The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 78
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 78

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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Page 78
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The Palm Beach Post msl SECTION D JOBS SECURE i Northrop Grumman Corp. extends j production contract, job security ) at Stuart plant. ! BUSINESS, 5B 'LOST SISTER' Longtime friends put musical skills to use at ArtsFest. JERI BUTLER, 10 j i WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 LOCAL MFWQ T.. ml N JJ y y U i- i- r St. Lucie decides to buy land The county could have gotten more " environmentally sensitive land protected under another deal, but , with fewer rights to use it. By Jim Reeder Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ; FORT PIERCE Owning property is better than only having a limited right to walk across it, St. Lucie County commissioners said Tuesday. So they'll try to buy 3,200 acres of environmentally endangered land for $3.4 million instead of paying nearly as much for a limited right to use 6,000 acres. That's a lot of money not to have free access,T County Commis v TV . 11 4 , - ' S -"'4, "' ; v Y sioner Cliff Barnes v. said. "It's incumbent on us to buy as much property as we can out That's a lot of money not to have free access. I It's incumbent on us to right." win tWMi IK? The property buy as much property as in western St Lu we can outright' cie County will be paid for with money from a bond issue approved by voters several CUFF BARNES County commissioner DAVID LANEStaff Photographer A little encouragement is all you need STUART -Christine Federica, 12, encourages Kelly Kisling, 11, to try to gave the students a firsthand look at the collection of percussion in- get the attention of a visitor to their Hidden Oaks Middle School band struments he has collected in his travels. He chose students to play the class Tuesday. Steve Gryb, a jazz educator, guitarist and percussionist, unusual instruments. Kelly got to play an instrument from Africa. Orange Avenue school gets delay on contract years ago. i County officials rejected a proposal they pay $3 million for a "conservation easement" on some 6,000 acres. The owners would have preserved sensitive areas, but the general public's access would have been limited to certain times of the year. "To buy it without free access makes no sense," Commissioner Paula Lewis said. Meanwhile, the owners could continue to graze cattle and their taxes would have been reduced. . "It could be a nightmare to manage and we're just inviting trouble," Barnes said. Commissioner John Bruhn said when voters approved the bond issue he assumed the county would buy land outright. "I'm not sure we can use that money for conservation easements," Bruhn said. A final contract will be presented to commissioners by mid-April. The 3,200 acres is part of the Cypress CreekTrail Ridge area near the Okeechobee County line. Officials said it could become part of a wildlife corridor in the center of the state. classmate. The charter school hadn't done a background check on her, as required by state law. The advisory board members also said Monday they would check a reading teacher's certification. Charter school laws don't require their teachers to have certificates, but the board isn't sure if Thomas Mitchell has one. Despite these problems, the advisory board members still have confidence. "We believe in what we're doing for children," Ingram said Tuesday. out of paychecks. Vogel said state Department of Education officials will be helping gather the financial information. The school's checkbook has never been balanced, school district officials said. On top of the financial problems, last week a Palm Beach Post investigation found that a felon works at the school, greeting visitors. On Monday, after Schtwilla Bryant worked a full day, the school's advisory board voted to fire her. Three years ago, Bryant stabbed a Fort Pierce Central High School The charter school says it needs more time to gather required data. It also voted to fire a worker with a felony record. By Mary Ellen Flannery Palm Beach Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE A decision to renew the Orange Avenue Charter School's contract was delayed Tuesday for another two weeks at the urging of charter school officials. Two weeks ago Schools Superin tendent Bill Vogel asked for more information from the charter school, including a full financial audit. It has never been delivered. "We simply need more time," said the Rev. Jonathan Ingram, chairman of the school's advisory board. "We accept full responsibility . . . and we are trying to fulfill your request." Two weeks ago, when charter school officials last met with the school board, they couldn't account for about $26,000. They also owe the IRS more than $16,000 in unpaid taxes, plus $5,000 in penalties. The taxes had been taken j oewaiis ronn ueciues 0 . . bridge not its concern Two years later, Martin County's fields only dreams i By Can Anna v j.v. Planning Organization, didn't answer. Instead, Winer stepped in and said the bridge does not direcdy affect the town, so it is not subject to town discussion. "I don't think it's proper for us to request a position on matters that do not directly affect the town," he said. Instead, Kissling should use his best