Fluoridation foes prepare biting report for Tuesday hearing

Patricia Moreell of Boca Raton has been fighting fluoride for a dozen years.
Twelve years ago, she recalled, she appeared before the Palm Beach County Commission to speak against fluoridating the water supply that serves the unincorporated area – including West Boca Raton and West Delray Beach.
Fluoride has long been considered beneficial to teeth.

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She succeeded in keeping the fluoride tap closed back then. And when the issue came before the Boca Raton City Council, she succeeded in stopping the city’s fluoridation effort.
Moreell and other members of the South Florida Citizens for Safe Drinking Water are gearing up for another battle. Only this time, she fears she might walk away a loser.
The Palm Beach County Commission will hold a hearing Tuesday on whether to fluoridate the district’s water supply. A vote is scheduled to be taken following the 2 p.m. meeting at the Governmental Center at 301 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach.
Moreell, who lists herself simply as “a volunteer,” has counted the house. And it appears only two commissioners – Chairwoman Karen Marcus and Boca Raton’s representative Mary McCarty – will side with the fluoride foes.
She said her forces have bombarded all seven commissioners with information about the detrimental effects of fluoride, but have gotten no indication from any of them that they’re buying into it.
Commissioner Tony Masilotti, she said, refused even to meet with Moreell and her group.
The Boca Raton fluoride foe says the public seems ill informed about the substance’s potential detriments.
She cites reports that put fluoride in the same toxicity category as lead and arsenic. Fluoride, she notes, is not an essential nutrient and is actually a cumulative poison. Drinking fluoridated water, she said, can cause pitting and discoloration of teeth.
While fluoride is touted as beneficial to children, particularly as their teeth develop, Moreell says studies show fluoride does no good until the teeth have actually grown out of the gums.
The popularity of fluoride, she said, is based largely on commercialization. Fluoride has been added to water in many parts of the country for more than a half-century.
She urged people to read the warnings about fluoride on the side of toothpaste tubes to learn what the substance can do.
In the meantime, she said, she is preparing testimony for Tuesday’s meeting. Among those scheduled to speak with her group are Jeff Green, national director of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water in San Diego, and Dr. J. William Hirzy, senior scientist and chemist with the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.
Hirzy called for a moratorium on fluoridation at a June 29, 2000 Senate hearing. He cited a report claiming fluoride is harmful to human health.

LePore opposes paper ‘receipts’ for voters

Wherever embattled Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore goes, controversy seems to follow.
Right now, the woman who soared to notoriety on the wings of 2000’s “butterfly ballot” debacle is explaining why voting “receipts” are not needed at the polls.

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LePore told the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations Tuesday that voting equipment is tested again and again for accuracy. She said the county’s touch-screen voting machines are “not computers, they are processors. They cannot be hooked up to a keyboard, they cannot be hacked into” and they are not networked to other voting machines.
She said data goes into three electronic collection “buckets” in the machine – and all the information must tally every time a vote is cast. If it doesn’t, the voting apparatus shuts down.
Last month, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler told an audience in Boca Raton last month that he has co-sponsored a bill requiring a paper trail to document all ballots punched into the county’s new touch-screen ballot machines.
LePore said she wasn’t invited to attend that meeting. “You don’t invite your enemies,” she said.
She said that session generated a lot of “misinformation.”
“A paper receipt is not necessary because of the redundant memory” in the voting machines, she said. She said many civil liberties groups oppose paper balloting receipts – and a printer would be “another piece of equipment” that poll workers would have to learn to operate.
LePore said the task of hiring some 5,000 poll workers for Election Day is tough enough.
The cost of buying printers for 500 voting machines – at $600 to $1,000 each – is also prohibitive.
“If we are told to do it – and someone gives me the money – we will do it,” she said.
In other matters, the election chief touched on several other topics.
• LePore said she has adjusted polling places in Boca Raton to reflect the annexation of Town Center at Boca Raton mall and several other business and residential areas. As a result of annexations in Boca and other areas, she has added more than 40 new precincts, bringing the number in the county to 680.
• She also said she is running for re-election this year. The sheriff, supervisor of elections and property appraiser are now non-partisan races. She said two people have announced they may run against her. If both file, LePore would face a primary challenge Aug. 31. If she is unopposed or has only one foe, she will run Nov. 2.
• The presidential preference primary in Florida will be held March 9. That is the same day as municipal elections in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.

