Thursday, February 04, 2016

This Medal of Honor recipient just turned 82. You’ll be stunned by what he did in Vietnam.

This article was originally published on Yellow Hammer News and is written by Cliff Sims .

Bennie Adkins turned 82 on Feb. 1. Exactly 50 years ago, Mr. Adkins was in the jungles of Vietnam. He returned to the United States a legend among Army Rangers, and almost a half-century later was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War.i

So numerous and heroic were Adkins’ battlefield exploits that President Obama started his remarks at the White House Medal of Honor ceremony by saying that there was no way there would be enough time to describe them all. At another point he paused to simply say, “you can’t make this stuff up.”
Here’s a lightly edited transcript of the official citation, which details a portion of Adkins’ incredible story:
When Adkins’ camp was attacked by a large North Vietnamese and Viet Cong force in the early morning hours of March 9, 1966, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense enemy fire and manned a mortar position continually adjusting fire for the camp, despite incurring wounds as the mortar pit received several direct hits from enemy mortars.
Upon learning that several soldiers were wounded near the center of camp, he temporarily turned the mortar over to another soldier, ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several comrades to safety. As the hostile fire subsided, Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire while carrying his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary.
When Adkins and his group of defenders came under heavy small arms fire from members of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group that had defected to fight with the North Vietnamese, he maneuvered outside the camp to evacuate a seriously wounded American and draw fire all the while successfully covering the rescue.
When a resupply air drop landed outside of the camp perimeter, Adkins, again, moved outside of the camp walls to retrieve the much needed supplies.
During the early morning hours of March 10, 1966, enemy forces launched their main attack and within two hours, Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. When all mortar rounds were expended, Adkins began placing effective recoilless rifle fire upon enemy positions. Despite receiving additional wounds from enemy rounds exploding on his position, Adkins fought off intense waves of attacking Viet Cong.
Adkins eliminated numerous insurgents with small arms fire after withdrawing to a communications bunker with several soldiers. Running extremely low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered vital ammunition and ran through intense fire back to the bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, Adkins and a small group of soldiers destroyed all signal equipment and classified documents, dug their way out of the rear of the bunker, and fought their way out of the camp.
While carrying a wounded soldier to the extraction point he learned that the last helicopter had already departed. Adkins led the group while evading the enemy until they were rescued by helicopter on March 12, 1966.
During the thirty-eight hour battle and forty-eight hours of escape and evasion, fighting with mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, small arms, and hand grenades, it was estimated that Adkins killed between 135 and 175 of the enemy while sustaining eighteen different wounds to his body.
When that last line was read aloud, there was a collective, audible gasp throughout the assembled crowd of friends, family, press and members of the military in the East Room of the White House.
Every member of Adkins’ unit was either killed or wounded during the 48-hour ordeal detailed above. Two of the men he saved were able to attend the event. After the ceremony, Adkins’ thoughts quickly turned to the other heroes with whom he served.
“This Medal of Honor belongs to the other 16 Special Forces soldiers with me,” he said.

President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins in a ceremony at the White House Sept. 15, 2014 (Photo: Cliff Sims)
Medal of Honor recommendations usually must be made within two years of the act of heroism and must be presented within three years. Adkins received his some 48 years after the fact.
So why did it take so long for Adkins to be recognized?
“In 2009, Command Sergeant Major Adkins’ family contacted my office and told us that they were going to try to get this wrong righted,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, Adkins’ congressman, told Yellowhammer.
From that moment forward, Rogers made it his personal mission to make sure Adkins received the honor he was due.
Rogers immediately moved for there to be a review of Adkins’ records. Fortunately, all of the documentation the Army compiled after Adkins’ heroic efforts — including first-hand accounts from American soldiers who are still alive — had been preserved by the Pentagon.
According to the documentation, Adkins was nominated for the Medal of Honor shortly after the battle by his chain of command. In doing that, his commanding officer, who was in the battle with him, wrote a five-page narrative detailing what had happened. The Army then took statements from every soldier who was with him and documented all of the communications that took place during the battle.
But as the recommendation worked its way up the chain of command to the general officer level, they inexplicably decided Adkins’ actions merited the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military honor, rather than the Medal of Honor.
When Congressman Rogers’ office started pushing for the Army to revisit Adkins’ story, there was a treasure trove of original battlefield information still intact.

Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins participating in a press conference just after receiving the Medal of Honor at the White House, Sept. 15, 2014. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller)
“You’ve got to get the documentation that supports the review,” Rogers said, explaining the process. “Then the Secretary of Defense has to review it and decide that he would like to see it recommended to the president. After that happened, we had to go back and get an exception to the law, which says that the Medal of Honor must be awarded within three years of the event. So we had to get Congress to pass a law to say this deserves an exception.”
Rogers lobbied his colleagues incessantly.
“There was a lot of resistance, surprisingly,” he said. “But one thing that really helped was that Secretary (of Defense) Hagel was asking for this. He had reviewed it and felt like it was an injustice that needed to be remedied. It finally got passed, but it took several months.”
In addition to lobbying Congress, Rogers also had to make his case to the White House, who would not normally be receptive to the requests of a Republican congressman from Alabama.
“We spent several months pestering the president’s office,” Rogers laughed. “Fortunately they did the right thing.”
“Sometimes even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the fog of war or the passage of time,” President Obama said. “When new evidence comes to light, certain actions can be reconsidered for this honor, and it is entirely right and proper that we have done so.”
As for the reason why Adkins and other deserving soldiers were not properly honored initially upon their return, Rogers said he was not exactly sure, but believes it could have been a combination of the post-war political climate, as well as prejudice.
“There were clearly some prejudices involved when you look at who was and wasn’t recognized after Vietnam,” he said. “Some folks were of a different race, some folks were a certain religion, and some folks were from the South. So there was some of that involved. It may have been because Bennie was a southern boy. You never know.”
In late September of 2014, all of the efforts of Adkins’ family and Rogers’ office came to fruition. Four of the five living men whose lives were saved by Adkins between March 9 and March 12, 1966 joined him at the White House in a scene that had been a half-century in the making.
Adkins, who usually walks with a cane, rose unassisted and stood at attention as the President of the United States bestowed upon him his nation’s highest military honor. Adkins’ chin quivered ever so slightly as President Obama placed the medal around his neck. His wife of 60 years, Mary, beamed with pride on the front row, smiling as she wiped tears from her eyes.
Adkins snapped off a perfectly formed salute to the crowd before exiting the stage.
“This Medal of Honor belongs to the other 16 Special Forces soldiers with me,” he would later say with genuine humility.
And as the Army Chaplain led the audience in a closing prayer, Bennie G. Adkins of Opelika, Ala., stood once more to honor the One who had always been with him, from the jungles of Vietnam to the East Room of the White House and everywhere in between.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Have you considered a new hobby?  Ever stood at an easel, brush and palette in hand, and thought about what to put on the canvas?  Taken photos everyone admires?  Been inspired by an artist’s lecture?

The ARMORY ART CENTER, located in West Palm Beach and Lake Worth, offers classes for all ages, exhibitions, art salons, lectures, special events. 

·       Learn more about painting, an endless subject to study from different periods to different methods.

·       Be inspired to make beautiful ceramics and pottery that you will love too much to gift to someone else. 

·       Bring your camera, learn about taking photos, and there are many sites that may be willing to sell your photos.  Have you tried jewelry making - you could sell your designs. 

·       Have you been to Murano and admired the glass fusing?  You can do it here as well as welding and using blow torches.

·       Sculpture – remember that Michaelangelo may have said to an admirer of a sculpture he was carving out of rock: “The man was in there all the time; I just let him out!”  You may be surprised at what YOU let out if you start carving, or use clay.

·       Learn more about an artistic method at lectures, you may want to try it!  And, bring the children and let them freely paint, sculpt, use a pottery wheel.

·       Bring  your art pieces that you created to an evening critique to get a new perspective from others.

·       Attend an art salon, fashion show or party get-together, make new friends with similar interests 

·       Attend the fascinating Visiting Master Artist Workshop Series - when you see what others have done and how they did it, you could be inspired to try.  See their catalog at

A whole new world will open up to you, where you can express yourself creatively, and ONLY YOU should judge the results.  You may focus intently while working, to the exclusion of all other thoughts and ideas.  


Saturday, November 21, 2015


Right down the highway in coastal Hillsboro Beach there stands Le Palais Royal, a 60,500 sq ft estate on four acres of waterfront land – ocean to intracoastal – on the market for $159,000,000 – so, will the entity who has that much petty cash to purchase please step up? 

