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Optical scan machines get first test in West Palm election

Voters in West Palm Beach this past week got a taste of what residents throughout Palm Beach County will deal with at the polls when regular elections roll around.

They got the first shot at using the new optical scan voting machines.

“It worked well,” said Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson. “The voters found them easy to use.”

The optical scanners replace the touch-screen machines that were brought in to replace the punch-card voting apparatus that created a fiasco during the 2000 presidential election. Results were delayed for 37 days while election officials pored over ballots in an effort that was finally stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The lack of a “paper trail” led U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler to file lawsuits to get rid of the touch screen machines. Finally, they were eliminated in the 15 counties that had them.

Small Turnout

Anderson admitted it was difficult to get a good read on voter reaction with only 4,782 people – less than 8 percent of registered voters in West Palm Beach – going to the polls.

He said the poll workers “did a good job for the brief time” they had to train. Anderson said they will receive additional instruction before the upcoming elections, though the first countywide balloting will be held Aug. 26.

The election supervisor, who is up for re-election this year, said the major difficulty encountered by voters in last week’s special West Palm Beach election was inserting the ballots into the scan machine without also inserting the ballot sleeve.

“Some tried to put in both,” he said.

For the sake of privacy, voters put their ballots in a sleeve and place the end of the ballot into the scanning machine. The apparatus is supposed to pull the ballot into the county, leaving the sleeve behind.

Voters will also get training in the use of the machines. Anderson said he has prepared a DVD on how to use the apparatus.

Actually, the optical scan machines will be brought out 15 days before the Aug. 26 primaries – because that is when early voting begins.

The supervisor said he has a new procedure worked out. There will be eight early voting locations. During the 2004 election when the process was first tried, crowds jammed the polling places.

Because voters can cast ballots on paper and then feed them into the machines, people who can’t wait in line can just mark the ballot and it will be put through the machine later.

All types of Palm Beach County ballots will be available at all polling places, Anderson said, using the “print-on-demand” ballot printer.

Joining forces to fight cancer

Boca Raton Community Hospital is joining forces with a major cancer center, a pharmaceutical firm and the state of Florida to take part in a study that could radically change the way that disease is treated.

Officials held a noontime press conference Thursday at BRCH to announce the hospital is joining with the Moffitt Cancer Center, Merck & Co., Inc. and the state to take part in Total Cancer Care™.

The new program features state-of-the-art cancer research linking the Moffitt Cancer Center with healthcare providers nationwide. There are currently 14 sites in Florida and the United States as well as several international sites participating in this program, including Martin Memorial Hospital in Stuart, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and the Center for Cancer Care & Research in Lakeland.

As the only participating location in Palm Beach County, BRCH will administer Total Cancer Care™ through its Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute under the direction of medical oncologist, Dr. Louise Morrell.

“This is a distinguished recognition for Boca Raton Community Hospital and our cancer program,” said Dr. Morrell, who also serves as medical director for Center for Breast Care at Boca Raton Community Hospital.

Few Selected

“There are more than 20 sites that have applied to participate in the Total Cancer Care™ program this year, but only a few will be selected. We are committed to providing the most comprehensive cancer care to our patients, and we believe this program is the future of personalized medicine.”

The goal of Total Cancer Care is to improve cancer prevention and treatment by using molecular technology to enhance the ability to diagnose and treat patients. Technology has recently advanced to the point that researchers can now test each tumor for approximately 30,000 genes, which provide a molecular “fingerprint” unique to each tumor. By studying those unique molecular structures, scientists will someday be able to develop new drug therapies that are individually personalized.

“We know that patients with the same kind of cancer don’t always respond to standard treatment in the same way,” said Morrell. “This program will help scientists develop new drug therapies that are personalized for each individual patient, with the goal of enhancing responses to treatment.”

Patients that participate in Total Cancer Care™ will also benefit from access to individualized clinical trials as they develop, and new medicines as they become available. There are no extra doctor visits, no additional expenses pay and, in accordance with HIPAA regulations, all medical information remains private.

Officials Thursday said BRCH will enroll 2,500 cancer patients into the research program over the next five years, collecting tumor tissue, blood, urine and clinical information at various points of their life. The hospital’s current focus will be on breast, prostate, brain, lung, pancreatic, colorectal and ovarian tissue.

Dr. Morrell and a staff of six will implement the program at the Lynn Cancer Institute, currently one of the top five largest cancer programs for patient volumes in the state.

