive director, appeared before the City Commission recently seeking a change to the original contract by which the museum would get 90 percent of the gross revenue as compensation for services.

The City Commission was willing to go a step further.

Mayor Michael Udine said he was in favor of the city waiving the recovery of fees from the beginning of the contract to May 2009. The others agreed.

“Let us give them a chance to try and succeed,” Udine said. We are all in tough times. "We want Young at Art to stay. It will cost us much more to run a similar program on our own.”

Young at Art, which was ranked the number one children’s museum in the state this year, will work to market its programs better, Shrago said. “We do want to make this work, to give it our all. We haven’t been able to reach out audience. We are thinking of ways to reach the kids in the community. We need to at least break even.”

October 24, 2008

Parkland for new law to tackle foreclosures

Parkland has joined a growing list of cities that have put laws into place to decrease the effects of foreclosed or abandoned homes on the neighborhood.

The move comes in the wake of an increase in the number of foreclosures in the city over the last year. An ordinance that city officials discussed recently focuses on registration of abandoned homes. This places the burden of maintaining the property on the mortgagee.
The city will be able to impose fines if the mortgagee fails to keep the homes in proper shape.

The city should step in only if there were life, health, and safety issues, Mayor Udine said. “I like the registration provision but what I am not ok with is mowing the lawn. It will never end and we won’t have the dollars to do it. I wouldn’t want to live next to a house with a green pool, but if we intervene once, there would be demands to do others. We will need to go in once in a while, but this is a slippery slope.”

The main thrust of the Ordinance is to have abandoned properties registered, City Attorney Andrew Maurodis said. “There is nothing in the ordinance that obligates us to go in and do a thing. This is not aimed at making us step in and do the work. This is just to ensure that the mortgagee takes care of the property when foreclosure proceedings happen.”

Coral Springs, which has to deal with the problem on a much larger scale, passed a law a few months ago.

October 30, 2008

Broward MPO rejects plan to widen SR-7

The decision of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to summarily dismiss a proposal to widen State Road 7 to better link Broward and Palm Beach counties has pleased Coral Springs City commission members.

The decision means that the chances of the city’s preferred option – extension of University Drive to link Broward and Palm Beach – becoming a reality remain bright. City officials believe the MPO’s decision vindicates their stand on the issue.

Commissioner Ted Mena, who is the city representative on the MPO, asked his successor Roy Gold to keep his eyes open at all times. “We thought the proposal had to do with University Drive, but it concerned nothing but SR-7. This is not the first time they have tried to sneak in a proposal and get us to approve it. I want to thank Tamarac and Coconut Creek. They stood up for us.”

Commissioner Roy Gold said he was happy at the stand taken by the MPO against the study. “But there is a feeling that there are mixed signals coming from the county. The MPO wants the county to take an official stand on the issue.”

Mayor Scott Brook wanted Gold to meet MPO director Roger Del Rio and share the city’s sentiment on the issue. “Don’t be bullied. We need to be as aggressive as possible. A lot of times, I have had the feeling that he is not vocalizing our sentiment on the issue.”

Coral Springs and Coconut Creek are in favor of extending University Drive, but Parkland and Palm Beach oppose the plan. Parkland officials say extending University Drive will cause destruction of existing neighborhoods. The issue is of added importance to the city as it will get the wedge - nearly 2,000 acres of Palm Beach County land - only if plans for extending the road are permanently dropped.

November 6, 2008

Parkland officials concerned about second 'Parkland'

News about the development of a new suburb in another county normally shouldn't cause concern to those in Broward County, but Parkland city commissioners are worried. Big time.

The reason: The new suburb that is being planned on Miami-Dade County's western fringe is named Parkland. The West Kendall Community Council recently voted 5-1 recommending the massive residential project be transmitted to state regulators for review.

Mayor Michael Udine believes having another community with the same name will hurt his city. "It will affect us," he said. "We have put lot of resources into establishing the Parkland brand. We need to protect the name of our city."

"Some residents have contacted me," Udine said. "We have sent a letter to the mayor of Miami Dade County explaining our stand on the issue. I don't know what the rules are, but I do not want another community sharing our city's name."

"We are researching," City Attorney Andy Maurodis said. "We will decide by the end of the week what we need to do next."

The community, west of Kendall-Tamiami executive airport, near the Everglades, is expected to have a population of nearly 19,000. The plan is to put nearly 7,000 homes, shops, offices, a hospital and schools on the 961 acres of land.

November 17, 2008

Douglas marching band has sterling year

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagle Regiment marching band has been in roaring form this season, winning three grand championship titles. None of the members are taking success for granted, however, as they prepare for the state championship at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg this Saturday.

Kristen Berman, captain of the woodwind section of the band, is hoping all the hard work will pay off. “Practice is running the way it is supposed to run,” she said. “It feels really great this year. We have been able to get the results we wanted to so far.”

The Eagle Regiment is the defending Class 3A state champion.

"We feel pretty confident about retaining the title,” said Berman, a 12th-grader. “We have something else on our minds, too. We want to achieve the record high score for the school this time. We will be creating history that way.”

The third of the band’s three titles of the season came at the latest success for the band came first in percussion, color guard, music, visual performance, and general effect. The band was also given an overall superior rating.

The band’s performance this year is based on the theme "In the Shadow of Dragons,” said John Rusnak, band director.

November 18, 2008

Parkland woman fights back from the brink

It has been 10 years, but Carol Miller still remembers the moment her life changed forever, leaving her to face a mountain of challenges.

Ten years after the accident, life has almost come full circle for Miller. Last month, she took part in the Livestrong Challenge of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) in Austin, an event that raises funds for cancer research. She is now in town, after successfully covering 65 miles on her bike in 5 hours and 13 minutes.

“It was a very worthwhile cause," she said. "I recently lost a family member to cancer. I have had some friends win the battle against cancer. I, myself, had a melanoma removed two years ago. It is also the 10th anniversary of my accident and I wanted to do something special. I was also able to raise $8,289 for the foundation.”

Her accident took place a few yards from her home when she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle with her husband on Westview Drive in Coral Springs.

“I was thrown off 140 feet. I was told that when paramedics reached the site, I had no pulse,” Miller said. “My helmet saved me. Ever since the accident, I get angry whenever I see someone riding a bike without a helmet.”

November 20, 2008

Parkland and Springs discuss strategy on road issue

Officials in Coral Springs and Parkland are busy finalizing strategy on the University Drive extension issue, following reports that political considerations might play a key role in the outcome that has the two cities taking different stands.

Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook, who is a member of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, is banking on the committee supporting his city’s stand. “I’ve asked the council to do a study on University Drive. The plan is to get their support, “he said.

“We also need to speak to Broward County commissioners to get support for extension of University Drive,” Brook said. “That way, we will have two other things for the other side to consider before a final decision is taken.”

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine wanted the commission to stay vigilant. “Things are moving in our favor due to the stand take by Palm Beach County. I don’t think the road is going to be built. Annexation will be complete and we will get the wedge.”

“Palm Beach County has removed the right of way for the road and submitted it to the [Department of Community Affairs]. We recently had a meeting with developers of the wedge. They want us to get more involved. The rest of [Broward County] wants the road to go through. They don’t care. I don’t think they have the money to build the road. But we want to make sure the road stays off the map.”

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz wanted members of the City Commission to attend future meetings of the Broward MPO. “If we attend the meetings and start showing our faces, it will make it difficult for them to push their agenda.”

As decided by the commission, Udine and Mark Weissman, the new Parkland Vice Mayor, will attend the next meeting of the Broward MPO.

November 25, 2008

Douglas marching band finishes second in state competition

In the end, the dream finish to the season eluded the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagle Regiment Marching Band, but there were plenty of high points for the band members to cherish.

The band, which was looking to win the state championship in the Class 3A division for the second year in a row, came second to Gainesville at the championship last Saturday in St. Petersburg. Eleven schools competed in Class 3A.

The Eagle Regiment, under the direction of John Rusnak and led by drum majors Dale Tuason and Mark Stein, captured honors for best percussion and best visual effect during the semifinal round. The school's show, “In the Shadow of Dragons,” came in for much praise at the championship.

The band began working on this year’s performance as early as May this year, said Rusnak, who has been working at the school for 19 years. “We had a design meeting and then had a camp in June. This was followed by a camp two weeks before school started. We practiced twice a week. We have a lot of talent here.”

November 27, 2008

Boccard gets another year as Springs vice mayor

Vince Boccard will continue to be vice mayor of Coral Springs.

At a recent commission meeting, Mayor Scott Brook decided in favor of giving an extended run for Boccard as vice mayor. "Vince has done a great job as vice mayor. He is a great presence for us in the community. Commissioner Gold held the position for a year and eight months."

Boccard, who has been a resident of Coral Springs for more than a decade, was elected as city commissioner Seat 2 in March 2006 and succeeded Gold as vice mayor in 2007. He is a general contractor/developer, and co-owner of Boccard Homes and Kessler Construction. He also has the experience of serving as vice mayor and village commissioner of El Portal in Miami Dade County.

Boccard founded the Lisa Boccard Coral Springs Breast Cancer Foundation for woman without health care and is a founding director of the Florida Breast Cancer Coalition. He is also the chairman of the Coral Springs Youth & Family Committee.

In neighboring Parkland, Mark Weissman recently took over for Jared Moskowitz as the vice mayor. The city also has a deputy vice mayor position, currently occupied by Jay Smith.

November 30, 2008

Officials object to new "Parkland" in nearby county

Officials in Parkland have asked Miami-Dade County leaders to reconsider naming their newest city "Parkland."

A resolution recently passed by the City Commission said that while the city has no desire to interfere with the home rule authority of Miami-Dade County, it believes it would be confusing and unfair to create a city with the same name as one in a neighboring county. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the Miami-Dade County Commission, the county administrator and the Department of Community Affairs.

“Some residents have contacted me on the matter. We want to protect the name 'Parkland',” Mayor Michael Udine said. “We have worked hard to develop a brand which represents high quality semi-rural living and a family atmosphere.”

As soon as local leaders became aware of the issue, letters were sent to the Miami-Dade County mayor and the Florida League of Cities. Staff asked the city attorney to investigate the legality of two Florida municipalities having the same name. Inquiries revealed that there are two cities named Midway in Florida, one south of Sanford and the other northwest of Tallahassee.

December 1, 2008

Parkland to get $35,000 foreclosure assistance

While Coral Springs will get more than $3.4 million from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Parkland’s share of the pie will be only $35,000.

The money is to be used to offset the effect of foreclosed homes within the city. While six cities in Broward County will get the money directly, the amount set aside for smaller cities such as Parkland will be distributed throughout the county.

The Parkland City Commission recently discussed the issue.

“The amount for each municipality is decided based on population and the number of foreclosed homes in the area,” said City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young. “Some of the municipalities have said they want direct control of the money, but that carries considerable administrative costs.”

Mayor Michael Udine said he is in favor of the city getting the money through the county. “Since our city is so small, it doesn’t pay for us to hire an administrator [to implement the program]. The money will still be spent in Parkland; they will listen to our ideas.”

December 9, 2008

Parkland closed for Christmas, New Year's

City of Parkland offices will be closed Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 in observance of Christmas. The offices will also be closed Jan. 1 in observance of New Year's Day.

This will affect City Hall and libraries. Parks will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Solid Waste and Recyclables will operate under the regular schedule.

December 10, 2008

Cookbook for a cause

FPGJJBSKOSHER1127A.jpg
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PHOTO: The Kosher Cuisine Club of Temple Chabad in Parkland is selling its recent cookbook to raise money for several building projects at the temple. Visit www.chabadofparkland.com and click on kosher cuisine for more information. Above, from left, are chairperson of the committee Sharon Phillips, and members Ronit Pollack, Eileen Fruithandler, Marie Muna Gosser and Linda Versil.
Staff photo/Jackie Genera

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January 6, 2009

Friendship Circle grows in popularity

When Florida Friendship Circle was formed four years ago, it helped two families with special needs children. The program now serves 80 special needs families from North Broward and South Palm Beach, with the number going up practically every week.

Sarah Biston, program director, said the popularity of the program has not taken her by surprise.

“When we started out, there were not many programs for special needs children. I think what we are doing is very important,” Biston said. “Apart from 80 special needs families, the program also has over 100 volunteers who help special needs children take part in activities. All our programs are free.”

The Chabad of Parkland-based program, which is a joint effort involving children with special needs, their parents, staff, volunteers and supporters of the program, offers three main programs - Sunday Circle, Friends at Home, and holiday activities. Among the three, Biston picks “Friends at Home” is the most important one.

“We send two volunteers to the home of a special needs child as part of the program,” Biston said. “They spend an hour each week with the child. The child thus gets a buddy. The program also gives parents some much-needed time to relax."

Call Sarah Biston at 954-255-6922 or e-mail floridafriendshipcircle@gmail.com.

January 7, 2009

Parkland PNA to raise funds for homeless dogs

With foreclosures in Broward increasing almost by the day, the number of pets being abandoned by owners keeps growing. Delcie Cullin, founder of K94URescue, sees it happening daily.

“When people lose their homes, they think about themselves first,” Cullin said. “Most of them cannot take their pets along with them. The economy is not doing well at all and the problem with abandoned pets is growing worse.”

Next Thursday, the Parkland unit of Premier Networking Alliance will do its best to help K94URescue move closer to its goal of building a facility for homeless pets. That day, Wine for K9, the organization’s first fundraiser for the year, will be at A Frame to Remember art and frame gallery in the Waterway Shoppes of Parkland, on the southwest corner of Loxahatchee Road and 441.

Jennifer Marcus, Parkland PNA member and a dog lover, is hoping to see many people turn out for the event. “We have two fundraisers every year for different charities. Last year, we raised funds for the S.O.S. Children’s Village. This is another worthy cause; we hope to have at least 150 people. There will be a variety of fine wines to choose from.”

The organization is yet to decide where the proposed facility would be built, said Cullins, who is also a Parkland PNA member. “We are raising funds. We need $250,000. The facility will come up either in Coral Springs or Boca Raton.”

Wine for K9 will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Call 954-755-9777 for tickets and information.



January 15, 2009

Parkland wants residents to go fishing

Parkland has introduced a program aimed at promoting fishing as a hobby among its residents, with staff expecting many to take the bait.

