The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 23
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 23

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 26, 1998
Page 23
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Page 23 article text (OCR)

The Palm Beach Post c SECTION B . CHARTER SCHOOLS The school board gives provisional approval to open five charter schools in August. STORY, SB HOME RESALES SOAR Sales of existing single-family homes rose 30 percent in Palm Beach County in February. OCALI BUSINESS, ID TMIIDQnAV MADPU OC 1QQQ MEWS Failure rates by Federal cash on line without emissions test model year Failure rates for manda tory emissions tests show how many cars the government considers 'gross polluters.' nmnvrrr rnirm-mm For the next five years, most of its federal money is budgeted to turn Southern Boulevard into a highway, widen State Road 7, and expand Military Trail to six lanes, Whitfield said. There is no proof the mandatory emissions tests have done anything for Florida's air, and state records confirm the proposed cutbacks would have no effect on pollution. Last year, Palm Beach County residents tested about 348,000 cars for more than $3.48 million, records show. "I've heard this argument about the money before," said Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, who supports cutbacks. "I'm not worried about that. I'm going to base my decision on scientific data." million in federal money for road projects without statistics gathered from the emissions tests. "By having the Motor Vehicle Inspection Program, we get credit for cutting tons of pollution," MPO Director Randy Whitfield said Wednesday. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to block money to states that can't control air pollution, it rarely rejects waivers to states that design other tests. The EPA's air-quality rating system rewards states with emissions testing, regardless of whether it helps air quality. The MPO earmarks $200 million annually for roads and mass transit. Transportation officials say road projects would pay the Pfice if inspections ended. By Matt Reed Palm Beach Post Staff Writer I Cutting emissions tests could save Palm Beach County motorists more than $3 million a year and wouldn't increase pollution, but local transportation officials wprry making any changes could risk federal road money. The county's Metropolitan Planning Organization a panel of 17 elected city, county and port leaders is urging state legislators to keep the $10-a-car testing program or make only minor changes despite records that show the tests do not decrease smog. A Florida Senate committee on Tuesday OK'd a bill to spend $125,000 for a consultant to probe the state testing program and recommend changes by next year. If approved by the Senate, the bill would prevent companies that test cars from renewing their contracts until the consultant's report recommends how frequent and expensive the tests should be. Other House and Senate bills would exempt the last four model years of cars and cut annual testing to every other year. MPO members fear the county would not qualify for its annual allotment of $25 25 24 11 2 0 3 ? 30 38 20 1975-1979 1980-1984 1985-1989 1990-1994 1995-1997 1998 model year data not available Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles LINA LAWSONStaff Artist ' The way it's sung in Finland v 45 Palm Beachers sue over PBIA noise v l.V j . f K V 1:1 J) i i The suit comes after airport officials : and the homeowners failed to agree on a curfew for flights between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. By Rebecca Goldsmith Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH Forty-five Palm Beach residents sued the county Wednesday, claiming their homes are ruined by airplane noise. Lawyers for both sides gave up negotiating a settlement because they could not agree on a nighttime curfew that would block all air traffic between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. one of the biggest i ! complaints witn neignDors. The Palm Beach group's lawyer, Steven Mayans, warned the county two months ago that his clients planned to sue if the county did not respond to four demands. County officials could satisfy three of the demands: banning older aircraft, developing stricter pilot guidelines for quieter land L RICHARD GRAULICHStaff Photographer Mayans ings and departures, ana creatine a $100 million insurance ' LAKE WORTH - Sannamaria Ojanpera, 20, performs with the Sibelius Wednesday's traditional Finnish performance was part of festivities ; High School Chamber Choir from Helsinki, Finland, outside Finntrust. kicking off Finlandia Days in Bryant Park this weekend. STORY, 3B With no sponsor, Scouts find they're up a creel and turn it in" to the national organi policy. But a curfew would not be practical for Palm: Beach International Airport, said Leon St. John, a, county litigator. ' The airport would have to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration, and the process could take two years, he said. ' ' Also, a curfew would block some planes from, flying out in the morning and returning at night because there would not be enough turnaround time, he said. The complaint demands money to compensate for value lost on homes under the flight path . potentially millions of dollars. But plaintiffs say they don't care about the money they just want an end to the noise. . The airport has spent tens of millions of dollars on noise abatement since 1986, when it first started collecting fees from airlines. '. The Palm Beachers are the latest group of residents to sue over noise since the early 1980s.; Donald Trump, the most famous of the plaintiffs, agreed to drop his suit in 1996 when the county agreed to lease him land for his new golf course. where else to go. However, he said space is limited with more than 30 other clubs and town boards already sharing the two available rooms. An option would be to leave Lake Park and merge with another town's troop. "It