• Congress Approves $1.1 Billion in Zika Funding
  • 9/29 UPDATE: Matthew Now a Hurricane, Will it Turn Away?
  • This Week in Palm Beach - September 23, 2016
  • Beach Yacht Will be Removed at Government Expense - For Now
  • Town of Palm Beach Zika Task Force Meets

 

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Congress Approves $1.1 Billion in Zika Funding
Congress late Wednesday approved federal funding that will provide $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, along with money necessary to keep the government running through Dec. 9.
9/29 UPDATE: Matthew Now a Hurricane, Will it Turn Away?
Hurricane Hunters Find Hurricane-Force Winds in Matthew; Wind Shear Attacking Storm. Matthew, now a hurricane, rolled through the Lesser Antilles as a mid-strength tropical storm on Wednesday afternoon.
This Week in Palm Beach - September 23, 2016
Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 23, 2016 edition.
Beach Yacht Will be Removed at Government Expense - For Now
Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have been given the green light to remove a 72-foot yacht that ran aground along the shores of Palm Beach.
Town of Palm Beach Zika Task Force Meets
The Zika Task Force in the Town of Palm Beach met this week at the Civic Association Community Room and progress is being made on public education and the treatment of mosquito breeding areas in town.
This Week in Palm Beach - September 16, 2016
Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 16, 2016 edition.
Grounded Yacht Declared Derelict: Owner Must Remove in 5 Days
The clock is ticking for the owner of a grounded yacht in the water off Palm Beach.  Thomas Baker now has five days to get the vessel removed.
Finance Committee Chair Pat Cooper Leads Civic Association Analysis of Town Budget
The Civic Association played an important role in the Town’s budget process this summer.  Treasurer Pat Cooper analyzed the 2017 budget proposal in depth and met with town officials to discuss residents’ concerns about holding the line on taxes while providing the best possible services.
Top Stories
Congress Approves $1.1 Billion in Zika Funding
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Thursday, 29 September 2016 10:30

Congress late Wednesday approved federal funding that will provide $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, along with money necessary to keep the government running through Dec. 9.

The money will go to Zika vaccine research and health care in the hard-hit southern states, such as Florida, as well as Puerto Rico. It also will be used to reduce exposure to mosquitoes carrying the virus.

skeeter map nbcnews“We are pleased that Congress has put aside political games and finally provided this urgently needed funding to combat the Zika crisis,” said Dr. Willie Parker, chairman of Physicians for Reproductive Health.

“However, our work to protect those most at risk is just beginning,” Parker said. “Those already living with Zika and those most vulnerable, including the patients I see across the South, deserve compassion and access to the care they need without shame or stigma.”

Read More (Stat News)

Click Here to See the Town of Palm Beach Webpage on Zika Action for Protection and Reporting

Top Stories
9/29 UPDATE: Matthew Now a Hurricane, Will it Turn Away?
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Monday, 26 September 2016 12:15

Hurricane Hunters Find Hurricane-Force Winds in Matthew; Wind Shear Attacking Storm. Matthew, now a hurricane, rolled through the Lesser Antilles as a mid-strength tropical storm on Wednesday afternoon.

Summary of Dr. Jeff Masters article from Weather Underground. 

Hurricane Matthew

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft was in Matthew on Thursday morning, and at 9 am EDT found hurricane-force winds of 75 mph in a small region to the northeast of the storm’s center.

Surface winds were a bit lower in data from the airborne stepped frequency microwave radiometer (SFMR), and based on this, the National Hurricane Center held Matthew's top sustained winds at 70 mph, just shy of hurricane strength, in its 11 am EDT advisory.

Satellite loops on Thursday morning showed that Matthew was showing the classic signs of a storm struggling with high wind shear—the center was fully exposed to view, and Matthew’s heavy thunderstorms were limited to the northeast side, thanks to strong upper-level winds out of the southwest that were creating high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots.

Computer models agree that Matthew will continue on a general westerly track for the next couple of days. Because Matthew’s center is a bit further north than earlier expected, the storm may be able to avoid too much interaction with the land mass of South America. By this weekend, a large upper-level low over the Mid-Atlantic should provide a pathway for Matthew to take a sharp right turn.

Should Matthew take its expected turn to the north, it would have a very hard time avoiding landfall somewhere between Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It’s too soon to pin down the longitude of that northward turn, but models have been gradually converging on a path that could bring Matthew somewhere near the Windward Passage between eastern Cuba and Haiti, perhaps as soon as Sunday.

Read More (Weather Underground)

5 Day Computer Models Hurricane Matthew

Top Stories
This Week in Palm Beach - September 23, 2016
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Friday, 23 September 2016 13:29

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 23, 2016 edition.

 To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

Top Stories
Beach Yacht Will be Removed at Government Expense - For Now
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Friday, 23 September 2016 12:24

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have been given the green light to remove a 72-foot yacht that ran aground along the shores of Palm Beach.

Carol Lyn Parrish, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the agency is working with the Town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach Police Department officers.

Yacht Wreck CBS12Taxpayers will pick up the tab to free a 72-foot yacht wedged in the sand along Palm Beach for nearly two weeks.