Club formed to explore the Civil War

Combining his arsenal of pens with his repository of officers’ swords from the American Civil War, a Boca Raton publicist has created a new club for like-minded lovers of history.
Michael Berger, an account exec with Reeves Laverdure public relations, has utilized his passion for history and his skills as a publicist to spearhead a new community organization, the Tri County Civil War Roundtable Club.
The club will host a series of in-depth lectures and discussions featuring a roster of the nation’s leading authorities on the Civil War, said Berger, who is also a member of Boca Raton’s Rotary Club.
“The Civil War really paved the way for future wars to come,” Berger said of the war which lasted six years and claimed 650,000 lives. “The history, tactics, equipment and just sheer romance of it are fascinating.”
Growing up in close proximity to the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields, Berger said he’s been a Civil War enthusiast all of his life.

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When he moved to Florida last year, he took his passion one step further and enlisted in 7th Florida Company K, a Tampa based civil war reenactment group, which portrays both the Union and Confederate sides of the war.
But the seven-month reenactment season was not enough to satisfy Berger’s cravings, so he set a goal to expand the community of interested historians to the Tri-County area.
“I knew there were a lot of reenactors and historians in the area and I wanted to find out who these people are and get them all together,” said Berger, who said he got immediate responses from his emails and fliers soliciting the event.
Berger is quick to emphasize Florida’s role in the war as the third state to secede.
“Most people typically think of Virginia and South Carolina when they think about the Civil War, but there’s a lot of war history in Florida,” said Berger, who estimated 15,000 Floridians fought for the Confederacy.
Another local history buff, David Murphy, said he is excited about club but hasn’t had the opportunity to get together with likeminded individuals since he moved to Boca.
“I think it’s important to have a local club like this because the Civil War is such an important topic in American history and there is so much to learn from it,” said Murphy.
The club’s first guest speakers will appear at Borders in Boca Raton on Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m. Dr. Robert Taylor and Dr. Lewis Wynne, co-authors of “Florida in the Civil War,” are slated to lecture about Florida’s unique role in the Civil War, said Berger.
Dr. Taylor is an associate professor of humanities at the Florida Institute of Technology and Dr. Wynne is the president of the Florida Historical Society.
Next month, the club will host author John Clark Jr. The graduate of Dartmouth College and Princeton University will lecture on his book “Railroads in the Civil War: The impact of management on victory and defeat.”
For more details about upcoming events and club information visit

Tip from U.S. Customs in Alaska helps nail DVD ‘pirate’ in Boca

The box that arrived at the U.S. Customs office in Anchorage, Alaska, from Bangkok, Thailand late last month was marked “22 DVDs.”
But the box – addressed to a Boca Raton address — weighed 13 pounds.
When suspicious customs officials opened it, they found 510 counterfeit DVD movies inside. And they called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

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On Wednesday, an undercover sheriff’s deputy dressed as a Federal Express driver delivered the package to a house in the Mission Bay development, police said. A man signed for the package and took it inside.
Minutes later, officers went into the house and arrested Elliot Sinofsky, 55, of 10418 Lake Vista Circle, Boca Raton, charging him with possession of counterfeit DVD movies.
“In an upstairs bedroom, we found 3,000 to 4,000 counterfeit DVD movies,” said Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ronald Tomassi.
The detective said it took 10 officers three hours to “seize all the property in the house,” which he said was strewn with videodiscs, invoices and order forms.
The box of 510 discs – for which Sinofsky reportedly paid $196 – had a retail value of $10,000, the detective said.
“This is just one guy – with one box,” said Tomassi. “It happens all over the world.”
Film piracy cuts about a billion dollars a year from the film industry, said the sheriff’s detective, who has been in touch with the Motion Picture Association of America.
According to Tomassi, the suspect was allegedly selling fake DVDs on the Internet and on Ebay. Orders had come in from all over the nation – and the world, the officer said.
One order from a man in Pakistan was for 120 movies on disc.
Tomassi said Sinofsky was allegedly dealing in recently released American films as well as pornographic movies.
In addition to the DVDs, officers reportedly found packaging equipment systems, shrink wrap, labels, plastic DVD containers and computers “all used to enhance this operation.”
The lead detective said that Sinofsky confessed to conducting the piracy operation, claiming he had suffered leg injuries in a car accident several years ago and said he was unable to get a job.
Tomassi said the man limped badly and had difficulty walking.
He said Sinofsky, who turns 56 later this month, is married and has a college-age son who came home in the middle of his father’s arrest.
Sinofsky, the detective said, faces two felony counts – and may also be charged with federal law violations.
One of the charges leveled against Sinofsky Wednesday was possession of counterfeit DVDs. Tomassi said the suspect had neither a security code nor a U.S. copyright logo, which are required of legitimate sellers of DVDs.
The other felony count, the detective said, was possession of counterfeit labels for the movies.
Tomassi listed such titles as “Scarface,” “Phone Booth,” “Gangs of New York” and Walt Disney films among the faked DVDs.
He said the counterfeits were not of the same quality as legitimate DVDs, and the labels also had an amateurish look.
Sinofsky is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Boca firm revives request to do research on body-freezing

