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5 Boca VIPs look back at 2018, the positives and negatives

Boca Voice asked five of Boca’s public officials and business leaders to rank the biggest stories and accomplishments of 2018.

Here’s what they had to say.

Palm Beach County District 4 Commissioner Robert Weinroth:

Two stories with very direct impacts on Boca Raton were the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and the decision by Gov. Rick Scott to suspend Boca Raton’s mayor.

On Feb. 14, our lives were impacted by the shooting in Parkland. Many children from our community attended MSDHS or have friends who were directly impacted by the terrible events of that day.

School security has received the continuing attention of our community as we work to make #NeverAgain a reality for our children.

Out of the tragedy has grown the March for Our Lives movement. Florida passed its first new gun regulations in over 10 years.

In April, the governor suspended Boca Raton’s mayor after she was arrested. As a result of her removal, a special election was held. Scott Singer was elected mayor and Andy Thomson the newest member of City Council. 

Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth

Voter turnout for the 2018 general election exceeded 60 percent of all registered voters in Florida, making it one of the highest mid-term elections in memory. Four recounts were necessitated by paper-thin margins of victory for U.S. Senate and governor, agriculture commissioner and Florida state house race for District 89 (decided by 32 votes).

Finally, #MeToo, became the rallying cry of women, no matter what their socioeconomic status, following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. 

The recent decision by CBS to withhold a 120 million severance package from its disgraced former CEO was the latest example of men in positions of power being held accountable for the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

Likewise, women, worldwide, were galvanized when Dr. Christine Ford raised sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Women have declared they will no longer accept these acts as a condition of employment.

Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer:

The No. 1 story was the return to normal excellence after the instability in April. The bumps were temporary.

No. 2 is the new elementary school in Boca. State approval goes back to a rare partnership [between the city and School District of Palm Beach County].

No. 3 was the return to positivity after the special election. The message that things were awful didn’t resonate with voters.

No. 4 is the good collaboration with city council. We get it done.

Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer
[Singer referred to merging plans to make the Wildflower site and Silver Palm Park one large waterfront park.]

No. 5 Keeping the downtown post office downtown

No. 6 Partnering with Lake Worth Drainage District over neighbors’ concerns. [The district agreed to stop clearing canal banks for several months.]

Troy McLellan, president and CEO, Boca Chamber

As awesome as Boca is and all its success and beauty and uniqueness — a couple things come to mind.

Although not Boca literally, Parkland cannot be ignored as one of the most important stories of 2018. And of course, the Boca Chamber issued a letter regarding the tragedy as well. 

Also, the story of our friend and former mayor is of note.  The positive thing about these stories is the go forward. Our schools are much safer. And our governance will be better regarding municipal policies. 

Staying in the political arena, the special election was also important. And the results were noteworthy. Scott Singer wins the mayor position in overwhelming fashion. And Andy Thomson wins by a slim margin. 

Troy McLellan, president and CEO, Boca Chamber

Both Scott and Andy are extremely important in determining the future direction of our city when it comes to economic prosperity. Which is why the Chamber’s BLU-PAC endorsed them both. 

On a much brighter note – a few stories that are truly positive with great economic impact are:

The new Oasis title sponsorship for the Boca Raton Champions Tour Golf Tournament.

The Cheribundi title sponsorship of the Boca Raton Bowl. Although this was their second year of sponsorship, they got in late last year. This year they were able to fully participate in the entire experience from start to finish.

Jerry Fedele, president and CEO, Boca Raton Regional Hospital:

Boca Raton Regional Hospital took another great step forward in 2018.  

Over the last decade, the hospital has evolved from the brink of failure in 2008 and established itself as the pre-eminent academic regional referral tertiary medical center in its market.  

In 2018 Boca Regional garnered an A- positive outlook bond rating from Fitch Ratings and executed a letter of intent with Baptist Health of South Florida. That will support the hospital’s continued financial strengthening, market leading quality and clinical program development for decades.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital has again been recognized as a top-ranked regional hospital in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018–2019 annual review of its Best Hospitals. The Hospital is currently ranked 13th out of approximately 300 hospitals in Florida and third in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area, making it the highest ranked hospital in Palm Beach County.

Boca Raton Regional Hospital president and CEO Jerry Fedele

Marcus Neuroscience Institute joins Duke University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco in a study to test investigational drug utilizing polio-virus for brain cancer.

For the sixth year in a row, Boca Raton Regional Hospital has had the most primary-affiliated physicians of any hospital in Palm Beach County recognized as “Top Doctors” by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd and surpassed all other institutions combined.

Mitch Feldman, CEO, West Boca Medical Center:

West Boca Medical Center brought robotic technology into the operation room in 2018.

The Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee application by Stryker is available to patients in need of a total knee replacement.

The technology allows surgeons to have a more predictable surgical experience with increased accuracy during laboratory testing. Surgeons can use the Mako System to create a personalizes surgical plan.

Mitch Feldman, CEO, West Boca Medical Center

This is the fourth consecutive year our hospital has been recognized as a five-star recipient by Healthgrades for our labor and delivery care.

In 2018, we were the recipient of the Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The honor was given by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 

Feel free to weigh in by commenting below.

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