Hollywood businesses scored 3 of the 11 SUNsational Service Awards presented this year by the Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. That’s the most of any area in the county and shows that Hollywood is a leader in service! More than 130 people were nominated for providing exceptional guest experiences across all sectors of the tourism industry. Take a look at these three amazing staff members from T.Y. Park, Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort and Water Taxi who love their jobs and enjoy serving the guests who come to our community. Congratulations to them and the businesses they represent for a job well done!
See all the Greater Fort Lauderdale SUNsational Service Award Winners here: https://www.sunny.org/media/press-releases-and-resources/post/greater-fort-lauderdale-celebrates-30th-annual-sunsational-service-courtesy-awards/
Click on the Winners below to watch their videos.
Sebastian Serna, Maintenance Worker, T.Y.
On January 5, 2019, Sebastian was visiting shelters at T.Y. Park to
empty trash when he noticed something was wrong with a patron. He asked
her if she was choking. She was unable to verbally respond, and her
friends and family said she was choking. Sebastian immediately stood her
up and began performing the Heimlich Maneuver. She vomited and spit the
food she was choking on out. She was okay following the incident.
Sebastian’s quick action helped saved the lady, as the family and
friends did not know what to do.
Joadis Boza, Server at Landshark Bar & Grill at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
With her magical smile and aura of positivity, Joadis of Landshark
Bar & Grill at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort embodies
SUNsational Service. She has been recognized for her expert execution of
the 10-5 rule (eye contact and a verbal greeting). She impressed a
potential client doing a site visit so much, that the client wrote an
email to the resort’s general manager, calling out her amazing
experience with Joadis. Here’s a snippet of that letter: “Our server Jo
was the most friendly, grounded, smart, effervescent, outgoing and
outright good at what she does server I ever had. Her desire to be
helpful and to make sure there were no complaints come out loud and
David Farr, Crew at Water Taxi
In November 2018, the Water Taxi’s Margaritaville Express boat was about a mile north of the Hollywood stop in the Intracoastal Waterway. The mate, David Farr, heard shouts from the starboard side of the boat. He called to the captain, who immediately throttled back and slowed the boat. A disoriented man had fallen off his kayak and was struggling with the tide. David asked if he needed the lifebuoy, which he declined. The mate then placed the buoy close by in case it was needed later. With the boat still idling and drifting alongside, David deployed the rescue platform and clambered down to the water level. David reached the gentleman’s hand and got him onto the boat. He also helped retrieve the kayak.
They’re like Uber but free: New electric shuttles popping up all over South Florida
may have heard that in life there are no free rides. Forget about that.
In a growing number of South Florida cities, you really can ride for
So you’ll have to forego air conditioning, the ride won’t last more than five or 10 minutes, and you won’t exceed 35 mph. But you can take comfort in knowing you are helping to reduce fossil fuel emissions. Tipping the driver is optional.
with local governments and private advertisers, several companies are
building fleets of low-speed street-legal six-seat electric shuttles to
ferry the permanently or temporarily car-less over short distances
within congested urban zones.
Pedestrians in busy sections of Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach can use smartphone apps to summon rides from two growing services: Freebee, in the middle of a pilot program in a square-mile section of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and Circuit (formerly The Free Ride), which serves Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront resort area and last week began shuttling tourists and commuters in the core area of Hollywood.
companies also serve communities in Miami-Dade, while Circuit operates
in West Palm Beach, the Town of Palm Beach and Gardens Mall in Palm
company, Swoop, operates exclusively in Miami Beach, with vehicles
advertising various lifestyle brands as Spanx, Glam Squad, European Wax
Center and Coterie.
services typically operate within densely populated areas no larger
than a square mile on streets with speed limits no higher than 35 mph.
South Florida developers have no choice but to turn away from sprawl
and focus instead on building high-rise, mixed-use, “live-work-play”
communities, founders of the eco-friendly electric fleets say that — by
providing access to train and bus stations — they’re helping residents
realize the dream of living without a car.
