President’s Message – Winter 2016


Greetings to new and returning Singer Island friends and residents! How blessed we are to enjoy this lovely slice of land, cushioned by the ocean and the Intracoastal. The Singer Island Civic Association has worked since 1967 to support, inform, connect, and advocate for our community and to maintain and improve the quality of life we enjoy on the island. Much has been done and much remains to be done on key issues such as protecting our waterfronts, making sure our neighborhoods are safe and secure, encouraging responsible governance and economic development, and connecting our local community.

In our busy lives, it’s also good to take time every now and then to ponder some of the very things we most appreciate about the island. For me, that includes the beauty and wonder of our natural surroundings, our talented and interesting neighbors, and the myriad activities at our doorstep—sailing, kite surfing, kayaking, fishing—the list goes on and on. Walking along the Intracoastal sidewalk and seeing huge prehistoric-looking crabs scuttle under the mangroves always makes me smile. Each morning during turtle nesting season I look forward to seeing new yellow taped areas on the beach, and walking along the ocean it’s fascinating to watch tiny fish glide along the transparent tops of cresting waves. In that spirit, I wanted to share with you lasting memories and impressions of our island from several other SICA board members. We’d love to hear what yours are too—please tell us at info@SingerIslandCivic.org | visit us at www.SingerIslandCivic.org.

On a personal note, I also wanted to share my deep gratitude for the honor of serving on this board for the last several years and, most recently, as President. It has been an enriching experience and one I’ll never forget—I got to work with exceptional people and have fun doing it! I’m taking a hiatus from board activities this year but look forward to continuing as a SICA member and avid supporter.

Board Treasurer Jonathan Knaus is involved in many Island activities and is an entrepreneur and business owner in our community. But it’s not all business for him on the island…

Singer Island is…
taking a relaxing walk on the beach
seeing incredible sunrises and sunsets
swimming in the ocean virtually year-round
watching the sea turtles swim ashore to lay their precious eggs
sharing a peaceful community with other ocean and water lovers

An island visitor, resident and community leader for many years, Vice President Susan Bennett shares cherished memories and an ongoing concern.

Forty years coming to the island—23 visiting family and 18 as a resident—have brought many lasting memories. The off-the-main-street, almost country road atmosphere of the 70s and 80s has turned into a boulevard of luxury homes and condos.

I love our round the clock, ever changing ocean views—a kaleidoscope of clouds and colorful water with a distinct personality and changing moods. The morphing of the Sailfish Marina from a little old grey cottage to the establishment it is today took time to accept but is now enjoyed by all. My biggest concern and disappointment is the stagnant Ocean Mall …

Bob Gonstead is a long-time island leader, having been president of SICA and the Protect our Beaches Coalition among many other civic activities.

Besides the obvious attractions of Sun, Sand, and water, Singer Island provides one with a feeling of serenity, safety, and security. Singer Island reminds me of a very small community like the one I grew up in as a child. Lots of nice neighbors where people get to interact and know each other. My thoughts can best be exemplified by driving east over the Blue Heron Bridge. There is a special feeling when you’re at the top of the bridge gazing at the ocean in your car. It’s a perfect time to exhale!

Secretary and “Administrator Extraordinaire” Shirley Wells has a wealth of knowledge and memories, having been a part of our community for over 50 years.

I have so many memories of Singer Island, going back into the 1950’s and my husband and I enjoying dinner dates at Steen’s Seafood Restaurant at the Ocean Mall.   Most of all, I think the people I have known and worked with over the years who lived on Singer Island have been the best! So many really cared about the Island and gave so much to help make it what it is!

Vice President Andy Romero has a unique perspective on Singer Island, comparing it to his experiences in villages and cities in South America and the U.S.

Some people think growing up in Singer Island isn’t as advanced as living in a city. Although I have not lived on Singer Island all my life, I have collectively lived there for twelve years. I have also lived in other small rural South American communities and large cities in America. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to compare and contrast village and city lifestyles.

Out of these I would have to say Singer Island is one of my many favorite places. I don’t think cities are worse than villages, and comparing between each other, it really just depends on your own opinion. I will share with you several reasons to support my opinion that village life can be very satisfying.

The pollution in larger cities is more concentrated so your lung health is impacted. In villages, there is less air pollution because there are less cars resulting in more people walking around and enjoying a more active lifestyle. In contrast, city people are often too busy for each other, too rushed to cook and there is less time for entertaining and sharing as days are full of lining up and commuting from here to there.

It’s not every day in a suburban lifestyle that you can walk down to the beaches and see a fur-seal rookery teaming with fur seals; hike up a bluff and watch 80% of the world’s kittiwake seabird population spiral and glide around you; or just take a hike to see endangered sea lions play in the surf. These are things I’ve enjoyed while living in other villages. Although every place has flaws, to me the experience of living in a village is something to treasure and remember.

Here on Singer Island, with nature all around you, the freedom of a bird, and plentiful resources, there are few limits to the active lifestyle one can enjoy.

Won’t you join us as we work together to support, inform, connect, and advocate for our beautiful island paradise? We ask you to please encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.

Ann Rettie,
President

President’s Message – Summer 2015

As many of you know, SICA’s mission is to support, inform, connect and advocate for our local community.  It has been an exciting year for us, with many “firsts” for our civic association. We sought to bring new and interesting speakers and activities to our members while honoring the heritage of civic responsibility SICA has advanced since 1967.

MEETINGS

We brought together for the first time at SICA the various federal, state and local organizations with responsibility for securing and protecting our coastline–it was one of our most popular evening meetings.  We also hosted John Kerry, Palm Beach County’s Inspector General, in a discussion of how his office identifies and helps address government fraud, waste and abuse–and how he helps local agencies improve their operations.   Another popular new meeting topic was our discussion of submerged land use and protection of our fragile coastal environment.

In addition, we welcomed perennial favorite speakers such as the Riviera Beach Police Chief, CRA Director Tony Brown, and candidates running for local office.  We encourage open discussion at our meetings, and were pleased to see strong attendance at meetings this year.

SOCIAL EVENTS

We sponsored new social events to connect our neighbors, ranging from a karaoke sing-along last summer to sponsoring monthly beach clean-ups, organized by SICA member Joy Africano, that combined doing good for our environment while having fun on Saturday mornings.   For next year we are considering social activities ranging from a Singer Island Golf Tournament to a party celebrating the boat show and our vital marine economy. Do you have ideas for fun and interesting ways to connect our community?   Let us know your thoughts!

ADVOCACY

SICA supported adoption of the new Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) that brings Riviera Beach code into compliance with the 1993 state CCCL regulations. We also supported CCCL revisions that allowed for more realistic replacement values for catastrophically damaged properties.  We continue to advocate keeping the pristine Lake Worth Lagoon coastline free from commercial or residential development that might disturb our unique and fragile ecosystem.  We also continue to support new state regulations regarding sober homes and treatment centers that will serve to protect our neighbors and clients of those facilities alike.

In our ongoing efforts to promote responsible city governance we established a new Fiscal Responsibility committee, composed of Singer Island and mainland residents, to identify and address areas for improved financial accountability and results. We also continued to press for more action on the Ocean Mall–to clean it up, add more parking and aggressively seek quality tenants.  Some progress has been made on the appearance, but this property is still vastly underperforming.  Join SICA’s voice to let council members and city staff know your views and concerns on these or other issues.

OTHER SICA NEWS

SICA has always supported philanthropic efforts in our local community, and this year was no different. We made donations to the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, Revival Ministries, Council Chair Dawn Pardo’s new Books Come to Life program, and the Riviera Beach Mothers Against Violence program.

Our FREE Singer Island Voice continues to reach thousands of neighbors and residents, and we welcome your feedback or comments on any issue.  If you have suggestions for member meeting topics or social events for next year, please contact us.

Our board of directors welcomed Palm Beach Shores Mayor John Workman to our board this year, and we invite SICA members to join or help lead any of the following committees:  Beaches, Zoning, Safety & Security, Ocean Mall, Membership, and Fiscal Responsibility.  It’s a great way to meet people and make a difference in our community.

