West Boca, you can have coffee with a local sheriff’s deputy Nov. 2

(Contributed)
(Contributed)

Residents of western Boca Raton can meet a local Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Wednesday, Nov. 2 for a cup of coffee and a conversation.

The sheriff’s office is partnering with McDonald’s for “Coffee with a Deputy,” where locals show up to an area McDonald’s for an informal meeting with a deputy who patrols the area.

The gathering will be held at the restaurant at 7030 W. Palmetto Park Road, in the Garden Shops at Boca plaza, between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to build relationships between residents and local law enforcement, according to coordinators.

“Coffee with a Deputy is a chance to get to know your local officers, tell us what’s on your mind, or ask a question. There are no speeches or agenda… it’s strictly informal,” PBSO Captain David Moss, who oversees the western Boca area, said in a statement.

What: Coffee with a Deputy

When: Wednesday, Nov. 2 between 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Where: McDonald’s at 7030 W. Palmetto Park Road

Delray Beach city manager resigns citing personal reasons

Donald Cooper (Contributed: City of Port St. Lucie)
Donald Cooper (Contributed: City of Port St. Lucie)

DELRAY BEACH — City Manager Donald Cooper submitted a letter of resignation to the mayor and city commissioners this morning, citing personal reasons, according to city leaders.

Cooper, who was hired in 2014, will step down Dec. 30.

Cooper is dealing with “serious family medical issues he had been confronting for some time, but that took a recent turn for the worse,” Mayor Cary Glickstein said in an email.

“He will help insure a smooth transition as he leaves the city in very good shape and on the right track for future success,” Glickstein said. “We thank him for his efforts in moving the city forward as we extend our thoughts and prayers to him and his family in this difficult time. ”

The Delray Beach city commission was aware of Cooper’s personal reasons for stepping down, Commissioner Shelly Petrolia said, although the timing came as a shock.

“I was hoping he would make it through the next election cycle in order to keep with stability, but I understand completely,” Petrolia said.

Cooper, who lives in Port St. Lucie where he previously served as city manager for 20 years, wrote a short resignation letter in which he said family matters would interfere with his duties as city manager.

The body of the letter in its entirety reads: “It is with regret that I must submit my resignation as City Manager for the City of Delray Beach effective December 30, 2016 due to family medical demands which will interfere with the proper performance of my duties.

 

New to restaurant biz, Delray trio build ‘Banyan’ eatery in Pineapple Grove from scratch

Miles Moriarty (left) and Joseph LoRe (right), co-owners of Banyan Restaurant & Bar, opening in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove neighborhood, stand near the banyan tree outside their eatery with head chef James Skarulis (center). (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

DELRAY BEACH — They’re the business managers, the construction crew and the creative minds behind an eclectic menu at a small eatery near the decades-old banyan tree on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street.

Joseph LoRe and Miles Moriarty, who co-own Banyan Restaurant & Bar, opening in Delray’s Pineapple Grove art district, aren’t just funding the venture, they’re building it themselves from scratch, alongside head chef James Skarulis.

“This is a small place, but this is ours,” Moriarty said. “And when people step inside, they’re going to feel that.”

Banyan is slated to open in early December on a street with a stretch of popular restaurants, such as adjacent The Grove, Max’s Harvest and Brule Bistro, just a stone’s throw north.

Banyan, named after the towering tree just outside the restaurant, will set itself apart, Moriarty said, with its menu — influenced by family recipes — and a dedication that can come only from men who have spent about a year gutting the restaurant and building it up.

“I’m probably going to be sleeping upstairs,” Moriarty said with a laugh.

The Banyan trio, all Delray Beach residents, hopes the highlight of the restaurant will be the food, described as “new American eclectic” — which translates to “a good mix of just about everything,” Moriarty said.

Skarulis, who is taking on his first head chef position but has worked at Delray hotspots like Dada and the Seagate Hotel, is a Maryland native, and will work with a northeast specialty: seafood. But the menu will also feature mix-and-match specialty tacos, mac-and-cheeses and sliders.