Circuit loops downtown Hollywood to the beachside
was founded in The Hamptons, a string of seaside resort communities on
Long Island, New York, in 2011 when co-founders Alex Esposito and James
Mirras discovered that consumer product brands would fund the entire
cost of operation for the opportunity to advertise to the area’s
company then replicated the concept on the Jersey Shore; in Austin,
Texas; and in such popular California beach communities as Santa Monica,
Long Beach, Venice, San Diego and Marina del Ray, among other
“The initial concept was using ad dollars to get people from crowded urban areas to the beach,” Esposito said in an interview. Then as the company started working closely with San Diego in 2016, “we realized our simple beach shuttle concept had great applications in congested urban areas.”
targeting affluent enclaves, the services are used by anyone needing
access to and from the companies’ service areas — bartenders who take
the train, office workers going to lunch, high-rise condo residents
heading to dinner or a show. Unlike fixed route services like trains and
buses, the companies’ electric vehicles come to their clients, pick
them up and drop them off at their destinations.
partnership with Circuit began when the city solicited bids to replace
its Hollywood Trolley, which will be shut down by June 30. Circuit
agreed to run six cars daily — and up to 10 during the busiest parts of
the season — within three zones: the city’s beachside, Federal Highway
business district and downtown. Shuttles will also run between downtown
and the beachside via Hollywood Boulevard.
The city wanted a service that would be free to riders, said Joanne Hussey. the city’s communications manager.
can use their app to ask them to come and get them. We really liked
that. They didn’t have to go to a trolley stop and wait. We had feedback
from people saying, ‘When I go to the trolley stop, I don’t know when
it’s going to be there.’ We also liked that this uses electric
vehicles.” That fit in the city’s goal to be as “green” as possible, she
can hail rides by downloading a smartphone app called Ride Circuit, or,
if they see one of the vehicles approaching, simply hail it as one
would hail a cab, Hussey said. The city is calling its service Sun
contract with Circuit calls for the city to spend up to $884,351
annually, but that can be reduced by an agreement that pays the city
half of any money generated by Circuit’s sale of advertising in and on
Freebee juggles three business models
Spiegel, a University of Miami grad who started Freebee in 2011 with
fellow Hurricane alum Kris Kimball, said his company can make money
giving away free rides by pursuing three business models:
One model calls for cities to fund the entire operation as if it was their own.
the second, the city pays a contracted rate that gets reduced as
advertising is sold. Prior to its current deal with Freebee, Coral
Gables agreed to pay $300,000 a year and saw that amount reduced to
$110,000 after Baptist Health came on board as sole sponsor. But when
the contract came up for renewal, Coral Gables decided it didn’t want
outside advertising and agreed to pay $486,000 to expand from three to
five vehicles and keep its service self-branded, Spiegel said.
Under the third model, ad revenues fund the entire operation. Riders are greeted with ads not only wrapped around the outside of the vehicles, but inside and on mounted tablets. Often drivers pass out product samples provided by the advertisers. Riders can take selfies with the tablets, send them to their friends and even listen to their requested music, Spiegel said.
is funding the three-month pilot program in downtown Fort Lauderdale
solely with ad revenue, Spiegel said. Beer maker Corona had an exclusive
contract during the first month and rum giant Bacardi is sponsoring the
final two months, he said.
company is negotiating terms of a longer-term deal that could include
more service areas, more vehicles and expanded hours if the city agrees
to contribute financially, Spiegel said.
of operation vary among the services and zones. In Fort Lauderdale,
Freebee operates until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, and until 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Circuit operates in Hollywood from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
said he’s not concerned about competition from Circuit, which beat
Freebee to the Fort Lauderdale market with its own fully ad-supported
service that operates on the beachside, downtown area and Las Olas
says there’s plenty of business to go around, even if Freebee achieves
its goal of expanding to other areas of Fort Lauderdale, including the
beachside and Cypress Creek Road business district.
in 2013, Freebee employs about 75 full time workers in South Florida,
Spiegel said, adding, “That should be over 100 over the next few
Circuit, founded in 2011, employs 32 in South Florida — not all of them full-time — and 140 nationwide, according to Circuit partner Jason Bagley.
Free to paddle board wherever you want, almost? Hollywood gives it a go
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
Boca Raton company buying back plastic straws in exchange for eco-friendly alternative
As more municipalities and businesses move away from plastic straws, one company that already offers an alternative is offering to buy them back.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
But so far, the new towers are a hit with visitors.
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.
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
“For that price, you’d think it would have AC,” she said, shaking her head.
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.
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 Memberships!
Time to renew your HBBA membership.
Please renew your HBBA membership by January 15, 2019.