Three things to do this weekend in Wellington, Royal Palm

It’s at least a three day weekend for most of us, so here are three things you can do to spend the time.

  1. Wellington Memorial Day Parade: One of the biggest highlights of the weekend will be the parade that begins at Village Hall at 8:15 a.m. Monday. It will go to the Veterans Memorial at Forest Hill and South Shore boulevards.
  2. Free concert: Royal Palm Beach will host a concert and food truck invasion tonight at Commons Park. Party Express , a ’70s Disco Tribute, will take the stage at 7 p.m.
  3. Go outside: Rain chances are low Saturday and through most of Monday, so spend some time outside. The rainy season is quickly approaching, so take advantage of the sunny weather while you can. Ride a horse, take a jog through the park, play a game of pickup basketball or just lay in the grass. It’s up to you.
Olivia, 8, and Jacob, 6, Kaczmarek watch the Wellington Memorial Day parade from Village Hall to Wellington’s Veterans Memorial on the corner of Forest Hill Boulevard and South Shore Boulevard, where a remembrance ceremony was held Monday, May 25, 2015. Olivia and Jacob were with their parents, Scott and Susan Kaczmarek, of Wellington.   (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Olivia, 8, and Jacob, 6, Kaczmarek watch the Wellington Memorial Day parade from Village Hall to Wellington’s Veterans Memorial on the corner of Forest Hill Boulevard and South Shore Boulevard, where a remembrance ceremony was held Monday, May 25, 2015. Olivia and Jacob were with their parents, Scott and Susan Kaczmarek, of Wellington. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Wellington officials suggest ‘structural pruning’ for trees

As hurricane season nears, Wellington is encouraging its residents to hire tree services companies to perform “structural pruning.”

Rather than just thinning out the tree’s canopy, the practice removes weaker branches and cross branches to better brace it against a storm, according to a release from Brian Hopper, Wellington’s landscape supervisor.

Hopper added that people should only remove about 25 percent of a tree’s canopy per year.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

(Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
(Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Proposed Wellington Bed and Breakfast changes heading back to zoning board

Any changes to Bed and Breakfast rules in Wellington will have to wait.

The council decided Tuesday night to send the proposal back to the Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Board to work out some kinks before it comes back. The board chose not to recommend approval at its last meeting.

The changes would make B&B regulations a little more lax, potentially allowing more to pop up in Wellington. They’re already allowed, but strict rules make it hard to make a profit.

If the village were to have more B&B’s the businesses could cut into the massive demand for room nights during the equestrian season.

Wellington Municipal Complex (Kristen M. Clark / The Palm Beach Post)
Wellington Municipal Complex (Kristen M. Clark / The Palm Beach Post)

Loxahatchee Groves to hold public meeting on Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Big Dog Ranch Rescue is asking its supporters to come out to a special Loxahatchee Groves Town Council meeting tomorrow.

The council called the meeting to discuss the ongoing legal battle between the town and the rescue. The council moved to shut off the power because the rescue didn’t have the proper permitting to run the business on the site where the new facility will be built.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue is keeping about 50 at-risk dogs in trailers on the site because they need constant medical attention.

The council will likely vote to hold a private meeting where the members can discuss the legal matters away from the public eye. After, they could have another public meeting where they’d decide what action to take, if any.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at Wednesday, 5 p.m. at the Town Hall, 155 F Road.

Siri, a lab mix, was adopted from Big Dog Ranch Rescue last year. (Palm Beach Post file photo)
Siri, a lab mix, was adopted from Big Dog Ranch Rescue last year. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

 

Lights to stay on at Big Dog Ranch Rescue…for now

Update, 2:45 p.m.: The lights will stay on for the 50 infirm dogs being held in trailers on a corner of the Big Dog Ranch Rescue property in Loxahatchee Groves.

At least, for now.

The two sides met in a court-ordered mediation Monday morning, airing grievances on both sides. Loxahatchee Groves now plans to schedule a public meeting this week to vote to hold a private meeting on the legal issues, said Gregory Coleman, an attorney for Big Dog Ranch Rescue.

After that private meeting, they will likely have another public meeting to decide what to do — if anything.

In the meantime, the power will remain on unless the judge issues another order. If the Town Council won’t budge, Coleman expects a long court process. He said he can’t predict how a judge might rule, but Big Dog Ranch Rescue hopes to keep the status quo, allowing them to care for the at-risk dogs while they build the facility.

Ultimately, they just want a good working relationship with the council.

“That is our hope and our desire, and we will see where it goes,” he said.

The council voted last week not to extend a deadline to shut the power off, saying the rescue does not have the proper permits to run the business and take care of the dogs on the construction site.

Mayor Dave Browning added that taking care of dogs at a construction site could be a safety issue.

Original post: Decisions could be made today on the fate of the trailers holding about 50 dogs on the Big Dog Ranch Rescue site in Loxahatchee Groves.

A mediation hearing began at 9:30 a.m. over the rescue allegedly taking care of at-risk dogs in temporary trailers during construction of the facility. Members of the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council said the rescue was operating without the proper permits, and the town planned to cut the electricity today.

Attorneys on behalf of Big Dog Ranch Rescue filed an emergency motion for injunction Thursday to stop it, and a circuit judge called for the mediation.

Check back for updates on the results of the mediation.

PBSO wants you….as a volunteer!

PBSOGREENACRES — The city is looking for volunteers for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s Citizens on Patrol program.

