The Coastal Star

Mary Kate Leming's Blog (4,295)

September King Tides

The effects of the seasonal King Tides were amplified by strong winds and heavy surf that pushed water into the inlets and flooded low areas along the Intracoastal Waterway. On Sept. 21, flooding was bad enough that officials closed both Ocean Avenue in Ocean Ridge and A1A in Manalapan. Photos by Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star…
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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 22, 2020 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Delray Beach: Additional office investigates city’s water program

By Rich Pollack

      Issues with the Delray Beach water utilities program, which has included cross contamination of drinking water with reclaimed water and not properly cleaned storage tanks, will now be scrutinized by the county’s Office of Inspector General.

      Inspector General John Carey, in a memo dated Monday, informed Delray Beach’s interim City Manager Jennifer Alvarez that his office is beginning an investigation into compliance with Florida…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 22, 2020 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Manalapan: A1A to close due to tunnel construction

Construction has started on a tunnel at 1940 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan. As a result, State Road A1A is expected to be closed to through traffic starting Monday September 14th at 7:00 am.  Reopening is expected Friday September 18th at 5:00 p.m.  The road will be open to local traffic only.  Police will be stationed at the Inlet and at Town Hall to monitor traffic.

 SOURCE: Town of Manalapan…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 10, 2020 at 1:55pm — 1 Comment

Gulf Stream: Back to class at GSS

Gulf Stream School began its 82nd school year on Sept. 8. A majority of the faculty and students started the year on campus, although the school is also offering students in grades Kindergarten through Eighth the ability to attend  classes virtually. The school year started off with ten new members to the faculty and staff. 
— Photos and text by Rachel O'Hara/The…
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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 10, 2020 at 11:30am — No Comments

Sea grape dispute: Delray Beach — mid-August

The iconic sea grape tunnels near the Atlantic Avenue pavilion likely will be spared from the chain saw, following an outcry from some Delray Beach residents. Conflicting environmental views and a wish to keep the beachscape character in place are the main issues. ABOVE: Elsewhere in the public beach dune, trimmed sea grapes soon will sprout…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 6:25pm — No Comments

Delray Beach: Commission votes itself large raise

By Jane Smith



Delray Beach city commissioners narrowly agreed on Aug. 18 to give themselves hefty pay raises.

They all said it was not the proper time to raise their pay in the middle of a pandemic. The vote was 3-2, with Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston and Commissioner Adam Frankel voting no.

“I don’t disagree it’s bad timing,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said. “But if we don’t do this now, we will have to wait another 2.5 years.”

The raises will take effect…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 6:22pm — 1 Comment

Reflections from the front line: Julie O'Brien

There are no high-fives in Julie O’Brien’s kindergarten class at St. Vincent Ferrer School. Ditto for circle time and close encounters.

Students, teachers and staff don masks, classes are smaller and there’s social distancing — not the easiest concept to explain to 5-year-olds.

Despite many modifications, O’Brien is glad to return to the private…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 2:03pm — 1 Comment

Reflections from the front line: The Rev. D. Brian Horgan

The Rev. D. Brian Horgan of St. Lucy Catholic Church in Highland Beach has been on the front lines of war before as a chaplain in the Air Force early in his pastoral career. Now, with COVID-19, he feels like he’s in a war again.

The pandemic has changed how we worship God and the way we bury our loved ones, Horgan said. About 60% of parishioners attend…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 2:01pm — 1 Comment

Reflections from the front line

Kindergarten teacher Julie O’Brien, the Rev. D. Brian Horgan, Dr. Bill Benda, Battalion Chief Kevin Saxton, restaurant manager Sue Brown, postal clerk Valerie Jacoby and Shipt shopper Michael Varesio. Seven photos shot individually at a COVID-19 safe distance and assembled into this composite…
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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Reflections from the front line: Dr. Bill Benda

COVID-19 is far from done with Palm Beach County, but emergency room physician Dr. Bill Benda is less stressed than he was early on in the pandemic.

Doctors knew very little about the novel coronavirus or how to treat it in March. But the county’s stay-at-home lockdown slowed the contagion, buying them time to learn.