Planned to resemble France’s Palace of Versailles, a must-stop-by for your next trip to Paris, features include a huge $2MM marble staircase, more than $3MM of gold leaf, 11 bedrooms, 30-car underground garage, IMAX theatre, 3,000-bottle wine cellar, waterfalls  and a 1300 gallon fish tank.  Two guest houses, each about 3,000 sq ft, will be included on an extra lot.  Under construction are a go-kart track, ice-skating rink, bowling alley and night club, all to be ready in 2 years.

Right on: you never have to leave home.  It may take months to explore the complete house.

Wouldn’t this make a spectacular Winter White House?  But, can the US government afford it?  They would need to build an airstrip, perhaps a hospital and make mainland access readily available for cars and walkers.  It would definitely raise area home values.  A good move.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Main Streets Across the World 2014-2015 tracked over 500 of the top retail streets, and two in our area came up HIGH on the list.

Lincoln Road in Miami Beach ranked as the 10th most expensive retail street in the United States and Worth Avenue in Palm Beach ranked 14th, tied with Boston and Georgetown.  You, no doubt, won’t be surprised to learn that Manhattan’s Upper Fifth Avenue was at the very top of the list, 46% more expensive than #2, Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay. 

For our World Traveler readership, other streets on the list were England’s Bond Street, Paris’ Champs-Élysées, Milan’s Via Montenapoleone and Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall.  Rents rose impressively on the number one street, Manhattan’s Upper East Side, to $3500 per sq ft.  Between Madison Avenue’s East 72nd and 75th street, this usually thriving stretch is reported to be a “micro-pocket of retail that is really starting to flourish, thanks to the new Apple Store, the forthcoming Metropolitan Museum of Art building and new residential product.” Retail asking rents north of 72nd are increasingly exceeding $1,000 per square foot.

Lincoln Road rents, at $325 per sq ft, which sounds reasonable in comparison, have held steady for the past year.  National and international investors have sent Lincoln Road’s rents and property values way high.  Tenants include H&M, Anthropologie, Intermix, Forever 21, Apple, Gap, Urban Outfitters and lululemon and the same shops, as well as those on Worth Avenue listed below, can be found in local malls in other Florida cities.

Rents on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue jumped up 20% to $150 per sq ft, resulting in one of the largest global growth rates.  Worth Avenue has attracted global luxury retailers, such as Cartier, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Graff, Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton.  Luxury real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield, reports that part-time residents and international visitors have led to the growth.

An overhaul is planned for Lincoln Road with sidewalk enlargements, extensive landscaping and new pedestrian walkways on some side streets and in back alleys where new retail and restaurant venues will be found.  A Business Improvement District will be created by assessing area business and property owners to create a 10-year long maintenance and management program.

With rising consumer sentiment and increased tourism (100 MILLION tourists visited Florida in 2014 and more are expected this year) it might not be a bad idea to get on line on Worth Avenue and Lincoln Road and elsewhere on the Friday after Thanksgiving and going forward a few weeks after.  Online purchases are expected to be about 10% of retail sales, the other 10% visiting brick-and-mortar stores.

Sounds like our economy has severely improved, don’t-cha think?

Monday, November 16, 2015


You can sit back, relax, take a nap, read a good book instead of focusing for several hours on road travel!  If you haven’t heard this yet, by  mid-2017, you no longer have to drive to Orlando or from Miami to Ft Lauderdale, to West Palm Beach, as Brightline, the new name for All Aboard Florida trains, will accommodate you very well. 

Brightline will launch with five, four-car trains with capacity for 240 passengers each. The service plans to double that by June 2018, with ten sets of seven-car trains that can hold 356 passengers.  The whole route is about 235 miles.

They will have colorful exteriors, easily identifiable.  Cost to build, and thereby hugely change the economics of the area for the better, you ask?   $3BB.  The good news is that it will bring new developments in the station areas, from condos to commercial spaces.  Anticipated benefits include easing road congestion and alleviating pressure on crowded airports.

Using the Brightline trains will make a trip from Miami to Ft Lauderdale less than 30 minutes.  Miami to West Palm Beach will take less than 60 minutes.  Miami to Orlando will take about 3 hours on the Brightline.  With the younger generation less “car prone,” this will be a bonus for them.

Features include 

·       complimentary Wi-Fi

·       power outlets at each seat

·       food and beverage options

·       bicycle and luggage storage

·       wheelchair accessibility

·       cars will also be pet friendly.

The trains, designed by the Rockwell Group, are being built in Sacramento by Siemens. Construction has begun on stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and on connecting urban centers that developers hope will become dining and shopping destinations. Another station will be next to Orlando International Airport.

