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Upcoming home improvement show at Expo Center to meet spike in projects during pandemic

ROYAL PALM BEACH — Taking advantage of this prolonged stretch at home to make some changes to your surroundings? 



a group of people standing in front of a store: The Expo Center at the South Florida Fairgrounds, seen here during an Antiques Festival in 2009, will play host to the Home Improvement and More Show on Oct. 23-25.


© Palm Beach Post File Photo
The Expo Center at the South Florida Fairgrounds, seen here during an Antiques Festival in 2009, will play host to the Home Improvement and More Show on Oct. 23-25.

You’re not alone, and the staff of the South Florida Fair wants to help.

The Home Improvement and More Show is Oct. 23-25 at the fairgrounds’ Expo Center, 9067 Southern Blvd. The event features more than 60 vendors across 35 categories related to home improvement, said Tim Pachis, corporate sales manager for the South Florida Fair.

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The show will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. Admission and parking are free. 

The expo comes as recent surveys show a spike in home improvement projects in the U.S. since the country essentially shut down in late March because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

A Porch.com study released in July found that nearly 80% of homeowners in the U.S. plan to launch a home improvement project in the next year.

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Most home shows since the pandemic were canceled, Pachis said, making the Home Improvement and More Show a rare standout.

While keeping an eye on the increase of demand for home improvement services and products, organizers have the coronavirus in mind for other reasons.

Attendees are required to wear masks, and social distancing is encouraged in the Expo Center, said Vicki Chouris, president and CEO of the South Florida Fair and Palm Beach County

Popular West Palm eatery Kitchen set to open second location at Alton Town Center



a man and a woman standing in a room: Aliza Byrne and Chef Matthew Byrne own and operate Kitchen restaurant in West Palm Beach. [Photo by LILA PHOTO]


© [LILA PHOTO]
Aliza Byrne and Chef Matthew Byrne own and operate Kitchen restaurant in West Palm Beach. [Photo by LILA PHOTO]

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Seven years after opening their popular American brasserie Kitchen in West Palm Beach, Chef Matthew Byrne and his wife, Aliza, are preparing to debut the sequel. 

The West Palm Beach residents will unveil their second Kitchen restaurant early next month at Alton Town Center in Palm Beach Gardens.

The eatery, which will seat 150 with ample outdoor space and a private room, joins a growing list of new restaurants at the 360,203-square-foot retail complex on Donald Ross Road.

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The location was a perfect one for the Byrnes, who were eager to expand into an area where many of their regular customers live, including nearby Jupiter.

“It’s such an amazing community there,” said Aliza Byrne, who has grown familiar with the area since her teenage sons began attending The Benjamin School. “A lot of our clients live nearby. There was such a huge demand from people who said they wished we were closer. We feel really good about it.”

Byrne said she expects to draw more year-round diners to the new Alton Town Center location, whereas the original Kitchen, at 319 Belvedere Rd., is more seasonal.

That restaurant, which has drawn a steady stream of locals and visiting VIPs since it first opened in October 2013, seated just 36 people initially and served only beer, wine and champagne for the first three years.

The Alton Town Center restaurant will have a ‘proper’ bar, Byrne said, which will allow for a bar menu and happy hour.

“We were never able to have

‘The Farm,’ a healing garden at Pennington Cancer Center, honors a beloved wife, mother and friend | Home/Garden

Charlotte Ferguson Murrell loved the outdoors — gardening, raising chickens and working on the tract of land, where she and her husband, George, raised their three children.

The former pediatric nurse also loved her coffee club of friends, close for more than 30 years.

When the 54-year-old Murrell died two years ago from colon cancer, some coffee club members decided, as a memorial, to spruce up the coffee service at the Baton Rouge General Pennington Cancer Center of Bluebonnet Boulevard, where the young wife and mother had spent many hours in treatment.

Then George Murrell designated the cancer center as a place where friends and family members could make donations in his wife’s memory.

The money poured in.

