The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 14, 1999 · Page 54
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September 14, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 54

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, September 14, 1999
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4fHT TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1999 The Palm Beach Post SECTION B FLUORIDE POLL Nearly seven of 10 Boca Raton voters recommend adding fluoride to the city's drinking water. STORY, 2B NEW BUSINESS British-based Pace Micro . -Technology opens a North and South American office in Boca. BUSINESS, 6B j, -if,', 9!rfSScM Police: Dead woman was man's mistress LOCAL NEWS ui mmwiiaam . v u-x.u. .... name and Elkins took whatever he knew to the grave. He told police he had had an extramarital relationship, but did not name the woman. Elkins' wife did not wish to talk to reporters Monday. Elkins and his wife, Ruth, owned the Forest Drive house when it was built in 1959, calling it home for 15 years. And the barrel the one police believe held the body since at least 1970 also once belonged to Elkins. The barrel originally contained green dye and had been delivered to the Mel- Please see ELKINS, 4B a crushed skull and had been seated in the barrel amid grain usually reserved for sopping up oil spills. The bizarre story that didn't begin to unfold until that gruesome discovery on a tree-lined suburban street took several twists on Monday. Nassau County police Detective Robert Edwards said he believes he knows the identity of the petite and dark-haired Hispanic woman who had mummified in the rusted barrel police found at 67 Forest Drive. And evidence suggests Elkins might have known who it was, too. Edwards declined to release the New York officials say Howard Elkins had an affair with the woman found in a barrel in his former home. By Clay Lambert Palm Beach Post Staff Writer JERICHO, N.Y. Truth be told, New York police don't care much about the life Howard Elkins took from himself Friday while hidden in a garage in a quiet gated community west of Boca Raton. They're more interested in the life Elkins led 30 years ago. That is when Elkins apparendy made time for an ongoing extramarital affair with one of 60 young women who worked at his Manhattan plastics shop, police said. And, at a crowded news conference on Long Island Monday, police said they believe Elkins' mistress was the same woman whose remains they pulled from the bottom of an oil drum Sept 2. The woman was found by homeowner Ronald Cohen as he prepared the Jericho house for sale. He called police, who removed the pregnant body of a woman dressed in a cardigan sweater, skirt and imitation leopard-skin waistcoat. She had A fairly quiet end to a noisy story 0 v , U 4 V I v.. J I . t Frank Cerabino Watch out, she's showing all the signs of instability OK, help me out here. Which one was supposed to be the crazy one? Prettyman, the school board lawyer? Nah. Cynthia Prettyman didn't look too unhinged to me. The last I saw of her, she was smiling and joking as she walked out of the room. No, the over-stressed, unstable, and bizarre-acting character at Monday's special meeting of the Palm Beach County School Board appeared to be board member Dorothy Montgomery. She was a character right out of Alfred Hitchcock, fearful of an unseen threat, the lone beleaguered soul crying for help in a room full of people who didn't want to hear it. The Woman Who Knew Too Much. "I know," she said after the meeting, still agitated. "I was a guidance counselor." The signs are there It was painful to watch, as Montgomery's obsessive concern over Prettyman's alleged threat against her and board member Paulette Burdick fizzled into nothing. The board voted 5-2 to take no action on Prettyman's statements made to a co-worker behind closed doors last week. Prettyman said she'd like to shoot Montgomery and Burdick with her shotgun, an outburst she explained was never meant as anything but an expression of frustration. "I said an offhand comment that was taken out of context," she told the board Monday. Nearly everybody seemed willing to believe her, choosing, as board member Tom Lynch suggested, that "it's time for us to move on." v v , . A - , -r ' it , V 7 3 f : hven Burdick, who voted with Photo by CHRIS MATULA Prettyman, the board's attorney, was cleared of wrongdoing by the board after an inquiry into comments she made about killing two board members. Cynthia Prettyman was all smiles Monday as she walked out of the Palm Beach County School Board meeting with her attorney, Bob Montgomery. Prettyman cleared in 'threat' case Burdick own lawyer, told board members that what Prettyman said did not constitute a threat under the law. A true threat would have been more specific (including where and when it would be carried out), would have been intentionally relayed to its target and would have posed imminent danger, he said. "It seemed rather rambling and generic to me," Handler told them. This bizarre case came about after Prettyman told Senior Associate General Counsel Tom Elfers on Sept. 2 that she wanted to kill the two board members and schools Police Chief Jim Kelly. Elfers said he didn't think she was kidding and took her remarks to Kelly 36 hours later. Kelly opened an investigation and suggested Burdick and Montgomery lock them- Most of the school board decides their attorney was only blowing