The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 68
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December 7, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 68

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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c THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 11C Wiring cost planetarium extra $60,000 David Yunnan? At Hamilton, of course. ' DAVID YURMAN MM OlMtt .ft" Mi ( THE CABLE COLLECTION Starting at $260. STEPHANIE WELSHStaff Photographer Erich Landstrom with the Science Museum's new telescope. 'The planetarium gives you a sense of intimacy, he says. 'The telescope gives you a sense of awe.' SCIENCE From 1C four-month "Dinosaurs Outdoors" exhibit, which featured life-sized robotic creatures moving, roaring and dven gnawing on one another. The museum's "Time Machine Earth" opens Dec. 14, an exhibit that propels visitors all the way from 65 million years ago to the (future. Moving Dinamation creatures, such as a woolly mammoth and a saber-toothed cat, show "Ice Age Florida." bandstrom is hoping planetarium-improvements will be far enough along to open the following week, but the opening could be delayed until January. Vhile he is overseeing the planfetarium renovation, he's also organizing next summer's "Living and Working in Space" exhibit and writing the planetarium's first show. The planetarium was supposed to open Nov. 1, but workers found asbestos that had to be removed, and the electrical wiring had to be replaced. That delayed the opening and added $60,000 to the cost. A grant from the Janirve Foundation! covered the original $140,000 budget. ''I don't know where we're going to find (the $60,000)," said Executive Director Jim Rollings. "We're hoping to find a donor who wants to see their name on a plaque outside the museum." ; The computerized system will allow Landstrom to provide state-of-the-art shows. !'Now, you have to manually operate the star projector, work the slides and remember what you're trying to say at the same time," he said. J'With this, you can concentrate on giving the important information." The theater-in-the-round seating is being scrapped for traditional tHeater-style seats. "You don't want people focusing on a projector In the middle of the floor," he said. ; Education will take on a bigger role. The shows for students will coincide with the public school curriculum. ; "In this business, we're not doing research. We're doing education," Rollings said. "And we need an astronomer who can communicate on all levels." Rollings found Landstrom on shows, Landstrom prefers piecing together productions of his own. "For me, creating your own scripts is like milking a cow. It keeps the creative juices flowing," he said and laughed. HAMILTON FAMILY-OWNED JEWELERS SINCE 1912 Palm Beach, 215 Worth Ave. (561) 659-6788 Palm Beach Gardens, The Gardens (561) 775-3600 PALM BEACH PALM BEACH GARDENS PRINCETON LAWRENCEVILLE Erich Landstrom Personal: 27, married to Heather, degree in English and a minor in physics from Wagner College in New York. Native of Savannah, Ga. His Story: New director of astronomy education at the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach. He will design and write the Aldrin Planetarium shows and oversee the Gibson Observatory. He was planetarium director at the Savannah (Ga.) Science Museum for 2'2 years. Quote: "Astronomy is the biggest show of all." He'll help visitors make the transition from the planetarium show to the real stars at the other end of the observatory's 14-inch telescope, one of the state's biggest. ("On a clear day, you can see 1-95," he joked). "The planetarium gives you a sense' of intimacy," Landstrom said. "The telescope gives you a sense of awe." The teacher-writer-entertainer believes he has found his niche. "As long as people are interested in the sky, I am in business," he said. "Or as long as the museum exists." If that was a question a few years ago, it is no longer. "Museums of this size are either fading and going out of business or revitalizing," Rolling said. "The people in this community have shown they want a planetarium theater and science Classic Knot Earrings? At Hamilton, of course. the Internet, one of 20 applicants for the job. Landstrom's diverse background and his 2VS years experience at a planetarium of similar size weighed in his favor. "He has an unending enthusiasm for getting people to look up in the sky," Rollings said. "He can take our planetarium and astronomy programs on to the next phase." Students will get a planetarium teacher with degrees in physics and English and a background in drama. "Physics teaches you how the world works. English shows you why Shakespeare is better than an Ann Landers column," Landstrom said. In his Darth Vader voice, Landstrom can quote from the Iliad and tell sixth-graders the story of why the Greeks named the twin stars in the Gemini constellation after Castor and Pollux. The myths help people recognize the stars when they lie in the back yard gazing up. "Looking into the sky is like looking into the past," Landstrom said. Look up tonight. The moonlight you see left the moon VA seconds ago. The light from Saturn is 30 minutes old. The light that is Andromeda started from that galaxy 2Vi million years ago. Although the museum can lease pre-packaged planetarium Royal Palm mayor hopes to jump -start Saratoga By Matt Mossman Saratoga was conceived in 1987. But after it will give the village at least $1.1 million i it will give the village at least $1.1 million extra tax dollars a year, Finance Director Steve Palm Beach Post Staff Writer building only 47 homes, Cenvill Development ISkt. gold earrings. From $80. HAMILTON FAMILY-OWNED JEWELERS SINCE 1912 Palm Beach, 215 Worth Ave. (561) 659-6788 Palm Beach Gardens, The Gardens (561) 775-3600 PALM BEACH PALM BEACH GARDENS PRINCETON LAWRENCEVILLE Markiw said. That's a major reason Masilotti stepped in with his plan to add a golf course and drop the lawsuits. "They've both told me it's a plan they can both live with," Masilotti said. But both developers deny they've seen anything they're ready to sign off on. "That proposal is so preposterous that anyone sending it to us is wasting their time," Tendrich said. Crestwood is not planning to give away any more than the land for a school and park. Masilotti figures the village can break even running the course, and residents can golf cheaply $17.50 a round, he estimates. His plan is getting mixed reviews from his village council. They like free land, but don't think the village needs another golf course. "The mayor's got a long ways to go in convincing me that is viable," Councilman David Swift said. "I don't want to recommend something that's going to put the village $200,000 in the hole." "If they show me it can be profitable I'll keep an open mind," Councilwoman Carmela Starace said. "But