Astros, Nationals to unveil new logo for Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

DUFFYThe Houston Astros and Washington Nationals on Friday will unveil the logo for the new spring training stadium they will share starting next spring in West Palm Beach.

The logo will be unveiled at an event in downtown West Palm Beach to introduce Brady Ballard, the general manager of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The event starts at 4:30 p.m. at Duffy’s Sports Grill at 225 Clematis St.

Construction is progressing on the $144 million stadium south of 45th Street between Haverhill Road and Military Trail.

It is scheduled to open in January.

Canvas Outdoor artists on display Friday at West Palm gallery opening

In an encore of sorts to the Canvas Outdoor Museum art festival in downtown West Palm Beach in November, gallery owner Nicole Henry is hosting an opening Friday night featuring three “rising stars” of the street art world.

Sean Yoro -- Hula -- takes a final rest before finishing his mural under the Royal Pak Bridge in November.
Sean Yoro — Hula — takes a final rest before finishing his mural under the Royal Pak Bridge in November.

The Canvas Collective will feature new work by Hula, Zeus and Wrdsmth — whose outdoor creations can still be seen around town.

The opening is from 7-9 p.m. at Nicole Henry Fine Art at 501 Fern Street. It is open to the public, and the art work will be on display for about a month.

It will be the first gallery show for Hula, a New York City-based artist also known as Sean Yoro. In November, he painted the mural of a woman rising out of the water under the Royal Park Bridge.

Zeus, based in the United Kingdom, has a mural on the back of Sloan’s Ice Cream and Wrdsmith, based in Los Angeles, has works on the wall just west of Henry’s gallery.


Astros, Nationals hire Dodgertown exec as general manager for The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have hired a general manager for the $144 million spring training complex they will share in West Palm Beach next year.

Brady Ballard will be the GM at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, overseeing stadium operations as well as marketing, advertising, sales and community relations. An official announcement is expected Tuesday.

Ballard has served as vice president of Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach since October 2013. Before that, he was general manager for four years for the Daytona Cubs, the Class A Florida State League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.


PBSO investigating release of confidential law enforcement addresses

Former Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy Mark Dougan, second from right, in Russia. (Photo courtesy of Mark Dougan)
Former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Mark Dougan, second from right, in Russia. (Photo courtesy of Mark Dougan)

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating how the home addresses of thousands of officers, prosecutors, judges and others were released online over the weekend.

The addresses are redacted from the county Property Appraiser’s website at the request of police and prosecutors, but friends of a former sheriff’s deputy with a grudge against the agency obtained the information and posted it online.

It includes nearly 3,600 names and addresses of local and federal judges and prosecutors, FBI agents and officers from many local police departments. It also lists addresses of facilities that house victims of domestic violence.

The Palm Beach Post is not naming the site or linking to it because of the sensitive nature of the records.

How the information ended up online is a mystery. Pat Poston, the property appraiser’s director of exemption services, which handles requests by police to redact their home addresses, said county information technology specialists said no one had hacked the property appraiser’s database.

“We’ve been contacted by the sheriff’s office,” Poston said. “They are beginning an investigation.”

A spokeswoman from PBSO hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

The site that posted the information is linked to former deputy Mark Dougan, a longtime thorn in the side of Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and his second-in-command, Chief Deputy Michael Gauger, who has filed a civil suit against Dougan.

Dougan denied responsibility for the release. He said friends in Russia were responsible, but said he knew “a long time ago” that the hackers had the information.

Dougan said the release was retribution against the sheriff’s office, which he claimed had hacked into his personal Facebook and email accounts without a warrant.

“It sucks, but if the government doesn’t want their privacy breached, then they can’t go around breaching the privacy of citizens without a warrant,” he said. “Yes, 4,000 people were not involved in hacking my stuff, but those 4,000 people didn’t do anything to stop it.”

Although state law allows many types of public employees to request their home addresses be redacted from property appraiser websites, many don’t. Those who were not redacted are not exposed on the new posting. The 3,600 all had taken advantage of the state law to keep people from knowing where they live.


West Palm priest says Catholic church punishing him for blowing whistle


Father John Gallagher in 2008.
Father John Gallagher in 2008.

A West Palm Beach priest said he has been “frozen out” by the Catholic church for blowing the whistle on a priest who was arrested last year for showing pornographic photographs to a 14-year-old boy, according to a report.


Father John Gallagher told the Irish Independent that he was placed on medical leave by his bishop in the Diocese of Palm Beach after ignoring church orders to cover up the case and instead alerting the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office about Father Jose Palimattom .

In a statement issued at 4:30 Monday afternoon, the diocese denied Gallagher’s assertions. deeming them “completely inaccurate” and adding, “Father Gallagher’s reassignment was not related to the incident with the visiting priest.”

Palimattom was sentenced to six months in jail and one year of probation on a charge of showing obscene material to a minor, according to court records. The alleged victim told a friend who reported the incident to the church choirmaster who then told Gallagher.

PBSO Chief Deputy Michael Gauger wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley in support of Father Gallagher.

