Where to see Fourth of July fireworks in south Palm Beach County

Fourth of July Fireworks light the night sky over Delray Beach in 2014. Photo by Aaron Lurie, VMA Studio

DELRAY BEACH — Looking for a way to ring in Fourth of July?

There’s plenty to do that holiday evening in southern Palm Beach County, with celebrations that include live music, fireworks and activities for children planned in Delray Beach, Boca Raton and west of Boca Raton.

Here’s where to find Fourth of July festivities:

Delray Beach

Every year, Delray Beach does Fourth of July big. This year is no different. They’ll have live performances by early 2000s heart-throb Aaron Carter and indie-pop band AJR at Atlantic Avenue and A1A beginning at 7 p.m.

Then at 9 p.m., fireworks will go off from the beach just north of the Marriott, at 10 N. Ocean Blvd.

During the day, there are a series of kid-friendly events planned throughout the downtown, including a sand castle contest on the beach, mini-golf stations and a flag-raising cermeony.

And it’s all free.

For more details, visit www.JulyFourthDelrayBeach.com.

Boca Raton

This southern city is celebrating Independance Day with carnival games, 60s rock music and a fireworks show Tuesday. The free event will be held at deHoernle Park/Spanish River Sports Complex, at 1000 NW Spanish River Blvd., beginning at 6:30 p.m.

They’ll have state fair-style slides, carnival games and food trucks, according to organizers. Plus, the All-American Band will play hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s on the main stage throughout the evening.

There will b free parking at the nearby Boca Corporate Center and Boca Raton Public Library and a complimentary shuttle service will start taking visitors at 5:30 p.m. and run continuously until 10:15 p.m.

For more information, visit the City of Boca Raton’s website.

West Boca

At Sunset Cove Amphitheater outside city limits, the holiday will be commemorated with fireworks, carnival-style games and live music. Party music band Gypsy Lane will perform before the fireworks show.

Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. at the amphitheater, at 20405 Amphitheater Circle.

For more information, visit the amphitheater’s Facebook page.

Five secret — and free — places to park in downtown Delray Beach

Delray Beach wants to eliminate free parking and add meters to its 3,000-plus city-owned spots downtown. (Melanie Bell / The Palm Beach Post)

DELRAY BEACH — Downtown parking can be a pain. And pretty soon it’ll be a strain on your wallet too.

The city is considering adding parking meters to 3,000-plus free parking spots in downtown Delray Beach. When they do, the smart meters will hike up the price of prime parking, such as those coveted side-street spots along Atlantic Avenue.

City officials are expected to talk more about the parking meters at a meeting July 6.

As we prepare to say goodbye to free parking when we hit The Ave, take advantage of these free parking gems around Delray Beach while you can.

» READ: Delray board rejects historic district redevelopment: ‘It’s too much’

Here are some great places to park in downtown Delray Beach:

The library

The Delray Beach Public Library parking lot, shared with the South County Courthouse, on Southwest Second Avenue south of Atlantic Avenue may seem like a trek from East Atlantic, but a it’s only a few blocks from the action and usually empty after the library closes.

And, if you’re not feeling up for a walk, a trolley swings by the courthouse every 15 minutes and stops east.

Parking garages

Hit the parking garages before 4 p.m. to avoid fees throughout the week. There’s a $5 flat fee if you park after 4 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But if you get a spot in the garage early enough, you don’t have to pay.

There’s the Old School Square parking garage on Northeast First Avenue at Northeast First Street, just a block from Atlantic Avenue. And there’s the Robert Federpiel Garage on Southeast First Avenue just south of Atlantic.

Railroad lot

There are 191 free parking spaces — 2-hour and 8-hour parking — at the lot tucked behind the Silverball Museum on Northeast Third Avenue adjacent to the railroad tracks. They tend to fill up during peak hours, but are worth checking for their proximity to the shops, restaurants and bars downtown.

