Thursday, May 29, 2008


One of 5 cities in the nation to win the award, The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association cited North Beach, located between Red Reef Park and Boca’s northern boundary. Successful beach renourishment projects have been completed on the central and south beaches, in 2006 and 2003 respectively. Beaches are restored for storm protection, habitat restoration and recreation. More than 370 beaches in the US have been restored along coastlines in Miami Beach, Coney Island and Venice Beach in Southern California. Three criteria are judged – economic and ecological benefits the beach brings to its community, the short and long term success of the restoration projects and the challenges each community overcame during the project. Judges commented that the North Boca Raton effort “is characterized by its longevity, environmental sensitivity and foresight. The three large Boca Raton beachfront properties are worth over $330-MM, making them the city’s most valuable asset”.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Some Lake Ida residents prefer the area to be quiet, lush and private, a charming tucked-away neighborhood in Delray Beach’s northern end. They have drafted rules to restrict the size of new buildings in the neighborhood of 730 homes. The area goes from east of Lake Ida, south of NW 22nd St, west of Swinton Avenue and north of Lake Ida Road. City Commission is expected to hear the Lake Ida Neighborhood Building Guidelines proposal June 3rd. The new rules specify the size of house that can be built, but not the style of architecture or color of the exterior. Last week the new rules were supported by the Planning and Zoning Board, but commission approval is necessary. Some area homes are large with heavy landscaping, and others are small bungalows and 1950’s ranchettes. Some residents were concerned that the houses were getting too big for small lots, and eliminated privacy. For more than ten years, there has been discussion about helping to preserve the appeal of Lake Ida.

Monday, May 26, 2008


A forthcoming study, Total Cancer Care, that Boca Community Hospital Lynn Cancer Care Institute will participate in, includes association with a major cancer center (the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa), a pharmaceutical firm (Merck & Co) and the state of Florida who will be doing a study that could radically change the way cancer is treated. Moffitt will link with healthcare providers nationwide. Fourteen hospital sites in Florida are participating. The goal of the program is to improve cancer prevention and treatment by using molecular technology to enhance the ability to diagnose and treat patients. Currently tumors can be tested for 30,000 genes which provide molecular fingerprints unique to each tumor. Scientists, by studying these unique molecular structures, will be able to develop individually personalized new drug therapies to enhance treatment responses. With no extra doctor visits, no additional expenses to pay and medical information remaining private, patients that participate in the program will also have access to individualized clinical trials as they develop. 2,500 cancer patients will enroll in the BRCH research program over the next 5 years, collecting tumor, tissue, blood, urine and clinical information at various points of their lives. Focus will be on breast, prostate, brain, lung, pancreatic, colorectal and ovarian tissue. Lynn Cancer Institute is one of the top five largest cancer programs for patient volumes in Florida. Patients are seen by multiple sub-specialists at the same location on the same visit. The newest location, the 98,000 sq ft $73-MM Harvey and Phyllis Sandler Pavilion is scheduled to open this fall.


Take a wetlands walk at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 South Ocean Boulevard in Boca. Meet at the boardwalk’s entrance on Jog, one mile north of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. 9-10:30 AM on Wednesday, 5-28. An adult must sign up and accompany children – open to all agents. Wakodahatchee is a favorite for birders and photographers, a man –made wetland. Call 561-338-1473 to reserve. Watch the sharks, sea turtles and fish feeding frenzy at the tanks from 2:30 pm Sunday-Friday, 11:30 am Saturdays. No fee, no reservations. Walk Red Reed beach looking for ocean treasures and find spectacular shells. First you will hear an introductory talk about seashells and the animals that make them. These will be held in June and July on various Thursdays, and on a Monday in August. Call 561-3381473 for reservation and information. Members pay $4, non-members pay $6.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


A year-long study is in the process by the Florida Turnpike Enterprise for possible changes to the 9-mile section between the Sawgrass Expressway exit and the Atlantic Avenue interchange in Delray Beach. Public input will be maximized with neighborhood meetings, newsletters and press releases. Considerations are widening the road from 6 to 8 lanes, and adding full or partial interchanges at either Clint Moore Road, Yamato Road or Palmetto Park Rod (all in Boca Raton) or Linton Boulevard (in Delray Beach). Nearby neighborhoods expressed concern about more noise, increased traffic and more dirt, while expressing a wish to relieve traffic on Glades Road. Some areas requested sound-deadening walls.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Donald Trumps’ 6-acre oceanfront Palm Beach 62,500 sq ft mansion at 515 North Country Road is under contract for a reported $100-MM, purchased by a family from abroad, said to be from Russia. This is the former Gozman residence. Trump paid $41.35MM in 2004 at a bankruptcy auction and spent $25MM renovating the property. There are 9 bedrooms, ballroom, art gallery, conservatory, wine room and media room as well as 2 guest houses and a 50 car garage. Trump says that if for some reason the sale does not close, he has two back up offers for more than $100MM as, “It’s one of the best sites in Florida and one of the best in the world.” It is said that the new buyers have not yet decided whether to keep the property as is, or demolish and start over.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Boca Raton Mayor Steven Abrams told Council Members this week that the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates Tri-Rail, chose to go with the larger project – which is 15 time larger than what is allowed on the property. The Council reaffirmed it’s position with a unanimous vote adopting a resolution of opposition. This is the Council’s second resolution of opposition. City Manager Leif Ahnell said the area being considered for development is currently designated as a “rail site.” He said a “transportation summit” will be held, perhaps in June, for further discussion which will include attendees from the state DOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, large employers and Palm Beach and Broward County officials.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Analysis shows a negative impact on the health, education, and well-being of children A new report released today reveals that an estimated 2 million children will be directly impacted by the sub-prime mortgage crisis as their families lose their homes due to foreclosures. As the first comprehensive analysis of how the crisis will impact kids, the report explains that this number will rise even higher when accounting for other populations, such as children being evicted from rental units that are going into default and those children whose parents default on conventional loans. These foreclosures will happen primarily during 2008 and 2009. The report, which includes state-by-state estimates of the number of children that are directly impacted by this crisis, indicates that foreclosures often result in disruptions to a child's education, as well as issues relating to their physical and mental health. Moreover, behavioral problems are more likely to arise in children who lose their homes, as positive peer relationships disintegrate when children are forced from their neighborhoods. The report, entitled "The Impact of the Mortgage Crisis on Children" can be found at In addition, the report finds that the physical and mental health of displaced children can be severely compromised, as families losing their homes are less likely to have money available for items such as health care and health insurance. Children impacted by the mortgage crisis are likely to experience excessive mobility and as a result are only half as likely to be proficient in reading as their peers. And, they are much more likely to be held back and eventually drop out of school. Children forced from their homes experience behavioral problems, such as increases in violence. Due to the increasing number of foreclosures, school districts across the country are experiencing increases in the number of homeless children entering their classrooms, many of which can be attributed to the mortgage crisis.

