Volume 3 • Issue 19 October 5, 2016
Wilton Manors Gazette
Purrfect Friends with Benefits The little cat cafe hidden away in Wilton Manors At first glance, Boomerangs Thrift Store may seem like any other second-hand shop. But tucked away in the back corner is a special room filled with furry companions. It’s the Good Luck Cat Cafe, a 100 percent volunteer-run room where cats run free in hopes of getting adopted. “We don’t believe in dogs in pens and cats in cages,” said Matt LaMariana, manager at Boomerang Thrift Shop and president of the Animal Rescue Fund, sitting in the cat cafe. Around him are the six cats currently residing there — mischievous Adonis, lively Diego and his curious sister Frida to name a few — playing with their toys, relaxing on the cat bungalow and spending time with customers wandering in from the thrift shop. Instead of cages, the room has enclosures for up to ten cats. Throughout their normal hours, the enclosures are usually left open so the cats can explore the room and interact with Boomerangs customers while they sip a cup of coffee from the Keurig or snag a bag of chips. “You can see (the cats) in a home environment, you can see how they interact,” said Mark Schreck, co-manager and volunteer at the Good Luck Cat Café. “So it’s a little bit different than a cat that nobody knows anything about coming from animal care control.” The Cat Café’s interior, which is ﬁlled with cat toys, bungalows, seating and more.
THE CATS All of the cats at the Good Luck Cat Café come from the rescue organizations behind them — Good Karma Pet Rescue and Lady Luck Animal Rescue, both not-for-profit 501(c)3 rescue organizations. From their foster homes, the rescues and volunteers take a few precautionary measures before assimilating them into the cafe. “We want them to be quarantined a bit before coming in to make sure they aren’t going to bring in any illnesses that will make the other cats sick before they even come into the room,” LaMariana said. “It’s kind of like air traffic control. You make sure that they’re ready to come in here.” Once they are cleared from quarantine and have all of their Jim Souther, one shots up to date, the cats are of the volunteers brought into the cafe, where they learn to assimilate to the who comes in a active environment. few hours a week “People coming in and out, to spend time with florescent lights, you’ve got the cats, enjoys different music playing and the environment different scents. Some cats he works in. “We thrive on it, and others get have a lot of scared.” nice volunteers, Any cats that can’t thrive in their new environment have they’re all nothing to fear — they return sweethearts,” he safely to their foster parents. told WMG. However, any cat that can adapt gets to stay with their play friends within the cafe until someone walks in and adopts them into their forever home. “The thing that I would love people to do is the next time they know a person looking to add a pet to their family, come and check out the café cats because these kitties all deserve a home,” said Schreck. “This is bold of me to say, but that’s much much more important to me than the money. It’s the reason why we’re doing any of it.” To adopt a cat, prospective owners must fill out an adoption form, pay a $75 adoption fee and agree to a required home visit before the adoption process is completed.
By Brittany Ferrendi DONATIONS
The Good Luck Cat Café is a room completely donated by Boomerangs Thrift Store. The rescue organizations behind it, Good Karma Pet Rescue and Lady Luck Animal Rescue, decided to combine their effort towards the cafe. “They cooperate together really well so when I offered them the room, they decided to (share it),” LaMariana told WMG. “It’s a joint effort between the two, and it gets the cats good exposure.” The cafe relies on efforts from their nearly 25 volunteers, as well as through donations. According to Schreck, donations can be made to the cafe directly, sent to the two rescue organizations that run it or in the form of money or goods to Boomerangs. “Every donation you make to Boomerangs — whether it be money or a bed or clothing — the proceeds from that funnel back into animal rescues throughout South Florida.” But LaMariana really encourages you to come to the shop and “be thanked by the cats in person.” VOLUNTEERING Other than donating, patrons can make a difference through volunteering. “It takes somebody with a little bit of time and a big heart,” LaMariana said. “Most of us have had or have cats and maybe other pets. We have people who volunteer here who are actually allergic to cats.” To volunteer, come into the cat café and grab an application right by the front door. From there, co-manager and volunteer Laura Summers will schedule a meeting with you and begin training. “Everybody that comes through here gets a little bit of a training program,” Schreck added. “It’s really easy. You learn how to turn on the music, you learn how to open up the cat doors, and basic feeding instructions.” Jim Souther, one of the volunteers who comes in a few hours a week to spend time with the cats, enjoys the environment he works in. “We have a lot of nice volunteers, they’re all sweethearts,” he told WMG. There is no cash in exchange for volunteering, but Schreck claims there’s an even better payoff. “We get paid in cat kisses.” WMG For more information such as cafe hours, visit GoodLuckCatCafe.com. Check out the pet rescues behind the cafe at LadyLuckAnimalRescue.com and GoodKarmaPetRescue.org.