Cason Cottage lot

There are just 10 parking spots at the Cason Cottage House Museum on Northeast First Street just west of Northeast First Avenue, but they’re somewhat hidden and sometimes vacant. The museum is typically open only during the day November through April, so you may have luck with this lot.

And if you happen to land a spot, it’s just a block from Atlantic Avenue.

Tri-Rail station

If you want to avoid the parking chaos, opt for this easy option: The Tri-Rail station at Congress Avenue just south of Atlantic Avenue. Yes, it’s a bit far from the bustling portion of downtown, but there’s always an empty parking spot and a trolley that rolls by every 15 minutes between 6 and 11 p.m., and 8 a.m. to noon on weekends.

You also get to avoid Atlantic Avenue traffic when you’re on your way out of the downtown.

Plus, these spots aren’t city-owned. So when paid parking does roll into downtown, this is one hidden gem you still won’t have to pay for.

 

Delray police seek men who injured, robbed elderly woman at Walgreens

A surveillance image of two men who allegedly robbed an elderly woman in Delray Beach on Friday, June 23, 2017. Police are looking for the men. (Delray Beach Police Department)

 

DELRAY BEACH — City police are looking for two men captured on video knocking an elderly woman to the ground and robbing her Friday afternoon at a local Walgreens, the Delray Beach Police Department reports.

The strong-armed robbery happened around noon in the parking lot of the Walgreens on Atlantic Avenue east of Military Trail. Two men approached the elderly woman, forcefully took her purse and knocked her to the ground, police say.

The woman was treated by Delray Beach Fire Rescue for minor injuries.

» READ: Delray officer weeps at driver’s bond hearing in fatal Key West crash

A surveillance image of dark blue Honda used to flee the scene of a strong-armed robbery in Delray Beach on Friday, June 22, 2017. Police are seeking the vehicle and the men involved in the robbery. (Delray Beach Police Department)

Police released images of the two men captured by surveillance camera. They fled in a newer model, dark blue Honda Accord sedan with the Florida tag “CZZ Z67” driven by a third person, according to police.

Investigators believe the vehicle, yet to be recovered, was stolen from Boynton Beach on Thursday.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Delray Beach Police Department.

Boynton Beach: New and existing sober homes need to be certified

Joe Onimus stands on Riviera Drive in Boynton Beach and showed a Palm Beach Post reporter the gun he carries for protection. Onimus is standing in front of a sober living facility at 657 Riviera Drive, pictured right. Photographed on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Boynton Beach city officials voted the first of two required times Tuesday night to approve new rules to regulate group homes including sober homes.

Read: What two south county cities are doing to regulate sober homes

The “foundation” of the rules is that the city is forcing sober homes to certify with a nonprofit that requires them to meet business and housing standards, said Mike Rumpf, the city’s director of planning and zoning. That nonprofit is the Boca Raton-based Florida Association of Recovery Residences, which regulates homes under a voluntary program for the state.

Another rule staff proposed is that the group homes have to be at least 300 feet away from another group home instead of 1,000 feet. That’s a distance of about four homes. But some commissioners asked for that minimum to be higher, making the homes more spread out. Rumpf plans to research that and will come back with a recommendation in time for the second vote, scheduled for July 18.

Rumpf said existing sober homes will have to follow the certification rule. As far as the distance rule, the homes will be grandfathered in if they don’t meet that.

“These are new regulations, venturing in an area that has been uncharted if you will. We’ll be monitoring them over time,” Rumpf said.

Read: Read: Sober Home Invasion. Neighbors say they are under siege.

Boynton and Delray Beach are the first cities in the state to propose forcing sober homes to tighten standards and stop settling in clusters. Delray also plans to force the homes to voluntarily certify with the nonprofit or prove they meet those standards without certification. And, Delray plans to limit the number of homes allowed to open in a given area.

In Boynton, the first vote on the regulations came less than one month after the city’s temporary ban on applications for group homes expired. The city passed the moratorium to draft these new regulations.

Check back for more information Wednesday. 

