The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on June 13, 1997 · Page 133
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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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Friday, June 13, 1997
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Page 133
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FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 1997 The Palm Beach Post SECTION B MSL 'LITTLE GUY' OUT The JUA's plan for agents to write policies on the private market draws fire. BUSINESS, 4B LOCAL NEWS Retiree beautifying city, brick by bricl The ex-bricklayer will build decorative welcome signs for Port St. Lucie for free. By TERESA LANE Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE Retired bricklayer William "Pete" Blozevich spent 40 years doing back-breaking work under the hot Virginia sun, but his solution to retirement boredom is to do more back-breaking work for the city he loves. Blozevich, who gave new meaning to the term "impulse buying" when he bought his home on Import Drive during a vacation to Port St. Lucie four years ago, has volunteered to design and build brick entrance signs at Interstate 95 and other main roadways at no cost to the city. The 72-year-old retiree has watched with interest as the city struggles to erect welcome signs and landscape major thoroughfares, but after seeing a proposed sign sketched by a consultant, Blozevich mentioned to his neighbor that he could "make them something real pretty." The neighbor, who delivers flowers part time for florist and council member Jane Rowley, mentioned the offer to Rowley and the rest is history. "I have (Blozevich's) sketch, and it's beautiful," said Rowley, who estimates the cost of Blozevich's first sign at Gatlin Boulevard and 1-95 will be only $1,500 for materials and a helper. "I met him at a party, and he said this would be his gift to the city he lives in." It's not the first time Blozevich has volunteered civic improvements in his hometown. He built a brick basket-shaped planter in St. Michael, Pa., to commemorate a historic flood, and since retirement he has found more time than ever to combine his bricklaying talent and love of community. "I'm not doing much of anything here, and I think I could come up with something better than what I saw in the paper," Blozevich said, referring to the consultant's proposal. "I built some beautiful things in the Washington, D.C., area. I'd like to make this place look better too." The city's Economic Growth Team voted to spend $1,500 on the first entrance sign Tuesday night, and Blozevich says he's eager to get started on it. He's not worried about Florida's stifling heat he's used to even hotter summers in Virginia. "It gets 100 degrees and sticky up there," said Blozevich, who says he loved Port St. Lucie from the minute he stepped foot in it. "I'll do as many signs as I can as many as they want." f' fi ... V til '-V Jl J J TV. - r"" - V. v .v I t.K-' -V f , i - - l Jljt) . . p- v ".If ' : . . , v."" "w- . " X-:"1- ff" ---:- " . --. . " v.W PAUL J. MILETTEStaff Photographer Family, friends remember Sebring couple who died in June 2 crash As the 23rd Psalm is read, family and friends scatter the ashes of Frank Ronald Lizak and his wife, Frederica Post Lizak, over the Atlantic Ocean Thursday. The Lizaks, of Sebring, were killed when their single-engine Beechcraft Sundowner crashed near Sebring on June 2 as they returned from a Coast Guard auxiliary conference. Thursday's ceremony was held aboard the Coast Guard cutter Point Martin about 4 miles off the coast of Fort Pierce. The Lizaks served in a Coast Guard auxiliary for 1 1 years. FPL staff pickets St. Lucie plant over safety By SUSANNAH A. NESMITH Palm Beach Post Staff Writer About 100 FPL workers picketed outside the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday to protest dangerous working conditions and the company's slow response to their complaints. "Who's better to know what the problems are than the guys working on the nuts and bolts?" asked Stan Lewandowski, a plant mechanic. "I live 6 miles downwind. This is a public safety issue." 'Who's better to know what the problems are?' STAN LEWANDOWSKI plant mechanic Other protesters said they didn't think the public was being put at risk, but they were very concerned about their own safety as they worked on the machinery in the plant. The plant is short-staffed, and some workers have been required to work a lot of overtime. "We've been very lucky, we've only had minor accidents," said Bill Zehner. "We've had equipment start by itself. A lot of the problem is inexperience. They've brought in temporary workers who don't know the plant, and they're gone in six weeks." FPL spokeswoman Janice Brady said the company is trying to address the workers' complaints by bringing in temporary plant operators to fill vacancies until a new class of operators graduates in the fall. Federal regulators have been at the plant since Tuesday to investigate how FPL officials are dealing with employee complaints. FPL Group officials promised the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year that management changes made in May would reduce complaints, but that hasn't happened. The plant lost its superior rating from the NRC last month. I 1 -y if 1 ; 7ZT ) D ! I '-t. kr ; PAUL J. MILETTEStaff Photographer William 'Pete' Blozevich's first welcome sign will go up at Gatlin Boulevard and 1-95. Contractor puts rush on sodding The company laying pipes in Port St. Lucie redeploys workers after complaints about yard restoration. By TERESA LANE Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE The city's water and sewer contractor has laid off 50 pipe layers and is concentrating on sod restoration after 450 complaints, many of them sod-related, have streamed in from homeowners in Phase 2 of the city's massive utility expansion project. City officials are withholding more than $500,000 in payments from Felix Equities Inc. because the Coral Springs-based company is not complying with a contract that calls for all driveways and landscaping to be repaired within 30 days of pipe installation, said Stef Mathes, project engineer for