If you go: Boomerangs Thrift Store • 2365 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 • 954-635-2725
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October 5, 2016
WMG Election Overload
OCTOBER 5, 2016 • VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 19 2520 N. DIXIE HIGHWAY • WILTON MANORS, FL 33305
By Sal Torre I sit here a bit numb now that October has already arrived, and 2016 is roaring to the finish line as one of the fastest years ever. One bright spot is that Election Day will soon be over, and we can finally be finished with all the insanity we’ve had to endure over the past year. I have reached election overload, and I am sure that I am not alone. Unless you enjoy watching reality TV shows that now make up a large portion of TV viewing, you must be tired of the Donald Trump Show being broadcasted on all channels from morning until the latenight hours. As with most reality shows, the more bizarre and rude the behavior, the more people talk about it, and the more the ratings go up. We are not watching a campaign for President of the United States of America. We are watching a horrible reality TV show where the main character, Donald Trump, reacts with greater and greater vulgarities, insults, and ridiculous behavior keeping ratings high and the show continuing on. Unfortunately, we have allowed our democracy to be hijacked by a very clever demagogue. Instead of a debate about ideas and vision for the future of our great nation, we watch the latest episode of The Trump Show having to do with the body weight of a beauty pageant contestant. Episode after episode, we watch the behavior and the insanity grow more extreme and more insane. I just want it to end. I have reached the breaking point. Forget the rest of October, cancel Spooktacular, cancel Halloween. Just get us to November already, the day after Election Day 2016. Please, enough already. However, we must be careful what we wish for. The day after Election Day could be the beginning of a four-year run of the Trump Show. I remain optimistic that America will elect the one sane and qualified candidate, making the day after Election Day the final episode of a truly horrible reality TV show. The same hopefully will be the case here in Wilton Manors, where residents have a clear choice for Mayor of our great city. Over the past year, Boyd Corbin has been paying attention to the Trump Show. He learned that if you say something aggressively, loudly, and often enough, people will start believing what you say to be the truth. Corbin has been making exaggerated claims about how the city handles water and sewage bills, about narrowing Wilton Drive, and about how the city mishandles the parking program. Mayor Resnick
PHONE: 954-530-4970 FAX: 954-530-7943
PUBLISHER • NORM KENT NORM.KENT@SFGN.COM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER • PIER ANGELO GUIDUGLI ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER / EXECUTIVE EDITOR • JASON PARSLEY JASON.PARSLEY@SFGN.COM
might not be the most well-liked person here in Wilton Manors, but he has served our city extraordinarily well and will continue to do so for the next two years. The choice of the better candidate is clear, as clear as our choice in the Presidential race. The race for two City Commission seats might not be such a clear choice for many residents. Tom Green, Paul Rolli and Julie Carson have definitely been active and dedicated individuals, committed in their vision to make Wilton Manors a wonderful city. However, I am slightly baffled by the candidacy of Celeste Ellich. Celeste has been absent from city politics for at least the last five years. She reminds me a bit of Rip Van Winkle, when, after the whole messy Alan West affair, she found a hollow on the Eastside and fell asleep for a few years. Having awakened thinking that she is still the active community leader she once was, Celeste decided it was a good idea to run for City Commissioner once again. Unfortunately, too much time has gone by, and Wilton Manors is a much better place than in days gone by. My choice for our city leaders are those who answered the vision question at the Candidates Forum with actual reality of what the future can hold for our great city, not a longing for memories of the past which will never come again. Similar to Donald Trump, Celeste wants to play on our memories, when America was great and all was right with the world. Unfortunately, memories usually leave out the bad parts we try to forget. So in just a few weeks, we will be waking up on the morning after Election Day, putting behind us the bad reality TV program we called an election. Hopefully, we will have elected those candidates who truly have the abilities to lead us forward, both nationally and locally here in Wilton Manors. Making that choice makes life just better here… WMG
Commissioner Green Wants To Enact Commercial Recycling Program
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By Michael d’Oliveira For years, Commissioner Tom Green has occasionally talked about commercial recycling. Green, who touts himself as the “Green” commissioner in name and action, has wanted to create a commercial recycling program since he was first elected to the commission in 2008. But never moved the issue past discussion at commission meetings. Now, after finding out the city of Parkland has a mandatory commercial recycling program, Green may go further and bring the idea up for a vote in the near future.