“It was unlike anything we have seen,” said Erik Showalter, president of the Baton Rouge General Foundation. “Contributions came from all over the country.”

That’s when the small, thoughtful project grew into a big, thought-filled project that patients and families will enjoy for many years to come.

“Our little coffee service project snowballed into a lovely healing garden,” said Leslie Gladney, who worked on the project with fellow coffee clubbers Pamela Gladney, Cheryl Kirchoff and Connie Miller.

The garden is nestled in a space between the buildings that house Pennington’s Infusion Center and the oncology waiting room at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, just off Bluebonnet Boulevard. 

A balm to the senses, the garden is filled with white and pink flowers including a Natchez crepe myrtle, sweet olives, boxwoods, hydrangeas, foxtail ferns, azaleas, Shi Shi camellias, yew and agapanthus, along with blooming annuals. 

“The plan is to have something blooming year-round and something with a soft scent year-round,” Leslie Gladney said.

They’ve even given the tranquil spot a name.

“Charlotte was a farm girl, so we decided to call the garden

Outbreak at Secret Service Training Center Underlines Proximity of Virus to White House

Rick Nelson, a former official on the National Security Council under the George W. Bush administration who dealt with homeland security issues, said few other law enforcement agencies faced such pressure to continue operations while at the whims of political candidates prone to travel.

“They have a relatively small work force that doesn’t allow them to absorb and respond to the fluctuation,” said Mr. Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’re at higher risk than the general public because they can’t do their job if they’re social distancing.”

The Secret Service trains its officers and agents at a sprawling campus in Laurel, Md. The center has mock versions of Air Force One, Marine One, the president’s helicopter and the White House grounds. There is a large parking lot where agents learn how to drive the hulking armored limousine the president is driven in, which is known as the Beast. A nearby garage houses many of the older limousines that the agency has used in recent decades.

As cities began to carry out social distancing guidelines in the spring, the Secret Service closed its training facility in Maryland from March to June 1. Agency officials said it reopened after four months in part to respond to mounting pressure to add to the nearly 7,800 employees in the agency. An inspector general report in 2016 found the agency’s training “continues to be hindered by low staffing levels and high operational demands on the work force.”

The agency enacted various safety procedures, including relocating classes outdoors, instituting temperature checks and requiring agents to wear personal protective gear while participating in close-contact drills, according to Julia McMurray, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, who declined to provide a total number of confirmed cases among agents.

“Any U.S. Secret Service

World Trade Center landlord Silverstein Properties turns to ghost kitchen Zuul in bid to return workers

“Food is a major concern,” Vardi said. “People are uncomfortable going between the office and outside, and ordering food still requires going down to pick it up.”

The best way to resolve those concerns is by delivering food directly to tenants’ offices, he said. But that raises issues of security and health screenings of couriers entering the building, especially within the World Trade Center.
 
That has opened an opportunity for Zuul, which operates a commercial kitchen in SoHo where established city brands such as Naya Express, Sarge’s Deli and Stone Bridge Pizza prepare smaller versions of their menus for takeout only. The food is produced from a single commercial kitchen, disconnected from any dining room, typically referred to as a ghost kitchen or cloud kitchen.

Workers can order lunch from those restaurants using a custom app for tenants. Orders must be in by 10:30 a.m. to arrive by lunch hour.

Zuul said it will rely on a small group of couriers who have been preapproved by Silverstein to ride the buildings’ freight elevators. Meals are delivered all at once to each separate office, where they can be distributed by the tenant company. The program will be offered to workers at World Trade Center properties as well as Silverstein’s other office holdings, such as 120 Broadway, Vardi said.

Pre-pandemic, Vardi said, the areas outside of office buildings included a “tsunami” of delivery couriers waiting for someone to come grab their order.

There are no such tidal waves now, at any building, as offices throughout the city are still sitting mostly unoccupied.

Safe food delivery has become part of the pitch from landlords to change that. The program is included in Silverstein promotional materials, which also outline the company’s air-filtration systems and social-distancing plan.   

RXR Realty, a major city office landlord whose