Florida’s Turnpike to grow from 6 to 10 lanes, add express lanes in south PBC

Florida’s Turnpike after express lanes and widening. (FDOT)

BOCA RATON — As use of Florida’s Turnpike grows, as will its lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Boynton Beach Boulevard with the addition of express lanes, residents of southwestern Palm Beach County learned Monday evening.

The Alliance of Delray Beach, an association of residents west of Delray and Boca Raton, was presented the long-term plans to expand the Turnpike by Florida Department of Transportation officials at a meeting Monday. More than two dozen residents attended the meeting, many of whom shared concerns about added traffic noise as a result of the highway’s expansion.

By 2023, construction will likely begin on expanding the lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Atlantic Avenue, said Michael Shannon, the department’s director of transportation development.

» RELATED: What do turnpike express lanes have to do with bicycles and sidewalks?

Construction on Atlantic Avenue to Boynton Beach Boulevard won’t start for at least the next five years.

To avoid a gas line just east of Florida’s Turnpike, the lanes will shift and additional lanes will be added west, Shannon said.

Two center express lanes will be added in both the south and northbound directions between Glades and Atlantic, similar to the express lanes in place on Interstate 95.  With the planned addition of express lanes on Florida’s Turnpike, Florida will be the first state in the U.S. to enact an additional toll on top of an existing one.

While residents were assured the heavy daily traffic flow on the highway meant necessary expansion, many shared worries of added traffic noise.

“It’s loud there now,” said Cherie Gross, a realtor west of Delray Beach.

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

A noise analysis will be performed within a year or two to determine the expansion’s effect on neighboring communities, FDOT officials said. The department is exploring the potential for noise walls, concrete barriers between the highway and communities that would absorb and reflect some of the noise.

“If you want to sit outside on your patio, (the noise) becomes a problem,” said Michele Fingerman, a resident of the Addison Reserve community just east of Florida’s Turnpike.

Noise barriers, however, have their limitation, Shannon said. The noise is often decreased in homes immediately adjacent to the highway, but bounces over to homes farther away from the highway.

“Noise walls are more of a perception benefit than an actual benefit,” Shannon said.

 

County group pushing for nude beach organizes coastal cleanup

The north end of Gulfstream Park, a county-owned beach between the coastal towns of Briny Breezes and Gulf Stream. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan/Palm Beach Post)

A group advocating for a nude beach in southern Palm Beach County held a coastal cleanup on Saturday at the park it hopes to free from the constraints of clothing.

About 35 members of nonprofit Palm Beach Naturists collected everything from cigarette butts to beer cans and bottle tops to plastic bags at Gulfstream Park, which sits between the towns of Briny Breezes and Gulf Stream.

The Palm Beach Naturists, led by resident Karl Dickey, is pushing the Palm Beach County commission to designate a portion of the county-owned beach clothing optional.

“We look forward soon to a day where naturists will be able to take care of a clothing-optional beach here in the county,” Dickey said of the coastal cleanup. “It is also important for the public to understand we are strong stewards of the beaches we visit.”

» READ: FBI search condo of Delray woman reported lost at sea

The Palm Beach Naturists, which Dickey says has 500 members, sent a letter to the county commission in May requesting to designate the north end of 6-acre Gulfstream Park clothing-optional. It would be the only nude beach in Palm Beach County.

While the group awaits a response from the county, it plans continue coastal cleanups, Dickey said.

“Naturists want clean and safe beaches and though the county does a fabulous job, it is important that volunteers like Palm Beach Naturists come out to help,” he said. “Our beaches are a precious natural resource for recreation and relaxation as well as a scenic treat for tourists.”

The nude beach proposal sparked mixed reactions from local businesses and beach-goers when it was first brought forward in May.

The closest nude beaches to Palm Beach County are Haulover Beach, at the north end of Miami-Dade County, and Blind Creek Beach in Fort Pierce, both at least an hour’s drive from Gulfstream.

The county’s parks and recreation department would have to evaluate the request and recommend it to the county commission, Commissioner Steven Abrams said in May.

While it would become the only nude beach in the county, it wouldn’t be the first.

