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Venezuela Baby Formula Drive

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Venezuela is suffering a humanitarian crisis due to the poor handling of the modes of production by the current Socialist regime. As a result, a total lack of essential, perishable foodstuff has arisen. The average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds since the start of this crisis.

This crisis has also hit the children of Venezuela. Numerous children have died due to malnutrition or total lack of baby formula and due to the undernourishment of new mothers.

According to NGO CONVITE, in 2017, 6 children died per week. As of 2018, CONVITE calculated that there are around 280,000 children that are malnourished currently.

I am a Venezuelan American that resides in Boca Raton. I have been involved with community initiatives for years, helping some of the neediest residents in our city. I decided to support this specific need by joining forces with “+ is More” an International NGO. They have created a humanitarian channel that has figured out how to take the formula to those children that most need it. Instead of using massive containers, this group divides the milk into smaller quantities. They then directly deliver the formula to pediatricians, nurses, people associated with hospitals, and parents. This NGO also reaches the neediest of infants, those with special needs.

Until April 8th, 2019, we are collecting powdered formula and bottles to be distributed in Venezuela. The effort will culminate with an event at the Boca Raton Children’s Museum, on the same date from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

If you are interested in being part of this effort, you can bring the baby formula before the event to our drop-off center or buy it via Amazon and have it delivered. Any brand of powdered baby formula will do, but here are some examples of what we’re looking for:

Drop off Formula Before April 8th here:
Florida Accounting and Advisers
299 Camino Gardens Blvd. Suite 101
Boca Raton, FL 33432

Thank you for your support,
Mary Sol Gonzalez
Marygonzalezboca@gmail.com

A Common Sense Approach To Boca’s Parking Problems

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As Boca has grown, so has frustration over traffic and parking. The problem with traffic is that we have too many cars on too few streets. The parking problem is often described as too many cars chasing too few parking spaces.

Traffic is a tough fix. The sad fact is that there is very little that can be done about our streets, as opposed to our intersections. Many proposed “solutions” such as making Federal Highway and Dixie one-way thoroughfares are pipe dreams, given that they fall under multiple government jurisdictions. There is also the issue of cars passing through Boca from our northern and southern neighbors. That falls into the “not our problem” category at City Hall. One potential alleviator of traffic congestion: build fewer buildings that attract cars in places without the infrastructure to handle them. What a radical idea!

Fortunately, there are some easier solutions to Boca’s downtown parking problem. The City Council has already acted on one idea: allow parking in the hundreds of empty spaces in the office, condo and rental apartment buildings downtown. That’s right, there are hundreds of parking spaces that sit empty in office buildings at night and 24/7 in residential buildings that are not totally occupied. Why haven’t these spaces been made available to the parking public? The simple reason is that prior to February 11th of this year, a building’s owner who wanted to offer underutilized parking to the public had to request an amendment to their building’s original IDA (Development Approval). Asking Boca’s Mandarins for this is like asking your dentist for a root canal without anesthetic.

So after three years of study by outside consultants Kimberley Horn, the CRA was persuaded to adopt the Downtown Parking Availability Program. Basically, the program allows owners of commercial, office, institutional, mixed use, and multifamily residential properties located within the CRA boundaries to receive revenues by making their underutilized parking available to other property owners, businesses, and visitors to the Downtown. The CRA is roughly the area covered by Mizner Park, Royal Palm Plaza, etc., i.e. the “new” Downtown Boca. We should be seeing the benefits of this new program soon—provided that building owners decide that the oversight by the CRA Executive Director is worth the hassle of opening up their buildings to public parking. But at least they have the opportunity to pursue this common sense parking solution. The only real question is why did it take the City Council so long to approve the idea?

Which leads to another relatively simple parking fix that the City could achieve with relatively little hassle. The Wildflower Property on the Intracoastal, the subject of seven years of squabbling, will eventually become a park. In the meantime it has 140 parking spaces that sit empty. While we wait, and wait, for our park, Investments Limited, downtown Boca’s largest property owner, has offered to provide free shuttle service if the City would open the Wildflower Property to parking for employees who work in the downtown. A dedicated employee parking lot would go a long way toward opening up street spaces that fill up now long before our stores and restaurants open. But the City has yet to act on Investment Limited’s generous and intelligent proposal. I’m sure they have lots of excuses.

Wildflower would only be a temporary fix. A more permanent solution would be the addition of another parking garage downtown. Perhaps while the City dithers about building a public garage, private landowners will determine that the economics justify their investment in such a structure. But when that day does come, rather than just build another concrete box in Boca’s downtown, perhaps we could be rewarded with something true to the architectural vision of Addison Mizner. And if there is no suitable site within easy walking distance to downtown restaurants and businesses, the City should combine the new parking garage with a shuttle or trolley service that is free and convenient.