Our board will be planning and working over the summer for exciting things to come next year.  We will also keep you updated via summer editions of the Singer Island Voice.  Meanwhile, have a great summer, and remember … SICA serves as YOUR eyes and ears, and the voice of Singer Island … whether YOU are here or away.

See you around the island!

President’s Message – Summer 2014

Greetings from Singer Island! When my husband and I first came to Singer Island ten years ago we were drawn to the lovely beaches, the crystalline waters, the casual island vibe and the great variety of fun things to do nearby. That remains true today, and it is SlCA’s mission to preserve what we all love about the island and address concerns and issues that might affect our slice of paradise. I first became aware of SICA through my good friend and longtime board member Susan Bennett. I learned that in recent years, SICA was a driving force behind making the A1A improvements more than just a re-paving, that SICA purchased submerged land along Ocean Drive to support local conservation efforts, and that we were a founding member of the Protect Our Beaches coalition. Since 1967, SICA has informed and advocated on behalf of island residents, and I am pleased and proud to serve now as our President. I’m grateful for the tireless work of past President Bob Gonstead for laying a strong foundation upon which to build.

One of the most appealing aspects of my new role is the opportunity to work closely with our exceptional Board of Directors. The Board combines deep expertise with new energy–a powerful combination. ln particular, l would like to introduce you to three of our newest board members. Mike Blasdell is an entrepreneur who has built and run several companies, most recently a technology consulting company. Mike is the force behind the new weekly online Singer Island Voice you might have seen–they are chock full of useful and timely information. Mike and his family exemplify the island lifestyle and are often found at the beach. Board member Beethoven Francois is also a successful entrepreneur. He has extensive experience in public relations and marketing and recently launched a new magazine called Taste of Singer Island. If you‘ve been to a local event lately, Beethoven has likely been there too–he’s everywhere! Beethoven is also the founder of Good News Riviera Beach, which promotes inspiring and positive stories within our larger community. Board Member Jonathan Knaus is our citizen of the world–he spent over 20 years working in finance and business development in Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America before choosing Singer Island as his home. Jonathan now serves as our Treasurer. For fun, Jonathan sings, dances, is involved in church activities and is learning Japanese. What a diverse and talented team we have!

Our Board has put considerable thought this year into shaping our strategy and focus going forward. While we will continue to serve as your eyes and ears, and the voice of the island whether you are here or away, you will see some changes in how we go about doing that. Here‘s what you can expect from us:

  • Our evening meetings during season will be more interactive and designed for additional community input, encouraging spirited and thoughtful discussions with our speakers.
  • Our strategic priority issues will be beach preservation, proper zoning and development, the Ocean Mall, safety and security, and economic development. For more information on our positions and activities with respect to these issues, please visit our website at www.singerislandcivic.org.
  • While we will continue mailing postcard reminders for upcoming meetings, our future SICA newsletters will be distributed via email. Our largest yearly expenses are for printing and postage, and we can save dramatically by going digital–leaving more money for advocacy and issue-related activities. Drop us a line at info@SICAsingerisland.com with your email address to be sure you stay connected. If you are unable to receive email, please contact Recording Secretary Shirley Wells at (561) 848-6933 to make alternative arrangements.
  • We have begun distributing a weekly email, Singer Island Voice, with more topical information about island events, news and alerts. You can sign up to receive those at www.singerislandcivic.org. You can also comment from within those updates–we would love to hear from you.
  • We will operate more closely on a calendar year process for our dues. We will discontinue the practice of applying payments received in the summer to the following year; renewal notices will be issued in November-December and due in January-February.
  • In addition to monthly meetings in season, we will host several social events throughout the year to meet your neighbors and have fun. The first one will be a Karaoke Night on July 12th at the Seaspray Inn Beach Resort, in Palm Beach Shores. More details in the newsletter article.

We welcome your feedback, ideas and involvement. If you‘d like to join a committee or engage on an issue, please let us know at info@SICAsingerisland.com. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing you around the island this summer or when you return!

Warm regards,

Ann