Photo: Keys Weekly "Traversing over the bridges outlooking the blue waters of the Florida Keys never gets old, especially for Islamorada Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Judy Hull. 'I think my favorite part is driving to work or to meetings and looking out the...
Photo: Michele Miller, Tampa Bay Times "Jan Knowles...is the docent for a new mural walking tour offered by the Hernando Fine Art Council. The Livery Stable Mural, painted on the Lowman's law firm at 32 S. Main St., is one of eight murals featured on a new walking...
Photo: Kim Frisbie, Palm Beach Daily News "...Trees protect coastal communities from severe flooding and storms by slowing water’s strength and absorbing excess water in the soil, preventing billions of gallons of runoff annually. And let’s not forget ecological...
Consumer Reports: “Digital billboards are tracking you. And they really, really want you to see their ads.” On social media, your TV, etc.
Photo: Consumer Reports "How the most intrusive parts of the web are expanding into the real world, complete with data collection and targeted ads. On a bright Friday morning, Frank O’Brien is giving me a tour through Times Square in New York City. Thousands of...
Photo: Enchant Christmas "Enchant Christmas, the world's largest Christmas light maze and market featuring larger-than-life light sculptures is taking over Tropicana Field from Nov. 22 to Dec. 29. Visitors will glide along the light-adorned ice skating trail, mosey...
Photo: Scenic Jacksonville "Scenic Jacksonville is proud to sponsor the 'Sense of Place' portion of the Timucuan Parks Foundation exhibit at the Museum of Science and History, Jacksonville. The exhibition, titled 'Timucuan Parks Foundation: Celebrate and Explore Our...
“Ormond Beach to plant over 100 palm trees in Granada Boulevard medians. Lethal Bronzing Disease has infected and killed palm trees in 31 Florida counties. City staff said that likely won’t happen here.”
Photo: Brian Bahder, UF/IFAS "For over a decade, palm trees in Florida have been facing a plague with no cure...Lethal Bronzing Disease (LBD). City Landscape Architect Cara Culliver said there have been no cases of the disease in Volusia County. The palms that were...
Photo: From a Paris Review article on a variety of studies about plant adaption and reaction. -- Cody Delistraty, Paris Review Read entire article
Photo: News-Journal, Jewell Tomazin "Between the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, The Casements and Rockefeller Gardens, and beachfront parks, Florida’s north Volusia County is home to many photo-worthy places. One of Florida’s well-known scenic routes, the Ormond Scenic...
Undergrounding: “Our power lines will be buried for storm safety. It could cost FPL up to $35 billion.
"Florida Power and Light Co. and other electric utilities in the state now can proceed with burying lines in your neighborhood, but it’s going to take at least 30 years to accomplish, and the price tag for customers is still a mystery. The state Legislature approved a...
Undergrounding: “Consumer watchdog requests public hearing on underground power line rules over costs”
Photo: SSMG "State regulators speedily approved underground utility project rules for Florida Power & Light Co. and other electric utilities on Oct. 3. But not so fast, says the Florida Office of Public Counsel, which filed a petition Friday requesting a public...
Photo: Charlie Belcher, Charlie's World, Fox 13 News "Company brings wall murals into focus through smart app" "There is a new way to learn even more about the murals in downtown St. Petersburg, thanks to Pixelstix. They’ve teamed up with the folks from SHINE Mural...
Join Scenic America staff, Board of Directors, affiliates from around the country and local stakeholders to learn how scenic beauty supports economic development, livability and tourism. The symposium is being hosted by our newest affiliate, Scenic Walton....
Photo: Macdonalds Sweden "Earlier this year, McDonald's Sweden received global attention for a fun little (literally) publicity stunt that also raised awareness of the ongoing issue of dwindling bee populations. Billed as 'the world's smallest McDonald's,' this...
"...The Charles E. Bennett Champion of the Environment Award which was created in 2001 originally by the Florida Coastal School of Law. The Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board took over presenting the award in 2010. The award is presented to recognize someone...
Complete Streets: Ft Lauderdale ranked one of five cities nationwide in “Made to Move” grant program
Photo: Prnewsfoto/Degree, Forbes "Five cities in the United States are going to make it a little easier for their residents to be healthy. On September 18, 2019, Degree Deodorant announced the five winners in the brand's first Made To Move grant program, a national...
Photo: Olivia McKelvey "Growing up in the Historic Cocoa Village, Vashti Verschoor remembers clothing boutiques and restaurants lining the village streets. The Cocoa Village she knows now has completely different look. Today, the 42-year-old mom of two is one of many...
Photo: City of Clearwater Clearwater "The city of Clearwater welcomes its residents to apply to paint their own storm drain mural. In addition to their artistic value, painted storm drains serve a very important educational purpose by addressing the misconception that...
