Saturday, June 30, 2007

IDEAS FOR the 4th of JULY


Wear your red, white and blue outfit and mosey over to FAU, beginning at 6 pm on Wednesday, July 4th for a musical revue at 4 pm of “An American Songbook: Irving Berlin, at FAU’s University Theater. Tickets are $20. At 5:30, a few blocks away, the outdoor event will begin with games at the carnival midway and family activities. The muxic beings with the “Rumor Has It” band offering music of the 1950’s and 1960’s. At 6 pm family activities are held and at 6:30 pm there will be a stage show, “You’re A Grand Old Flag. At 7:30 the Florida Wind Symphony presents a patriotic musical tribute including vocal selections from the “Irving Berlin Review” and popular family musical, “Bye Bye Birdie, both currently being presented at the University Theatre.

At 9 pm, a fireworks display will take place with traditional patriotic music supplied by Radio station WRMF 97.9 FM.

Other activities include appearances by FAU athletic teams and coaches, clowns amking animal sculptured balloons, face painting, sand art, gift drawings and family games. Special music and activities will be provided by the Childrens Museum and Glass Productions. “Operation Goody Boxes”, coordinated by the Humanitarian Society and othes, will receive monetary donations at their tent by the stage area to prepare and mail “goody boxes” to troops overseas.

Food vendors will provide picnic-type foods. No personal fireworks, open fires, pets or alcoholic beverages allowed. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. Closest parking lots to the events are 1, 2, 4 and the parking garage next to parking lot 1. Those with handicapped needs are asked to use the 20th Street entrance and go to parking lot 1. For information call 561-393-7806, selection 2.


Join the day-long celebration on the beach, an ongoing tradition in Delray, starting at 8 am on Wednesday July 4th. Three days in advance world-class sand sculptors being their work, with a grand unveiling of the large-scale sculpture on July 3rd. At 10 am there will be a flag raising ceremony of a 30’x60’ American flag near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue. At 4 pm the traditional Patriotic Bicycle and Scooter Parade will leave from Veterans Park and head for the beach. New bicycles, helmets, gift cards and more will be awarded for the best decorated bicycles, wagons and scooters.

There will be music, entertainment and food available at restaurants on the beach. At 8:45 pm Mayor Rita Ellis will lead the pledge of allegiance and at 9 pm the fireworks begin accompanied by music.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


More and more positive mentions of home sales are being seen in the media.

NAR projects that sales will have a gradual upturn becoming more pronounced by the end of 2007. FAR reports that statewide sales of existing single-family homes in Florida totaled 12,607 in May, which is more in line with May 2002 activity, prior to the housing boom years, than May 2006 with 19,072 homes – a 34% decrease in the year-to-year comparison.

The MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) reported that the Boca-West Palm area had 741 homes sold last month compared to 982 a year ago, producing a 25% decrease. Median price was $387,800 whereas in May 2006 it ws $391,000 resulting ina 1% decrease. 613 existing condos changed hands last month, up 11% from the 552 condos sold the previous year. Existing condo medial sales price in May was $217,400; a year ago it was $218,900, for a 1% decrease.

Among the state’s larger markets, the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported 741 existing homes sold last month compared to 982 homes sold a year ago for a 25 percent decrease. The market's median sales price for homes was $387,800; it was $391,000 in May 2006 for a 1 percent decrease. A total of 613 existing condos changed hands in the MSA last month, up 11 percent from the 552 condos sold the previous year. The existing condo median sales price in May was $217,400; a year ago, it was $218,900 for a 1 percent decrease.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


A bill authorizing county and local governments throughout the state to invest surplus funds in bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Israel has been adopted by the Florida State Legislature, starting July 1st, and was signed by Governor Charlie Christ on June 8th at a ceremony at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton.

Those authorized to invest are state agencies, municipal fire and police pension funds and local governments.

Gov. Christ recently returned from a trip to Israel that focused on bilateral trade between Israel and the State of Florida.

