The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 79
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 79

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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Page 79
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THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 MSL 23 Luckily for us, everything here was sold for a price - c I Frank Cerabino but certainly not the ones who won weekend trips to Cancun. Then there was that big ruckus after county commissioners voted to accept sponsorship deals from beer companies. You should have heard all the complaining about that one. Especially when during meetings, a county commissioner would as per the beer contract unexpectedly blurt out "Bud" followed by another commissioner chiming in with "Weis" and then yet another commissioner finishing with an "Errr" right in the middle of a zoning discussion. But once taxpayers realized the kind of money this advertising was bringing in, they stopped complaining. Even the cities (referred to as "government lite" by the beer advertisers) got into the game. West Palm Beach penned that seven-figure Disney deal on Cinderella The potato chip contract with the sheriffs office vice squad (The Lays Unit) comes to mind. So does the unfortunate association between the county's health department and the sportswear giant Nike. Nobody realized at the time that this contract would mean that the walls of the county's family planning center would be adorned with posters that said, "Just do it!" And then there was Phil Butler, the frequently unsuccessful state attorney's office candidate, who ran for the fifth time back in the year 2008 by bankrolling his campaign with a margarine contract The campaign, which ran on the slogan, "I can't believe it's not Butler," was one of the most expensive in county history. The elections that year were the first held with Taco Bell scratch-off instant winner ballots. Some voters complained, Street, which used to be known ast Clematis Street. Some people say the street was more,, fun back in the old days, when there were ' few topiaries on the sidewalks. The crks ics usually harken back to fond memo,' ries of a fountain that was where the1 Disney gift shop is today. And it was Delray Beach that first -made the deal with a supermarket chain" to officially rename the public comments ! section of city council meetings. At first, citizens there bristled at participating in "Publix comments." But a. few months and dozens of complimenta- ry trays of toothpick-skewered cheese' cubes later, the Publix comments section was accepted. Today, we realize how essential it5sJ. for governments to seek corporate, sponsorship. Without this monef" there's little chance we'd be in the reasonable 50 percent tax bracket we enjoy today. , " ' It's a pretty sight on the horizon. The Lenscrafters Building. ;" It's the big one in downtown West Palm Beach, the one we used to call the county courthouse. Way back in the final years of the 20th century, the building's roof didn't have its distinctive . blinking sign: "Justice in about an hour." ' I know. It's hard to imagine a world without corporate sponsorship. It was way back in 1998 that our public leaders first agreed on the need to allow corporations to buy advertising rights on the many county buildings, properties and vehicles. Before, people used to think that naming stadiums, . buses and parks after candy bars and credit card companies was tacky. Fortunately, we've outgrown that. .' - Perhaps the breakthrough event in corporate sponsorship was the big Coca-Cola contract with the wastewater treatment plant. The 'Tilings Flow Bet- ter with Coke" campaign revolutionized the public sector advertising market. The next year, Palm Beach County's fire-rescue vehicles were the hottest looking in Florida, due to the Tabasco contract. And those "L is for Library" signs outside the county branches made it clear that the deal with mystery writer Sue Grafton was responsible for new shelf space. Sure, we experienced some growing pains, jumping into some advertising deals a little too hastily. if, V- Woman got friends to kill, prosecutor says I PALM BEACH INTERACTIVE Up to 20 stories from 56 area communities at www. GoPBI.comYourTown ifj J E.A. KENNEDY IllStaff Photographer Misti Ehrlich is charged with first-degree murder. A 2-year-old boy and . a man were killed when gunman at the wrong house opened fire, ' ,'. Inlet: Heard a preliminary review of St. Lucie Inlet Technical Advisory Committee work. The committee is charged with finding solutions to the sand and water flow problems around the inlet The committee will present another draft at a future