The program involves loaning out fishing rods and tackle for a maximum period of a week. Residents can check out up to four fishing rods and tackle Monday through Friday. The fishing equipment was donated recently to the city by Fish Florida, a nonprofit organization that teaches people about the state’s fish and aquatic habitats.

The city received 30 fishing rods and tackle from Fish Florida, said Scott Davidoff, Parks and Recreation director. “We were researching different ways of getting our residents interested in fishing. It is something you can do alone or with a family. I hope the new program will introduce more people to fishing.”

Call Lara Kramer at 954-927-8361 or visit www.fishfloridatag.org.

January 23, 2009

Mary Help of Christian Catholic School art at Parkland Library

Mary Help of Christians Catholic School’s Boat Show art exhibition will be at the Parkland Library, 6620 University Drive, Feb. 11 through March 11.

The library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students in kindergarten through the eighth grade have been assembling their boat creations out of various mediums including recycled materials, copper foil, watercolor, and glitter. The students have designed and named the boats after their favorite movie. It was Barbara Freiberg, the art teacher at the school, who came up with the idea for the exhibition.

There will be more than 60 boats on display. Contact Suzi Hayes at 954 757-4203 or shayes@cityofparkland.org.

January 27, 2009

Rep. Kiar to have essay contest

Rep. Martin Kiar will have an essay contest to offer a student in District 97, or within one of District 97’s schools, the chance to serve as a messenger in the Florida House of Representatives.

A messenger serves for one week during the regular legislative session, which runs from March 3 to May 4 this year. While performing the duties of a messenger, the student will watch members, constituents and lobbyists work together to pass laws that govern the state.

Messengers receive a small stipend but are responsible for their own expenses during the week. Interested students should complete the application and write a one-page essay on why they want to go to Tallahassee to participate in the legislative session.

Applications and essays must be received in Kiar’s office by Feb. 4. The winner will be announced on Feb. 9. Call 954-346-2813, or e-mail beth.lerner@myfloridahouse.gov. Applications should be emailed to beth.lerner@myfloridahouse.gov, faxed to 954-346-2815 or mailed to Kiar’s Parkland office at the Parkland City Hall.

February 7, 2009

Parkland seeks private concerts at amphitheater

Parkland officials are exploring the possibility of allowing private businesses to utilize the city’s amphitheater at Pine Trails Park for concerts and other special events.

At a recent City Commission meeting, officials asked Parks and Recreation director Scott Davodoff to continue discussions with private parties who have evinced interest in the city facility. Staff is expected to get back to the commission with a concrete proposal within the next few weeks.

“Driven Productions wants to hold a series of super Saturday events. They are looking to bring carnival-type events to Parkland,” Davidoff said. “Casey Gunther, owner of Gunther Volkswagen in Coconut Creek, wants to hold free concerts at the amphitheater as promotion for his business. There is also a Parkland resident who is a promoter of a national production company. He wants to bring events to the city.”

Mayor Michael Udine said he was in favor of exploring the idea further. “Let us try it without being locked in," he said. "Our residents are used to free concerts, but a ticketed event will be fine.”

February 8, 2009

Parkland wants AEDs in all pharmacies

Parkland has made automated external defibrillators mandatory for all pharmacies within the city. There are two pharmacies in the city, with a third slated to open soon.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses potentially life threatening cardiac issues and treats them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy that allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Commissioner Jay Smith wanted the commission to consider not mandating it for small, independent businesses. “What is a small amount for a large chain will be a large amount for a small business,” he said.

“We don’t have any independent pharmacies in Parkland,” Mayor Michael Udine said. “It is highly unlikely we are going to. Two years ago, we didn’t have AEDs anywhere. Now we have them in parks and other big facilities.”

February 10, 2009

Parkland to expand energy incentive reward program

Parkland, which has implemented many environmentally-friendly programs over the last 18 months, is getting ready to take its energy incentive reward program to the next level.

City commissioners recently discussed the program and decided to bring five new initiatives under the purview of the program. Florida Power and Light's Sunshine Energy Program, which was among the 12 programs that were part of the original plan, has been scrapped.

According to the new proposal, people will be rewarded for sustainable landscape design, as well as installation of photovoltaic solar pool heaters, automatic sprinkler rain sensors, and programmable thermostats. City staff will find out of there are other initiatives that fall within the framework of the program and give periodic updates to the commission.

February 16, 2009

Parkland to replace 'critical' City Hall windows

Parkland officials agree that most of the windows and doors at City Hall need to be replaced, but there is no consensus on the best way to go about doing it.

Despite opposition from Commissioner Dave Rosenof and Vice Mayor Mark Weissman, the commission recently decided 3-2 in favor of replacing only the 41 “critical” windows and two doors using the $137,000 the city received from the insurance company. The $200,000 the city had budgeted for the purpose won’t be used.

Mayor Michael Udine said he had a problem with spending in excess of $320,000 for replacing the windows in the current budget situation. “Not all of the windows need to be replaced. Let us replace the critical windows using the money we got from the insurance. [About] $320,000 is a lot of money to spend on City Hall windows now.”

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz agreed with Udine. “I don’t know why the prices have gone up dramatically. There was an increase of 33 percent from the original quote we were given. I don’t want to use the word ‘extortion’ but it is getting real close. I am not happy with the numbers that came in on the project. I understand there are some critical windows, but I wouldn’t be upset if we threw the bids out.”

Commissioner Rosenof said he wouldn’t support only doing a portion of the windows. “I agree with Jared regarding prices but we have to put that aside. If we don’t replace all the windows now and go through another storm season, we will have to spend much more than 300,000.”

February 18, 2009

Douglas freshman wins essay contest

Erica Turret, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a Parkland resident, has won State Rep. Martin David Kiar’s essay contest. The contest asked for essays on why the student wanted to go to Tallahassee to participate in the legislative process.

The contest was held to offer a student in District 97, or within one of District 97’s schools, the opportunity to serve as a messenger in the Florida House of Representatives during the 2009 Legislative session.

“Erica’s essay showed much creativity and passion,” Kiar said. “She used airplane pilots as an analogy to the political process by comparing pilots flying the plane to politicians steering the state they govern in the right direction. Erica understands the art of compromise through her participation in the model United Nations club.”

Students ranging in age from 15 to 18 submitted essay and were from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Boyd Anderson High School, American Heritage School, and Cooper City High School.

Visit www.myfloridahouse.gov.

February 20, 2009

State Rep. Kiar to host Town Hall meetings

State Rep. Martin David Kiar, District 97, will organize a series of town hall meetings throughout his district prior to the 2009 Legislative Session. Among the topics to be discussed are the recently concluded special session, property taxes, the budget and windstorm insurance, as well as any other issues of importance to the citizens of South Florida.

There will be a meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the commission chambers of Parkland City Hall, 6600 University Drive. State Sen. Jeremy Ring will also be present. In Coral Springs, the meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Coral Springs Commission Chambers in City Hall, 9551 W. Sample Road. State Sen. Jeremy Ring, and State Rep. Ari Porth and Jim Waldman will also speak.

The Davie/Cooper City meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Davie Town Hall council chambers, 6591 Orange Drive.

March 1, 2009

Parkland’s new elementary school to open in August

A celebration for the new 126,376-square-foot elementary school “Z” in Parkland was held recently. The school, which will be formally named at a later date, is expected to hold 960 students.

The school will be the first one in the county to have a photovoltaic roof system, which collects solar energy as a source of electricity and will support the main electrical grid to offset Florida Power and Light demand charges. Special energy efficient transformers have also been included in the design.

“The ceremony marks a significant goal in the construction of Parkland’s third elementary school, which began in August of 2008,” said Sam Doggart, Skanska USA senior vice president, South Florida.

Visit www.browardschools.org.

March 7, 2009

Parkland’s summer camp registration starts

Registration for Parkland’s kids camp and teen camp has begun for city residents. Registration will begin for nonresidents on March 23.

Completed registrations must be mailed to the city by regular mail. Space is limited. The camp program is set up in two four-week sessions, starting June 15 and ending Aug. 7. Both programs include field trips in an air-conditioned motor coach bus, as well as special on-site activities.

Registration forms can be downloaded at www.cityofparkland.org or picked up at the Parkland Amphitheater in Pine Trails Park, 10561 Trails End. Contact GerriAnn Dougherty at gdougherty@cityofparkland.org or call 954-757-4129.

March 12, 2009

Parkland fires 4 building department staff, cuts hours

Last year, Parkland officials asked seven building department employees to leave, with construction activity coming to a virtual standstill in the city due to the housing slump. They then prayed for the market to turn around.

As it turned out, it only got worse.

Last week, the City Commission decided on a second round of layoffs, sacking four employees and cutting back weekly hours of the seven who will hold on to their jobs. The panel voted 4-1 in favor of the proposal with Dave Rosenof, a builder by profession, supporting the idea of outsourcing the department to a private firm.

The city expected $1.3 million in building department revenue for the year but had to adjust it to $750,000, City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young said. “This is not just Parkland. All municipalities in the county are dealing with the same situation. They are letting people go and reducing hours, too. Parkland was the fastest growing city in Broward. It is only natural that you are seeing the impact more here.”

Parkland cannot operate its building department at a $550,000 deficit, Mayor Michael Udine said. “As much as we'd like to make sure everybody keeps a job, it isn't feasible. It’s unfortunate but we have to deal with reality. The status quo cannot remain. There has been no turnaround to date.”

March 28, 2009

Parkland YMCA offers camps

The Parkland YMCA Family Center is offering 11 one-week sports camps, for children ages 5 to 12, from June 8 to Aug. 21.

Y World of Sports will offer basketball, flag football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, baseball, kickball, capture the flag, group exercise, playground fun and more.

The camp time is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Extended care is available from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. at no additional charge. The fee for YMCA members is $145 per week, while it is $175 per week for others.

The Leaders in Training camp is for teens entering eighth, ninth, or 10th grade. It teaches them how to be future camp counselors. The 10-week program is offered in one-week sessions. The camp, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will start June 8 and end Aug. 14. The fee for YMCA members is $125 per week and $150 for others.

April 8, 2009

Parkland residents hit by Chinese drywall seek help

Joseph Espinal thought he was doing the right thing when he moved into his Parkland home late in 2006. He still loves the neighborhood and his neighbors, but the father of two wants to move out as soon as he can.

Espinal is one of the many homeowners in Heron Bay whose life has been thrown off the rails due to the use of Chinese drywall in their houses. The drywall, imported during the building boom of 2002 to 2006, emits sulfur causing an unpleasant odor and corroding wiring and air-conditioning coils. People living in such houses have also complained of health problems like sinus infections, headaches and sore throats.

“I don’t want to stay here. This home is not worth anything to me,” Espinal told Mayor Michael Udine, who visited the community after hearing about the issue. “Two years of breathing this toxic air; I’ve had enough. If I have to live in a trailer, I will.”

It’s not just homeowners in Heron Bay that have been affected. Similar complaints have been pouring in from homes in Sable Point, Creekside and the Parkland Golf and Country Club. Many residents packed City Hall at a commission meeting last week to seek help.

City officials responded to the problem by forming a three-member task force that will report to them on the number of houses that have been affected by Chinese drywall.

Earlier, Udine joined residents in a trip to Tallahassee where they met with the offices of the governor and the attorney general.

Udine wants federal assistance for the affected residents. “This is a silent hurricane. No one knows what to do. It’s a nationwide issue. Things need to be done. They can’t wait 10 years for a class action lawsuit. There are serious health issues.”

The residents’ outcry seems to have the desired effect with Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) writing to Gov. Charlie Crist urging him to declare a state of emergency in Florida. If Crist obliges, it would help state and local officials in their attempt to get funding, from the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA), for repair of the affected homes.

April 12, 2009

Fashion show and luncheon in Parkland on April 19

Sisterhood of Temple Beth Torah in Tamarac will have a Spring Fashion Show & Luncheon Sunday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Parkland Golf & Country Club,
10001 Old Club Road.

The event will kick off with a boutique featuring vendors offering everything from jewelry, handbags and clothing to gifts and toys. A three-course lunch will be served at noon, followed by the fashion show. Fashions will be provided by Chico’s of Promenade of Coconut Creek and She’s The One, of Coral Springs. There will also be a raffle of a series of lavish gift baskets filled with items donated by local stores.

Tickets are $50 per person. Ten percent of each ticket will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Reservations should be made by April 10. Call 954-721-7660, ext. #110.

April 19, 2009

Parkland creates Chinese drywall web page

There are at least 137 families in Parkland who believe they have been affected by the Chinese drywall issue.

John Willis, member of the task force created by the city to look into the issue, informed city officials that 137 people had responded to the survey on the Web site that contains information on the issue. The task force will send letters to residents in the coming days to find out the actual number of people who have homes built using Chinese drywall.

The Web site created by the city includes links to various agencies that have been involved with the Chinese Drywall issue, letters from elected officials expressing their position and how they can assist with the problem, and frequently asked questions regarding Chinese drywall.

It can be accessed at www.cityofparkland.org. Contact the task force or Paul Wise at 954 753-5447.

April 29, 2009

Parkland Library offers summer reading program

The theme of Parkland Library’s summer reading program this year is Be Creative.

The theme will involve reading, art and music. Children, teens and adults will have an opportunity to read books and to earn prizes. Each registered participant will receive a reading log and a goody bag.

Participants will be required to record the books they read. When the logs are submitted to the library, prizes from various treasure boxes will be awarded. The summer schedule will feature programs that include an interactive rock and roll puppet concert, a literary tea with an author, and dress up themes of pirates and princesses.

Older kids can participate in the Creative Kids program which will involve books along with arts and crafts. The summer will end with an end of summer ice cream social that will be held in a music room, in an art room and in a create-your-own-ice-cream-sundae room.

Teens will have an opportunity to enter their reading logs for a grand prize drawing. Adults will have the opportunity to complete the program with a popular event called Best-Summer-Book Brunch, when each participant will discuss a favorite book of the summer.

Call the library at 954 757-4200 or visit the library for dates.

May 2, 2009

Kiar-sponsored legislation to protect children from predators passes

For parents worried about the threat posed by sexual offenders and predators to their children, here is good news.

The Florida Legislature has passed a piece of legislation that seeks to protect the state's children from sexual offenders and predators. House Bill 115, which has State Rep. Martin David Kiar (D-Parkland) as the primary sponsor, unanimously passed the Florida Senate and the Florida House and is on its way to Gov. Charlie Crist for his signature.

