The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 1090
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December 7, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 1090

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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w THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 11C Wiring cost planetarium extra $60,000 David Yurman? At Hamilton, of course. DAVID YURMAN THE CABLE COLLECTION Starting at $260. Erich Landstrom with the Science Museum's new telescope. 'The intimacy,' he says. 'The telescope gives you a sense of awe.' STEPHANIE WELSHStaff Photographer planetarium gives you a sense of SCIENCE From 1C 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 will 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 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. "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 Erich Landstrom HAMILTON FAMILY-OWNED EWELERS 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 Personal: 27, married to Heather, degree in English and a minor in physics from Wagner College in New York. Native of Savannah, Ga. His Stwy: 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 2lh years. Quote: "Astronomy is the biggest show of all." Classic Knot Earrings? At Hamilton, of course. 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 Yh 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 Ellington helps rebuilding in Delray Beach I8kt. gold earrings. From $80. 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. 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 muse-urn. rowed" her from city hall. She has a master's degree in public management and a bachelors degree in sociology from Florida A&M University. But she had no experience running a public housing complex and was caught off guard by the huge amount of red tape involved, even by government standards, she said. Was she in over her head? "I have never felt like I was in over my head," she said. "In retrospect, looking back, there were a lot of things I didn't know. It was an eye-opener." Ellington admits making some mistakes, and apologizes for them. Mistakes like not posting a vacancy before placing a resident with a good track record of rent payments into a house owned by the authority. Mistakes like placing the advertisement for the permanent director's job a position she applied for herself. The job will be re-advertised, and Ellington won't say whether she'll apply again. Besides, her mind is on other goals at the moment: putting in some new sod at Carver Estates for the complex's kids to play on and setting up outdoor security cameras to discourage crime. Ellington refuses to criticize her predecessors, but promises she won't repeat their mistakes. treads water 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." the Internet, one of 20 applicants for the job. Landstrom's diverse background and his 2M- 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. 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 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 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. 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 The housing authority has improved under the interim director's , leadership.' 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. Jts 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 wouid 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." 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 authority, 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." Ellington had worked in government as a planner and a grant administrator for nearly 20 years before the housing authority "bor $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 bulk water rate dispute. He also said the village has Officials ponder as Tequesta's system sale 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 appraisal has been done, Village Manager Tom Bradford estimated Panthre Watch 18KaokJ and diamonds. Authorized Cartter Agency PACK UP AND GO You don't have to go far to find great vacation ideas that'll get you packing. Just go to the Travel 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 pledged that village residents will get the same monthly rates as its residents, said Jupiter utilities director David Brown. Jujpiter residents now pay section in this Sunday's Palm Beach Post. 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 GARDENS PRINCETON LAWRENCEVILLE T

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