Gallagher has been living with a friend after the locks on his parochial house in West Palm Beach were changed.

“This is now 2016 and this is what happens to whistleblowers in the Catholic Church,’’ Gallagher told the Irish Independent.

“Pope Francis speaks of ridding our church of the crimes of sexual abuse and being open and honest about doing it. I haven’t seen that in Pope Francis’s Church yet.”



What’s that smell? Ballpark construction unearths pungent reminders of trash dump

When it opens in 2017, the smells of baseball will permeate the air — grass (ballfields), leather (gloves), cowhide (baseballs) along with popcorn and maybe even cigar smoke.

But for now, the construction site at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches at time smells like something else — a trash dump.

That’s because a team of tractors has been digging up long-buried mounds of trash on the 160-acre site, which was used as a landfill from about 1955 until 2000.

Workers use front loaders to mine former land fill that will become major league baseball spring training facilities in West Palm Beach, Thursday, January 14, 2016. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post
Workers use front loaders to mine former land fill that will become major league baseball spring training facilities in West Palm Beach, Thursday, January 14, 2016. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

The trash mounds have been covered by dirt and grass for several decades. But when construction started Nov. 10, tractors disturbed those mounds, releasing not-so-sweet landfill odors.

So far, crews have not heard any complaints from residents living around the site, which is south of 45th Street between Haverhill Road and Military Trail. But onsite, where the public is not allowed, the trash smells can be evident, especially if the wind is blowing.

The so-called “mining” of the trash mounds is expected to last until about April, when the site will be cleared of debris and ready for vertical construction.

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are scheduled to move in to the $144 million complex a year from now.


Corey Jones shooting: Rally for Transparency


Organizer asks crowd to be patient for three more minutes and introduces Pastor Tommy Brown.

Rally ends with hand-holding and prayer.


Corey Jones’ grandfather, Bishop Sylvester Banks Sr., is the family’s first speaker. He’s the bishop of Bible Church of God in Boynton Beach.


Crowd breaks into chanting as family of Corey Jones prepares to address the crowd.


Corey Jones Rally 2

Dave Aronberg address crowd at Rally for Transparency for Corey Jones

State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses crowd. Flanked by his three chief assistants, he’s reading the press release he sent out a half-hour ago. Text is below.

He broke from the script briefly to describe his desire to deliver justice. He took no questions.



LIVE on : State Attorney Dave Aronberg speaking publicly for first time about shooting

Introducing State Attorney Dave Aronberg, speaker asks crowd to videotape Aronberg’s speech. Also requests they be respectable. And judge whether he does what he says when he runs next year. “We need to hold him accountable.”


Speaker: “The world is watching Palm Beach County.”

“What we do, echoes in forever.”


Song breaks out. A team of four drummers start to play. Think synchronized drum circle. Corey Jones was a drummer.
Those on Periscope can watch State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s speech from the Rally for Accountability outside his office on Lulu Ramadan’s Periscope account.

Update from Post reporter Lulu Ramadan:

State Attorney Dave Aronberg will speak at today’s rally, organizer Rae Whitley says.

This will be the first time State Attorney Dave Aronberg will speak publicly about shooting.


Update from Lulu Ramadan:

Retired Judge Edward Rogers to State Attorney Dave Aronberg: “We don’t trust you Mr.Aronberg.”


Rally Photo 1

State Attorney Dave Aronberg near speakers at the Rally for Transparency for Corey Jones. Aronberg issued press release, below…


Matt Benzion, Boynton Beach attorney, speaks at rally about holding officers accountable. “These were not dangerous people.”

From Palm Beach Post reporter Lulu Ramadan live on the scene at @luluramadan.



Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, spokesman Mike Edmondson and all of Aronberg’s chief assistants just came outside.
About 250 people are at the rally.


Press release issued:

State Attorney Dave Aronberg emails out a press release on the Corey Jones case as the rally is proceeding. Here it is in its entirety: 

Update from State Attorney Aronberg on Investigation into the Death of Corey Jones

The tragic death of Corey Jones is currently being investigated by three independent agencies: The State Attorney’s Office, the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  The State Attorney’s Office has been in continued communication and cooperation with the other investigating agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).  Approximately an hour after the shooting, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department requested independent investigations and by design, this process intentionally removes the Palm Beach Gardens PD from receiving updates and information on the investigations.

Investigations such as these are confidential and it is vitally important to obtain all of the evidence during this initial phase.  These investigations can take months, depending on where the evidence leads.

Our office is committed to transparency and we have shared important information about this investigation with the family of Corey Jones and their attorneys.  We would like to provide the community with as much information as possible, but prosecutors are forbidden by state and national ethics rules to speak freely about ongoing investigations, such as this one.  We are only allowed to provide some basic uncontroverted facts, or else it may jeopardize the investigation and any potential future prosecution.

We take this investigation very seriously and as such, we cannot afford to rush, cut corners or appear to be partial.  Our responsibility is to seek justice, our loyalty is to the community, and our commitment is to the truth.