“Keeping our children safe and helping our children to become successful adults is the most important thing we can do in the Legislature. Whether it’s protecting them from assault or providing them with an excellent education, investing in their future is critical," Kiar said.

Sexual offenders and predators currently do not have to provide Florida Department of Law Enforcement with a home or cellular telephone number as part of the registration process, thus making it difficult for law enforcement to keep track of these individuals. This bill fixes that loophole by requiring sexual offenders and predators to provide their phone numbers to law enforcement.

The bill also encourages public libraries to adopt an Internet safety program to promote prudent Internet use and broaden awareness of online predators. In addition, the bill closes another critical loophole. Prior to this bill, if a person in Florida sent pornography to a child in another state they could not be prosecuted. Once this bill is signed by Crist, it will be a third-degree felony.

May 13, 2009

Parkland’s Heron Heights Elementary to open in August

It’s still not official, but Parkland's third and newest elementary school has a name – Heron Heights Elementary.

The school, built to relieve overcrowding at Park Trails and Riverglades elementaries will have a total of 620 students from Kindergarten through fifth grade. Kenneth King, formerly assistant principal at Park Trails, is the principal. The school will open in time for the next academic year.

"The name was picked by students and parents," King said. "It now needs to be approved by the school board.”

“The school will have about 40 teachers,” King said. “They are all coming along with the students from Park Trails. We have had our first faculty meeting. The school will primarily serve students who live in the Heron Bay area. Stacy Udine is the PTA president.”

City Commission members recently toured the school site to get an update. “It’s an extremely impressive facility,” Udine said. “The students will love it. It will be a completely green school. Skanska was very professional and easy to work with.”

May 19, 2009

Parkland YMCA teen membership program

Parkland YMCA is inviting applications for its summer teen membership program.

The program involves a $50 joiner’s fee a monthly fee of $25. members will be able to relax in the activity center as well as play football, ping pong or pool. Other activities include boot camp and teen body madness.

Contact Wendy Milordis, interim senior program director, at 954-384-9622. The center is at 10559 Trails End Road in Parkland.

June 5, 2009

Parkland Mayor expects a tough budget year

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine believes the coming budget year will be more difficult than the current one.

"Property values in Parkland, like all other communities in South Florida, went way down," Udine said at a City Commission meeting on Tuesday. "This is going to be a very tough budget year, even more so than last year...we may have to look at cuts that are going to be a little more painful."

"The goal is to continue providing the same kind of services with less revenue," Udine said. "We have reduced spending in every department during the last three years."

According to the Broward property appraiser's office, property values in the county dropped 10.7 percent last year. In 2007 decline, Broward's tax base had gone down by 4.8 percent. Parkland, which has had to deal with the Chinese drywall issue, was the worst hit city, with with the city's tax base falling 16.8 percent.

June 7, 2009

Lacrosse camp at Parkland YMCA

The first session of the YMCA girls lacrosse camp, organized by the Parkland YMCA Family Center, will be from June 15 to 19 at the center. The camp will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. The camp is open to all elementary and middle school girls.

The second session will be at the same venue from July 6 to 10, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $95 for YMCA members and $120 for others. Campers need to bring stick, goggles, mouth guard, lunch, and plenty of water.

Those who are interested should register at the YMCA, 10559 Trails End, Parkland. Call 954-384-9622.

June 18, 2009

Stoneman Douglas, Taravella earn Newsweek recognition again

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs have been recognized by Newsweek magazine among the top high schools in the nation for the second year in a row.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High is ranked the highest among the high schools in Broward. The school is ranked 38th in Florida and 208th among schools in the nation. J.P. Taravella High was ranked 108th in the state and 861th in the country. Of the 133 high schools recognized in the state, ten are Broward county public schools. One charter high school in the county also made it to the list.

Both schools are ranked lower than they were last year. While the Parkland school has seen its ranking come down 68 spots, Taravella High slipped down the list more than 180 spots, having been ranked 673 last year. This year’s list is based on data from the 2007/08 school year.

Newsweek came up with rankings after adding up the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests taken by students at a school and dividing it by the number of seniors graduating the same year. All of the schools on the list are in the top six percent of public schools in the country.

Shawn Cerra, J.P. Taravella High School principal, said he was proud of the school’s achievement. “This is the second consecutive year that we have been ranked among the best. We have great staff, wonderful students and we get tremendous amount of support from the community. When that happens, you get results. Being on the list helps with how we are perceived by the general public.”

June 26, 2009

Parkland oil spill still causing problems

A year after the Trotters Lane oil spill in Parkland, residents in the area say things haven’t returned to normal.

Parkland officials and staff say the city has been doing all it can even though the problem is not of its making, but Mark Squillace, who was the first person complain about the oil slick near the Northwest 84th Avenue culvert, says it is not doing enough.

Squillace, who is involved in a legal battle with the city on an unrelated issue, believes Parkland was slow to react. “They (city officials) didn’t do anything; they ignored the problem because I was the one complaining. They are trying to get it fixed now because the [Environmental Protection Agency] is involved. They are on set deadlines now.”

“There are at least 10 affected families,” said Squillace, who appeared before the City Commission last week to talk about the issue. “I saw the tar and oil ooze out of the road like maple syrup. My drinking water is polluted. These things that I am talking about are not a figment of my imagination. They are going to have to rip off the whole road.”

The road was paved by Florida Highway Products last summer. The city has since filed a lawsuit against the firm for causing the oil spill. The city is currently working on state-mandated remediation and removal of the toxic materials. After completing the cleanup, Parkland will implement an 18-month long monitoring program.

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz defended the city’s response. “Mike may believe the city was slow. But ever since we realized what was going on, our response has been more than adequate. There is a problem with that road; it’s defective. The city didn’t lay the road. This is the first time something like this has happened.”

Public safety and the health of residents are of paramount importance to the city, Mayor Michael Udine said. “We have a lawsuit pending against the road contractor (Florida Highway Products.) Ever since we became aware of the magnitude of the problem, the city has been doing all it can to clean up the area.”

June 28, 2009

Parkland may look beyond Springs for fire services

Parkland officials recently discussed the option of looking beyond Coral Springs for fire and emergency services. The city’s five-year contract with Coral Springs expires in 2010; a decision on whether to extend the contract or not has to be taken by Sept. this year.

City officials and residents are pleased with the quality of service the Coral Springs fire department provides. The department received a 96.2 percent quality rating in the city’s annual citizen survey this year. City Commission members are, however, concerned about the increasing costs for services. At least one among them believes the city should be putting the contract out to bid.

Parkland has experienced double digit increases in cost every year of the contract, said Vice Mayor Mark Weissman. “We can anticipate the same in the future. This is our single largest contract; generally we are at their mercy as we are this year. I believe it is in the best interests if the city to look for those who can provide alternative services.”

Parkland officials are also peeved by the fact that Coral Springs is yet to provide all the details the city sought regarding the contract. The delay on part of the city in providing numbers has happened “year after year,” said Weissman.

Parkland should send a letter terminating its contract with Coral Springs if the existing issues are not sorted out, Mayor Michael Udine said. “I’ve no problem with going out to bid. Margate, Coconut Creek, Broward Sheriff's Office and our own fire department; those are our four other options.“

“Coral Springs is giving us good service,” Udine said. “Residents are overwhelmingly satisfied with the service. Our residents demand a high level of service and are willing to pay for it. We have three fully staffed fire stations. That is the level of service I would like to keep.”

July 5, 2009

Parkland to include garbage bill in residents’ tax bill

Parkland and Waste Management have found a way around the problem caused by a section of residents not paying their garbage bills.

Parkland city officials responded to a request from Waste Management by showing unanimous support for including residents’ waste management bill on their tax bill. They also expressed in trying out, at a later date, Waste Management’s proposal for automating waste collection.

Many cities and counties are now putting bills for garbage on the residents’ tax bill, Mayor Michael Udine said. “There are 6,500 homes in Parkland and 6 percent are not paying their garbage bill. There will be a reduction in everybody’s fee if we do this (billing for trash collection on the tax bill.) It is just a different method of billing.”

City Commissioner Jared Moskowitz also supported the move. “Putting the waste management bill on the tax bill makes sense. If someone is not paying their garbage bill and their neighbor pays, the neighbor won’t want to pay. With the garbage bill now on the tax bill, it’s tougher to get out of it and residents who are paying will save some money.”

“I don’t see any negatives,” Vice Mayor Mark Weissman said. “At some point of time, some communities may want to try out automated garbage collection.”

August 9, 2009

Broward Warriors give sleepless nights to opponents

After blitzing all opponents in the state under-11 basketball championships and performing creditably at the national level despite injuries to many key players, Broward Warriors, a team of players mainly from Parkland, is looking ahead to an even stronger season next year.

Head coach Steve Israel is confident that next year would bring even better results. “The goal for next year is to repeat as state champions and to win the nationals. Many of our players fell sick when we were playing the nationals; if everyone was fit, we would have won the whole thing or at least finished in the top three.”

Broward Warriors started strongly at the national level, winning its first three games in the Amateur Athletic Union National Tournament in Cocoa Beach, Israel said. “We beat state champs from Louisiana, Alabama and Maryland; it was a great start. We also defeated the team from New York and ended the competition with a 4-2 record. We finished 11 in the nation.”

The team got a chance to compete in the nationals after getting the number 1 ranking in division II of the United States Specialty Sports Association by winning the state championship with a 5–0 record in Lakeland, Florida. Broward Warriors was the only team from the county to compete at the national level.

Hank Hunter, one of the players on the team, said he was happy with his performance. “I played all the six games at the nationals; it was a great experience. We want to do better next year. I love basketball and enjoy being a team member. We are all friends; most of us go the same school.”

August 11, 2009

Parkland adopts new regulations for abandoned vehicles

You cannot leave vehicles abandoned in Parkland and get away with it anymore.

The City Commission recently adopted an ordinance that establishes new regulations relating to the placement of abandoned vehicles.

Since the storage of abandoned vehicles outside residences and businesses adversely affects neighborhoods, the City Commission adopted regulations which allow the city to proceed with a code enforcement action if an abandoned vehicle is stored for more than three days after notice is posted. A fine up to the amount of $250 per day can be imposed.

Call Broward County Sheriff’s Office Parkland District at 954 753-5050.

August 18, 2009

BJ’s Wholesale Club in Parkland to support foster children

If you are living in Parkland or any nearby city and have a heart that beats for needy children, here is one for you.

BJ’s Wholesale Club, Parkland, is supporting the foster children of SOS Children’s Village by hosting a Household Drive, Sept. 12 – Oct. 5. The store will be collecting donations of household cleaning supplies and paper goods from shoppers throughout the month. The donations will help provide for the 72 boys and girls who reside in Village of twelve homes.

Included on the village wish list is laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, dishwasher detergent, tin foil, and plastic bags, sandwich and quart size). For more information about SOS, visit www.sosflorida.com

BJ’s Wholesale Club is located at 5901 W Hillsboro Blvd., Parkland. Contact Vickie Walter at 954.420.5030 or e-mail vwalter@sosflorida.com.

September 2, 2009

Praise but no raise for Parkland city manager

The Parkland City Commission, which recently conducted its annual review of City Manager Caryn Gardner-Young, praised her for doing a great job despite the hard financial times.

Gardner-Young has been handling the day-to-day operations of the city since early 2007. Commissioner Jay Smith noted she attends the numerous city special events. Mayor Michael Udine said she is an extremely hard worker who has saved the city dollars since she has been city Mmanager. Vice Mayor Weissman indicated that she has a difficult job dealing with five different personalities but she does a great job.

The City Commission felt that the city manager deserved a raise but decided a raise not appropriate in the trying economic times. Gardner-Young supported the Commission’s decision and said even if a raise was offered, she would not accept since other city workers are not budgeted to receive merit raises.

Parkland officials mull hiking property tax

Face to face with a 17 percent decline in gross taxable property value, Parkland city officials are contemplating increasing the property tax rate during fiscal year 2010. City staffers are proposing a rollback rate of 4.15; the millage rate was 3.40 in 2009.

The city’s taxable property value fell from a little over $3.7 billion to a little under $3.1 billion, a direct result of the recession and the face that some of the homes in the city had Chinese drywall; no other city in the county has had to face such a drastic drop. Property taxes form a big chunk of the city’s sources of revenue – 63 percent. The loss in ad valorem revenue is $2,254,474. Unlike neighboring cities like Coral Springs, the city is not touching its reserve funds.

The city has $19,317, 770 in the general fund, compared to $19,525.539 in 2009. The city proposes to spend 52 percent on public safety and fire, 9 percent for culture and recreation, 17 percent for public works, and 6 percent for development services. The city’s library gets just 3 percent. Since 2007, the city’s budget has decreased by $2.7m, or 12.3 percent.

For additional revenue, the city is also increasing fire assessment fee to $195, from $151. The increase in special assessment revenue will be $258,759. The budget includes $4,000 for the Council for Aging, $4,000 for the city’s lobbyist, $3,500 for the education advisory board and $800 for Family Central. There is money in the budget to fund school resource officers in all schools within the city.

September 3, 2009

Parkland approves new fees

The Parkland City Commission recently approved new fees for the coming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Two years ago, the commission adopted an administrative and use fee schedule which is reviewed annually for any modifications. Based upon economic times, various charges will be increased in the parks and recreation and building departments as well as the library. Summer and year-round camp fees will increase as well as pavilion rentals. In addition, the non-resident sports card will increase by $13.

Existing library fees were included in the schedule and there is a new charge for lost Library cards. Also different from last year is the addition of a family DVD membership. For a fee of $10 per year, members can rent movies at the library.

Last year, residents needed to pay for notary services unless they were related to city documents. The City Commission agreed to delete this charge. For the full fee schedule, visit www.cityofparkland.org. Contact the city at 954 753-5040.

September 5, 2009

Parkland to look at all options for fire services

After initially ruffling feathers of Coral Springs officials and city staff by asking the city to provide fire and paramedic services next year at the same price as the current year, the Parkland City Commission voted last week to pay its neighboring city more. It, however, threatened to look elsewhere for the services when the contract ends in September next year.

After Parkland officials voted to pay Coral Springs the additional money, they discussed whether to continue ties with Coral Springs after the five-year contract runs its course by October 2010.

