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Saturday, 03 July 2021 11:12

Fireworks Are Back in SW Florida!

After last year’s lack of Independence Day due to COVID, big events are making a comeback. That includes most of the major annual fireworks shows in Fort Myers, Naples, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs but not Sanibel Island this year.

FORT MYERS

Downtown Fort Myers Freedom Fest:

The downtown Fort Myers block party returns with fireworks, food trucks, vendors and the Thunder Beach Band. It all starts at 6pm and the fireworks will be launched off Lofton Island in the Caloosahatchee River about 9 p.m. this is a Free event in Downtown Fort Myers.


FORT MYERS BEACH


Fort Myers Beach Fireworks:


Choosing to err on the side of caution, the annual Fourth of July festival and parade were canceled, but the fireworks show is On. It starts at about 9 p.m. Sunday, July 4.


Beach chairs are encouraged.


The Matanzas Bridge (a great place to see the fireworks if you don't want to be down in the crowd) will be closed from 9-11:30 p.m. Big Carlos Pass Bridge on the south end of the island will remain open. Personal fireworks are prohibited. Times Square, Lynn Hall Park and Fort Myers Beach Pier, 1000 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach. fortmyersbeach.org

NAPLES


Naples Pier Fireworks:

Bring chairs and blankets to watch the fireworks launched from a barge north of Naples Pier. The fireworks can be seen from all along the Naples beach. Personal use of fireworks and sparklers is prohibited. Parking is very limited, so spectators are urged to plan ahead, carpool, find parking on the street or in downtown parking garages, or to walk, take bicycles or use a ride service. Fireworks start after 9 p.m. This is a Free event. Naples City Pier, 12th Avenue South, Naples. 213-7120 4th of July Fireworks  Celebration:


Collier County Parks & Recreation hosts this annual Fourth of July celebration. 4-10 p.m. Sunday, July 4. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. This is a Free event. Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. 252-4000

BONITA SPRINGS


Star Spangled Bonita and Glow Parade:


The annual event will feature fireworks, a laser-light show, food and live music. Sunday, July 4. This is a Free event.


The live music will start at 7 and go till 9 p.m. The Glow Parade with illuminated golf carts will start at 8:30. and the fireworks and laser-light show start around dusk, since the sunset will be at 8:25, fireworks should be closer to 9, if timed right, just after the parade.

Parade participants will decorate their golf carts with various lighted items. This too is free to enter, but pre-registration is required.


Old 41 Road will be closed from Wilson Street to Ragsdale Street from 6:30-10 p.m. Riverside Park, 10451 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs. 949-6262 or cityofbonitasprings.org/july4th

 

CAPE CORAL


Red, White & Boom:
The fun starts early with a 5K fun run, participants run or walk across the Cape Coral Bridge, which will be closed to traffic starting at 3 a.m. Sunday. The registration starts at 6am and the 5K takes place at 7 a.m. $20-$40 registration, $10 for the Kids Fun Run (ages 11 and younger). Race starts at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge, 2051 Cape Coral Parkway E., Cape Coral. freedom5kcc.com

The Cape Coral Bridge, as well as Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to the bridge, will be closing at 3:00am on July 4. Please plan your day accordingly and arrange for an alternate route during your travels. Vehicles attempting to turn east or west on Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard will be directed to make a u-turn and head north.

Live entertainment starts at 5:30pm with Chris Bandi, followed by DJ Sinister at 6:45, Country singer Carly Pearce headlines the annual Independence Day celebration at 8pm, and "American Idol" semifinalist Casey Bishop will sing the national anthem. around 9:30.. This is a Free event. All VIP tickets are sold out.


The fireworks display will also be around 9:30 p.m. and will be synchronized to music that can be heard from the stage, on radio station Cat Country 107.1 FM or under "Cat Country" in the iHeartRadio phone app.


The event takes place in downtown Cape Coral the city's side of the bridge. The bridge and the north end of Cape Coral Parkway will be closed from 3 a.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday. This is a Free event!