Finally, maybe the most proactive solution to downtown Boca’s parking woes would be to put people in charge who are creative and have initiative. Since our City Council has become more “resident friendly” if not “resident responsible,” our downtown managers at City Hall seem to have hunkered down and shied away from decisive decision-making. They are like bureaucrats caught in the headlights of public scrutiny. We are the result: a public that is dissatisfied.

Long ago, Boca’s downtown was identified as a special district in need of revitalization. This required special attention and promotion. It still does. We may not be able to do much about the traffic, but we can certainly do better in providing parking for those who work, live, shop and dine here. But creative solutions require creative people. Maybe we need to put more creative people in charge.

Excessive Reserves – From the Resident, For the Resident

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This article is based upon information contained in the City of Boca Raton’s Comprehensive Annual Financing Report (CAFR) for the year ended, September 30, 2017: the latest audit report to which a link is provided at the end of this article. The 2018 CAFR is anticipated to arrive sometime in the next several weeks. 

Reported by the city are reserves that are deemed excess in the range of $224,000,000: a staggering amount.  I am not referring to recorded reserves that are either restricted or that are necessary and needed for ongoing operations of the city, such as for debt service or capital projects.  Also, this amount does not include the future sale of Boca Municipal Golf Course for $65M that could potentially increase the excess reserves to just under $290 M.  This amount, or a portion thereof, can be made available for whatever purpose the City Council deems appropriate. It is an amount that can be made available for projects the residents want, projects the residents demand.  After all, this is the residents’ money; it belongs neither to the administration nor the Council.  It is money from the resident, for the resident.   

Demanded here is for the City Council to schedule a public workshop to present the 2018 CAFR so that the residents can see what reserves are available, see what is the prudent amount of reserves needed to protect the city, and maintain the city’s excellent bond rating.

Boca Raton Community High School Annual NJROTC Spaghetti Dinner

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Boca Raton Community High School National Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (NJROTC) hosted their Annual Spaghetti Fundraiser on February 16th, from 5p.m. to 7p.m., Saturday, in the school’s cafeteria. Prepaid meal tickets $5, and $10 at the door. Guests had a choice of house salad, garlic or plain rolls, white or red meat sauce on pasta, an assortment of desserts, and a beverage. Everyone was welcome to seconds, and a take out option. Silent auction, and raffle ticket items filled the other side of the cafeteria, all donated by the community. Following the dinner, the Cadets showcased their drill maneuvers in the gymnasium.

Alzheimer’s Walk Committee Launch Party

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It certainly was a “LAUNCH”! On February 11, Monday, 6pm.- 8pm., Rack’s Downtown Eatery + Tavern in Mizner Park, The 2019 Alzheimer’s Walk Committee, welcomed Warriors willing to take on the fight against Alzheimer’s. Committee Chairs were stationed through out the patio discussing roles needed, and what it will take to have our Community get involved.

Photo Credit JW

For more information to join the Committee or Volunteer, please contact;
Stefanie Mardar, Development Manager
Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Florida Chapter
3323 W Commercial Blvd. Suite 260, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Office: (954) 786-1533

Save the Date, Nov 10th!

$52 Million for a New Boca Municipal Golf Course?

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$52 million for a new golf course? At the February 25th meeting of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District the commissioners reviewed a lengthy document provided by their architect which included a $28 million construction cost estimate for their new golf course project.  Combined with the $24 million purchase price, this results in the $52 million total cost.

VIP Reception for ChildNet Care for Kids Luncheon

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A VIP reception for the Sixth Annual ChildNet Care for Kids Luncheon, was hosted by Sklar Furnishings in Boca Raton, on February 27th, Wednesday, 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Boca Raton Seafood and Music Festival

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February 8th-10th was a time to gather your friends and family, and come enjoy a delicious array of seafood ranging from Cajun-style craw-fish to raw bars. Over the course of three days, thousands flowed into Mizner Park to enjoy live music, arts, crafts as well as a variety of attractions for folks of all ages. Admission was only $5 with children 12 and under admitted free. Tickets were available at the gate, or through the EventLive site and purchase general admission tickets in advance. Pets were not allowed into the event.

Guests enjoyed delectable foods cooked fresh on site including seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. Seafood dishes are prepared using indigenous and sustainable seafood from Florida’s coastal waters. Add to your main course with selections from a diverse menu of side dishes and choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Nippers and Strikes: LOSE, LOSE, LOSE Part 2

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NIPPERS AND STRIKES

properties located at Commercial Trail and N. Military Trail

For many of us, especially those that have been here for decades, locating Nippers and Strikes needs no navigation system to find this 10-acre parcel of Boca Raton landscape in the middle of what has now become the political battleground, Midtown.

Focusing On The Solid Waste Authority in Palm Beach County

Weinroth Solid Waste Authority

Since moving up to the Board of County Commissioners, I have found my portfolio of duties greatly expanded over the responsibilities I was tasked with as a member of the Boca Raton City Council.

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