Mayor Michael Udine said he would like his city to continue working with Coral Springs. “I just want to see it is a fair contract. I see that there are other options. For the life of me, I can’t see why Coral Springs is not coming to the table to discuss the contract. If they do want the contract, let them meet with our city staff. It’s not complicated.”

Steven Savia of Sage Group, the consult appointed by Parkland to look at other options said It would be "very viable" for Parkland to contract with Palm Beach County. "Palm Beach actually has the three closest locations outside of Coral Springs. Parkland can also get together with Margate and Coconut Creek for a joint department serviving the three cities. Another option is to have a new contract with Coral Springs; one that is not an extension of the existing contract,” he said.

September 26, 2009

Parkland to ban texting while driving

Texting while driving within Parkland limits could soon leave you with $100 less.

Parkland officials are getting ready to introduce an ordinance that bans texting while driving within the city. The ordinance passed on first reading recently and will become law after it comes up for discussion again in the next few weeks.

There is a state law that limits the ability of municipalities to regulate the use of commercial mobile radio services and other electronic communications devices while driving, but city officials and staff are hopeful the city will be able to enforce the ban on texting.

The inspiration for the proposed law is TTYL, Inc., a group of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomores. Commissioner Jared Moskowitz brought the idea before the commission after Michael Ross, Max Spiegelman, Joshua Feinzig, Adam Feinzig, Danielle Levy, and Justin Levy met him to discuss their efforts to create awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.

“Back in July, I met with these students,” Moskowitz said. “I believe the issue has merit. Parkland has led on a lot of issues. I believe Parkland should take a lead on this issue… I believe the march has begun.”

“Seventeen states already have banned texting while driving; Miami-Dade has already passed a ban against texting while driving in a school zone. Let us see how they are enforcing the law,” Moskowitz said. “The ordinance calls for a fine of $250 for an offence but I think the fine should be $100. The law won’t be enforced until we get the AG’s opinion.”

Mayor Michael Udine wanted the city to put the students’ presentation on its website. “We want to help you move the ball forward. This is not an issue that will be solved by the city. It’s important that we pass this.”

September 28, 2009

Parkland residents upset by increase in taxes

Parkland’s decision to increase property taxes to make up for the revenue shortfall caused by plunging real estate prices has not gone down too well with a section of its residents.

The city commission adopted a millage rate of 4.0198, which is 3.2 percent less than the rolled back rate of 4.1532, and decided to limit the increase in fire assessment fees to $10 instead of the proposed $44, but not everyone was satisfied. Budget meetings in Parkland have a history of attracting les than a handful of people, but with many homeowners in the city having to deal with a tax increase of about 20 percent, it was different this time.

Keats Soder, a resident, said he did not believe that 50 percent of the people in Parkland were in favor of property taxes being raised by 20 percent. “Majority of people are going to have a 20 percent tax increase. You got to cut your expenses more; simple as that. Why not lower salaries of city employees?”

Cliff Kaufman, another resident, also spoke against the increase in taxes. “We understand revenue going down but these rate increases seem unusually large. You have raised taxes to cover the shortfall in revenue. You need to take even more of the budget so that you have to raise taxes. We should look at whether we need the added services.”

Mayor Michael Udine defended the city’s $22 million budget and the decision to raise taxes. “It is not easy to cut everything. We are one of the few cities that have let go of employees….Most of our residents are paying less in tax dollars this year compared to last year because property taxes have gone down.”

October 3, 2009

Parkland officials turn down spa owner’s signage request

A Parkland spa owner, who recently saw her request to place a sign on her business being rejected by city officials, is now weighing the options before her.

“No business of this nature should have the extra burden of being without a sign,” Susan Richards said after the commission tabled her request. “I am looking at what my options are. I cannot conduct business the way I want to without a sign.”

“Being without a sign has affected my business significantly. I have consistently had people tell me that they didn’t know that we existed,” Richards said. “Word of mouth publicity is very important, but our industry relies heavily on visibility.”

Richards said she did not know why the commission rejected her request. “We are not asking for monument signs, and we are not asking for any code change. All I ask is for the signage plan to be updated for this one building. The sign plan for the building was created in 2002. The world changes in seven years. All I am asking for is to put up a sign, similar to what other business in Parkland have, above the door in front of the shop.”

Vice Mayor Mark Weissman, who represents people in the area, said residents do not want any more signage. ““It is my district. I represent 2,000 people and they don’t want that Fifth Avenue look at the entrance way to their homes. That’s not Parkland. There are more than enough signs on that building.”

October 27, 2009

BJ’s Wholesale Club in Parkland seeks donations to help food bank

BJ’s Wholesale Club in Parkland is asking residents of Parkland and nearby cities to donate groceries for hunger relief.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the store wants Parkland, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Margate residents to collect non-perishable food items to help meet its nationwide goal of 25 tons of groceries. Groceries can be donated until Nov. 8. They should be placed in the “25-Ton Challenge” bins in front of the club at 5901 Hillsboro Blvd. in Parkland.

In turn, BJ’s Charitable Foundation will donate the financial equivalent of one million meals to local network partners of Feeding America’s Food Bank. In Broward, he collected food items will be donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank. A fire recently destroyed much of the food bank's stored food.

Contact Tricia Maddrey Baker at pbaker1@bjs.com or 954-249-7979.

November 14, 2009

Harvest drive comes to Stoneman Douglas High next week

Rabbi Mitch Feld has a simple reason for supporting Harvest Drive, a community driven fight against hunger going on in the county.

“Food is a basic right. I believe hunger anywhere in the community is unacceptable,” Feld said. “I have food on the table. I have food in my fridge. I am lucky, but there are so many people out there who are not. I am glad there are people willing to help them.”

For 17 years, Harvest Drive has helped make Thanksgiving a memorable time for families in need in Broward. The goal this year is to provide a complete Thanksgiving dinner and a week’s worth of groceries, new or gently used clothing, books, shoes and toys to 1,000 families who need a helping hand.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland is one of the six distribution sites in the county; the others are Western High School in Davie, Glades Middle School in Miramar, Plantation High School in Plantation, South Broward High in Hollywood, and Pompano High School in Pompano Beach. From 6 top 9 p.m. on Nov. 18, individuals, schools and businesses can drop off items at the school.

The Parkland site fed 76 families last year, said Jodi Samson, who is one of the chief organizers of the event. “Out goal this year is 125 families. School social workers select families who will be given food and other items. Almost all the schools in Parkland and Coral Springs are donating good and other items. Most of the packing and sorting are done by students.”

The highlight of this year’s event will be the community night on Nov. 18, said Liliana Pardo, chief worker bee for the Parkland site. “We are having that for the first time. People, groups, or businesses wishing to donate can drop off items at the school. All the items will benefit needy people in the community.”

To volunteer, make a donation or for information, call Liliana Pardo at 954-536-6294 or Jodi Samson at 954-605-2914. Visit www.harvestdriveflorida.com.

January 10, 2010

Passport services available at Parkland City Hall

Parkland is processing passport applications at City Hall, 6600 University Drive.

To take advantage of the service, an appointment must be scheduled with the city clerk’s office. Call 954 753-5040 or e-mail scouzzo@cityofparkland.org.

The city is also looking for volunteers who can help improve the level of service provided to residents. People who would like to volunteer should contact the city’s human resources division at 954-753-5040.

January 11, 2010

Marks honored by Parkland City Commission

Robert Marks, former Parkland mayor, was recently honored by the City Commission for his role in the development and progress of the city. City officials dedicated a day in his name.

There was applause when Mayor Michael Udine said that community center at Pine Trails Park would be named the Bob Marks Community Center. “The community center would probably not exist without Bob,” he said.

Marks, who is currently a member of the city's education advisory board, said it was a honor to be recognized by the commission. "I will continue to do as much as I can to continue to make our city a better place,” he said.

January 12, 2010

Parkland seeks governor’s help on Chinese Drywall

The Parkland City Commission has adopted a resolution requesting Gov. Charlie Crist to activate all available state and local emergency and relief resources and mechanisms for the benefit of homeowners impacted by defective or reactive drywall.

The city wants the governor to request immediate federal assistance through FEMA and/or any other agency of the United States Government.

City residents who have the defective drywall in their homes have stated their insurance companies have denied coverage. Developers have also refused to replace the Chinese drywall; this leaves them with no avenues to fund the necessary drywall repairs to avoid the health problems that they have been suffering.

The city has been informed that there may be federal funds available. The state of Florida must declare an emergency in order for these funds to be released.

January 14, 2010

Parkland to get a boundless playground

The Parkland City Commission has authorized replacement of the 2- to 5-year-old playground at Terramar Park with a boundless playground. The playground, which will be completed within six months, will be the first one of its kind in the city.

The playground will allow children with and without disabilities to play together in an accessible and nurturing play environment. There are only 14 boundless playgrounds in Florida. Parkland has an active special needs population, and a boundless playground was a logical next step for the city to take.

The city will piggyback a contract with United States Communities which uses 2009 prices instead of inflated 2010 prices. In addition by using playground equipment from Gametime, the city also obtained an almost $30,000 grant towards the playground.

Call Scott Davidoff, parks and recreation director, at 954-757-4105 or e-mail sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org.

January 15, 2010

Parkland recognizes buddies football program

The Parkland City Commission recently recognized the city’s Buddies Football Program that was featured as the 2009 Youth Football Team of the Year by Sports Illustrated Kids.

The Flag Football Buddies program began in 2008 with the initiative of Shannon Ferguson and the help of Colin Bradley and James Myers, both high school seniors. The program provides an opportunity for children with varying disabilities to participate in a full flag football season along their volunteer “buddy”.

There were 23 children with special needs, ranging from age 5 to 17, and 35 volunteers in the 2009 program. Visit www.parklandflag.com/Football_Buddy.htm, call program director Shannon Ferguson at 954-536-6364 or e-mail tsjt@comcast.net.

January 20, 2010

Douglas drama department readies for “Lend Me A Tenor”

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama department will present Ken Ludwig’s award-winning comedy, "Lend Me A Tenor," at 7 p.m. on Jan. 28, 29, and 30.

Nick Martinez, Alex Gomez, Brandon Shapiro, Abigail Hummel, Ashley Brown, Darius Rivera, Samara Lazerson and Danielle Kushner are the members of the cast.

The event will take place in the school auditorium. Tickets cost $5 for students, $8 for seniors, and $12 for adults; card-carrying thespians receive free admission.

Call 754-322-2150. The school is at 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland.

January 21, 2010

Parkland not to contract with Coral Springs for fire services

The Parkland City Commission has voted against inking a fresh five-year contract with Coral Springs for fire and emergency services. The current contract, which had earned a 96 percent satisfaction rating from city residents, will expire Sept. 30, 2010.

The decision, which goes against the recommendation from Parkland’s fire consultant that a new contract with Coral Springs was the best short term option for the city, leaves the future of 33 Coral Springs firefighters in peril. Parkland will now explore other options such as contracting with Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) or the Margate fire department.

The decision was taken in the presence of the firefighters whose jobs were on the line and their family members. Immediately after the meeting, Coral Springs Fire Chief Mark Curran took the despondent firefighters aside for an impromptu pep talk even as Parkland Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who was in favor of a new contract with Coral Springs, said he would insist that the next service provider hires the firefighters now servicing the city.

Commissioner Mark Weissman’s motion was seconded by Deputy Vice Mayor Dave Rosenof and Vice Mayor Jay Smith. The three officials cited concerns with the termination clause in the proposed contract, audit provisions and the price of the contract. Mayor Michael Udine, who had all along been a vocal supporter of a new contract with Coral Springs, said the commission had “made a huge mistake.”

“We should have stayed with Coral Springs,” Udine said after the meeting. “But I am only one vote out there. The system is working; the residents are happy with the services. We are not going to get the same level of service if we go with BSO. It’s a huge mistake. ”

Curran said he was disappointed and surprised by the commission’s decision. “We gave them what they asked for; apparently, that wasn’t enough. The system we had set up benefited both cities. It was like a perfect match. We will now focus on finding these 33 great firefighters jobs.”

February 3, 2010

Parkland to continue talking with Springs for new fire contract

Just days after closing the door on Coral Springs, with which it had been discussing a new five-year contract for fire and emergency services, Parkland has decided to continue negotiations on the issue with its neighbor.

The volte-face came at an emergency City Commission meeting last Friday at the behest of Mayor Michael Udine, who has all along supported continuing ties with Coral Springs. Vice Mayor Jay Smith, who had initially voted to stop negotiations with Coral Springs, was the one who made a motion to resume talks with the city.

The change of mind means that Parkland will now be negotiating with both Coral Springs and Broward Sheriff’s Office at the same time. The city’s existing contract with Coral Springs will expire Oct. 1 this year.

Smith said that he had heard from a number of residents who wanted to know if they would get the same level of service from Broward Sheriff’s Office that they had from Coral Springs. “I may have been a little hasty on the call that I made last week. We need to reopen negotiations,” he said.

Commissioners Mark Weissman and Dave Rosenof stuck to their earlier stand and voted against resuming talks with Coral Springs. The latter, however, clarified that he would support continuing ties with the neighboring city if the contract contained the termination clause and audit provisions that Parkland had sought.

Rosenof said his stand against negotiating with Coral Springs was because of the “strong” termination clause. “How do we require a future provider to do anything? I am a proponent of more people bidding on a contract, but this was an exceptional case. If we sign a contract, it’s got to be on the right terms. I am making my decision on an unfair and one-sided contract.”

February 11, 2010

Parkland approves second artificial turf field

The Parkland City Commission recently approved the addition of a second artificial turf field at Pine Trails Park.

The city will utilize a contract from St. John’s County. By using a piggyback contract, it will save money by securing a price that is only an increase of less than 1 percent from when the city bid the project out in 2008. The average industry wide increase is approximately 9 percent.

For more information, contact Scott Davidoff, Parks and Recreation director, at 954-757-4105 or sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org.

February 13, 2010

Parkland begins Backgammon Club

Parkland’s Parks and Recreation Department is starting city’s Backgammon Club. The first event will take place 3 to 4 p.m. Feb. 23 at Parkland City Hall, 6600 University Drive.

The class will be held on the fourth Tuesday of each month and is limited to 16 participants. The program is free, and advance registration is required. Participants must be 16 or older.