Contributed)
(Contributed)

“When I tell people they can have three different kinds of mac-and-cheeses on one plate, I basically get a customer for life,” Skarulis said chuckling. Many entree items, like a braised short-rib, are products of a collaboration between Skarulis and LoRe’s family recipes.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be about great food,” LoRe said.

While price points aren’t set in stone, appetizers will likely range from $12-$18, with entrees ranging from $22-$35, LoRe said.

The restaurant and full-service bar will be open-air, with a retracting front facade, and will seat about 28 inside and 55 outdoors under a black awning.

“We spent the year getting a pulse of the place, learning what’s going on,” LoRe said.

Moriarty added: “We really got to know Delray and this just seemed natural.”

Boca Christian students will speak with astronaut aboard space station via radio

H.L. Watkins Middle School students wait to chat via radio with Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi aboard the International Space Station on Monday, October 17, 2016. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)
H.L. Watkins Middle School students wait to chat via radio with Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi aboard the International Space Station on Monday, October 17, 2016. (Sarah Peters/The Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — Students from Boca Raton Christian School have the rare chance to speak with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station using amateur radio this week.

While the space station is directly over Palm Beach County on Nov. 8, the students will use ham radio to speak with an astronaut for a few minutes between 10:45 and 1i:45 a.m., according to school officials. Only a handful of school were selected to participate in the program, which is done in coordination with NASA, the American Radio Relay League and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation.

Students from H.L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens used ham radio to connect with Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi earlier this month. A handful of the middle school students got to ask Onishi questions about his career and his experience in space.

BREAKING: Boynton Beach to settle excessive force case for $600,000

Byron L. Harris arrested in Boynton Beach chase on charges that he drove into an officer.
Byron L. Harris arrested in Boynton Beach chase on charges that he drove into an officer.

The city of Boynton Beach has agreed to settle a federal civil lawsuit filed by a man who claims police officers used excessive force and violated his civil rights in arresting him in 2014 after a car chase.

Byron Harris filed the lawsuit in December. He, and his attorney, and the city met Wednesday in mediation and agreed on a $600,000 settlement, said Harris’ attorney Linnes Finney.

To read more about the Byron Harris case, click here.

Read more about the lawsuit here.

The settlement has to be approved by the City Commission before it is final.

Boynton Beach Police officers were captured on a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter video taking Harris into custody and kicking and hitting him.

Police Chief Jeffrey Katz asked the FBI to investigate the case. In a February 2015 news conference, Katz said the main question regarding the case is if the officers’ actions were reasonable at the time. He said he has no reason to believe his officers broke police policy, and that the suspects were resisting arrest to an “extreme” level.

Click here for the full story. 

 

 

 

7 things to know about the I-95 express lanes planned for Palm Beach County

NOTE: This post has been updated. Scroll down for more information on tolls and how revenue from express lanes is spent.

The third phase of the Interstate 95 express lanes will come into southern Palm Beach County, and the project will include some notable changes along the corridor.

That was the message from Florida Department of Transportation planners and consultants at a public workshop on the express lanes held Thursday evening in Deerfield Beach.

About 25 people attended, including consultants and residents. Also in the crowd were state Rep. Irv Slosberg and his daughter, Emily Slosberg, who won the August primary election for state House District 91 and faces only a blank write-in spot on Nov. 8.

Will Suero, FDOT consultant and project engineer for the express lanes, talks with a resident before a presentation at a public workshop on the project on Thursday, Oct. 27 in Deerfield Beach. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
Will Suero, FDOT consultant and project engineer for the express lanes, talks with a resident before a presentation at a public workshop on the project on Thursday, Oct. 27 in Deerfield Beach. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

Both Slosbergs said they were attending to learn more about the project to help inform their constituents.

“We’re going to get the word out to them to let them know about lane closures and the timeline,” Emily Slosberg said.

Here are seven key things you should know now about the project. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, post it in the comments and we’ll look into it.

What’s the deal with the phases? The 95 Express project is actually one huge undertaking broken up into three phases. Phase 1 opened in 2008 in Miami-Dade County. Phase 2 opened recently, connecting southern Broward to northern Miami-Dade. Phase 3 goes from central Broward up to south of Linton Boulevard in Palm Beach County.

