Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Barrys Buzz – May 21, 2014

      Sincere condolences to Boca PR guru Gary Schweikhart on the loss of his beloved mother, Maggie Arendt. Gary co-founded the Gold Coast Public Relations Council with me and he has been the driving force behind the organization all these years.
      Boca developer Gregg Talbott committed suicide last week by shooting himself in the head. Details in the Boca Tribune.
     Starting Jan. 1, the campus of Florida Atlantic University will be smoke free. Tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco will be banned everywhere, including outdoor campus locations and in cars on campus.
     The FAU Board of Trustees also voted to not raise tuition for the second year in a row, although FAU needs to figure how to get back $5.2 million taken away by the Board of Governors, which oversees all state universities. FAU was penalized because of its low retention and graduation rates.
     Top officers of Boca based 1st United Bank pocketed windfalls from the $312 million sale of the bank to Jersey based Valley National Bank with CEO Rudy Shupp hitting the jackpot when he engineered the sale, receiving $1.3 million up front for a three year non-compete agreement along with a ton of perks, and pocketing $6 million in Valley National stock when the deal closes. 1st United chairman Warren Orlando and CFO John Marino will also carry away $6 million in cash and stock on the sale.
      American Traffic Solutions, the vendor for the 6 red light camera intersections in Boca, will ask the City Council to add 22 more locations.
     KFC has closed on Federal Highway in Boca.
      Welchel Partners Real Estate Services leased 50,000 sq. ft. for new tenants at the former Compson Financial Center in Boca Raton. The 95,000 sq. ft. office building at 980 N. Federal Highway in Boca was recently renamed 980 Cendyn and Cendyn Spaces is the new anchor tenant, taking one floor at the building. The firm leases space to independent contractors by the hour, day, month or year. Other new tenants include R2 Unified Technology, Flagship Solutions, Mattels & Co., and the new restaurant M.E.A.T. The renovated and redesigned building has occupancy at 75% from 25% in the past year.
     Civil Engineer Wantman Group will provide civil engineering, surveying and construction administration for the Sinai Residences on the north side of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County campus at Glades Road and S.R. 7. The $250 million continuing care retirement community already has 228 of the 237 independent living units reserved, with construction started in March and is scheduled to open in October, 2015.
    People riding Palm Beach County ambulances but not paying for the trip have racked up a $24 million debt that the county now doesn't count on collecting. County commissioners Tuesday agreed to "write off" the losses accumulated over four years, but also called for stepping up efforts to collect fees for ambulance rides.
    The superrich Seminole Indian Tribe which employs 3700 people in Hollywood and 800 more in its two other casinos in South Florida, and pocketed almost $600 million in revenue last year, plans to sink $100 million to upgrade its lucrative Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood as well as other facilities. State wide, the Tribe earned a whopping $2 billion in gambling revenue last year, with the cash rich tribe doling out $120,000 in gambling revenue dividends to each of its 2,500 members every year and offers to all a free education, free medical care and a guaranteed job, but the IRS and Tribal brass are arguing over whether the dividends are taxable, as the Tribe is claiming sovereign immunity from U.S. taxes, although several courts have ruled otherwise.    
    The new Palm Beach County Outlet Mall may be sold from a New England Real Estate partnership group that bought the 88 acre parcel of the old Palm Beach Mall for $35 million and sunk another $100 million into massive renovations, resulting in a 98% occupancy rate with several big box stores slated to open this fall. 
     Well-heeled gambling lobbyists rolled snake eyes this legislative session trying to influencing lawmakers to overhaul the states “Alice in Wonderland” gambling statutes. After pouring millions of dollars into lawmakers’ pockets, political parties and the governor’s re-election campaign, the gambling lobby failed to establish destination resorts in South Florida, spinoff dog racing at Kennel Clubs and expand table games at existing casinos.
      The 600 passenger day trip gambling ship Island Breeze casino which launched in March after several delays out of the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, sailing mostly empty twice daily with an average of 98 passengers per trip,  dropped anchor for a week for repairs and will be in dry-dock for two weeks next month. The lackluster day trip gambling market at the Port has been volatile for four previous vessels sailing out of the port which were torpedoed.
     South Florida-based Windridge Yacht Charters has joined the portfolio of Entertainment Cruises brands, the largest harbor cruise company in the United States. The first high-end, full-service private yacht charter company in South Florida, Windridge’s fleet is comprised of the 170-foot Lady Windridge and the 131-foot Windridge K, with docking locations across South Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Palm Beach and Miami. For more information, please visit or
     There are 43,578 boats registered in Palm Beach County.
    Watch Movie Talk with Morrie Zryl on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 6 a.m.
   Cafe Cinematheque Foreign Films with Shelly Isaacs is every Thursday at 10:30 Movies of Delray 561-638-0020 and Friday at 1:00 p.m  at Movies of Lake Worth 561-968-4545. Visit for more information.