Contact GerriAnn Dougherty at gdougherty@cityofparkland.org, by calling 954-757-4129 or visit www.cityofparkland.org.

February 18, 2010

Parkland to ink fresh fire contract with Coral Springs

Parkland’s relationship with Coral Springs for fire and emergency services will continue till at least Oct. 1, 2012.

Parkland city officials on Wednesday voted 4-1 in favor of a fresh contract with Coral Springs; the decision came after a lengthy debate during which the commission weighed the pros and cons of three proposals that were before it, one from its neighboring city and the other two from Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). The city’s fire contract consultant Steve Savia of the Sage Group was also present to offer input.

The new contract will begin on Oct. 1,2010, and has a one year termination clause. It will cost Parkland between $4.8 million and $5.2 million for the first year. The termination clause in the original draft of the new contract, which was one of the main reasons for the bad blood between the two cities in the issue, has been reworded to Parkland’s satisfaction.'

The city’s decision to go again with Coral Springs was met with celebratory applause by Coral Springs fire fighters and their family members who were in attendance. The mood was in stark contrast to the air of despondence that followed Parkland’s decision of a few weeks ago not to negotiate with Coral Springs for a fresh contract. That decision was soon overturned by the commission at a special meeting that was held at the behest of Parkland Mayor Michael Udine.

Coral Springs would provide two ambulances to Parkland, with the one stationed at the western fire station to be shared by the two cities. BSO gave Parkland two options – option one had one ambulance stationed in the city, with the second to come from Margate, Coconut Creek, or Palm Beach County. The more expensive second option had two ambulances and three fire trucks stationed in Parkland.

Udine said he favored contracting again with Coral Springs; the city wouldn’t get the level of service it now gets if it contracts with BSO, he added.

“We now have an ambulance on the west side of town and one on the east side,” Udine said. “We will go from two ambulances to one if we go with BSO. Our residents are ecstatic with the level of service that Coral Springs provides. I am not willing to go with adequate level of service. I want a 96 percent satisfaction rating. The Coral Springs fire department; they are here, on our border. It’s an easy vote for me.”

Going with BSO would cost the city more money as well, Udine said. “If we want the level of service we are now getting, it will cost the city $800,000 more if we go with BSO. Commissioner Weissman was talking about being gouged on the Coral Springs contract. The evidence we now have shows is we were not getting ripped off. In fact, we are getting a real good deal with Coral Springs.”

March 13, 2010

Parkland may ease signage rules for businesses

Parkland city officials are thinking along the lines of easing the city’s signage code; the city currently has some of the strictest rules in the county.

The issue came up for discussion at a recent city commission meeting, city officials are likely to debate the matter further at a workshop. The new development is likely to provide some cheer for businesses in the city, which have for long struggled to cope with the dual challenges of a cruel economy and signage rules that do them no favors.

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz brought up the topic while city officials were considering a request by the YMCA of Broward County to allow a second and bigger wall sign on the south/west side of the city’s community center. The center houses the Parkland YMCA Family Center.

“I know we are comparing apples to oranges, but I don’t want to send a message that some can and some can’t. We have been very strict on the issue of signs so I am very hesitant to do this,” Moskowitz said.

Mayor Michael Udine spoke next. “Jared raises an interesting point. We are going to have to look at some of the sign codes as it relates to commercial establishments. It is an issue that is becoming more and more important now. We need to figure this out so that future tenants can understand what their rights and responsibilities are.”

“There are tenants that are looking at the Waterways, but they don’t know if they want to put their business there if they can’t put a sign up that is visible on 441,” said Udine.

“We can’t have two empty shopping centers on 441,” Moskowitz said. “Signage is not the reason why businesses are going out, but we need to come up with something. Our sign code is one of the strictest in the county.”

March 25, 2010

Golf tournament in May to benefit Eagles football team

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Gridiron Booster Club will organize an annual golf tournament to benefit the Eagles Football Team. The event will be held on May 23 at Deer Creek Golf Club in Deerfield Beach. Golfer check-in starts at noon; the shotgun start is at 1:30 p.m.

There are opportunities for platinum, gold, silver or beverage cart sponsorships. Company sponsorships and individual participation are welcomed. For information on individual pricing or sponsorships, call 954-444-9942 or 954-755-0555, or email info@douglasgridironclub.com.

The Eagles Football team has been an important school-sponsored program at Douglas High since 1994.

March 29, 2010

Parkland recognizes firefighter and police employee of the year

Det. Sergeant Jeff Cirminiello has been selected as police Employee of the Year for Parkland’s district.

Jeff began his law enforcement career with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in 1998. He was assigned to the Parkland district criminal investigations unit in April 2006 and eventually became the supervisor of the unit. The Parkland’s annual clearance rate has been BSO’s Top Five for the last four years.

Captain Juan Cardona was selected the Parkland/Coral Springs Firefighter of the Year. Captain Cardona is being recognized for the significant role that he played in developing and implementing the new "Documed" and computer tablet reporting system.

May 15, 2010

Parkland Reserve to have 280 dwelling units

Parkland Reserve, located at the northeast corner of Nob Hill Road and Trails End in Parkland, will have 280 dwelling units, including 168 single family homes and 112 townhomes.

At a recent city commission meeting, city officials approved a master plan amendment petition by Centerline Homes, owners of the property. The changes proposed were to pod ‘B’ of the project that initially had been approved for 70 age-restricted multi-family units and nine single family homes.

The request was for increasing the number of townhomes in pod B (14.38 acres) from 79 to 120 after eliminating single family homes from the plan. City officials, who had earlier approved removing the age restrictions on the project, voted in favor of allowing 112 units townhomes. The initial idea was to have three-story buildings.

City officials, even though they approved an increase in number of units, expressed concern at the increase in density that would occur due to that decision. With the city’s decision, the overall density of the project has risen to nearly three per acre, which is the maximum allowed. If city officials had approved 120 units, the density in pod “B” would have increased to approximately 8.35 per acre.

May 17, 2010

Wildlife Education with ‘McCarthy’s Wildlife’ in Parkland

The McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary will present an informative show on Florida’s native animals and some exotic animals from 10 to 11 a.m. on June 5 at the Pine Trails Park Amphitheater in Parkland.

The event is free and open to all Parkland residents. Call Colleen O’Dea, special events coordinator, at 954-757-4120 or e-mail codea@cityofparkland.org.

May 22, 2010

Parkland’s kids’ fishing derby

Parkland is organizing a “Kids’ Fishing Derby” from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on June 26 at Pine Trails Park fishing pier in the city. The event is free and open to children from Parkland; participants should bring fishing poles, buckets and bait.

City staff will weigh the fish and award prizes. Contact Colleen O’Dea, the city’s special events coordinator at 954-757-4120 or e-mail Codea@cityofparkland.org.

May 27, 2010

Ranches property owners upset by equestrian facility

A Parkland family’s plan to have an equestrian training and showing facility in the Ranches is causing sleepless nights to other people living in the area.

Several property owners within the Ranches attended a city commission meeting last week to try and persuade city officials to stop Gwen and Howard Dvorkin, the owners, from going ahead with their plans for Pine Hollow, a 14-acre facility that now has 48 horses and eventually will have double the number. However, the support they hoped to get never quite came their way.

“They are going to be good neighbors; they want more horses in Parkland. I want to promote the equestrian community,” Mayor Michael Udine said. “They meet all the requirements. I am supportive in concept of what Pine Hollow wants to do, but I don’t like the intensity of the use.”

“It’s extreme, but it is still a permitted use,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who represents people in the ranches, said. “There is a great structure going up in the Ranches. If I stayed there, I would be concerned. If allowed to, I would have voted against Pine Hollow. But it didn’t come before the commission.”

City staff and its outside counsel informed the city commission that the activity was allowed under the city code and was a permitted use in the agriculturally zoned area. As the land comes under the purview of the Florida Right to Farm Act, the property owners do not need to get building permits from the city for the non residential farm buildings (barns) on the property, they said.

Howard Dvorkin sought to allay the fears of property owners in the ranches. “My intention is to keep the horses in Parkland; to keep the horse show in Parkland,” he said. “There will be no shows; city law does not allow us to do shows. We are not commercial; we are just teaching kids how to ride horses. I’ve a right to do this.”

June 3, 2010

Parkland to seek money from developers for dog park

Parkland city officials are all for a dog park in the city at Liberty Park and have also come up with a catchy name for it– Barkland. The only missing piece of the equation is the money needed for building and maintaining the facility.

Barkland will have a construction cost of $361,000 while the city will have to spend $20,000 annually for maintenance. With the economy still in the dumps, the city commission is not in favor of spending city dollars for construction of the facility. The plan is to raise money from developers and through sponsorships.

Coral Springs and Boca Raton both have dog parks and they are very successful,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who had broached the idea, said. “We don’t allow dogs in our park; the need is there. I am not a proponent of taking money from the reserves, but we can raise money from development going on in the city and through sponsorships.”

“Let us see if there is money in the budget to do the design,” Moskowtiz said. “If the city takes the initial first step, we won’t have trouble raising the money. I am going to make it my goal to raise the money needed (for the park) from the developers in the city.”

The proposed facility will have two separate areas, one for smaller dogs 25 pounds and under and the other for larger dogs. The dog park would have access for the elderly and the handicapped, asphalt trails, dog washing stations, dog play stations, pavilions and benches.


June 6, 2010

Parkland youth and teen summer camps

Parkland is offering Summer Kids Camp for children ages 5 -11 (K - grade 6) and the Parkland Teen Camp for children ages 12 -14 (grades 7 - 9).

The camps will include weekly field trips aboard air-conditioned motor coaches; there will also be a variety of daily programs. Camp begins on June 21; pre-registration is required.

Contact GerriAnn Dougherty at gdougherty@cityofparkland.org or visit the www.cityofparkland.org.

June 15, 2010

Mommy and Me program wins award

For the second time, South Florida Parenting magazine has awarded the Mommy and Me program at Congregation Kol Tikvah’s Phylis J. Green Early Childhood Center as the Best Mommy and Me in its Kids Crown Award contest.

Mommy and Me is open to children and their parents from 6 months to 3 years old. A new art program for 3- to 5-year-olds is also being introduced.

In each one hour theme-based session, children participate in educational activities and learn the basic structure of their first “school” experience. Additionally, each class has a focus topic relevant to the developmental age of the children.

“The Mommy and Me program features theme based sensory, art, creative movement and motor activities each week,” said Singer, mother of two. “An interactive circle and story time rounds out this fast-paced class for busy toddlers.”

The program is led by schoolteacher Kimberly Singer. Congregation Kol Tikvah is at 6750 University Drive in Parkland. Contact Kim Singer at mommyandme@koltikvah.net or call the Phylis J. Green ECC at 954-346-4281.

June 16, 2010

Douglas High student wins national award

Melisse Spron, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has earned one of only 15 National Portfolio Gold Medal awards in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2010, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. The national competition recognizes the highest achievements in art and writing. Spron is the first student in Broward to ever achieve this honor.

A total of 165,000 entries were submitted from all across the nation. The photography portfolio submitted by Spron consisted of eight color photos of disheveled trailer homes. Only two photography portfolios were selected to receive Gold Medal Awards.

Jan Pryczynski, media specialist and photography teacher at the school, said of her student, “What strikes me most about her is her ability to approach assignments with a freshness and excitement that all art teachers love to see.”

Spron will receive a $10,000 scholarship, to be paid in annual installments over the next four years. As a Gold Medal winner, she is also eligible to request tuition support from the Alliance of Scholarship Partners.

Both Spron and Pryczynski were honored at New York City’s Carnegie Hall recently.

June 19, 2010

Parkland's annual Independence Day bicycle parade

Parkland and North Broward Preparatory School will organize an Independence Day bicycle parade from 9 to 11 a.m. on July 3 at Terramar Park, 6575 NW 76th Drive.

Parkland residents interested in participating should bring bikes decorated in patriotic colors and parade around the park while the judges’ award first, second and third place prizes.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office will set up a bike obstacle course to test the children on bike safety while the Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Truck will be out spraying water for the kids to play in.

The event is free and open to all Parkland residents. Contact Colleen O’Dea, special events coordinator at 954-757-4120 or e-mail codea@cityofparkland.org.

June 28, 2010

Parkland relaxes rules for forestry within ranches

Nearly four years after Parkland adopted an ordinance making ten acres the minimum area required for forestry to be a permitted use within the ranches, city officials have bowed to popular demand and relaxed rules.

At a recent city commission meeting, the City Commission approved 4-1, on first reading, an ordinance that allows forestry on land that is two and a half acres or more. As all homes within the ranches are on at least two and a half acres, the change would basically make forestry a permitted agricultural use for anyone living in the area.

With the amendment, tree trimming, hitherto not allowed in the ranches, will become an auxiliary permitted use. Nursery has always been a permitted within the ranches but lawn maintenance had not been allowed.

The change comes in the background of repeated complaints by a section of residents living within the ranches that they have been victims of the city’s alleged selective enforcement of rules in the area. The decision of a resident to open a major equestrian training and showing facility within the ranches, citing the Farm Act, also was a factor in the commission’s decision.

“There are permitted uses that are fully within our code which has a much greater intensity and impact the neighborhood much more than something that takes place in two and a half acres,” Mayor Michael Udine said. “Issues that we have tried to stop are going on in the ranches. It is costing the city hundreds of dollars. I think we shouldn’t stand in the way of letting the market work.”

July 7, 2010

Parkland Mayor supports Mayersohn for school board seat

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine and his wife Stacey have expressed their support for fellow Parkland resident Robert Mayersohn’s candidacy for Broward County School Board-District 4.

As the Broward County School District Exceptional Student Education Advisory Council Chair, Mayersohn is especially sensitive to the concerns of parents and open to input from a wide array of sources, Udine said. Mayersohn, whose son Garrett was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has been an effective and tireless advocate in creating a community without limits, he added.

Stacey, who is the Heron Heights Elementary School PTA chairwoman, said she admired the “enormous passion” Mayersohn brings to school issues.

Mayersohn is a founding member of the newly formed Marjory Stoneman Douglas PTSA, serves on the school’s School Advisory Council and School Advisory Forum. He is also a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Advisory Board.

August 31, 2010

Parkland YMCA seeks additional help from city

Faced with a cruel economy and lack of adequate support from the community, the YMCA of Broward County has sought additional financial support from Parkland to tide over its current problems it faces in operating the Parkland YMCA Family Center. The center has not been able to break even so far.

