The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 5, 1997 · Page 184
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December 5, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 184

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Friday, December 5, 1997
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Page 184
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The Palm Beach Post w SECTION B FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1997 LOCAL NEWS porkers: Housing director juggled books Employees also say Sam Simmons told them his authority comes directly from God. needs only to answer to the AI- my relationship with God through from Alisa Holmes, the authority's mighty not to the board or federal His Son, Jesus Christ, it is incon- second-in-command, says the agen-regulators, employees said. . ceivable that one would perceive cy spent $140,000 in grant money But they go on to describe a such a relationship as threatening," that hasn't received final approval, workplace that's out of control, one Simmons declared in a written The memo also confirms previous where procedures are not followed, statement Thursday. allegations that Simmons ordered where expenditures are hidden and The Rev. Richard Scott, chair- staffers to juggle financial state-where favored emoloveesiro behind man of the investigative rnmmittw ments to hide deficits from the K A recorded. ,; Simmons says the accounting practices were in place when he joined the authority six years ago. ' Scott said members will discuss the possibility of firing Simmons at a special meeting Monday. The board has to interpret all that they've read in this (report) and ask itself several questions," Scott said. By Lisa Ocker Palm Beach Post Staff Writer UNDER FIRE: Allegations by workers could cost West Palm Beach Housing Authority : WEST PALM BEACH The their supervisors' backs to deal di- and the board's elected spokesper- board and the federal government housing authority's executive di- rectly with Simmons. son, responded: "I know Mr. Sim- Last month, a memo from de-rector repeatedly told employees Allegations contained in the mons is very devout in his religious parting accountant Jack Smouse his authority comes directly from 400-page document, released this beliefs, and I don't have a problem said Simmons hid deficits by telling God, according to an investigative week, could cost Simmons his job, a with that, as long as it doesn't over- staffers to delav rerorHinir evnen. Did what I read surprise me or Executive Director Sam Simmons his job. report compiled by board members, board spokesperson said Thursday, flow into the business of the housing es. Holmes' memo goes further, ai shock me, and does the administra-. Executive Director Sam Sim- Simmons denies any wrongdo- authority." leging for the first time that Sim- tion have the capability, considering mons ciaims to De in cnarge, reters ing and delends his taith. Though most employees asked mons demanded the staff to delete to himself as "the boss" and says he "While I readily acknowledge not to be identified, a signed memo expenditures that had already been Please see SIMMONS6Z? False alarm at Columbia Hospital Brabham, Butler cases get new judge Edward Garrison, under challenge from the defendants, removes himself. Judge Howard Berman gets the campaign fraud trial. By Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH In the state's case against attorneys V. Ted Brabham and Philip Butler, the judges have changed but Monday's scheduled trial date remains the same for now. Butler, a former Republican state attorney candidate accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions, filed court papers on Thursday accusing Judge Edward Garrison of improperly discussing the case with other judges, refusing to set hearings on Butler's motions and showing "favoritism toward the state." Butler also filed a com plaint with the Judicial Quali- Garrison fications Commission, accusing Garrison of violating "proper professional and judicial procedure." Garrison, who is barred by judicial rules from commenting on the accusations, removed himself from the case. Circuit Judge Howard Berman, randomly assigned by the clerk's office, took over. Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo, a Bartow prosecutor assigned to the case, said he Please see BUTLER225 I ! ! :- ' 1 ' ; ( ' ! v V it h ' I 7t- pP i i . l i;; :x i j i . !'.- W M I ill.:, V ' K-U ! i I Mil: VKi-'l - ' -" "- - Frank Cerabino Ag Reserve says bye-bye, buffer, Hello, duffer I've always said that what we need in Palm Beach County are more golf courses. Golf courses as far as the eye can see. That's because golf is our sport It's a sport that gives grownups an excuse to hide out from their spouses and kids for long stretches of the day without having to actually do anything productive. Ifs expensive and time-consuming, frustrating and tiresome. And it's one of the few sports that offers nearly no cardiovascular benefits, allowing your heart attack to arrive right on schedule. You can smoke, drink beer and even heed the call of nature while you play, and when you're done, you feel the same kind of weariness you'd have felt if you had spent the four hours trudging through the mall. There's almost nothing socially redeeming about golf. In golf, you bounce around in a silly cart looking for your silly ball, while waiting for the silly group of people ahead of you to quit taking their silly time, so you can hit your silly ball again, hop back in your silly cart and begin another search. In other words, it's the perfect sport for the leisurely, over-the-hill, paunchy, money-to-burn, time-to-waste populace of Palm Beach County. -." Which is why we need more golf