judgment, Winer said. "But he's representing the entire town," Glover protested. The other commissioners said nothing. "I think that answers your Please see BRIDGE2S Palm Beach Post Staff Writer SEWALL'S POINT It's not unusual these days for the proposed Indian Street Bridge to come up during a town commission meeting. But new Mayor Don Winer may have put a stop to that At a meeting Monday, new Commissioner Dawson C. "Berry" Glover III asked new Vice Mayor Cyrus Kissling for his position on the $22.8 million bridge that would be built almost 5 miles from the town. Kissling, appointed last week as the town's representative to the Martin County Metropolitan still needs to buy the land and find at least 80 usable acres on the wetlands site. A yearlong one-cent sales tax ending in May 1997 raised money for emergency vehicles, new libraries and the park. Of the $12.1 million collected from the tax, $3.6 million was set aside for the park. They haven't done anything on the park," county Economic Council Executive Director Bob Allen said. "I think this park slipped through the cracks." But Commission Chairwoman Donna Melzer said the project was pushed to the bottom of piles on county desks. Melzer attributed the prolonged process to changes in county staff and new commission direction to protect all wetlands. "It was just stuck with staff overwhelmed by work," she said. The commission vowed to move the project forward with more speed and get biweekly status updates. "(County Administrator Russ) Blackburn has made it a priority, and I think there will be some changes now," Melzer said. But commissioners didnt offer a timetable. The project wound up under the pile, commissioners say. By Howie Hartnett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART It was supposed to be the shining symbol of Martin County's commitment to recreation. More than two years later, a proposed county regional park with ball fields, playgrounds, nature trails and other facilities is still just a dream. A dream the county seems to have forgotten about some residents said Tuesday. Resident Bruce Gowan told county commissioners that more than 1,600 youth soccer players are anxiously awaiting the proposed 140-acre park, which would be located between Interstate 95, State Road 76 and the South Fork of the St Lucie River. Gowan, an official with the Florida Youth Soccer Association, said a regional park would allow the community to host soccer tournaments and give local players a home-field advantage. But before local strikers can take to their own field, the county Port St. Lucie willing to sell water to Martin DAVIO LANEStaff Photographer Salvage operation STUART - Lily Thaxton, 77, adds some frames and other items during her daily collection of aluminum cans and such. She said she planned to give the mirror to a friend who is interested in cars. closer than other potential sites he has found in Martin County. City Manager Don Cooper on Monday advised council members not to allow the wells but said an agreement could be reached to sell water. "We're looking for a source of raw water at the lowest possible cost" Rollo said. "It doesn't matter if that means producing it or buying it" Councilwoman Mary Ann Cernuto questioned why the county is allowing development of the commercial West Jensen project without having adequate water supplies, but Rollo said that project has already paid for its plant capacity and water supply. Council members voted 4-1, with Cernuto opposed, to allow Cooper to negotiate with Rollo By Teresa Lane Palm beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE Free water is in the same category as a free lunch there's no such thing, agents with Martin County Utilities learned this week. Port St Lucie City Council members on Monday bristled at a ' request to allow Martin County to sink three wells inside city limits and pipe the water to Jensen Beach, but officials said they might sell water to Martin County if the price is right Faced with idle plant capacity and a shortage of water at its Jensen Beach lime-softening plant Martin County Utilities has targeted residential lots near the Green River Parkway and Black-well Drive to sink three shallow wells. Richard L Rollo, environ Palm City developer charged widi lying about his assets porations, his father and his wife, Dianne Johnson, according to court records. Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroh-n Bell said the grand jury brought a criminal forfeiture charge that would allow the government to recoup the $250.0v0 through sale of Johnsons 511 S.W Bay Pointe Circle, with lying about his assets when he filed for bankruptcy in 1992 and lying about his assets and liabilities in a bank loan application in 1991. The indictment also charges Johnson with trying to conceal $250,000 from the sale of a lot in Bav Pointe Estates along the St Lucie V River by laundering the money thnr.gh cor By Jill Taylor Palm Beach Post Staff Wnter WEST PALM BEACI I A Palm City real estate developer was indicted in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach Tuesday on fraud and money-laundering charges. The federal grand jury returned indictments charging Warren D. John)n Jr., 55. of and brin a recommendation mental services dixlor in Mar- Puase set tin County, said those sites are back to the council mMMMImAm

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