The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 13, 1999 · Page 85
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 85

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Monday, September 13, 1999
Page 85
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The Palm Beach Post msl SECTION B MEETING OF THE MOMS St. Mary's taking over the Good Samaritan maternity ward at a busy time for births. STORY, 2B MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1999 LOCAL NEWS L,.i.,i,-,.pageV im4 St. Lucie to get visitation center for parents, children The center for non-custodial visits and transfers will be the first in the 19th circuit. By Thomas R. Collins Palm Beach Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE As a place for kids to get picked up by non-custodial parents during typically tense exchanges, McDonald's restaurants aren't exactly about food, folks, and fun, and are short on Ronald McDonald's good cheer. But St Lucie County has no official visitation center for such occasions. So ex-husbands and ex-wives, often still bitter, meet at inappropriate places such as fast-food restaurants and police stations to let their children keep in touch with both parents. What's worse, sometimes children don't get to see parents they don't live with because a judge has ordered that custodial exchanges be monitored and there's no one available to do the monitoring, social services officials say. Within a month or two, they say, those anxious moments will become easier to bear. After three years of preparation by a task force, a panel this week will start reviewing bids by five organizations hoping to run a visitation center in St. Lucie County. Officials hail it as a breakthrough move for St Lucie County, which has tried for years to get state money to start the center. The 19th state court circuit which includes St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee, and Indian River counties is one of only four of the state's 20 circuits without such a center. "I hate to see little kids have to go from one parent to another in the lobby of a police department," said Michelle Labosky, domestic violence case coordinator at the Fort Pierce Police Department "Unfortunately, they have to get used to it and they shouldn't have to get used to it" The state Department of Children and Families has made $60,000 available during the past two years to create a center, said Nollie Robinson, chairman of the task force. Officials hope the St Lucie County center will open at least by Thanksgiving maybe even within a month from now somebody else to supervise. "Unfortunately, most relatives or friends just don't want get involved in the middle," Cox said. Not having a center often gives one parent an excuse not to let the other parent see the children, Robinson said. Parents often are tempted to use the children as weapons against the other parents. That's just the kind of thing he hopes the new center will help kids avoid, he said. "It takes the game-playing between parents out of the picture," he said. And Labosky said, "I see them totally torn between mom and dad all the time. They don't know how to react they don't know who to talk to . . . This way, it takes the burden off them." and that similar centers can be opened soon in the circuit's three other counties. In 45 percent to 50 percent of court cases involving domestic violence, other family issues or juveniles, judges require supervision when parents visit their children, said Circuit Judge Cynthia Cox, who oversees family court and sat on the task force. Robinson estimates that 3,600 families could use the center in the circuit's four counties. "It's been a real problem," Cox said. "We've been making do with what we have available but it's not an ideal situation." Because no one is officially responsible for overseeing the exchanges and visits, parents often have to try to get .. ' . I - ' -it ''" '""s" - Si 7Ww 4 'if A -J" Ml i . ... . . . - , w - " - - fJ r 4 "IS ' f' t r 5' Pass a test, or don't go up a grade St. Lucie schools officials want : to tie grade advancement to passing key state exams. By Lady Hereford Palm Beach Post Staff Writer '. St. Lucie County students' test scores soon could determine whether they'll pass to the next grade under a proposal being considered by the school board this week. District officials are proposing major revisions to the pupil progression plan, the document that spells out minimum requirements for promotion and graduation for the district's 28,000 students. ; :: The changes are tied to state reforms which attempt to end social promotion by basing all progress from grade to grade on achievement The new measures call for automatic retention of students who fail the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test at certain grade levels, ' ' I . , 4 Building on that the district hopes to make the FCAT a sort of entrance exam for elementary students to get into middle school and for middle school students to get to high school. "Student performance on the FCAT is going to be a requirement for graduation. We have to start now by setting entry-level standards into the middle school and the high school," Superintendent Bill Vogel said. The state requires all high school students, beginning with this year's ninth-grade class, to pass the FCAT before they can graduate. If approved, the new pupil progression plan will go into effect this school year. Though the plan applies to all students, the new promotion requirements primarily affect students in fifth and eighth grades. This year's fifth-graders will have to pass the FCAT math test to be promoted to middle school. Their reading scores from last year will also be considered, but if they didn't pass the FCAT reading last year they will have several chances to pass a new reading test being developed by the district. ; "It's just to keep from penalizing those students," said Mary