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January 18, 2015

USDA to Host Open House

U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory
Annual Open House
2001 S. Rock Road, Ft. Pierce, FL. 34945
Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Discover more about the exciting world of agricultural research through
• Informational sessions
• Tours
Fruit Processing Plant
• Science Demonstrations
“Taste of Florida”
For more information, please call (772) 462-5800

POSTED IN: Government (135)

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Condo and HOA Leaders Learn How to Handle Aggressive Owners

Condo%20and%20HOA%20Ken%20Direktor%20Lori%20Bob.JPGThe South County Civic Center was filled with Alliance Delegates, Board Members, Community Association Managers, other County leaders and members of the public on January 7, 2015. Kenneth Direktor of Becker & Poliakoff presented the program "How to Handle Aggressive Owners." The audience was riveted while learning from the outstanding speaker the “do’s and don’ts” of managing disruptions at Board meetings and receiving points on how to handle property owners while enforcing rules and regulations. This meeting, like all Alliance meetings, can be viewed at
Mr. Direktor is the Chair of Becker & Poliakoff’s Community Association Practice Group which includes over 40 attorneys. He is a regular speaker on the topics of collection of assessments, effective covenant enforcement, insurance, hurricane recovery, fiscal management, document drafting and other issues for community associations. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching community association law at Nova Southeastern University College of Law and a member of the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers.
The Alliance is most proud of its educational services to Condo and Homeowner Association (HOA) leaders. In partnership with Becker & Poliakoff, the Alliance brought one of the first HOA Board member certification courses to the public pursuant to the passing of Legislation which included the requirement. The Alliance Vendor Fair includes continuing education classes taught by attorneys from Becker & Poliakoff for community managers.
Mr. Direktor can be reached at (954) 965-5050 or at
Becker & Poliakoff website:
Photo from left: Alliance President Bob Schulbaum; Lori Vinikoor, Alliance Executive Vice President; Kenneth Direktor, Esq. of Becker & Poliakoff.

POSTED IN: Community Service (750)

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West Delray Area Has New Battalion Chief

NEW%20BATTALION%20CHIEF%20RICH%20ELLIS%20FIRE%20RESCUE.JPGBattalion 4 of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has a new Chief, Rich Ellis. Chief Ellis oversees Fire Stations from as far north as Lake Worth and as far south as Boca Raton including the very active Delray Beach stations 42 & 45. Station 42 located on Hagen Ranch Road is Battalion 4’s Headquarters. Station 45, located on Jog Road is “the busiest fire station in the County,” and services the King’s Point/Villages of Oriole area with units responding to approximately 6600 calls yearly.
New Battalion 4 Chief Rich Ellis, Center with Alliance of Delray Executive Vice President Lori Vinikoor and Alliance President Bob Schulbaum.

POSTED IN: Government (135)

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January 12, 2015

Local Veterans to Receive Housing Help from PBC Program

At a news conference held January 9 at the West Palm Beach Marriott hotel, the Board of County Commissioners and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) announced a ground-breaking initiative to provide housing financial assistance to active and retired military personnel, veterans, and their families in Palm Beach County.

Known as the Veterans Homeownership and Preservation Program, the initiative was formed through an innovative partnership between Palm Beach County and FHLBank Atlanta. A total of $1.5 million is being made available to help veterans rehabilitate their existing homes or purchase a primary residence in the county. Income-eligible active-duty and retired U.S. military personnel, veterans, and surviving spouses with household incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income may apply. The income levels vary, depending upon the size of the household. For example, for a family of four, the income limit would be $52,300.

Funds will be distributed exclusively through FHLBank Atlanta-member banks. The County’s Department of Economic Sustainability, as the lead local partner, will work with intermediaries including the Department of Community Services, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and veteran housing providers and will collaborate with local nonprofit organizations and real estate professionals.

The program is the first of its kind and has received initial funding of $1 million from the county’s State Housing Initiative Partnership program (SHIP) allocation, matched by $500,000 in grant funds from FHLBank Atlanta.

Commissioner Priscilla Taylor stated that Palm Beach County has made it a priority to improve quality of life issues for veterans, including having access to safe, decent and affordable housing. “It is incumbent upon us as policy makers in partnership with private industry and social service agencies to provide a way to help our veterans,” said Commissioner Taylor.