courses. . ' . We've been slipping in our national golf course rankings lately. "Palm Beach County used to be right at the top," said Judy Thompson with the National Golf Foundation, a Jupiter-based trade association. "Now, Maricopa County in Arizona has the most" Palm Beach County has only a measly 150 golf courses spread out among 109 golf facilities, according to the foundation. Sure, that s fourth in the nation behind Riverside and Los Angeles counties in California and Maricopa, which has 20 more golf facilities than we do. But we can do better. Fortunately, we have politicians who realize this, and know our need to saturate our community with sprawling tracts of strangely landscaped land, pocked with sand craters, pesticide-rich turf and restricted access to outsiders. Which is why the wheels already are grinding to turn the Agricultural Reserve into another excuse to build golf courses. I remember the dark ages when environmentalists had pictured the Agricultural Reserve, a 30square-mile tract stretching from west of Lantana to west of Boca Raton, as a sort of borderline for suburban sprawl. But now, due in large part to golf, we've found a palatable excuse to make it part of that sprawl. It's simple, really. Just a matter of redefining what is meant by "undeveloped" land. ! Big tracts in the Agricultural Reserve were supposed to be spared from suburbia, because 60 percent of each tract had to be left undeveloped. But if you consider a golf course as undeveloped land, then you've taken the first step to converting farmland to high-priced housing developments with their own golf courses. "I have nothing against golf communities," Commissioner Burt Aaronson told me. ; Aaronson, speaking mostly to seniors from suburban Defray Beach this week, told them that if the reserve gets developed, they could cdunt on more golf. "I want that 60 percent of open land for golf," he'said. ' Amen. Yes, we need more golf. "Let's talk about golf," I told Aaronson on Thursday. W)rkers foil would-be heist at Boynton store By Lvda Lonza Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ; . BOYNTON BEACH Annason Vilce got an unexpected greeting Thursday when he showed up for his first day of work at the Service Merchandise on Congress Avenue. ; From a robber on a rope. An armed robber on a rope. Bovnton Beach ooliee nraised the 99-vrrA Vilpp nn TTinrcHaw fnr ctilrinr Kr o ployee when the wannabe robberpulledagunon the pair as they arrived at work around 5 a.m. Vilce and the other Service Merchandise emolovee. Daniel Cash-annva 34 wnltoi ;n M -rf ' " " I " m W find the intruder lowering himself into the store coynion oeacn uetecuve Kay bcniUce said. The man. armed with a small hanHomn nA wearine a ski mask, a dark. lonc-sWvpH JENNIFER PODISStaff Photographer WEST PALM BEACH - Steve Fischer, a member of the West Palm Beach Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team, gets a safety rinse Thursday with the help of colleague Julio DelRio. They were responding to the report of a chemical spill at Columbia Hospital, but no spill or leak was found. An alarm had sounded in a sterilization room where ethylene oxide was kept. Patients and staff were moved to safe areas of the hospital until the fire department issued the all-clear. The hazardous-materials team donned protective gear and removed a container of the ethylene oxide as a precaution. No one was hurt. shirt and stained jeans, told Vilce and Castrano-va he was waiting for employees to arrive because he knew the store's alarm had motion Please see INTRUDER65 Wellington vows to banish cellular telephone tower 1 ' '" - 1 111 1 1 mi i I . i in u , m it i i. ii .i i j., i , in,,,,.,, i - 7. 7 -; - -" ii i r.mfwi nml.nnm,rr.,.iM..i.,. mm, Mm , J By Matt Mossman Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WELLINGTON The village will seek to remove a cellular communications tower that has angered many Wellington residents, Mayor Kathy Foster said. "This council is unanimous in relocating the tower," she said at a public hearing Thursday night The 156-foot tower, owned by Sprint PCS, is behind the village hall and overshadows several residential communities. Residents object to the tower because it is unsightly, and they claim it lowers property values. The hearing was held to discuss an ordinance that would regulate the number and height of future cellular towers in the village. Federal Communications Commission regulations prevent municipalities from barring the towers, but cities can regulate them. The village has a moratorium on new towers until it can pass a regulating ordinance. The moratorium expires on Jan. 17, but the council is considering extending it. Residents welcomed Foster's announcement that the council would seek to move the Sprint tower. She pledged to have an alternative site in 45 to 60 days. But a leader of a citizens group said they would wait only so long, and threatened to boycott Sprint "If a resolution isn't made by Jan. 1," Alan Johnson told the council, "we will initiate a campaign to make Wellington, Fla., America's first Sprint-free zone. -. "Golf is a game to torture people," he said. "It's supposed to be relaxing, but when you're lousy like I am, it's not" ; . Another selfless public servant A man who comprehends the utter foolishness of golf, and yet is willing to do his best to bring us more of it , ; Look out Maricopa County. Here we come. ALLEN EYESTONEStaff Photographer Justice for slain sister WEST PALM BEACH Lisa Hughes (right) reacts as the jury finds Mark Snyder guilty of manslaughter for speeding through a red light and killing Hughes' sister Regina Ann Cassera. STORY, 4B T - ' -' . ff - tt miTinrJH rinn r ex r...),..ff- J-t

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