At a recent meeting, City Commissioners unanimously agreed to waive off, for the fourth year running, the $100,000 that YMCA was to pay as lease for operating the city’s community center. They however had their reservations about the city shelling out another $100,000 to pay the electric, water, trash, and AC service maintenance costs of the facility during the next fiscal year, as requested by the organization.

Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said he was not comfortable with the idea of the city having to take money out of its rainy day funds to pay the facility’s bills. “I don’t look at the Y as a money maker. I want it to succeed. I don’t know if I am comfortable with the city writing the Y a check. We will have to take that money out of our reserves. I am a no vote for that. ”

Moskowitz wanted to know what it would cost the city if the Y were to leave the facility. “How much will it cost annually to keep the facility closed? I want to look at the numbers before I make a decision. I didn’t vote for the Y to become a line item on our budget.”

Sheryl Woods, YMCA president and CEO, said the organization was doing all it could to attract new members. “We are reaching out to the community; we need to get more members. We don’t see this as just a financial transaction between the YMCA and the city. We are committed to being here. We want this to be in a spirit of partnership. That is why we spent $51,000 last year in Parkland last year so that people who couldn’t otherwise afford to join the facility could do so.”

October 6, 2010

Parkland’s fire assessment fee jumps up

The Parkland City Commission has decided to increase the city’s yearly fire assessment fee from $159 to $210 per household.

According to city officials, the increase was necessary to properly represent the costs of the city providing fire services. Since 2004, the city has constructed a new permanent fire station on the eastern side of town and added a new temporary fire station on the western side of town. The amount will be listed on the tax bill.

Contact Nancy Morando at nmorando@cityofparkland.org or 954 753-5040.

October 13, 2010

Passports at Parkland city hall

Parkland is processing passport applications at City Hall located at 6600 University Drive, Parkland, Florida.

To take advantage of the service, an appointment must be scheduled with the City Clerk’s Office. Information can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office by calling 954 753-5040 or e-mailing scouzzo@cityofparkland.org.

October 19, 2010

Heron Bay buffers approved

The Parkland City Commission recently approved a site plan amendment that requires the Heron Bay developer to construct buffers along NW 122nd Avenue, all cul-de sacs in Sawgrass Bay and Somerset, the roundabout at the terminus of NW 122nd Avenue as well as a buffer along the Lake Parcel B-10.

The design of the buffers includes landscaping, benches and light poles. The landscaping will include native materials such as Gumbo Limbo, Silver Buttonwood, Crape Myrtle and others.

Contact Roberta Moore at 954 757-4158 or e-mail rmoore@cityofparkland.org.

October 22, 2010

Parkland to introduce public safety impact fee

The Parkland City Commission has approved a new public safety impact fee for future development. The fee will be imposed at the time a building permit is obtained.

Henceforth developers will have to pay their proportionate share of capital costs associated with providing additional services due to an increase in development. The fee will not be imposed for existing residents.

The city had hired TischlerBise, Inc. to provide a study as to the appropriate fee to charge the developers. There will be one set fee for single family and multi-family residences, while the fee for commercial uses will be based upon the square footage.

Contact Nancy Morando at 954 757-4123 or e-mail nmorando@cityofparkland.org.

November 4, 2010

Elton John tribute performance in Parkland

This one is for Elton John lovers out there.

The Rocketman - Elton John Tribute Band will perform from 7 to 8:30 p.m.on Nov. 13 at the Pine Trails Park Amphitheater in Parkland. The event is organized by the city, Michael Citron & Rosy Baron of The Parkland Parrot Real Estate Team, and Nina Hersch and Joseph Bogart of Parkside Health and Wellness Center.

The event is free and open to residents. Those who are interested should bring their lawn chairs and blankets. No tents, pets or alcoholic beverages are allowed within the park. Contact Colleen O’Dea, special events coordinator, for details at 954-757-4120 or codea@cityofparkland.org.

November 5, 2010

Parkland's farmer's market is back

Parkland's farmer’s market, which has proved popular over the last two years, will open Nov. 7. The event is organized by the city in partnership with Mercantil Commercebank.

The Market will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Nov. 7 and Nov.21, at the Equestrian Center, 8350 Ranch Road, Parkland, FL 33067. Vendors will sell everything from green peppers to sweet cupcakes at the event. The opening day will feature free ice cream and a bounce house for the kids.

Contact Colleen O’Dea, special events coordinator, at 954-757-4120 or codea@cityofparkland.org.

Parkland city officials promise to act against equestrian center

Waking up to growing demands from residents in the Ranches to act against Pine Hollow, an equestrian center located within the community that they believe violates city codes, Parkland city officials have vowed to prevent the center from conducting shows or lighting up the arena.

At a City Commission meeting in May, the City Commission had received legal opinion that the equestrian center was a permitted use in the agriculturally zoned area and that the land was under the purview of the Florida Right to Farm Act. City officials had then expressed their inability to rein in the business, but the intensity of use and complaints from incensed residents in the Ranches have made them think again.

At a recent meeting, city officials said they wouldn’t allow special events at the equestrian center or lighting above 10 feet. They also said the city would act if the riding arena at the facility is found to be more than 25 feet, the height limit set for accessory buildings in the agriculturally zoned area. According to Ranches residents, the arena exceeds the height limit by 10 feet.

“Everything that we do or don’t do in the Ranches, it seems like we are getting sued,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who represents people in the area, said. “The political reality is that we are getting sued (on the issue), one way or the other. I might as well stand with the community.”

November 14, 2010

Parkland introduces law to regulate puppy mills

After introducing a law to ban texting while driving, a move that inspired other cities to look at the issue and contemplate similar laws, Parkland has scored another first.

At a recent city commission meeting, city officials unanimously passed on first reading an ordinance to ban puppy mills in the city. The ordinance also makes it illegal for a retail store that sells puppies to purchase them from puppy mills. Violation of the law will fetch a fine of $500.

“We have tried to come up with a simple and understandable ordinance,” city attorney Andy Maurodis said. “This will hopefully deal with some of the problems engendered by puppy mills.”

“Parkland has made a concerted effort to lead on issues,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who had originally brought the idea forward, said. “We are moving toward building a dog park in Parkland. We are currently looking for funding and may get it very soon as more and more development happens. This is an issue I thought we could lead on.”

“We do have two puppy stores in Parkland,” Moskowitz said. “I want to put the stores on notice and protect our residents. I am not saying that we are going to spend our resources on regulating puppy mills. This will be an educational campaign.”

The city’s decision to introduce the law comes in the backdrop of a pet shop in Broward being hauled to court for selling sick puppies that allegedly came from puppy mills. Some of the common problems in puppy mills are over breeding, in-breeding, inadequate veterinary care, over-crowded cages, and poor quality of food and shelter.

November 30, 2010

Parkland looking at stationary surveillance cameras

Parkland is exploring the option of installing stationary surveillance cameras at key points in the city with the intention of keeping crime out of the city’s boundaries.

City officials are not looking at neighboring Coral Springs, which has decided to install cameras to prevent red light running, but Lighthouse Point, a city smaller in size than Parkland. In January this year, Lighthouse Point installed 26 automatic license plate reader (ALPR) cameras; the system records the license plate of every vehicle that goes in and out of the city.

To respond immediately to alerts by the system, Parkland would have to hire a community service aide to monitor it, confirm the correctness of every alert generated by the system and to alert patrol officers on the street. Lighthouse Point has a community service aide but Parkland, according to police Chief Paul O’Connell, will have to hire three civilian personnel. The system, which allows the police to look at state and federal police records for “hotlists”, can also be used effectively for investigative purposes without the city incurring personnel costs.

At a recent City Commission workshop, Dan Williams, director of U.S. sales & marketing at NDI Recognition Systems, spoke about the system and its possible benefits for a city like Parkland. “The technology originated out of the UK in the Eighties,” he said. “It is used extensively in a lot of countries. These are not red light cameras; the system specifically reads license plates. It has become very popular in Florida.”

December 22, 2010

Parkland offices to be closed for Christmas

Parkland offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas Holiday.

City Hall will be closed. There will be no pick up of solid waste and recyclables on Dec. 24 but regular service will resume the next day. The library will be closed on both days while parks will close at 6 p.m.

December 31, 2010

Coyotes continue to be a problem in Parkland

The city hired a trapper and residents are doing all they can to make them stay away, but coyotes continue to move around with abandon in Parkland.

Many residents are in a state of panic as the animals have taken a liking to their pets. Many in the Ranches, Cypresshead and Pinetree Estates areas have lost cats, dogs and sheep. Some worry that the animals might soon start attacking children and want the city to clear vacant lots where coyotes have been sighted.

Marie Gosser, who was the first resident to approach city officials seeking a solution to the problem, was pleased when the city hired a trapper to catch the coyotes. The move however did not bring the desired results. At a recent City Commission meeting, she implored officials to effectively deal with the problem.

“The coyotes are eating our animals and pets,” Gosser said. “They will now start attacking children. The city has to act before it is too late. There has got to be some way to stop this.”

City officials believe they have done all they could to tackle the issue. “We have hired a trapper; this is an issue that we take seriously,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said. “It is something the City Manager is working on with Florida Fish and Wildlife. The city is not in a position to clear vacant lots. We can’t put traps on private property.”

Mayor Michael Udine wants residents to get used to the idea that there are wild animals in the city. “We had alligators in Heron Bay,” he said. “We have had coyotes and raccoons. The other day, a boar was seen on Sample Road in Coral Springs. We have to be careful and vigilant. Education is the answer; residents need to keep their pets inside.”

January 19, 2011

Parkland YMCA offers new programs, seeks members

New programs, a fresh look, an increased focus on marketing efforts, and a general willingness to open its door wider to the community; Parkland YMCA Family Center is doing all it can to increase its membership base in 2011.

The organization’s aggressive push for new members comes in the backdrop of the Parkland City Commission providing the organization, which is yet to break even, $75,000 to pay for utilities at the center during the current fiscal year. City officials had asked the YMCA to prepare, within 90 days, a mission statement on how it plans to address the needs of the city, and an action plan to market programs better.

It is early days yet, but the efforts seem to be bearing fruit already. “We have opened our arms; we want more people here,” Rance Gaede, associate executive director, said. “In the first six days of the year, we sold 25 memberships. Last year, we sold 18 in the same period. We have also seen a traffic increase.”

“A lot of what we heard from people in the community was ‘What do I do with my child? That made us think,” Gaede said. “We are focusing a lot on pre-school classes for kids under five. We also have eight new programs for the youth and three fresh opportunities for adults.”

Pitter, Patter, Play! Y-Mommie &Me, Twinkling Stars, and Signs, Say and Play are among the new additions for small children. “We are excited about the baby sign language class,’ Gaede said. “It’s geared toward babies starting at 6 moths to 21/2 years old. This gives babies a way to communicate with parents and also helps to create a bond. We believe it, like the other programs, will be a success.”

January 20, 2011

Parkland allows Douglas lacrosse club to use city fields

Parkland city officials have come to the aid of the Douglas Eagles Lacrosse Club, which has been prohibited from practicing or playing games on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School fields.

After a lengthy debate, the city commission decided to allow club members to use Pine Trails Park in the city for practice and for games to be held this year. The decision was taken after city officials turned down a recommendation by the city’s parks and recreation advisory board to amend the sports policy to allow clubs in schools located within Parkland to use city parks.

The club will play their games at the park after obtaining a special event permit. Although the decision was unanimous, city officials weren’t exactly pleased with the having to let the club use city fields and blamed the school principal for the situation.

“That group should be playing at Douglas High School,” Commissioner Jared Moskowitz said. “I am disappointed with the decision coming out of the principal’s office. This is not a School Board issue. This is because our local principal is putting it on to the city. This is the third or fourth time that we are bailing them out. She is standing firm because we keep giving in.”

The advisory board had said that while the city should not seek usage fee from students using its facilities, non resident participants should purchase non-resident sports cards. It had also said that school clubs and activities should not be limited to synthetic turf fields. In their report to city officials, city staff said allowing clubs to use all fields would cause strain and damage to natural grass fields.

January 29, 2011

Parkland plans musical montage week

Parkland is offering a musical montage at different city locations during April. Banjos, Guitars, Drums, and Beatle Mania are all on offer.

The event will start with a performance by Matthew Sabatella at 3:30 p.m. on April 5 at the Parkland Library. Sabatella will perform with various musical instruments such as the banjo and guitar. To register, call the Parkland Library at 954-757-4200.

Ballard of America will perform at 7:30 p.m. on April 6 at Aston Gardens. The event is for people ages 55 and up. To register, call the Parkland Library at 954-757-4200. At 5 p.m. the next day at the Parkland YMCA, the Tucker Academy will perform classic and new music for all ages.

Beatlemanix, a Beatle Tribute Show presented by Michael Citron & Rosy Baron of The Parkland Parrot Remax Real Estate Team and Dr. Nina Hersch and Dr. Joseph Bogart of Parkside Health and Wellness Center, will be held at 7 p.m. on April 9 at the Pine Trails Park Amphitheater.

All the programs are free but some require registration with the Parkland library. Call 954-757-4200.

January 31, 2011

Parkland parks and recreation survey: Residents generally happy

Residents and other users have given Parkland’s parks and recreation program a 90.7 percent satisfaction rating.

Respondents sought additional synthetic turf fields, additional baseball fields, shade structures at playgrounds and over bleachers, resurfacing of tennis courts and additional restrooms closer to fields. There were requests for a dog park as well.

During the last two months, the city asked parks and recreation users to fill out a survey on its parks, programs and services. The survey was distributed to participants via email, email blasts, the city’s website and direct notification to all sports league participants. Two hundred forty-two people responded.

The suggestions and comments received through the survey will be made part of city’s long term Parks and Recreation planning. A copy of the survey and its results is located at www.cityofparkland.org.


Contact Scott Davidoff at sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org or 954- 757-4126.

February 22, 2011

Parkland EAB accepting scholarship applications

Parkland, the city’s Teen Advisory Group and the Parkland Education Advisory Board have established a scholarship in recognition of outstanding community or civic service.

The $500 scholarship is for a student who is a resident of Parkland, to be used for post-secondary school related expenses. The deadline for submitting the application is March 31.