NORTH FORT MYERS


Early Bird 4th of July Fundraiser for Cape Coral Animal Shelter:


Hosted by Three Fishermen Seafood Restaurant, 13021 N. Cleveland Ave., North Fort Myers. This fundraiser starts at 3pm with Yard Dog Charlie provides his usual Florida swamp music for this patio party with raffles, a 50/50 drawing, barbecue and food and drink specials. Everyone who donates food, supplies or money gets free raffle tickets. 3-6 p.m. Sunday, July 4. this is a Free event, but it's a fundraiser so .......not really, if you go, expect to participate and fund raise!

Learn more about the shelter’s needs at:

capecoralanimalshelter.com/donate/wish-list.

We included this event because we are dog people!

small smiley face with sunglasses1

The concept is simple enough: match the world’s best bull riding athletes against the toughest animal athletes on the planet in an 8-second man versus beast duel.

Put the cowboys against one another in a season-long battle to claim the year-end title of PBR World Champion, and with that, a share of more than $10 million in prize money including the $1 million year-end bonus and the golden buckle for the season’s best bull rider.

Of course, it’s only simple until you strap a tough and determined 159-pound cowboy to the back of a temperamental 1,600 - 2,000-pound bull, a beast, 10 times or more their size, only to see the bull get up off the ground and climb into the air, snort, kick, buck, twist & turn, ...... well .... it's one of those 'you have to be there, to truly appreciate it' moments!

You say you've never have seen it live? Then check out these athletic beasts yourself when PBR returns for its annual visit to Hertz Arena on Friday and Saturday, July 23rd, & 24th, these tickets go fast so if you want to get in, you'd better hurry!

Both riders and bulls will compete to earn points and money while working to move one step closer to the World Finals.

Bulls get points for bucking and kicking and generally putting up a good fight. The riders get them for staying on board long enough — at least eight seconds — and for looking good while doing it too. Good form is everything.

The result is unparalleled action, where danger, drama and heroic accomplishments................ are just a part of the game.

 

Hertz Arena is located at 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero, FL


For more information, call 239-948-7825 or visit:Hertzarena.com.

After their win last Wednesday extending their winning streak to seven games and going 22-4 in their last 26 games, The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels ultimately split a six-game series with the Palm Beach Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium last week
WHAT’S NEXT?
The Mighty Mussels, now 28-20, start a six-game set with the Bradenton Marauders Tuesday. Wednesday will be Islands Night at Hammond Stadium, and remember that this Sundays game will not start at noon and will also be an evening due to the fireworks following the game on the 4th as the Mussels will offer three straight fireworks shows July 2-4 to celebrate Independence Day.
Fort Myers scheduled starters:
Tue – RHP Miguel Rodriguez
Wed – LHP Brent Headrick
Thu – TBD
Fri – RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
Sat – RHP Louie Varland
Sun – RHP Bobby Milacki

A NOAA expedition is underway to explore unmapped areas of seafloor off the East Coast, including the first known visit to a puzzling deep sea anomaly known as the Caryn Seamount.

The "underwater plateau" rises roughly 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) over an otherwise flat section of Atlantic seafloor, NOAA officials say.

Its origins are a mystery, but if all goes as planned, scientists will record the first images of the formation in the coming days.

"The Caryn Seamount sits hundreds of miles offshore and there is nothing quite like it in that area," according to Kasey Cantwell, operations chief for NOAA Ocean Exploration.

"It's like a little (submerged) island way offshore, and no one's ever been there before. We're hoping to learn a lot more about it."

The mount has remained a mystery largely because it is so inaccessible. It sits about 440 miles off Virginia, under 16,400 feet of water (5,000 meters).

Along with photos and video (taken by remote camera), the team hopes to collect seafloor samples so geologists might get a better understanding of the plateau's origins.

The visit is part of two-week expedition (June 13-27) that could also turn up previously unknown shipwrecks and missing aircraft strewn along the seafloor from North Carolina to Rhode Island.

Should a shipwreck be found, the team intends to collect images and data using new and improved equipment that is being tested during the mission.

"This is known to be an area where lots of ships were lost in the past. Finding shipwrecks is always potential along the East Coast, and we absolutely hope we find them," Cantwell said.

The new equipment will also be utilized in mapping the area's canyons, where the team expects to find methane gas seeps bubbling from the seafloor. Prior to 2010, only two such seeps had been located off the East Coast. However, exploration teams have since found more than 500, each of them supporting a unique ecosystem.

Expedition coordinator Matt Dornback likens them to natural springs one sees on land, adding that "unique compounds" in the surrounding sea creatures are of great interest to medical and research communities.