“If there’s some legal way to force them, I’d like to do that,” said Green at a recent commission meeting. The state allows municipalities to enact mandatory recycling programs for businesses but each business must be allowed to choose its own waste carrier. City officials can’t force businesses to hire a certain waste removal company. According to a report by Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Sarasota County led the state in recycling in 2010 because of its commercial recycling program. WMG
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Carla, an 11 yearold cat rescued after her owner went into hospice care. She can be adopted at Boomerang's Cat Café.
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October 5, 2016
Broward’s Real Estate Yearbook: WilMa Inventory
Real Estate Geek
By James Oaksun As promised, in this column I want to discuss what I have found about single family home inventory trends here in the Island City. All this and more will be in my 2016 Broward’s Real Estate Yearbook, available soon. But as an exclusive to my SFGN and WMG readers, I am sharing the Wilton Manors excerpts with you first. The first thing I have to note is that I use a more expansive and differently calculated number than some (all, probably) of my Realtor brethren. The explanation would require more space than this column. Short version — in considering smaller geographic areas I think a different technique is needed, and there are things I have learned in crawling around in the data and through my own experiences in the market that I believe make my calculation more realistic.
The “rule of thumb” you often hear in real estate is that a “balanced” market has enough inventory for six to 12 months of sales. More than 12 months of inventory is considered a “buyers market,” and less than six months is considered a “sellers market.” Like most rules of thumb, however, I have yet to find any source material or research that analytically proves this statistic. But I digress. Let’s accept the rule of thumb for now, and you can see from the charts that the three WilMa neighborhoods have, generally, been in a balanced inventory situation in recent years, with some notable exceptions. As the market recovered from its trough in mid-2011, inventories generally got stretched thin by the end of the 2012-13 high season. As one would expect with strong price performance, though, properties came onto the market to meet the demand for 2013-14. An expected continuation of strong pricing into the 201415 high season did not materialize. So far this year, inventories have been lowest east of Dixie, not quite to being a sellers market, but close. The notable situation this past high season was in West Wilton, where sales activity fell off the map and inventories were very high — a classic buyers market. WMG James Oaksun, Broward’s Real Estate Geek(SM), is BrokerOwner of New Realty Concepts in Oakland Park. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).