Multi-modality Center

She said one of the institute’s strengths is the multi-modality center where patients are seen by multiple sub-specialists at the same location on the same visit. Lynn Cancer Institute’s newest location – the 98,000-square-foot, $73 million Harvey and Phyllis Sandler Pavilion – is scheduled to open this fall.

Through its partnership with pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Moffitt recently broke ground on a new building for M2Gen, a company formed specifically by Moffitt to implement and manage the Total Cancer Care™ program. The new building, which will open next year, will serve as a research hub in Hillsborough County and be the primary site for Total Cancer Care™ research.

“To date, we have already collected more than 3,500 tissue samples through our partner sites, and we have 10,000 additional patients who have volunteered to participate,” said Dr. Timothy Yeatman, M2Gen President and Chief Scientific Officer. “We all believe that we are changing the face of cancer.”

Bikini teacher’ from Boca was at Leyritz birthday party

If you’ve been wondering where the “Bikini Teacher” from Boca Raton has been lately, reports say she was among those attending the 44th birthday party for former New York Yankee’s catcher Jim Leyritz the night before he was involved in a fatal car accident in Fort Lauderdale.

The New York Daily News reports that Erica Lee Chevillar attended the party.

Chevillar, 26, was a first-year social studies teacher at West Boca Community High School last year when a parent complained about seeing photos of her posing for the U.S.A. National Bikini Team sometime during the 2005/06 school years.

The teacher was reprimanded by West Boca High Principal Fran Giblin, but the Palm Beach County School Board ruled that she did not do anything wrong.

She resigned from her $33,000-a-year job and has found success as a model and in photos shoots. She signed with a modeling agency in Miami Beach, competed in the 2006 WWE Diva Search and posed nude in the March 2007 issue of Playboy.

Chevillar has a Web site that says she was born in Hanover, Pa., but moved to Boca Raton with her family at the age of four, and grew up in the city.

She said she dreamed of being a teacher and a model. “As fate would have it, both my desires and dreams have come true,” she said.

Her dreams did come true even though at different times and to achieve more in one she had to let go the other forever. However, a majority of us are not fortunate enough to get all the dreams come true. Sometime, our life would take us through completely different directions which we might have never thought of. Chevillar is among those few who have not only realized their dreams but also scaled very high in the profession of their choice. There are millions of rank holders and gold medallists who have been either forced to leave their education halfway due to unavoidable circumstances or didn’t get the opportunity to showcase their skills at the right time. A school dropout may be spinning out millions through Crypto Code software and realized his dreams of becoming a millionaire. There is a renowned canopy researcher who had to bring her children on her wild explorations as she was juggling between her aspirations, dreams and responsibilities as a single mother. She has been successful tremendously in both.

Leyritz was charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage after his SUV crashed at an intersection, hitting the car of Fredia Ann Veitch, 30, of Plantation. She was ejected from her car and died at Broward General Medical Center.

Boca police study tapes for clues in mall shooting

Boca Raton police are poring over surveillance tapes from cameras in the parking lot of the Town Center mall to find evidence in the robbery and shooting death of a mother and her 8-year-old daughter.

The bodies of Nancy Boccicchio, 47, and daughter, Joey Boccicchio-Hauser, were found in their Chrysler Aspen SUV shortly after midnight Thursday.

“The Boca Raton Police Department is working an apparent robbery/homicide that occurred in the south parking lot of Sears at Town Center mall,” said police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg.

She said the bodies were found by a mall security detail that noticed the 2007 SUV was in the parking lot with the engine running.

Police said the case may be related to another robbery in August in which a woman and her 2-year-son were carjacked and robbed at gunpoint from the parking garage near Nordstrom, but were not hurt, a police report said.

Mall Manager Joe Cilia issued a statement saying Town Center is cooperating fully with police. Videotapes from on-property closed circuit cameras have been shared with authorities.

He also said a “substantial security presence” will be maintained at the mall.

“All of us at Town Center are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy, as is all of our community,” Cilia said. “We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Bochicchio family.”

New Boca Raton Fire Station on SW 18th

County commissioners have approved a $1.7 million contract with Carrick Contracting Corporation for construction of the 5,475 square foot Palm Beach County Fire Rescue (PBCFR) Station No. 56 at 6250 SW 18th Street in Boca Raton.
Donoffs create special needs fund, camp in son’s memory
For more than seven years of his life, Chase Donoff, who had autism, enjoyed participating after school and all summer long in the Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton’s Exceptional Child Program (ECP).