Here are some of the facts that we are ethically allowed to release:

  • Officer Raja was on duty in an unmarked van.
  • Officer Raja was not in uniform.
  • Six shots were fired from the officer’s gun and 6 casings were recovered.
  • Corey Jones was shot three times.
  • Corey Jones’s firearm (.380 caliber) was found on scene.  It was not fired.

We have spoken to Corey Jones’s family about these facts and have had ongoing discussions with community leaders to assure them of the independence, fairness and thoroughness of our investigation.


UPDATE from rally:

Rally talk: So far, , Palm Beach Gardens, have all been citing “ongoing investigation.” But they can release a lot more. The big push is for records related to shooting. Speaker is reciting FL public records law.

Raul Alvarez, whose son, Aldo, was shot by a PBSO deputy in 2013. “I had to be here,” he said. From PB Post reporter Lawrence Mower’s Twitter feed.



Speaker Rae Whitley: “A broken down car is not punishable by death.”


Reporter Daphne Duret posts at her Twitter feed that noted local defense attorney Richard Lubin is representing Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who shot Jones on Oct. 18.

UPDATE: 12:44 p.m.

Rallygoers start with a prayer. Correction: Numbers are topping 100. Group holds hands and invokes Jesus.

Channel 5 reporting that State Attorney Dave Aronberg will adress the crowd.

Original post:

Downtown West Palm Beach streets have been closed off to accommodate the Rally for Transparency, called to put continued pressure on law enforcement officials to release information about what happened the night Corey Jones was shot and killed by a police officer in Palm Beach Gardens.

The rally is outside the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. The streets that are closed are portions of North Dixie Highway and Third Street.

Palm Beach Post reporter Lulu Ramadan is tweeting live from the rally at @luluramadan.



Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja shot and killed Corey Jones, 31, on an Interstate 95 off ramp at PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens on Oct. 18, 2015.
Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja


Corey Jones, 31, was shot and killed by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer, Oct. 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of WPTV.
Corey Jones, 31


Candle light vigil for victims of drug-overdose on Thursday

Sig2Hundreds of people are expected to attend the 9th Annual National Candle Light Vigil – sponsored by West Palm Beach-based Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education (NOPE) Task Force – on Thursday to honor the estimated 30,000 people who die every year from drug overdoses in the U.S.

According to data gathered as part of the Post’s ongoing series on the substance abuse industry, more than 200 people have died of drug overdoses this year in Palm Beach County.

Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, will give the keynote address via video to discuss the importance of drug prevention and education. Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County State Attorney, will speak about local efforts to fight drug abuse.

At the vigils in more than 55 cities in the U.S. participants will light candles, bow their heads in a moment of silence, and view a memorial wall with more than 300 photos, which represent some of the 100 people who die every day of drug overdoses.

The vigil begins at 7 pm at the Gosman Amphitheatre at the Kravis Center, located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd.

Rage-fueled CPA turned sleepy condo complex into sober complex


A year after an FBI raid, Ken Bailynson – a CPA known for explosive outbursts of rage – is continuing his efforts to take over Green Terrace, a shabby condo complex where Bailynson once housed more than 125 recovering addicts in the more than 30 units he owned and called Good Decisions Sober Living.

Bailynson has not been charged with a crime. A multi-agency task force headed by the FBI raided Good Decisions on Sept. 11, 2014 – confiscating files, computers and boxes of evidence from a unit Bailynson converted into an office and the complex’s clubhouse near the pool.

Since early 2014 the task force has been investigating allegations of insurance fraud, patient brokering and kickbacks in the county’s $1 billion substance abuse treatment industry.

Why Bailynson wants to take over Green Terrace, an 84-unit complex in West Palm Beach that was built in the 1970s, isn’t known. When asked about his plans on two occasions, Bailynson launched into profanity-laden verbal attacks on a reporter.

Residents recalled Bailynson was quiet when he began acquiring units in 2011. However, after he created Good Decisions and began moving recovering addicts into the community, he became loud and verbally aggressive. Some residents, worried that Bailynson’s outbursts would turn physically violent, began recording the outbursts on their cellphones.

Several of the remaining unit owners at Green Terrace are now suing Bailynson and the condo association, claiming money was misappropriated and that Bailynson stacked the board of directors with friends to whom he gave condos. The board also took out a $1.5 million loan from a company created by Bailynson. The loan carries a 24 percent interest rate and is secured by units owned by the association.

In September, Bailynson filed to foreclose on 10 units after the association failed to make it’s $30,000 monthly mortgage payment.

The Post published three stories on Sunday Oct. 25, 2015. Read them here:


Check out the new trees planted by Publix on Belvedere Road

IMG_4130 IMG_4131 IMG_4132 IMG_4134

As close-watchers of the Publix grocery store rising east of Interstate 95 on Belvedere Road undoubtedly are aware, new trees started going in last week to replace about a dozen mature mahoganies and black olives that shaded the sidewalk until workers axed them in August.

Here are some photos of the babies. The landscaping plan called for buttonwoods and crape myrtles but you tell me what these are.

Will the street be better off?