The first Israel bond was sold in 1951 and close to $25-billion in investment capital has been secured for the development of every aspect of Israel’s economy including agriculture, commerce and industry, and to absorb Jews from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

More than $100-million of Israel Bonds are purchased every year within the State of Florida by individuals, corporations, pension plans, universities, hospitals, foundations, unions, banks and insurance companies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The Planning and Zoning Board recommended the 211-unit townhouse project to be built on 30 acres on the southwest edge of Ocean Breeze Golf Course at Boca Teeca to the City Council after a hearing this past week. A public hearing will be held on August 14, and next the Department of Community Affairs must review the proposal. It then goes back to City Counsel in November or December for a final vote, requiring 4 yes votes of the 5 members voting. The proposal includes renovating the Inn at Ocean Breeze by adding 46 hotel rooms to the existing 46, and refurbishing the Boca Teeca clubhouse by adding a new social center. Included would be creating a new 9-hole executive golf course and a redesigned 18-hole golf course on the existing fairways. The townhouses would have golf course views. President of the President’s Council said that “the overwhelming majority of Boca Teeca unit owners fully endorse this plan and voluntarily agree to lift the deed restriction on 30 acres of the south course to allow for a limited 211-unit town home project.” Concerns included traffic along NW 2nd Avenue and the loss to some residents of golf course views.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Florida has now become the first state in the US to link its public investments with the actions of “rogue” nations.

The new law allows Florida to divest some of its $150-BB fund and other public investments from firms that refuse to stop doing business with or otherwise support Iran and Sudan. Genocide and the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, the “world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” will not be sponsored by Florida, said Senator Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and he praised Florida Governor Charlie Christ, just back from a trip to Israel, for signing the bill.

Deutch says he is working with other states to accomplish a similar program, and Governor Christ has sent letters to Governors of 49 other states encouraging them to follow suit. Deutch said the use of the law would require three steps: Identify firms with ties described by the law, Engage those firms “in a dialogue that causes them to understand what they are doing, and Ask that those ties be severed. If they are not severed, those stocks will be divested from the pension funds holdings.

This bill was signed by Governor Christ at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Dear Property Tax Reform Supporter:

I am excited to announce that an agreement has been reached between the House and the Senate on the tax cut levels for historic relief and reform package that will save Florida taxpayers $31.6 billion over the next five years. This is, by far, the largest tax cut in Florida’s history.

I cannot be more proud of the excellent work of our negotiating team and the valuable input from our respective legislative chambers. Together, we are bringing forth a thoughtful and comprehensive plan that will give every property owner – homestead, non-homestead residential, and commercial/industrial – a tax cut this year. We are confident that when this plan is implemented, Floridians will finally have a more equitable tax system that will yield property tax bills that they can afford to pay.

The details of the plan are provided below. Thank you for continued involvement in this very important issue. Please e-mail us at for more information.


Marco Rubio

Speaker, Florida House of Representatives

$15.6 billion in Immediate Tax Relief and Reform (Statutory Changes)

  • Beginning this year, every category of property taxpayer will benefit from the cut and the cap that the statute imposes.
  • All cities and counties will be required to cut taxes in the upcoming 2007-2008 fiscal year to the 2006-2007 revenue levels. These local governments will then be required to make an additional cut of 3%, 5%, 7% or 9%. The level of cuts will be determined by a formula that analyzes their taxing performance over the past 5 years, measured against a statewide average.
  • Special taxing districts and fiscally limited cities and counties will be required to cut taxes to the 2006-2007 revenue levels and make an additional cut of 3%.
  • A cap on future property tax revenues (based on the rate of personal income growth and new construction) will be imposed to ensure that government cannot grow faster than personal income.
  • Local governments may override the cut and the cap. The method for the override will vary based on the magnitude of the local government’s action (escalating from a supermajority vote of the local governing body, to a unanimous vote of the local governing body, to a referendum).

$16 billion in Further Tax Relief and Reform (Constitutional Amendment)

  • The estimated average savings for a homestead property (combining statutory and constitutional changes) will be $1,300 in 2008-2009. This average savings represents a 44% reduction.
  • “Save our Homes” is replaced with a new “super exemption”. An estimated 73% of homesteaded properties will receive a greater benefit under this new exemption.
  • The new “super exemption” will be as follows:
    • Level 1: Homestead Property will receive an exemption of 75% of the first $200,000 in value of the home. The minimum exemption is $50,000 per homestead.
    • Level 2: In addition to Level 1, homestead property will obtain another 15% exemption for the next $300,000 in value.
  • We will grandfather the tax savings and assessment cap for the minority of property owners who have greater benefits under the current “Save our Homes” plan.
  • We will preserve all existing constitutional exemptions based on special circumstances, including those now provided to disabled veterans, low income seniors and agricultural lands.
  • Because the tax base for all taxing authorities will decline under the constitutional amendment, the fiscal analyses reflects a reduction in school funding. We intend to hold schools harmless from these cuts.