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Boca native creates first website for teens- only

Published Tuesday, March 7, 2006
by Nicol Jenkins

Why is pop star Nick Lachey on the face of a new teen-only website?

Boca Raton native Danny Perkins says he’s a co-founder of his new teen site. Perkins along with long-time friend Drew Levin and Nick Lachey have created a website for teens only.

YFly.com is the first website designed solely for teens and to be used only by teens, the founder said. The site is geared for teens ages 13 to 18.

While attending the University of Florida, Perkins and Levin came up with the idea of a teen-only Internet site.

“Social networking was popular with Friendster and MySpace, but we realized that there wasn’t a networking site just for teens,” Perkins said. “There wasn’t one place where teens could all talk to each other at the same time.”

After graduation, the duo started up a business plan.

“We did research on what teens wanted to do on-line,” Perkins said. “The teens told us exactly what they wanted.”

Perkins, 22, said teens wanted to use the Internet to “text message, create an unique address, customize their profiles to express themselves, and they wanted their own environment to be part of their peers, not a huge network.”

After research, other supporters came forward, Perkins said, including pop singer Nick Lachey. AJ Discala, Founder of Calico Capital Group; Tom Petters, CEO of Petters Group Worldwide, and Parry Aftab, Executive Director of Wired Safety have also contributed, he said.

Perkins said Petters helped financially.

“He opened his arms to continue our dream and invest in the first stage,” he said.

While Aftab, known as a top cyber lawyer and the others, play a role in the safety features of the site.

“Parry has given up her life to keep teens safe on-line,” he said. “She told Nick [Lachey] that he was the most common name used by predators to lure teens on-line. And it hit home for him. He has a 14-year-old brother,”

Lachey said his 14-year-old brother’s life revolves around staying connected to friends on instant messenger and his cell phone.

“I’m excited that YFly is built on what teens want to do,” Lachey said.

Perkins thinks Lachey provides “the cool celebrity aspect, while Parry adds credibility.”

Co-founder Levin added that safety is the most important feature of the 24-hour site.

“YFly is a site just for teens that want a better way to connect with friends and express themselves in an environment they design and control. If they are going to enjoy it fully, though, it’s also important they feel safe.”

The Safety Factor

One out of 5 teens encounter a sexual predator on-line, Perkins said.

Because of this Perkins said teens must register what school they attend when first logging in and can choose the privacy setting, which allows only friends to see the profile.

“They have to request to be their friend,” he said.

Also the automatic message, “Don’t be stupid” pops up anytime a teen posts on-line information, Perkins said.

The founder said there is also a report abuse mechanism that allows teens under 18 to report cyber bullying or harassment.

“Parry has created an escalating plan to take care of the problems from small to large. She has direct contact with the FBI and the police,” he said.

“YFly is arming teens with the knowledge to protect themselves from some of the dangers the Internet poses and letting them choose how and how much to share online,” Aftab said. She also offers parents advice. “Social networking is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It’s essential that we teach our teens to use it safely and responsibly.”

Teens ages 13 to 18 interested in joining, or to find out more information, can visit www.YFly.com.

Nicol Jenkins can be reached at njenkins@bocanews.com or 561-549-0844.

Deutsch detractors should look to their own records Penelas did nothing to help Gore; Castor did nothing to rid USF of terrorist professor Al-Arian

Published Sunday, July 4, 2004 1:00 am
by Neal Heller

So that nobody will accuse me of being biased, let’s get this information right out in the open. I have been a strong supporter of U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch during his 12 years in Congress. I have contributed to his campaign for the United States Senate and have contributed to his campaigns many times over the years. I consider him a friend and believe him to be the best candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by Bob Graham.

