I’m Back…

Things being the way they are, Around Cooper City became a very low priority over the last few years, especially as FaceBook pages associated with Cooper City Life “took over” the public commentary. That being said, I’m putting the charging cables to this blog as a way to independently address some issues, concerns, and happenings around town, and will link it in to the aforementioned FaceBook pages.

I’d also like to mention that I have a new novel out on Amazon, and will provide background information and a link later on.

Until next time, keep Cooper City Someplace Special.

ALWAYS READY Coast Guard Sea Stories from the 1970’s

Always Ready – Coast Guard Sea Stories from the 1970’s bookcoverchronicles the experiences and adventures of the author during his eight years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard. In his book, author Mark Holmes recounts fact-based tales of rescues at sea, liberty calls by energetic crew members, rowdy behavior and some raunchy antics by his shipmates, all with a unique perspective on the Coast Guard during the evolving 1970’s. You’ll read about life during boot camp, a daring rescue in mountainous seas, a miraculous recovery of a man overboard, and the struggles and successes of Mr. Holmes during the course of his two enlistments. Some dates and some names of people, places, and institutions have been fictionalized, but the stories themselves are true. Learn more at the website Always Ready.


$2.5M For Artificial Turf

The upcoming Cooper City budget calls for $2.5M to be spent on upgradingturf city playing fiieds with state of the art artificial turf. Sound move or foolish spending?

The web site, MomsTeam.com has a good article highlighting the pros and cons of this turf.

One of the “cons’ mentioned in the article is kind of gross:

  • Bacterial breeding ground. Medical experts have found that staphylococci and other bacteria can survive on polyethylene plastic, the compound used to make synthetic turf blades, for more than 90 days. Blood, sweat, skin cells and other materials can remain on the synthetic turf because the fields are not washed or cleaned.

However, the artificial surface is much more playable, saves a lot of water, and has lower maintenance costs than grass. According to the report, once the decision is made to use artificial turf, the city cannot revert back to grass because the soil is destroyed in terms of supporting live grass.


This was passed unanimously by the commission. The signs are relatively new, at least in Ted Ferone Park. How do you feel about it? Is the law being observed? I see people with dogs walk right past the sign into the park, some of the dogs doing their business without it being disposed of. Is this a “paper law” not to be enforced? If so, what’s the point of having it?

Presumably the ordinance doesn’t include noanimalssquirrels, birds, lizards, burrowing owls and such, just dogs and maybe cats.

Here is the ordinance:
(g)   Animals and pets:
      (1)   a.   No animals or pets of any kind are permitted in city parks, except that dogs shall be permitted in areas specifically designated for dog use by the posting of a sign. Dogs shall not be allowed to run loose, but shall at all times be restrained or kept on a leash of not more than six (6) feet in length;*
         b.   This subsection shall not apply to the following:
            i.   Service animals, as defined in Section 413.08(1)(d), Florida Statutes, and as used in accordance with the provisions of Section 413.08, Florida Statutes;
            ii.   Horses or dogs used by a law enforcement officer or park watchman in the performance of their duties; and
            iii.   Animals or fowl kept by the department of recreation or under its direction.

Here is the definition of an ADA Certified service animal:
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Personalized Service at Cooper City TRUE VALUE

If you’re tired of aimlessly wandering the canyons of your local big-box home improvement store, try the new Cooper City True Value. tv3They seem to have about 90% of what I typically need and it’s convenient. Not only that, you get personalized service instead of hopelessly and vainly searching for an blue or orange-clad employee at the mega stores.

Owners Russ and Ernie both demonstrated excellent customer service skills while I was there, patiently helping a female customer with multiple hardware needs, and helping me find parts to restore my antique tripods. Parts, I might add that were out of stock at the big-box store in spite of their massive-ness.

