Free to paddle board wherever you want, almost? Hollywood gives it a go

Free to paddle board wherever you want, almost? Hollywood gives it a go

Cat Uden, a Hollywood activist and chairwoman of the local Surfrider chapter, says Hollywood’s paddle boarding rules are among the strictest rules in the region. But that’s about to change. (Courtesy/Cat Uden)

For plenty of South Florida beaches, paddleboarders are just another part of the seascape.

Not Hollywood, where you’re more likely to see a pretty umbrella in the sand than a swift paddleboarder in the ocean.

Paddlers say that’s because Hollywood is known for having strict rules when it comes to their sport.

That’s about to change.

Paddlers, led by Surfrider champ Cat Uden, have complained for years about those tough rules. Now, after months of negotiations, Hollywood is embarking on a six-month pilot program that will give paddlers a little more breathing room.

The new rules kick in March 23.

“I just hope it’s a success,” said Bruce Wilkie, who oversees Hollywood’s 68 lifeguards. “We just hope a lot more people come to the beach and use it for recreation.”

For years, Hollywood has required paddlers and kayakers to stay 300 yards from shore once they’re out on the water, forcing them into the same channels traversed by boaters. The new rules will allow them to paddle 100 yards from shore, helping prevent potentially dangerous collisions.

Paddlers have also been required to use two narrow launch zones, leaving most of the beach off limits.

Under the pilot program, paddlers will be able to launch anywhere along the 4.5-mile beach as along as it’s before 10 a.m. The same rule applies if it’s after 6 p.m. when it’s daylight saving time and after 4:30 p.m. when it’s not.

Paddlers can still do their thing between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but they’ll have to enter the water and come ashore at one of four launch zones.

Two of those zones are new and will be marked by orange buoys to help act as guides for kayakers and stand-up paddlers, Wilkie said. Those zones will be at Hollywood Boulevard on the south end of the beach and at Sherman Street, near the Positano condo at Sheridan Street.

“We want to give these channels a trial period to see if they’re used or not,” Wilkie said. “If word gets out, maybe people will show up and use them.”

The two current launch zones are being rebranded as recreation areas and will be open to paddleboarders, kayakers, surfers and skim boarders.

The north recreation zone will go from Douglas Street north to Dania Beach Boulevard. The south recreation zone runs from Georgia Street to Eucalyptus Terrace.

It’s too soon to say whether the new rules will transform Hollywood into a paddling mecca, Commissioner Kevin Biederman said.

“I think we just had to have a trial period to see how things go with some relaxed rules, so that the paddling experience can be more convenient on Hollywood beach,” he said.

After the pilot program, commissioners will have to vote on the new rules before they can become permanent.

The changes won’t come free.

Hollywood plans to spend around $73,000 on 30 orange launch buoys, lifeguard equipment and 29 white buoys to mark the line where boaters aren’t supposed to cross.

The boating buoys are not part of the pilot program, but are needed to help make the beach safer, Wilkie said.

“Practically every beach but Hollywood has them: Hallandale, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, Miami Beach, Deerfield,” Wilkie said. “We do get boats trying to come in close to pick up a friend or family member. The buoys won’t stop that, but they may cut back on it a little.”

They will be 4 feet high and placed 150 yards offshore in front of all 28 lifeguard towers along the beach. They will cost $38,000 and likely won’t arrive until September.

The orange launch zone buoys will cost $2,250 and might be in place as soon as April.

Some beachgoers are already worried about the prospect of buoys marring the natural beauty of the beach.

That includes Heather Schueler, who has lived at the beach for 20 years and been paddling for eight.

“Hollywood beach is one of the last beaches to remain quiet, natural and not overcrowded,” she said. “I would hate to see the natural beauty be destroyed by man-placed buoys in our ocean.”

Uden says she doesn’t think the buoys or extra launch zones are necessary.

“There’s no reason to create a channel for us,” she said. “We’re not like Jet Skis. No sense in spending money on all of these buoys that we don’t need.”

by: Susannah BryanContact Reporter
South Florida Sun Sentinel

Boca Raton company buying back plastic straws in exchange for eco-friendly alternative

Boca Raton company buying back plastic straws in exchange for eco-friendly alternative

Robert Stillman, founder and CEO of FarFromBoring Promotional Products in Boca Raton, will begin buying back plastic straws as well as selling paper straws as an alternative to plastic. (File photo)

As more municipalities and businesses move away from plastic straws, one company that already offers an alternative is offering to buy them back.

FarFromBoring Hospitality is offering to swap out local establishments’ current stocks of up to 20,000 plastic straws. The company founded an alternative paper straw called rhino straws, which it says is eco-friendly and reasonably priced. It’s also offering 15 percent off any paper straws it purchases in March.

“Americans use more 500 million plastic straws every day,” said Robert Stillman, CEO of FarFromBoring Promotions, FarFromBoring Hospitality’s parent company. “These pollute our oceans and are ingested by sea birds, turtles and other marine life. Many counties across the state of Florida have enacted a ban on plastic straws entirely.”

The Boca Raton company was started last November as more cities, counties and individual businesses and chains decided to decrease or effectively ban the use of plastic straws. It also offers cocktail and coffee stirrers and customizable designs.

Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach are among the municipalities that have voted to ban plastic straws, citing plastic pollution in the oceans and beaches, as well as the harm they cause birds and marine animals that accidentally ingest them.

Most cities still allow restaurants and bars to carry plastic straws, but require them to be given only when asked by customers. Straws will also still remain in hospitals, nursing facilities, schools and other places where people may have specific medical needs that necessitate their use.