All Aboard Florida is a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, which is involved in a range of infrastructure, transportation and real estate businesses. The project is being funded by private investors through the issuance of $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds and directly from the parent company. The company expects to become profitable in the first couple of years as it adds more trains and ridership increases.

Trains were the primary mode of transportation in the USA until after World War II, when cars and airlines took over the roads and skies. Federally funded Amtrak has remained the predominant interstate passenger train system, but it does not offer the kind of high-speed service found in Europe and Asia.

The closest thing the USA has to high-speed trains is Amtrak's Acela on the northeast corridor, which can go as fast as 150 mph. Brightline trains will not be high-speed, but its express service will be able to go up to 125 mph.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Architecture in Antonioni’s Alienation Trilogy: A Special Three-Night Film Series at Preservation Foundation in Palm Beach

An architect before he became a film maker, Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni directed a trilogy of 3 films using architecture to frame his characters with the architecture becoming the silent subtext.  The films are:

  • L'aventura, re disappearance of a woman during a yachting trip off Sicily and explores a modern tale of ennui and isolation
  • La notte, re confrontation of the alienation of a novelist and his frustrated wife and the achingly empty bourgeois Milan circles they travel in and Monica Vitti, who appears in all three films, is their tempting daughter, depicting romantic and social deterioration.
  • L'eclisse, re a young woman leaving one unsuccessful relationship and going into another, with Rome as the backdrop.

These will be presented to members only three nights in a row, Monday, November 16th thru Wednesday, November 18 at 6 pm.  Membership starts at $200/year.  Must reserve by calling 561-832-0731, ext 111 (no emails accepted).

Sunday, November 08, 2015



Now that Florida East Coast Railway has negated objections to the train route, Palm Beach county is about to thrive.

The Railway is building communities with apartments, condos, restaurants, offices, retail shops and parking garages at stops in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and that will boost inventory, much needed, when completed.  More stations will also have a windfall of new development and that will bring in tax revenue, some of which will be applied to the cost of running the railroad, and revitalize rundown areas.  Residents who live in these new properties may be train riders.  Shops may have their employees riding the rails.

Tri-Rail has proposed 28 stations and new developments in those areas along their Tri-Rail Coastal Link on their eastern tracks, from Jupiter to Miami, which run almost parallel to I-95. 

Nearly 2500 new residences and 4.4MM sq ft of commercial space may be built in the next 10 years, if the Coastal Link is built.  A $1.25MM federal grant for some of the developments has been given to Coastal Link.  Broward County stations could have 4,220 new residenceds and 3.2MM sq ft of commercial space.  Tribune

\That could translate into nearly $5 million in extra taxes collected in both Palm Beach and Broward counties.

"A lot of the cities are thinking, 'How can I attract a station here and get economic value from it?'" said Jack Stephens, Tri-Rail's executive director.  These cities will be expected to help maintain and operate the stations.  Cities are adjusting their zoning laws to encourage these developments which complement public transportation.

Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Boynton Beach created special areas in their downtowns to allow these types of developments near potential stations.  Delray Beach also has been making similar adjustments to its rules. Even as its downtown is booming with development, Mayor Cary Glickstein said there is still room for office space.  "Not 'class-A' shiny buildings, but smaller-scale buildings that honor our town and will attract knowledge-based rather than service-based employment," he said.

Young folks and older adults want to live close to public transportation where it is easy to get around without a car.  In West Palm Beach, Transit Village, a 1.1MM sq ft development will include a hotel, offices, 400 apartments, retail shops, civic and community space.

Construction will begin early next year.  One place may just offer housing while another offers office buildings. Each location is expected to be distinctive, fitting in with each downtown's character.

Positive spin here!

Monday, October 26, 2015


Built around 1930 by socialite Ethel Tyng, the auditorium had 20’+ high ceilings and a cork floor for acoustics and in its latest life became a stunning Great Room. “Houses of the Hamptons, 1880-1930” states that as a theater presentations included concerts, plays and other performances.  The estate must have been a Southampton hub of culture.

CBS Founder, William S. Paley, is a former owner.  Paley was a glamourous figure, a visionary who made CBS a dominant force in radio and tv.  This estate was an impressive showcase, and not Paley’s only residence.

Located on seven acres, the three-bedroom, 5500 sq ft house encompasses a pool, pool house, guest cottage, garage with staff quarters, greenhouse and caretaker’s cottage.

The style of the day was Art Deco, and in keeping with that style, some details remain such as a peacock insert on the front door.