Back in the 1970s, what is now MacArthur State Park in North Palm Beach was, though unofficially, a clothing-optional beach.

A 2-mile stretch of coastline belonging to insurance billionaire John D. MacArthur had a reputation as one of the nation’s largest nude beaches.

 

You can now pay by mobile app at downtown Delray’s parking garages

(Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post) WEST PALM BEACH – West Palm Beach uses Parkmobile, a smartphone app that allows payment at any city parking meter. Delray Beach will now allow the app to be used for payment at its parking garages.

DELRAY BEACH — No cash? No problem.

At least not if you’re trying to park in downtown Delray Beach garages any more.

The city of Delray Beach now allows mobile payment at its two downtown parking garages — the Old School Square garage on Swinton and Atlantic avenues and the Federspiel garage on Southwest First Avenue just south of Atlantic. You can pay using the Parkmobile smartphone application, the same mobile app used in downtown West Palm Beach.

» RELATED: Delray wants to eliminate free downtown parking, install smart meters

The parking garages charge a flat fee of $5 on Thursday through Saturday after 4 p.m.

Parking is free for cars in the garages before 4 p.m., and they won’t be charged if they stay past that time.

The convenient parking method comes on the heels of a recent city discussion to eliminate free street-side parking along Atlantic Avenue, and possibly the rest of downtown Delray Beach.

The city is considering installing smart meters that would analyze demand for Delray Beach 3,000-plus downtown parking spots, a majority of which are presently free, and increase price at peak hours. City leaders hope the change will force turnover along Atlantic Avenue, driving business, and generate revenue for the city.

Morikami Museum celebrates anniversary with discount tickets, festivities

The James & Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge which is the entrance to the Japanese Gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Bob Shanley)

DELRAY BEACH — The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens celebrates its 40th anniversary this month with a celebratory bash that includes a musical performance, time capsule creation and discounted tickets.

The museum and 16-acre garden west of Delray Beach, at 4000 Morikami Park Rd, is offering four tickets for $40 on Sunday, June 25 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Visitors can create their own 40th anniversary button, see a Japanese-themed musical performance and create and share their favorite Morikami moments for a time capsule that will be buried during a private ceremony, among other activities, according to the museum.

» RELATED: In honor of Morikami Museum’s 40th anniversary, its history in photos

The museum shop will offer a 10 percent discount, and the museum restaurant, Cornell Cafe, will offer special 40th anniversary sushi rolls and appetizers.

The museum is using the hashtag #MoriTurnsForty on social media to generate buzz around the anniversary event.

For more information about the 40th anniversary event, visit morikami.org.

In honor of Morikami’s 40th anniversary, its history in photos

DELRAY BEACH — The quiet Japanese gardens and museum tucked just west of Delray Beach will celebrate its 40th anniversary this month.

To mark the occasion, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens plans to bury a time capsule on Monday, June 26 during a private ceremony. It hasn’t yet revealed what slice of history will be placed inside the capsule and buried beneath the popular garden’s surface, but there are plenty of options.

In honor of the anniversary, take a look at some photos snapped and collected by The Palm Beach Post over the years, and dive into the history of this staple Palm Beach County museum.


May 19, 1973 – George S. Morikami in his Volkswagen van: Delray Beach, Florida. Morikami donated the land that later became the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. (Courtesy of Morikami Museum)

Ever wonder where the name “Yamato Road” in Boca Raton came from? The Yamato Colony was a small community of Japanese farmers that settled in present day north Boca in the early 1900s.

The south Palm Beach County pineapple farming community led to the creation of the Japanese-inspired oasis we know now as Morikami Museum.

In the  mid-1970s, one of the last remaining settlers, George Sukeji Morikami, donated his land to Palm Beach County with the hope that it would be used to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony, according to the museum.

6/13/2002—–DELRAY BEACH—-The James & Hazel Gates Woodruff (cq) Memorial Bridge which is the entrance to the Japanese Gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Thursday, morning. The museum building, the Yamato-kan, can be seen in the background. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Bob Shanley)

The museum was opened in 1977 in a building named the Yamato-kan, modeled after a traditional Japanese villa.