Debris continues to wash ashore, one day after the owner of yacht missed a deadline to get it off the beach.

See More (ABC25)

See More (CBS12)

Yachrt Wreck WPTV5

Top Stories
Town of Palm Beach Zika Task Force Meets
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Thursday, 22 September 2016 14:17

The Zika Task Force in the Town of Palm Beach met this week at the Civic Association Community Room and progress is being made on public education and the treatment of mosquito breeding areas in town.

 Maggie Zeidman, Town Council member, provided the latest updates on the virus, Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager, presented status on the Zika Virus Response Plan, and Wendy Victor described a fund she has set up to help Zika researchers at the University of Washington with their ground-breaking discovery about how the virus is causing brain damage to the unborn.

Maggie Zeidman

WendyVictor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maggie Zeidman, Town Council Member                                                                                                                                                                 Wendy Victor

See the Meeting Minutes below:

Zika Task Force Minutes

September 19, 2016

Attendance:
Warren Belmar
Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager
Pat Cooper
Lew Crampton
Michael Dennis
Susan Gary
Lee Goldstein
Judy Goodman
Karen Marcus
Jerry Pearlman via phone
Wendy Victor
Margaret Ziedman, Palm Beach Town Council

==============================================

Ned Barnes, President, Civic Association
Mike Brown, Communication Director, Civic Association

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Mr. Ned Barnes.

Mrs. Zeidman provided a Zika update for the overall disease and in Florida. She provided information from and referred the task force to these websites: CDC [https://www.cdc.gov/zika/] and StatNews [https://www.statnews.com/series/zika-update/]

  • The CDC lifted its travel advisory urging pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Governor Rick Scott there for the announcement
  • US senators have resolved a key issue that has stalled federal Zika funding, money that would go from Planned Parenthood to partner clinics in Puerto Rico, as Congress moved closer toward a budget agreement
  • Florida reported seven new cases of locally acquired Zika cases — six in Miami-Dade County, one in Palm Beach County. Governor Scott also tripled the Zika infection zone in Miami Beach.
  • Number of Zika infected pregnant women in the US is currently at 731.
  • Dr. David Dotson, tropical and infectious disease specialist presented to the Town Council last week and said , “The virus is here. The vector is here. And the conditions for spread are there. There’s no reason to expect we won’t be talking about millions of cases in the United States as time goes on.”
  • The CDC has spent $660 million on Zika so far and is almost out of money.
  • The group brought up a concern about the Naled insecticide that is reportedly harmful to humans and insects like bees.

Mrs. Zeidman and Mrs. Victor reported on important research happening in Seattle at the University of Washington. Mrs. Victor's daughter-in-law, Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf leads a team of 32 scientists at the Center of Innate Immunity and Immune Disease - at the forefront of Zika research. Last week the researchers reported in the Journal Nature Medicine that they studied the first case of Zika-caused brain damage in the fetus of a nonhuman primate: a single pigtail macaque.

It’s a key step toward understanding the impact of the mostly mosquito-borne virus that’s spreading in more than 50 countries causing severe birth defects and other problems. The study proves that Zika causes fetal brain injury. They are looking for other outcomes with this research that may impact humans.

Dr. Adams Waldorf is an obstetrician who has studied infections in pregnancy for 15 years.

Mrs. Victor said the researchers need donations to continue their work and a fund with a $300,000 goal has been set up.

Mr. Jay Boodheshwar gave an update from Town government:

  • The Town is not only doing education about Zika but they are taking proactive steps to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Town is spending $7,200 on time release tablets Natular XRT that is a larvicide that will be placed in the 765 storm water catch basins in town in October. The tablets sink to the bottom so they won’t be washed away and they kill the mosquito larva that host’s the Zika virus.
  • Mr. Boodheshwar presented the Town Response Plan to the task force:


Completed

  • Updated Town Website
  • Developed preventive treatment plan for minimizing breeding.
  • Issued Zika text alerts town-wide.
  • Developed a contingency spraying plan to augment or replace the County responsibility for spraying. Contract is being prepared in case it is needed. This plan doesn’t include the Naled insecticide. The plan uses Duet, a dual-action mosquito adulticide that would be sprayed at night only if a mosquito outbreak is confirmed.
  • Provide repellants at outdoor public facilities for purchase at cost.


Planned and In-Progress

  • Informational tri-fold brochure for mailing town-wide
  • Informational poster
  • Letter from the mayor to be mailed town-wide
  • Educating Town field employees on how to identify mosquito breeding conditions (public and private property) and developed a reporting process.
  • Community organizations send informational materials via email to their mailing lists.
  • All Town property inspections for breeding conditions. – In progress
  • Develop reporting process for public to communicate potential breeding conditions. The task force recommended setting up a Zika Hotline phone number to call.
  • Reach out to schools. Mrs. Goodman is checking with the Palm Beach County School Board.
  • Coordinate and host 2nd educational forum in the Fall, sponsored by the Civic and Citizens Associations.