Fun Festivals and Events
Thr Jan 1
Space Coast Light Fest, Melbourne
Oviedo Farmers Market, Oviedo
Dade’s Battle Re-enactment and Trade Fair, Bushnell
The Venice FL Antiques Show, Venice
Jan 5, 12, 19 and 26
Winter Music Series at the Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, Clermont
Annual Epiphany Celebration, Tarpon Springs
19th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Tampa
Gasparilla Ball, Tampa
Yeehaw Music Festival, Yeehaw Junction
Florida Flywheelers 32nd Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Swamp Meet
Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, Fellsmere
Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival, Sarasota
Florida Key Lime Pie Festival, Merritt Island
Central Florida Scottish Highland Games, Winter Springs
Brooksville Raid Re-enactment, Brooksville
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Art and Craft Festival, Tarpon Springs
Jan 19-20 and 26-27
4th Annual Brevard Renaissance Fair, Melbourne
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, Titusville
Images, a Festival of the Arts, New Smyrna Beach
Blue Spring Manatee Festival, Orange City
Kumquat Festival, Dade City
Jan 26-February 3
Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, Orlando/Eatonville
Jan 31-February 2
World Quilt Florida, Tampa
Las Olas Art Fair, Fort Lauderdale
Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, Naples
Florida’s Creative Coast Weekend, Pine Island
Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, Cape Coral
Bonita Springs National Art Festival, Bonita Springs
Uncorked Key Largo and Islamorada Food and Wine Festival, Key Largo
Shakespeare in the Park, Miami
Broward Shell Show, Pompano Beach
Art Palm Beach 2018, West Palm Beach
Historic House Tours, Key West
Art Deco Weekend, Miami Beach
BayGrass Bluegrass Festival, Islamorada
Jan 18 – Feb 3
South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach
Florida Keys Seafood Festival, Key West
Downtown Delray Beach Festival of the Arts, Delray Beach
21st Annual Key West Half Marathon, Key West
International Chocolate Festival, Coral Gables
Port Salerno Seafood Festival, Port Salerno
ClamJam of Southwest Florida Seafood and Music Festival, Cape Coral
Key West Craft Show, Key West
Thr Jan 31
Nights of Pints, St Augustine
Thr Jan 31
Art Association 95th Anniversary Parade of Art, St Augustine
Thr February 3
Nights of Lights Festival and Celebration, St Augustine
Frogs and Friends Friday, Gainesville
Mardi Gras Kick-Off, Pensacola
Tours of the Historic Haile Homestead, Gainesville
Pensacola Beach 1/2 Marathon, 5K and 10K Run, Pensacola Beach
Jacksonville Landings Food and Craft Festival, Jacksonville
Apalachicola Oyster Cook Off, Apalachicola
Florida Manatee Festival, Crystal River
Jan 25 and 27
Pensacola Opera Presents Romeo and Juliet, Pensacola
Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville;
For many more events and details please visit the Orlando Times Travel Calendar here
Legal Update: “New motions filed in Federal lawsuit involving Private Beach signs”
“”Beachfront property owners who had sued Walton County in federal court over its ordinance banning unpermitted obstructions on the beach such as ropes, chains, signs, and fences, have filed new motions in the case.
Among other requests, they have asked the court for a stay on discovery proceedings in connection with common law customary right issues until the court resolves the property owners’ claims against another ordinance, the customary use ordinance approved by Walton County on Oct. 25…The ordinance banning unpermitted obstructions on the beach stated that it applied to the beach as defined as ‘the soft sandy portion of land lying seaward of the seawall or the line of permanent dune vegetation.’
The plaintiffs, Ed and Delanie Goodwin, owners of beachfront property at Fort Panic in south Walton County, had filed their lawsuit in July 18, soon after Walton County approved the ordinance disallowing beach obstructions.
The litigation was in the form of a civil rights lawsuit. It alleged that the county ordinance prevented beachfront owners from using signs to convey messages, including those indicating property boundaries and private ownership—and that the ordinance therefore impeded signs as ‘a medium of speech.’ As such, the property owners maintained, the ordinance ‘violates the First Amendment on its face.’ They asked the court to bar enforcement of the ordinance, among other requests. In an August 15 response, Walton County argued that the property owners’ case was not ‘about’ free speech but was instead a disguised property rights position aimed at securing ‘a beachhead against the potential determination that the public has gained the right of use of the subject beach through the Customary Use doctrine.’
The county further stated that the ordinance did not interfere with the property owners’ ability to ‘display on their property any message they like in any manner they like, even using signs, so long as they comport with the restriction as to location.’ Signs, according to the county response, ‘are implicated only to the extent that they constitute an obstruction on the beach.’
