Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Next month, after “Mira” is out of quarantine, visitors can see this beautiful jungle cat, who is 12 years old.  Her elderly owner, founder of the South Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Homestead, has a terminal illness and he contacted state wildlife officials to help him find homes for his animals.

The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society at Dreher Park is excited about their new resident and they say she is very affectionate with humans, and appears to have been well loved and cared for in her last home.  Yet, panthers are known to be solitary animals.  About 80 to 100 panthers remain in Florida, and they are now one of the most rare and endangered mammals in the world.  The Panther National Wildlife Refuges is east of Naples, Florida.  Panthers are at great risk of extinction.

Mira has a few health problems, including curvature of the spine, but otherwise is doing well. General curator Jan Steel says that having Mira, a “pure” Florida panther, is exciting and “It allows us to show the differences between the western cougar or puma and the Florida panther.

Three Malayan tiger brothers, Jaya, Bunga and Penari have left the Palm Beach Zoo for a new home at the Jacksonville Zoo.  Since 1900 the wild tiger population has decreased by more than 95% and there is a Tiger Conservation Campaign among zoos.  The Wildlife without Borders Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund funded 53 projects in 15 countries for these conservation project,  implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency of the Department of the Interior.  Here is more information.  The tiger pictured above is at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC.

The Zoo recently added “and Conservation Society” to its name to stress they provide care for endangered species, which has been part of their agenda for a long time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


(Reuters) – UNITEDHEALTH GROUP dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks, leaving many elderly patients unsure whether they need to switch plans to continue seeing their doctors, the Wall St Journal reported on Friday.

The insurer said in October that underfunding of Medicare Advantage plans for the elderly could not be fully offset by the company's other healthcare business. The company also reported spending more healthcare premiums on medical claims in the third quarter, due mainly to government cuts to payments for Medicare Advantage services.

The Journal report said that doctors in at least 10 states were notified of being laid off the plans, some citing "significant changes and pressures in the healthcare environment." According to the notices, the terminations can be appealed within 30 days.

Tyler Mason, a UnitedHealth spokesperson, was not immediately available for comment when reached by Reuters.

The insurer told the WSJ that its provider networks were always changing and that it expected its Medicare Advantage network to be 85 percent to 90 percent of its current size by the end of 2014.

UnitedHealth is participating in about a dozen new state insurance markets that launched on October 1 to offer subsidized health coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul.
The insurer said previously it planned to withdraw from some markets in 2014 because of the government funding cuts.

Another top health insurer, Aetna Inc , also warned in October that it expected slowing growth in 2014 in its Medicare Advantage plans.

To find the lowest priced Medicare Supplements, see and you can sign up there or call 561-638-9818.

Friday, November 15, 2013


The national median home price showed its strongest annual growth in nearly eight years during the third quarter of this year, according to data collected by the National Association of Realtors.  Homes for sale on Palm Beach Island are enjoying increased list and sale prices.

A whopping 144 of the 163 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) tracked by NAR showed gains between the third quarter of this year and the third quarter of last year. In 54 of those MSAs, the increases were in the double digits.

The national median existing single-family home price was $207,300 in the third quarter, up 12.5 percent from $184,300 in the third quarter of last year.

That's the strongest year-over-year increase since the fourth quarter of 2005 when the median home price jumped 13.6 percent.

Condominium and cooperative prices rose 15.1 percent to a median $205,400 in the third quarter.

One reason home prices are rising is that foreclosures and short sales are falling. Short sales are homes sold for less than what the owners owed on their mortgage.

Foreclosures and short-sale homes typically sell at a discount. That can lower the value of nearby homes because appraisers look at all recent sales when they determine a home's current value.

In the third quarter, only 14 percent of home sales were foreclosures or short sales. That's down from 24 percent a year ago.

Across the country, about 2.21 million homeowners had their properties for sale, modestly higher than the third quarter of 2012, when 2.17 million homes were on the market.

That's a 5-month supply of homes for sale, down from a 5.9-month supply in the third quarter of 2012.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Two hundred plus public, private and non-profit organizations in Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, India River, Miami-Dade and Monroe County formed the group to develop a 50-year plan for the region.

Issues include coastal erosion, environment and other climate issues and regional approaches to economic development, transportation and education.  One member mentioned that an expanded marine industry in West Palm Beach could create jobs and become an international destination for super yachts.

A grant of nearly $14MM has been awarded to South Florida transportation officials to upgrade rail transportation and connect train corridors on Tri Rail and the CSX and Florida East Coast Railway lines.  It will also be used for the All Aboard Florida, a rail service between Miami and Orlando.

According to project officials, three million new residents are expected in Florida in the next 50 years.  For more information see