October 5, 2016
Wilton Drive, Redevelopment Dominate Candidates Forum Mayoral candidate complains of too many gays on city boards By Michael d’Oliveira
based on a new design. Henderson said the At the Sept. 28 Candidates Forum, some of city is looking to add more landscaping and the usual suspects showed up. trees to the project but will pay for those with Questions about Wilton Drive, parking grant money, not tax dollars. and redevelopment dominated much of Resnick also attacked one of Corbin’s oftthe discussion as moderator Naomi Cobb, a repeated lines: that he has knocked on many longtime resident and commission candidate doors and the overwhelming majority of in 2014, asked the candidates to choose a residents he talks to don’t want Wilton Drive position on the issues. altered. This November, voters will be asked to “I think only 10 people opened the door,” choose between four candidates for two said Resnick whose line drew applause and commission seats and two candidates for laughter by some in the audience. “Civility” the mayoral race. Mayor Gary Resnick responded Corbin. is facing a challenge from Boyd Corbin Ellich, who had previously said she was and Commissioner Julie Carson and still studying the issue, came out against Commissioner Tom Green are running the proposal and suggested that the road against challengers Celeste Ellich and Paul be temporarily reduced to study the impact Rolli. Organized by the city’s neighborhood before a permanent change is made. associations, not all candidates were given Carson said some cars would avoid Wilton the same questions. Drive by driving through On Wilton Drive, the neighborhoods, but that’s incumbents, Resnick, The one something that already Carson and Green, kept up occurs on many streets. their support for reducing issue every On the proposed the road from four to two candidate redevelopment of the lanes. Rolli joined with former Center for Spiritual seemed to them in support but he Living site at Northeast 26 expressed some concerns agree on was Street and Northeast 15 over the impact it would that the city Avenue, Cobb asked if the have on traffic. A reduction in accidents and fatalities needs to attract candidates would approve 100-unit residential involving pedestrians has new businesses acomplex. The project has been the main reason given and investors. not yet gone before the for support of the project. commission but will in the Corbin, the project’s most But getting near future. outspoken opponent, kept there is where Everyone except Resnick up his opposition. “We can’t each candidate said they would vote just narrow all lanes and add against the project if it had hundreds of new condos differs. 100 units. Resnick said he and expect everything to needed more information be OK.” He suggested more before committing to a vote. But he did police officers on duty, assisting people, and express support for redeveloping the site. more crosswalks would improve safety. “The [Center for Spiritual Living] needs to be Resnick responded to Corbin, saying his turned around.” opposition to the lane reduction was based On parking, Corbin, Ellich and Rolli said on “incorrect information . . . it’s not costing the city should build a parking garage at city us anything.” hall instead of the multiple lots the city has City and MPO officials say the project purchased and developed over the last few will cost $2.8 million and that none of the years. Rolli said the small lots were disruptive money will come from the city. Corbin said to the neighborhoods and inefficient. He a previous study of narrowing the road added that the city should more closely study estimated the cost at $3.5 million. Asked the parking situation during peak hours about that estimate, City Manager Leigh Ann before it spends more money on the problem. Henderson said the cost is less because it’s
Green, who has voted in favor of the small lots, supports building a mixed-use garage with commercial or residential space. Ellich said a garage is needed to accommodate the surge in parking during festivals, such as Stonewall. She said it would also be easier to get developers to invest in helping the city build a garage. Previously, the city has unsuccessfully tried to get developers to form a public/private partnership with the city. The hope was that the city would provide the land for the garage and the developer would spend the money to build it. Resnick came out against building a garage in favor of encouraging the use of ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft. Carson also talked about ride-sharing. Asked about diversity and if marketing the city as an LGBT destination was exclusionary, Resnick said reaching out to residents was “constantly a struggle” and that “we can do a better job.” Corbin said the city could do better at reaching out to seniors and other segments
of the city. “The boards are almost exclusively gay,” Corbin said. In an interview with The Gazette, Cobb said she didn’t think either mayoral candidate answered the question. “I think the answers were an avoidance,” she said. The one issue every candidate seemed to agree on was that the city needs to attract new businesses and investors. But getting there is where each candidate differs. Carson said she’d like to see a higher diversity of businesses, not just bars and restaurants. She suggested a possible limit on the number of bars and restaurants allowed. Rolli said the city needs to take a look at every major corridor and create a new business model with the help of experts. Ellich said the city should improve communication with business owners and fill its now vacant city planner position so that person can assist with development and business growth. Green said rezoning certain streets, including Andrews Avenue, would set the city up to attract the right kind of new business. WMG
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October 5, 2016
KEEP YOUR EYES ON
Closed For Business
South Florida Gay News
Green Market shuts down due to lack of customers By Michael d’Oliveira Photo: Facebook.