FDOT then broke Phase 3 into five parts to help it get funded and built faster. Phase 3A, from Broward Boulevard to south of Southwest 10th Street, is under construction now. The meeting Thursday discussed Phase 3B, which picks up from Southwest 10th Street and goes up to Linton. Both Phase 3A and 3B have two parts. Construction on Phase 3C, which will connect Phase 2, Phase 3 and the 595 express lanes in Broward County, is scheduled to start in 2021.

Here’s a map from FDOT, including current timelines. The red and blue arrows represent the entry and exit points for the express lanes.

This map shows the different stages of Phase 3 of the I-95 express lanes project. (Florida Department of Transportation)
This map shows the different stages of Phase 3 of the I-95 express lanes project. (Florida Department of Transportation)

When is it happening? Construction on Phase 3B is expected to begin in mid-2018, according to Thursday’s presentation.

How much will it cost to use the express lanes? Will Suero, FDOT consultant and project engineer, said Thursday that he expects the express lanes to cost about 50 cents per segment, which is the minimum they could cost set by Florida law. The tolls are dynamic, meaning they vary based on how congested the express lanes are. A segment is defined as a portion of the express lanes from an entry, or ingress, point to an exit, or egress, point.

Where the express lanes in Miami-Dade have a cap — $1.50 a mile — the express lanes north of mile marker 12, the Golden Glades interchange, do not. Suero said via email that while those express lanes are included in Florida’s current tolling law, the tolling rules for Phase 3 aren’t yet established.

“It is anticipated that minimum per segment costs will be identified with the (law) applying to 95 Express Phase 3,” Suero said.

There shouldn’t be cause for concern, said Paul Lampley, resident engineer for the express lanes construction project. The price per segment is kept as low as possible to ease congestion, he added.

“So people know when they get in (the express lanes), they get where they’re going,” Lampley said.

What happens to the HOV lanes? During construction of the express lanes, the HOV, or high-occupancy vehicle, lane will be “decommissioned,” meaning it will be just like every other lane on the highway, Suero said. The HOV signage will come down, the diamond symbol will be removed from the road and the HOV restrictions will no longer be in place.

“The nature of the project is to provide additional capacity by widening the road, taking the HOV lane and constructing dual express lanes,” Suero said.

Will new noise walls be built? Yes, in some places. Noise walls already exist along much of the corridor between Southwest 10th Street and Linton, but there are some gaps that the project plans to address.

This rendering shows where a noise wall is planned between the Mizner Forest neighborhood and I-95 as part of the express lanes project. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
This rendering shows where a noise wall is planned between the Mizner Forest neighborhood and I-95 as part of the express lanes project. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

One in particular is between the southbound lanes of I-95 and the Mizner Forest neighborhood in Boca Raton. One FDOT planner said that is the “worst spot” for noise. The neighborhood, which sits about 80 feet from the highway, was built after the most recent I-95 widening project in southern Palm Beach County, so this is the first opportunity FDOT will have to address the noise issue.

What other changes will be made as part of the project? Auxiliary lanes will be added along the stretch, providing extra space for motorists exiting I-95. Crews also will replace the Clint Moore Road bridge over I-95, because there is not enough room under the existing structure to widen the highway, Suero said.

The I-95 bridge over the Hillsboro Canal also must be replaced. It “has a long history of structural deficiencies,” so “it could be left in place, but not widened,” Suero said.

Some trees will be moved during construction, and FDOT will make landscaping changes in those spots once construction is completed.

The southbound on-ramp to I-95 from westbound Palmetto Park Road will be rebuilt, and the southbound off-ramp there will be realigned.

This rendering shows work planned for the Palmetto Park Road interchange. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)
This rendering shows work planned for the Palmetto Park Road interchange. (Kristina Webb / The Palm Beach Post)

So there’s a Phase 3 — what about a Phase 4? FDOT is in the very beginning stages of studying another phase of express lanes from Linton Boulevard to Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Suero said. Stay tuned to The Palm Beach Post for coverage as we learn more about that possible Phase 4.

