The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 26, 1998 · Page 133
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March 26, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 133

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Thursday, March 26, 1998
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Page 133
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The Palm Beach Post THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1998 HOME RESALES SOAR BURGLARIES SOLVED? Detectives arrest six teenagers believed responsible for up to 20 home burglaries in recent weeks. STORY, 4B Sales of existing single-family homes rose 43 percent on the ; Treasure Coast in February. BUSINESS, ID NEWS LOCAL 5th-grader wins regional spelling bee corner). 'He's a little human spell-checker. He has a knack for it' JUDI SPENCE Michael's teacher Michael Alfera made winning look simple Wednesday at the regional spelling bee at Jensen Beach Elementary School. Michael won over 19 other elementary and middle school champs from Martin and St. Lucie counties, easily clinching the bee for the second year in a row and earning another trip to the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. "He's a little human spell-checker," said his teacher, Judi Spence. "He has a knack for it." The 11-year-old breezed through "maunder" (to act in a vague, aimless way), "anemometer" (a wind gauge) and "xeros- Afterward, Alfera gave away his secret "If you know the origins of the word, that gives you some clues about its spelling," he said. Michael's prizes included two round-trip tickets to the May 24-30 competition, $500 in spending money, a $200 savings bond and a gigantic copy of Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Last year Michael placed 110th out of about 250 students in the national bee. This time he wants to make it to the final rounds. "That's when it goes on national TV," he said. Weatherbee student Michael Altera wins for the second year in a row, earning another trip to the nationals in Washington. By Joe Vidueira Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 'JENSEN BEACH When two of the very first words in a spelling bee are "hagiographer" and "lepidopterist," you know winning the thing isn't going to be easy. Nevertheless, Weatherbee Elementary School fifth-grader IT I " -M . ' DAVID LANEStaff Photographer tomia" (dry mouth) to beat runner-up Angela Reyes, a fifth-grader from St. Joseph's Catholic School. Angela stumbled on "anemometer." Shante Rollins, an eighth-grader from Southport Middle School, came in third after she missed "chamfer" (an edge or Michael Alfera, 11, wins the Scripps Howard Regional ! Spelling Bee Wednesday by correctly spelling 'xerostomia. He beat Ange la Reyes, (left) who misspelled 'anemometer. 1 k'r -V (T pith i i ' City may fix roads, bill state By doing the work itself, Port St. Lucie could widen two roads and relieve congestion at the city's busiest intersection much sooner. By Teresa Lane Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE The city could expedite the widening of Gatlin Boulevard and relieve congestion at Port St Lucie's busiest intersection by doing the work itself and billing the state later, City Engineer Walter England said this week. ; England's idea has been endorsed by MayorBob Minsky and City Manager Don Cooper who said the city will agree to front the money only if the state Department of Transportation guarantees repayment , ,. England said in a memo that if the city waits for DOT to improve the beleaguered intersection lof AJ.b. 1 and Port St Lucie Boulevard, it could take 10 to 15 years Making Gatlin Boulevard four lanes from Port St. Lucie Boulevard to Interstate 95 could take just as long, Minsky said. "Even though the responsibility for improving these might be the state's, the city has to live with th impact of it," Minsky said. Traffic on Gatlin is get ting to the point where we can't wait" - Although state Rep. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St Lucie has proposed $ 15 million in next year's budget to pay for a "flyover" at Port St Lucie Boulevard and U.S. 1. it must survive numerous rounds of budget cut? first , ' Under the state's road reimbursement programr local agencies can expedite state projects by per, forming the work and seeking repayment the same year DOT would have done the work. I In Port St Lucie's case, that could mean waiting several years for repayment The city will have to pay interest costs in the meantime, but Cooper said money the city receives from gas taxes could offset that cost . , Cheri Fitzgerald, supervisor of the Metropolitan; Planning Organization, said the $4.5 million Gath project now is ranked ninth of 20 projects the boaffl has earmarked as high DOT priorities. :.; Because the No. 1 project widening of South: 25th Street from Edwards to Midway roads is not slated for preliminary design work until the fall ef 2000, Fitzgerald said it could be a very long time before Gatlin makes it onto state work lists. Minsky said widening Gatlin will boost the city s economy as well as make the trip to 1-95 mole pleasant . . , jZ "That road is a great candidate for economic development now that water and sewer are going in oat there," Minsky said. "I think everyone will be happy if we can speed up these projects." : BOB SHANLEYStaff Photographer A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle while reading to her class at a kelp forest hang m o " n bubble- me studenB srssas.. use taped together. It is kept inflated by two floor fans that blow air inside. nods. i Teacher has arrest record, no certification cation. , . . Mitchell has done the required course work and he's been issued a certificate of eligibility, said Tracey Bailey, the state DOE's director of charter schools. But before they will issue him a teaching certificate, the state must do their own background chccR. Neither Mitchell nor Morgan has asked DOE