Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. June 17, 2016 edition.
To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE
The Palm Beach Civic Association announces that Michele Dargan has joined the organization as a freelance reporter.
Mrs. Dargan will focus on general assignment reporting and in-depth feature stories for the Civic Association News on their website and in their popular e-newsletter This Week in Palm Beach.
“Michele knows the Palm Beach beat,” said Mike Brown, Communication Director of the Civic Association. “She's a great researcher and writer and is a super addition to our team.”
Michele Dargan Bio
Michele Dargan is an award-winning reporter with 28 years experience working at various newspapers in Connecticut and Florida.
An avid show jumper, she began writing freelance articles for equestrian publications while working as an English teacher in Connecticut.
She landed her first full-time newspaper job as an education reporter and sports editor at a start-up weekly in Weston, Conn. A year later, she moved to a daily newspaper as a sportswriter, when it was still a novelty to have women covering sports. While there, she won first place for sports column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists, topping longtime beat writers for New York area professional teams.
Since then, she has covered courts, religion, politics, police, fire, health, business and real estate. She also has worked as an editor of a community news section.
In 1994, she moved to Palm Beach County and worked for the Palm Beach Post covering Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage. Two years later, she landed a job at the Palm Beach Daily News, retiring in April after 20 years.
In 2014, Dargan won the Florida Press Club’s Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting for a three-part series detailing the fallout in the police and fire departments from the town’s pension reform.
Among the high-profile cases she covered while at the Daily News: the Jeffrey Epstein sex offender case, the James Sullivan millionaire murder trial and sentencing in Atlanta, the Bernard Madoff case and sentencing in New York City and the Fred Keller millionaire murder case, which included two criminal and three civil trials.
Referred By: Jeff Levitt, Civic Association Healthcare Committee Chairman. Chances are you probably hadn’t heard of the Zika virus just a few months ago. That’s because the illness was localized to certain tropical areas. But now it is spreading.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared Zika as a public health emergency of international concern.
Mosquito-borne viruses are not new; so, why is Zika such a concern? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has the potential of spreading to areas where residents have not developed any immunity. There is also no vaccine or treatment. Zika is also associated with serious complications like birth malformations and neurological syndromes. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
The Palm Beach Civic Association announces that Cathy Coleman has joined the organization as office manager.
Ms. Coleman will focus on office operations, bookkeeping, account receivable and payables, records management, and being the friendly receptionist at the front office.
“She’s a great addition to our team,” said Ned Barnes, president of the Civic Association. “This summer she’s getting up to speed on our operation so we’re ready for the upcoming season.”
Ms. Coleman previously was an office manager for Water Glades POA and a full-charge bookkeeper for Bristol Management Services, plus experience at Jupiter Hills Golf Club and The Club at Admirals Cove.
Download a copy of the construction traffic report and maps from the Town of Palm Beach for the week of June 20 by clicking on the link below.
Activity this Week
(1) FLAGLER MEMORIAL BRIDGE
(2) TOWN SQUARE
(3) SIGNALIZATION AND MAST ARM IMPROVEMENTS ON NORTH COUNTY ROAD
(4) SOUTH OCEAN BOULEVARD STREET LIGHT UPGRADE
(5) RIDGEVIEW DRIVE DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENTS
(6) VIA MARILA OUTFALL REPAIR
(7) FPU GAS LINE REPLACEMENTS
(8) TOWN WIDE PALM TREE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
A dedicated traffic telephone line is also available from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday to report excessive traffic delays or concerns. Please call 561-838-5410. After hour concerns can be reported to the Police Department at 561-838-5454.
We have learned more about the Zika Virus and here are some facts:
• The mosquito that carries the virus is categorized as a "container mosquito." That means that it breeds and stays near a container that has liquid inside. That can be as small as a soda can, water bottle, even a water bottle cap that has a small amount of liquid left over - or a pool of water as big as a bird feeder, boat/bilge, or swimming pool.
• These mosquitos don't travel far. They typically stay within 150 feet of the standing water where they hatched. That can cause an infestation in a limited area.
