Making a dent in Tallahassee

Tallahassee doesn’t have many direct flights from here and it’s more than 450 miles away. So it’s important that policymakers throughout the peninsula do not forget about the needs of the state’s second-largest county (1.9 million population). We account for a large portion of the revenues generated for state coffers.

So in January I joined about 250 business and community leaders, school board members, county commissioners, and city leaders (including my Plantation colleague Denise Horland) in Tallahassee as part of the annual Broward Days event. Broward Days “brings Broward to Tallahassee” to advocate for our county during the state’s legislative session.

Throughout the event, attendees heard from agency heads and legislative leadership about their efforts and priorities heading into the 2020 legislative session.

I also took a ton of notes and comments from the speakers. Turns out, I wrote more than 1,500 words. Because it would slay the format of this newsletter, I’m going to refer those who want to read more to this link.

Plantation Middle gives Chinese show

Plantation Middle School students entertained classmates and visitors from Mirror Lake and Peters elementary schools on Friday with a Chinese New Year celebration.

The Chinese program is a point of pride for Plantation Middle School. The school has received federal grants to import teachers from China, who not only teach the language but the culture of the country. The teachers also make weekly visits to Mirror Lake and Peters, two schools that feed into Plantation Middle,

The entertainment program included a lion, fan, ribbon and dragon dances, music and a solo, “Jasmine” by Plantation Middle’s Ayesha Haroon.

Some Mirror Lake students also took the stage, singing about Chinese numbers, and Peters children provided a poem.

This year’s Chinese teacher, Huang Can, provided encouragement and prompting for each performance.

Plantation Middle students also offered poster-board displays on such topics as Chinese art, sports and culture.

Dr. Sherri N. Wilson is the school’s principal. Pamela S. Van Horn is the magnet coordinator and directs the International Baccalaureate program.

Air travel booming

Mark Gale, director of the Fort Lauderdale airport, gave an information-packed presentation Thursday night at the monthly Broward League of Cities meeting. (That’s when all us public officials gather and hear speakers on meaningful topics.)

I’m sure you’ve noticed that airport activity is booming, but here are the numbers: There were 23 million passengers in 2013; in 2019 there were 37 million. Southwest, jetBlue and Spirit each have 20-25 percent of the market, with Delta next at 9.7 percent.

The number of passengers is expected to grow to about 53 million in 2035 – people love to visit here, take cruises from Fort Lauderdale and/or, understandably, just prefer us to that airport in Miami.

So there will need to be adjustments for more volume. Long-term plans include expanding the number of gates from 66 to 95, building a hotel on property and installing a people mover. That’s a plan that will run into the billions, but fueled by the fees the airlines pay to the airport.

Meanwhile, Gale acknowledged existing challenges. Traffic around the “arrival” loop is unwieldly, so stoplights were installed in December. The roadway existing the airport and feeding onto the highways is a “cork in the bottle,” Gale said, so that’s being altered. And there are constant adjustments to flight paths, to lessen the noise for Broward residents.

One other note: FLL is No. 7 in the nation for gun’s confiscated (mostly people just forgetting and trying to check them via carry-on, Gale said). So you’ll see more signs at the airport reminding passengers to transport their guns using checked baggage.

City news

If you’re looking to dispose of hazardous waste, the city is taking materials from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Public Works compound (that’s just east of the main football field at Plantation Central Park).

Cleaners, insecticides and electronics are on the “accepted” list. Batteries and appliances don’t make it though. The best idea is if you’re in doubt, check or call 954-452-2535.

The Plantation City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. It’s a relatively light agenda. Plans to remodel the Publix on Plantation Promenade are scheduled, as well as discussion of the end of the code amnesty program, created to help those who have trouble keeping up with their properties.

Nick Sortal is president of the Plantation City Council. This newsletter originates on and is shared on various platforms. Contact Nick at