RIP – Whitney Houston

RIP Whitney Houston

August 9, 1963 ~ February 11, 2012



CNN is reporting that Mit Romney won the CPAC straw poll today.  This convention of Conservative Activists was seen as a long-shot for Romney.

Santorum came in second followed by Gingrich and Paul.

This should finally seal the deal for Romney to move onto the Republican Nomination.

Gingrich has long spouted to anyone who would listen that he was the only legitimate alternative to Romney.  Over and over again the Republican electorate has signaled to Gingrich that he is not their choice, maybe now he will finally begin to listen.   Gingrich isn’t even the SECOND choice!

I could never vote for Santorum, Gingrich or Paul, however if the Republican Party wants to attract Independent voters and “Reagan Democrats” Romney MUST be the candidate.

Romney wins CPAC straw poll

(CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won the closely-watched Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll Saturday.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, took 38% of the vote in the poll. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum received 31%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at 15% and Texas Rep. Ron Paul stood at 12%.

When asked who their choice was for vice president, 34% of the attendees at the three-day conservative meeting in Washington named Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Things that Make You Say HHHMMMM……


Palm Beach County water department pays $90,000 for equipment it says never came; supplier says he delivered

ByJennifer SorentruePalm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 11:07 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012

Posted: 7:12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock has launched an inquiry  into a nearly $90,000 payment by the county’s water department in 2010 for  work that county managers say was never done.

The supplier, Carter & VerPlanck, says the water treatment equipment was  in fact delivered and that the county is mistaken but county officials  disagree and are pressing for repayment.

County records show that Water Utilities Department officials notified Tampa  supplier Carter & VerPlanck in Nov. 2010 that they were withholding  $89,482 from a $142,482 payment, alleging that part of the work had not been  completed. But the next day, the department authorized the clerk’s office to  pay the full amount.

Utility officials caught the error 25 days later, but the check had been  cashed. No attempt was made to recoup the money. In fact although utility  officials were aware in 2010 that a payment had been made for the disputed  work, records show, they did not contact Bock’s office about the mistake  until Monday, when they were questioned about it by The Palm Beach Post.

“The problem was it just fell through the cracks,” said Assistant  County Administrator Shannon LaRocque, who oversees the water utilities  department. “We never picked it back up.”

Bock said Thursday that her staff has begun an immediate review of the  payment, adding that it raises questions about the controls used by county  departments to ensure that bills are paid properly.

“How does $90,000 fall through the cracks?” Bock said. “How do  you get notice of it by a tip from the newspaper? That is what turns it from  an everyday issue into a much more serious issue.”

The clerk’s office, which is responsible for processing all county payments,  relies on departments to verify goods and services have been received before  checks are sent out. In this case, all of the protocols were met, Bock said.

“Every single bill that is that is paid has to meet certain tests,”  Bock said. “We pay the bills based on the validity of what we get from  water utilities, day in and day out.”

Carter & VerPlanck Chief Executive Saade Chibani said he didn’t learn  until Friday that county officials were questioning the 2010 payment, which  included money for machinery, parts and labor. He welcomed Bock’s review,  saying the county was on a “witch hunt.”

“My business has been around since 1927,” Chibani said. “We  aren’t in business this long because we take money that was not owed to us.”

Although part of the equipment was originally scheduled to be installed at the  county plant providing water to suburban West Palm Beach, Chibani said, the  work was shifted to two other county facilities. The county paid $26,997 for  that work.

The company was due an additional $62,485 for a control panel that was  purchased by the county but never installed or tested. Chibani said he  received half of the money owed for the $124,970 panel, but waited more than  a year to get the rest it. Chibani said it wasn’t his fault that county  officials chose never to install the panel.

“There is somebody mistaken at the county,” Chibani said. “There  was no overpayment. We have rendered the goods that we are supposed to  render.”

LaRocque disagrees.

“We have a difference of opinion,” she said Friday. “We are  just going to have to work through it.”

Water Utilities Department Director Bevin Beaudet, who reports to LaRocque,  said this week that the department had made an error and would withhold the  disputed amount from future payments to the company, which the county  currently owes about $250,000. “We aren’t going to pay them until we  get our money back,” he said. “I am totally, 100 percent confident  we will get our money back.”

County Administrator Bob Weisman said he plans to ask the county’s Office of  Inspector General to investigate.

“I think this is a fine case for the inspector general,” Weisman  said. “I would rely on the inspector general to determine what happened.”

Weisman and Chibani have known each other since Weisman’s days as the county’s  water department director more than 20 years ago. Weisman called Chibani a “long-time  friend” but said the company gets no favors as a result of that  friendship. He added that the two haven’t seen each other in at least two  years.

In 2005, The Post reported that the county required contractors vying  to build the Lake Region Water Treatment Plant to purchase a specific brand  of machinery through Carter & VerPlanck — even though there were at  least three other competitors with similar equipment.

LaRocque said the payment dispute was an isolated incident.

“There is nothing in my mind that rises to the level of an intentional  overpayment,” she said. ‘There are too many checks and balances in  place.”

Since the check was issued in 2010, the county has paid more than $600,000 to  Carter and VerPlanck for a number of purchases, the clerk’s office said.

Joe Doucette, the inspector general’s chief of administration, said Friday  that the office was not investigating the dispute payment as yet. But after  learning details about the payment from a Post reporter, Doucette said “we  will definitely look into it.”