meeting. Preservation: Reviewed a draft of the rewritten Upland Protection Land Development Regulation. Outlining how Martin County land is to be protected, the ordinance is a reworked version of the 1995 ordinance that was found inconsistent with the county's long-range planning document by state planners. The commission will review the. updated ordinance April 14 before sending it back to the state for approval. Addressing: Approved the first reading of an update to the county's addressing ordinance. Designed to make county addresses more uniform, the ordinance includes an exemption for residents in the Turtle Creek area. The commission will hear the ordinance for final passage April 14. By Scott Hiaasen Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Her own lawyer said Misti Ehrlich did her boyfriend's bidding while he sat in the stockade on drug charges. Prosecutors said in that role Ehrlich recruited two friends to silence a potential witness against boyfriend Robert Pransky a chore that led to the inadvertent slayings of a 2-year-old boy and a man. Ehrlich, 21, went on trial Tuesday for her role in what prosecutors call a botched execution. They said Ehrlich was instructed to make sure Brian Goodine didn't testify against Pransky and to have Goodine killed if necessary. Two men, Robert Jackson and Miguel Garcia, are accused of going to Goodine's West Palm Beach house to shoot him on Nov. 21, 1996. Prosecutor Kirk Volker said the men went to the wrong house and shot a family. Killed were Brandon Babb, 2, and FORT PIERCE Indian River Community , College approved an agreement Tuesday with .j Florida Atlantic University that will bring more four-year college programs to the Treasure Coast. The two schools agreed to share a 100,000 square-foot facility that will be built on the two schools' adjacent campuses in St, Lucie West. The schools already offer four-year programs in business, nursing and education; students begin their studies at IRCC and take their last two years of classes at FAU. If the state legislature approves $20 million in construction money this summer, construction could start as early as late this year, Locke said. Stuart Mayor Jeff Krauskopf, Commissioners Charlie Foster and Gene Rrfkin and City Attorney Carl Coffin expect to meet with three local lawmakers and with the secretary of the state Department of Community Affairs to speaking with her boyfriend, took Jackson and Garcia to the house, driving with her headlights off. Ehrlich also took the pair to buy 9mm bullets at a Sports Authority, and to steal a car later used in the shooting. "She told Jackson and Garcia that Bobby, her boyfriend, was going to want Goodine killed," Volker told jurors in opening statements. After the shooting, a sheriffs detective found Ehrlich in bed under the covers with a phone and a list of area hospitals. Volker said she was checking to see if Goodine had died. ' ' Garcia, Ehrlich's ex-boyfriend' and the father of her 4-year-old son, pleaded guilty to the mur-, ders and was sentenced last, month to three life terms. EhV lich's attorney, Carey Haugh-wout, said Garcia will testify to. avoid the death penalty bjut, even he will say the murder was unplanned. -'; Jackson backed out of a plea' deal last year and now refuses tb-testify in Ehrlich's trial. Pransky . also faces murder charges. Todd Chilton, 21. Brandon's mother, Crystal, was injured. Volker said Ehrlich, after Butler rests ease without day and Thursday in Tallahassee. The meetings are open to the public. Commissioners want to lobby in favor of the city's recent and proposed annexations, which Martin County is protesting. The meeting with DCA Secretary James Murley is at 11 a.m. today in Room 202 of the Holland Building. The group meets with state Rep. Ken Pruitt at 9:30 a.m. today in Room 221 of the Capitol and with Rep. Tom Warner at 9 a.m. Thursday in Room 302 of the House Office Building. PORT ST. LUCIE St. James Drive, a major link between Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce, will be closed from Friday to April 4 so new culverts can be installed south of Midway Road. Motorists should use Midway Road, Selvitz Road and Peachtree Boulevard to detour around the construction site at the C-103 Canal. St. James Drive, which links to South 25th Street, will soon be widened from the Airoso Boulevard to Midway Road. witnesses or evidence6 Corps releases more water down St. Lucie River Attorney Phil Butler will County commissioners took the following action Tuesday: Hutchinson Island refunds: Some 6,000 property owners on South Hutchinson Island will get a $175 refund from special assessments they paid for construction of a central sewage system. State officials have