A Boca Raton firm has apparently resurrected its proposal to do research on freezing dead humans for possible later revival.
Suspended Animation Inc. has notified local officials that it will present its proposal to the City Council at a hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
Planning and Zoning Director Carmen Annunziato said he has received a letter from Suspended Animation’s attorney saying she will attend Tuesday’s hearing and a presentation will be made.

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Two City Council members told the News in interviews late last year that they had heard the firm was going to pull out after receiving a unanimous rejection vote from the Planning & Zoning Board following a public hearing last November.
The News contacted the company last week, but was told that President David Shumaker and Chief Operating Officer David Hayes were out of town, and would be for several weeks – including this week.
A call to the firm’s lawyer was not returned.
In addition to the thumbs-down recommendation from the P&Z; Board, Suspended Animation’s proposal has been soundly protested by animal rights activists who demonstrated outside City Hall the night of the Planning & Zoning hearing.
“Cryopreservation” is a process of extreme low-temperature freezing of bodies for eventual reawakening.
In its application filed at City Hall, the firm says most of its work – some 95 percent – will be in research on the cryopreservation process.
The fact that Suspended Animation would be using rats and previously euthanized dogs in its experiments has raised the ire the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) which organized the protest.
Also weighing in on the negative side is City Manager Leif Ahnell. In a letter going to the council in advance of Tuesday’s hearing, he is recommending rejecting the request for a conditional use permit for the research and testing facility at 1082 Rogers Circle in the South Congress Industrial Center.
Ahnell said human cryopreservation is not permissible in the zoning district where the building is located.
Also, he said, the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers requires the firm to file for licensing unless it receives an exemption from the state legislature.
The city manager also said he does not know how the state will regulate the body-freezing industry.
In an earlier interview with the News, Shumaker said Suspended Animation wants to research how to slow tissue growth with extreme cold so that a body can be frozen now and thawed later. It is not a revival, he said, so much as a restoration of life processes.
“This is being done right now on a tissue and organ level,” he said. “But we haven’t been able to do it with an entire organism.”
The idea of freezing bodies gained new recognition when retired Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was put on ice following his death.
Shumaker said about 1,000 people have signed up to be frozen.
The application said the firm’s building will remain virtually unchanged. Plans call for the creation of a couple of labs and a preparation room inside, but nothing that would change the exterior.
The Life Extension Foundation of Fort Lauderdale funds Suspended Animation Inc., its application says, and 5300 Palisades Avenue Association LLC of New Jersey owns it.

What’s so a-peeling?

Aging skin, sun damage, sagging skin and wrinkles may be a patient’s worst nightmare, but there is good news!
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People often think that surgery is the panacea for aging skin, but this is not true. In fact, people often don’t realize that surgery alone does not make aging skin look younger. While a facelift can tighten sagging muscles and remove excess tissue, it will not restore aging skin to its former youthful glow and vibrant appearance. For this, a chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing or CoblationÆ (a procedure that combines electrical energy with sterile salt solutions) is required.
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Election violence surfaces in South Florida

Election-related violence is on the rise this week in South Florida as impassioned Republicans and Democrats duke it out at rallies and the polls.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and Independents in Palm Beach County, where voters last week began casting early ballots for the Nov. 2 general election, and strained feelings are already leading to hostility. In Boca Raton this weekend, county Republicans filled out police reports for shattered car windows at a Friday rally and a vandalism incident Sunday night at their headquarters.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jenni Garrison, executive director of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, said yesterday. “This is our first presidential election since 2000 and people are already nervous and scared about using the new machines. This contentiousness just adds to their anxiety.”

