Newspaper article on the
HighTechScience.org's
Sparrow Electric Car

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The following article appeared August 24, 2005 in the

 "Boca, owner spar over electric car's purpose"

By Tania Valdemoro
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Posted
August 24, 2005

BOCA RATON — An electric car that once moonlighted as Goldmember's get-away car in the 2002 movie Austin Powers in Goldmember (* see foot note) might be garage-bound because of its insignia.

   The city maintains that the car, owned by science philanthropist Richard Newman, is a commercial vehicle because of a Web site address displayed on both sides. And city code prohibits commercial vehicles from parking on residential streets — including a person's driveway — where they can be seen.

      "It has nothing to do with the type of car or type of business he has," said Boca Raton development services director Jorge Camejo.

    Newman said he emblazoned HighTechScience.org, the Web site address of his foundation, on both sides of his 2000 Sparrow electric car 2 1/2 years ago because gawkers kept asking him questions about the vehicle — one of only 355 models manufactured in the nation.

    Information about the Sparrow, including its specs and movie cameo, (* see foot note) is located on the Web site, he said.

    The single-passenger car is a novelty because of its compact three-wheeled structure and curvaceous lines. It is powered by 13, 12-volt batteries. And it moves 35 to 45 mph with a top speed of 75 to 80 mph.

    Newman insists his foundation is not a business. Rather, profits from High-Tech Productions, Newman's videotape and disk duplication business, finance his science-related hobbies.

   Newman has founded science and technology centers on Indian reservations, schools and Boy Scout camps.

    His passions include amassing space gear and organizing school science exhibits.

    With all he has given to the community to promote science and technology, Newman said, he does not understand why he is being hassled now about his electric car.

   "This is ridiculous," he said. "This is a waste of taxpayer dollars."

    Code compliance supervisor Kenneth Massalone said Monday the city would be sending him this week a letter stating he has violated the city code, according to Newman.

   Newman is to face the special master in an upcoming hearing if he does not remove the signs or temporarily cover them, city officials said.

   "This is not a complicated situation," Camejo said. Newman could either put a magnetized cover over the Web site address or put the sign on a magnetic plate that could be tacked on or removed from the car.

   But Newman vowed to fight the city. "My attitude is 'Bring it on.' "


For the record:

HighTechScience.org
does NOT sell Any Products or Services.


* Our Sparrow Electric Vehicle was purchased from an individual claiming that it was used in several movies, however we have no way to confirm this. There were several Sparrows used in the Austin Powers movie "Goldmember"  and ours may have very well been seen in it since there were only a limited number originally made. Sparrows have also been used in other productions, but again, there is no way of knowing exactly which vehicles were used.

Because of the above and other articles, we have received many e-mails and letters from people that think that the city of Boca Raton is dead wrong and that the vehicle should NOT be classified as commercial. 

Click Here to see what others have said.


Click Here for more information on the Sparrow Electric Car


Click Here  for other News Stories on the Science Centers

Click Here to see what others are saying about us.



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