Now owned by a former Morgan Stanley Managing Director, who bought Paley’s property in the 1990’s, the seller says it is on the market now because, “we just think it’s time.”

Looking for a historic home?  There are currently six properties in Palm Beach and one in Gulf Stream that are listed for between $11,900,000 and $59,000,000.  Other historic homes in Palm Beach County are listed from $34,900 (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 800 sq ft) and up.  For more information and showings, or to learn about listing your property, contact Marilyn Jacobs at 561-302-3388.  Marilyn is with Weichert Realtor Health & Joseph in Wellington, Florida.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


TOUGH these days for you and those you love to find the rental of your dreams at the price you want to pay.  Rentals have gone up in the past year, especially on the waterfront or near a thriving downtown area like Delray Beach or Boca Raton.  Demand is strong from those who want an ocean view to those who want to be near amenities, entertainment and restaurants.

Many prospects call me and give me addresses and MLS numbers for units they saw online… but most are already rented!

When you see a rental you like: GRAB IT or next week someone else will.

One great reason to focus on rentals is that each year you can move to a different  “scenario” and perhaps eventually find where you want to stay, and we at Weichert Realtors, Health & Joseph, have LOADS OF RENTAL LEADS to tell you about.

If you have the information about a unit you want to see, give me a call and let’s go look!  SOME units are negotiable, some are not.  Some take pets, restricting them by weight, some do not.  Some are for age 55+, some are for all ages.

Good luck with your search… let me make your search easier!

Marilyn Jacobs


Weichert Realtors, Heath & Joseph

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On Monday, October 26th, at 6pm in the Rosenthal Lecture Room at the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s offices, the ultimate, true, decaying “in need of preservation” haunted house documentary Grey Gardens (1975) will be shown just in time for Halloween.
The event is for CURRENT 2015-2016 MEMBERS ONLY.  Only reserved seating is available.  Those who wish to attend must be a member of the Preservation Foundation and should call 561.832.0731, ext. 111 to reserve a seat.  Email responses are NOT accepted.
Grey Gardens is a 1975 American documentary film by Albert and David Maysles. The film depicts the everyday lives of two reclusive upper class women, a mother and daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived at Grey Gardens, a derelict mansion at 3 West End Road in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton, New York. Known as Big and Little Edie Beale—high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.—they thrive together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion. An impossibly intimate portrait and an eerie echo of the Kennedy Camelot, Albert and David Maysles’s Grey Gardens quickly became a cult classic and established Little Edie as a fashion icon and philosopher queen.
In 2010 the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In a 2014 Sight and Sound poll, film critics voted Grey Gardens the joint ninth best documentary film of all time.
Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, known as "Big Edie", and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale, known as "Little Edie", were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at the Grey Gardens estate for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation.
The house was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by "Big Edie" and her husband Phelan Beale. After Phelan left his wife, "Big Edie" and "Little Edie" lived there for more than 50 years. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist.
Throughout the fall of 1971 and into 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called "raids") by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their house, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.
Albert and David Maysles became interested in their story and received permission to film a documentary about the women, which was released in 1975 to wide critical acclaim. Their direct cinema technique left the women to tell their own stories.
The film will be followed by a showing of the short film comedy Documentary Now! – Sandy Passage (2015) which is a satirical ode to Grey Gardens.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Looking for a high floor luxurious condo with unobstructed views of the ocean, Palm Beach and the Intracoastal Waterway?  Open your checkbooks folks and check out the Bristol which soon will break ground and units will be move-in ready in 2018.

Condos start at $4.5mm and reach $25mm and are delivered completely furnished.  Developers’ goal is to create “the most luxurious, high-end condominium ever built in South Florida.”  Other new condo complexes are under construction in West Palm Beach, with 20+ condo and multifamily units planned or under construction, but below these prices.  They will total over 4000 new units. Close to Palm Beach Island, interest has been generated in the Bristol among Palm Beachers with Palm Beach Island being built-out, and town’s strict height and density requirements.  Going from a 10-room house to a 10,000 sq ft condo has its merits.  Lack of inventory brings folks to the new complexes.

The BRISTOL is 25 stories high, has Five Star Resort amenities, and two units for over $14mm are already under contract right now!  A penthouse unit is available for about $25mm.  No condos on the first four floors to ensure ocean views. Floors 5-17 will have four units each and 18th floor up, each level will have larger residences, with a single penthouse on each of the top two floors.  Ceilings will be 11’high or more.