If you need hardware of any kind, give True Value a try – they have all kinds of nuts, bolts, screws, connectors, clips, t-nuts… the list goes on, and they’re all organized and easy to find. I saw plenty of PVC pipe supplies, paint and tv2painting supplies, ladders, mowers, power tools, door hardware, barbeque items, saw blades, electrical supplies, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and a whole lot more. Like I said, 90% of the time, these are the types of items I need, and at True Value, you can get immediate help, find what you want, and be on your way. I thought the prices were very reasonable.tv1

Save some shoe leather… try the new True Value. It’s located in the old Blockbuster store location at Hiatus and Sheridan. Look for the grand opening event February 6 through the 8th, including buy one, get one free on EasyCare paint, a fun treasure hunt, register to win prizes, and a spin-to-win game. The ribbon cutting was held at 1 PM on February 7th with Mayor Ross and commissioners in attendance.

Mayor Ross leads the ribbon cutting at True Value.


New Playground at Ted Ferone Park Set to Open (NOW OPEN)

Ted Ferone Park Cooper City New Playground

Finishing up the mulching at the new playground as a final step to completion.

Children in the Cooper Village area will soon enjoy the brand new playground at Ted Ferone Park, located at 106th Avenue and 51st Street. The old playground was recently removed and quickly replaced with a great new facility. The last details are being completed now. The playground includes several slides, a circular monkey-bars, a rock climbing wall, and a huge shade canopy. Go see it, and enjoy it, soon!

Trader Joe’s – Budget/Gourmet With a ’60’s Vibe.

First visit to Trader Joe’s (11960 Pines Blvd). 20141222_141836Not exactly what I expected, kind of a cozy ’60’s beach/drive-in vibe with bright colors, plus light wood decor and checkout stands instead of a big warehouse, and great prices on most stuff.

Almost everything is “Trader Joe’s” brand, and as you’ve heard, their wine selection is good-sized and well priced. A few item samples: $1.99 for a half-gallon of OJ, $1.79 for a dozen eggs, $2.49 for the large bags of multi-grain tortilla or ridged potato chips, $2.99 for their house brand 20141222_133915Merlot and White Zindandel (and other varietals), pure grade-A maple syrup at $5.49,  EV Olive Oil (33 oz. size) for just $7.99. I’m told by the expert that those are good prices. Trader Joe’s has plenty of imported cheeses, a good selection of nice, flash-frozen fish, small-batch craft beer, fresh produce, a nice assortment of frozen convenience foods, and much more.20141222_133746 It’s a budget-gourmet place combined with a small-town grocery store feel. The staff is friendly and helpful plus they empty your cart and bag your stuff for you; all you do is watch and pay.

Budget Gems – 5 Year Capital Improvement Plan

Here’s a taste of some of the 5-year capital improvement plan spending that was approved by your commission:

$2M to reconfigure Bill Lipps Sports Complex FY16-17
$400K for a metal span structure at the Cooper City Sports Complex basketball courts FY15-16
$500K to replace playground equipment FY14-19
$2.4M to develop West Sports Complex FY14-18
$80K for Community Center renovations FY14-15
$75K for a generator for the Community Center FY14-15
$50K for City Hall lobby renovation FY14-15
$285K to upgrade the Pool &Tennis Center court lighting FY15-18
$50K to add a play structure & picnic tables at P&TC FY15-16

Total just for these items is $5,840,000

Other items that make up the $8.763,000 overall total include ADA compliance items, re-roofing, street resurfacing and other necessary maintenance. Those seem to be solid needs. It would be interesting to know from the above list, what items are “must-have” improvements to maintain the operational integrity of a facility, and what are “nice-to-have” items, if any. As many taxpayers in Cooper City continue to struggle to get along with less, is every capital improvement expense item a true necessity?

For stimulating reading, check the approved budget at this link.

Oh, by the way, according to the approved budget, the commissioner’s budget includes $140 a month each for cell phones in addition to the group insurance benefits (about $17,270 a year benefit for each active commissioner) and the newly doubled salary. In fact, the entire Department 100 – Commission budget (minus retiree benefits) comes out to just under $50k a year per active commissioner, of which there is $24,500 for travel expenses, according to the report. The total budget for Department 100 – Commission is under $400,000 annually. Heck, that’s enough to buy another “metal structure” for the basketball courts.


