Published On: Fri, Sep 22nd, 2017

Robert’s Community Report: 9/22

So, notwithstanding the fact that Hurricane Irma veered to the west of the Florida peninsula, the number of events on the calendar was reduced to next to nothing. Brazilian Beat 2017 was one casualty of the storm. The festivities were scheduled for Saturday, September 9th but storm preparation and public safety concerns resulted in cancellation and, unfortunately, it does not appear we will be able to reschedule this year.

This list of cancellations included meetings of the City Council (the Regular Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, City Council Workshop, and the Special Meeting to review the Downtown Special Assessment on September 11th were postponed; the Regular City Council Meeting; Parks & Recreation Board Meeting and the Community Appearance Board Meeting set for Tuesday, September 12th also were postponed.

Those meetings have now been rescheduled for next week with the CRA Meeting now scheduled for Monday, September 25th at 1:30PM, followed by the Downtown Special Assessment Meeting and finally the City Council Workshop. After a brief recess, the City Council will reconvene at 6PM to hold a Tentative Budget Hearing.

Normally, the City must have its budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2017-18) reviewed and approved prior to the end of September. However, with the entire state impacted by Irma, the Governor granted several extra weeks to complete the public hearing process. Thus, the Final Budget Hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Monday, October 2nd at 6PM.

Circling back to next week, the City Council and Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District will be meeting at 6500 Congress Avenue on Tuesday, September 26th at 3PM. At that meeting, the potential purchase of Ocean Breeze will be discussed. The District has secured additional information it wishes to share with the Council including a legal opinion offered by Goren Cherof Doody & Ezrol on the transaction. In addition, the District will share the results of a feasibility analysis and business plan for the proposed municipal course and, finally, an appraisal report from Callaway & Price will be discussed. Presumably, after this information has been digested by the city a decision will be made on how to effect the acquisition of the course.

Rounding out the Council’s meeting marathon will be its Regular Meeting on Tuesday, September 26th at 6PM. This promises to be a meeting that will extend late into the evening with items originally scheduled for decision rolled forward to this meeting along with the items that would have normally been considered. In other words, it will be a full day!

But let’s recap what happened over the past few weeks.

Several members of the Council joined the Southeast Florida Recovery Advocates for a Town Hall forum and rally for a federal response to the opioid epidemic. It was my honor to deliver the Mayor’s proclamation declaring August 31st Drug Overdose Awareness Day in Boca Raton. Many heartbreaking stories told about the devastating effects of opioid addiction and many more heartwarming stories of people who are n the road to recovery. As a corollary to this, the idea of the state of Florida initiated a lawsuit against the “Big Pharma” to recover the costs of treating people addicted to opioids has been raised. It appears several states and local governments are taking or have contemplated similar actions (similar to Florida’s landmark case against the tobacco industry).

Have you heard? Boca Raton is ranked No. 1 in the nation for retirees who like to keep busy working at least part-time, whether it’s for extra income or pleasure. SmartAsset, a New York-based personal finance and retirement savings website, ranked Boca Raton as the top spot of 11 cities, after researching US Census, household income, taxes and other data. The ranking is based on factors that might attract those 65 years old and over. According to SmartAsset, Boca Raton is a city that’s great for seniors who want to have a good time and earn a little cash.

The ranking considered factors including recreation and medical centers per 1,000 residents, the percentage of residents who are seniors, senior employment, median household income and housing costs. The biggest drawback for seniors who might want to move to Boca Raton is expensive housing. The median cost of housing exceeds $18,000 a year

Undaunted by the approaching Hurricane, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County president, Kelly Smallridge, detailed the efforts employed by the BDB to attract businesses to Palm Beach County during a meeting of the Boca Chamber’s International Business Alliance. While Ms. Smallridge must support the economic development efforts of all cities within Palm Beach County, she did note that of the 67 corporate headquarters (located within Palm Beach County) 25 are located in Boca Raton.

The Mission of the BDB is to stimulate economic energy, promote business diversity, and enrich the vitality of Palm Beach County through the relocation, retention, and expansion of companies to or in Palm Beach County.