The Task Force discussed other options for getting the word out and educating the public. One suggestion was to piggyback on the Florida Department of Health campaign called “Spill the Water” [http://www.floridahealth.gov/%5C%5C/diseases-and-conditions/spill-the-water/index.html]


The Task Force adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

This Week in Palm Beach
This Week in Palm Beach - September 16, 2016
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Thursday, 15 September 2016 16:58

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 16, 2016 edition.

 To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

Beaches
Grounded Yacht Declared Derelict: Owner Must Remove in 5 Days
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Thursday, 15 September 2016 14:22

The clock is ticking for the owner of a grounded yacht in the water off Palm Beach.  Thomas Baker now has five days to get the vessel removed.

It’s been stuck for almost a week and Tuesday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission declared the 72 foot yacht derelict.

wptv overturned yacht2The commission says If he does not remove the yacht within five days he is subject to arrest.

WPTV-NBC 5 [2:17]

See More (WPTV-NBC 5)

Fuel removed but yacht still grounded in Palm Beach

Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)

wptv overturned yacht

Top Stories
Finance Committee Chair Pat Cooper Leads Civic Association Analysis of Town Budget
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Tuesday, 13 September 2016 16:43

The Civic Association played an important role in the Town’s budget process this summer.  Treasurer Pat Cooper analyzed the 2017 budget proposal in depth and met with town officials to discuss residents’ concerns about holding the line on taxes while providing the best possible services.

During the Town budget workshop on September 13, Mr. Cooper addressed the council.  Please see his comments below:

 Oral Comments to Town of Palm Beach Town Council Budget Workshop

September 13, 2016

See back up for summary specifics of major initiatives contained herein

Pat CooperBy Pat Cooper, Palm Beach Civic Association Treasurer


I have done quite a bit of work not only on this budget but also going back to previous budgets. With the help of Jane Struder, I was able to look back as far as the 1930's to see where we stood over time. What is clear is that we were left a legacy by earlier Councils and staff - a jewel of a resort that we are today enhancing and rebuilding literally from the underground up.

• 1973 - Town budget $6,104,791 (inclusive of debt service of $692,265) with a Town assessed valuation of $549,279,000. Issues $5,000,000 in bonds to acquire Par 3 Golf course. It looks like this was the last year bonds were issued to acquire property.

• 2000 - Town issued a ten year Revenue bond in the sum of $23,530,000 for coastal issues.

• 2001 - Total debt outstanding at 9/30/2001 $26,045,000

• 2010 - Town issued a multipurpose bond of $57,035,000 to refund debt to pay for Town Hall, new Central Fire Station and repay the Town for work on Par 3 golf course. The largest amount of $43,636,510 was the ftrst phase of the ACIP. Additionally a series "B" bond was issued for $14,770,000 for Worth Avenue Improvements

• 2013 - Town issued Revenue Bonds of $55,590,000 the largest amount of which went for the second phase of the ACIP ($44,997,957). Other uses were for coastal groin and sea wall replacement ($11,900,000) and the Town portion of 2003 building the Par 3 Clubhouse project ($1,250,000).

Basically, these bonds were issued to (at first) expand and then to rebuild the Town. Never before the start of the new millennium has the Town undertaken a Capital Improvement program at this pace. What came with that was basically the debt service we have today of about $8,000,000 against total gross debt of $116,145,000 and some of that is in the process of being refunded to take advantage of lower interest rates. ACIP was approximately $90,000,000 of that total.

Other major initiatives not included in that number include coastal recommendations totaling about the same number of $80,000,000 for the next seven years; Undergrounding of $90,000,000; retirement trust fund augmentation (2017 budget amount $2,500,000; and the projected cost of replacing the Town Docks $10,000,000.

These are very large numbers and will require a focused approach in budgeting. I believe it will require a different and more strategic approach to the budget process to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It will take both a disciplined thought process and communication plan with the citizens of the town to ensure everyone is "on board" with how the budget will move forward in the next few years.

For example:

• What is Plan "B" for shore protection other than sand?

• What is the level of funding that should be reached in retirement trust funds and at what pace? Is the recommended $2,500,000 for 2017 the correct amount?

• Are Town Docks simply being replaced or are more modern facilities required to ensure the current positive cash flow is kept intact? What about dredging? Who is our competition for the replacement docks we will build and will we be seen as destination, an alternative or a distant also ran once they are rebuilt?

• At what level should our debt service be relative to the overall budget? Rather than wait for the rating agencies to tell us, why don't we calculate that number ourselves as part of a disciplined process.

• Finally, are there other services that could be seen as critical to Town citizens that are not currently in the budget and how do we provide for that?

These are not questions that are negative or critical of where we are, they are examples of some strategic decisions that have to be made. Make no mistake about it - our reserves as they now stand are the envy of most municipalities. But the numbers are getting larger and it is time, perhaps not this year, but next year to have a strategic budget discussion to get everything on the table.

Thank you to the town staff for their assistance, Tom Bradford, Jane Struder, Paul Brazil and CES Consultants Vice President, Bud Goblisch for all of the assistance and time given to me during this budge year.

Click Here to See Entire Statement and Backup [PDF]

 


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