The seeps rise from canyons that are dynamic and unexplored, including spots where massive landslides have occurred, he said.

"There are flows going through them. It's not just sea water sitting there stagnant," Dornback said.

"It's like there are underground rivers flowing through the canyons, along with underwater landslides that are incredibly powerful and can destroy deep sea cables or (sea life) communities. There are a lot of forces at work that we don't completely understand."

Among the many unpredictable things the team hopes to record are "predation events" when animals start eating each other, as well as whale falls. The latter involves dead whales falling to the seafloor, where they attract frenzied crowds of feasting sea creatures. NOAA

Town Council’s meeting on Monday, June 7, was the last one until August while approving the agenda, the matter of the annual performance evaluation of the Town Manager, Roger T. Hernstadt was again brought before council by councilor Jim Atterholt, he was concerned as to why this was not on this meeting's agenda when it was discussed in the last town council meeting and at the suggestion of the Vice Mayor, it was to be moved forward to this meeting and yet it is still not on the agenda, this is covered in the Town's policies and procedures manual which was reaffirmed by town council last June of 2020, which states: "the town manager shall notify the town council at least 6 weeks prior to the contract date" which needs to be done between February 1st to May 31, which is why it was brought up by the councilor Atterholt at our last May meeting. It is now moved to next meeting which will be in August.

During public comment:

Hedi Youngworth? asking for town council to put priorities in order, keeping our residents and visitors safe, asking for community policing.

Pete Dordermar? a resident of Denora, who is attempting to install a retaining wall on what would include some town property, he applied for a petition to vacate the property in 2018 that was denied, his sea wall would be creating a ‘terrace’ which would intercept runoff of moderate to steep slopes... he says he has a very steep slope and said wall would be a benefit to the town as well.

Bill .... ? General Manager of Pink Shell Resort and Marina who received a code violation for straws and requested clarification and also spoke briefly about not wanting the mooring field in the north end of the island. Robert Howel also spoke about the straws talked about 'Phade' straws and during testing that they do biodegrade when in water.

The Sherriff’s Department asked for the space to the right of Matanzas Bridge for a temporary
outreach center, other possible locations were discussed......

Other business

Several other actions focused on budget, the annual audit, and special events as well as recognition of former Town Councilor and Mayor Dan Hughes.

In addition to serving as Town Councilor and Mayor, Dan was on the Town’s first Local Planning Agency and was the chairperson of the Audit Committee. (He resigned as the chairperson at the June meeting of the committee.) Dan has been instrumental in the development of the Town since its beginning in 1995.

The Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget is underway. Staff recommended a millage rate of .9500 but cautioned Councilors that in some cases recurring revenue would not fully support recurring expenses.

Town Councilors approved a preliminary millage rate of .9900 up from last year’s rate of .9500. As budget development progresses through the next few months, the millage rate could be lowered to .9500 but not increased.

Town Councilors also approved the inclusion of the five-year Capital Improvement Plan into the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget with the addition of placeholders for the Mooring Field upland services facility and expansion, the Bayside Park dock, and the Estero Boulevard Lighting Project. The other projects included are intersection improvements at Old San Carlos and Estero Boulevards, stormwater improvements, and the redevelopment of Bay Oaks Recreational Campus, Bayside Park, and Times Square.

The financial auditing company Mauldin & Jenkins presented its audit report from Fiscal Year 2019-20 which was accepted previously by the Audit Committee and now by Town Council. Town Council also accepted a $283,550 proposal to replace and upgrade the audio visual system in Council chambers.

A special event permit was accepted for the recurring Times Square Sunset Celebration on Friday evenings with the possibility of adding Saturday evenings. A second special event permit was approved for the “Dig the Beach Volleyball Series” to be held on the beach behind the Wyndham Hotel on June 26-27 and July 17-18, 2021. This event is expected to draw 150 teams per day.


