|Posted by Anne Siren on January 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM|
By Judy Wilson
Lighthouse Point - 2012 may be most remembered because two long-time commissioners lost their seats and voters may have been influenced by an unlikely force. Tom Hasis and Susie Gordon, both veteran politicians here, lost their seats in March to newcomers Becky Lysengen and Earl Maucker. Coming into play the weekend before the voting was a mailing by the Broward Republican Executive Committee touting voters off of Lysengen who was linked to “union bosses” and Maucker, described as “an independent liberal.”
The mailing may have backfired. Hasis, who said he had no knowledge of it, said his campaign had been “high-jacked.” Vice Mayor Sandy Johnson, herself a Republican, said it was “muckraking.”
Once the election furor died down, however, it became business as usual here and this quiet town produced few headlines.
In May, Christy Keyes officially became the city’s librarian replacing Doreen Gauthier who retired in late 2011. Keyes, 41, is a resident of LHP and had been acting director for six months and before that, the youth librarian. She came to the job with a background in education and staffing.
Gauthier was further honored for her 33 years building the library into a first-class institution at the 12th annual Keepers Days in February. She shared the spotlight with Mike McDace who was named a “keeper” posthumously after 34 years serving in police and code departments.
LHP lost another uniformed officer this year when firefighter Kevin Horkheimer died after 37 years of service.
Taking honors as Community Advocate of the Year was Michelle Greene so named by the Children’s Home Society at a banquet that raised $120,000 for the agency and celebrated its 110th year. Greene is the well-known local businesswoman who founded the LHP Chamber of Commerce.
Police Chief Ross Licata reported an uptick in arrests due to the addition of License Plate Recognition Cameras at the town’s major intersections. The cameras pick up on stolen license tags and alert the police department. A number of arrests were made and stolen property recovered. Licata went on record to urge residents to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity or strangers in their neighborhoods. He especially warned residents not to open their doors to solicitors saying he rarely grants a permit for door to door salespersons. An unfamiliar face at the door often means someone is casing the house, the chief said.
A sad note for many was the day the Fifth Avenue Grill closed. A popular eating and drinking spot since 1998, it fell victim to competition and hard times a family spokesperson said. The property was sold to a funeral home which will open shortly.
Earlier, the commission followed a trend being established in other south Florida cities and lifted the ban on the Sunday sale of alcohol. Restaurants can now serve alcohol on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. rather than noon.