Samantha Miller’s mother’s statement about recovery in South Florida

Deirdre Miller, center, speaks in a vigil for her daughter Samantha Miller, November 30, 2016 in Delray Beach. More than a dozen people gather to remember Samantha Miller, who was found dead in an SUV this week in Boynton Beach. (Yuting Jiang / The Palm Beach Post)
Deirdre Miller, center, speaks in a vigil for her daughter Samantha Miller, November 30, 2016 in Delray Beach. More than a dozen people gather to remember Samantha Miller, who was found dead in an SUV this week in Boynton Beach. (Yuting Jiang / The Palm Beach Post)

Just before attending a vigil for her daughter who was found dead Tuesday, Deirdre Miller on Wednesday sent The Palm Beach Post a statement she wanted to share with the public. Miller’s daughter, Samantha, came down from New Jersey to South Florida about four years ago for recovery. She went missing Nov. 18, and was found in a SUV on Tuesday. Those close to her believe she overdosed on drugs.

Here is her statement:

“My daughter was lured to the beaches, palm trees, warm weather and sun.
When I arrived to Florida (to search for her) and I walked the streets for a week, I was devastated with what I have seen.
The (rundown areas), the young adult addicts sleeping in parks, the panhandling.
This is not what is promised to our children struggling with addiction problems.
During our search for Samantha , my 16 year old daughter saw not one but two drug deals right in front of a halfway house.
How is this possible?
Why is this happening? ” 

Read more about Samantha Miller here: EXCLUSIVE: Boynton woman found dead in SUV a ‘strong woman in recovery’

‘A gathering place for foodies’: Gourmet market opens in Boca

Blair Leavall, co-owner of GourmetPhile, a specilaty market that opened recently in Boca Raton, poses with two baskets filled with gourmet goods sold at his Boca Raton shop. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — If you’re a fan of fine wines, artisan cheeses and costly, gold-lined tins of caviar, spend a little a time at GourmetPhile, a specialty market that recently opened at Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton.

GourmetPhile is the brainchild of Blair Leavall and his wife, Zhanna, who aimed to amass the most exquisite gourmet goods from countries throughout the world for local one-stop-shoppers.

“We want to become the gathering place for foodies, chefs and lovers of fine foods,” Leavall said. GourmetPhile — which is set up like a small market with sections for cheeses, chocolates and everything in between — opened Nov. 18 in a space near Indian Sapphire Cuisine.

They specialize in the foods you “can’t find at Publix or Whole Foods,” as Leavall puts it. Some of these goods include Kumsi tea leaves from Russia, Scottish and Norwegian Salmon, and European sausages.

A case filled with artisan cheeses curated from countries throughout the world is found in the middle of GourmetPhile, a specialty shop that opened at Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton. Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
A case filled with artisan cheeses curated from countries throughout the world is found in the middle of GourmetPhile, a specialty shop that opened at Royal Palm Place in Boca Raton. Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

In a temperature and humidity-controlled room toward the back of the shop, you’ll find more than 250 curated wines and an extensive chocolate collection.

Shoppers can create gift baskets by selecting different gourmet goods, and the shop will package and design it.

“We noticed a sort of hole in the marketplace (in Boca) for these sort of gourmet goods,” said Leavall, who has lived in Boca Raton for two years now.

But GourmetPhile isn’t reserved for those with a penchant for fine foods, it’s also place to learn about gourmet goods and grow your fondness.

On Tuesday evening, the specialty shop held a caviar tasting, in which a handful of patrons had the chance to taste multiple Petrossian caviars, a French company that sells some of the priciest sturgeon roe (a term for eggs) in the business.

Petrossian caviars and sparkling wine was served during a tasting at GourmetPhile, a specialty market that recently opened in Boca Raton. Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
Petrossian caviars and sparkling wine was served during a tasting at GourmetPhile, a specialty market that recently opened in Boca Raton. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

“We want to be a sort of rich venue for people to hang out, learn about these foods and taste them,” Leavall said following the tasting. The shop plans to hold wine, cheese and other similar tastings at least twice per week for a fixed cost depending on the date and foods. They’ll advertise the tastings on their website, www.gourmetphile.com.

At the tastings, GourmetPhile will bring in experts to share tidbits about the different gourmet foods.

Said Leavall: “We want to be the place to go for the best of the best.”

Vigil planned for Boynton Beach woman found dead in Publix parking lot

Samantha Miller (L) and her sister Madison Miller. Photo provided by family.
Samantha Miller (L) and her sister Madison Miller. Photo provided by family.

Community members have planned a vigil Wednesday night for the 27-year-old Boynton Beach woman who went missing and was found dead 11 days later in an SUV parked at a Publix parking lot.

Samantha Miller, 27, came to South Florida from New Jersey a few years ago for recovery. Samantha gave back and helped others by working in a treatment facility after she got sober. But recently, she relapsed and was struggling with drugs again. Samantha’s boyfriend, Richie Lewis, reported her missing Nov. 18 after she took his 2006 white Mercury Mountaineer to Walmart and never returned.