officials to issue Mitchell a certificate, Bailey said. State officials will not move forward until then. Elementarv and a committee member of the local Boy Scouts. Neither Mitchell nor Principal Brenda Morgan, could be readied for comment Wednesday. The laws allow charter schools to employ people who have been convicted and also allows employees to teach without valid teaching certificates. Last year Morgan said all of her teachers had valid teaching certificates, but Mitchell does not according to the state Department of Edu on five charges of unemployment fraud and a single charge of grand larceny in connection with incidents in Miami. . After Mitchell paid restitution, the charges were dropped, a police spokesman said. Mitchell, who also teaches physical education at the charter school, formerly worked for Head Start in St Lucie County and as a substitute teacher in the district He has been PTO president at Frances K. Sweet By Mary Blen Flanneiy Palm Beach Post Staff Writer FORT PIERCE A reading teacher at the Orange Avenue Charter School has an arrest record, and does not have his certification according to state records. Last week a Palm Beach Post investigation found that the school's receptionist has a felony conviction on her record. The teacher, Thomas Mitchell, 48, of 610 N. 14th St., Fort Pierce, was arrested in St. Lucie County in 1993 I1C 5 Roosevelt Bridge St. Lucie River I Vsfloosevert XL r Commissioner: Ordinance ; on noise would silence critics Stuart sets its sights on a site for city hall Ban :!hdSfv d St. w?" st I , W-! Ocean BlvdJJL- Lucie j jt. j I South !1 J; V4MW , JQ j County officials have estimated equipment and training costs would range between $8,500 and $10,000. MARK HEMPMIOStaft Artist One idea for acquiring the land is through fund raising. By Cara Anna Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART On paper, a new city hall already sits on Dana de Windt's land. But the reality could take $560,000. Now the husband of one city , commissioner wants to form a not-for-profit group to raise that money. City hall landed on de Windt s parcel during a downtown design workshop held by the city in January. Where the current city hall sits on the St Lucie River, local ieaders and residents drew shops. De Windt said he put the 4.000-square-foot parcel up for sale without knowing of the ar Gettig hopes to change Melz-er's mind with an update of a 1993 draft presented to the commission. That version restricts noise and vibration levels during certain times at night It also carries up to a $500 fine and possible jail time. . . j- But those with noise ordinances say the penalties should not detract Martin County offi- Sewall's Point Police Chief Wilbur Krchner can't remember ever issuing a $50 fine since he joined the force in 1982. "People normally will call me and advise me they are having a partv." he said. Port St Lucie Mayor Bob Minsky believes most people dont try to disturb others, but a noise ordinance is valuable. "For the most part, there are just few instances where the ordinance comes into play he said. "(But) . . . there will always be that one situation where someone won't care." By Howie Paul Hartnett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Amid all the noise toward the end of the county commission's nearly 12-hour meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Janet Gettig called for quiet And she just might get it this time. All but Commission Chairwoman Donna Melzer agreed to look into a noise ordinance for the county. Though it would only affect unincorporated parts of the county, an ordinance would go a long way in appeasing sound-weary residents, said Gettig. who has received a steady stream of complaints since the last time talk of an ordinance came up in 1996. "I've heard digs at the commission for not passing a noise ordinance." she said. It's not been for lack of trying. Attempts have failed at least three times in the past six years mainly because of questions about en- to speed. Then, while commissioners looked over the drawings Tuesday, Rifkin brought up his fund-raising idea. It earned immediate approval from commissioners. Rifkin compares the proposed group to ones such as The Nature Conservancy that buy or pay to set aside lands for preservation. But this one would be composed of "civic-minded citizens," he said. During Wednesday's meeting of the Community Redevelopment Agency, board member Nancy Hemphill said several people had called her at home wanting to pledge money. The land, a short walk from the current city hall, is owned by a three-person partnership led by de Windt who bought it 34 years ago for $306,000. He would not identify the other two. The land is across the railroad tracks from downtown, at the corner of Second Street and Dixie Highway. It is a vacant lot de Windt said the partnership's goal forcement Even with decibel meters and trained technicians it is sometimes hard to pin down violators because a lot of noise, but not measurable sound, is created by the vibrations of heavy bass. There's also the cost County officials have estimated equipment and training costs would range between $8,500 and $10,000. , . All that leads Melzer to believe a noise ordinance is a lost "I understand people's frustration with this." Mezler said. "But I understand it is difficult to enforce." was to wait for the new Roosevelt Bridge to open before doing anything. There have been no written offers yet for the land, said Tom Aydelotte, a commercial real estate agent with Southcoast Realtors. . Unless someone steps in with an offer, the city and de Windt say, there is no deadline and no rush. "This begins to make the whole development of the area more understandable." City Manage Dave Collier said. ! tistic aspirations. This week's visit from Avron Rifkin, husband of Commissioner Gone Rilkin, helped bring him up i t 0 ft i lla ift iMft. t

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