agreed to help pay for oceanfront property originally paid for by the property owners. Meeting room rent: Adopted a policy that community groups not affiliated with the county will have to pay $100 or more to meet in the old county commission chambers in the St Lucie County administration building. But groups can still schedule meetings in other civic centers or libraries. Garbage rates: Jennings Environmental Services' residential rates will remain at $12.23 per month thanks to a reduction in tipping fees at the St. Lucie County Landfill approved Tuesday. That company holds the exclusive residential franchise in the unincorporated area. But commissioners balked at reducing disposal fees for construction debris from $30 per ton to $18 per ton, saying that will drive some local companies out of business. V' h mount his own and only defense during closing arguments of his bribery trial. By Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Palm Beach Post Staff Reports The Army Corps of En- gineers increased water releases down the St. Lucie. River by 7 percent to relieve ; rain-swollen Lake Okeechobee. The lake, still rising, was 18.41 feet above ' sea level Tuesday. Separately, despite weeks of consultations with : the White House, the corps and other federal agencies canceled an expected news conference and had no an-J nouncements Tuesday on -how they plan to ease ab- , WEST PALM BEACH Af ter telling a judge last week that he "absolutely" intended to put on a defense, Phil Butler stood in court on Tuesday and rested his FORT PIERCE Police said Tuesday they ' have arrested Antwane Maurice Ferguson, whom they were seeking to question in a ' shooting death last month. Ferguson was arrested on an unrelated drug sale charge. Fort Pierce police spokeswoman Sonya Fossett said prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Ferguson, 18, with the murder of Jonathan Ingram, 30. Ingram, who was shot in tVi Vmct sic ctnnrl with tiic urifA HAfiinH Butler announced he would not put on a case after strenuously objecting to the testimony of Kathy Snow, the ex-wife of James Clyde Baber III. Baber testified that he gave Butler $500,000 in illegal campaign contributions for Butler's failed 1996 campaign for state attorney after Butler promised that he would take care of Baber's 1995 DUI manslaughter case if elected. Snow, divorced from Baber last week, testified that she frequently heard her ex-husband discussing the campaign with Butler and also heard Butler explain that he "would be able to get (Baber) off." Snow also said she was angry with Butler because he had discouraged Baber from going to an alcohol treatment center, saying it would do him no good in his criminal case. During cross-examination Snow also said her husband did talk about fleeing to Costa Rica but changed his mind after visiting the country in 1996. case without offering any evidence or witnesses. Butler's decision means that he will have the last word in his normally high water levels'.' bribery trial. Butler, who asked for 90 minutes for his closing ar in the Everglades. Options include steer guments this morning, will be allowed to split his remarks which ing water into the habitat of " SEWALL'S POINT The town commission has changed the day of its monthly meeting from the second Wednesday of the month to the third Tuesday of the month. The time of the meeting stays at 7:30 p.m. . SEWALL'S POINT Blaine Rhodes, a well-known critic of town government, has filed a complaint against Building Inspector Phil Carua- na with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The complaint accuses Caruana of failing to check six homes to make sure they were built as permitted. is given to the defense when it calls no witnesses. a Fort Pierce house, died in the hospital Feb. 26. His wife, Lethia Ingram, 26, was shot once in each leg but recovered. PORT ST. LUCIE Police have added two , grand theft charges against a Port St. Lucie man they say has bilked several women out - of about $60,000. The new charges stem - from the discovery of additional victims, po- Although Butler will not be the endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrow possibly driving it to extinction or , putting the water onto pri-, vate land in the northeast corner of Everglades National Park. allowed to present facts not al ready in evidence, he can argue his case during closing arguments without subjecting himself to cross-examination. - lice said. Dominic Perez, 22, also known as ; Mike Rocco, was arrested Tuesday. He faces ; three grand theft charges and one charge of Town, planners 'could be at odds' exploitauon oi me eiaeny. roiice saia rerez borrowed $23,000 from his landlady, Vivian Newton; $28,500 