I don't see a municipal golf course happening." A meeting between lawyers for both sides was postponed last week, but each side says it's ready to listen to Masilotti's proposal. The mayor is ready to talk, but he concedes sorting out the problems isn't something he can do himself. "It all depends on the lawyers," he said. "If they can agree on a plan that makes both sides happy, we're ready to get the thing back on track." Corp., its original builder, went bankrupt. The project stalled until Royal Professional bought the northern half in 1993, and Crestwood bought the southern half in 1994. Royal Professional set about building homes with minor changes to its plan, but Crestwood immediately sought to overhaul its plans. At the time, the project called for 2,300 condominiums, possibly in a retirement-style community. Instead, Crestwood wanted to build 1,500 single-family homes and eliminate the golf courses. In return, they were willing to donate 39 acres to the village for a new school and a park. The village council approved the change in March 1995, despite Royal Professional's objections about the lack of golf courses, or at least some sort of green space. That's when the legal battles began. Crestwood consultant Steve Tendrich says his company is not opposed to building one golf course but wants some flexibility. He says the plan Crestwood inherited is unworkable. The two original golf courses were planned on 180 acres. Santamaria said his company is not insisting on a golf course any type of green space would be fine, as long as it's 180 acres. He said his concerns are environmental. Crestwood counters that Santamaria's environmental concerns are a smoke screen. "Santamaria's interested in delaying our project," Tendrich said. "He doesn't want to compete with our homes." Royal Professional is building homes. The owners say they've sold 400 of a total of 666. At village hall, they just want Saratoga moving again. When both parcels are complete, i ROYAL PALM BEACH Mayor Tony Masilotti wants to patch up differences between two developers and get a project moving that's been bogged down in lawsuits and mudslinging for years. The project is Saratoga, and its 906 acres represent the last major undeveloped land in the village. It's been earmarked for at least 2,100 homes and possibly up to 2,800 since 1987. Completion of the development would give Royal Palm a much bigger tax base, land for a new school and lots more people. ; The issue that sidetracked Royal Professional Builders and Crestwood Lakes Associates is golf courses. ; Crestwood, which owns the southern 503 acres of Saratoga, wants to jettison the two golf courses originally planned for its half of the land. ; "But Royal Professional, owner of the north-ernehalf, wants the golf courses or equal green space. The company filed several lawsuits that prevented Crestwood from getting started on its homes. Enter Masilotti. He wants the village to build and run a golf course on land donated by Crestwood in exchange for Royal Professional ending the legal challenges. But there are serious doubts among the developers and village politicians about Masi-lotti's plan. Among them: whether the village needs another golf course, and whether Royal Professional Builders and its co-owner Jess Santamaria really care about golf. Santamaria's real motive, Crestwood owners say, is to stop them from building homes that would compete with Royal Professional. Ellington helps rebuilding in Delray Beach Panthre Watch 18K gold and diamonds. thority, but could be dismissed if a final inspection confirms the improved grade. "I don't want to be quoted anymore about how bad things were," Ellington said, sounding upbeat on a morning tour of Carver Estates on Southwest 12th Terrace. She prefers to focus on where to go next. Ellington said the biggest round of improvements came after teaching the staff what the federal government expects of a local housing authority: quick response times to repair calls, a well-defined budget, proper paperwork. That hadn't happened. "They were excited just to know what the goals were and what they were expected to do," Ellington said. "A lot of it was just teaching people the 'government way.' When you do something anything you write it down and create a file." contract to replace decaying windows and install storm' shutters on all the apartments. There were few records to tell staffers how long it had been since maintenance had been done on some dilapidated apartments. There's still a long way to go. But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to drop the Delray Beach authority from its list of officially "troubled" housing agencies, having tentatively boosted its grade recently to D from F. HUD bases that grade largely on the authority's improved documentation and budget controls. It won't give construction grants to agencies that can't account for their spending. HUD audited the authority and, in July, released a report calling for managers experienced in government housing. Private consultants chosen by the agency are monitoring the housing au By Matt Reed Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DELRAY BEACH - For most of Oct. 16, 1996, publicity-shy Dorothy Ellington had a comfortable city hall job as a grants planner, with predictable hours and lots of paperwork. But at a meeting that night, she learned she had been drafted into one of the most difficult jobs in local government: interim director of the Delray Beach Housing Authority. The authority was a shambles. Its 200-unit housing project, Carver Estates, was crumbling. Files and spending records were nonexistent. Minutes earlier, state law enforcement agents had escorted her predecessor from the meeting, the second straight director to face a criminal probe for embezzlement. It would be Ellington's job to fix the authority, board members told her. "It was pure pandemonium," she said Friday. "There was no time to think about it. I just opened my mouth and accepted it." Ellington, 44, had been the city's liaison to the housing authority for several years, and had experience working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on block grants. Still, more than a year later, she acknowledges she's made some missteps. But the authority has made some recent strides forward. It has erected an iron fence around Carver Estates to ward off drug dealers and has installed new heaters in about half of the 19-year-old apartments. Workers have begun power-washing giant rust stains from the outside walls and bringing water heaters up to code. The authority board is set to OK a $180,000 Authorized Cartier Agency HAMILTON I FAMILY-OWNED JEWELERS SINCE 1912 Palm Beach, 215 Worth Ave. (561) 659-6788 Palm Beach Gardens, The Gardens (561) 775-3600 PALM BEACH PALM BEACH G, ARDENS PRINCETON LAWRENCEVILLE

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