Strolling the beach in south Broward used to be a really short walk. Hurricanes, high winds, and old-fashioned erosion had turned much of Dania, Hollywood, and Hallandale beaches into little more than narrow ribbons of seaweed-strewn sand. There was hardly enough room to stretch out and catch some rays, much less play a spirited game of paddleball.
Now comes the Broward County Beach Renourishment project. This $41 million undertaking involves dredging sand from offshore onto 38 miles of Broward beaches, making many of them wide enough for the Dolphins -- those guys who play football -- to use as a scrimmage field. According to Broward county officials and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., the outfit that's doing the dredging, the biggest benefit is protection for our beaches during hurricanes.
A few days after Katrina had passed us by, the 'Pipe put on his flip-flops and rolled along the beach with Dr. Hal Wanless, the chair of geological sciences at the University of Miami, to scope out the damage done to the newly restored beach in Hallandale Beach. How did refurbished Broward hold up?
In some places, the impact was obvious. Parts of the beach had eroded by ten feet or more, giving the shoreline a jagged, hacked-up look. The good-natured professor immediately got down on his knees and began scooping up handfuls of the recently dredged sand.
"It doesn't look too fine at first," says Wanless, an expert on beach formation. "You think, 'Hey, this is real nice sand. '" Then he brings a handful close to his face. The sand is still dark gray from its days on the floor of the briny deep. "The problem is that much of this sand is too fine to stay on the beach -- which is why it was offshore in the first place."
Swirling tides turn the beachfront into a giant prospector's pan, washing away the finer stuff and leaving the gnarlier grains on the beach. The refurbished areas now have sand that came from the relative calm of offshore. "A lot of these bigger pieces have never seen surf action before," Wanless says. "So what happens when they get pinged around on the beach?"
He presses one of the bigger shell fragments between two fingers to demonstrate surf action. It disintegrates like sugar in water. "In a storm, this is just going to blow away," he says.
It was obvious last week that a good chunk of it already had.
"The real problem is that this sand is not of the right quality," Wanless says. "It's like anything else you buy. If you buy a crappy appliance, it's going to break and you're going to end up spending more in the long run. It's the same thing with sand." So where do you shop for the good stuff? Try the Bahamas, Wanless says, or topsoil in Florida wildernesses.
Why didn't the 'Pipe think of that?
Art Teele may be dead, but his Bahamian conch fritters are destined to live on. The Miami city commissioner's suicide came too late to prevent Real Men Cook, a collection of lip-smackin' recipes culled from prominent African-American alpha males across the nation, from including his contribution. While Teele may have died under a dark cloud, his culinary legacy is preserved, along with scores of Real Men's kitchen concoctions, so that, says editor K. Kogi Moyo, we may continue to "look up to them as role models for generations to come." Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the keynote speaker at last year's Democratic National Convention, lauds the book as "not only a collection of great recipes but a chance to meet the hearts of the great men behind them."
Teele's method for frittering the gastropod mollusk -- involving diced celery, Scotch bonnet peppers, and a tablespoon of fresh thyme -- is the second recipe in the 180-page tome, just after Andrew J. Williams' instructions for braised beef tenderloin. Teele's conch recipe makes 50 golden-brown fritters.
Someone's over in the kitchen right now, frying up a batch. That you, Jim DeFede?
In the late '90s, British entrepreneur and "virtual prospector" Stuart Lawley made millions providing services that allowed small companies in Europe to set up websites. Then, in 2001, Lawley did what every other self-made millionaire seems to do: He bought a mansion in South Florida.
After settling into his new $5.9 million digs in northern Palm Beach County, Lawley became president and chairman of Jupiter-based ICM Registry. The company's sole focus was to create and manage an .xxx extension on the Internet. Instead of using the .com or .net extension, adult companies could voluntarily use the .xxx label, making it easier for consumers (and concerned parents) to know when the computer was heading toward X-rated content. The tag would take the ambiguity right out of sites like, say, bigjugs.xxx.
"The .xxx extension allows for the development of responsible business practices [in the adult industry] and steps up the battle on child pornography," Lawley's business partner, Jason Hendeles, tells the 'Pipe. (Lawley was out of the country and unavailable for comment.)
About $10 of the roughly $60 that companies will pay to register domain names would go to the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR), a nonprofit group that helps fight child pornography.
Despite the obvious benefits, the Bush administration -- like the online pornography industry itself -- never warmed to the concept of an online red-light district. The .xxx extension, which was scheduled to go online three weeks ago, has been halted by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children," Assistant Secretary Michael Gallagher said in a letter.
Hendeles and Lawley are now taking the fight to Washington. "There are clearly misconceptions about our business," Hendeles says. Makes sense to this battered tube. Let's make the Internet like Amsterdam or Mexico City, with a segregated, disease-free sex industry.
Bam. BAM. BAM! The pounding came just as many residents of a quiet Flamingo Park block were starting to enjoy their first air-conditioned sleep since Hurricane Katrina stomped through South Florida. But Pamela Kane had some stomping of her own to do through her neighbors' yards. By 1 a.m. Monday, August 29, the folks on the 2300 block of SW 14th Court had endured 90 minutes of listening to Kane pacing the street, calling, clapping, and whistling for her dog, pausing to knock on every door.
"She was loaded again," says Martine Mega, who adds that she's almost accustomed to her next-door neighbor's outbursts. "She's always loaded." When Kane first moved into the house just after last Christmas, she immediately fought with Mega over tree limbs that had fallen into her yard. "She called me a fucking bitch," says Mega, who has lived in her house for 25 years without incident.
At 2 a.m., Kane tried standing on another neighbor's terra cotta planter to peer over a fence. The pot shattered into bits, awakening homeowner Gregg Denoweth. He angrily confronted her the next morning. As Tailpipe watched, Kane, still weaving and wobbling on the sidewalk, called him a "cocksucker, fag, and fudgepacker."
Not very neighborly, says Denoweth, who bought his Flamingo Park home five years ago. Kane's position as a lawyer with the Broward County Attorney's Office makes him especially angry. By 8 o'clock that Monday morning, Kane was off to work, driving while impaired, charges Denoweth: "I smelled it on her."
Abrasive and pushy is Kane's style, neighbors say. "She's always been that way!" contends Alexander Cocalis, a former attorney for Broward County who says he was fired in 1999 for complaining about Kane. "We had a softball team and she'd show up and yell at the opposing players. It was embarrassing."
Jeff Newton, Kane's Broward County boss, sympathizes with those who must bear witness to Kane's spectacle-making antics. "No one should be subject to that kind of behavior," he tells the 'Pipe. "We'll take this information into account when we talk to Pam. And hopefully, there won't be a repeat in the future."
Tailpipe called Kane and asked her to explain herself. With a dry little laugh, she referred the 'Pipe to the last time she was quoted in these pages. "You know what?" she told us in 2001. "You people are so fucking arrogant." And just like that time, she hung up.
-- As told to Edmund Newton