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That being said, I want to address a brewing controversy that may or may not help Deutsch in his quest to win the Democratic Senate nomination over Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas and former Education Commissioner and ex-University of South Florida President Betty Castor.
Apparently, many in the Democratic Party are very uncomfortable with the aggressive nature of the Deutsch campaign. They want everybody to play fair, be nice and let the voters decide this race on something other than the records of the candidates and how they have responded to pressure-packed, critical situations in the past.
I wonder, though. Isn’t decision-making under pressure a vitally important issue when it comes to choosing the next senator from Florida? Senator Graham has come out and said that this campaign should focus on important issues such as the need to reform our intelligence agencies and look to the future. How can we look to the future without examining the past?
What is it with Democrats that makes them so uncomfortable with fighting a strong campaign that exposes other candidates’ weaknesses? Deutsch has gone on the offensive against both of his opponents. He has made strong and accurate statements that certainly demand real answers from Penelas and Castor.
In a debate last month, Deutsch charged Penelas with abandoning the Al Gore presidential campaign prior to the 2000 election and then completely disappearing when efforts were being made in Dade County to recount votes while under siege from Republican operatives.
Penelas, the supposed leader of Dade County, was nowhere to be found – and the recount never was completed. You didn’t hear a murmur from Penelas at a time when his party sorely needed his leadership in a crucial situation. Deutsch brought it up at a debate and was summarily admonished for his so-called personal attack.
Lo and behold, when Gore was asked about Penelas a few days later, he was quoted as saying that Penelas was “the single most treacherous and dishonest person” during the 2000 campaign. Is that who the Democrats want to represent them in the race for the Senate? I would think not.
Deutsch, who worked tirelessly to get Gore elected, watched as Penelas virtually allowed the election to be stolen in his backyard. As we all now know, Florida went to Bush and the rest, as they say, is history.
This attack on Penelas was both fair and accurate. Who are we to disregard the words of Al Gore in this instance as nobody suffered more for the inaction of Mayor Penelas? Deutsch’s latest attack is directed toward Castor while she was USF President. Deutsch and a group supporting his campaign have asserted that Castor did not do enough – while presiding over USF – to rid the campus of Islamic terrorist influence. Specifically, Castor did not act to fire Professor Sami Al-Arian, who used his position at the university to further his terrorist activities.
Al-Arian, who is now under federal indictment, raised money and sent it to Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people around the world, mostly Israelis.
Al-Arian was not the only USF professor to be linked directly to terrorist groups. One of his former colleagues left the university in 1995 and surfaced five months later as the new leader of Islamic Jihad.
Castor has denied that she acted wrongly in not firing Al-Arian. She did, in fact, put him on a paid leave in 1996 while an investigation took place. However, he was allowed to return to USF in 1998.
Castor claims the FBI did not give her any evidence to support the accusations against Al-Arian and, therefore, she had no choice but to reinstate him. The facts are that Al-Arian was seen on videotape as early as 1995 shouting “death to Israel, death to the United States.”
USF was identified as a hotbed of terrorist activities in Steve Emerson’s book, “American Jihad,” with Al-Arian at the forefront. Castor’s successor and current USF president, Judy Genshaft, suspended him in 2001.
As a university president, Castor should have been appalled at the terrorist activities going on right under her nose. She can feign ignorance all she wants, but there is no way she didn’t know of what so many others knew at that time. She should have been at the front of an effort to get as much documentation as possible from as many sources as possible.
This situation should have been of the highest priority. Instead, at best, she chose the easy way out, to wait and see what the government was going to do about it.
No fewer than 30 articles have been written by the Tampa Tribune on Castor’s handling of the Al-Arian affair. None is very flattering to her. According to the Tribune, she made no immediate attempt to confirm Al-Arian’s terrorist links. She hired a family friend to lead the investigation and USF never confronted Al-Arian to the extent that it should have.
Castor claimed it would have been difficult to justify leaving Al-Arian on a paid leave indefinitely. Well, I suppose now she has to justify why she didn’t.
Again, these charges are justified and Deutsch need make no apology for bringing this ugly situation to the forefront of this campaign. Castor should be held accountable for not reacting to the Al-Arian terrorist links with the fervor it deserved.
Standing by and watching while the public university you lead becomes a bastion for terrorist activities is not acceptable. Again, Senator Graham has rushed to another candidate’s defense.
Also jumping on the anti-Deutsch campaign is none other than Mr. Hypocrite himself, Bruce Warshal, whose publication, the Jewish Journal, wrote earlier this week that Deutsch has smeared Castor. The Jewish Journal even went so far as to invoke its religious authority in ripping Deutsch for going after Castor on this issue.
Warshal has a bias against Deutsch. Although he will write an editorial that sounds unbiased, he has been heard bashing Deutsch and will endorse Castor sometime in the next two weeks. He and his Tribune-owned publication have been waiting for an opportunity to pounce on Deutsch and so they did.
Peter Deutsch has served in Congress for 12 years. His record is an open book and he should and will be judged on that record. His leadership within the party and on important issues should be fair game for his opponents and so too should their leadership or lack thereof.
Penelas and Castor have questions to answer. If another candidate within their party chooses to bring certain matters to the voters’ attention, so be it. These are not personal attacks. They are not family or personal issues. Questions of leadership and loyalty go to the heart of the decision-making process.
Deutsch is well within his rights to bring these issues to the forefront of this campaign, especially when he has the facts to back it up. If he doesn’t, just imagine what the Republicans will do if they get the chance in the general election.