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Garrison said the nastiness is also evident from Republican volunteers, adding that she hopes both parties will crack down on it.
“I’ve already removed people from polling places for behaving inappropriately and antagonizing Democratic voters,” Garrison said. “We’ve also removed inappropriate signs. We’re not out there to harass the voters and behave like four-year olds. We’re there to support our president.”
Sunday’s incident occurred at the GOP’s Boca headquarters on North Federal Highway between 7 and 11 p.m. The unknown perpetrator tampered with the deadbolt on the office door, locking party workers out of the office when they discovered that their keys no longer worked.
“The brown shirts have arrived and they’re all Democrats,” said Sid Dinerstein, county GOP chairman.
Also on Sunday night, a student leading a Republican protest at Florida Atlantic University saw her Ford Explorer vandalized by Democrats attending a John Kerry rally. University police responded to the incident and eventually broke it up.
“Some people surrounded us and started yelling obscenities and racist comments at me,” said Dana Roberts, FAU College Republican chairwoman. “I’m African-American and they were yelling that I’ve sided with the Ku Klux Klan. There were people telling them to stop, but they poured beer on the car and vandalized it with Kerry bumper stickers.”
Between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, an unknown Kerry supporter drove by a GOP rally near a K-Mart on Palmetto Park Road and threw rocks and sand at rally-goers. Several car windows were broken.
“I was singled out as the leader and had rocks thrown in my face,” said Jack Furnari, president of the Boca Raton Republicans.
Sources at Boca PD yesterday confirmed the two police reports, but declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) said there have been no arrests at polling places patrolled by her department.
“We do have a law enforcement presence at polling places in our jurisdiction,” said Commander Diane Carhart, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. “No election-related crime has been reported to my knowledge.”
Florida, along with Ohio and Pennsylvania, is one of three states where the presidential election is still a statistical dead heat between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
The Republican and Democratic candidates for president in recent weeks have joined party leaders for a multi-million dollar storm of negative campaigning and advertising throughout the state. Bush and Kerry, at rallies designed to motivate their party faithful, have accused each other of trying to scare the electorate in the same breath they relentlessly attack one another as radicals who very frighteningly don’t represent mainstream American values.
“This is the big week,” said state Rep. Adam Hasner, a Republican representing South Palm Beach County. “Everyone’s a little bit on edge.”

Parents of autistic children say proposed FAU center would help

A handful of Boca Raton parents attended a meeting Tuesday night to learn about a program that could change their children’s lives.
They were parents of children with autism – a developmental disorder that often emerges between the ages of 1 and 3 and can inhibit communication skills and children’s ability to form emotional bonds.
It is one of several disorders that would be treated at a proposed Florida Atlantic University facility called the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD).
University professor Jack Scott led an information session Tuesday about the FAU facility. If approved by the state legislature, the CARD center would be headquartered at FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road, and would offer educational workshops, physician referrals and other free support services to children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism, pervasive developmental disorders, autistic-like disabilities, dual sensory impairments or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions, including Asperger’s Disorder.
Florida Atlantic University already serves as a satellite center for a CARD facility at the University of Miami, but Scott and some parents said local residents need the more intensive services of a full-fledged CARD program. About $750,000 would be needed to establish the center, which would serve all of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
The university currently receives about $157,000 as a satellite center – an amount Scott said was insufficient considering the high numbers of autism patients in South Florida.
“We have one-third of the children with autism statewide, but we only get one-fifth of the funding,” he said.
Boca Raton parent Dany Atkinson-Tinsley agreed.

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“If more funds were appropriated we would be given more money to get what we need,” said Atkinson-Tinsley, whose 8-year-old son Steele is autistic. “It’s like we’re being offered something to drink, but they don’t give you a glass.”
Scott, who’s in charge of the existing CARD office at FAU, encouraged those at Tuesday’s meeting to write letters to local legislators stating the need for a Boca Raton-based CARD center.
Six of the centers currently exist on university campuses statewide.
State Rep. Irv Slosberg, who represents parts of suburban Boca Raton and Delray Beach, attended Tuesday night’s meeting and offered support.
“We have a lot of autistic kids in our system who we have to take care of,” he said.
Republican State Rep. Gayle Harrell and State. Sen. Ron Klein, who represents parts of Boca Raton, have also come out in favor of expanding FAU’s CARD center.
Harrell promised to file a bill in the legislature addressing the matter during the 2003 session, and Klein helped secure funding for the existing facility.
Scott said there are at least 480 children with autism and related disorders in Palm Beach County, and there might be as many as a thousand.
Recent nationwide estimates have shown that one in 250 children are affected with autism and similar conditions, he said.