Town Councilors:

• Appointed Kristin Westbrook, Sharon Eldred and Forrest Critser to the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, and appointed Robert Howell, ex-officio member of the Marine Resources Task Force (MRTF), to a voting member;

• Adopted resolution 21-32 repealing emergency declarations and resolutions regarding the state of emergency declared in Governor Desantis’ Executive Order 20-52;

• After a second reading and public hearing, adopted Ordinance 21-04 which approves an amendment to the Land Development Code for uses and setbacks on non-conforming lots;

• Performed the first public hearing for Ordinance 21-05 to grant right of way to Peoples Gas System, a division of Tampa Electric Company, with the second hearing scheduled for the August 2, 2021, meeting;

• Authorized the Town Manager to increase a state loan for the North Estero Phase 2, Parts 1 and 2, and Tier 1 side streets water main projects;

• Adopted fiscal sustainability plan for the Town’s stormwater system as required by SRF Loan SW360830;

• Approved Change Order #2 in the amount of $14,363.37 with Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, LLC, for the traffic signal and lighting under construction at Old San Carlos and Estero Boulevards to include turtle-friendly lighting;

• Approved Resolution 21-26 for an interlocal agreement with Lee County for maintenance of the traffic signal under construction at Old San Carlos and Estero Boulevards;

• Received a report from MRTF about new bio-degradeable straws and the straw ordinance as well as the Pop-Up Education Booth.

During Councilmember, Town Manager, and Town Attorney items, topics included the desire for a full-time financial director, summary of legislation and legal actions, performance reviews of Town Council’s employees, reorganization of committees and the leadership conference, the Estero Boulevard Lighting Project, a joint letter to legislators about water quality, and future policy discussion relating to naming Town facilities after residents who have been instrumental in the development of the Town.

The next meeting will be held on Monday,
August 2, 2021, at 9 a.m., at Town Hall,
2525 Estero Boulevard.
Fort Myers Beach.
33931

Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow have discovered how mutated cells promote their chances to form cancer. Typically, the accumulation of harmful cells is prevented by active competition between multiple stem cells in intestinal glands, called crypts.

"The functioning of intestinal stem cells relies on growth factors, named Wnts, produced by the surrounding environment. Intestinal cancers typically originate from stem cells where mutations allow growth independent of these factors. When we removed a gene called Notum, which renders Wnts inactive, from mutated stem cells, the number of precancerous adenomas in the intestine was greatly reduced. We found that mutated cells use this gene to block environmental factors critical to normal stem cells gaining advantage in competition," says Postdoctoral Researcher Nalle Pentinmikko.

The research group of Assistant Professor Pekka Katajisto at the Institute of Biotechnology of the University of Helsinki had already previously discovered that the same gene, also called an 'ageing gene', is expressed in normal tissue when we age, reducing the ability of stem cells to repair damage. The current study shows that mutated cells use the same gene in order to establish a permanent footing in the tissue.

"Mutated cells kind of hijack the ageing gene and use it against the healthy stem cells," Katajisto says.

The results from this study may lead to the development of new therapies, because the function of the enzyme encoded by the ageing gene can be blocked pharmacologically. The research group led by Katajisto has previously used a compound for this purpose in aged research animals to enhance the function of aged stem cells. In the current study, researchers used the same method to reduce the chance of mutated cells winning in competition. A three-week treatment reduced the number of adenomas in animal models.

"The results are promising and create a foundation for developing new therapies for patients predisposed to intestinal cancers. This research demonstrates that by enhancing the natural mechanisms of how tissues remove damaged cells, we could also reduce cancer risk in other tissues," Pekka Katajisto concludes.

University of Helsinki

Sawyer Gipson-Long went five scoreless and Aaron Sabato drove in two to lead the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels to a 5-1 week against the Lakeland Flying Tigers at Hammond Stadium Sunday. Making their record for June 14-4

Sabato’s two-run double in the third inning proved to be the difference, as the Mighty Mussels (25-17) capped their big week with a 3-1 victory on Father’s Day. With two on and two out, Sabato laced a 3-2 pitch to the wall in left center at 101 miles per hour.

That followed a leadoff home run by Jeferson Morales, his team-leading fifth dinger of the season.

Gipson-Long and the Fort Myers bullpen did the rest, holding Lakeland (15-26) to two runs or less for the fourth time in six games. Gipson-Long scattered four hits and three walks, fanning six without allowing a run.

7th inning stretch

7th inning stretch rendition of Take Me Out To The Ball Game

The Mussels’ used four relievers for one inning each to close out the series. Erik Manoah Jr. earned his second save of the series, stranding the tying run at home in the ninth.

