The Coastal Star

July 2020 Blog Posts (55)

Editor's Note: Delray commission owes taxpayers the truth

On Feb. 4, the city of Delray Beach was told by the Florida Health Department that it must implement a citywide boil water order after receiving complaints that the city’s drinking water had become contaminated with reclaimed water.

The order was avoided only by an agreement to shut down the reclaimed water system while the problems were identified and repaired.

Move forward to late June. About 90% of customers are back on line, and the cost for fixing the system is nearing $1…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:56am — 1 Comment

Boca Raton: Underperforming Boca Resort & Club aims to reclaim former glory

The proposed Mizner Ballroom will occupy 10,000 square feet and house conference and meeting facilities now in the resort’s Great Hall. Rendering provided

By Mary Hladky

The new owner of the Boca Raton Resort & Club is planning a massive makeover…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:48am — No Comments

Boca Raton: Virus forces another delay for Haynie’s trial

By Mary Hladky

Former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie’s trial on public corruption charges has been postponed until Sept. 21 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Prosecutor Brian Fernandes and Bruce Zimet, Haynie’s criminal defense lawyer, agreed to cancel a scheduled July 20 trial and to set the new trial date because the pandemic…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:45am — No Comments

Beaches closed for holiday weekend

By Charles Elmore 

An emergency order puts beaches out of bounds for the Fourth of July weekend across Palm Beach County.

The county’s order to temporarily close beaches joined similar decrees in Miami-Dade and Broward counties aimed at avoiding large gatherings during the three-day weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner told media outlets it would be “highly irresponsible” to keep beaches open and said the county’s…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:37am — No Comments

Highland Beach: Commission balks at Delray plan to add four paramedics

By Rich Pollack

Highland Beach commissioners, faced with a 10.3% increase in how much they’re charged for fire service from Delray Beach, are questioning why they are being asked to pay for four additional firefighter/paramedics to be assigned to the station in town.

Under a 20-year agreement signed in 2016, Highland Beach pays for the salaries of 22.5 firefighter/paramedics assigned to the station next to Town Hall — a staffing level that includes two personnel…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

Along the Coast: Municipal grants help small businesses smacked by virus

By Mary Hladky and Jane Smith

As small-business owners reeled from shutdowns mandated to stop the spread of COVID-19, South County cities pitched in to help them offset calamitous revenue losses.

Responding to Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce pleas, the City Council on May 27 authorized spending $500,000 in city money on a Small Business Recovery Relief Grant program that would provide $5,000 grants to small businesses with at least three employees and no…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:35am — No Comments

Boca Raton: Navy calls up deputy mayor for overseas mission

By Mary Hladky

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, will deploy in August to Qatar in support of NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Rodgers, who announced his deployment at the June 23 City Council meeting, said he wants to complete his term of office by attending city meetings remotely.

If that…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:32am — No Comments

Boynton Beach: Riverwalk has finished parking lot, most landscaping

By Jane Smith

Within a week of receiving Boynton Beach City Commission approval in mid-June, Riverwalk Plaza had finished landscaping the parking lot and entrances off Woolbright Road.

“The easternmost entrance had a weird S-curve shape,” said Luke Therien, who reopened his family’s Prime Catch restaurant on June 24. “Now you can drive south to Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts store or turn left to Prime Catch.”

Therien closed his restaurant in mid-March when all…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:30am — No Comments

Coastal Star: Special-needs clients find friend in Best Buddies chairman

Bobby Kane of Ocean Ridge with his wife, Lynsey; son, Bobby, 3; and daughter, Ellie, 20 months. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Charles Elmore

Isolation. Loneliness. Underemployment or no job at all.

Millions are grappling with that reality in…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:30am — No Comments

Delray Beach: City manager’s sudden suspension stirs controversy

By Jane Smith

During an often contentious meeting, a divided Delray Beach City Commission voted 3-2 on June 24 to oust City Manager George Gretsas from his $265,000 position without seeing a final report of the bullying accusations made against him.