The BDB works to attract and retain business investment through corporate relocations, expansions, and international trade; and provide marketing support and business networking services through a paid membership organization that partially funds their economic development services.

During the past five years, the BDB has assisted companies that have created more than 10,000 direct jobs with average salaries greater than $58,000, resulting in more than $595 million in capital investment to Palm Beach County and an economic impact that exceeds $4.1 billion.

Just in time for the approaching hurricane, I joined Mayor Haynie and board members of the Boca Raton Airport at a very special ribbon cutting. Welcomed by Lt Col Michael Harding, commander of the USAF Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and Group 6 Commander, Lt Col Jaime Lichi, we joined in inaugurating their new hangar at the Boca Raton Airport and their new Air Force airplane. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and the Boca Raton Composite Squadron (BRCS) membership consists of teenage and adult volunteers dedicated to providing search and rescue, disaster relief, counter-drug operations, and youth mentoring.

BRCS holds its weekly meetings at the airport. Because of this location, they attract young people, pilots, and former military to join their ranks. It also gives them easy access to their new Cessna 172, used for search and rescue, homeland security and aerospace education.

CAP is known for its Cadet Leadership Programs. Cadets, ages 12 to 21, are given critically needed support, training, and guidance. They gain confidence as they acquire operational skills and leadership experience. It is one of the premier programs designed to help shape these young people into responsible, successful citizens. They are introduced to aviation and actually get to fly in the CAP aircraft on orientation flights. As a result, cadet corps is expanding rapidly with new members every month.

With Emergency Services being one of their primary focuses, Civil Air Patrol has been involved in disaster relief undertakings around the country. They conduct rigorous training throughout the year to be prepared for such events.

The BRCS is a key player in Florida’s search and rescue missions including maritime, aviation and counter-drug reduction. They work with state officials in coordinating and providing fire, hurricane, cyclone, tornado, and flood relief efforts. They have performed a wide variety of missions including rescuing boaters at sea, finding downed aircraft, aerial surveillance, assisting the USAF with Homeland Security as well as providing first aid administration, shelter, supply center assistance and clean up during hurricanes.

The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce has inaugurated Boca Restaurant Month (Boca Loves New York) this year. This month-long event is promoting an array of culinary experiences. Each participating restaurant will have a minimum if one New York inspired dish/cocktail.

Each restaurant is offering a 3-course prix fix dinner menu priced between $36 and $40 (not including tax or gratuity). Some restaurants will also be offering a 3-course prix-fix lunch menu proceed between $21 and $25 (no including tax or gratuity).

Participating restaurants include: Brio Tuscan Grille; Café 5150; Café Med Ristorante; City Fish Market; Ditmas; Henry’s; Juniors; le bistro; Maggiono’s Little Italy; Max’s Grille; Matteos;  Melting Pot; Morton’s; Pavilion Grille; Pinon Grill; Roots Italian Kitchen; Oceans 234; Rebel; Tap42; Tilted Kilt Pub & Eastery; and Zinburger Wine & Burger bar

Mark your calendar, BocaLead (lunch with a purpose), which was forced to cancel its September lunch, will next meet on October 6, 2017. Reservations from September will automatically roll over to October. Held each month (except in the summer) at the Boca Raton Community Church, if you have not attended mark my words, you are missing a very worthwhile hour addressing ethical business practices. To learn more about BocaLead (sessions are videotaped so you can sample a session, online) go to: www.BocaCommunity.org/sermons-media/BocaLead/

The Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club, which meets at the City Fish Market (7940 Glades Rd Boca Raton FL 33434) at 11:30AM was forced to postpone its September luncheon where Roger Stone was scheduled to speak. In October, the guest speaker at the GCTBC will be State Attorney Dave Aronberg.  That lunch is scheduled for October 11th. To make reservations, go to www.GoldCoastTigerBayClub.com

The Inner Circle Executive Club will be holding a networking fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity on October 19th from 5:30-7:30PM at the Pinon at Town Center Mall (Glades Rd Boca Raton FL). Admission is free. Lite bites and happy hour drinks. The proceeds from the Silent Auction will benefit Habitat’s work in the coomunity.