Denny Bentley, Steven Cruz and John Wilson each worked a clean inning before Manoah Jr. Cruz struck out two, and Wilson made his Hammond Stadium debut.

The Mighty Mussels’ have started the month of June with a 14-4 record, pitching to a stingy 1.97 ERA while striking out 215 batters in 155.1 innings (12.5 K/9). Perhaps most impressively, they’ve walked the fewest batters (68) in the league this month.

Fort Myers will travel to Palm Beach on Tuesday to begin a six-game series with the Cardinals. All six games can be heard on the Cardinals Baseball Network

Box Score: https://atmilb.com/3qc1sB7

Our next six game homestretch will be against the Bradenton Marauders of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from Tuesday through Sunday, June 29 to July 4, including three consecutive fireworks displays following the July 2 through 4 games to celebrate The Fourth of July.

Tickets range from $9 to $12; purchase them online at www.milb.com, at the box office that opens 60 minutes prior to each game, or over the telephone at 239-768-4210, with parking $10-per-car.

The Mighty Mussels play at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway.

John Vittas broadcasts every Mighty Mussels home game and will announce many 2nd Half road games as well, with broadcasts beginning 15 minutes prior to the first pitch.

The easiest way to access Mighty Mussels games is to come and enjoy the home game live... but worldwide you can catch them at: www.mightymussels.com that pops up 15 minutes prior to each game, as well as through the MiLB First Pitch App and www.milb.com/fort-myers/fans/audio-listen-live.

Tuesday, 08 June 2021 18:41

Florida To Invest $37M In Cybersecurity

Ransomware attacks against municipalities, government agencies and utilities are a mushrooming concern with Florida institutions and individuals experiencing more than their share of criminal and nuisance cyber intrusions.

In February, a hacker remotely accessed a computer for the city of Oldsmar’s water treatment system and briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide, or lye, by a factor of more than 100. A supervisor saw the change and reverted it, avoiding catastrophe.

At least four Florida cities, a sheriff’s department and police department suffered ransomware attacks in 2019 alone. In addition, that same year the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office lost evidence following a ransomware infection and the State Attorney’s Office dropped 11 narcotic cases after evidence was lost in a ransomware attack against the Stuart Police Department.

In October, the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) was victimized by “malicious activity” that hampered its operations for weeks.

A class-action lawsuit lodged June 30 seeks $99 million in damages against a Tampa-based Florida Orthopaedic Institute healthcare for alleged negligence in a ransomware breach of 100,000 to 150,000 current and former patients exposed in an April ransomware attack.

These quick-hit examples don’t include last month’s ransomware shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline or revelations that Russian GRU military intelligence hackers planted malware into voter registration systems in at least two Florida counties – St. Lucie and Washington – prior to the November 2016 election.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the $100 billion Fiscal Year 2022 budget signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday includes $37.5 million to dramatically boost the state’s cybersecurity systems.

According to the Governor’s Office, the money will be allocated to state agencies to enhance cybersecurity and protect Floridians from “cyber threats that can compromise critical state resources and sensitive information.”

More than $30 million of the overall $37.5 million cybersecurity allocation will implement the initiatives recommended by the Florida Cybersecurity Taskforce, including the establishment of the Florida Digital Service within the Department of Management Services (DMS) to address cyber threats and increase cybersecurity training and resources at state agencies.

Florida Chief Information Officer James Grant, a former state representative appointed in 2020 by DeSantis to direct the DMS, in a Wednesday statement praised the governor and lawmakers for “prioritizing key investments” to protect critical Florida digital infrastructure against cyber threats.

“Gov. DeSantis remains focused on creating a solid foundation of cybersecurity to help combat evolving threats against Florida’s digital infrastructure,” Grant said, praising Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez and the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force for offering “first-of-its-kind investments in cybersecurity will help protect critical state resources and sensitive information.”

During the legislative session, lawmakers unanimously passed House Bill 1297, The Information Technology (IT) Security Act, that enacts recommendations from the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force.

The 15-member task force convened in October to provide ways to improve the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure, governance and operations.

Its report outlining recommendations for technologies, processes and personnel needed to protect Floridians’ data was submitted to DeSantis and lawmakers in February.