UPDATE: We’ve seen a few comments inquiring about how revenue from the express lanes is spent.

Money from express-lanes tolls goes first to pay for operation, improvement and maintenance of the express lanes and I-95. Any additional revenue is used for maintenance of other Florida highways, and also to fund an Express Bus service along the corridor. Here’s the Florida law authorizing the express lanes and how the money is used.

The current Express Buses are operated by Broward and Miami-Dade counties’ transit agencies. Click here for more information.

 

 

Nine overdoses in two days across Boynton Beach

Boynton Beach Police personnel stand outside a hotel room where Michael Burruano died of a drug overdose sometime during the early morning on Friday, June 3, 2016. According to police reports Cody Lee, left, was not charged or suspected in any crime. Lee said that he barely knew Burruano and had worked with him for less than a week before he died. Burruano was recently hired by a construction company in the area and shared a room at the hotel with a co-worker. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Boynton Beach Police personnel stand outside a hotel room where Michael Burruano died of a drug overdose sometime during the early morning on Friday, June 3, 2016. According to police reports Cody Lee, left, was not charged or suspected in any crime. Lee said that he barely knew Burruano and had worked with him for less than a week before he died. Burruano was recently hired by a construction company in the area and shared a room at the hotel with a co-worker. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Over the past two days in Boynton Beach, police and paramedics have been called to nine drug overdoses, according to police briefings posted on the department’s Facebook page.

All survived. Often, when the user overdoses on heroin, paramedics reverse the effect of the drug with Narcan.

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to palmbeachpost.com/boynton.

On Tuesday, one of the suspected overdoses happened in a bathroom at Bethesda Hospital East on Seacrest Boulevard. It was at about 4 p.m. An unconscious woman was found in the bathroom.

At about 5:15 p.m. an unconscious man was found at 600 E. Ocean Ave.

Then at about 7:55 p.m. the rescue crews were called to 203 NE 21st Ave. to help an unconscious male. Crews were called back there at about 8:30 p.m. for another suspected overdose, another unconscious man.

Police and paramedics were called at about 11:40 p.m. to 220 SW 6th St. to help an unconscious man, and then were called back to the same place at about 1:30 a.m. for another unconscious man.

Facebook users, follow postonboynton for the latest news and updates

On Wednesday the overdoses were at:

801 N. Congress Ave., which is the mall, at about 8:30 p.m.

2821 S. Federal Highway, the Homing Inn, at about 11:10 p.m.

309 SE 36th Ave. at about 11:15 p.m.

 

‘Learn CPR’: Lake Worth firefighter shares tale of son’s near-drowning

Alexander Gentilcore, 6, of Lake Worth, dons a red cape and tours a fire truck belonging to the Coral Springs Fire Rescue unit who rushed him to the hospital after a near-drowning on July 4, 2016. Gentilcore's father, Ryan, performed CPR before paramedics arrived, which likely saved the boys life. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
Alexander Gentilcore, 6, of Lake Worth, dons a red cape and tours a fire truck belonging to the Coral Springs Fire Rescue unit that rushed him to the hospital after a near-drowning on July 4, 2016. Gentilcore’s father, Ryan, performed CPR before paramedics arrived, which likely saved the boy’s life. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

Ryan Gentilcore has seen his fair share of near-drownings in his 10 years as a firefighter/paramedic, but none as jarring as when his 6-year-old son lost consciousness in a family friend’s pool on the Fourth of July.

“It’s different when it’s your child,” Gentilcore, a Lake Worth resident and captain with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, said Wednesday at a ceremony to honor the first responders who rushed his son, Alexander, to West Boca Medical Center after the near-drowning.

Gentilcore performed CPR on Alexander, resuscitating him within a minute-and-a-half just as a Coral Springs Fire Rescue unit arrived. It was second-nature to Gentilcore, but the longest minute-and-a-half of his life, he said.

“It takes a minute to call 911,” Gentilcore said Wednesday, recalling the calculations that ran through his mind as the incident unfolded. “It takes about four to six minutes on average for first responders to arrive.”

But it takes only six minutes without oxygen for the brain to begin to die.