The Greater Boca Raton Chamber rescheduled its monthly membership breakfast to Thursday September 28th at 7:30AM at the Via Mizner Golf & Country Club (6200 Boca Del Mar Drive Boca Raton FL 33433).

The annual In My Shoes Luncheon benefitting JAFCO’s Children’s Ability Center (providing family enrichment, resources and respite care to children with developmental disabilities) was another casualty of Irma. The event has been rescheduled to Thursday October 19th at the Boca West Country Club (20583 Boca West Dr Boca Raton FL) begins at 9:30AM with a boutique and the Luncheon and Program will run from 11:30AM – 1:30PM. For tickets or more information, go to www.JAFCO.org

The residents of Boca Raton can be extra proud of our firefighters and paramedics. After tending to the needs of our residents, a crew of our firefighters headed down to the Keys to lend a hand. Boca Raton, Florida suffered damage and inconvenience but the Florida Keys were devastated!

Watching the professionals snap into action as Irma approached, during the storm, and responded to its aftermath should fill every resident of our city with pride. From the mundane (keeping sewer and water working) to getting our city back online, our municipal employees demonstrated they know their jobs.

To our municipal force of dedicated employees – from City Manager to landscape and waste management — thank you for a job well done. Our city quickly got back to business thanks to the tireless efforts of our dedicated workforce!

On Sunday, members of the community joined in the celebration with Rabbi New and members of Chabad East Boca at the dedication of the Chaim New Legacy Torah, honoring the memory of the Rabbi’s late brother. Amid the dancing, BBQ and celebration the children enjoyed a shofar workshop, just in time for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

On Tuesday we began the evening hearing from military Veterans about their journey of discovery and the benefits of evidence base trauma conscious yoga provided, free of charge, to military service members, veterans and their families, worldwide. The passion and dedication of founder, Judy Weaver, the strength of the Connected Warriors mission, and the growth the organization has achieved in the past seven years (with 93 cents of every dollar going directly to benefit members of the military) is very compelling! The Connected Warriors 5th Annual Gala will be held on Veterans Day, November 11th, at the Boca Raton Marriott Save the Date-and join us as we support this extremely important initiative, “Serving those who have served.”

Wednesday evening began the Jewish New Year (5778).  What is Rosh Hashanah? It’s the Jewish New Year. Literally meaning “the head of the year” in Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days and is usually celebrated in September. Due to the Jewish calendar being based on the lunar cycle – like Easter is for Christians – it moves every year.

On Wednesday, September 27th from 5:30-7:30 Join the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new Coding School in Boca Raton which serves the growing global-wide demand for qualified developers and web programmers, Techknowledgy² Academy, also know as TK2 Coding Bootcamp, opened May 15 in downtown Boca Raton. They teache students web development and programming and iOS and Android development.  1515 N Federal Highway in Boca Raton.

October  2nd at 5:30 Ribbon Cutting for Burton’s Grill 5580 N. Military Trail Boca Raton. Since opening in 2005, Burtons Grill & Bar has had a simple goal in a complex and highly competitive business, “Delight every Guest“ one at a time. Consistency, integrity and passion guide them.

Tickets are now available for the 2017 Woman Volunteer of the Year 30th Anniversary luncheon on October 5th, 2017! Chairing the event will be Kirsten Braaten Stanley. Mark your calendars and get ready for another fabulous year with fabulous woman volunteers.

Bring the entire family to the Peter Blum Family YMCA in Boca Raton on Saturday, October 7 from 5-9pm

Come celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month at the Y with Baila Conmigo – a FREE event with fun for the entire family!

-Mariachi Band;

-Bounce Houses;

-Dance Party;

-Pinatas;
-DJ/Music; and

-Food Trucks

This is a FREE event for the community!

Guess that’s all for this week. For updates on city events, go to @BocaCalendar on Twitter.

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