Flooding in West Boca Raton: Photos and Stories

We posted a few reader photos of flooding on Facebook last night. Other readers responded with more, and with stories. The flooding was so bad it got inside Town Center Mall:
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That first photo is from our own kid getting in on the action. We also received mall photos from readers. This one is also from inside:
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Parking areas were also flooded.
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Reader Robyn Becker-Bracero sent us several photos including this one of her feet underwater.
Reader Robyn Becker-Bracero sent us several photos including this one of her feet underwater.

Robyn Becker-Bracero told us:

It was inside the mall. The water was pouring in through the employee/security entrance next to Macy’s and the Apple Store. It started coming in quick. Several people were video taping. It was even worse outside under the covered lot at Macy’s exit.

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We saw flooding ourselves in Town Center Circle (east side of Military south of Glades) with water up to several inches deep at its worst. Leaving that plaza we were about to turn onto NW 19th but the water looked very deep so we converted that left into a U-turn and headed south on Palmetto Park Road. There was significant flooding on Palmetto, especially on the westbound side in the right lanes both near the Kabbalah Center (just west of Turnpike) and at the intersection with Lyons Road.
Readers also reported significant flooding along SW 18th west of Powerline and near Boca Rio.
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Lindsay Roffman-Schwimmer reported:

My SUV was stuck in boca pointe last night. Hundreds of cars were just sitting ducks.. some of them were floating by me. I couldn’t tell what was the lake and what was the road. I pulled into a sub development and waited in a guest spot that was raised on higher ground. My boyfriend had to come in his truck and rescue me.
Many smaller luxury cars were submerged in water up to their windows. It was literally a mini natural disaster area.. Also including SW 18th street areas. I hope everyone is safe now.

In the same area Melisa Mely said:

I have never seen more water on the 18th Street. Some cars actually got stuck. I’m glad I made it home.

There was more flooding in Watergate Estates (aka West Sandalfoot):
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Also in Escondido (east side of Lyons south of Glades):
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Even the French residents got in on it, from Bensimon Nessim:

C’est catastrophique, le pire c’est que contre les inondations on ne peut pas faire grand chose
(Translation) It is catastrophic, the worst part is that against the floods we can’t do much

And there were just places where traffic went deep:
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Reader estimates of total rainfall varied from 1.5 to over 5 inches. We estimate 4-5 inches fell in Boca Falls from our own somewhat reliable method (rise in the level of our pool). For arguably more reliable numbers, we have this from the National Weather Service:
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There was significant coverage of the flooding in other media. Our favorite was WPTV reporting that Boca Raton City Hall experienced flooding on both the 1st and 2nd floors. Second floor?
Update: Bonus photo from reader Samir. This one is in East Boca on Federal Highway.
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One other detail that was mildly amusing, where the National Weather Service posted a tornado warning recommending people go to their basements, which is not terribly practical in South Florida.
Tornado Warning issued March 24 at 6:49PM EDT until March 24 at 7:15PM EDT by NWS Miami THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR… NORTHEASTERN BROWARD COUNTY IN SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA… SOUTHEASTERN PALM BEACH COUNTY IN SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA… * UNTIL 715 PM EDT * AT 649 PM EDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER COCONUT CREEK…OR OVER MARGATE…MOVING EAST AT 15 MPH. HAZARD…TORNADO. SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED ROTATION. IMPACT…FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT SHELTER. MOBILE HOMES WILL BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. DAMAGE TO ROOFS…WINDOWS…AND VEHICLES WILL OCCUR. TREE DAMAGE IS LIKELY. * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… CORAL SPRINGS…POMPANO BEACH…BOCA RATON…DEERFIELD BEACH AND TAMARAC. TORNADO…RADAR INDICATED HAIL…0.00IN TAKE COVER NOW! MOVE TO A BASEMENT OR AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF YOU ARE OUTDOORS…IN A MOBILE HOME…OR IN A VEHICLE…MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

Crash Update at SW 18th and Lyons

Looking north at intersection of SW 18th and Lyons; image and map data from Google
Looking north at intersection of SW 18th and Lyons; image and map data from Google

The Palm Beach Sheriff released some details from the bicycle-SUV collision at the corner of SW 18th and Lyons. According to their report, the bicycle was traveling in the crosswalk from the northeast corner to the northwest corner (right to left in the picture above) when it was struck by a 2009 Chevy Equinox, indicating an address in the Kings Point community in Delray Beach. That vehicle drove off but was found a short distance away, unoccupied.
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The bicyclist, Beth Jamine (44), was initially reported in critical condition. That has apparently been upgraded to serious. It is our understanding that Ms. Jamine suffered from some fractures, a pneumothorax, and may need surgery, but she is likely to recover well.
Beth Jamine
Beth Jamine

Ms. Jamine’s reported address is in the Isle of Boca Dunes on the west side of Lyons Road at SW 8th, not far from the accident scene.
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PBSO indicated the driver is unknown. The address they attribute to the vehicle is owned, according to property appraiser records, by Richard and Harriete Birnbaum. That record shows a Brooklyn mailing address for them.
If any readers have leads on the driver please let us know or contact PBSO Investigator Sean Ramsey.