Second Notice:
The Boca Raton News will begin celebrating its 50th anniversary this December. As we approach that milestone, we are experiencing a rebirth and revitalization that we believe will allow us to serve our readers better.
I took over the reins of this newspaper in July 2001 realizing that it had lost its direction and focus. At that time, I knew little about the newspaper industry and the last three years have been a valuable learning experience.
Today, I am very proud of the Boca Raton News and the new reputation we have brought to it. I believe we have become an important part of the fabric of this vibrant community and reconnected with every corner of this great area, while forging new relationships with West Boca and Delray Beach.
We are also proud to be one of just a handful of independently owned daily newspapers in the country – a title we wear proudly in our efforts to be the best community newspaper in Boca Raton. We are constantly searching for the best formula that allows us to stay viable, while remaining independent.
Long-standing Boca residents and visitors have seen us progress from a broadsheet to a tabloid. You have witnessed our efforts to strike the right balance between local coverage and national/international news. We may not always satisfy each reader’s expectations, but we think we are gaining ground consistently.
As we continue to improve our product, we must address the seasonality of our business. As all of you know, summers in Boca and Delray are still times when snowbirds travel north or take extended vacations. The financial health of our newspaper requires us to respond to this seasonality, which brings a significantly slower pace to community events, local sports, school activities and social events.
As a result, beginning this week we will be publishing consolidated Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday/ Friday editions, which means we will be publishing five
times a week – Monday, Tuesday/ Wednesday, Thursday/Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will provide the same extensive coverage and also provide greater opportunities for you to jumpstart your social plans with an advanced weekend edition on Thursday.
We appreciate and need your continued support and to show our gratitude to our loyal readers, we will be extending your subscription for an additional 13 weeks at no additional cost.
We plan to resume our traditional seven-day-a-week print schedule in mid-November. However, we will watch this experiment closely and evaluate its effectiveness going forward.
We thank you for your support and understanding as we begin our voyage into the next fifty years.

WWE chief accused of groping Boca tanning salon worker

Published Friday, February 3, 2006
by Dale King

The chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment could face assault charges for allegedly groping a Boca Raton tanning salon worker Sunday afternoon, according to a police report.

A clerk at the Tanzabar Salon on North Federal Highway accused Vincent K. McMahon, 60, of trying to kiss her and of running his hands over her body as she tried to clean the tanning bed he had just used.

The report said the 22-year-old woman pushed him away, “rejected his advances” and “walked out of the tanning room.”

Before using the tanning bed, the report said, McMahon asked the clerk to take several pictures of himself with his camera phone to send to his girlfriend. Then, the report said, he showed her nude and semi-nude photos of himself.

After the incident, she said, McMahon – who listed an address on South Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton – went outside to his black Hummer and sat there for about 20 minutes.

Police did not take McMahon into custody. They took a sworn statement from the clerk, which will be submitted into evidence. Police said they will have to speak with McMahon about the incident.

His attorney reportedly said the suspect could not have been McMahon because he was out of town on Sunday.

No charges have yet been filed against McMahon, police said.

According to his biography on the Internet, McMahon started in the wrestling business when his father, Vincent McMahon Sr., hired his son as an announcer. He went on to manage the World Wrestling Federation after his father retired in 1982.

The wrestling boss has had tussles with the law before. In 1992, his biography says, he was accused of supplying wrestlers with steroids. Although he was acquitted, the trial forced McMahon into a two-year wrestling hiatus.

He is also reportedly seeking a divorce from his wife, Linda.

Dale M. King can be reached at 561-549-0832 or at dking@bocanews.com.

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New Wikipedia truly the ‘encyclopedia of the people’

Published Thursday, October 6, 2005 1:00 am
by By Craig Crossman

I remember as a kid how impressed I was when my parents invested in our very own set of encyclopedias (I believe it was the Encyclopaedia Britannica). Back then, it was a kind of status symbol to own your own set. The volumes of books gleaming on the bookshelf was an impressive sight and were featured in a place that could easily be seen in the home library or den. The rich, glossy pages were crammed full of colorful photographs, illustrations and images. And the printed text held the total knowledge of all mankind. Well, that’s what I thought when I was a kid. Anything I needed to know for my school projects, homework and whatever else that was deemed important could be found within those glorious tomes.