    X-Men: Days of Future Past, Blended and The Immigrant opens Friday at the Cinemark Palace and Premiere theatres. Locke and For No Good Reason opens at the FAU Living Room Theatres. The Love Punch and Belle opens at the Movies of Delray. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, The Love Punch and the German Doctor opens at Movies of Lake Worth. The Love Punch, The Immigrant, Chef and X-Men opens at the Classic Gateway Theatre in Ft. Lauderdale. 
    Family Fun Fridays are at Coconut Cove waterpark, located in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, West Boca on May 23 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Young children and their parents can enjoy splashing in the shallow water, climbing on the play structure, and taking a fun ride down the playground slides. Family Fun Friday admission fees are $3.50 for children 11 and under and $5 for adults (12 & over). Call 561.629.8840 for more info.
   Red White and Blue Salute Our Troops-Fundraiser for FSO is 7 pm May 23 at Blue Martini 6000 Glades Rd in Boca Raton (outside Town Center Mall) $10 a person with MC Former SFC William Schedneck - served in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more info, contact Tara Laxer 561-289-6031.
    The Delray Beach Playhouse at 950 NW 9th St. in Lake Ida Park, off Swinton Ave. Delray Beach presents: Doubt, May 24-June 8, Visit or call 561.272.1281 x 4 for more information and reservations.
    Larry Ferber has a movie club 10 a.m. every Sunday at the FAU Living Room theatres, followed by discussion. Call 757.617.1936 for more information.     
   Every Sunday at AMF bowling, 1190 Boynton Beach Blvd. and Congress Ave. Brain Bowlers sponsors a bowling league for families and children with disabilities to raise funds and awareness for agencies and children who are void of social interaction.  Cost is only $1.38 per game and families can bowl one or two games.  There is also entertainment and prizes. For further information, call Robert Gottesman at 561-676-2075.
    The Veterans Coalition of South Florida will present its annual Memorial Day program beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 26, at Veteran’s Park, in West Boca on Palmetto Park Road between 441 and Lyons Road.
    Florida will offer a 15-day sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness supplies from June 1-14. During that time period, Floridians can purchase flashlights, batteries, weather radios and other basic hurricane supply items, all tax-free. Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.
     Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations meets 8:30 am – 9:30 am June 3 at the Boca Raton Community Center, 150 Crawford Blvd. with State Rep. Bill Hager, Association of Realtors of PB County, Boca Raton state of the market and spotlight on Faulk Center for Counseling. Call 561.859.4931 or email for more information.
    The Boca and West Boca Relays for Life will be combined this year starting 6 pm, June 6 on the grounds of St. Jude Catholic Church in central Boca and needs volunteers and sponsors. Contact or call 561.394.7751. Visit for more information.
   On The Money’s Steve Pomerantz will be the guest speaker at the lunch 11;30 June 10 at City Fish Market, 7940 Glades Road, Boca Raton. (Glades and the turnpike). Register on the site.
     Avenue Q runs June 19th to June 29th, at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts Crest Theater at Old School Square, 51 North Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach.  Tickets are available at: or by calling 561-243-7922 ext. 1. (Not suitable for children under the age of 15).
      Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy is at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale July 22-27. Call 954.462.0222 or visit for tickets or more information.
     The National Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be in Boca Raton for the first time on Oct. 11 at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. The kickoff for the Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 29 at JAZZIZ Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real in Mizner Park. The event will include cocktails and appetizers, a silent auction, photo booth and a deejay. Tickets are $25 per person in advance or $30 at the door at Registration for the walk is free at Volunteers are also needed. Contact Pamela Polani at or call 561-496-4222.
      The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) walk for mental health is 8 am. Nov. 8, at Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek. Register at For more information, call 954.316.9907 or visit
    The 2014-15 Broadway series season at the Kravis Center includes Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella Nov. 11-16; The Book of Mormon, Dec. 16-21; Flashdance – the Musical, Jan. 27-Feb. 1, 2015; Anything Goes, March 10-15, 2015; Memphis, April 7-12, 2015 and Pippin, April 28-May 3, 2015. Subscribers will get renewals in April. General public tickets will go on sale midsummer. To order go to or call 561.832.7469.  is the best networking group in the area and meets at Hurricane Grill & Wings in the Mission Bay Shopping Center, next to Office Max, 10125 Glades Road, 33498 on alternate Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Cost is $60 per quarter. Check out the website for openings in some categories. Call 561.852.0000 for further information.
     Thanks to David Weir’s South Florida Business Report for contributing to the column.
     Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend with your friends and loved ones or your family and take time to observe it with your children on Monday.
     Barry Epstein, APR, is a noted public relations, marketing and political consultant based in Boca Raton, president of the, the, the and the founder and former president of the West Boca Chamber of Commerce; with a weekly internet television show on and His motto is: Public Relations is the enemy of anonymity. email:, or fax column items to 561.451.0000.  His blog is on, as well as on the Sun-Sentinel/Jewish Journal website at www.floridajewishjournal.comwww.  and on his website:

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