The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 129
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 129

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 26, 1998
Page 129
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-THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 The Palm Beach Post s SECTION B CHARTER SCHOOLS The school board gives provisional approval to open five charter schools in August. STORY, 58 HOME RESALES SOAR Sales of existing single-family ,,' homes rose 30 percent in Palm Beach County in February. BUSINESS, ID LOCAL NEWS federal cash on line without emissions test Failure rates by model year Failure rates for mandatory emissions tests show how many cars the government considers 'gross polluters.' Transportation officials say road projects would pay the price if inspections ended. By Matt Reed ralm Beach Post Staff Writer Cutting emissions tests could save Palm Beach County motorists more than S3 million a year and wouldn't increase pollution, but local transportation officials ; worry making any changes could risk federal road money. r 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 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. 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 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." 25 24 , ; 11 2 1975-1979 1980-1984 1985-1989 1990-1994 1995-1997 3 9 30 38 20 1998 model year data not available Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles UNA LAWSONStaff Artist The way it's sung in Finland 45 Palm Beachers sue over PBIA noise v v, ' r ,y V If IT fr. k 1 ; ... m 1 , tit. i v V 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 complaints with neighbors. 1 fl. K if V 'WW 1' Wir V 1 Vfj ' , It lit . 4 '1 1 i Wit . I v ii'i i 1 J IB III' Ml KliHIM 1 - rttl Ml WM I -'-r I W t urn IIIWI M :-2Si ' :J . i . .. . 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 landings and departures, and creating a $100 million insurance 4 -, JJ RICHARD GRAULICHStaff Photographer 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 Mayans Officer chased van 48 seconds, tapes show 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. Ocean Ridge crash Police gave the following account of the Tuesday morning crash: 1. Wendy Susan Pena runs red light at intersection of Cordova Avenue and State Road A1A. 2. Ocean Ridge police Sgt. Michael Andrews stops chasing Pena by the time he reaches Ocean Avenue. 3. Pena crashes north of Inlet Cay Drive. She ejected and 1-year-old daughter, Imar Rivera, is killed. wrecked burning van about two-tenths of a mile ahead. Pena, who was not wearing a seat belt, had been thrown from the car and was trapped underneath. Her 1-year-old daughter, Imar Rivera, was dead at the scene. Andrews used a fire extinguisher from his patrol car to keep the flames away from her. The extinguisher ran out and the flame reflared, Hillery said, but fire-rescue workers arrived soon afterward. The incident occurred about 2:50 a.m. Tuesday. Public safety workers didn't know anyone was inside until after the Fleasesee CHASE57? Boynton j '( Beach .r , y Boyiiton Beact Blvd. ! ' 3? j ; .; V . V ' Ocean Rid ' I: : ('' V Woolbright Rd. IL ' s : 1, lrr7, . SW 23rd Ave. )i ! Q ; Twenty-two seconds later, he saw the vehicle on fire and tried to keep the blaze down. By Monika Gonzalez Falm Beach Post Staff Writer An Ocean Ridge public safety officer backed off chasing a woman traveling 90 mph, shortly before she crashed, Public Safety Chief Edward Hillery said Wednesday. Sgt. Michael Andrews chased Wendy Pena for 48 seconds along State Road A1A before backing off, according to dispatch tapes. Another 22 seconds later, Andrews cleared a curve and spotted Pena's Donald Trump, the most famous of the plaintiffs. Qulf Stream if 1 ; agreed to drop his suit in 1996 when the county agreed to lease him land for his new golf course. I L L I UNA LAWSONStaff Artist 3 welfare reform projects await key OKs, won't start April 1 Man found guilty :in carjaclmurder i of Bible teacher 'I find it hard to believe that anyone is conused about this. Tliey either iveren 't listening or they iveren 't at the meetings. ' ED FEAVER Department of Children and Families MM . mm 1 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 Iake, 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 Honda's welfare system better and cheaper. Ijocal officials overseeing welfare reform in Palm Beach County disagree with Feaver. lliey believe the pilot projec ts 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 sptvial approval. The dispute has both sides hoping for a favorable decision from the federal government that w ill prevent confusion for the thousands of recipients who must find work by Sept. 1 or lose By Scott Hiaasen ' Palm Beach Post Staff Writer I WEST PALM BEACH Jurors found Sergio Soto guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and five other charges stemming from the car- ; jacking 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. I 441 and shot him four times. 1 Though Diaz denied shooting Costa, Assis- tant 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 coop-! crating. "(Diaz) would have shot Sergio just as surely as he shot and killed Mr. Costa," said Soto's at-- torney, Iola Mosley. Brady pleaded guilty in the murder and was " sentenced to 40 years in prison. Dia is a fugitive. Prosecutors are asking Circuit Judge John niillis to sentence Soto to death. Costa's sister. Anna Valdez. said Soto's con- viction was more iniKrtant to her than his sentencing as 1 mg as he's never freKl from prison. "Whatever justice he's getting is ( r the rest of his life," she said. their benefits. Under federal welfare reform, Congress gave states the authority to hire private companies to operate welfare programs. Two weeks ago, Ixtckheed 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 believes if Dvkheed 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 con-fux-d about this," l eaver said, "lliey either weren't listening or they weren't at the nieet- LIU UN Staf Pivu&act 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 Flagler Drive. STORY, 9C

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