Mizner Trail Going Ahead with 250+ Homes

In January of last year we reported on a proposal to add 288 new housing units in Boca Del Mar, replacing an old golf course. That proposal, now whittled down to 252 homes, appears set to be built in the near future.

Site Plan for Mizner Trail. This version still shows the old 288-home layout.
Site Plan for Mizner Trail. This version still shows the old 288-home layout.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that the last opposition to the new development will not appeal any further.
In our review of various documents we can’t find a solid number of actual units that will be built, nor clear indications as to what will be built. The Mizner Trail website claims it will be:

252 luxury units are proposed, 115 patio homes and 137 townhomes. Units will range from 2300 square feet to over 3500 square feet with prices ranging from approximately $425,000 to $695,000 or more.

We’re not even sure what a patio home is, and the same website has a site plan showing 288 homes rather than just 252. We’ve seen other numbers including 255 and 253. So it’s not fully settled yet. The Sun-Sentinel did note that some hurdles remain with permitting so it may get worn down a bit more in the bureaucratic grinder.
The area in question lies between West Camino Real and SW 18th, to the west of Military Trail:

The full site plan pdf is below:
[gview file=”http://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2013-10-14_FINAL.pdf”]

School Bus Crash on SW 18th

WPTV is reporting a school bus crash on SW 18th at Promenade, which is between the Turnpike and Powerline Road going through Boca Pointe.

From Google Maps it looks like there is some traffic impact, but not much. We saw the report on the TV news this morning but have not heard anything from readers. WPTV reports that two people were taken to the hospital as a result of this crash.
The Palm Beach Post reports that seven students were on the bus and that the crash happened around 6:30 this morning.

Major Fire in Boca Del Mar

A very serious fire broke out this morning in an apartment building:

***BOCA RATON*** WORKING HIGH-RISE STRUCTURE FIRE — 5622 Wellesley Park Dr (Somerset Place) — Palm Beach County Fire Rescue R500 onscene of a multi-story apartment bldg, heavy flames coming out of the 2nd story spreading up to the 3rd story — Tac 8A

Somerset Place is an apartment complex in the eastern end of Boca Del Mar, near Military Trail between Camino Real and SW 18th.
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Fire Rescue requested additional support after the initial alert:

UPDATE: Boca Raton fire is upgraded to a 2nd Alarm, also requesting 4 more Engines and Rescues

Thanks to Palm Beach County Alerts for the tip.

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Battery Turns Into Smuggling

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The Sheriff’s blotter shows deputies arrested Ms. Dara Zemo (41) on Sunday on a misdemeanor battery charge, and also for a felony for allegedly smuggling contraband into the jail.
Originally from the Danbury area of Connecticut, Ms. Zemo’s reported address is on Marina Blvd (aka SW 18th) just east of 441 in Sandalfoot Cove. The home was foreclosed in July and she may be renting from the bank.
Ms. Zemo has a substantial criminal history in Florida. In Palm Beach County court records show 15 cases (including traffic and some duplicates) starting in 2009. The worst of her cases here were a fraudulent use of a credit card charge in 2011 and a 2010 DUI case both of which involved some jail time. She’s also had a domestic battery in 2012 that was dropped by prosecutors, and a few cases of driving with a suspended license.
Moving to Broward we see one felony case involving drugs and prostitution from 2013. We also see a drug case in Lake County (near Orlando) from February of this year which the Sheriff’s record shows led to a month in jail.
Ms. Zemo was a licensed real estate agent in Florida until 2010, based in Jupiter. She may have also resided in Kissimmee at some point in the past.
Of course, all arrestees are innocent at this stage of the process.