Under HB 1297, the newly created Florida Digital Service, housed with the DMS, will analyze and remedy cybersecurity risks at state agencies, upgrade IT resources to align with federal guidelines and increase training for state agency IT professionals.

The new law also creates the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council within DMS and would fund 15 full-time cybersecurity positions.

John Haughey
The Center Square

Tuesday, 08 June 2021 13:02

Buy Me Some Peanuts & Cracker Jack...

“Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts & Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never get back!”....

While all professional leagues offer concessions to their fans, no sport combines its game and food better than baseball! Even that 7th Inning Stretch standard, “Take Me Out to The Ball Game,” extolls the taste-treat virtues of peanuts and Cracker Jack!

Perhaps the reason food and drink go so well with baseball is the game’s leisurely pace allows fans to savor ball park foods in an equally casual way. You don’t have to gulp your food in 30-second intervals between plays like at football or sneak in a bite or two as basketball players run from one end of the court to the other in seconds, or wear gloves to manipulate your meal like at a hockey game! On top of that, baseball’s love affair with food goes back well over a century, so much so that the mere mention of certain types evokes a trip to the ball park; whenever you hear “Dog & A Beer,” who doesn’t think baseball?

 

Everything But Mussels


To get your ball park food fix on in the Fort Myers area, head to Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway to take in a Fort Myers Mighty Mussels game, a minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The team offers a broad array of menu selections but if crave their signature seafood name, you must go elsewhere – there are no mussels on the Mussels menu!

Let’s start with the obvious – the hot dog – and those at Hammond Stadium are absolutely terrific! Thick, meaty and cooked to perfection, the dogs fill the bun full and are a taste sensation. Owning to the pandemic health and safety conditions, concession personnel serve your dog in a cardboard container with individual ketchup, mustard, and relish servings. At $5 each, you can’t go wrong, but for a real “Bang for Your Hot Dog Buck,” Tuesdays are 2-for-1 dogs and Wednesdays are $1 hot dogs all game!

two for tuesday

If you want to step up your hot dog game for a bit more money, the Mussels have scrumptious bratwursts for $6 or go all the way to the top of the dog food chain with an Italian sausage with ample peppers and onions for $8.50. If you feel like a rebel and want to go against tradition, hamburgs and cheeseburgers are $6, veggie burgers $6.50, grilled chicken sandwiches $7, and chicken tenders with fries $7.75.

Rachel Raymer is the Mighty Mussels Operations Coordinator, requiring her to be at every homegame; as such, she experiences more ball park food in a season than many people do in a lifetime! Her personal preference is the Philly Cheesesteak crammed with peppers and onions at $8.

cheesesteak

“You don’t find Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches at many minor league ballparks,” Rachel explained, “so its uniqueness alone makes it a fun choice. They are delicious – really Philly and really cheesy!”

Snacks & “Sunday Brunch”

If snacks are more your style, the Mussels have plenty. Peanuts and Cracker Jack are so intertwined with baseball that Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer included them in their 1908 song, “Take Me Out to The Ball Game,” that is now baseball’s official anthem that fans sing out loud each game during the 7th Inning Stretch. It is no coincidence, however, that these two staples are at every baseball stadium for well over a century – the molasses-flavored and caramel-coated popcorn with peanuts Cracker Jack and salted peanuts make you so thirsty that you absolutely must wash them down with one or more cold sodas or cold ones! This is true, by the way, of the salt content in hot dogs. The Mussels sell generous size bags of peanuts for $4 and Cracker Jack for $3, but while the latter still offers a Toy Surprise, those of us who fondly remember the “Buried Treasures” of our youth inside those old Cracker Jack boxes can barely mask our disappointment by today’s sad little prizes.

If peanuts and Cracker Jack are not for you, the Mussels sell chips for $2, popcorn for $3.50, French fries at $4 and cheese fries for $5, a wonderful hot large pretzel for $5.50 with sides of cheese and jalapenos an extra $1 each, and nachos with cheese for $6, along with various ice creams. Of course, with all this food, you need to wash it down, so the Mussels provide bottled water and tea, Gatorade and Pepsi products, and Harmon Killebrew Root Beer in the $4 to $5 range.

But, like with hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack, baseball games scream out BEER – for adults only, of course – and the Mighty Mussels provide a broad array of selections and prices. Domestic drafts are $6.50, 16-ounce metal bottles are $7, and craft draft go for $7.50 but those are just the top of the beer iceberg!