For further information about the program or to obtain an application, please contact the Department of Economic Sustainability at (561) 233-3600 or visit

POSTED IN: Government (135)

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January 5, 2015

231 New Vehicles for Palm Tran

Palm Tran Connection, the paratransit division of Palm Beach County’s public transportation system, will unveil new vehicles at the South Florida Fairgrounds on Monday, January 5, 2015.

As part of a new service contract, Palm Tran Connection purchased the 231 new vehicles that will be on the road in February 2015 when new vendors begin. The fleet is 100 percent American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.

Palm Tran Connection was recently honored by the Propane Education & Research Council and Metro Magazine for being among the top fleets in the bus transportation industry for the purchase of these vehicles. Fifty of the vehicles are fueled by clean-burning propane autogas. The awards recognize public transportation fleets for their commitment to improving the environment and health of their communities by adopting the alternative fuel, propane autogas.

Who: Palm Tran Connection

What: new paratransit vehicle unveiling

Where: South Florida Fairgrounds
673 Fairgrounds Road, West Palm Beach
(see attached map)

When: January 5, 2015, 9 a.m.

Contact: Paula Girard, 561-841-4245

POSTED IN: Community Service (750)

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January 3, 2015

Delray Medical Center Lecture Series Lineup for January 2015


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December 26, 2014

Solid Waste Authority Guidelines for Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas Tree Disposal Right At Your Curb

The holiday decorations are coming down and it is time to dispose of your real Christmas tree. The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County (SWA) wants to remind its customers with curbside service in unincorporated parts of the county about the proper disposal of Christmas trees.

Like with any other yard waste, just place your live Christmas tree curbside on your regular yard waste collection day. As a general rule, Christmas trees up to 8 feet long and weighing no more than 50 pounds can be placed at the curb whole. Trees larger than 8 feet long should be cut in half. Remember to remove all of decorations, lights and tinsel before placing your Christmas tree at the curb.

The collected Christmas trees are treated like any other vegetative waste.

Residents who live in multi-family communities with dumpster services should contact their home owner’s association or property management company directly for disposal procedures. Those residents who live in one of the 38 municipalities should contact their municipality directly for their Christmas tree collection procedures.

More information about Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County’s solid waste collection and disposal services is available online or by calling 561-697-2700 or 866-792-4636 (toll free).


Contact: Willie Puz, Public Affairs and Recycling, 561-640-8914 (o); 561-379-2405 (c)

POSTED IN: Community Service (750)

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December 22, 2014

Santa Walk Brings Hundreds Down the Avenue

santas.jpgAnd the band played on! Atlantic Avenue was buzzing on Saturday evening while hundreds of santas walked through the center of Delray Beach and passed through the Blue Anchor British Pub. The Magic Bus Band played 60's and 70's Classic Rock and British invasion music while santas, elves, snowflake princesses danced.
It was a sight to see! If you missed it, catch it next year!

POSTED IN: Entertainment (147)

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December 13, 2014

Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics Summary of December 11 th Meeting

The Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics (COE) took the following actions at its monthly public meeting held on December 11, 2014.

Four advisory opinions were approved. The full opinions are published and available at:

RQO 14-035: The vice mayor for the Town of Palm Beach Shores asked if she may participate and vote on matters pertaining to a public works project for the town when the project would benefit a condominium where she owns two units.
The COE opined as follows: The vice mayor may participate in the discussion and vote on the matter as long as the public works project does not benefit only her condominium. There are only 89 units in her condominium. If the public works project would provide a benefit to her condominium only, then her interest in the benefit would be more than 2 percent of the class. The size of the class would be too small, and the project would result in a special financial benefit to her. As such, she would not be able to participate in the discussion and vote on the project. However, based on the facts submitted, because the proposed public works project would benefit other buildings and property owners, in addition to her condominium, then the economic benefit or loss affects a class large enough so as to remove any prohibited financial benefit. Therefore, in that instance, she may participate in the discussion and vote on the matter.