The following is the latest Zika Virus update from the Town of Palm Beach:
What We Know
• There are still no known cases of Zika virus which were contracted in the United States. However, there have been over 600 diagnosed cases as of June 1, 2016, all of which were contracted while traveling.
• There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease.
• Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime.
• Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
• Zika virus can be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his sex partners.
• Mosquito bite prevention measures should be taken when traveling in areas of the world where the virus is prevalent.
What You Can Do
• Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by eliminating sources of water they can live in. Some of the key actions property owners can take include:
o Ornamental Ponds: Stock with mosquito-eating fish. Avoid spraying with garden insect sprays. Keep water level up.
o Swimming Pools: Operate filter and skimmer continuously. If a pool cover is used, keep it tightly sealed.
o Boats: Store small boats and kayaks upside down or cover to keep out the rain. Bail out standing water and check bilge for larvae.
o Rain gutters: Keep cleaned and cleared of leaves.
o Tree holes: Fill tree holes with sand where possible.
o Containers: All containers should be stored upside down. Discard unwanted containers that might collect rain water or water from sprinklers. This includes: barrels, buckets, wading pools, and watering pans under potted plants.
o Surface Depressions: Level off surface depressions with standing water so it can run off.
o Bromeliads: Flush out bromeliads every 3 to 4 days.
• Protect yourself by using insect repellents that contain DEET when outside (at all hours of the day) and wear long sleeve clothes if at all possible.
• Contact the Mosquito Control District
o Any resident or property owner experiencing excessive mosquitos should call or email the County's Mosquito Control Division to request an inspection of their property.
o The phone number is 561-967-6480 and the website address to report mosquito activity is www.pbcgov.com/erm/mosquito
o Mosquito Control staff will assess each individual complaint to determine the source of the mosquito problem and take the appropriate measures, which can range from isolated to neighborhood-wide spraying if a high mosquito population is discovered.
Press on the Subject
Town of Palm Beach News Release: The City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities Department will temporarily modify the disinfection process used to treat drinking water supplied to the Town from June 20 to July 22, 2016.
Residents may notice a slight chlorine taste or odor in the tap water during this period. These temporary conditions will not cause adverse health effects.
If you are especially sensitive to the taste or odor, keep an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator for a few hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
If you have any questions, please call the City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities Department at 561-822-1300.
City of West Palm Beach News Release:
Water Treatment Plant to Flush Lines with Chlorine Starting June 20, 2016
To maintain high water quality in the City's water distribution system, the City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities Department will temporarily modify the disinfection process used to treat our drinking water.
The City will use a somewhat stronger disinfection process to produce chlorine residual instead of a chloramine residual from June 20th to July 22nd, 2016. The City will also increase hydrant flushing during this time. This is a preventative maintenance process.
Customers served by the City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities Department, [including the Town of Palm Beach], may notice a slight chlorine taste or odor in their tap water during this period. These temporary conditions will not cause adverse health effects.
If you are especially sensitive to the taste or odor of chlorine, keep an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator for a few hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
Users of home dialysis machines, owners of tropical fish and managers of stores and restaurants with fish and shellfish holding tanks are advised to seek professional advice as the method for removing chlorine residuals differs from removing chloramine residuals from tap water.
Should you need more information on this change in the water treatment process, please call the City of West Palm Beach Public Utilities Department at (561) 822·1300.
By Michele Dargan - Special to the Civic Association News.
In the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting, Deputy Police Chief Dan Szarszewski urges residents to report anyone talking about acts of violence or acting in a suspicious manner.
“It’s a terrible time that we live in because these things will continue to happen and people have to be vigilant,” Mr. Szarszewski said. “A lot of incidents can be stopped beforehand. Our patrol force and our detectives are highly vigilant. We’re not changing our methods of protecting the people of Palm Beach.”
Image: Palm Beach Post File Photo
Palm Beach police are trained for “active shooter” situations, Mr. Szarszewski said.
Last year, the town’s police and fire departments received training from the county in a simulated shooter situation, he said. Palm Beach has its own SWAT team, which trains once a month and includes “active shooter” protocols, he said. In addition, all police officers have a helmet and a specialized vest that protects body cavities from high-powered weapons.