Oakland Park, the Whole Foods in Fort Apparently, there isn’t always money in Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, and the banana stand. other nearby green markets popping up, After more than five years of selling she said green markets are now “a dime a produce and organic items next to city dozen” and competition is tough. hall, the Wilton Manors Green Market “Sales kept dropping and dropping. It is no longer in operation. The co-owner, just wasn’t enough.” Naffiza Parbhoo, announced the closure on According to a 2014 SFGN article, the Facebook. Wilton Manors Green Market was founded “I am very sorry to say that Wilton by Franki Altieri and Ron Manors Green Market will Leonard because another be closed permanently green market failed due to ... sorry for the “We have lack of sales. Parbhoo took inconvenience of all our it over from them. “They faithful customers that coined a phrase were two guys who lived have been with us for the ‘Life’s Just in the community and past five and a half years. encouraged people who Thank you all for your Better Here.’ It made stuff themselves,” faithful following and takes a lot more said Parbhoo in 2014. support throughout the “They wanted to support years.” In an interview than a tag line local people.” with The Gazette, she said it takes actions Resident Kimber she will concentrate on White said the loss of the running her green market behind words.” green market is a sign in Tamarac. that the quality of life in In Wilton Manors, she - Kimber White Wilton Manors needs to had switched from two Wilton Manors be improved. “We have days a week to one day Resident coined a phrase ‘Life’s but said that still wasn’t Just Better Here.’ It takes justified by the limited a lot more than a tag line number of customers it takes actions behind who showed up. She cited words. I love our city but we just need to increasing competition as the main reason stop relying on our so-called gay Mecca for shutting down. status.” When she first opened in Wilton Manors, Patrick Caan, Leisure Services she faced very little local competition. A lot Department director, said his office is of her customers were from outside the working on bringing another green market city and had to come here because their into the city. WMG cities did not have green markets. But with
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October 5, 2016
Lost Your Way?
No problem, city moves forward with wayfinding signs
Then wrongly accuses commission of passing budget in empty room
By Michael d’Oliveira city. The welcome center is partly to get more attention for Art Gallery 21 but both would beneﬁt from a sign. “I think [wayﬁnding signs are] essential if we’re going to direct people where to go,” she said. Ruppender was in Miami Sunday and said that city has wayﬁnding signs pointing towards Lincoln Road, the beach, and other destinations there. “It really makes a difference.” The deadline for proposals to be submitted to the city is Oct. 27. City ofﬁcials could choose a contractor as early as Nov. 15. The Task Force is also working on creating a “photospot” in the city to encourage tourists and visitors to post their trip to Wilton Manors on social media. Jaycee Park, located across from city hall, is the spot chosen by the Task Force. WMG
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By Michael d’Oliveira In a press release, mayoral candidate Boyd Corbin criticized the commission for a lack of transparency, giving “bloated” employee raises and funding those raises with a hidden tax. “Wilton Manors has been issuing raises of 6-7% for the last three years in a row. This hike comes in the form of a standard 3% raise plus another 3%-4% in “merit pay” (nearly all employees get the maximum) as it was outlined in the city’s initial 2017 budget,” he wrote. He also pointed to the 2014-2015 Florida League of City’s State of the Cities report in which 70 percent of Florida cities gave employee raises of three percent or less. The other 30 percent did not give raises in 2014-2015. In 2014-2015, Wilton Manors gave general employees a 3 percent COLA and a 0-3 percent merit increase. While this year’s police raises are a possible 6 to 7 percent, 3 percent COLA and 0 to 4 percent merit per the three-year PBA contract which expires in 2017, the general employees are only eligible for a 1.5 percent COLA and a 0 to 3 percent merit. At the Sept. 12 commission meeting, Commissioner Julie Carson suggested increasing the employee COLA and Commissioner Justin Flippen said he’d like the general employee and police salary increases to be closer together. Both ideas failed for lack of support from the rest of the commission. During the Sept. 29 Candidates Forum at Hagen Park, Mayor Gary Resnick disputed Corbin on employee pay. “We are not giving huge raises to our employees.” This year’s budgeted wages for all employees increased from $7.6 million in 2015-2016 to $7.9 million in 2016-2017, an increase of 3.1 percent. Every city employee received a 1.5 percent COLA [cost of living adjustment] and the possibility of an additional 0 to 3 percent merit pay