Other Constitutional Changes

There has been agreement to address remaining issues such as additional relief to low income elderly taxpayers, offering incentives for affordable housing and providing tax reform for “working waterfronts” and small businesses. Small businesses will receive a $25,000 tangible personal property tax (TPP) exemption resulting in a total exemption for $1 million of the 1.3 million businesses who must pay this tax. Furthermore, those who receive a total exemption on their TPP will never have to file the burdensome paperwork associated with the tax again.


The developer’s plan for 60 units per acre in Briny Breezes is being contested by locals. Hottest issue is the density level. It was pointed out by Ocean Ridge Mayor Ken Kaleel that this complex will be built on “a fragile piece of land,”. The developer offered $514-MM for the 43 acres that includes 600’ of the Atlantic Ocean frontage. Right now there are 12 units per acre with the trailers on the land, and Boca Raton, as an example, has maximum density of 20 units per acre. Some of the issues mentioned include overburdening roads, stretching scarce natural resources, and insurance increases from overbuilding on vulnerable barrier islands. Figures were mentioned that there were 488 existing trailers, and plans are to build 1500 units, either condos, timeshares or hotel rooms. The developer describes that portion of A1A as an arterial road, but the FDOT classifies it as a collector road, which is subject to higher standards. The county is concerned about a bigger need for sufficient drinking and firewater as well as traffic concerns and environmental issues. The developer’s preliminary proposal is being reviewed and expected to be finished June 29th, when further debate no doubt will begin. For comments on the proposal you can email Robert Dennis, Regional Planning Administrator at

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


On Monday, June 25, a very special anniversary party, free to members and non-members, will be held at the facilities from 10 am to 5 pm. At 1:30 pm a huge anniversary cake will be cut and served.

There will be two free tours of the Pastimes and Amusements of the Japanese exhibition including Japanese toys, games, musical instruments and other objects depicting the spirit of amusement and playfulness enjoyed in Japan, which officially opens on June 26th. One tour will be held at noon, one at 3 pm, limited to the first 100 people. Two tours will also be offered of the exhibition Yamato Colony at 11 am and 2 pm, each tour limited to 50 people. These are provided by a one-year Florida state grant. Tickets for all tours will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 10 am. Guests are invited to stroll through the Japanese Gardens and can use a free audio tour.

For children, a treasure trek activity is being scheduled to take place in the Gardens. The Cornell Café will be open for lunch. The museum store will give a free Japanese fan for purchases over $15 and discounts on some items.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. They are located at 4000 Morikami Park Road in Delray Beach off Jog Road between Linton Boulevard and Clint Moore Road. 561-495-0233 or

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Willow Theatre presents “The Life of Ivy Stranahan: A florida Pioneer, Saturday June 23rd at 2 pm. Reknowned historical Chautauqa portrayal artist tells tales of old Florida, with Mrs. Stranahan trekking through knee-deep mud, championing the Seminole Indians cause and becoming Ft. Lauderdale’s first teacher, a portrait of achievement and courage. Tickets are $12. Purchase at box office (561-347-3948).

The Boca Historical Society exhibits will include”Herstory: Boca Raton’s Pioneer Women.”

Sugar Sands Park Community Center and the Willow Theatre are located at 300 S. Military Trail, B oca Raton (561-347-3900 or

Sunday, June 03, 2007


On June 6 a meeting will be held to discuss proposed improvements to East Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach between NW and SW 12th Avenue to A1A. This will include milling and repaving existing roadway, updating curb ramps at intersections and adding cross walks, installing new mast arm traffic signals at some intersections, installing new highway lighting and adding new landscaping and decorative features. No formal presentation will be made; it will be an informal open meeting. It will be held 3-8 pm at the Old School Square Gymnasium at 51 N. Swinton Ave, just north of Atlantic Avenue. Construction is expected to begin in August 2008 and completed in a year and a half. Estimated cost is about $6-MM. For more information call FDOT’s Project Manager John Thmpson at 866-336-8435, Ext 4680 or email: