I hope everyone had a Happy Valentines Day. Looking forward to the month ahead, we know that the Florida Legislature begins the 2017 session on Tuesday, March 7th. We here in Broward are keeping a close watch on several important environmental matters and policy decisions related to early childhood education this session, and I will make sure to keep you all in the loop as things progress. In the meantime, there are several fun and exciting events coming up in the days ahead.
Opening of the Marine Environmental Education Center at the Carpenter House in Hollywood’s North Beach Park
Come by and meet Captain, Broward County’s new resident sea turtle at the Carpenter House on Hollywood Beach. On Friday March 3rd, Broward County and Nova Southeastern University cut the ribbon on The Marine Environmental Education Center at Carpenter House on Hollywood Beach. This site is now open to the public, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.
Captain, an injured Sea Turtle, swims in the saltwater pool at the Marine Environmental Educational Center at the Carpenter House. You can see weights attached to the rear of her shell, which helps her maintain balance as she swims.
The Carpenter House was built as a private summer residence in 1941, and was one of the early homes built on the northern end of Hollywood Beach. Back when I was still on the Hollywood City Commission, the last resident of the property passed away. The City of Hollywood then took the property off the tax rolls, and we worked with my predecessor on the
Broward County Commission, Sue Gunzburger to have the County purchase, restore, and rehabilitate the property using funds from the our Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond program. We then opened the Carpenter House to the public five years ago.
We always envisioned the Carpenter House as a educational site. Its location on Hollywood North Beach means that students can study nearby turtle nests, and the property’s in-ground swimming pool was retrofitted to house and rehabilitate injured marine life. In fact, I first encountered a live sea turtle way back when I was a high school student, spearfishing off Hollywood Beach. It somehow snuck up behind me, and when I turned my head I was face to face this mammouth sea turtle.
While Captain is still on the small side, she’ll eventually grow to be much larger.
Thanks to the County’s partnership with Nova Southeastern University, The Marine Environmental Education Center at Carpenter House can become an educational attraction at the north end of our Broadwalk. Visitors and locals will be able to stop in and learn from researchers and students on site about the work they are doing. Over time, I hope that this will have a real impact on how our residents and our visitors see the ecosystem around our beaches, and our own role in it.
To learn more about the Marine Environmental Education Center at Carpenter House visit -
Broward Parks Site
See the presentation made to the Board of County Commissioners on this project by Dr. Richard Dodge, the Dean of, and Professor at, the Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.
Water Matters Day – Saturday March 11th at Tree Tops Park in Davie
Vice Mayor Furr reading the Water Matters Day Proclamation at the February 14th Meeting
Saturday, March 11, come celebrate at the 15th Annual Broward Water Matters Day "Community. Climate. Connected!" event from 9 AM to 3 PM at Tree Tops Park, located at 3900 SW 100 Ave, Davie, FL 33328
Water Matters Day is Broward County's signature water conservation event where residents can learn about our local and regional water resources, how water is managed, and how Broward's water managers are planning to meet our future water needs. Residents will receive tips on water conservation, find out about rebates and incentives for upgrading to water-conserving devices and learn how to create "Florida-friendly" and drought-tolerant landscapes.
Participants can receive a free native plant or tree just for learning how to conserve the earth's most valuable resource. To be eligible, attendees will need to visit at least 12 of the event's exhibits and obtain 12 stamps. There will be more than 45 educational exhibits and booths to help residents learn water conservation techniques, smart irrigation, native landscaping, and what role they can play in protecting and conserving our water supplies.
Other activities include crafts for children, rain barrel and native landscaping demonstrations, Food Truck Invasion, and a variety of giveaways and raffles.
Admission to Water Matters Day is free, but the park's weekend admission fee of $1.50 per person will be in effect. Children five and under are free.
Broward Residents Form Solar Co-ops to Go Solar Together
Broward County residents interested in going but finding the process somewhat daunting and difficult to navigate on their own, can now tap into a network of support. In an effort to save money and make going solar easier, neighbors in Broward County have formed two solar co-ops, one for County residents who live east of US 441 and the other for residents who live west of US 441. The Co-ops are sponsored by Broward County, Go Solar Florida and
FL SUN .
Broward residents interested in joining either co-op can sign up at
East Co-op or
West Co-op. Joining a co-op is not a commitment to purchase solar panels. Once the groups are large enough, FL SUN will help the co-ops solicit competitive bids from area solar installers. Co-op members will select a single company for installations and will then have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer's group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20 percent off the cost of their system.
Information meetings to educate the community about solar and the co-op process are taking place on:
• (Residents East of US-441) Monday, March 6th - 7PM at Art Serve, 1350 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale
• (Residents West of US-441) Tuesday, March 7th - 7PM at Broward County Government Center West, 1 North University Drive, Plantation
The 30th Annual Conference on Children’s Literature and 15th Annual Ashley Bryan Art Series
Broward County Library’s Conference on Children’s Literature will be held Friday, March 17th, 2017, in conjunction with the Ashley Bryan Art Series. The conference is a free, day-long professional development opportunity where librarians, teachers, writers, illustrators, storytellers, and parents gather to receive training and gain exposure to current trends in literature for youth. Participants will learn from our distinguished author and illustrator, as well as knowledgeable local educators, all that you can do to make a book come alive for a variety of populations and educational missions!
The Ashley Bryan Art Series, offered in collaboration between Broward County Library and Broward County Public Schools, celebrates the art of African-American illustrators. The series is dedicated to fostering a love of reading and learning in young people, featuring a Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator. The featured award-winning illustrator will not only speak at the Children’s Literature Conference, but will also dedicate one of his works of art to be included in the Ashley Bryan Art Collection: an artwork collection of illustrators of African descent, which can be viewed at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center.
Participants must pre-register for this free Conference by March 14, 2017 -
Conference on Children's Literature Registration Form. For additional information, use this link to
Conference Information or
2017 Youth and Family Summit
Once every five years, the Children’s Services Council of Broward puts on a very special event, the Youth and Family Summit. As Chair of the Children’s Services Council, it was my privilege to take part in the opening ceremony. The Summit unites child advocates, service providers, local youth and community leaders from the private and public sectors to work collectively on improving the lives of Broward’s children and families.
This year’s summit celebrated the tremendous successes of the Broward County community and it’s leveraging of the Children’s Services Council’s leadership, advocacy and resources to improve the lives of our nearly 400,000 children. Over the past 15 years, The Children’s Services Council has been collecting data on a number of key indicators to measure the well-being of Broward’s Children. In that time we have seen a 70% decrease in the number of youths arrested, a decrease in teen birth rates, infant mortality rates, youth alcohol use and domestic violence. In addition High School graduation rates have risen to 79% of students in Broward County. That is all great news and cause for celebration.
While the Summit gave us an opportunity to celebrate, it was also an opportunity to address the challenges our community continues to face. Today, 1 in 5 children in Broward County live in poverty. In the case of all the “indicators for Well-Being”, black youth are experiencing lower positive impact than their white counterparts. Broward County is in the Top 3% of Counties in the United States for income inequality. Too many of our residents are burdened by the cost of housing – 62% of renters and nearly 42% of homeowners in Broward County are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
The Summit also gave us an opportunity to explore resources and best-practice solutions to address these challenges. The conversations had at the Summit contribute to the Children’s Strategic Plan which we use as the roadmap to work together to build a better Broward.
We were honored to have national expert, Kevin Haggerty who was here to affirm that Broward County is exemplary in its practice of the “Communities That Care” model. We were equally honored to hear from Maya Harris, national public policy expert and civil rights advocate, but it was the 20 outstanding Broward County Public School students who debated issues related to the Broward Children’s Strategic Plan that stole the show. Summit Participants were amazed at the youth’s depth of knowledge and their decorum that modeled the best of civil discourse and debate about topics as complex as foster care, restorative justice, quality early education and free tuition for post-secondary education. If these young people are any indication, the future is in good hands indeed.
For additional information on the Summit visit
To learn more about Broward’s Children’s Strategic Plan and how you can be a part of the solution visit,
CSC Chairs Conference in Tallahassee
The Florida Children’s Council is the umbrella over all of the Children’s Services Councils across the state. Each year, the Florida Children’s Council holds its first quarterly meeting in Tallahassee before the beginning of the legislative session. As you may know, I was recently elected to serve as the Chair of the Children Services Council of Broward, and this was the first opportunity to meet my counterparts from across the state, and discuss the common policy goals across each County.
The first day featured a panel discussion focused on children’s health issues with Justin Senior the Interim Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, Rebecca Matthews the Chief Executive Officer of Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, and Celeste Philip the Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.
On the second day, we headed to the Florida Senate building for a panel discussion focused on supports for children, youth & families with
Alan Abramowitz (pictured above) the
Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office, Christy Daly the
Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and
Barbara Palmer the Director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
Overall, this was a huge opportunity for the local CSC representatives to make connections with Tallahassee. While each County is different, it is important to impress upon our statewide counterparts on the urgency that all of our communities see the need to continue funding the successful programs that directly impact the lives of our children.
Party on the J!
Kudos to the Johnson Street Business District for hosting the
4th Annual Party on the J this year. On February 19th thousands of residents got to meet the owners of the businesses on Johnson Street in the western part of Hollywood. We had the opportunity to set up a booth with our partners at the Broward County Libraries Division and representatives of Broward Reads. Together we provided free books for children of all ages, which were a big hit with the families in attendance.
There is something amazing about the fact that the books that we remember reading as children, and then reading to our own children, still have the ability to capture the imaginations of young readers today
Solid Waste RFP Update
Vice Mayor Furr Updating the League of Cities on the Progress made with hiring a Solid Waste Consultant
I’m happy to share some good news related to the County’s work with the League of Cities to pursue a better solution to how we collectively handle our solid waste. The mayors of five cities (Coconut Creek, Weston, Sunrise, Hollywood and Miramar) joined with the County to appoint a Solid Waste Working Group, and that working group has finalized a Scope of Services document, which is the
first step needed to hire a Consultant. On March 14th the County Commission will be voting to put the solicitation out for bids.
Pembroke Pines Day of Kindness
On Saturday, February 11, 2017 Pembroke Pines hosted a City of Kindness Event at the William B. Armstrong Dream Park.
Residents were encouraged to pack a picnic lunch and join their friends and neighbors at the park. During the Community Peace Meal Picnic, everyone was encouraged to make random acts of kindness. There was musical entertainment performed by children from Pembroke Pines schools.
The city also presented a seven foot Peace Pole imprinted with the saying May Peace Prevail on Earth in four languages: English, Creole, Portuguese and Spanish, for permanent display on the school grounds. The event concluded with the creation of a
Human Peace Sign.
To see the video produced by the City of Pembroke Pines for this event, visit
To pledge your kindness promise and learn about the kind movement please visit
Pembroke Pines Branch Library’s “Grand Opening” Event
Broward County Libraries Division and
The Friends of the Pembroke Pines Library put on a wonderful event on Saturday, February 4th to kick off the expanded branch hours. 750 residents came through the Pembroke Pines Branch for the first open Saturday in many years.
Activities included book giveaways, a family story time, free face painting, magic shows and a clown as well as tai chi and virtual reality demonstrations.
The Pembroke Pines Library will now be opened from 10AM-6PM on Saturdays. Residents are invited to stop by and bring their smart phones, tablets and other devices to learn how to access Broward County Library's free electronic resources, which include eBooks, magazines, music, videos and movies.
Talented 10th Poetry Slam
Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the Talented 10th Poetry Slam as part of the celebration of African American History Month in the City of Hollywood. Contestants, ages 14-18, submitted their original works of poetry based on the topic of education. They later competed in a poetry / spoken word Open Mic Night for the grand prize of a Kindle Tablet, offered courtesy of Liberia Economic and Social Development and AT&T Pioneers.
Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd,
next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention,
feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at email@example.com.