Ah, how the times have changed. Now, the total knowledge of all humankind is all within reach of your personal computer. Of course, you can still buy the encyclopedia in book form, but why bother? You can get everything they contain on a set of DVDs and unlike the printed version, these keep themselves current by seamlessly linking to the Internet. And with a broadband connection, all you need is a Web browser to access a variety of online encyclopedia Web sites that tap into seemingly limitless sources of information.

Encyclopedia was the place where the people get result for everything they search. But, we can say Wikipedia is now the new encyclopedia for the people of this period. We can easily get things about what actually we need. It is the main goal of Wikipedia, and we have to say that it has already reached the goal. It will give the accurate result for us and just click here to go to the page of Wikipedia.

Most of these online encyclopedia Web sites are created and maintained by the publishing companies that own the rights to the different reference brands. They have sole discretion when it comes to the addition, deletion and modification of their content. And that’s how it should be. It’s the information they contain and the people that contribute to these publications that give them their stature, credibility and value.

But there’s another kind of online encyclopedia out there that you should know about because its content is written by not only experts in their fields of endeavor but also by people like you and me. In fact, I know that some of it was written by me because I put it in there. And you can contribute to it as easily as I did.

The encyclopedia is called Wikipedia and it truly is the encyclopedia of the people because so many of us have contributed to its virtual pages. And it’s an amazingly dynamic structure as its
readers are making literally thousands of changes to it every hour of the day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. That’s one heck of a lot of information being manipulated within a single project.

Anyone can add, delete or change most anything that’s defined on Wikipedia and it can be done anonymously or with your logged on screen name account which is all free. Wikipedia makes its money via contributions from donors. It is completely ad free.

Basically you look up any item you want to explore. After reading the information that’s there, you are given the option of editing the content in any manner you wish. If you feel you can contribute something pertinent to the material already there, you can do so immediately. Editing is fairly straight forward and there are plenty of help sections and examples from which you can learn. In only a few minutes, I had created a new topic, which was the name of my radio talk show, Computer America. I added a color logo, show description, link to my website, a bio on the show’s host (me), and other relevant information. And I did all of that while interviewing Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, on the air.

I found Wikipedia goes beyond what is traditionally within an ordinary encyclopedia as it covers more specific technology subjects, has links to other sources of information including other online encyclopedias and has the aforementioned collaborative element that lets you tap into all
levels of expertise. As to how accurate the data within Wikipedia actually is, you can be fairly comfortable about that because experts and participants everywhere are constantly scrutinizing the content.

Currently, Wikipedia is available in well over 100 languages so chances are the one you understand will be available. The only word of caution I have for you is that this Web site can be addictive. I found myself contributing almost as much as I was learning. It’s a lot of fun. Check it out. You’ll have it bookmarked before you leave.

Craig Crossman is a national newspaper columnist writing about computers and technology. The Palm Beach resident also hosts the number one daily national computer radio talk show, Computer America, heard on both the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network Monday through Friday, 10 p.m. to midnight ET. For more information, visit his Web site at www.computeramerica.com.

Classroom size reduction funds pending distribution

The proposal for spending the 43.5 million dollars awarded to the Palm Beach County School district by the Florida Legislature for classroom size reduction was tabled at Monday night’s board meeting for further discussion.
But the Board only has a few months to prioritize projects and allocate funds, or they will be taken back.
“We have to spend the money quickly, but wisely.” said Nat Harrington, school district spokesman. “Because if we don’t spend it, we’re going to lose it.”

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In the run for the money are 30 Palm Beach County Schools, including six from Boca Raton and Delray, which are in need of permanent additions to better accommodate the rising number of students.
Calusa Elementary, Del Prado Elementary, Verde Elementary, and Waters Edge Elementary are all slated for additional modulars – classroom facilities that can be stacked on top of each other if need be – to replace the more expensive concretables, which cannot be stacked.
Morikami Park Elementary is also on the list as a class size reduction priority, but because it’s boundary-less reduced enrollment could be a more viable option than the addition of modulars.
“The goal is to keep the same number of kids on the campuses, but to spread them further out,” said Harrington.
But with 4,000 to 6,500 new students entering the Palm Beach County system each year, building new schools is a must.
While Board Members did not vote on the specifics of the reduction, they did agree that using the money for additions to current schools was more favorable than building entirely new schools.
They also agreed that non AAA schools will be the top priorities in the reduction because they require six or more additional classrooms and currently have the space to accommodate those classrooms.
Another board meeting held early next year will finalize which schools will receive funding and how much they will receive to reduce their class sizes.