Business as usual in Lake Worth after Hurricane Matthew

This gumbo limbo tree by the City Hall Annex was one of several that were blown over during Hurricane Matthew. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)
This gumbo limbo tree by the City Hall Annex was one of several that were blown over during Hurricane Matthew. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)

LAKE WORTH — It’s basically business as usual in the city after Hurricane Matthew.

And that’s a good thing.

The only exception is city crews are still picking up vegetation piles it couldn’t get to on Friday, City Manager Michael Bornstein said.

So, what about the gumbo limbo tree that fall outside the City Hall Annex?

“It’s been re-staked by Smart Plants and we expect it to keep on growing and putting down roots,
Bornstein said. “Like our city, it is resilient and in a great spot.”

 

Hurricane Matthew: Lake Worth cancels solar energy farm event

solar-energy-panelsLAKE WORTH — The city has canceled Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new solar energy farm after touring the site following Hurricane Matthew’s march into Palm Beach County.

The unveiling will be rescheduled in the coming months, the city said.

For months, Lake Worth officials have been touting the $2 million project, on the site  of an old 63-acre landfill off Washington Avenue, just a few blocks west of South Dixie Highway on the south end of the city.

The 14-acre solar energy field, the city said, can generate enough clean energy to power more than 250 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 4 million pounds — the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the roads.

If you want to learn more about the project, watch this video.

Hurricane Matthew: What’s next for Lake Worth?

This tree by the City Hall Annex was one of several that were blown over last night. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)
This tree by the City Hall Annex was one of several that were blown over last night. (Kevin D. Thompson/The Palm Beach Post)

LAKE WORTH — City officials are thankful Lake Worth avoided what could have been a catastrophic storm.

So, here’s how Lake Worth plans to return to business as usual after Hurricane Matthew.

Today

  • Disaster teams fan out across the city making assessments to determine safety of structures and facilities;
  • Public Services continues to clear roadways to ensure safe passage.
  • Public Services clears storm drains of any debris so that water may enter drainage systems.
  • Electric crews inspect power lines and are clearing issues they encounter.
  • Lake Worth Pier remains closed due to high tides and waves.
  • Lake Worth Beach remains closed due to high tides, waves, and rip currents.
  • Lake Worth Beach and Casino businesses, restaurants and parking are open.
  • Lake Worth Golf Course remains closed – restaurant is open.
  • City offices remain closed
  • Library is closed.

Saturday

  • Refuse Division will make rounds to pick-up storm related vegetation only left curb-side.  Landscape trimmings cut today will not be picked up.  Household items, building items and  bulk items left by the curb or mixed with the vegetation will be subject to fines.  Normal scheduled collection of these items will begin on Monday.
  • Lake Worth Beach will open to the public.
  • Golf course will open to the public.
  • Parks will open to the public.
  • Library is closed.

Hurricane damage in Greenacres minimal

Greenacres Mayor Samuel Ferreri said damage in the city from Hurricane Matthew is minimal.

There is debris to be cleared – leaves and tree branches blown down by the storm. Otherwise, though, the city escaped unscathed.

“Everyone has power,” Ferreri said. “We dodged a bullet.”

Hurricane Matthew: Lake Worth cancels solar farm event

solar-energy-panelsLAKE WORTH — The city has canceled Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new solar energy farm after touring the site following Hurricane Matthew’s march into Palm Beach County.

The unveiling will be rescheduled in the coming months, the city said.

For months, Lake Worth officials have been touting the $2 million project, on the site  of an old 63-acre landfill off Washington Avenue, just a few blocks west of South Dixie Highway on the south end of the city.

The 14-acre solar energy field, the city said, can generate enough clean energy to power more than 250 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 4 million pounds — the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the roads.

If you want to learn more about the project, watch this video.

Hurricane Matthew: Nearly 1000 seek shelter at Forest Hill High

The storm shelter at Forest Hill High School is now only accepting people who are walking in or being dropped off at the shelter.

People with vehicles are being redirected to the next closest shelter, John I. Leonard High School at 4701 10th Ave. N. in Greenacres.

By 4:08 p.m., 958 Hurricane Matthew evacuees had chosen to shelter at Forest Hill High School. And more were trudging through squally wind and rain to take refuge there. A single nurse was managing the health care needs of those at the shelter, but others – volunteers – were pitching in to help her.

Hundreds of families are seeking safe harbor at local shelters across Palm Beach County. (Damon Higgins/ The Palm Beach Post)
Hundreds of families have sought refuge at local shelters. (Damon Higgins/Palm Beach Post)

A British television crew filmed as people spread out on blankets amid bags of food, medicine and other emergency supplies. A 6-day old baby slept next to his mother.

One cafeteria was designed as a family area. The room was split between a row of tables, where people sat to watch ESPN and Hurricane Matthew updates, and a sleeping area where families tried to get some rest. Another set of tables, tipped on their sides, acted as a barrier.

“A shelter is not the comfort of home,” said Robert Balodano, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, which is managing the shelter. “It’s life and safety we’re focused on.”

As the British crew filmed, 61-year old Norma Jean Gloyd looked on. Unable to pay for the home she shared with her husband before his death a year ago, she had been living in a hotel in Lake Worth for the past 8 months.

Gloyd said she thought the high school would be a safer place to ride out Hurricane Matthew.

“I feel safe,” she said. “It’s a concrete building.”

Gloyd, who arrived at Forest Hill High with her daughter and her two granddaughters,  praised the law enforcement and Red Cross employees who staffed the shelter.