“I’ve been on both sides of this now,” Gentilcore said. “We’re very lucky.”

Alexander, who was a skilled swimmer when he nearly drowned, was rushed to West Boca Medical Center’s pediatric emergency room. The 6-year-old recovered with no lingering injuries after three days at the hospital.

“CPR saved his life,” said Margaret Neddo, the director of the emergency department at the medical center.

Florida loses more children under the age of five to drownings than any other state, according to the Florida Department of Health.

“Realistically, the only advice I can give to parents is learn CPR,” Gentilcore said. “Bystander CPR is the reason people walk out the hospital neurologically intact.”

The advice was echoed by Coral Springs Fire Rescue Lt. Chris Struss, who responded to the scene of Alexander’s near-drowning.

“It makes our job so much easier, and the chances of survival much higher,” Struss said.

At the ceremony Wednesday, the Coral Springs firefighters who rushed to the scene were given the Call of the Quarter award by West Boca Medical staff. Gentilcore was given a “superhero dad” plaque, and Alexander wore a red superhero cape.

“It’s incredible (to see Alexander return for the ceremony),” Neddo said. “You don’t always have good outcomes.”

 

Boynton Beach’s youth football team hopes to claim best-in-nation

030311 (J. Gwendolynne Berry/The Palm Beach Post) -- WEST PALM BEACH -- Michael Byrd helped found a new youth football league in Boynton Beach called the East Boynton Wildcats
030311 (J. Gwendolynne Berry/The Palm Beach Post) — WEST PALM BEACH — Michael Byrd helped found a new youth football league in Boynton Beach called the East Boynton Wildcats

Come out and support Boynton Beach’s youth!

The city’s East Boynton Wildcats football team is playing their last home game Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The game is at Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center at 1901 N Seacrest Blvd.

To read the latest headlines from Boynton Beach, go to palmbeachpost.com/boynton.

The 12u division has a 6-1 record and will play the No. 1 team in the nation Wednesday.

If the Wildcats win, they’ll become the best in the nation.

Facebook users, follow postonboynton for the latest news and updates

 

 

Want to know more about I-95 express lanes in Palm Beach County? Here’s your chance

Want to learn more about when Interstate 95 express lanes will arrive in Palm Beach County, and how it could affect you?

The Florida Department of Transportation is holding a public information workshop to discuss Phase 3B of the 95 Express project — which goes from south of Southwest 10th Street to Linton Boulevard — from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 100 Fairfield Drive, Deerfield Beach. There will be a presentation on the project at 6:30 p.m. Residents will be able to review drawings and other information about the 95 Express project.

The 95 Express project eventually will reach Linton Boulevard in Palm Beach County. (Miami Herald)
The 95 Express project eventually will reach Linton Boulevard in Palm Beach County. (Miami Herald)

The latest plans for the I-95 express lane extension into southern Palm Beach County have an entry and exit point at Glades Road, after pleas from Boca Raton city leaders.

Project engineer Will Suero told the city council Tuesday evening that the southernmost I-95 express entry and exit point in Palm Beach County would move from Palmetto Park Road closer to Glades Road.

“When they first came forward with this plan … there were no ingress or egress opportunities in the city of Boca,” Mayor Susan Haynie said Tuesday. “I didn’t think that was going to work.”

It “made sense” to shift the entry and exit point to better serve drivers heading north to exits at Glades Road, Yamato Road and Spanish River Boulevard, Suero said.

“We’re very appreciative that you redid your plans and put in an ingress and egress at Glades,” said Councilman Robert Weinroth.

The express project would shut down the I-95 HOV lane in that area beginning in late 2017 until construction is complete, which could take more than three years, Suero said.

Money from express-lanes tolls goes first to pay for operation, improvement and maintenance of the express lanes and I-95. Any additional revenue is used for maintenance of other Florida highways, and also to fund an express bus service along the corridor. Here’s the Florida law authorizing the express lanes and how the money is used.

For more information about the workshop, go to www.95express.com, or contact project manager Vanita Saini at 954-777-4468 or 866-336-8435, ext. 4468; or via email at vanita.saini@dot.state.fl.us.