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By Michele Dargan, Special for the Civic Association -- More than 300 people attended the Palm Beach Civic Association’s Annual Meeting Monday morning at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.

Some of the highlights included Mayor Gail Coniglio’s “State of Palm Beach” address, a “Year in Review” video of the association’s events, the presentation of the Town Beautification Award, and the Raymond J. Kunkel Awards.

See: Mayor Delivers State of Palm Beach Address During the Civic Association’s Annual Meeting

Civic Association members also approved 13 new directors, who will be added to the board. Directors George Michel, Jr., and Ralph Del Deo became honorary directors.

See: New Directors Elected to the Palm Beach Civic Association Board

Civic Association Chairman and CEO Bob Wright called the meeting to order and Erin Manning, executive director of the Flagler Museum, welcomed everyone.

See the Full End-of-Season Review video

Following the video highlighting the many events this season, Civic Association President Ned Barnes described the association as being “vibrant, upbeat, and full of life.”

2017 CIVIC ASSOCIATION ANNUAL AWARDS PRESENTATION from Palm Beach Civic Association on Vimeo.

Mr. Barnes recognized Susan Keenan, vice president of marketing and membership, for her many accomplishments during her four years with the association. She is leaving the position at the end of the season.

“Susan is someone who is perfect for this job,” Mr. Barnes said. “She knows everyone in Palm Beach and everyone in Palm Beach seems to love her. She has a passion for the town. She’s a master at organizing the events, a team player with drive and determination to step up and see a project through, and she does it all with enthusiasm and a smile.”

Mr. Wright described Mr. Barnes as a “great leader” and thanked him for his hard work during the season

The 13 new directors approved on Monday are: Diana Barrett, Lori Jayne Weitz Bernstein, Nathan Gantcher, Christopher Goldberg, Patricia Ann Humbert McLaughlin, Alicia Cannon Mullen, Donna Plasket, Dan Ponton, Michael Pucillo, Paul Shiverick, Jeffery Smith and Robert E. Swanson. Erin Manning was appointed as a liaison director.

Town Beautification Award

In presenting the Town Beautification Award, Isabel Furlaud said “there could be no better choice than our winner and unanimous selection” The Garden Club of Palm Beach.

Since its beginning in 1928, the Garden Club has worked in close cooperation with the Town of Palm Beach, said Mrs. Furlaud, chairman of the Civic Association’s Beautification Committee. Betsy Matthews and Sue Strickland accepted the award.
In the past ten years, The Garden Club of Palm Beach has:

*maintained the Demonstration Garden at The Society of the Four Arts
*funded the design and installation of the Southern Oasis Traffic Circle
*funded the design and installation of the Kaleidoscope Flower Beds on Royal Poinciana Way
*contributed to the design and maintenance of the Living Wall on Worth Avenue
*contributed to the restoration of Memorial Park in the Town Hall Square
*sponsored Arbor Day annually in the Town of Palm Beach
*sponsored a free lecture annually by an acclaimed speaker
*hosted a Flower Show biennially
*funded a master’s degree candidate scholarship annually at Pine Jog Environmental Education Center
*spearheaded town beautification projects at all three entryways into Palm Beach.   

Christine Aylward, a member of the Beautification Committee, spoke about a successful town beautification project this year that was a joint effort between the Civic Association and Palm Beach Walks. Palm Beach Walks is a group headed by resident John Corey, a Civic Association member who is also on the Beautification Committee.

“When John learned that North County Road was scheduled for a major upgrade last summer, he created the North County Road Tree Initiative to plant palm trees along North County Road between Royal Poinciana Way and Park Avenue,” Mrs. Aylward said. “Residents were invited to underwrite the cost of one or more palm trees, and 28 trees were planted … We want to thank John Corey for his leadership on this project, architect Miguel Rosales for his creative drawings and his support, and everybody who so generously donated a palm tree for this beautification project.”

Raymond J. Kunkel Awards

Sean Luca Frankland, Gray Foster and the Friends of Palm Beach were this year’s recipients of Raymond J. Kunkel Awards.
Mr. Frankland and Mr. Foster received a plaque and a check for $1,000. Friends of Palm Beach received a plaque and a check for $3,000.

