The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 1089
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 1089

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 1089
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s THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY. DECEMBER 7, 1997 11C Wiring cost planetarium extra $60,000 David Yunnan? At Hamilton, of course. -T) r DAVID YURMAN 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 FromlC four-month "Dinosaurs Outdoors" exhibit, which featured life-sized robotic creatures moving, roaring and even 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." landstrom is hoping planetarium" improvements wUl be far enough along to open the following week, but the opening could be delayed until January. While he is overseeing the planetarium 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 Landstromi 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. "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 jn the middle of the floor," he s;aid. ' 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 ijeed 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 Savan-. nah, 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 2Vi 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 XA 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 it will give the village at least $1.1 million extra tax dollars a year, Finance Director Steve Markiw said. That's a major reason Masilotti stepped in with his plan to add a golf course and drop the lawsuits. I8kt. 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 Saratoga was conceived in 1987. But after building only 47 homes, Cenvill Development 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, By Matt Mossman Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ' 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 aeries of Saratoga, wants to jettison the two golf courses originally planned for its half of the land. ut Royal Professional, owner of the north-e'rrrhalf, 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. "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." Officials ponder as Tequesta's system sale treads water bulk water rate dispute. He also said the village has rates that climb with consumption as a water-conservation policy, as opposed to Jupiter's flat rates. However, Evett said if Jupiter buys Tequesta's system, it would a be a win for each municipality. "It will be a savings for their residents," he said, "and Jupiter will get increased economy of scale by increasing its customer base." pledged that village residents will get the same monthly rates as its residents, said Jupiter utilities director David Brown. Jupiter residents now pay $22.48 for 10,000 gallons and $34.98 for 20,000 gallons, with Tequesta charging $32.30 and $56.20, respectively, Brown said. But Bradford said the Tequesta rates are misleading because the village has to continue charging its customers the $7 surcharge that was levied by Jupiter in the Panthe Watch IBKgotd and diamonds. By Joe Brogan Palm Beach Post Staff Writer TEQUESTA - Officials do not appear to be salivating over Jupiter's offer to buy Tequesta's water system for $8 million, despite talk of it possibly leading to a drop in rates for residents. One stumbling block could be the strained relationship between the towns, a result of Jupiter's attempt two years ago to double the rates of bulk water that it sells to Tequesta, an attempt the village blocked in court. Other hitches may include the suggested money offer, the possibility of not having a say in rates if the system is sold, and Jupiter's , appeal of Tequesta's court win. "I don't think it would be good to sell to the town of Jupiter," said Tequesta Mayor Liz Schauer. "We don't vote for those people and would have no representation." And, although no formal ap praisal has been done, Village Manager Tom Bradford estimated the water system's value at $12 million to $15 million. But Bradford wrote Jupiter last week asking whether Jupiter would drop its appeal if the sale was completed. He also asked whether the $8 million proposal is firm, saying he would await a reply from Jupiter before recommending that the city council discuss the offer. The letter could spark some dialogue. Jupiter Town Manager Lee Evett said the court appeal would be history "because it becomes moot if the sale goes through. We would then own the system." He said the $8 million is a preliminary estimate, and a final figure would be negotiated between the two municipalities. Jupiter, which already supplies about half of Tequesta's water, has Authorized earlier Agency TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE POST HAMILTON FA Mil Y-OWNFD IIVMI IRS SINCE 1912 Call 820-4663 or (800) 654-1231. Palm Beach, 215 Worth Ave. (561) 659788 Palm Beach Gardens The Gardens (561) 775-3600 PALM BEACH PALM BEACH GARDENS PRINCETON LAWRENCEVILLE

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