To read more Boynton Beach stories, click here.

Miller’s mother, Deirdre, wrote in Facebook community groups about her daughter, and garnered the attention of the community, connecting with residents she didn’t even know.

Tamara Stella, a Boynton Beach resident, is one of them. And she is one of the organizers of Wednesday night’s vigil.

“I just saw it on Facebook and I don’t know how Dee and I got to talking but I said ‘I’ll help you’,” Stella told The Palm Beach Post.

The vigil will be at 8 p.m. at the pavilion across from Boston’s on the Beach, 40 S. Ocean Blvd. in Delray Beach. Then the group will go to the beach and light candles. There will be another vigil Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the same area.

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The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s detectives who found Miller can’t say what caused her death. But, they do not suspect foul play. The medical examiner will make the final determination.

Stella knows what it’s like in recovery — she’s been there herself, and she helps struggling addicts. She did her best to help Deirdre find her daughter. She walked the streets, she went into drug areas, she gave out fliers.

“We weren’t going to find her any other way,” she said. “I knew in my heart that it was about recovery, the industry.”

Read more about Miller here: Body of missing Boynton Beach woman, 27, found in Publix parking lot

 

Tommy Bahama store coming soon to Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach

National clothing retailer Tommy Bahama is opening a location in downtown Delray Beach at 133 E. Atlantic Ave. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
National clothing retailer Tommy Bahama is opening a location in downtown Delray Beach at 133 E. Atlantic Ave. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

DELRAY BEACH — National clothing retailer Tommy Bahama is opening up a store on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach.

According to the Tommy Bahamas website, the store is expected to open at 133 E. Atlantic Ave., between Love Shack and Sazio restaurant, this coming spring.

The small retail space once housed Ginjer Boutique, a designer clothing shop, and still reads “Ginjer: Atmosphere on the Ave” on the black awning outside the shop. Ginjer Boutique closed in mid-2015.

State crime report released: Boca sees hike in violent crimes

(Contributed)
(Contributed)

BOCA RATON — A semi-annual state crime report shows more violent crimes were reported in Boca Raton in the first half of 2016 than in the first half of 2015.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Monday released the crime statistics, which document the number of murders, robberies, larcenies, rapes, burglaries, assaults and vehicle thefts reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

There were two murders in Boca Raton in the first half of 2016, compared to none in the first half of 2015, according to the crime stats. There was one fewer rape reported in 2016 than 2015, which saw 12 reported sexual assaults.

The number of robberies nearly doubled. In the first half of 2016, there were 52 reported robberies, compared to just 30 in that same time last year, according to the report.

There was also a 15 percent increase in property thefts, a non-violent crime. There was, however, a 22 percent decrease in the number of reported vehicle thefts.

This compares to nearby Boynton Beach, which reports a decrease in violent crime and increase in property crime.

Here are Boca Raton’s crime statistics, according to FDLE:

Agency Year Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny Motor vehicle theft % cleared
Boca Raton Police Department 2015 0 12 30 49 229 777 74 31.8
Boca Raton Police Department 2016 2 11 52 63 245 894 58 28.7
Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Statistics cover crime for the first half of each year.

Chat with Boca Councilman Scott Singer about his ‘5 big ideas’ at this gathering

Scott Singer (Contributed: City of Boca Raton)
Scott Singer (Contributed: City of Boca Raton)

BOCA RATON — City Councilman Scott Singer is hosting “Coffee and a Conversation” on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the downtown library.

At 10 a.m., he plans chat with residents and to discuss his “five big ideas” for Boca Raton, according to a press release. It’s one “Coffee and a Conversation” in a series of town hall-style meetings Singer has held in Boca Raton throughout the year.

Singer recently kicked off his re-election campaign for the March 14 municipal election. Challengers have until January to file with the city clerk’s office, although none have filed to run against Singer as of Tuesday, according to the city website.

What: “Coffee and a Conversation” with Boca Raton Councilman Scott Singer

When: Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m.

Where: Boca Raton Public Library, at 400 NW 2nd Ave, Boca Raton, FL 33432

More info: www.SingerForBoca.com

State crime report released: Delray combats spike in property crime

delray-policeDELRAY BEACH — A recently released state crime report shows a spike in burglaries and larcenies in Delray Beach during the first half of 2016, although the police department is not surprised by those statistics.

“Throughout the year, we did a campaign to get people to lock their doors (to their cars),” said Chief Jeff Goldman. “We were seeing numbers we’ve never seen before.”

According to a semi-annual report released Monday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there was a 17.5 percent increase in the number of property thefts in the first six months of this year compared to 2015. There was an 8 percent increase in burglaries and a 24 percent increase in stolen vehicles, according to the statistics.

