Letter: Palm Beach Gardens officials disregarded residents on Shady Lakes vote

Palm Beach Gardens made changes to MacArthur Boulevard to help with speeding, pedestrian safety and traffic issues by Howell L. Watkins Middle School. City staff is working on a similar solution for 117th Court North and Shady Lakes Drive. Here are before and after pictures.
Palm Beach Gardens made changes to MacArthur Boulevard to help with speeding, pedestrian safety and traffic issues by Howell L. Watkins Middle School. City staff is working on a similar solution for 117th Court North and Shady Lakes Drive.

This is in response to “Gardens residents fuming after city paves way for road they oppose” (April 22). I would consider this an important issue: the question of creating a cut-through roadway through residential areas where none existed is one worthy of dialogue and debate.

The city of Palm Beach Gardens thought so little of this issue, they conducted a City Council meeting but did not post the meeting notice in the newspaper. They thought so little of this issue that they created a resolution at the end of the meeting — without notifying the public that a vote would be conducted, or mentioning this important fact in the agenda.

This very important meeting to the citizens was an insignificant issue to the City Council. It was so insignificant, the city only posted the agenda on a bulletin board within the city complex.

The question-and-answer meeting in regards to the preliminary sketches turned out to be an orchestrated sham. The City Council members did not have a dialogue with the citizens, but allowed concerned citizens to address their concerns to them for three minutes.

The issue of creating the cut-through roadway was based on a dangerous situation on 117th Street that has two schools. During school drop-off and pick-up times, the road is overwhelmed and does become dangerous.

That City Council meeting showed how much disdain the city has for any person or group who opposes them.

VITO DEFRANCESCO, PALM BEACH GARDENS

Letter: Naming blameless tiger who killed zookeeper serves no one

hatiYour lead story in the April 20 paper featured a photo of the tiger that you suspect killed a zookeeper, along with his name and life history (“Evidence points to stud tiger Hati as Palm Beach Zoo keeper’s killer”). Your article also says, “Zoo officials appealed to all media sources to refrain from naming the tiger” for the safety of the animal.

Yet you couldn’t resist. What do you think can be gained by revealing the identity? The zoo stated that they have received threats against the unnamed tiger.

As tragic as Stacey Konwiser’s death is, it should come as no surprise. It’s like a race car driver dying in a 200-mph crash, or a base jumper dying when his parachute does not deploy. Those are heartbreaking events, but not entirely unexpected.

Everybody knows that tigers are wild animals, especially zookeepers like Stacey who make it their life work. She knew the inherent danger of the job and chose to do it. The tiger, on the other hand, had no choice in the matter. He did not choose to be born and raised in captivity and was simply behaving the way his DNA tells him to.

Again, I do find Stacey’s death horribly tragic, and my heart goes out to her family. She loved these animals and understood them better than anybody.

The 911 caller’s behavior certainly raises eyebrows, and it seems suspicious that they were trying to cover something up from the onset. There is certainly fault to be found somewhere, but it is not the tiger’s.

GENA LEE OHMAN, LAKE WORTH

Editor’s note:

Letter: Airbags a hazard? Make them optional

 

MEDLEY, FL - MAY 22:  A deployed airbag is seen in a 2001 Honda Accord at the LKQ Pick Your Part salvage yard on May 22, 2015 in Medley, Florida. The largest automotive recall in history centers around the defective Takata Corp. air bags that are found in millions of vehicles that are manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The largest automotive recall in history centers around the defective Takata Corp. air bags that are found in millions of vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Airbag anxiety? The simple and obvious answer is “remove the airbags.” Replace them in the future if desired; it should be optional.

 

Too much government control. First came the seat belts, which are by now generally accepted, but then, air bags. That was overkill.

Being advised not to drive because you could be killed is ridiculous. Drug companies can advise that side effects include death, so you’ve been forewarned. But with a car, the air bag is the killer, so have it removed and keep on driving.

BOB MACLEOD, WELLINGTON

Letter: Palm Beach Gardens road plan is dangerous

Palm Beach Gardens made changes to MacArthur Boulevard to help with speeding, pedestrian safety and traffic issues by Howell L. Watkins Middle School. City staff is working on a similar solution for 117th Court North and Shady Lakes Drive. Here are before and after pictures.
Palm Beach Gardens made changes to MacArthur Boulevard to help with speeding, pedestrian safety and traffic issues by Howell L. Watkins Middle School. City staff is working on a similar solution for 117th Court North and Shady Lakes Drive.