To obtain an application, go to the library or visit http://www.cityofparkland.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=2646. Call Brian Archer at 954-757-4153 or e-mail barcher@cityofparkland.org.

March 17, 2011

Broward County seeks NSP applications

Parkland residents can apply for Neighborhood Stabilization Program monies through Broward County. The program offers newly renovated homes for sale to qualified buyers.

Homes will be affordable and down payment assistant grants may be available to those who meet the qualifying criteria. As a part of this program, monies earmarked for Parkland were provided to Broward County which has the personnel ability to administer this program.

Call the Broward Alliance for Neighborhood Development at 954-524-9844 or email bribjohnson@yahoo.com.

March 19, 2011

Water restrictions in force in Parkland

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has been given the authority by Parkland’s Code of Ordinances to issue citations for water use violations.

In case of a violation of water restrictions, a code enforcement officer will provide a notice to the person violating the water restriction immediately resulting in a $125.00 fine. A citation will be given to the property owner without prior warning for the violation.

Call Broward County Sheriff’s Office at Parkland District at 954-753-5050.

March 25, 2011

Parkland’s planning session on April 3

Parkland’s annual Strategic Planning Session will be from 8 a.m. to noon on April 3 at the Parkland Library, 6620 University Drive.

At the meeting, the City Commission, along with its consultant, Lyle Sumek Associates Inc., will create a work plan for the next year. Residents can attend.

Call the City Manager’s Office at 954-753-5040 or e-mail .

March 31, 2011

Art exhibition at Parkland Library

The Boca Raton Branch of The National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) and the Parkland Library will organize a multimedia art exhibition at the Parkland library.

The library is at 6620 University Drive in Parkland. The event will be from April 2 to 29. The opening reception will be from 1 to 3 p.m., on April 9.

The Boca Raton Branch, which originated in 1975, now has more than 100 members, of which 35 are certified in the arts. This branch is the largest in Florida and one of the largest in the nation. Members include newspaper and magazine writers, screenplay and book authors, sculptors and painters in all media, photographers, public relations and advertising experts, musicians and composers.

The National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) was founded in 1897 in Washington, D.C. to promote the development of creative women in the arts.

April 6, 2011

Murder Mystery Dinner Show in Parkland

The Parkland Murder Mystery Dinner Show, at 6 p.m. on May 7 at the Parkland Amphitheater, will benefit the Parkland Friends of the Library. The event is presented by Baker, Zimmerman & Perez – Personal Injury Attorneys, and Essential Day Spa and Wellness Center.

Space is limited and tickets are on sale at the Parkland Amphitheater. Tickets are $20 a person, $35 for a couple or $120 for a full table of 8. Tickets include Murder Mystery Show, dinner and wine. Participants are encouraged to come dressed in 1920s attire. The Parkland YMCA Family Center will provide free childcare for all children who are potty trained.

Call Colleen O’Dea, Special Events Coordinator, at 954-757-4120 or e-mail .

April 8, 2011

Ranches residents attack Udine on Pine Hollow

Frustrated by what they perceive to be favoritism by the city of Parkland toward Pine Hollow, a 15-acre equestrian facility in the Ranches, a few families living in the community have trained their guns on Mayor Michael Udine.

This comes close on the heels of them filing a lawsuit against the city on the issue.

Armed with photographs of Udine and his wife vacationing in the Bahamas with a group of friends that include Pine Hollow owners Howard and Gwen Dvorkin, the residents said the mayor’s friendship with the Dvorkins might have played a part in the facility being allowed to operate within the predominantly residential community.

Udine vehemently denied any foul play and dared his detractors to file an ethics complaint.

“[Udine] and the Pine Hollow owner share a close personal relationship,” resident Kathie O'Dwyer said. “It appears to me that perhaps there was some impropriety in allowing Pine Hollow to operate within the Ranches.

“The matter needs to be investigated by the commission,” she said.

“The mayor and Dvorkin were on a vacation together in Atlantis,” said Laura Laramee, another Ranches resident. “This happened in July. In May, the whole community was begging the commission for help.

“The mayor’s very close personal relationship with the Pine Hollow owner could have skewed his decision-making powers. This is an ethics issue,” she said.

“Report me to the ethics board,” Udine responded to Laramee. “I have many friends in the community. Howard is a personal friend of mine, has been for a long time. I’m not hiding it. I have not hidden it, ever. I have never voted on issues when there was a conflict of interest.

“My ethics are above reproach,” he said. As an example, he said, “[Pine Hollow] were cited when the lights went up.”

May 27, 2011

Douglas High wins six Cappies awards

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School won six awards at the 2011 Cappies Awards that were announced last week while Coral Springs High School won an award.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s production of Seussical won awards for Supporting Actor in a Musical: Vinny Balerlein, Choreography: Jessica Saul and Dakota Demato, Critics Team, Junior Critic: Abigail Hummel, and Sophomore Critic: Skyler Evans.

Marcus Levine of Coral Springs High School won the award for senior critic.

July 20, 2011

Parkland expands its Ombudsman program

Parkland has decided to expand its successful Ombudsman program that assists contractors and residents with any problems they may experience with the building permit process in the city. The program was introduced in August 2008.

The Ombudsman acts as a conduit between the building department and the development community. Brian Archer, who has been designated as the Business Ombudsman, will not only assist businesses in navigating the permitting process but also work with any business in regards to business or economic development.

Contact Brian Archer at (954) 757-4153 or barcher@cityofparkland.org with questions, concerns or problems.

September 6, 2011

Parkland Dog Park to open in four months

Parkland has moved a step closer to having a dog park. Dogs are not allowed in the city’s existing parks.

At a recent meeting, city officials voted 4-1 to award the contract to JMW Construction Corporation, a company that has previously done work for cities like Lauderhill, Delray Beach, and Dania Beach as well as the Palm Beach County School Board. Construction is expected to be completed in four months.

The cost of the project is $361,995, but the money will not come out of the city’s coffers. Toll Brothers, who took over the WCI and is now building in Parkland Golf and Country Club, will bear the entire cost of construction of the facility that will come up adjacent to Liberty Park on Ranch Road. The park will be open from dawn to dusk.

The annual operating cost of the facility is $20,000, but the city is hopeful of getting sponsors so that it will not have to spend any money on the facility, said Mayor Michael Udine. “We are looking at I’ve heard from people who want to try and get sponsorships. Companies like PetSmart and veterinarians are interested.”

September 16, 2011

Douglas High to organize college fair

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will organize its inaugural annual college fair from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the school.

The event will begin with a session on college admission secrets while a college fair will be held at 7 p.m. The event will provide families the opportunity to interact with admission representatives from postsecondary institutions. Students will have the chance to discuss course offerings, admission and financial aid requirements, college life, and other information pertinent to the college selection process.

The event is sponsored by Douglas PTSA and the Coral Springs-based Score at the Top. Judi Robinovitz, founder of Score at the Top, will be the keynote speaker at the event and will be available to answer questions about the college admission process.

For details, visit douglasptsa.org or contact PTSA at info@douglasptsa.org.

September 28, 2011

Brook drops out of House race, Moskowitz moves along

Scott Brook, former Coral Springs Mayor, has dropped out of the 2012 race for the District 96 seat. Parkland Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who was Florida’s top Democratic fundraiser in the first quarter, is the only candidate left in the fray to succeed Ari Porth.

Brook said it wasn’t an easy decision. “I love public service and thought the community could use someone like me. My father recently fell ill with swelling in the legs; he couldn’t move. He is now in rehab and thankfully doing better. I want to spend more time with him.”

“My son will be Bar Mitzvahed in January; that is a big deal,’ Brook said. “My little girl is ten. My kids need me and I need them too. I got to work on my family. I feel great about my decision and already feel that much more freedom.”

“I will run for something else some day,” Brook said. “It won’t be for city commission or mayor. My campaign contributors are entitled to a pro rata refund. If some of them don’t want a refund, the money will go to nonprofit organizations like Coral Springs Community Chest and Drug Free Youth in Town.”

Moskowtiz is not planning to let his guard down even though he is now the only one in the race. “It is extremely early in the race and I am moving my campaign on as if I have an opponent. I am walking the district, talking to residents about issues that affect District 96, raising money and getting endorsements.”

“I kicked off campaign in May this year and it has been full speed since day one,” Moskowitz said. “We raised $58,000 in the first quarter; I was the top Democratic fundraiser in the state,” Moskowitz said. “We are hoping to raise a minimum of $200,000 by June 2012.”

September 30, 2011

Student library cards in Parkland library

Parkland allows elementary and middle school students who do not reside in the city but are enrolled in a public or private school located with its municipal boundaries to apply for a Parkland Library card.

All the students have to do is provide school identification and a minimal annual fee. The library card will allow the student to check out library books in compliance with the library policies, but will not allow the card holder to register for events.

To obtain a library card, visit the library located at 6620 University Drive, Parkland. Contact Edenia Hernandez at 954-757-4200 or ehernandez@cityofparkland.org.

October 19, 2011

Parkland to hold special election in January

Parkland will hold a Special Election on Jan. 31, the same day Presidential Primary, to fill the seat vacated by Commissioner Jay Smith who died earlier this year.

The qualifying period for candidates to apply for consideration to fill the District 1 seat will be from noon Nov. 8 through noon Nov. 22. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, cannot be convicted of a felony,and must reside in District 1 for at least a year.

Contact Sandy Couzzo at (954) 757-5040 or scouzzo@cityofparkland.org.

November 7, 2011

Parkland wants residents to buy reusable bags

Parkland is asking residents to recycle their single use bags and choose reusable bags.

Residents are asked to turn over plastic bags to companies that recycle them, such as the Publix store located in the Parkland Commons shopping center, and to purchase reusable shopping bags from the City Store.

Call City Hall at 954 753-5040.

November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving camp at Parkland YMCA

Parkland YMCA Family Center will offer a Thanksgiving camp for for children in grades K-5 when school is out for Thanksgiving. The camp will comprise games, sports, teambuilding, arts and crafts. Space is limited and those who are interested should register.

The camp will be offered Nov. 21, 22, 23, and 25. Parkland YMCA Family Center is located at
10559 Trails End, Parkland, FL 33076. For details, call 954-384-9622.

The camp will also be offered at the Sheinberg Family YMCA of Weston, 20201 Saddle Club Road, Weston, FL 33327, the Greater Hollywood YMCA Family Center, 3161 Taft Street, Hollywood, FL 33021, the Pembroke Pines YMCA Family Center, 501 SW 172nd Avenue, Pembroke Pines, FL 33029, and the L.A. Lee YMCA Family Center, 408 Northwest 14th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311.

Visit ymcabroward.org.

December 22, 2011

Parkland city offices to close for Christmas, New Year

Parkland’s city offices will be closed Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 in observance of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

City Hall will be closed on both days. There will be no pick up o solid waste and recyclables on Dec. 25 and garbage normally collected on the day will be picked up on the next scheduled pick up day. Regular service will resume on the 26. Garbage collection will not be affected on Jan. 2.

The library will be closed on Dec.26, on Dec. 30 (for inventory) and on Jan.2. Parks will close early at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24, 25, 26, 31, Jan 1 and Jan 2.

December 27, 2011

Parkland’s dog park to open in January

Parkland’s first dog park, Barkland, will open to the public at noon on Saturday, Jan. 7. The park is located at 9245 Ranch Road, between the Parkland Library and Liberty Park.

Barkland is just over two (2) acres in size and has separate areas for large and small dogs, a dog washing station, water fountains for pets and their owners, covered pavilions, walking trails, benches and picnic tables. In addition, there will be dog play equipment including tunnels and agility elements.

Broward County Animal Care will be on site on the day of opening to organize a low cost Rabies Clinic for Broward County residents. This will enable pet owners to get dogs or cats vaccinated against rabies, and receive a Broward County pet license tag for $15. Only cash will be accepted as payment.

Barkland sponsorship opportunities are still available for individuals and businesses. Contact Scott Davidoff, Community Services Director, at sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org or call 954-757-4126.

December 28, 2011

Parkland introduces Mayor’s Top Teens program

Parkland is rolling out its first generation of the “Mayor’s Top Teens”, a program which recognizes and celebrates deserving teenagers.

Parkland resident teens completing 9th, 10th or 11th grades (may not be an 11th grade student graduating early) and either attending a public or private school, or being home-schooled within Parkland municipal limits may be nominated in the fall of each year by teachers, counselors, friends, clergy, or family (but not their parents or student himself/herself). The nominations process is publicized through area media, all schools, the Parkland Library and a variety of youth and community organizations.

The applications are available on the city’s website and must be received by Jan. 6. Contact Brian Archer at 954-757-4153 or barcher@cityofparkland.org.

December 29, 2011

Parkland Commission election debate on Jan. 11

The Heron Bay Men’s Club will host a candidates’ debate at 7 p.m. on Jan.11 at the Heron Bay Club, “Plaza del Lago,” featuring Stacy Kagan and John Willis who are seeking the vacant District 1 seat. The special election to replace late Commissioner Jay Smith will be held on Jan. 31.

The debate is open to all Parkland residents. The debate will be moderated by Trina Robinson, anchor of “Live Miami at 11 a.m.,” weekday mornings on NBC channel 6. Residents of Parkland are requested to submit questions.

Each resident can send a maximum of three questions by email, with subject “Debate Questions.” Emails should be sent to HeronBayMensClub@aol.com and must include name and address. Questions must be received by Jan. 8.

Parkland residents without gate access to Heron Bay may request access by email to
parklanddebate@gmail.com . Name and address are required in the email for access to be
granted. Gate Access requests must be received by Jan. 10.

January 20, 2012

Parkland participates in “Walk With Ease” program

Parkland’s Parks and Recreation department will be offering four separate six-week self-guided walking programs beginning Monday, Jan. 23, titled, “Walk with Ease”.

Helping older adults to stay healthy and independent is the goal of the Healthy Aging Regional Collaborative, a nationally recognized initiative launched by Health Foundation of South Florida. Since 2008, more than 17,000 residents in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties have participated in the organization’s evidence-based programs. Walk with Ease will help to reduce arthritis pain and increase balance and strength.

Developed by the Arthritis Foundation, the six-week program will aid participants in walking their way to less disability. The class is free of charge and is for participants of Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties ages 60 and older. The initial class will be held in the Parkland City Hall Activity Room at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan.23.