Sims Wins

John Sims won re-election for the commissioner’s seat against newcomer Mike de Miranda who had a very good showing with 48.3% of the vote, losing by just 318 votes. The lingering question for John Sims and Mayor Greg Ross is will they refuse to accept the 100% raise recently voted in by the other commissioners? Are they in fact, even allowed to “refuse” it? Wondering minds would like to know.

At any rate, congratulations to Mr. Sims and here’s wishing for continued watchdog oversight on the Cooper City budget and other local matters.

Hoops Bar & Grill Now Open – Must Love TV

After many months, Hoops Bar & Grill is now open in Davie menuat the SW corner of Griffin Road and University. The site has been home to several restaurants over the years using the same building, but Hoops is brand new from the ground up. Hoops has a seating capacity of 202 people and houses 150+ flat-screen televisions. If you like wandering around hhgregg because of the walls of TV’s, you’ll love Hoops. Every table and booth other than center-floor seats has its own TV, although you cannot control the sound and you must ask the wait staff to change the channel.

If you were expecting a basketball-themed restaurant (and with a name like Hoops, why wouldn’t you) you are in for a severe disappointment. Nothing on the inside save the round menu even hints at a basketball theme. You will find mostly (presumably) vendor-provided liquor posters and metal signs, and we spotted a Major League Baseball sign, a Miami Dolphins football sign, and that was about it. There is a large basketball jersey with the name SHACK (not SHAQ?) on it and the number 23 but that’s it for basketball memorabilia.

The outside is bright and inviting. Once inside, it’s all dark, and I mean all of it. From the dark brown tile floors to the dark wood-like paneling, to the dark tables, dark chairs, dark high-back booth seats, dark ceiling… the only thing that’s not dark is the 150+ blazing televisions. interiorVirtually any unoccupied space has been fitted with a TV. So, sitting in your dark booth surrounded by dark fixtures (even the ceiling fans) what stands out is the endless walls of televisions. If that was the plan, it worked.

On to the food. We went for lunch at 1:30 during opening week and were promptly seated and attended to. My lunch partner and I ordered from the short lunch menu and our food arrived within 20 minutes. I had a properly done and very tasty burger and crispy fries and my partner had a beef scaloppini dish. My burger came with Havarti cheese (you can have Cheddar, Swiss or Havarti; there is no American cheese at Hoops, I was told), crunchy lettuce, ripe tomato and red onion slices on a toasted bun. Everything tasted fresh but I was not asked howburger I wanted the burger cooked nor asked what I wanted on it. In spite of that, it was one of the better burgers I’ve had locally.

The scaloppini dish came with a tasty creamy sauce with tri-color pepper bits. The side salad was just the right size and had an interesting mix of fresh greens, tomato, cucumber and red onion. Nicely done but delivered with the wrong dressing. For lunch, we just had lemonade and water. Based on our small sample, thumbs up on the food so far.

Here’s a bit of surprise, there are no condiments on any table. None. No salt, no pepper, no ketchup or mustard, no sugar packets. You can ask for them beefbut you’re apparently not trusted to have them on the table. Besides, they would disrupt viewing your table side TV, the one you can see but cannot hear. What you do hear is typical bar and grill thumping music constantly playing in the background.

The female wait staff wore uniforms of a dark top, tan shorts or tan skirt and knee-high socks that were topped in horizontal black and white stripes, a hint to referee stripes. We’ll reserve comment on service capabilities for a restaurant that’s only been open a few days, but the word sufficient comes to mind. All requests were immediately handled and we were checked on a couple of times during the meal.

Back to the décor. Hoops = basketball, right? Not here. The odd, round menus are printed with a basketball graphic but handling the menu is a bit unwieldy due to the shape. As for interior design, I would have expected possibly a parquet wood floor reminiscent of a basketball court, wouldn’t you? Maybe a basketball backboard and hoop somewhere? Some basketball graphics, maybe a player image or two? Was Fathead not open? Was it too costly to license anything from the NBA? Just makes you shrug.

The food was good enough to make me want to go back plus the location is handy. Could be a great bar hangout with a long inside bar framed by a huge TV and an airy outside bar to complement it. If you like a restaurant with at least 20 TVs in your field of view at any given time, Hoops is for you.