The Palm Beach Gardens City Council recently approved what looks like a very dangerous road extension: The council presented Phase 1 of the proposed Shady Lakes Boulevard extension to the community of Shady Lakes; this extension creates an access road for two schools (Timber Trace Elementary and Duncan Middle School), the tennis center and a city park.

A Florida Power & Light substation is built where the right-turn lane on PGA Boulevard needs to be. So, it is uncertain when and if a right-turn lane can be built. While turn lanes are proposed for Phase 3 of the project, there is no projection of when and if it will be built.

City staff members say that moving the substation is complicated, and other improvements in Phase 3 will cost a hefty $3 million-plus (there is no money budgeted, nor a schedule projected for this expensive project). Phase 3 and the turning lane may be years in coming, if ever.

Additional access for the schools is a good idea. However, this extension will create a potentially dangerous intersection that will be used by buses, full of our children, stuck waiting to make a right turn on busy PGA Boulevard.

BRUCE HONIG, PALM BEACH GARDENS

Letter: Palm Beach Gardens’ fire-rescue has stellar reputation

032911  (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)  PALM BEACH GARDENS —  A Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue crew demonstrates the special ambulance that has been retrofitted with a ramp, winch and oversized stretcher to move obese patients.
(Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post) PALM A Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue crew demonstrates the special ambulance.

Palm Beach Gardens has one of the finest emergency medical services in the country, and as the former mayor and current vice mayor of this city, I am offended that one of our residents has made disparaging remarks against our internationally accredited fire-rescue department.

Our fire department is one of only 20 in Florida to have that distinction.

A Mirabella resident was quoted in The Post on April 17 as crediting our fire-rescue service for saving her son and her husband’s lives in two separate incidents in the last year and a half. Yet in the same article, she casts a cloud over our emergency medical services department.

Our fire-rescue department is undergoing a staffing study to determine if any changes are warranted in our personnel levels. When that study is complete, and if it shows we need more personnel in Station 64, we will budget for the increased spending and hire more personnel.

In the meantime, I want the public to know that no one’s lives have ever or will ever be compromised in our city.

My life was saved 27 years ago by paramedics, and I have a firsthand appreciation of the work they do.

ERIC JABLIN, PALM BEACH GARDENS

Letter: Gov. Rick Scott prefers guns to helping poor women get health care

Protesters converged in 2012 on the opening of a Wellington abortion clinic.
File photo

Gov. Rick Scott has outdone himself. He has deprived Planned Parenthood of $500,000 in funds to help the poor in Palm Beach County; 95 percent of its services are birth control, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and women’s health — not abortions.

This while he is giving $3.1 million in state funds for a gun range in Palm Beach Gardens. Private ranges are not enough.

What a disgusting misuse of public funds. We, the brilliant people of Florida, voted for this guy.

GAIL BRECHER, WEST PALM BEACH

Editor’s note: Gail Brecher is an advanced registered nurse practitioner.

Letter: County’s priorities not same as Braves’

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran throws in the first inning against the Houston Astros in a spring training baseball game, Friday, March 25, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

I was reading the April 9 Local section, and two stories caught my eye: one concerning the proposed sales tax (“Gardens officials vote to oppose hike in sales tax”) and the other on building another spring training stadium for baseball (“Braves want county’s largest park”).

Where it got interesting were the numbers. Using the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as a template, let’s take a look: $113 million from the state bed tax, $50 million from the state (for a $144 million complex, by the way). One of the principals involved estimates 144,000 fans attending over the course of a year.

So we are spending $163 million in state money for 144,000 to watch spring training baseball. I’m sure “jobs creation” would be the rebuttal here, but some will be temporary workers … you know, spring training.

We have a lot more than 144,000 people involved in the school system and using infrastructure in Palm Beach County. So before you ask for more tax money to fix these problems, I suggest people in government start drawing the right priorities.

I’m sure the money is earmarked for certain items. However, like the Atlanta Braves lobbyist said concerning the stadium: It might be time to get “very creative” with our tax dollars, as far as how we’re spending them.