Last year, two utility employees were fired for allegedly forging paperwork to  justify more than $90,000 in purchases over five months from one vendor.  After looking into the matter, the inspector general’s office issued a  16-page report in April that found problems with the Water Utilities  Department purchasing process. The report recommended that the utility  officials review procurement procedures to “safeguard” county  assets and prevent “abuse.”

Gramps: Speaking Volumes

Gramps was my grandfather on my mother’s side.  Sam J. Bellamy, he was a tall slender man of few words.  (To this day I don’t know what the “J” stood for.)   Gramps took the backseat to Ma-Ma, his wife of 62 years.  She was a tiny spitfire of a woman who took control of the room and never let go.

I never really knew Gramps that well until after Ma-Ma died.  For my entire life he was the silent guy working in the garden or sitting on the back porch who gave me peppermint sticks.

He referred to me as”Shorty,”  and for the most part he he called me “Shorty” until he died.

Daddy has said on many occasions that he has never heard anyone say a bad word about my grandfather, that is quite a compliment in today’s world.

Gramps was a striking man, over 6′ tall and slender, snow-white hair slicked straight back and always immaculately dressed.  He worked for Tugalo Gas Company for his entire adult life.

Traveling the back roads of Georgia during the 60s and 70s was difficult work, he would install tanks, run gas lines and all the other necessary tasks providing gas to homes and businesses.

Over the years, Gramps became well-known with his customers.  Known as Mr. Sam to many.  Sometime in the 60s, Gramps got a partner.  Gramps’ partner was a kind man as well, a man of few words and extremely hard worker.  Gramps’ partners was Jessie.

Jessie was black.

The pairing of Gramps and Jessie turned some heads in those early days, but Gramps continued to do his job and treated Jessie with the respect that he would any other co-worker.

Over the years, Gramps and Jessie became friends and remained partners until Gramps retired.  When I was a child, now and again I would “go to work” with Gramps.  During those days I was one of the boys and included in the banter of the day between Jessie and Gramps.

Through the years I learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life through the partnership of my grandfather and Jessie.  Back in the day, black men were not welcome through the front door of many restaurants in the area. They weren’t allowed to eat in the dining room and treated as second class citizens.  My grandfather CHOSE not to eat in those restaurants because his partner could not eat there.

When Ma-Ma sent lunch for gramps, she would send it for Jessie too.  Jessie and his family were included in all of our Christmas card lists and his family would receive special gifts from Ma-Ma and Gramps each year.

Through silent dignity, my grandfather taught me through action that all men are created equal and should receive all the benefits of any other American as long as they are willing to be a productive member of the society.

Gramps worked until he was in his late 60’s, he retired and then he went back to work again.  He wasn’t made to be idle.

As Ma-Ma’s health began to fail, I started to see a new side of my grandfather.  He began to speak up and be the voice of our family.  Little did I know he had always been the voice, he just didn’t need words to be heard.

On the day Ma-Ma died my relationship with Gramps changed.  Ma-ma had been in the hospital in Atlanta, 90 minutes from Gramps house.  Our family had been gathered there for days as we knew the end was near.

When I arrived at the hospital, after she had passed, I spent a few minutes with her in the room.  When I came out Gramps looked at me and said “Shorty, let’s go.”

We left the remaining members of the family and got in my car for the drive to Toccoa.  When we got in the car he simply said, “get me home.”  Gramps and I said very little on that trip, but without words we bonded in grief and memories.  I stayed pretty close to him through those days of mourning and our relationship continued to grow after.

As I got older, I learned that Gramps had a wicked sense of humor.  The sparkle in his eye could add emphasis to a story that words failed.  Mama and Daddy began to travel during those years and often Gramps would accompany them.  He never let up, he just went.

In late 1996, I moved to South Florida.  Not long after mama and daddy planned a visit.  Gramps was with them.  On that trip they had stopped for an overnight with Aunt Beck.  The next morning gramps fell in the shower, we didn’t know how badly he was hurt until much later.

Without complaint mama, daddy and gramps made their way to my house.  Gramps wasn’t feeling well but he was not going to miss the trip to see “Shorty.”  That stay lasted less than 48 hours, Gramps was having a hard time breathing and he refused to go to the doctor.  After a less than restful night, the trio left my house on their way back to God’s Country.

We found out when they arrived home that in the fall, Gramps had punctured a lung.  For 4 days he walked around, traveled and visited with family all without the ability to breathe.  Again, he said more without words than he ever could have with words.  He spoke of overcoming adversity, working through pain and the importance of family.

Gramps died a year later.  He died as he had lived, quietly and with dignity.

I am glad I got to know Gramps, his ability to teach through action served all who knew him well.


It appears that my headline of yesterday afternoon caused a bit of panic with people I care about.  “Resigned” was not about me!

I LOVE my job and feel fortunate to go to work every day as the Director of Marketing for Downtown at the Gardens and Berman Enterprises.

It has taken me a long time to get to a place in my career that I feel fortunate to go to work and I truly feel that way!  My bosses are the most giving, honorable, kind and fun people I have ever worked with.  My co-workers challenge me constantly and devise a team that has no fear and does not understand the word “can’t.”  Yes, I am fortunate!  I told someone last week, I will stay in my job as long as they will let me.

The “Resigned” post was to notice the Director of Finance leaving the Town of Lake Park.  Sorry if I alarmed anyone with the headline.