“This is a good place,” she said. “They’ve treated us well, given us food.”

And yet worries about the hurricane persists.

“I am afraid of the storm,” she said. “I know God is with us. I know we have to have a positive attitude and believe everything will be fine.”

Hurricane Matthew: Maya Center aids immigrant families during storm

By Julio Poletti/ Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The Guatemalan-Maya Center offers programs for immigrants and their families. (Palm Beach Post file)
The Guatemalan-Maya Center offers programs for immigrant families. (Palm Beach Post file)

Lake Worth’s  Guatemalan-Maya Center may have shuttered for the storm Wednesday afternoon, but the social service agency is still aiding the local immigrant population. Help is just a phone call away, says a center representative.

“Keep yourself informed,” is Tim Gamwell’s message. He’s the center’s assistant executive director. “We have a hotline, where people can receive more information.”

That hotline number:  561-633-2052

Gamwell says the center’s staff will still be working throughout Hurricane Matthew, either from home or shelters around South Florida. The hotline is the fastest way to reach them. Services via telephone will be provided in English, Spanish and several Mayan languages such as Mam and Q’anjobalan.

The Guatemalan-Maya Center is a nonprofit agency in Palm Beach County which provides services to indigenous communities, such as running after school programs for immigrant children, helping with cases of domestic abuse, offering legal aid and translations of government documents. However, their services are not limited to Mayan communities.

Huracán Mathew: Centro de Guatemala Maya en Lake Worth cerrado.

Julio Poletti/ Reportero del Palm Beach Post 

Al ver que el huracán Matthew se aproxima a Florida, según indican las últimas actualizaciones del Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, El Centro Maya de Guatemala en Lake Worth ha decidido cerrar sus instalaciones desde ayer por la tarde, aunque todavía están brindando ayuda de forma remota.

Tim Gamwell, el asistente del director ejecutivo de esta fundación sin fines de lucro, informa que todos deben mantenerse informados durante el huracán, y pueden hacerlo comunicándose con la línea telefónica de asistencia de El Centro Maya de Guatemala:

561-633-2052

Gamwell indica que sus empleados seguirán trabajando a lo largo del huracán Matthew, ya sea desde sus hogares o desde refugios y proveerán asistencia a través de esta línea telefónica en Inglés, español y varios idiomas mayas, como Mam y Q’anjobalan.

El Centro Maya de Guatemala es una agencia sin fines de lucro en el condado de Palm Beach que ofrece varios servicios a comunidades indígenas, tales como el manejo de casos de abuso doméstico, asistencia legal y traducciones de documentos del gobierno. Sin embargo, sus servicios no se limitan únicamente a las comunidades mayas.

 

 

Lake Worth expecting flooding, power outages from Hurricane Matthew

matthew-thursday-map

LAKE WORTH — Echoing Gov. Rick Scott’s comments, Lake Worth City Manager Micheal Bornstein said the city is bracing for the worst from Hurricane Matthew.

“The governor said we’re going to lose power on the whole eastern seaboard of the state of Florida,” Bornstein said. “That’s a reasonable expectation. People’s power will go out.”

But unlike previous hurricanes when some residents were without power in Lake Worth for weeks, Bornstein said that won’t happen this time.

“In the Frances, Jeanne and Wilma days, we got a black eye, but we’re such a different operation  now,” Bornstein said.

The city is expecting a lot of wind damage as well.

“There are older structures here and, of course, we love our trees,” Bornstein said. “I was kind of disappointed driving around this morning even though we told people we weren’t picking up garbage today, I saw a lot of stuff. Matthew will pick it up for them. The loose stuff is going to end up flying all over the place and that’s unfortunate.”

Flooding will also be an issue, Bornstein said, especially near the bridge, by the golf course and Bryant Park.

 

 

Home Depot filling up with customers preparing for Hurricane Matthew

home-depot-2

LAKE WORTH — Palm Beach County residents continue to prepare for Hurricane Matthew.

Business was brisk early this morning at the Home Depot on Lake Worth Road, west of Lake Worth.

“People are really nervous,” said Jeanmarc Hermilus, a store worker. “Lines have been really long.”

But Hermilus said he’s not concerned about Matthew.

“I’m calm because I know God will take care of everything,” he said.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for gas, the Sunoco station on Dixie Highway and  5th Avenue North had some as of 6:15 a.m. despite having yellow tape wrapped around the station telling customers otherwise.

Hurry up and filler up.

Lake Worth manager on Hurricane Matthew: ‘It’s real serious’

thursday-matthew-map

LAKE WORTH — Like the rest of Palm Beach County, Lake Worth isn’t taking Hurricane Matthew lightly.

“This is a real serious issue we need to pay attention to,” City Manager Michael Bornstein said at Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. “We’ve very much plugged in and coordinating with the county and the state.”

The Lake Worth Pier was closed yesterday. Lake Worth Beach is closed for swimming and surfing. The city’s Community Sustainability Department, which handles code enforcement, closed today at 11:30 a.m. so workers could be out in the field to clean up construction sites.

Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein
Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein

The city’s office closed at noon today to allow non-essential employees a chance to prepare for the hurricane.

There will be no garbage, trash and vegetation pick-up Thursday and Friday.

“Do not put stuff out,” Bornstein said. “If we see anybody putting stuff out, we will cite you heavily. I don’t know why people have the urge to go out now and cut trees down.”

Bornstein also warned residents to make sure all loose items outside your home are brought inside.

“We don’t want them to be airborne,” he said.