Krause, director of school improvement and educational technology. Students also must score at least a 3 on the Florida Writes! exam to move to sixth grade, according to the plan. Eighth-graders, who will take both the reading and math portions of the FCAT, must achieve a Level 2 in order to enter high school. FCAT scores correspond with achievement levels ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest. A Level 2 is equivalent to a letter grade of D. The state writing exam, Florida Writes! is scored between 1 and 6. A score of 3 is con- Please see TESTS, 48 kl ' 1 ' A, A ft1' STUART TnuRLWLLSiaff Pnotograpner Pooch's performance gets 'wave' review from owner JUNO BEACH - Barbara Walsh of Jupiter and her cocker spaniel, Buddy, some body-boarding lessons in the small surf at Juno Beach not far from the enjoy a break from the heat over the weekend. Walsh was giving Buddy Juno Beach pier. The waves were not associated with Hurricane Floyd. Jewelry, symbol may lead to identification of body A former owner of the house where the body was found took his own life in Boca Raton on Friday. By Brian D. Crecente Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ' New York police hope that a handful of jewelry, a doctor's business card and a religious symbol found in an approximately 25-year-old barrel stuffed with the mummified corpse of a pregnant woman may help identify the victim. Thursday afternoon, Nassau County police interviewed 70-year-old Howard Elkins of suburban Boca Raton about the body in the barrel discovered in a crawl space beneath the split-level 1966. Elkins told the Times that he could not remember the name of the contractor who had built the addition, but he recalled that the job had gone smoothly. Aside from gardeners, landscapes and maids, he said he could think of no one who had had access to the property. The Elkins lived in Hollywood before moving into Crescent Lakes, just north of the Broward County line, in 1997. Family members did not return phone calls Sunday. Nassau County police spokeswoman Doreen McGuinness said detectives were still in Palm Beach County Sunday investigating any possible connection between the discovery of the barrel and house he owned in Jericho, N.Y., on Long Island, 27 years ago. The next day, Elkins walked to a nearby house that he was watching for an out-of-town friend, climbed into the back seat of her Ford Explorer and shot himself in the head with a shotgun. The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner ruled Elkins' death a suicide. No note was left, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office. During a telephone interview with The New York Times on Sept. 4, Elkins acknowledged that he had bought the house new in 1957, and had lived in it for 15 years before selling and moving to Florida in 1972. He said he'd built a den off the kitchen that created e crawl space in Elkins' suicide. The mummified body was discovered on Sept 2 when Ronald Cohen, the Jericho home's owner, attempted to dispose of the 345-pound oil drum that had been rusting in a crawl space beneath the house for. at least 9! years, when Cohen moved in. Cohen had to get rid of the barrel to complete the resale of the house. Nassau County police determined that the airtight drum was manufactured in 1963 and originally held paint that was discontinued after 1973. Elkins and his wife, Ruth, owned the home from 1957 to 1972. The house had two owners between 1972 and 1984, when Please see ELKINS, 4B 7 just feel I have to do something to save this place that I love. ' .-V. On a mission to save the Savannas Police probing Princess Homes after complaints By Michael Van Sickler Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE This was supposed to be the best of times for Barbara and Feodor Korobanov. Retired, the two had decided to leave their vacation home in Pennsylvania for the sunny climate of Port St. Lucie so they could be close to their children, all of whom lived in Florida. They picked Princess Homes of the Treasure Coast in July of 1998 as their contractor to build their dream home. That decision was a fateful one, said Barbara Korobanov. "We don't have any furniture because we're afraid we're going to get thrown out" Korobanov said. Some of the money the couple paid Lisa SWfh .vAVf oi,4 By Sharon Wernlund Palm Beach Post Staff Writer JENSEN BEACH At 70, Pat Pazara walks the meandering trails of the Savannas State Preserve with the same wide-eyed wonderment as her first encounter. For nearly a decade, she's volunteered as the interpretive guide for nature walks and bird watching in this 5,000-acre park that stretches from Jensen Beach to Fort Pierce. And though she's traveled these paths many times, her admiration for the sights, sounds and smells along the way is as unchangeable as nature, itself. A great blue heron wading in the marsh still leaves her breathless. She strains to hear the distant trumpeting of the sandhill crane. A striped lizard underfoot is bid a friendly hello. And the telltale tracks of a gopher tortoise bring a smile to her face. "Right here at this spot is where we find scrub jays, which is a threatened species," says Pazara as she stands on high, dry ground of sandy patches known in the Savannas as scrub. "Oh listen to that! They are really talking up a storm." Overlapping Martin and St. Lu- PAUL J. MILETTEStaff Photographer 'I could spend my entire life here studying ... and never know it all,' says volunteer guide Pat Pazara. cie counties, the Savannas with its pine flatwoods, ponds and scrub areas, is home to the gray fox, wading birds, bobcat alligator and bald eagle and 566 species of plants, Please see GUIDE, 4B ; BILL INGRAMStaff Photographer Barbara and Feodor Korobanov show some of the correspondence they've sent to Princess Homes about their unfinished pool and the unpaid subcontractors. Please see CONTRACTOR, 4B

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