Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Sewage Fuels Brown Tide


A Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute study added to the evidence that the root cause of the nitrogen pollution in the Indian River Lagoon responsible for algal blooms and brown tide — leading to seagrass, fish and manatee die offs — is homeowners’ septic systems, not lawn fertilizer. A study of the water quality at 20 sites before and after counties and cities along the lagoon restricted fertilizer use showed 21% of the pollution came from homeowners’ fertilizer and 79% from septic systems. The findings were published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. “Our data indicate a primary role of human waste influence in the lagoon, which suggests that current management actions have been insufficient at mitigating environmental pollution,” said Rachel Brewton, corresponding author and a Harbor Branch scientist.


  • The Palm Beach Symphony marks its 50th anniversary this season with the world premiere of four commissions and guest artist pianists Yefim Bronfman, Vladimir Feltsman, Emanuel Ax and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and violinists Akiko Suwanai and Pinchas Zukerman. This year, the symphony released its first recording and its family concert was picked up for broadcast by PBS stations nationally.


  • Coral Springs internal medicine physician Jason Goldman was installed as the 147th president of the Florida Medical Association.


“We give years to your life and life to your years.”

— H. Irwin Levy, a Palm Beach attorney, developed Century Village, large-scale planned retirement communities that became a model for others. His company for a time was the largest condo builder in the nation. Levy established several Jewish organizations and was active in many organizations locally and globally. He worked to secure $1.6 billion in federal grants to relocate nearly 1 million Jews from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia to Israel. He died in July at age 97.


  • Pet and outdoor supply e-commerce company Jamyln Supply will relocate from West Palm Beach to Westlake in Palm Beach County. Jamlyn will employ 40 at the James Business Park, the city’s first warehouse-distribution project. The land was acquired from Westlake master developer Minto Communities. Meanwhile, Mitchell Property Realty and Ridgeline Property Group have acquired 17.5 acres to develop a second warehouse-distribution and office project — the 227,000-sq.-ft. Westlake Commerce Center. Symple Seeds opened a fulfillment center in Fort Lauderdale to ship cannabis seeds from European and American producers to American home growers. It launched a boutique grow division to help American growers, brands and geneticists distribute nationally. The new warehouse will employ 35 full-time, plus seasonal hires. The seeds contain no THC and are regulated as hemp products, says CEO Jessica Hanson.


  • Indian River State College opened Indiantown’s first high school, a public charter, in time for the new school year. School founders Charles and Sandra Johnston donated $10 million to the college for the school. Traditional high school curriculum is taught alongside workforce and college courses. The Johnstons are philanthropists whose work also includes supporting Hope Rural School, an elementary school for immigrant families, in Indiantown.
  • Broward County public schools, using federal funding, are offering free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of ability to pay.


  • Brightstar Credit Union appointed long-term employee, CFO and executive vice president Biana Murnane as CEO, succeeding Michael Tomko.


  • Boca Raton philanthropists Ann and John Wood of the FairfaxWood Scholarship Foundation donated $11.5 million to Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine to advance research on amyloidosis. Physician Michael R. Dobb was appointed to oversee the newly created clinical neurosciences department. It is the Wood family’s fourth contribution to the college, which includes a $28-million scholarship gift in 2022 made in memory of their son Robert A. Wood.


  • Bang Energy maker Vital Pharmaceuticals laid off 397 employees at its Weston headquarters, 19 in Pembroke Pines and 47 in Medley after Monster Beverage bought it out of Chapter 11 for $362 million.


  • Billionaire and Chicago transplant Ken Griffin paid $83 million for a boutique office building on Worth Avenue on the island of Palm Beach, which formerly held a Neiman Marcus store.
  • The Pompano Beach planning board approved Cavache Properties’ and Adache Group Architects’ $100-million, 319-unit Old Town Square II apartment project, its second mixed-use project in the city’s downtown historic district. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024. Old Town Square itself is scheduled to open this month.


  • Boca Raton-based home and small business security company ADT agreed to sell its commercial security, fire and life safety business unit to private equity firm GTCR for $1.6 billion. It will use the net proceeds to pay down debt.