ALLIANCE OF DELRAY RESIDENT ASSOCIATIONS
By Judy Goldberg
We are in total amazement at how the Covid virus has changed our lives. Zoom is King! Our world is now a small bubble of people that we feel comfortable with and we are learning to sit outside even with the heat! Recipes from a long time ago are our new friends and take out is the new eating out…The Alliance has not changed in its goals, just the venue. We Zoom on the first Wed. of each month and we are happy to fill you in on the latest happenings in our Delray. This is a blend of August and September Zoom meetings. Stay well and safe and here’s to returning to a new “normal” Of course, welcome back, to our Northern Palm Greens Family.
We zoomed with many of our Palm Beach leaders and we heard from Judge Jeffrey Gillen, sitting Circuit Court judge for Group 16. He explained that there are 21 circuits and 67 county courts in Florida. Circuit courts settle disputes that amount to over $30K. There are five divisions to these courts and the judges deal primarily with attorneys. Circuit courts also adjudicate appeals. County courts deal directly with litigants who may or may not have a lawyer.
Judge Jamie Goodman, sitting Circuit Court judge for group 39, deals primarily with civil cases. These cases involve damages that amount to over $30K. Judge Goodman explained the benefits of using Zoom in court proceedings. They are assets in bench trials, allowing witnesses to “appear” in court from great distances.
County Court Judge, Debra Moses Stephens, Group 12, explained that County Court is, in reality, a ‘Peoples’ Court’. It functions to solve disputes and civil cases that amount to less than $30K. People can either obtain an attorney or can choose to represent themselves. If one prefers to represent him/herself there are references to educate on how to successfully do that. The majority of County Court cases involve traffic infractions that result in injury, misdemeanors, and domestic violence.
Interesting to learn the differences in our judicial system.
Sheriff Bradshaw urged everyone to prepare for storms and hurricanes beforehand to prevent gathering during the COVID-19 crisis. He supported stocking up on supplies and putting them away until needed. He also advised reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 by avoiding large crowds and wearing masks in public. Sheriff Bradshaw also said that the coastlines are being protected from illegal immigrants who may be carrying the virus. Big concern at this time.
Dr. Lori Vinikoor, Executive V.P. of Alliance, spoke about the fact that, unfortunately, PBC Commission approved the application by McDonalds to erect a 67 seat restaurant to be open 24 hrs a day with 2 drive-through lanes. The McDonalds will be on Atlantic Avenue at Legends Way shopping center, east of Dunkin Donuts and west of the Mobil gas station. Only five of the seven-member commissioners attended the meeting, and the vote was 3 to 1 approving the project. Mayor Kerner voted against the project. The vote for 24-hour operation passed 3-2 with Mayor Kerner and Commissioner Weiss voting No to the 24-hour operation. The McDonalds will be able to operate 24 hrs a day, however, deliveries will not be allowed between 11 PM and 6 AM and there will be extra landscaping buffering the adjacent community. At this point, the Alliance will continue to work to lessen the negative impact that this will have on the surrounding communities.
Captain Rob Sandt of the PB Sheriffs Office, announced a decrease in the crime rate, however, a top priority is reducing scams that frequently prey upon senior citizens. He warned against giving out debit card numbers on the phone. So far this year, 141 people have been scammed to a loss of about $493,000 in west Delray Beach! Several arrests have been made. Banks do not call you about debit cards. If you get a call, hang up and call the bank number on your card. Banks also will not send “representatives” to your home to retrieve your card and get you a new one! Be aware!
Chief Anthony Tozzi, head of PBC Fire Rescue also warned against the dangers of distracted driving, especially senior citizen drivers. He specifically cited people eating and/or texting while driving. He advised that everyone avoid distractions and pay attention to driving. Chief Tozzi did say the number of calls was down slightly, although falls of the elderly are still worrisome. These falls are often caused by interaction of medications. He recommended that all medications be discussed with personal physicians.
John Secreto, Chief Nursing Officer of Delray Medical Center, was the next speaker. Mr Secreto outlined many of the steps that are being taken to keep both staff and patients safe in the hospital. These steps include universal masking in the hospital and isolating rooms and separation COVID rooms from non-COVID. They have created an entire COVID unit of rooms that are separated from rooms they are used for non-COVID patients. Many tactics have been used to reduce exposure and increase containment. The number of COVID patients in now 25% of what it had been.
Mr. Secreto encouraged people who delayed an “elective” procedure to schedule it before it becomes an emergency. DO NOT WAIT!
Anna Gannon, Tax Collector for Palm Beach County, was our last speaker. Her office is enlarging its call center. Many issues can be handled by telephone in-person visits are by appointment only. At some point, the transformation to all appointment-only business model will be completed. For now, all COVID precautions are being adhered to. Ms. Gannon stated that the renewal of driver Licenses should occur 90 days prior to the birth date printed on the license, not the last day of the month. All services of her office can be accessed at www.pbctax.com or 561-355-2264.
The next Zoom meeting of the Delray Alliance will be on Wed., October 7, 2020
When we meet again, after Covid, meetings will take place at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, across from Morikami. Doors open at 9AM when refreshments are served. The meeting begins at 9:30 and always concludes by 11:30. All are welcome. See you there. Hopefully soon!