If you’re interested, call 561-433-2003 for more information.

Earlier this year Greenacres merged its 51-member police force with the sheriff’s office.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue, Loxahatchee Groves locked in legal battle over trailers

Update, 4:15 p.m.: The frustration for Big Dog Ranch Rescue owner Lauree Simmons comes from the delay in Loxahatchee Groves Council action on her proposal.

She said the rescue submitted the plans in April, 2015 and they weren’t approved until November, even after requesting numerous times — information that is disputed by the town’s mayor.

“We would have been finished with our facility by March of 2016 and been able to move directly from the old facility into the new facility had the Town of Loxahatchee (Groves) done their job,” she said.

Simmons is most concerned about the dogs that need constant medical attention. One of the dogs in the trailers was found pregnant in a canal with a bullet in her shoulder.

The dog just gave birth to a litter of puppies Thursday afternoon.

“We’re not going to stop saving dogs in need,” she said. “This is what we do. This is what our mission is. We care about these dogs and it’s not like these dogs can wait.”

But Mayor Dave Browning is disputing Simmons’s version of the events. Having been in construction for more than four decades, Browning said permitting is often not a quick, smooth process and it was unreasonable to expect it would be approved immediately.

“It just takes time to review and do those things, especially a project that intensive and that large,” he said.

Browning added that operating a business on a construction site without the proper permits can be dangerous.

 

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Big Dog Ranch Rescue appeared before the town council Tuesday asking for a two-week extension to work out an arrangement to see if anything could be done for the dogs.

Multiple members of the council argued that the rescue was in the wrong because by taking care of the dogs on the property, they were operating as a business without the correct permits.

Vice Mayor Tom Goltzene argued that the town isn’t wrong to enforce the rules. The rescue — and owner Lauree Simmons — caused the problem by operating without the proper permitting.

“I’m not going to be put there and told that I’m killing these dogs,” he said. “The reason is because of poor planning on her part, not a problem on mine.”

Just because the rescue has a mission to save dogs doesn’t mean it can do whatever it wants, he said.

Simmons and attorney Greg Coleman have argued that a major reason for the current bind is a six month delay before council action after the permits were submitted last year. The rescue found temporary homes off-site for 200 dogs, but needed to keep the other 50 close for medical attention.

Coleman said the council’s inability to work out a potential solution basically amounts to killing the dogs. They would quickly have to be put down if they were taken to the pound..

“This is just an absolute situation of local government that has gone completely off the rails,” he said in a phone interview Friday.

Councilman Ron Jarriel made a motion at the meeting attempting to allow the two week extension to see if the rescue could find a solution. He agreed that they didn’t have the proper permitting, but he wanted to find a way to save the dogs.

“Maybe we don’t owe Big Dog anything, but being compassionate, two weeks is not too much to ask out of this town,” he said.

Original post: The lights won’t be turned off at Big Dog Ranch Rescue Monday morning, a judge ruled.

The rescue is now locked in a legal battle with the Town of Loxahatchee Groves over whether rescue trailers are permitted on the 33-acre construction site of the new facility.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue is using the trailers to house 50 at-risk dogs that need almost constant monitoring and medical attention.

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council contends it never approved the plans to use the trailers as a temporary shelter for the dogs and said the power would be turned off in 10 days if they were not removed. That 10 day deadline would have come Monday.

But a circuit judge’s ruling requires the two sides to talk about a solution Friday. If an agreement can’t be reached, they will go to a court-ordered mediation Monday. In the meantime, the town is not permitted to cut the power to the trailers.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue has saved more than 14,000 dogs in its history and has been a popular spot, even with celebrities like county singer Miranda Lambert.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Wellington man organizes Ecuador crowdfunding just before aftershocks

A Wellington resident elevated his Ecuador disaster relief efforts just before two aftershocks rocked the country this week.

Rick Darquea, initially from Ecuador, already filled a moving truck with supplies last month after the first earthquake hit leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless. Now he is raising money through a crowdfouding site. He started the page Tuesday, and the two aftershocks hit Wednesday.

The page has already raised more than $1,000 and the online fundraiser will be live through May 28, Darquea said. He has embraced social media as a tool to bring people together to help.

Anyone interested in donating can visit the crowdfunding page here.

Rick Darquea and nearly 20 volunteers collected donations in Wellington last month for Ecuador earthquake victims (Photo provided).
Rick Darquea and nearly 20 volunteers collected donations in Wellington last month for Ecuador earthquake victims (Photo provided).

 

 

Wellington public works open house canceled

A dicey forecast has caused Wellington to cancel a planned Public Works open house.

The event was designed to give the residents an inside look into some of the village’s maintenance processes and allow them to ask questions.

Thunderstorms are likely Thursday.

A nasty forecast caused the village to cancel a planned public works open house (Matt Morgan/The Palm Beach Post)
A nasty forecast caused the village to cancel a planned public works open house (Matt Morgan/The Palm Beach Post)

Wellington to host public works open house

Wellington is celebrating Public Works week by giving locals an inside look into how everything runs.

The village will be hosting an open house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Public Works Building, 14001 Pierson Road.

The family-friendly event is designed to give residents behind-the-scenes information and allow them to ask questions about everything from road repair to park maintenance.

(Kristen M. Clark / The Palm Beach Post)
(Kristen M. Clark / The Palm Beach Post)