from Marann Zimmerman, and about $7,000 from Carol Santoiemma. He kept all but $5,000, police said. Perez is being held in the St Lucie County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Police ask anyone who may have been a victim of Perez to call Detective Todd Schrader at 871-5230. Caruana, who was hired in February 1997, had no comment. Commissioners on Monday agreed to let Town Attorney Tim Wright represent him during the investigation. Name that neighborhood . . . PORT ST. LUCIE In the battle of names, it's not north vs. south it's north vs. west When residents of northern Port St Lucie voted to name their 2,900-acre community St Lucie North, employees of the St Lucie West Development Corp. got alarmed. It seems the city isn't big enough to support two communities with a compass designation in their names, so City ! I' political or philosophical, Town Attorney Tim Wright said. It's up to what the commission wants. Jonathan West chair of the political science department at the University of Miami, said the representative can act as a mirror for public opinion, or be expected to use good judgment "It sounds like the commission and town could be at odds." Bert Swanson, professor of urban affairs at the University of Florida, said he had never heard of a suggestion like Winer's. "After all, he or she is sup posed to be representing the! community; you would think they; can feel free to instruct him," he; said. "This sounds really very iri- teresting to me." A Mark Mathes, the MPO coi ordinator, said a representative; has the freedom to vote as they; wish "until the commission says you've gone too far." - Mathes and others also wondered how to judge if a project directly affects a place. : '. "I see all highways as a net work," Swanson said. "All bridges; eventually touch your town." BRIDGE From IB question," Winer said. The previous commission, which left office last week, removed Kissling from the MPO in October, saying he wasn't representing the town's wishes. Kissling had voted to move the Indian Street Bridge from first to last on the county's transportation priority b'st He says his opinion has not changed. It's not a legal question, but STUART The wife of murder suspect Albert "Pat" Cochran filed for divorce in Martin Circuit Court Tuesday, saying the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Kathleen A. Schuster-Cochran married Pat Cochran in Las Vegas in 1991. Investigators said she did not know Cochran had served time in prison MwUlvL' Manager Don Cooper suggested changing the moniker to something like Port St Lucie North. That would satisfy St Lucie West which contends it has spent million of dollars to market its upscale name and shouldn't have to be confused with other St Lu in Illinois for killing his first wife or that he was a prime suspect in the 1976 rape and murder of a nurse in Maine. Cochran was ar Johnson allegedly misstated home's value rested on that murder charge at his Stuart home last week and returned to Maine with state police investigators Saturday. STUART The County Commission cie West-wannabes. "Marketing guys are real creative and the last thing we want to see is anybody take advantage of what we've done," St Lucie West Vice lYesident Tom Babcock said. The city printed hundreds of slick brochures touting its first attempt at neighborhood planning and headlined it you guessed it St Ixicie North. No word yet on what the new name w ill be or who's responsible for crossing out all those names on the brochures. - Teresa Lane took the following action Tuesday: KingS sh: Agreed to abandon the end of few hundred dollars in other assets. Martin County property records have the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home valued at $263,568. In Florida, a person who declares bankruptcy is allowed to keep his or her home and cannot be forced to sell it to pay debts. Bell is the first federal prose JOHNSON From IB home, any interest he still has in Bay Pointe Estates or any other business interests. In his bankruptcy petition, Johnson indicated his home was worth $320,000 and that he owned it free and clear. He claimed to have no morv than a cutor in the district assigned to-coordinate bankruptcy fraurf prosecutions. . ; If convicted of all the charges Johnson could face prison sen-.' tences totaling 105 years and; fines of $2.5 million. ;; He is expected to surrender: on the charge today and appear before a magistrate in West Palm-Beach. Southeast Kingfish Avenue so veterinarian Billy Harper can expand his facility. After review, county staffers said abandoning the section would not create a problem for traffic flow or development V

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