“If they get an active shooter call, they’re going to don that gear,” he said. “They keep them in their cars. Even though some officers may not be on the SWAT team, they are all trained to utilize those items and all officers get training for those type of incidents.”
Omar Mateen, 29, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, killed 49 people and wounded 53 during a three-hour rampage in the popular gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning, according to law enforcement officials. During the massacre, Mr. Mateen updated his Facebook page and texted his wife, Noor Salman, officials say. Ms. Salman gave conflicting statements about what she knew of her husband’s intentions before the attack and a grand jury will determine if charges will be brought against her, according to CNN.
“As in the case of the recent tragedy in Orlando, mass casualty attackers typically visit the location of an attack and conduct their own vulnerability assessment before launching the attack,” said Michael Reiter, a Civic Association director and retired Palm Beach police chief. “Effective use of security resources is important but not often accomplished, even by facilities and organizations that are security minded. I often find facilities have inoperable security cameras or the cameras are not monitored by trained security personnel. Security personnel must monitor cameras for suspicious activity, threatening situations or, most importantly, to detect when they are being probed by a would-be attacker.”
Mr. Reiter owns Michael Reiter and Associates, a Palm Beach-based independent global security advisor and operator for high net-worth families and security conscious organizations.
Officials haven’t determined if Mr. Mateen had actual ties to any terrorist organization or if he was just a terrorist sympathizer. He was investigated by the FBI prior to the attacks and can be categorized as a “lone-wolf terrorist” - one who is motivated by an extremist agenda. He also reportedly visited the nightclub several times before carrying out his massacre.
Mr. Reiter said residents and business owners should report any suspicious activity, such as anyone photographing entrances or exits, examining construction materials of buildings or asking questions about security personnel or equipment.
“Islamic fundamentalist terrorism may be refocusing from places where large numbers of people gather to creating fear in the heart of every American by attacking “soft targets” where the public visits, such as shopping areas, restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship and lodging establishments,” Mr. Reiter said. “These establishments often make a great deal of information available to the public in order to sell their goods and services. They must balance security against esthetics and customer services. Houses of worship and other smaller venues should monitor security video systems during services and other events to watch for suspicious activity, including bags and packages left unattended and exit doors that are propped open.”
Rabbi Moshe Scheiner of the Palm Beach Synagogue said they’ve been increasing security measures over the past few years. The synagogue has a committee that studies and suggests ways to improve security, he said. What is happening worldwide already happened decades ago in Israel, Rabbi. Scheiner said.
“Since the world has become increasingly more dangerous, we have greatly increased our security measures at the synagogue,” Rabbi Scheiner said. “We have an armed guard every Saturday during services and Sunday during Hebrew school. We have installed cameras and buzzers, so that we only buzz people in after we see them on the cameras. We have a number of members on the safety committee who are always being vigilant to secure the safety of the congregants with various new procedures and methods. Its very unfortunate that things have come to this because when we began 20 years ago, we never had an armed guard during Shabbat services. Our daily lives have really been altered in how we go about doing things. It’s a drastic change for the worse happening before our eyes.”
The Rev. James Harlan, rector of The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, said staff and church leaders have been looking at ways to increase security for the past six months. The church shooting in Charleston last year coupled with the presidential election have factored into the decision to ramp up security, he said. Part-time resident Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, attended Christmas Eve and Easter services at Bethesda.
“We have security measures in place and we have been evaluating them and consulting with experts to look at ways to enhance security in any way we can,” Rev. Harlan said. “We’ve watched as the presidential campaign has raised the profile of Palm Beach.”
Ned Barnes, Civic Association president, said the organization is looking at ways to improve security.
"We plan to be extra vigilant and tighten security at all upcoming events ," Mr. Barnes said. "The safety of our members and guests is our top priority."
The town’s police and fire personnel often train together, because police may need to bring paramedics into the area where an incident is taking place, Mr. Szarszewski said.
“Our officers are taught, from day one, to neutralize or eliminate the threat,” he said. “If a person is barricaded with hostages, that changes things a little, but they still have to get at the threat. If they hear shots, first responding officers have an obligation to get to where the incident is occurring.”