“We know many vendors have current stock and don’t want to lose the money by throwing their plastic straws out,” Stillman said. “We hope our offer to purchase their stock helps them to move quickly in an effort to preserve what we are losing. Plus, we will also pick up the straws and dispose of them in an eco-friendly manner.”

With every case of paper straws sold, FarFromBoring Promotions will be making a donation to Trees for the Future, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization that plants trees in deforested regions around the world.

“Before we brought our paper straws to market in South Florida, there was very little product availability,” Stillman said. “What little inventory was available felt like cardboard and dissolved too quickly in drinks. Finally, the price point for these inferior-quality straws was far too much for restaurants to spend on a one-time use consumable.”

By: Austen Erblat Contact Reporter
South Florida Community News

Sea Turtle Nesting Season is underway on our beaches.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season is underway on our beaches.

From March through October these creatures will return to their home beaches to lay eggs. Hollywood residents and beach visitors can help sea turtles during the nesting season by keeping beaches clean, being aware of nesting sites and reducing artificial lighting near beaches that can distract and confuse mothers and hatchlings. Sea turtle hatchlings use light and reflections from the moon to find their way to the water at night. Artificial lighting discourages adult females from nesting on the beach.

Hollywood’s new lifeguard towers hit the beach – for $2 million

Hollywood’s new lifeguard towers hit the beach – for $2 million

Crews work on the first of Hollywood’s new lifeguard stands on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. The tower sits next to an old stand at Liberty Street. Another new tower is at Azalea Terrace to the south. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Two lifeguard towers stand side by side on Hollywood beach, one old and one new.

The battered wooden shack with faded yellow paint has weathered the elements for a quarter of a century. Just a few steps to the north sits the new arrival, a sign of things to come.

By the end of the year, 21 stylish new towers will dot the beach.

The new lifeguard stand at Liberty Street arrived two weeks ago. Its twin sits several blocks to the south at Azalea Terrace. Soon they’ll be painted a spiffy blue and white, with yellow accents.

The new look may turn heads — but so will the price, some say.

Hollywood is paying $2 million for the new towers — a bargain compared to earlier estimates of $4.8 million.

But so far, the new towers are a hit with visitors.

Sylvie Lauzon, a snowbird from Canada who owns a condo in Pembroke Pines, marveled at the clean lines and modern look. But the price tag — $117,000 apiece for six first-aid stations and $90,000 apiece for 15 lifeguard towers — left her stunned.

“Are you friggin’ serious!” she said, her mouth agape. “Oh my God! That’s the price of a condo!” Lauzon asked if the new lifeguard stands come with air-conditioning.

“For that price, you’d think it would have AC,” she said, shaking her head.

A new lifeguard tower sits next to the one it will replace at Liberty Street in Hollywood on Feb. 28, 2019. (Susannah Bryan/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The new towers have neither air-conditioning nor plumbing.

Like the towers they’re replacing, the pretty new stands with their Art Deco design will be on the beach for the next two decades or more.

That’s how Mayor Josh Levy sees it.

“We’re a world-class beach,” he said. “We don’t want flimsy off-the-shelf lifeguard stands. Even they would’ve cost over $1 million.”

The new towers will arrive in phases, with four more expected by the end of March. Another eight will be on the way by July. And the final eight will be settling into the sand by Dec. 31.

Nostalgic beachgoers who like the old towers will find them on the north and south ends of the beach.

Hollywood is keeping seven old lifeguard stands — two first-aid stations and five towers. But 21 others will be auctioned off, said Jorge Camejo, director of Hollywood’s redevelopment agency.

What kind of price will they fetch?

One has already been sold to the highest bidder for $40, Camejo said.

“I’m not sure if they wanted it for a tree fort or what,” he said, chuckling.

The good news, according to Camejo: Taxpayers won’t have to pay to have it hauled to the junkyard.

Susannah Bryan: Contact Reporter South Florida Sun Sentinel

March 4, 2019 | Hollywood

Welcome back Debra Case, the newest addition to the HBBA Board of Directors.

Welcome back Debra Case, the newest addition to the HBBA Board of Directors.

Hope you are all doing well.

I wanted to take a brief moment to officially announce the latest addition to our HBBA board of directors.

At our last membership meeting there was a unanimous decision made to have Debra Case rejoin our team. Debra brings a wealth of experience, including past HBBA president along with serving as city commissioner for district one for the past 2 years. She also owns a great restaurant on the Broadwalk Ocean Alley!

I am pleased and excited having her back as she will be chairing the CRA, Chamber of Commerce and Government affairs topics reporting directly back to the board members.

Again I want to welcome Debra back and look forward to working with her to make HBBA a formidable presence in our community.

– Dan Serafini, President of the HBBA Board

Time to renew your HBBA membership.

Time to renew your HBBA membership.

Please renew your HBBA membership by January 15, 2019.

You can renew easily right here.
Or mail your check directly to the HBBA at1722 Sheridan Street #170 | Hollywood, FL 33020

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Manatee Season – Be on the look out!

Manatee Season – Be on the look out!

Manatee Season runs from November 15th – March 31st.

So be careful and be on the look out for them.

If you see an injured or sick manatee:
Call FWC 888-404-3922
Text *FWC
or you can download the county’s “I Spy a Manatee” App.

Waterfront Publix coming to Hollywood?

Waterfront Publix coming to Hollywood?

Publix, where shopping is a pleasure for boaters? Mayor teases a waterfront market