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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida • Page 62
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida • Page 62

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1991 The Palm Beach Post lo SECTION Lake EECHOBEE Mayor could 'make a difference' in plans for housing Ok Candidates suggest helping with repairs, buying Vs Two candidates for West Palm Beach mayor former City Commissioners Nancy Graham and Mike Hyman have borrowed heavily from Tampa's program in organizing their housing proposals. Both candidates want to create "challenge funds" to help pedple get money for repairs and down payments. Graham said she also plans to put together a housing committee that would advertise existing programs and coordinate state, local and federal housing efforts. In addition, she would set up a non-profit Please see H0USING4B home repairs and to help renters who want to own homes but can't afford down payments. In turn, the city insures the loans for five years, and redevelopment agency workers do all the paper work. Few have defaulted on their loans, Belsom said. The idea is that people who own homes will take better care of them than renters. That, in turn, will stabilize faltering neighborhoods. But the program won't work unless everyone involved is willing to participate, Belsom said. Banks must want to lend the money, and city staff must do the paper work and cooperate with requests. TheM ayor's Race This is the second in a series of articles about issues in the Nov. 5 West Palm Beach mayoral elec- tion. By ANGELA BRADBERY Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH In Tampa, housing programs started several years ago by the mayor have brought the city rave reviews. Dilapidated housing is being renovated. Renters, have become homeowners. People with rocky credit histories are getting loans. In West Palm Beach, the latest affordable-housing initiative is going awry. Of three projects the city is subsidizing, one has been delayed and the developer of another has pulled out. Twenty percent of the 32,696 households in the city need housing assistance. Code inspectors have identified 1,502 homes with minor code violations and 234 with major violations, city records show. Those running for mayor say the city needs a strong housing policy. Experts say an elected mayor, which the city hasn't had since the early 1900s, could make a difference. Voters are to choose a mayor Nov. 5. "I think the mayor is absolutely critical," said Cletus Belsom, an urban planner with Tampa's Community Redevelopment Agency. "So much of it depends on confidence, and to me, it's hard to have confidence in a board." George Steele, president of the Palm Beach County Housing Partnership, said, "There are some cities in the county where it is almost impossible to get past city hall. The mayor can make a difference." In Tampa, the mayor created a "Challenge Fund" by persuading banks to offer loans at lower interest rates. The money is used for Utility room costs county V' I $328,600 Officials dispute space s-. vikdi 1 til I i estimate or Centre By MEG JAMES Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH It's called the penthouse. To get there, one must go past two locked doors and a gaggle of green-uniformed sheriff's deputies. A special key must be inserted to beckon a dingy freight elevator typically used to transport inmates. Once on the fourth floor, the elevator doors part. Ahead lie shelves packed with tools, old doorknobs, fans, a thermometer and two pinup calendars sporting blonde models in red and hot-pink bikinis. Taxpayers are renting this equipment room in the downtown Centre for $328,600 over the next five years. And officials continue to dispute whether the county should be paying for the area as part of a 1989 agreement to lease the Centre as a makeshift courthouse. i Assistant County Attorney Ross Hering said last week that he has concluded the county is not being overcharged for space at the Centre on North Dixie Highway. County officials, the landlord and his architect apparently agreed more than two years ago that the penthouse which also houses huge air-conditioning compressors and vents should be included in the building's space calculations, Hering said. "The county is getting what the staff members thought that they were getting," he said. "There is no phantom space. The space is there." f. County commissioners agreed in August 1989 to lease 144,030 square feet at the Centre for five years, for about $2.2 million a year. However, if county officials count the machinery room, that raises another question, said Internal Auditor Fred Jenkins, whose August audit reported problems with the deal. Square-footage notations on floor plans submitted to county commissioners in 1989 total 143,930 squdre feet 100 feet less than the figure. And, the floor plans depict three floors and a mezzanine, but not the fourth-floor equipment room. "How can you have another 4,000 square feet on the fourth floor?" Jenkins asked. "We can't get this thing to balance out." If the machinery room is included, that would mean the Centre would have nearly 148,000 Please see PENTH0USE4B E.A. KENNEDY IllStaff Photographer Barbara and Gene Welch of Fort Lauderdale dance Sunday afternoon during the final hours of Oktoberfest. Record 35,000 eat, drink, dance at Oktoberfest this year, although one man had a heart attack Saturday night and was taken to JFK Medical Center. Oscar Trautner, 87, of Lantana was in fair condition Sunday night. Lange described the final day as "a nice relaxing slow day mostly for senior citizens," and said the popular six-piece Stoabach band from Germany added to the enjoyment. Many who gathered to hear the An estimated 35,000 attended the 18th annual