When the county eased restrictions…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:59pm — 1 Comment

Reflections from the front line: Kevin Saxton

The threat of COVID-19 is always on Kevin Saxton’s mind, but the Delray Beach Fire Rescue battalion chief won’t let the highly contagious disease prevent him from fully serving the community.

“It’s something I think about all the time,” says Saxton, who is 38 and in his 17th year with the department. “I’m going to take the precautions I need to take, but…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:56pm — 1 Comment

Reflections from the front line: Sue Brown

Sue Brown has undoubtedly encountered nearly every challenge in the restaurant business.

But COVID-19 was a game changer. Brown, the general manager of Oceano Kitchen in Lantana, had a lot more to worry about than inventory when the eatery had to halt in-person dining.

The Ocean Avenue restaurant shifted to takeout — for the first time. “We weren’t…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:53pm — No Comments

Reflections from the front line: Valerie Jacoby

During the 20 years that Valerie Jacoby has been behind the counter of the Highland Beach Community Post Office, she’s gotten to know many of the residents.

Over the years, folks would come into the small-contract postal station, established in 1964 as a convenience for people who didn’t want to cross the bridge to Boca Raton, and catch up on what was…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Reflections from the front line: Michael Varesio

When Michael Varesio joined the ranks of Shipt shoppers in January, he never anticipated a pandemic that would turn him into an essential worker.

It was overwhelming: The 47-year-old Boynton Beach resident worked 61 days straight, took a day off, then toiled 21 more days, frantically buying groceries for people who feared leaving their homes.…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Delray Beach: Sediment in drinking water was linked to neglected maintenance

The Delray Beach water treatment plant, a few blocks south of downtown, has not received a major upgrade since the early 1990s. The city says it plans to improve cleaning and other maintenance at the aging plant, watching for trouble more closely than ever before. Google map image…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Delray Beach: Feds accuse doctor of $681 million fraud in substance abuse treatment billings

By Larry Keller

Coastal Delray Beach osteopathic doctor Michael Ligotti was a man in whom investigators had long been interested as they probed fraudulent practices in one of Palm Beach County’s largest industries — substance abuse treatment centers.

Numerous people have been charged and sentenced in recent years in connection with abuses at halfway houses — or sober homes — including medical insurance scams. Now some of them have turned on Ligotti.…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Editor's Note: Bee sting spurs renewed thanks to essential workers

I stepped on a bee. A tiny, industrious bee. This stinging encounter — on the beach, of all places — put me into bed for a day with a purple, swollen foot iced-down and elevated on a pillow.

The bee died, of course, so obviously its experience was worse than mine. In my case, Benadryl cream worked wonders, and I was back on my feet the following day. I didn’t even miss a day at work, but it got me thinking:

What if I couldn’t wear flip-flops to the office, but instead had to pull…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:57pm — 1 Comment

Coastal Star: Dancing a challenge for this savvy entrepreneur — but not fundraising

Steven Bernstein and instructor Sayra Vazquez-Brann show one of their dance moves. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Mary…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:56pm — 1 Comment

Along the Coast: Judges give 16 awards to ‘Coastal Star’ contributors

The Coastal Star brought home top honors in breaking news, local government reporting, sports photography and sports coverage in this year’s Weekly Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Florida Press Association.

The newspaper also collected five second-place awards and seven third-place awards.

First-place trophies went to the staff and Ron Hayes in the breaking news story category for Hurricane Dorian coverage; to Jane Smith and Rich Pollack in local government reporting…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:24pm — No Comments

South Palm Beach: Council seeks to take bigger role during town emergencies

By Dan Moffett

In March, South Palm Beach voters overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment that gave the mayor the power to declare emergencies.

When the Town Council debated putting the referendum on the ballot late last year, the thinking was the charter change would allow town officials the latitude to react quickly to natural disasters — hurricanes, in particular.

No one saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming, however.

Now the council is poised to take…

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Added by Mary Kate Leming on September 2, 2020 at 12:22pm — No Comments

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