Walk with Ease books will be distributed to each participant of the program. Advance registration is required. Contact GerriAnn Dougherty, Parks and Recreation program manager. at gdougherty@cityofparkland.org or call 954-757-4129.


February 14, 2012

College prep event at Douglas High tomorrow

The second annual College Prep 101 will be organized from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The event is sponsored by Dr. Rami Toueg, chiropractic physician, and the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

College admission advisors and test preparation tutors will be among those present on the occasion. Finding the right college, admission process, SAT/ACT, college planning for 8th, 9th and 10th graders, and “How to pay for college without going broke” are some of the seminar topics that will be discussed at the event. Students in 8th to 12th grade and their parents are welcome.

The school is located at 5901 Pine Island Road in Parkland. Call 754-322-2150.

February 15, 2012

Parkland Farmer’s Market this Sunday

The Parkland Farmer’s Market, organized by the city in partnership with Mercantil Commercebank, will now be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Equestrian Center, 8350 Ranch Road, in Parkland.

Market activities will include a free bounce house, live music, special give-a-ways, cooking demos and much more. Over 80 vendors will be selling items such as fresh produce, creative cupcakes, fresh pasta, herbs, teas, gourmet breads, Amish jams and jellies, fresh cheese, gourmet oils and dips, and vegan and gluten free food.

Contact Colleen O’Dea, Special Events Coordinator, at 954-757-4120 or codea@cityofparkland.org.

February 23, 2012

Parkland teen braves adversities, recognized by city

Preeya Mody of Parkland had her first open heart surgery even before she got her first toy.

“She was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart disease,” Deepak Mody, Preeya’s father, said. “Her skin was blue in color. About 1-2 percent of the babies are born with that defect. She underwent balloon valvuloplasty at four weeks and open heart surgery a month later”

The ordeal, though, wasn’t over. At age 12, Preeya had another open heart surgery. By then, she knew that her body was never going to be her strongest ally.

Preeya lives with a debilitating disease, but she isn’t spending time wondering why fate hasn’t been kinder. Her grades have remained consistently good, and when she is not studying or volunteering at the Parkland library, she is reading books, playing chess or spending time with friends.

A junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Preeya was recently recognized by Parkland City officials for being named the Mayor’s top teen. The mayor’s top teen program celebrates deserving teenagers in the city.

February 28, 2012

Registration to commence for Parkland summer camps

Registration for Parkland Kids Camp, a summer recreation program for children ages 5 to 11, will commence March 5. Registration for the summer teen camp program will also begin on the same day.

Children must be five years of age by June 18, 2012, to enroll in the kids’ camp. The program will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:p.m. at Park Trails Elementary School. Extended hours are available.

The program consists of sports, arts and crafts, games, special on-site activities, and field trips. Field trips will be undertaken two to three days per week to facilities located in the tri county area such as movies, bowling, water parks, arcades, skating and museums.

The teen camp is for children ages 12 to 14 (grades 7-9). Children must have completed the sixth grade to be eligible for the program. The program is located at Westglades Middle School for all sessions, and the hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be field trips five days per week to facilities located in the tri-county area.

For details about the two programs, contact GerriAnn Dougherty at gdougherty@cityofparkland.org or visit cityofparkland.org.

March 5, 2012

Dancing With the Principals raises $32,000 in Parkland

“Dancing with the Principals,” the first fundraiser for the Parkland Public Schools Fund, raised $32,000. The money will be used to support public schools in Parkland.

The Fund, a private, non-profit organization founded in association with the Broward Education Foundation, is currently accepting requests from teachers and administrators to begin funding enrichment in Parkland's schools. It is also continuing it's community outreach program by helping other Broward County schools set up their fund.

Grant writing to support the Parkland Fund is also in progress. People who would like to support the organization can email vpfundraising@parklandfund.org.

March 20, 2012

Parkland accepting scholarship applications

Parkland, the city’s Teen Advisory Group and the Parkland Education Advisory Board have established three scholarships in recognition of outstanding community or civic service.

The scholarships are for a student who is a resident of Parkland, to be used for post-secondary school related expenses. The deadline for submitting the application is March 31.

To obtain an application, visit the library, the parks & recreation office at the amphitheater, or visit cityofparkland.org and go to the Education Advisory Board page. For questions, contact Brian Archer at 954 757-4153 or barcher@cityofparkland.org.

March 22, 2012

Parkland to form Friends of Barkland

Parkland is interested in developing Friends of Barkland, a non-profit organization that advocates for and supports Barkland, the city’s dog park.

A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, at the Parkland Library to discuss the formation of the organization. All residents are welcome. For details, contact Scott Davidoff, Community Services Director, at sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org or call 954-757-4126.

March 26, 2012

Springs, Parkland students to feature inState science fair

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Pratheek Nagaraj (Mathematics) and the Sawgrass Springs Middle School team of Sarju Patel and Sarung Patel (Computer Science) will be among the 17 students from Broward County Public Schools attending the 57th annual Florida State Science and Engineering Fair next month in Lakeland.

The middle and high school students earned their slots at the state competition by excelling at Broward’s annual fair, one of the largest fairs and science, technology, engineering and math expos in the state. Results for all students and schools at the local level can be found at browardscience.com.
At the state fair, four high school students who demonstrate excellence will be selected to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in May.


April 20, 2012

Parkland achieves greenway dream

Parkland has acquired the “Beaty parcel” adjacent to the Equestrian Center.

The city had attempted to purchase the property a few years ago but the asking price was in excess of $6 million. Recently the parcel became available and the city took immediate action, purchasing it for less than $2m. This was the only piece of land that precluded the city from completing its lineal park on Holmberg Road that starts at the Equestrian Center and ends at the City Hall complex.

The city will not rush into development of the newly purchased land. The purchase was accomplished without any additional debt to the city, with the money coming out of the city’s general funds.

August 22, 2012

Honor for Parkland broker

Linda Martignetti, broker and owner of Parkland-based Crossroads Realty Team, has been accepted as a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network.

The Top 5 in Real Estate Network helps consumers identify the most professional real estate agents in North America. To qualify, each member must first meet a stringent set of criteria, based upon performance, as well as educational and professional skills and service to the consumer.

Contact Linda Martignetti at 954-464-5434 or Linda@CrossroadsRealtyTeam.com.

November 2, 2012

Campaigns in overdrive as Election Day nears

Voters in Coral Springs and Parkland will influence the outcome of quite a few elections on Nov. 6.

While Coral Springs residents will vote to elect a new mayor and a city commissioner for seat 2 that Vince Boccard vacated when he decided to run for mayor against newcomer John Arnold, Parkland voters will choose between sitting commissioner Mark Weissman and political newcomer David Gobeo in District 4.

In other races, Jared Moskowitz, who was Parkland District 2 City Commissioner before he resigned to run for State House District 97, is taking on James Gleason, a Coral Springs resident who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2010 against Roy Gold. Parkland resident and County Commissioner Stacy Ritter is running for reelection against Coral Springs Robert Sutton. In the race for the School Board District 4 seat, Parkland resident Abby Freedman faces Rochelle “Shelly” Solomon of Coral Springs.

Coral Springs Mayor Roy Gold is supporting Gendal, Freedman, Moskowitz, Robin Bartleman and Franklin Sands. He is not taking sides in the mayoral race.

"I am supporting Mark Gendal for set 2," Gold said. "He is a long term resident and has been a volunteer in the city for a long time. He has a brick and mortar business in the city. I believe his business experience will help Coral Springs.”

While Coral Springs Commissioner Claudette Bruck has endorsed Solomon for the District 4 School Board seat, she is not taking sides in the two City Commission races in the city. Vice Mayor Tom Powers has endorsed Boccard and Daley while Vignola has endorsed Boccard. Former Mayor Rhon Ernest-Jones is Arnold’s campaign manager and is also supporting Daley.

December 10, 2012

Two Parkland Commission seats up for grabs

Parkland will hold a Special Election on March 12 to fill the District 2 Commission seat vacated by Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who is now a State Representative, and the District 1 Commission seat vacated by Commissioner John Willis. Willis resigned recently because he is moving out of his Commission District.

The qualifying period for candidates to apply for consideration to fill the District 1 and 2 seats will be from noon Jan. 2 to Jan. 9. To qualify, a person cannot be convicted of a felony, must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States and registered to vote, and must reside in District 1 or District 2 for at least a year.

Contact Sandy Couzzo at 954-753-5040 or scouzzo@cityofparkland.org.

December 12, 2012

Waldman, Deutch to open traveling office in Parkland

In order to better assist their constituents in Parkland, Representative Jim Waldman and U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch will be opening a traveling office in the city.

The office, located in the conference room of the Parkland City Hall at 6600 University Drive, will be open from 10 a.m. to noon the second Wednesday of each month, beginning in January next year. The office will be staffed by aides from both legislative offices.

For information, contact Rep. Waldman’s office at 954-956-5600 or Congressman Deutch’s office at 954 972-6454.

December 14, 2012

Parkland to organize MLK Jr. essay and poetry contest

Parkland is inviting middle-school students within the city to participate in an essay/poetry contest on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Students will respond to the question, “What was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for America? If he were alive today, do you think he would feel that his dream has been realized?”
Winners will be able to read their entry at the Jan.18 celebration event at the Parkland Amphitheater.

All entries must be submitted to the city’s parks and recreation office no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 11. Entries can be dropped off in person or mailed to the Parks and Recreation Department at 10561 Trails End Parkland, FL 33076.

Call Michele Smith, Recreation Program Specialist at 954 757-4142 or email msmith@cityofparkland.org.

December 17, 2012

Parkland recognizes Rizzo

The Parkland City Commission recently presented Anthony Vincent Rizzo with a proclamation for his many achievements.

Rizzo moved to the city in 1991, began playing in Parkland Little League at 5 years old and went on to set a record of 11 homeruns in his senior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and made his major league debut on July 9, 2011.

This year, Rizzo will start as the starting first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which benefits cancer research, helps families that are fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He successfully fought the disease in 2008.

December 21, 2012

Parkland offices to close for Christmas, New Year

Parkland city offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas Holiday.

City Hall will be closed both days. Solid Waste and Recyclables will not be picked up on Dec. 25. Garbage scheduled to be picked up that day will be picked up on the next scheduled pick up day. Regular service will resume Dec. 26. Library will be closed both days while city parks will close early at 6 p.m. on both days.

Offices will be closed Jan. 1 as well in observance of New Year’s Day. City Hall will be closed but solid waste and recyclables will not be affected by the holiday and will operate under regular schedule. The library will be closed while parks will close early at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1 and 2.

March 5, 2013

Rabies clinic in Parkland on Saturday

County Animal Care and Adoption will organize a rabies clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at Barkland Dog Park, 9245 Ranch Road, Parkland.

Pet owners will be able to have their dog or cat vaccinated against rabies and receive a Broward County Pet Registration tag. Cost for a one-year rabies vaccination and registration tag is $15 per pet. Cash only payments will be accepted.

To qualify, pet owners must provide proof of Broward County residency, such as a valid Florida driver's license or a current utility bill. No appointment is necessary and customers are taken on a first come, first served basis. All dogs must be on leashes and all cats must be in carriers.

Information about other Animal Care and Adoption programs and services will be available to residents at the clinic. For more information, visit broward.org/Animal.

March 18, 2013

Improvements to Pine Trails Park, Quigley Park

The Parkland City Commission has approved Florida Turf and Landscaping to perform work on the Pine Trails Park berm located on Trails End, to the west of the park entrance.

The work will include installation of irrigation lines, replacement of sod and installation of new landscaping. The work is expected to start within the next 2 weeks and will be completed within 45 days.

The City Commission also authorized Commercial Fence Contractors to remove and replace the chain link fencing, including the back stops located at the Quigley Park ball fields. The work is expected to be completed within a month.

Contact Brian Archer, Public Works Director, at 954 757-4153 or barcher@cityofparkland.org.

March 25, 2013

Three-day carnival in Parkland

The Parkland City Commission has authorized Big Fun Productions to hold a family carnival at Pine Trails Park from April 19 to April 21 as part of the city’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Food, games and rides will be part of the event. Contact Scott Davidoff, Parks and Recreation Director, at 954 757-3126 or sdavidoff@cityofparkland.org.

March 27, 2013

Parkland spends money on FCAT Boot Camp

Parkland is spending almost $5,000 for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School FCAT Boot Camp. The camp consists of Math, Science, and History (writing) exercises. The monies will be used to extend Stoneman Douglas High School after school program for an additional hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays until May 9.

The City Commission, during its Strategic Planning and Budget process last year, budgeted monies to ensure that the public schools within the city’s limits maintain their A Ratings. The city earlier provided money to the high school to assist with free Saturday SAT/ACT tutoring classes.

Contact Jenny D’Ugard at 954-757-4134 or jdugard@cityofparkland.org.

April 2, 2013

April Walkabouts program in Parkland

Parkland will organize an Adult Walking Program on April 5 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland and April 26 at North Community Park in Coral Springs.

The activity is open to Parkland residents ages 50 and older and is free of charge. The participants should meet at 9 a.m. on April 5 at the basketball courts in Pine Trails Park and on April 26, the participants should meet at the pavilion located near the playground at North Community Park in Coral Springs.

Advance registration is required with the Parks and Recreation Department. For more information, contact Melissa Soto, Recreation Specialist, at 954-757- 4120 or email msoto@cityofparkland.org.

April 24, 2014

Parkland seek residents' nod to increase commission salaries

Parkland city officials have had enough of earning a salary of $200 a month.

At last week's City Commission meeting, officials voted 4-1 to approve, on first reading, an ordinance that amends the city charter to increase the salaries of city officials. The charter amendment, which has to be approved by voters, will appear on the November 4 ballot.

City officials in cities of comparable size within the county take home salaries in the $25,000-$35,000 range. In Parkland, the annual salary of $2,400 hasn't changed since 1982, when it was locked by a charter amendment.

If voters agree, the salaries and benefits will be adjusted every October based on the average salaries of the mayors and city commissioners in Deerfield Beach, Margate and Coconut Creek. The salaries would be one percent less than what their counterparts earn in the three cities.

"This is not us doing anything on our salaries," Mayor Michael Udine said. "We are asking residents if they want to unlock the salaries and do the average of the salaries of city officials in three cities of comparable size. I don't even know what the salaries are (in the other cities)."

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