Palm Beach County
Chapel by the Lake, a downtown West Palm Beach waterfront park and landmark, has been demolished. The site, which sits on the Intracoastal Waterway, was owned by First Baptist Church and hosted countless weddings, worship services and community events over the years. The church sold the property for $21 million to a developer who plans to build a luxury complex with a 25-story condo on the site. There is public opposition to the project and a court battle may loom.
Canals used as canoe trails at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge are closed due to an overgrowth of vegetation. Workers will begin clearing the greenery from the canals, but the overgrowth problem is becoming more regular and it’s impacting the habitats for wading birds, deer, alligators and many other animals.
The thrill is gone
The B.B. King Blues Club & Grill is closing down. The nightclub featured blues and R&B music and the restaurant served various varieties of soul food since it opened in CityPlace in 2009. It will be replaced with Lafayette’s Music Room, which provides a variety of performers and music.
Anthem Education Group, a company that operates 27 schools around the country, including Florida Career College in South Florida, has been sold. About 150 employees at its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale have been laid off. The sale comes less than a year after Gov. Rick Scott announced a massive jobs creation package, including $350,000 in local and state tax breaks, for the company to remain in Florida. Anthem was required to create 70 new positions. The company has been sold to California-based International Education Corp.
Roland A. Foulkes, a consultant who is passionate about education issues and is active with the Broward School District, may be the latest person to rally against a district-proposed $800 million bond referendum. An email that is circulated from Foulkes’ account, urges people to ‘vote no’ on the measure. The money is intended for technology upgrades and repairs in some schools, but there are concerns from some over which schools will get the upgrades.
The ink is not dry on the election certification papers and already there is speculation about defeated County Commissioner Lynda Bell’s return to Homestead city hall. Prior to her 2012 election to the county commission, Bell served on the Homestead city council as mayor.
Miami-Dade Corrections Officer Juan Guellmes, 51, was shot in the shoulder while washing his car at home when he was robbed. Police say the driver of a silver Ford Taurus dropped a man off near the intersection of Southwest 181st Terrace and 108th Avenue. The suspect then proceeded to Guellmes’ home and snatched a gold chain from his neck at gunpoint. The suspect is described as a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build. Police say he wore a black baseball hat, a black hoodie and black pants. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477.
Manuel Acosta, 69, will be retried on murder charges after his case ended in a mistrial last week. Acosta is charged in the death of 50-year-old Jose Valdez, who was his 423-pound co-worker. Acosta claimed self-defense. Acosta, who is said to weigh 125-pound, said Valdez regularly beat and bullied him. He also alleged that Valdez came at him a with metal pipe.
Charlie Crist has won the Democratic nomination for governor and faces incumbent Rick Scott for the post. Former President Bill Clinton and others are campaigning for Crist, who is being roasted in ads highlighting his flip-flop on issues and his relationship with convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.
The historic Seven Mile Bridge is slated for repairs and renovations. It is closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic because of dangerous conditions. Now chunks of concrete are falling off of the bridge making for hazardous conditions for boats. Officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection have placed danger buoys near sections of the bridge, warning boaters to stay clear.
Randy Acevedo is the former school superintendent who, along with his wife, was convicted in 2009 of stealing more than $413,000 in taxpayer money from the Monroe County School District. He has now been hired by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority as a computer programmer at annual salary of $45,379. The agency oversees water operations in Monroe County. Even though Acevedo, 48, is a convicted felon, he received letters of recommendations from numerous elected officials for the job. His wife, Monique Acevedo, was the school district’s head of adult education from 2005 to 2009. She was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2010 for the thefts. Acevedo was convicted in the cover-up and sentenced to four years’ probation. He was removed from office and the school district switched from electing superintendents to hiring them.