The Kunkel Award was created in 1976 in memory of the late Civic Association Director and Chairman Raymond J. Kunkel.  It is given each year to individuals or organizations that render heroic or meritorious service to the Town of Palm Beach.  

“For the past 30 years, the Palm Beach Civic Association has given the Raymond J. Kunkel Award to individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact on Palm Beach, said William Matthews, chairman of the Kunkel Award Committee. “This year, our three award winners have impacted the town in significant ways.”

Mr. Frankland, age 12, is a student at Bak Middle School of the Arts.  Last summer, he started a project called Recycle with Sean Luca where he collects abandoned and donated bicycles, washes them, fixes them up, and delivers them to outreach centers in the community that serve the homeless. Last June, he delivered nine refurbished bicycles to St. Ann Place in West Palm Beach and a second batch to Place of Hope, which provides foster care to children affected by abuse and neglect, Mr. Matthews said.

“Sean, the Palm Beach Civic Association is impressed by your concern for those who are less fortunate, and we applaud your willingness to roll up your sleeves and work to make a difference in your community,” Mr. Matthews said.

Mr. Foster, the second recipient, is a ninth grader at Palm Beach Day Academy, and the fourth generation of his family to live on the island.

“He is concerned about the plastic bags that litter our town and especially our beaches,” said Cathy Flagg, a Kunkel Award Committee member.  “He is also worried about balloons that are released and ingested by sea turtles and other marine life. Gray was so concerned about this problem that he decided to do something about it. He studied the use of plastic bags in the United States and discovered how destructive they are to the environment.  He also examined the disastrous impact of released balloons on marine life, especially sea turtles.  And, he produced a comprehensive report on the subject that covered the problem from a local, national, and international perspective.”

At the December Town Council meeting, Mr. Foster presented his report, and asked council members to endorse a resolution giving local governments the power to ban single-use plastic bags. The Town Council agreed, and passed a resolution banning balloon and sky lantern releases within the town.

“We are grateful for his leadership in addressing these important issues,” Mrs. Flagg said.  
Paul Leone, a Kunkel Award Committee member, presented the last award to the Friends of Palm Beach led by founder Diane Buhler.  

Friends of Palm Beach sponsors monthly cleanup events where volunteers pick up trash by hand, Mr. Leone said. They’re also out cleaning our beaches three to five days a week—every week—for four to six hours a day, he said.

To date, the group has removed more than 53,000 pounds of trash and unnatural debris from the beaches of Palm Beach, Mr. Leone said.  In 2016 alone, Friends of Palm Beach removed over 38,000 pounds of trash from the Palm Beach coastline, he said.
“Friends of Palm Beach is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization and, like most non-profits, the group lives on a shoestring,” Mr. Leone said. “It is supported by twenty-eight Palm Beach residents in the north end of town and two associations, including the Citizens Association of Palm Beach. Crews include volunteers, and clients from the Lord’s Place, a homeless advocacy group, and Vita Nova, an organization that assists young adults coming out of the foster care system.”

Civic Association Reusable Shopping Bags

Under the leadership of Executive Committee Member Brian McIver, the Civic Association has created reusable grocery shopping bags in three colors. Each person who attended the meeting received three bags, one in each color. The Civic Association will be distributing the bags around town. Anyone who would like some of the reusable bags, please call the Civic Association at 561-655-0820.

End of Season Celebration

A champagne and mimosa celebration with passed hors d'oeuvres was held in the Grand Hall following the meeting. Event sponsors were Linda R. Olsson, Inc., Realtor, the Flagler Museum, and Hospital for Special Surgeries. Civic Association partners this season were The Everglades Foundation, Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Scripps Florida.


Civic Association Honors Palm Beach Environmental Activists
Three environmental stewards — two of them students — received awards from the Palm Beach Civic Association this week for their volunteer efforts.
Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)

Palm Beach student wins Florida Wildlife Federation conservation award
Gray Foster has appeared before the Town Council, seeking to ban plastic bags.
Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)

South End student starts bike donation project for kids, homeless
Palm Beach isn’t just home to thousands of adult philanthropists. The act of giving starts at a young age on the island. At 11, South End resident Sean Luca Frankland already has been involved in volunteer work for several years, from beach clean ups with the Boy Scouts to food drives for school.
Read More (Palm Beach Daily News)


Photography by Capehart

Annual Meeting April 24, 2017