Meeting Summary February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018

Captain Shawn Eastman of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office announced that the number of stolen vehicle thefts are down. Several arrests were made. All of the stolen vehicles had the keys and/or fobs left inside the cars. Many thefts were from garages with the doors left open. The number of traffic stops in the past month was 204.

Major Jeff Calise spoke of the new license plate readers provided by a company called Vigilant Solutions are on a trial basis in Lake Worth. These commercial data cameras have proved invaluable in tracking suspects and helping to solve crimes.

Announcement was made of the retirement of Major Calise.

Fire Chief Doug McGlynn & Chief Mackey stressed the need for community involvement.

Alliance Executive Vice President Lori Vinikoor told the assembly of the need for managed growth in the Ag Reserve. The Alliance Membership is generally opposed to the proposal to allow storage of landscaping equipment (tools, chemicals, vehicles, etc.) on Preserve Parcels.

Ron Rice, Ph.D., of the Palm Beach County Extension Department, was the main speaker. He is Director of the PBC Everglades Agricultural Extension. Dr. Rice educated the audience about the importance of water management. He told of the passage of water over time from Lake Okeechobee south into the Everglades. The soil of the Everglades is different from the soil we are familiar with. It is produced from aquatic plants, making the soil organic. It took 4000 years to form the Everglade’s soil of today.

Dr. Rice presented a history of Florida and its land reclamation and use. Much of the land required drainage systems. Once drainage was used, railroads were built and that in turn encouraged tourists to come. Many of those tourists remained to become Florida farmers, settlers, and merchants. In 1948 the Agricultural Reserve was created. The South Florida Flood Control District was established between 1961-63. Sugar accounts for 80% of Florida’s agricultural crops, however the winter crops are primarily vegetables and the major summer crop is rice.

The next speaker was Cody Beard, Manager of Precision Agriculture for Florida Crystals. Mr. Beard told the audience that the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) is one of the best farming communities in the world. Using Precision Agriculture farming the use of fertilizers, chemicals, and manpower is minimized while maximizing production. The technology for Precision Agriculture relies on three components: 1) A network for satellite communication in which data is collected regarding all aspects of land areas, 2) Analyzing that data as it related to crop production or lack thereof, and 3) Giving the above information to the farmers which results in an increase in overall efficiency.

The next meeting of the Alliance of Delray will be held on March 7, 2018 at the South County Civic Center. Doors open at 9:00am when refreshments are served. Meetings begin at 9:30. The public is invited and welcome.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Klausner, Director