off steam when she said she wanted to kill two members. By Stephanie Desmon Palm Beach Post Staff Writer School board attorney Cynthia Prettyman escaped Monday without so much as a reprimand for remarks she made about turning a shotgun on two school board members. The board ignored the concerns of the pair who felt threatened by her. With board members Paulette Burdick and Dorothy Montgomery dissenting, the board voted to close an inquiry into what Prettyman said Sept 2, deciding that she never meant to hurt anyone. She will return to work this week. Prettyman says she made a "stupid, offhand" comment about blowing away the two board members after a school board meeting during which they gave her grief. Those words blew into a circus of enormous proportions. On Monday, board member Tom Lynch told his colleagues it was time to put the controversy to rest "It's my feeling there have been hurt feelings and remarks that may be regrettable, but it's time for us to move on," he said. Responded Montgomery: "I find this motion totally and absolutely unacceptable and if s hard for me to believe we can send this type of message to our children, to our fellow employees . . . under this kind of circumstance." Attorney Henry Handler, hired by the school board last week to advise them on how to proceed with the investigation against their -L. Please see PRETTYMAN, 4B Montgomery Montgomery to take some sort or action against Prettyman, was quick to say after the vote that she was willing to move on. But Montgomery fumed, stung that her colleagues dismissed her concern as silly paranoia. "If you would take Psychology 101, you would know that all the signs are there," Montgomery told me after the meeting. She was talking about Prettyman's alleged instability and her propensity for violence. . "I think we need to watch her very carefully," Montgomery said about the lawyer. "I'm going to request her chair be moved." Montgomery said she doesn't want Prettyman sitting at the dais with her because it would allow Prettyman to sneak up on her. "I want her down there," Montgomery said, pointing to the seating area in front of the dais. This way she isn't walking behind me." No musical chairs I believe Montgomery is sincerely afraid, which made her performance that much more bizarre. When it came time for her to speak at the brief meeting, she stumbled in a way students of Psychology 101 might expect "What do you mean by intimate danger?" she asked at one point That was "imminent'' not "intimate," danger. '.. At another point she asked: "Can we recommend that a complete physical and psychological examination be done to determine (Prettyman's) competency?" The question had already been answered, but she apparendy wasn't listening. She was too agitated. Too afraid. Too unstable. ; "It's hard for me to believe that we can send this type of message to our children and our fellow employees," she told her colleagues, as they dismissed Prettyman's alleged threat as the simple boneheaded remark it was. As others filed out of the meeting, Montgomery went over to board Chairwoman Sandra Richmond and told her she wanted Prettyman's seat to be changed. "I'm not going to play musical chairs," Richmond told her. " Poor Montgomery. Alone. Unhinged. Now, which one was supposed to be the crazy one? ft,,. ' T Boynton mayor's vote halts hiring of manager - . ' . . f J Delray's manager recommends fixing only worst roads By Mary Lou Picket Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DELRAY BEACH Deep potholes and streets rippled like corduroy have prompted city commissioners to take stock of what it would take to create smooth roads and top-grade water pipes, drains and sewers citywide. The cost of fixing everything is $45 million, a consultant found. But City Manager David Harden recommends the commission consider a less expensive option repairing only the worst roads and the pipes and drains beneath them for a cost of $17 million. That would leave improvements to drinking water pipes, waste-water and storm-water drains for a later date. Tonight's city commission meeting has been canceled because of Hurricane Floyd, but the commission is scheduled to consider the report and the possibility of issuing bonds to pay for the repairs at its Sept 21 meeting. Concerns over road disrepair, especially in largely-black neighborhoods, became a rallying cry during the city commission race earlier this year. Residents complained at the annual town Please see DELRAY BEACH, 4B - -XL. By Shannon Colavecchio Palm Beach Post Staff Writer BOYNTON BEACH Calling his change of heart a moral responsibility to his constituents, Mayor Gerald Broening Monday night halted the hiring of North Lauderdale City Manager John Stunson as the growing city's next leader. By joining Vice Mayor Henderson Tillman in voting against the resolution to hire Stunson, Broening took away the fourth vote required to hire a city manager. He also left interim City Manager Wilfred Hawkins Please see BOYNTON BEACH, 2B Pholo by TAYLOR JONtS Protesters, angry at Boynton Beach city commissioners for not offering the city manager's job to Wilfred Hawkins, march on city hall on Monday. Several hours later, the resolution to hire John Stunson failed. Residents had accused the commission of being racist by bypassing Hawkins, who is black. Stunson is white. Plans are not set for continuing the search.

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