Monday, May 12, 2008


There is a fixation on what rates will be in the future and what rates were in the past. I’ve heard potential home buyers say, “I’m not sure I want to buy now because rates are ¼ percent higher now and I think I’ll wait.” I ask, “Wait for what?” I say, “Let’s not look at the rate but instead concentrate on what that rate actually represents … your monthly payment. Let’s look at what an interest rate move of ¼ percent really does to a $200,000 mortgage. Say a 30-year interest rate at 6.00 percent “jumps” to 6 ¼ percent. Shall we sit on the sidelines, thinking such a move is suddenly unaffordable?” No! The payment on a $200,000 loan “jumps” by about $32 a month! Now let’s look at a ½ percent increase and the monthly payment increases by $64, which is about the price now of a tank of gas. While not insignificant, it’s hardly a reason to stay on the sidelines of home ownership. Right now, buyers should feel more urgency than ever. Home prices have declined enough to make buying more affordable than it's been in recent memory and interest rates (whether at 6 percent or 6 1/4 percent) are historically low. Can you see now that it's time to buy?

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently said of an area that was hard hit by the housing downturn, that “the worst conditions in the Tampa market may have already passed… I think the second half of 2008 will be better. But if I look at the long-term perspective, five years from now, comfortably, one can say home prices in this region will be 20-30% higher.” He also said that while sub prime mortgages made up only 9% of all mortgages in the US, they made up 53% of US housing foreclosures, dragging down the housing market. Yun noted, “There’s a change in the mood over the last couple of weeks,” and that mortgage rates are at near historic lows, business spending is strong and corporate profits are up, all good economic signs. No doubt this is good news for Florida’s east coast too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


The National Association of Realtors sees a flat pattern in home sales which will improve over the summer. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the recovery hinges on better access to affordable loans….(which is)… uneven around the country and sometimes within metropolitan areas. In many areas, buyers are looking at homes, but are slow to sign contracts, sometimes waiting for more affordable credit or turned off by unnecessarily restrictive lending practices. Real estate news is “local” with some areas showing sales increases and others not. Yun says, “It is critical to stimulate housing demand by inducing fence sitters back into the market. A home buyer tax credit on any home purchase would accomplish that.” The St. Joe Co., Florida’s biggest landowner, points to stabilization in residential inventory indicating the housing market may have reached bottom. CEO Peter Rummell says rather than “expect that prices are going to be lower tomorrow than today if they just wait,” buyers “must be “retrained” to recognize the importance of making home purchases now.” At Tuesday’s congressional hearing, it appears that mortgage lenders are pursuing unjustified foreclosures against struggling homeowners, piling on questionable fees and misstating amounts due. A law professor who analyzed the system testified that “bankruptcy gives mortgage services new opportunities to engage in abusive practices,” rather than offering families one last chance to save their homes from foreclosure. University of Iowa’s law professor, Katherine Porter’s review of 1700 recent Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases found that lenders regularly disobey laws and rules as they try to collect thousands of dollars more than homeowners feel is owed. Countrywide is cited for abuses, and in one case asked a bankruptcy judge to foreclose on a home though they were current on mortgage payments, and claimed the final mortgage amount was nearly $15,000 more than what the company claimed in bankruptcy court. Proof of payments closed the case. Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, the subcommittee chairman, said that Countrywide “is at the top of the list” of firms responsible for the national mortgage crisis,” and that Bank of America “should think even harder” about whether to complete the purchase of Countrywide.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


After 49 years of polo play, Royal Palm Polo, the last polo facility in south Palm Beach County, will close on May 15th. Located on Jog Road in Boca Raton, it was one of the first polo clubs in the country to build a stadium, drawing players from the best in the world to weekend warriors. Equestrian followers can migrate to Wellington for horseshows et al.