MIKE HUNDLEY, WEST PALM BEACH

Tiger kills zookeeper: Should Palm Beach Zoo have shot tiger to save colleague? Pro and con

Tigers are back on display Monday, April 18, 2016, at the Palm Beach Zoo, which reopened today after the fatal attack on Friday on zookeeper Stacey Feige Konwiser. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)
Tigers are back on display at the Palm Beach Zoo. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

It’s disturbing to learn that workers at the Palm Beach Zoo, seeing a colleague severely injured by a tiger, waited for a tranquilizer to take effect — rather than shooting and killing the animal so that paramedics could get to her right away.

Until more facts of the Friday incident are released, we won’t know how long first responders had to wait before they could enter the “night house” where Stacey Feige Konwiser lay after being mauled by a 300-pound Malay tiger. Once paramedics did reach the 37-year-0ld veteran zookeeper, they called in an air rescue helicopter to take her to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Zoos, of course, must be devoted to the welfare of the animals in their care. But when a human life is at stake — if there is any possibility of saving that life — it seems a seriously misplaced priority to put an animal’s life first. The only way this delay could have been defensible would be if it were clear upon sight that Konwiser’s injuries were fatal.

The zoo has a lot of questions to answer here.

— Howard Goodman

Stacey Konwiser at the dedication of the new tiger habitat at the Palm Beach Zoo on March 7, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Brianna Soukup / Palm Beach Post)
Stacey Konwiser at the dedication of the new tiger habitat at the Palm Beach Zoo on March 7, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Brianna Soukup / Palm Beach Post)

Shooting the Malayan tiger would have been wrong.

That’s not to say that one life is more important than another. Far from it. But the tiger was likely acting and responding as a tiger would, and putting blame on him for behaving as tigers behave naturally wouldn’t have been the right course either.

Stacey Feige Konwiser clearly loved her “very personable boys,” the tigers that she carefully looked after at the Zoo, and anyone who is that close to an animal knows the potential risk involved. Animals, from the rescued cuddly domestic kitten to the Malayan tigers at the Palm Beach Zoo, can be personable, playful and loving, but they are animals. Even being spooked could cause a fatal yet unintended accident. They should not be blamed for acting on their natural instincts, and I have to believe that someone who cared for these tigers as Konwiser did would feel the same way.

By the same token, the Zoo — thankfully — has never had to deal with a situation like this in its 60-year history, and the reality of such an attack likely differs from simulations. Rescue workers should not have had to wait for a tranquilizer to take effect to attend to Konwiser. Were the emergency protocols in place the right ones to efficiently handle the situation for the best possible outcome?

Let the Zoo learn from this tragedy and carry on caring for these tigers that Stacey loved so much.

— Kristyn Wellesley

Letter: Greenacres’ ranking by Cerabino is insulting

Greenacres is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Saturday at Community Park on Jog Road with a roaring '20s theme shindig.

It would appear that writer Frank Cerabino’s opinions are self-based (“Who would be crazy enough to rate Palm Beach County’s cities and towns from worst to best?” April 10). His review and ranking of Greenacres, where I reside, is insulting, and any fact-checking is missing. Although I am not Asian, he neglected to include them in our mix of residents.

And “a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing” is so far off-base, it proves he not only knows nothing about our community but didn’t bother to find out. Just going to our city’s website would have enlightened him.

Additionally, I submit he should check out a feature article in The Post (on April 7, 2012) about my community: Park Pointe.

LEE-JOHN SOBERING, GREENACRES

Letter: Three-phase traffic light system causing backups

 

The intersection of Central Boulevard and Indiantown Road, the top location for collisions in Jupiter, Wednesday morning, September 2, 2015. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
The intersection of Central Boulevard and Indiantown Road. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Re: the Monday letter, “Traffic light switch causing backups,” about why lights are longer and backups more prevalent. I have also noted this situation in northern Palm Beach County. I sit at many lights a lot longer than before and see a lot of backups.

They have previously operated on a two-cycle basis. 1.The normal way is that the left-hand turns from both directions have a right of way at the same time, along with the right-hand turns. 2. The folks going straight have the right of way. Normally, Military Trail and Northlake Boulevard takes about two minutes.

The lights are now working on a three-phase system. 1. All traffic going west and left has a green light; eastbound is all red. 2. After a period, the traffic going east will get a green light. 3. Then, after the westbound and left-turn folks get a red light, there is a green light for the left-hand turns for those headed east.

This new phasing of signals can add 50 percent more time at an intersection. The county needs to go back to the original two-phase system.

ED BOWERS, PALM BEACH GARDENS