Hemp hoopla

You can’t smoke your clothes,” points out Ira Schneider, bringing to an end any stereotype placed on the garments sold in his Boca Raton store.
For Schneider, selling all hemp products is not a gimmick to draw pot-smoking teens into his shop or lure in middle-aged adults trying to relive the Hippie era.
Selling products made from hemp is about the environment and education, says the 31-year-old owner of the Hemp Factory at 503 N.E. 20th St.
“I’m for anything that can save the planet,” said the New Jersey native, who opened the small boutique in 1996 just blocks from his current location. Schneider, who claims his store is the oldest of its kind in Florida, is one of only a handful of exclusively hemp product shops in the state.
“I’m always trying to educate people,” said Schneider, whose curiosity in the hemp plant grew out of his interest in the environment. “I know just about everything there is to know about it.”
Among the items that can be purchased at the shop are hemp shoes, shorts, shirts, skirts, wallets, yoga wear, hats and American flags. There are even edibles such as hemp lollipops, truffles, pepper sauce and hemp seed snack bars. In addition, the shop sells suntan oil, soap and hair-care products made from hemp oil.
Schneider stresses that not a single product in his store can get a person high because hemp – unlike the more well known street marijuana – has extremely low levels of THC, the drug that produces the psychoactive high in pot.
“You can smoke an acre of hemp and not get high,” Schneider said. “Marijuana is the flower. Hemp is the plant. It grows like a stalk. Worldwide it is accepted everywhere. Only in the States is there a stigma attached to it.”
Schneider, as do other advocates of hemp, hails the plant for not only its environmental benefits but its versatility as well.
It has been estimated that hemp can be made into 25,000 different products and among the more historical items made from the plant was the first pair of Levis jeans and the paper for the first and second drafts of the U.S. Constitution.
“There are no chemicals needed to grow it, unlike cotton,” Schneider said. “This is a true natural fiber.”
Advocates also point out its use as a clean fuel source, its usefulness as a paper and its oil as a healthy alternative to other cooking oils.
Due to the prohibition of marijuana in the U.S. in the 1930’s, hemp fabric, oil and seeds must be imported into the country from countries such as China and Romania, which is where Schneider gets the material for his clothing.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar business,” Schneider said. “Every industrialized nation in the world produces it. We’re the only idiots that don’t. Our country is run by kings, it’s not a democracy. We don’t vote on laws in this country. The politicians are protecting their industries.”
For this reason and the fact that it’s a high-end fiber that does not mold, mildew or hold odors, says Schneider, that the clothes can be pricey. A shirt is his store can cost as much as much as $70.
“They [clothes] do not feel like burlap sacks,” he said. “This is not crap fiber.”
Schneider says the shop grosses about $30,000 a month, but more importantly for him, he says it has opened the door for other careers. A Jack of all trades, Schneider manufactures women’s clothing, is a hair salon consultant, a hairstylist and real estate agent.
“I spend about 16 hours a week at this store,” said Schneider, who helped co-found the Hemp Industries Association, a trade organization. “My plate is full. I have no time to be a burnout [pothead]. I’m too busy.”
And although Boca may not appear to be the perfect market for this type of alternative shop, Schneider says otherwise.
“Hemp is high-end so you have to be somewhere where people can afford it,” said Schneider, who also owned a hemp shop in Coral Springs, but later closed it. “Boca is the only town in Palm Beach County that is liberal. People here are educated. They have brains and smarts.
“If any unique business is going to make it anywhere in the world, it is Boca. There is enough money and people,” said Schneider, adding that his clientele ranges from ages 35-50. “This is an international hot spot. Boca loves me.”

Clinton talks of her ‘challenges’ to open conference for businesswomen

One thing you can say about Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s flexible. And she proved it Sunday night when she opened the fourth annual Office Depot Success Strategies for Businesswomen conference at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The keynote speaker at the opening of the three-day gathering, Clinton noted that the schedule gave her no time to take questions from the audience. So she decided to have Q&A; session, based on a request from a woman she ran into when she arrived at the resort. “This will show that I’m flexible,” the senator said. “When she asked me if there More>>

Safe and salubrious kids
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
What do a bicycle rodeo, a fire truck tour, boot camp drills, a fresh fruit stand, karate demonstrations, and a Red Cross puppet show all have in common? These goodies and more were all part of Del Prado Elementary’s first annual health and safety fair, organized and launched by parent Gina More>>
Shuttling sand to shore
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
That dark gray sand gushing up along the shoreline at Boca Raton’s South Beach Park isn’t anything to be concerned about. Nor are the large rust-colored pipes and bulldozers along the coastline. Boca Raton on Thursday began a 30-day “renourishment” of the central beach area, said Neil Evangelista, public information officer. “That’s 30 More>>
The many faces of Aquasol
Published Monday, February 23, 2004
It’s a restaurant with multiple personalities, according to owner Dana Jacober who says the vibe in Aquasol changes dramatically for each of their three seatings. At lunchtime, the industrial chic New York style restaurant is a perfect spot for business executives to meet clients in a fine dining setting. More>>