RQO 14-036: A councilman from the Village of Wellington asked if he is required to abstain from voting on matters involving a series of upcoming land development approvals related to the Wellington Country Place PUD project (the PUD), specifically master plan amendment and site plan, re-plat and special use permit applications, when two of his law firm’s clients own property within the affected area.
The COE opined as follows: Based on the facts submitted, he is required to abstain from voting on and participating in the matters involving the master plan amendment, the site plan application for Pod F, phases V and VI, the re-plat application for Pod F, and any special use permit application, which involves the properties of Pierwell or Chickering. Here, the Village of Wellington staff report states that this master plan amendment will affect 250 acres of the 958 acres within the PUD. Chickering owns 5.9293 acres of the 250 acres affected by the master plan amendment, which results in a 2.37 percent interest in the affected class. Pierwell owns 15.4999 acres out of the 250 acres affected, which equals a 6.2 percent interest in the affected class. Therefore, because the class of persons affected is small and the master plan amendment would provide a unique benefit to customer or clients of his law firm, the Code of Ethics prohibits him from voting on or participating in this matter. Similarly, he is prohibited from voting on and participating in the site plan application for Pod F, Phases V and VI, the re-plat application for Pod F, and any special use permit application, which involves the properties of Pierwell or Chickering. Based on the information submitted, Pierwell’s interest in Pod F, the area affected by the site plan, re-plat, and special use permit applications, is approximately 29 percent; Chickering’s interest in Pod F is approximately 11 percent. Because Pierwell and Chickering each own more than 1 percent of the property to be affected, the benefit to them would be considered “special.”
RQO 14-037: A Palm Beach County employee asked if his outside business or employer could enter into a contract for services with the county.
The COE opined as follows: The county employee’s outside business or employer may not enter into a contract for services with the county unless one of the exceptions to the contractual relationship prohibition applies. In general, the code prohibits an employee from entering into any contract or other transaction to provide goods or services to the public entity he serves, including any contract or transaction between his public employer and his outside employer or business. The code also prohibits a business of which a member of his household has at least a five percent ownership share from contracting with his public employer. However, the code has several exceptions to the contractual relations prohibition which may apply to his situation.
First, the code provides an exception for contracts awarded under a system of sealed, competitive bidding, where his company is the lowest bidder. The sealed bid exception applies so long as he 1) does not participate in the determination of bid specifications, 2) does not use his official position to influence or persuade his public employer other than by the mere submission of the bid, and 3) files a statement with the Supervisor of Elections and the Commission on Ethics disclosing his interest in the business prior to submitting the bid.

In addition, the code provides a sole source exception where the outside employer or business is the sole source of the services within the county. The sole source exception applies if the employee’s outside employer or business is the only source of the training courses in the county and he fully discloses his interest to his public employer and the Commission on Ethics prior to the transaction.

Finally, the code provides an exception for contracts or transactions totaling less than five hundred dollars ($500) per calendar year. Under this exception, his outside business or employer would not be prohibited from contracting with the county if the total amount of the contracts between his outside employer or business and the county does not exceed $500, in the aggregate.

RQO 14-038: The director of Human Resources for the City of Belle Glade asked if city employees may participate as a team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of the Glades Walk for Cancer.
The COE opined as follows: Based upon the facts submitted, city employees may participate as a team in the event. The code does not prohibit the participation of city employees in a charitable event, such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of the Glades Walk for Cancer, so long as there is no quid pro quo or other special consideration, including any direct or indirect special financial benefit to the official or employee or to the person or entity being solicited. However, no person or entity with a current application for approval or award may be solicited. Any solicitation of vendors, lobbyists, principals or employers of lobbyists who lobby the city that are in excess of $100 must be disclosed on a solicitation log and submitted to the COE within 30 days of the charitable event. In addition, the code prohibits the use of on-duty municipal staff or municipal resources to be used in the solicitation of these charitable contributions. If an official or employee is a director or board member of the nonprofit charitable organization, he or she is prohibited from using his or her official position to give any special financial benefit to the charity. The identification of the team as employees of the city does not violate the code in and of itself, as long as the other provisions are followed.

A detailed explanation of all agenda items is available at

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December 8, 2014

Alliance of Delray to Host City Meeting


POSTED IN: Community Service (750)

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About This Blog

The Get Local community blogs are written by residents of the community. The Sun-Sentinel does not edit the blogs, nor take responsibility for the contents.

LORI VINIKOOR has lived in Delray Beach for more than 15 years. All of her recreational activities serve the Community in some way....

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