Gas prices hit three-year high

Brace your wallets. Prices have popped to three-year highs at the gas pump.

Florida’s statewide average of $2.74 per gallon marked the highest since December 2014, according to motorist organization AAA The Auto  Club Group. It costs $5 more to fill the average Florida tank than it did a year ago.

Palm Beach County holds the dubious honor of leading the state with an average of $2.86, by AAA’s count.

That puts a premium on shopping around. In Jupiter, prices ranged from $2.73 at the Circle K on West Indiantown Road to $3.07 at the Mobil at West Indiantown and Central Boulevard, per price-tacker GasBuddy  on Sunday evening.

Blame high oil prices, said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.

“The price of oil is about 25 percent more than last year, as what used to be a global supply glut is now tightening,” Jenkins said.

Gas prices are likely hit their annual peak within the next couple weeks if they are not there already, Jenkins said.

Global tensions or an early storm in the Gulf of Mexico could push prices higher still, but the bottom line is “travelers will likely find the most expensive summer gas prices in four years,” he said.

Florida ranks 20th among the states for the most expensive gas. Of course, it could be worse. It could be 2008, when Florida’s average peaked at $4.08.

In Wellington,  prices ranged from $2.77 at the Shell on 441 near Southern Boulevard and the Marathon on State Road 7 near Pierson Road to $2.99 at the Shell on Southshore Boulevard.

In West Palm Beach, the low-price leader was Murphy USA on Belvedere Road with $2.66 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy.


Boca Raton, Jupiter, North Palm Beach named in top 22 U.S. beach towns

America’s best beach towns in which to live? A ranking released today spreads a little sunshine on Boca Raton at No. 9, Jupiter at No. 14 and North Palm Beach at 22.

Jupiter Inlet beach cam.

The list weighs factors including weather, safety, economy, education, health, affordability and quality of life.

That quality of life measure, for example, includes average commute time, along with restaurants and coffee shops and golf courses per capita. Safety factors include not only the local crime rate but also lifeguards per capita.

“We have big amenities with a small town touch,” said Sarah Pearson, executive vice president of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.  Her organization figures “our affordable cost of living, award-winning restaurants and beautiful golf courses and beaches makes for a unique combination.”

Florida came off well overall, with Naples and Key West taking the top two spots.

Lake Worth didn’t fare so well in one measure, coming in 227th with the lowest percentage of residents with health insurance to rank 181st overall.

There are some Minnesota towns in the top 10. So that means beach towns on or near lakes and other inland waterways are included as well, right?

“Yes, that’s correct!” said Wallethub spokeswoman Diana Popa.”For this report we considered cities that have populations between 10,000 and 150,000 and at least one beach listed on TripAdvisor. As such, although some cities are not along the coastal line, they are in the proximity and have local beaches next to lakes or inland waterways.”


Jupiter Scripps prof, partners get $7.2M to carry on ALS bucket fight

A Jupiter professor and collaborators are getting $7.2 million in a new grant to continue a quest begun when millions  of people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads to fight a terrible disease.

Dr. Matthew Disney

The goal: “Before people ever get symptoms, delay those or inhibit them altogether” for diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, said professor Matthew Disney of the Department of Chemistry on the Jupiter campus of The Scripps Research Institute.

The money comes from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of The National Institutes of Health. Partners in the work include Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“Our work has changed the view of what is considered a druggable target,” Disney said, “This grant is a clear recognition of that accomplishment.”

The funding will “allow us to more rigorously assess” if a small molecule drug can be developed to target genes linked with the most common inherited form of ALS and a form of dementia, he said. That’s a crucial step toward making a drug for patients, he said.

An estimated 30,000 people, including 1,500 in Florida, live with ALS annually. The diseases typically robs people of their lives two to five years after diagnosis, after attacking essential skills like speaking, walking and swallowing.