In an Aug. 19 order, M. Casey Rodgers, chief United States District judge and presiding judge in the case, ordered an evidentiary hearing, observing, in part that, ‘If a public use custom is established, the property owner does not have the right to interfere with the public’s right of use and enjoyment…and thus the Plaintiffs’ alternative means of communication, i.e., placing signs on the remainder of their property, would be adequate.’ Adding that the ‘custom and use doctrine requires a fact-intensive inquiry that must be determined on a fully developed record,’ Judge Rodgers stated that this issue would ‘decide the merits of the suit.’ She ordered thus proceeding with the trial on its merits, with it to be consolidated with a hearing on the preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs.
The Goodwins were allowed to amend their original complaint to include both the obstruction and customary use ordinances. On Nov. 14 they filed a motion requesting an injunction against the recently-approved customary use ordinance, arguing that it represented a ‘taking’ of their property.
The customary use ordinance provides for public ‘at large’ to utilize the dry sand areas of the beach without interference for traditional recreational activities—with the exception of a buffer zone to be set aside at a distance seaward of the toe of the dune, or at the same distance from any privately-owned permanent habitable structure on or adjacent to the dry sand areas of the beach, whichever is more seaward.
The Nov. 14 motion was followed the next day by a motion by the Goodwins for a stay of discovery proceedings in connection with common law customary right uses of the beach until their taking claims in connection with the customary use ordinance had been resolved.
In the latest filing, on Nov. 21, Walton County responded to the plaintiffs amended complaint, asking the court to grant a motion requiring a ‘more definite statement’ from the plaintiffs, calling the complaint: ‘a vague, ambiguous, incoherent jumble.'”
— Dotty Nist, The Defuniak Herald
Boca: “First sharrow placed in city neighborhood”
“The city has installed its first sharrow, a shared lane marking and sign for motorists and bicyclists that could be a model for other neighborhoods with a heavy bike presence…
Developer who supports scenic beauty, buys property and bulldozes billboard!
“This billboard was purchased by a local development company, Dream Designs, Inc. in Rapid City, SD, so that they could take it down, and use the land for housing. They supported Scenic Rapid City in 2011 during the Billboard Initiative.
This billboard was completely non confirming and Grandfathered in. It had two boards on each side. They were two different sizes and OVERSIZED in a prime location; on a hill so that traffic had to view it.
It took away from the scenic beauty of our beautiful Black Hills since it was on the road to Mount Rushmore National Monument but still inside the Rapid City limits.'”
— Scenic Rapid City
Drawing: From Tampa Bay Times
“City planner Jeff Speck’s vision for Tampa’s downtown involves cooler temperatures and more walking. Speck is the lead planner overseeing the team working with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and an engineering firm Stantec to redevelop land in the Channelside area…
“The deceptive nature of architectural renderings”
“Architects use many mediums to express their designs, ideas, and concepts. They use orthographic drawings, physical models, as well as digital models…How can we differentiate between what is reality and what is a false and biased representation of a building? How about photographs of architecture?
Miami: Commission CHANGES SIGN CODE to eliminate advertising towers
Delete. Throw out. Discard. Trash.
“…The measure, championed by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, deletes the term ‘media towers’ from the city’s zoning code known as Miami 21.However, an attorney for Michael Simkins, the Miami Beach-based developer of the innovation tower [Giant LED Billboard Towers], told commissioners that his client plans to move forward with pending permit applications to build the project.’We will continue to implement this development irrespective of what is done today,’ said Tony Recio, a partner with Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman. ‘We look forward to having the permits fairly reviewed and evaluated.’In a statement to The Real Deal, Simkins said he does not believe the new ordinance can be applied to his project. ‘We are disappointed by the commission’s action,’ Simkins said. ‘But we expect the city to comply with the law and respect our rights by honoring the sign permit applications and media tower approval by the CRA, and processing the sign applications in good faith.’City commissioners Frank Carrollo, Willy Gort and Marc Sarnoff again voted in favor of the ordinance despite an impassioned plea from Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who was the innovation tower’s main supporter because he believes the project will generate jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for Overtown. ‘That one time things are moving forward in a community that has been stagnant for such a long time, we make sure we put the roadblock right in the middle of it,’ Hardemon said. ‘This is a slap in the face of the Overtown community.’
Simkins has touted the tower as the anchor to a 10-acre technology district that will help revitalize one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Hardemon, who represents the district and who is chairman of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Development Agency, backs the project because Simkins has agreed to pay the semi-autonomous city agency $5 million prior to construction, and $1 million, or 3 percent of gross sales generated by the project every year after completion.
Recio also said Simkins has committed to giving local preference to Overtown residents on construction jobs and for the operation of the innovation tower. In June, prior to the city commission’s first vote, Simkins’ company Innovate applied for permits to embed the LED signs within the skin of the proposed tower’s twisting façade and along its pedestal.
— Francisco Alvarado, The Real Deal, South Florida Real Estate News