festival, which ended Sunday, said American-German club president John Lange. Last year's attendance of 31,000 had been a record, Lange said. "The weather was good, and it's the 18th annual (event) so we have established a tradition," Lange said. Lange said no disturbances or major parking problems were reported By GILLIAN HAGGERTY Palm Beach Post Staff Writer LANTANA By the time the six-day event ended, Oktoberfest visitors had consumed about 2,000 pounds of sausage, 3,000 gallons of sauerkraut and 1,600 barrels of beer. They listened to oompah bands, did the famous "chicken" dance and enjoyed the festive atmosphere in record numbers. band agreed. Others said the combination of sights, sounds and tastes made the event a treat. Ziba Jasaitis, 3, danced in front of the band as her mom and other relatives watched. "I think it's nice to make the kids aware of the different cultures the different dances and foods," said Zi-ba's mother, Ruta. Victims of 1928 hurricane in mass grave consecrated -mn Newsletter I started to help morale Boynton officers say they'd rather have raise By DOUGLAS T. COHEN and JOE CAPOZZI Palm Beach Post Staff Writers i BOYNTON BEACH The Police Department's new monthly newsletter tells officers "anything that does not reflect poorly on our professionalism will be But some officers say officials may be trying to use the newsletter to gloss over their own unprofessional acts. Police Chief Ed Hillery, who ordered the publication of Peae Keeper this month after a year pf planning, said the newsletter is meant to open the lines of commii-nication and help boost his depart By JAN LINDSEY Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Incense, chants and African song strained the seams of a city street corner Sunday when about 70 people gathered to see the souls of 647 victims of the 1928 hurricane to the afterlife. Bodies were buried in a trench on what is now the southwest corner of 25th Street and Tamarind Avenue. Many of those buried at the site were black farmworkers from the Glades who drowned when Lake Okeechobee overflowed. Adembeni Ajamu of Miami, a priest in the Yoruba tradition of southwest Nigeria, and about nine fellow priests and priestesses conducted the rites that captured the spirits of the victims, gave them direction and released them. During a program that preceded the rituals, City Commissioner Robbie Littles promised that the city would help the Lake Park-based Sankofa Society create a memorial in the weed-strewn field. The Sankofa Society the memorial and consecration service. Janice Peak-Graham, Janice Jennings and Patrice Daniels were introduced as "the sisters" of the society. "Coming here today is not about Please see C0NSECRATI0N4B LANNIS WATERSStaff Photographer In Search Of A Great Pumpkin WEST PALM BEACH Kadie Paonessa, 2, Military Trail south of Belvedere Road. Her fa-tries Sunday to help her father, Brian, pick a ther plans to turn it into a jack-o'-lantern for perfect pumpkin from a patch of plenty on Halloween, just 10 days away. Fire victims' testimonials may sway condos ment's morale. I Complexes urged to install sprinkler systems Inside Local News ATLAS OF CHANGES The latest version of 'The New Cosmopolitan World Atlas' went on sale last week and is attracting much interest because of changes in the geography of what was the Soviet Union. STORY, 2B OLD NORTHWOOD HEARING The West Palm Beach City Commission will reconvene a hearing tonight on street closings in the Old Northwood section. STORY, 2B "I went into the hallway to get the fire extinguisher, and when I came back, the fire was out," Mary Suba said. Gerry Bowman, who manages the building in Ocean Trails that had the fire, said his residents are happy they had the sprinklers installed in 1989. "It prevented a potential disaster, and there was minimal water damage," he said. The incidents all within about a month of each other point out the need for sprinkler systems in condominium complexes, Sheppard said. But not all condominiums cited in 1987 by Fire-Rescue for lack of sprin- Please see C0ND01.4B Sgt. Dave Nissensohn, however, is one of several officers who say the newsletter is a meager attempt to appease them after the City Council denied them and other employees annual 5 percent raises without following civil service rules. "If anybody even remotely thinks that this newsletter will do something for morale, they're in fantasy land," said Nissensohn, president of a union that represents the department's sergeants. "It was on my desk the other day, and I threw it in the garbage." ''jj Please see NEWSLETTER5B i By JOE BROGAN Palm Beach Post Staff Writer It was about 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 when i Dick Schilling fell asleep on his couch in i Apartment 103 at the Marina at the 1 Bluffs condominium in Jupiter with a lighted cigarette in his mouth. -Moments later, a pillow and part of the couch were ablaze, Palm Beach Coun-j ty Fire-Rescue reports said, Schilling awakened to a shower i of water from ceiling sprinkler heqds that doused the fire in seconds, Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Randy Shep-i pard said. that would have been a fatality," Shep-pard said. "He would have been rapidly overcome by smoke." Two days earlier, an extension cord shorted out in a condominium unit at Villa Costa at 9430 S.W. Eighth St. in Boca Raton while the owners were out. A chair and carpet caught fire but were extinguished by sprinklers, according to Fire-Rescue reports. In a similar case Aug. 18, David and Mary Suba, a New York couple leasing a unit at the Ocean Trails condominiums in Jupiter heard a loud pop at about 1 a.m. An electrical short in an outlet quickly sf firelo curtains. SB AREA DEATHS I "iwuv 111IV1C1 a nave INS UUUUb

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