Rise Asian Sushi on SW 18th

People kept telling us about Rise Asian Sushi so we had to try it. The restaurant is in Village Tower Shoppes with Howard’s Market, on the north side of SW 18th between Powerline and Military Trail – across from Outback and Coldstone Creamery. In the image below it’s in the corner maybe 1/3 in from the left. We recently wrote about Fabien’s Bistro in the same plaza.
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We heard this was the best sushi in Boca Raton. We liked it, but it’s hard for us to say it’s better than other places we like.
It’s nothing special on the outside though certainly not bad:
rise-exterior
On the inside there’s a sushi bar but no one sat there. And there are plenty of tables.
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One thing I did like is that they have udon noodle soups on the menu. I had one of those as a starter and did like it. It was not quite authentic – true udon noodles are fatter, and should be served with togarashi, a spicy Japanese red pepper powder. But that’s really picky. The soup tasted good and the shrimp were nice.
Please note that my food photos did not come out well for some reason, possibly lighting or camera problems. All the food items looked just fine.
udon-shrimp
My companion had salmon teriyaki with white rice. Being picky again, the rice was not a true Japanese rice. But the rice was okay and the salmon dish was good – my companion ate it up.
salmon-teriyaki
I had the sushi and sashimi lunch. It was good but not great. Sashimi is the true test of a sushi place. You can hide lower quality fish in a roll with cream cheese, avocado and other things. It’s very hard to hide it in sashimi. Three of the four types of sashimi were very good. The fourth had a hint of not being fresh. It wasn’t bad, but just not as good as the rest.
The lunch came with a spicy tuna roll. This was better quality than most spicy tuna rolls – the chunks of fish were larger and that suggests better quality maguro to me.
sushi-sashimi-lunch
Both lunches came with salads and they were larger than what we usually see from sushi places.
We liked it and certainly would say it’s worth a try for any of our readers who like sushi. But it’s at the southeast corner of West Boca and we live far west. It’s not any better than Boon’s in Boca Greens, which is a lot closer for us. We’re still hooked on Jidai Kaiten Sushi’s lunch deal, and Rise isn’t going to take us away from that.

Closed – Another New French Restaurant: Fabien's Bistro

Update: Fabien’s has closed. There is a new restaurant in its place, Jasper’s, but we haven’t been there yet.
We discovered a second new French restaurant. The first is La Ferme, which we’ve covered extensively and is located near the northwest corner of West Boca (Yamato near 441). On the opposite corner of the rectangle, near the southeast corner on SW 18th just west of Military Trail, is Fabien’s Bistro. It’s in the plaza with Howard’s Market and Rise Asian Sushi.

You can see it in this warped panorama shot of the plaza – it’s near the left side. Howard’s Market is to the right. We found it easiest to access the plaza by turning into Palm D’Oro Road and then turning into the plaza. Parking was limited but that may be better at dinnertime.
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We haven’t had a chance to eat there yet. We were there at lunch time and they’re only open for dinner starting at 5 pm (Tuesday – Sunday, closed Monday during low season). As we were looking at the menu, Fabien came out and invited us to take a look around.
fabien
As one might expect with a French restaurant, the a la carte menu is not cheap with entrees starting around $27. But for now they have an early bird special dinner for $22.95 from 5-6 pm that includes soup or salad, an entree (limited to four choices) and dessert. If you’re there after 6 pm and it’s not crowded, mention West Boca News and ask Fabien for the early bird dinner. And keep in mind that restaurant menus change, especially new ones.
fabiens-interior
We hope to get out to Fabien’s in the next month or so to give it a try, and we’ll do a full review. If you’ve been there and tried it, please post a comment and let our readers know what you thought.

Car Burglaries in South Sandalfoot Cove & Loggers' Run

We just had two readers report a number of car burglaries from last night in two neighborhoods. The first is northwest of Lyons and SW 18th, toward the southern end of Sandalfoot Cove.

The second incident was in the Timberwalk townhomes just south of Loggers’ Run Middle School.

The readers tell us that at least four cars were broken into in the first incident and five in the second. Palm Beach County deputies were on-scene this morning speaking with our readers and others in the neighborhoods.
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Crime mapping from the Sheriff shows seven burglary and car burglary incidents in Sandalfoot Cove in the past week, with another two nearby. The reports we received this morning were not included in that data yet.
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Anyone with information on this incident should consider contacting Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers.
tips@cspbc.com
1-800-458-TIPS (8477)

Accident at Marina and US-441: Video & Photos

It seems like all we have to do to get a story is stay near 441. Yesterday we saw something on 441 at the north end of Mission Bay Plaza. Earlier today we were on our way into Parkland and we saw an accident scene at Marina (SW 18th) and 441. This was shortly before 1 pm.
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We had time to do a short video at the scene:

What was reported to us was that the driver of the white Lexus SUV admitted to being distracted by his cell phone. Allegedly he ran a red light coming out from gas station, causing a collision with the smaller white Mitsubishi Outlander that was traveling southbound on 441.
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The panorama shot below came out a little odd.
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Fortunately it appears there were no injuries. Unfortunately most drivers disregarded Florida’s “Move Over” law, as can be seen in the video above. We often criticize unnecessary laws and police misconduct, but this is an important law that protects our first responders when they’re in a difficult and dangerous situation. When you see the flashing lights, please move over and give them space.