would be no fair for us because we already have a group, and to split us up because we have nowhere else to go isn't right," 12-year-old Adam Johnson said. Devin Tompkins, 15, agreed: "I just hope someone will come forward and sponsor us. We're not bad kids. We help people." Potential sponsors can call Coleman at 845-1856. said. Until they do, the 10 boys can't renew their charter with the Boy Scouts of America or the insurance that allows them to take part in outdoor activities. The youngsters were forced to skip a three-day camporee in Dreher Park three weeks ago that drew 1,300 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from Boca Raton to Sebastian. Other events scheduled through June have been postponed. "We have the money for the insurance, but our hands are tied," Coleman said. "Until we get a signature, we can't fill out the paperwork Lake Park's only troop can't renew its charter, get insurance or even camp. By Kristin Vaughan Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ; LAKE PARK The town's only Boy Scout troop has been packing up instead of camping out since losing its church sponsorship last month and tbey haven't found a new sponsor. For 14 years, Troop 753 met at the Immanuel United Presbyterian Church. The building was sold last year, and its new owners told the troop in February they had 30 days to find a new home, Scout leader Rob Coleman zation. The boys, ages 11 to 15, have been relegated to meetings, which have been temporarily moved to the town hall. They need a sponsor, which would become the troop's charter organization. It could be a club, church, business or group of people who would provide a location where the boys could hold their weekly meetings and store their camping equipment. Lake Park Director of Community Affairs Dale Dougherty said the town would allow the troop to continue meeting at town hall if they had no 3 welfare reform projects await key OKs, won't start April 1 Man found guilty in carjack-murder of Bible teacher 7 find it hard to believe that anyone is conused about this. TJiey either weren't listening or they weren't at the meetings. ' ED FEAVER Department of Children and Families I r-m " i -: if L, I ? m ': f t t ' ' -- ' By William Cooper Jr. Palm Beach Post Staff Writer A key part of Florida's welfare reform plan to have the private sector run certain programs hit a snag because of bad communication between the state and local officials. Ed Feaver, the secretary for the Department of Children and Families, said three welfare reform projects can't begin by April 1 as required by law because his agency is still waiting for federal approval to allow the private sector to run food stamps and Medicaid. Without that approval, pilot projects here and in Ike, Sumpter, Volusia and Flagler counties can't operate solely in the hands of the private sector, Feaver said. Yet, that was the intent of state lawmakers who wanted to know if a private company could run Florida's welfare system better and cheaper. Local officials overseeing welfare reform in Palm Beach County disagree with Feaver. They believe the pilot projects can proceed without the federal approval only if DCF would follow the wishes of the state legislature. But local officials interpret Florida's welfare-to-work legislation which allows a private company to do everything from determine eligibility to "job training to say they can proceed, even without the special approval. The dispute has both sides hoping for a favorable decision from the federal government that will prevent confusion for the thousands of recipients who must find work by SepL 30 or lose By Scott Hiaasen Palm Beach Post Staff Writer - WEST PALM BEACH Jurors found Sergio Soto guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and five other charges stemming from the carjacking and shooting of a Bible teacher in 1995. : Prosecutors said Soto, 21, and another man, Jason Diaz, abducted Rafael Costa, 25, from a Lake Worth gas station to steal Costa's Ford Mustang. With the help of a third man, Ernesto Brady, they took Costa to a remote spot on U.S. 44 1 and shot him four times. Though Diaz denied shooting Costa. Assistant State Attorney Dan Galo said he should be Convicted of murder because he helped with the carjacking and accepted money and a beeper from the theft. '; Soto said the carjacking was Diaz's idea, and that Soto was threatened at gunpoint into cooperating. "(Diaz) would have shot Sergio just as surely as he shot and killed Mr. Costa," said Soto's attorney, Iola Mosley. Brady pleaded guilty in the murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Diaz is a fugitive. lYosecutors are asking Circuit Judge John Phillips to sentence Soto to death. Costa's sister, Vina Valdez, said Soto's conviction was more inijxrtant to her than his sentencing as long as he's never freed from prison. "Whatever justice he's getting is for the rest of his life," she said, i , their benefits. Under federal welfare reform. Congress gave states the authority to hire private companies to operate welfare programs. Two weeks ago, Lockheed Martin won the contracts to do that in two Florida communities. The problem is that Florida's welfare system is designed for one worker to determine eligibility for three separate federal programs cash assistance, food stamps and Medicaid. DCF beliees if Lockheed Martin only took over the cash assistance program, clients will be confused because they'll be bounced from program to program. According to DCF Secretary Feaver, his agency' has always held an all-or-nothing approach to the pilot projects. "I find it hard to believe that anyone is confused about this," Feaver said. They either weren't listening or they weren't at the meet- 7w sre WOSJU2B IM XIN. Sta PhcHog'aow Bumper crop WEST PALM BEACH - Andy Hanson (left) and Greg Peterson place bumpers between boats in preparation for today's opening of the 13th annual Palm Beach Boat Show along Flag'er Drive. STORY, 9C

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