Gretsas had been less than six months on the job and was the fifth full-time city…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

Ocean Ridge: Aug. 18 ballot issue to affect decision on future of police

By Dan Moffett



Ocean Ridge commissioners want to make it a lot more difficult for the town to merge its Police Department with another law enforcement agency.

With a unanimous vote on June 12, the commission gave final approval to a charter amendment proposal that requires voters to pass a ballot referendum before any police merger can move forward. Beyond the consent of voters, the proposal would mandate a four-vote supermajority from the Town Commission just…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:28am — 1 Comment

Ocean Ridge: Septic-to-sewer study funds take backseat to budget woes

By Rich Pollack

With the town’s budget still in flux, Ocean Ridge’s septic-to-sewer citizens advisory committee has agreed to hold off on requesting funds for a cost analysis from an outside firm.

Voting unanimously, the five-member committee, charged with studying the feasibility of replacing septic systems with a sewer system, agreed that it would be premature to request funding for a study to be conducted by Raftelis Financial Consultants.

The committee…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:26am — No Comments

Gulf Stream: Town agrees to sue AT&T to finish underground work

Plastic netting surrounds the historic Australian pine trees that line A1A in Gulf Stream to ensure that workers installing a water main do not damage the roots. Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

By Steve Plunkett



The town will ask a federal judge to…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:25am — No Comments

Along the Coast: Peaceful rallies show support for justice, police

DELRAY BEACH: A group of about 100 gathered May 31 at Veterans Park to peacefully protest the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, while he was in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer. By the end of June the protests had largely stopped in South County. They were peaceful, according to police.…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:22am — No Comments

Along the Coast: Agents say residential market shows recovery in sales, rentals

By Rich Pollack

June is normally when real estate professionals — who help connect sellers and buyers of luxury homes along South Florida’s coast — can relax a little and catch their breath.

This was not a normal June, however, and instead of kicking back, many real estate professionals went into July working overtime as the residential home market kicked back up.

“This has been the busiest June we’ve had in my 17-year real estate career,” said Nick…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:09am — No Comments

South Palm Beach: Surge in property values paints rosy budget picture for town

By Dan Moffett

Town Manager Robert Kellogg had plenty of good news to report about the financial health of South Palm Beach during the Town Council’s meeting on June 9.

Kellogg told council members that the town’s taxable value has skyrocketed 21.7% this year over last, far more than any other municipality in Palm Beach County.

Two reasons for the surge: the $70 million luxury condominium building, 3550 South Ocean, has finally come onto the tax rolls. And so…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:06am — No Comments

Manalapan: Vote fast-tracks dock, allows town to start work on water line

By Dan Moffett

Manalapan can move forward with a plan to improve water delivery to its oceanfront homes after the Town Commission approved two ordinances that will allow an easement for pipeline construction across property owned by Commissioner Hank Siemon.

One ordinance removes the requirement that homes be built before docks are added as accessories. The change means that Siemon can get his dock construction underway before completing his new residence at 1660…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:05am — No Comments

Along the Coast: Property Values Rise

Appraiser likes 5.9% growth as county awaits impact of pandemic

By Mary Hladky

The taxable value of Palm Beach County properties has increased for the ninth year in a row, although the rate of growth continued a multiyear trend of slowing down.

The numbers, however, do not reflect any impact from the coronavirus pandemic since they are based on market conditions as of Jan.…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 11:00am — No Comments

What freedom means to me

By Janis Fontaine

July 4 is Independence Day.

America’s most significant holiday.

But what is independence? And what is freedom?

As Americans, we talk about freedom as a “right,” something we are entitled to like the…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on July 1, 2020 at 11:00am — No Comments

Lantana: Less money from sales tax, gas tax to pinch town’s budget

By Mary Thurwachter

During Lantana’s first budget workshop on June 8, Mayor Dave Stewart warned residents that the upcoming budget years would be very challenging.

“Property taxes will bring in about $4 million,” he said. “What it costs to run the town from A to Z for everything we do is about $19-$20 million. Your property taxes are very necessary, but they are only about 20% of what it costs to do all the services.”

Other money comes from gas tax…

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Added by The Coastal Star on July 1, 2020 at 10:59am — No Comments

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