Since the beginning of the year, the Delray Beach Police Department has made attempts to educate residents on deterring theft, often with tips as simple as “lock your doors,” after they noticed a spike in unlocked vehicle burglaries.

The department even created a video two months ago in which they tried to open car doors at a Delray Beach apartment complex to see how many were left unlocked. Out of the 60 vehicles they checked, 11 were unlocked, many with valuables inside.

Many of the car thefts reported involve unlocked vehicles with the keys or key fobs inside, Goldman said.

“If you see something, say something. Call the police,” Goldman suggests to residents who spot seemingly shady behavior near them.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” he added. “And don’t leave anything visible in your car, it just invites people to get into the car.”

The crime report also shows there were three homicides in the first six months of 2016, compared to one in the first half of 2015.

These homicides, often “crimes of opportunity,” Goldman said, are more difficult to deter. The department has regular crime analysis meetings to look at these statistics in-depth in case there are trends.

Here are the crime stats, according to FDLE:

Agency Year Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny Motor vehicle theft % cleared
Delray Beach Police Department 2016 3 12 67 103 164 1,149 93 20.9
Delray Beach Police Department 2015 1 11 60 119 177 978 75 21.6
Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Statistics cover crime for the first half of each year.

 

 

 

 

 

Violent crime in Boynton Beach down for first six months of year

Boynton Beach Police Department Sgt. Hap Crowell checks an empty car parked on a roadway on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The driver returned to the vehicle after fishing in a nearby canal. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)
Boynton Beach Police Department Sgt. Hap Crowell checks an empty car parked on a roadway on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The driver returned to the vehicle after fishing in a nearby canal. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

The number of violent crimes, such as robbery and aggravated assault, in the first half of this year in Boynton Beach were down compared to that of the first half of 2015, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics released Monday.

However, non-violent crimes, such as larceny and motor vehicle theft, increased.

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Overall, crime in the first half of the year increased by 9.9 percent compared to the first half of 2015, the stats show.

For overall crime, Boynton came in the third highest in Palm Beach County with an index of 1,953, behind the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (7,796) and West Palm Beach (3,150). Delray Beach came in fourth with an index of 1,591.

To read more Boynton Beach stories, click here.

Agency Year Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated assault Burglary Larceny Motor vehicle theft % cleared
Boynton Beach Police Department 2015 2 3 92 171 281 1,143 85 22.8
Boynton Beach Police Department 2016 1 1 74 160 295 1,315 107 27.0
Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Statistics cover crime for the first half of each year.

Band to play Christmas tunes at historic Boynton Beach clubhouse

Woman's Club
Woman’s Club

The Boynton Woman’s Club is rolling out its three-concert series, and will kick it off this Sunday with a performance by the Gold Coast Band’s Wind Ensemble.

Tickets are $20. The club is at 1010 S. Federal Highway.

The band will play seasonal music such as Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson and Cantique de Noel by Adolphe Adam, according to a news release.

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“The program will also feature a special piece entitled Christmas Recollections, which includes perennial holiday favorites like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Here Comes Santa Claus,” the release says.

For tickets or more information, contact Janet Hakala or Evelyn Henry at 561-369-2300 or email BWC1909@gmail.com

The second concert of the series will be Jan. 22 when Roberta DeMuro will perform. On April 2, pianist Al Guastafeste will perform.

Proceeds from all concerts will go to the Boynton Woman’s Club Historic Preservation Fund to help with the renovation and restoration.

To read more Boynton Beach stories, click here.

Delray Fire Rescue will install free smoke detectors in low-income neighborhood

Delray Beach Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Capt. Kevin Saxton (left), receives a $1,500 grant check from FM Global s Keith Camara.  FM Global is a commercial property insurer. The award will be used to purchase smoke detectors to be installed free of charge in homes throughout the community.
Delray Beach Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Capt. Kevin Saxton (left), receives a $1,500 grant check from FM Global s Keith Camara in April 2015. FM Global is a commercial property insurer. The award was used to purchase smoke detectors to be installed free of charge in homes throughout the community.

DELRAY BEACH — The city’s Fire Rescue Department is partnering with American Red Cross to provide local homes with free smoke detectors on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Firefighters, along with volunteers from Red Cross, will go door-to-door in the Carver Estates neighborhood, a low-income public housing complex, and install the smoke detectors between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the department.

“Installing smoke detectors is part of (Delray Beach Fire Rescue’s) fire safety plan and is consistent with the day-to-day operation of the Fire Safety Division,” said Kevin Saxton, the department’s spokesman, in a statement.

It’s also part of Red Cross’ Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, a national push to prevent home fires through smoke detector installation.

In April 2015, the fire department received a $1,500 grant to purchase smoke detectors for the free installation program. Any Delray Beach resident can have their home assessed by the department to see if they qualify for a free smoke detector.

To ask about an evaluation, call the Fire Rescue Department at 561-243-7400.