The museum has since grown into two museum buildings with a surrounding 16 acres of gardens for strolling space, a bonsai collection and wildlife.

The Morikami Museum is now a popular destination for events such as weddings and school field trips. And its festivals have grown to draw crowds of thousands to the venue each year.

The most popular festival: The annual Lantern Festival — which honors Obon, a Japanese Buddhist celebration of ancestors. Tickets to the event sold out within 12 hours last year.

The museum was paid a historic visit by two first ladies earlier this year: U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In 2003, Ryozo Kato, then Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, also paid a visit to the museum.

For more information about the history of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, visit the museum or its website.

 

8/8/1974 — George S. Morikami is shown in his pineapple field in Delray Beach. Morikami was born in 1886 and died in 1976. (Photo courtesy: Florida Photographic Collection)

 

3/7/2003—-DELRAY BEACH—-Ryozo Kato Japan’s Ambassador to the United States stops to pay his respect at the Morikami Memorial, the traditional gravestone (right) for George Sukeji Morikami, donor of Morikami Park and a marker (left) memorializing Jo Sakai and Mitsusaburo Oki, founders of the Yamato Colony, Friday while touring the Roji-En gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Bob Shanley)

 

08/18/2001 — Delray Beach – The Chitose Kai dancers (consisting of members of the Japan America Society of South Florida and Orange Kai) perform a Bon Odori (Bon Dance) during the Obon festival in Delray beach. The now 39-year-old festival is now called the Lantern Festival, marked by lit lanterns floated on the waters at the museum. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Shannon O’Brien)

 

8/15/98 — Delray Beach — Fireworks explode over Morikami Japanese Gardens pond while lanterns lighting the way for spirits to get home float. (Palm Beach Post photograph by Mark Mirko)

 

2/11/2017 — First Lady Melania Trump (left) and Akie Abe (right), wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, stroll in the gardens at Morikami Museum west of Delray Beach. (Palm Beach Post photo by Michael Ares)

 

1/3/98 — Toshie Nutter (center) turns the rice as Tom Gregerson and his father John Gregerson use traditional wooden mallets to pound rice to make rice cakes (mochi) during the Morikami Museum’s annual oshogatsu New Year Celebrations. Pounding rice and making mochi is a traditional Japanese New Year activity. (Palm Beach Post staff Photo by Lannis Waters)

 

 

1/3/98 — Griffin Barnett, 10, of Lake Worth, plays Fukuwarai , a Japanese version of pin-the-tail-on-the donkey, during the Morikami Museum’s annual oshogatsu New Year Celebrations. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Lannis Waters)

 

 

Nani’s hand-crafted doughnut shop leaves Boynton, opens in Delray

Nani’s hand-crafted doughnuts. (Liz Balmaseda/The Palm Beach Post)

DELRAY BEACH — Nani’s hand-crafted, gourmet doughnuts has fled south. Just barely.

The artisanal bakery, known for its huge doughnuts, has vacated its spot in Boynton Beach and recently opened up shop in Delray Beach, in a plaza on Congress Avenue just south of Lake Ida Road. Nani’s was previously in Bond and Smolders bakery at the Federal Highway plaza on Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach’s Riverwalk Plaza.

» READ: Flurry of restaurant openings and closings dot Boynton Beach

The doughnut shop — which serves a creative and always-growing list of concoctions such as S’mores, Cotton Candy, Funfetti, Raspberry Poptart and Banana Creme Brûlée — relied on delivery until it opened inside Bond and Smolders bakery last year. Riverwalk Plaza’s owner plans to tear it down and build a 10-story residential complex, which prompted the doughnut shop to relocate, The Palm Beach Post’s Alex Seltzer reports.

The mammoth 4-inch-wide donuts are priced between $3 and $3.50 a piece. The bakery has seasonal and specialty flavors it announces on its Facebook page.

Nani’s is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.