Published On: Sat, Feb 8th, 2020

From the Desk of Your County Commissioner

By: Robert S Weinroth

Fire Rescue: Palm Beach County’s Bravest

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Hot Zone Hands-On Training event hosted by the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue (PBFR) Department at their headquarters training center on Pike Road in West Palm Beach. 

It is said, to appreciate someone’s burden you first need to walk in their “boots.” To better understand the tasks we ask our first responders to routinely undertake, a group of us donned bunker gear (complete with boots, masks, air tanks and even body armor) and sampled several scenarios testing our abilities and endurance.

From extricating a vehicle passenger utilizing some serious metal bending and cutting tools, to responding to the scene of an active shooter with victims requiring immediate aid, to a smoke filled building with victims in needs of aid, to a fully involved structure fire, we were carefully guided through each scenario by seasoned fire professionals.

Needless to say, I now have a much greater appreciation of the challenges faced by these brave men and women. I am proud to report we are in the most capable hands with the county’s first responders.

PBFR is one of the largest fire departments in the state of Florida.  In addition to fire and/or medical emergencies, they are trained to respond to hazardous materials/conditions, plane crashes, aircraft emergencies, active shooter incidents, chemical and fuel spills, and water and animal rescues. PBFR is also involved in hurricane/disaster planning and response and presidential detail.

Quick Statistics on PBCFR:

  • 140,000 911 calls for help each year
  • 49 fire stations, including Palm Beach International Airport
  • Covering 1,761 square miles
  • More than 1,500 employees

Non-emergency Services:

  • Fire and arson investigations
  • Building fire safety inspections
  • Construction plans review
  • Community education presentations
  • Mobile Integrated Health Program – for follow-up with patients in need after 911 calls
  • CARES Team – for emotional first aid for families and resource connection

Seniors Getting Scammed

Every year over 3 million senior citizens are victims of scams resulting in over $3 billion in losses. Internet scams are a growing problem for our retirement population especially since many are too trusting and vulnerable to fraudulent activities.
One of the most popular internet scams is called “phishing.” This is when a scammer uses fraudulent emails, texts or copycat websites to get personal information such as bank account and social security numbers.  Phishing is usually done through fraudulent emails containing malware.
Other popular scams are computer “pop-ups” claiming you have won a sweepstake or lottery, counterfeit prescription drugs advertisements or emails, and employment and “sweetheart” scams.

How to avoid becoming a victim

  • Avoid opening or clicking on links from emails or ads from unfamiliar sources.
  • Don’t give personal information over the phone or online to an unknown party.
  • If a deal on a vacation, prescription drug, or something else seems too good to be true, it probably is. rResearch the company providing the deal.
  • The government will not notify you of a late bill or owed payment over an ad on a website.
  • Monitor bank accounts and retirement accounts for unusual purchases or withdrawals.
  • Review and discuss monthly bills and prescriptions, and be aware of any new mention of “new” bills or “cheaper” prescriptions.

How to report scams

It’s vital to report scams to the authorities since it’s the first step in trying to catch these criminals.
FBI: Blue and white collar crimes including internet scams, especially if money is involved (www.fbi.gov/contact-us).
Federal Trade Commissioner: telemarketing and phishing scams  (www.identitytheft.gov/?utm_source=takeaction).
Social Security Administration: anything involving your social security number and/or funds (oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse).

Non-Profit Spotlight

Place of Hope is a unique, faith-based, state-licensed children’s organization providing family-style foster care, maternity care, safety for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, transitional housing and support services for youth aging out of foster care, and housing and support services for homeless families.
They also provide foster care recruitment and support for children and families who have been traumatized by abuse and neglect throughout our region.
Place of Hope’s mission is to foster hope rather than despair, potential rather than limitations, healing rather than hurting, belonging rather than isolation, and what the future can be, rather than what the past has been. For more information, please visit www.PlaceOfHope.com.

Board of County Commissioners Brief

At the February 4, 2020, Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board took the following action:
Okeeheelee Park – approved a concessionaire lease agreement with Kayak-King Watersports, Inc., for the operation of the water sports and recreational rental equipment concession located in Okeeheelee Park for a term of three years at $8,200/year ($683.33/month).
Vista Center – approved a concessionaire lease agreement with Ultimate Bakery & Pastry, Inc. for the operation of a food service concession at the Palm Beach County Vista Center building for a term of five years at a rental rate of $6,000/year ($500/month) or 7.5% of the gross sales, whichever is greater.
Code Enforcement – approved a negotiated settlement offer in the amount of $13,875 for a code enforcement lien filed in 2004. Julio C. Ruiz, the owner of the parcel located at 4714 Alberta Ave. had been cited for: 1) building structures in disrepair; 2) outside storage of construction materials, appliances, trash and debris; and 3) overgrown vegetation on the property. The accrued lien amount through Oct. 31, 2019, totaled $27,750.49. The owner agreed to pay 50 percent of the full outstanding lien.
Conflict Resolution – adopted a resolution initiating intergovernmental conflict resolution procedures, as set forth under Chapter 164, Florida Statutes, to resolve the county’s conflict with the city of Palm Beach Gardens. The city recently adopted three ordinances and a resolution to approve a mobility plan and mobility fee technical report and to terminate the interlocal agreement with the county regarding traffic concurrency procedures. The city’s actions unlawfully replaced the county’s road impact fee and transportation concurrency.
Natural area – approved an updated management plan for the Pondhawk Natural Area in Boca Raton. Annual management and operating costs, including prescribed burns, ongoing invasive/nonnative animal and plant control, repair and replacement of facilities, and biological monitoring and reporting are estimated at $199,334. Funds for capital improvements and annual management and operation of the site are expected to come from the Natural Areas Fund, Natural Areas Stewardship Endowment Fund, Pollution Recovery Trust Fund, Ag Reserve Land Management Fund, and/or ad valorem funding sources.
Advisory board – directed staff to look into scheduling more regular meetings of the Advisory Commission on Women. Currently, the panel meets a minimum of four times per year.

(L-R): Hal R Valeche (D1); Robert S Weinroth (D4); Mary Lou Berger (D5); Dave Kerner (D3); Melissa McKinlay (D6); Mack Bernard (D7) and Gregg K Weiss (D2)

As always, my office is always ready to help you with county issues

Feel free to reach out for assistance:

Our main office is located at the Robert Weisman Palm Beach County Governmental Center (301 N Olive Ave Ste 1201; West Palm Beach FL 33401). Our office phone number in West Palm Beach is  561.355.2204​​

We are also available (by appointment) at our District Office at the South County Complex (345 S Congress Ave; Delray Beach FL 33445). Our offie phone number in Delray Beach is 561.276.1220.

Lucia Bonavita Sr Legislative Aide    [email protected]

Alexandria Ayala Legislative Aide    [email protected]

Yaelen Mejias       District Secretary  [email protected]

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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