increase. At their Sept. 12 budget meeting, commissioners discussed an increase to the 1.5 percent COLA for city employees but kept the original number. In his accusations of lack of transparency, Corbin wrote in the headline of his press release that city ofﬁcials discussed employee raises in an empty room during the commission meeting on Sept. 12. In the body of the press release, he wrote “The video clearly shows virtually nobody in the Commission Chambers.” But the video in question, provided by the city on its website, does show individuals in attendance. One can be seen throughout the video and a second can be seen brieﬂy during the Pledge of Allegiance. Resident Paul Kuta can also be seen speaking during the public comment section of the meeting. There were also several individuals in the audience that can be seen at the very end of the video after the meeting ends. All the individuals seen in the video were in the audience for the entire meeting. Asked about his statements of lack of transparency when the city publishes meeting dates, allows the public to attend meetings, and posts meeting videos of meetings online for anyone to review, Corbin said he considers the number of people in the audience as virtually empty and that the commission tries to discourage public input. “There are more people running the meeting than watching the meeting. The residents are very frustrated and completely ignored. It’s a great way to keep people out of their way.”
Every visitor or tourist who gets lost in Wilton Manors is a lost chance for the city’s businesses to make money. That’s one of the reasons the city plans to erect wayﬁnding signs, said Kimber White, member of the city’s Economic Development Task Force. “We want to direct people to the Entertainment District, bars, restaurants, other businesses, parking lots, city hall . . . to drive people into the heart of town. If people don’t know where they’re going you are kind of defeating your purpose.” White said the Task Force wants signs similar to those in nearby Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. “It will help our city grow.” According to the city’s request for proposal, the signs will “increase connectivity of community assets, develop an increased sense of place, increase awareness of commercial areas, allow the identiﬁcation of unique neighborhoods, and encourage exploration of the city by tourists.” One of the places likely to get a sign is the welcome center that Constance Ruppender plans to incorporate into Art Gallery 21, located in the Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors next to Hagen Park. Ruppender has put a lot of work into Art Gallery 21 and is currently working to turn part of it into a welcome center for the
Mayoral Candidate Questions Budget, Salaries
Carson said that she and other commissioners want the public to attend meetings and speak up if they have something to say. Corbin accused Carson speciﬁcally of admitting she wanted less transparency when she said she was “so glad Boyd Corbin is not here” during the meeting. In an interview with The Gazette, Carson said she was glad Corbin was absent because he makes statements that aren’t correct. “Part of the difﬁculty of when Boyd speaks is he misrepresents or gets many of the facts incorrect. As a result [the commission] has to go back and provide accurate information for the record for people who are there. So when he’s not there, we don’t have to undo some of the misstatements.” Corbin also accused ofﬁcials of not wanting to release salary information of employees over the last 10 years and requested he pay $20,275 for the information. Corbin said the city provided the information after he talked to the First Amendment Foundation. Dio Sanchez, human resources director, said that the request for payment was dropped when Corbin reﬁned his request. In his original email, Corbin asked for personnel ﬁles and salaries. Sanchez said the salary information was easy to procure but getting all of the personal ﬁles, some of which are hundreds of pages or more for each employee, would have required extensive staff time and copies. Corbin accused the city of using an increase in water rates to pay for the raises. The city gets its water from Fort Lauderdale and is subject to raises in the water rates set by that city. Because it is geographically surrounded by Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park, which also gets its water from Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors effectively has no choice but to buy water from Fort Lauderdale. According to Finance Director Bob Mays, the four percent increase in water rates this year will result in additional $320,000 paid by city water customers. Mays said the cost of water is 1/3 of the total cost of what Wilton Manors pays. The other approximate 2/3 is used to fund operating costs and infrastructure costs. Even though the water is provided by Fort Lauderdale, the city still has to fund the improvements and maintenance of its own water and sewer infrastructure. WMG
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October 5, 2016