city consultant Culpepper & Terpening Inc. In some cases, homeowners are waiting up to 100 days for barren swales to be resodded, or for bad driveway cuts or finishes to be repaired. Felix volunteered to lay off 50 pipe layers 2V2 weeks ago to concentrate on sod and driveway restoration, and Mathes said the number of unresolved complaints has dropped to about 60. Pipe layers could be back to work within a few weeks, Mathes said, and he expects Felix to be back within the required 30-day restoration period at the same time. Although complaints have been higher than what engineers had hoped, Mathes said FeUx is performing well on its pipe installation the most important, but least visible, part of the $22 million expansion in Phase 2. "We've pressure-tested over 20,000 linear feet of pipe, and we've had only two minor failures in those tests, both due to bolts that needed tightening," Mathes said. "We test against leaks and make sure the materials are right, and those things have been phenomenally good." When the Phase 2 project began in February, Felix was using its own employees to install sod from various farms on the Treasure Coast. The company added more pipe crews and quickly fell behind on restoration efforts, leading to hundreds of calls from people whose driveway finishes were inferior, or whose sod was dead or placed haphazardly. Felix has since hired subcontractors to supply and lay the sod and is installing pipes beneath more driveways, rather than cutting through the concrete. The results have been fewer complaints and better landscaping. "In some cases they received bad sod from farms, but they went ahead and laid it anyway for temporary Please see COMPLAINTSi0fl State promise of Glades cleanup loan hits snag By ROBERT P. KING Palm Beach Post Staff Writer The state's $23.9 million check to the Everglades turns out to have been written in disappearing ink. Lawmakers included the money as an interest-free loan to South Florida water managers in the state's 1997-98 budget. But now, state environmental officials say it appears they can't legally draw the money from the trust fund that the legislature specified. The South Florida Water Management District had planned to use the money to ease an impending cash shortfall in the $600 million-plus Everglades cleanup. "It was a glitch," said district land manager Bill Malone, declining to blame anyone. "It was a mistake made in good faith while trying to help the problem." But Charles Lee, senior vice president of the Florida Audubon Society, said the mixup resulted from unusually bad advice to legislators from the state Department of Environmental Protection. 'Ernie Barnett, the DEP's director of ecosystem planning, said the department is scouring other Other action 2B trust funds for money. Lawmakers OK'd the loan May 2 in the final hours of their 60-day session. It was to come from unused money in a DEP-controlled trust fund that water management districts use to buy land. But Barnett said the department has since learned that the money must stay in the trust fund to secure the districts' debt service on bonds. Besides the loan snafu, water managers had even more bad news Thursday: Malone said the federal government's failure to pay for its share of the Everglades cleanup could make the district miss a crucial deadline. Washington has yet to repay the $21 million that the district has spent buying land for an Everglades filter marsh just east of 20-Mile Bend. State law says the district must buy the land by July 1998. Malone said the district probably will miss the deadlme unless the federal money tangle is solved in two months. I 1 I. j mSod if ' ' ' ...Jki 'X - , - - - ' Martin students, teachers end year with cheers, tears DAVID LANEStafT Photographer South Fork graduating seniors Danny Roberts, 19, (left) and Terry Cantrell, 18, celebrate. y By JOE VIDUEIRA Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Summer arrived Thursday for Martin County students and teachers. "Everybody's feeling 'up' right now," said South Fork High art teacher Tom Wetzl, who is planning a summer trip to the Bahamas. "It's the last day." Students were excited and relieved the school year is over. "I'm exasperated," said Grant Meh-lich, a 17-year-old junior at Martin County High School. "It's been a long, tough year." Martin County High freshman Kayleen Hartman, 14, agreed. "I'm not going to miss being a freshman," she said. "It was a big change for me. At least next year, we'll get to make fun of the new students." Jason Chesrown, 16, said he won't miss much about school during the summer vacation, either. "Other than the girls, nothing else," he said. Others, especially seniors, were more philosophical. "It's been a really good year for the school," said Meaghan Keeler, 17, South Fork's student body president. "We accomplished a lot." Brooke Reichert, 18, a graduating se nior, said she's ready to get on with the rest of her life. Next fall, she'll be attending Villanova University. "We're all going separate ways after sharing so many memories together," she said. "I'll miss a lot of things, but it's time to move on." For some administrators, the last day of class also was bittersweet. South Fork Principal Fred Colvard, who leaves the district today to take an administrative post in Lake County, said he shed a tear during graduation practice this week. "I'm leaving the school with my seniors," he said. After classes ended Thursday afternoon, the school threw a goodbye party for him that drew a near-capacity crowd. "The fact that he's leaving takes a little bit of excitement out of the day," said Bill Lloyd, a speech teacher. At another school, there was more talk of beginnings rather than endings. "We've had a very smooth first year," said Jane Bus, the first principal at the new Bessey Creek Elementary. "It's been a challenge getting the school up and running, but we've had a lot of help from the commurity. "It's been a very special year." . r fx v. 1 k4U iirti4 mr m tk V V V . ' lull Hi .l 11 Jfc i att itf" fft iT1! 1 "Hf. (ft itlk jjtljflfci ttfc jftiflfri ii JfriiffVfr ifi fti ffr ITft ft ilHi.lVl It ftn 'm ifthi 1 rli ft . iftfn fun

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