As with hot dogs, the Mussels sell draft beers 2-for-1 on “Two For Tuesdays,” have $1 cans and $2 drafts on “Thirsty Thursdays,” and each game has the “Strikeout Batter of The Game,” where they select one opposing player each contest and if that unfortunate guy whiffs, 12-ounce drafts are $2 for the next 15 minutes! If you prefer something stronger, there is full bar services, including a “Happy Hour” for all Friday homegames that lasts from 6 to 7 p.m.

For your best overall bang for your food buck, the Mussels present new this season a “Sunday Brunch”
Before every Sunday homegame at just $10-per-person from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Savor all-you-can-eat eggs, sausages, meatballs, veggies, pancakes and more, along with desserts such as chocolate chip cookies, cakes, brownies, cinnamon rolls, and other assorted delicacies! Along with the food, Mimosas are $2 and Bloody Mary’s $5.

brunch

Recap: Promotions & Tickets

All Mussels 2021 homegames are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., with Sundays at Noon, with each having its own special promotion. “Two For Tuesdays” feature 2-for-1 hot dogs, draft beers, and sodas.

Wednesdays are “Senior Nights” with discount admission prices as well as “Dollar Hot Dogs.” Thursdays are “College Night” with all college students with IDs purchasing tickets for $5, along with “Thirsty Thursdays” with $1 beers and $2 drafts. Fridays are a “Happy Hour” from 6 to 7 p.m., with fireworks after the game.

Saturdays are “Bark in The Park” where fans bring their dogs to the contest while receiving terrific promotional giveaways. Sundays are “Sunday Brunch” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., for $10 on top of your ticket, with kids running the bases after the game.

The Mussels are home again Tuesday through Sunday, June 15 through 20, versus the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Tickets range from $9 to $12; purchase them online at www.milb.com, at the box office which opens 60 minutes prior to each game, or over the telephone at 239-768-4210, with parking $10-per-car. The Mighty Mussels play at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway.

Gary Mooney

Florida and the Feds can’t agree, so a lawsuit lodged by the state demanding an immediate resumption of cruise-line sailing will proceed.

And that’s a victory for Florida’s $8.1 billion cruise industry and a defeat for government-overreach, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.

“We’re going to be sailing hopefully very soon,” DeSantis said during a Miami news conference, noting it is pressure from Florida that is forcing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to relax restrictions on the cruise industry.

“Had we not done what we did by suing, you would not be talking about sailing right now. The CDC was not moving. They were not budging. They were non responsive,” he said. The CDC’s April conditional-sale order update requires 95% of cruise ship passengers and 98% of crew be vaccinated and ships undergo 60 to 90 days of preparation and test sailing before resuming full operations, is “an absolute farce.”

The state’s lawsuit, filed in April against the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) contends the order is “unlawful,” outdated and has left the state’s cruise industry pier-side since last March.

On May 12, state and federal attorneys argued before Merryday in Tampa with Florida’s lawyers seeking to an injunction against the conditional-sale order to resume sailing immediately.

On May 20, Merryday ordered all parties into mediation until June 1. After several days of discussions, including an 11-hour session on May 27, that effort ended Tuesday.

“We were in mediation with them. They were very unreasonable about some of the things that they were asking,” DeSantis said, expressing confidence the state will win its lawsuit and, if it doesn’t, would continue to appeal because the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals now has a majority of judges appointed by former President Donald Trump.

“There’s not been a single elected official in this country who’s done more to liberate the cruise lines from a bureaucracy that is totally out of touch, and that, quite frankly, is exercising authority that they do not possess, under the law,” DeSantis said.

The CDC’s order – supported by the cruise industry because a vast majority of their customers will not board the ships without assurances crew and fellow passengers are vaccinated against COVID-19 – runs afoul with a bill signed into law by DeSantis banning businesses or institutions from requiring proof of vaccination, or “vaccine passport.”

Under the new law, if a cruise operator violated the law, it would have to pay up to a $5,000 fine on a per passenger basis.

Instead of exempting the cruise industry from the law, DeSantis would rather spend state money defending it because he is running for president in 2024, say his two declared 2022 gubernatorial Democratic challengers,

John Haughey
The Center Square

Ed. Note: Requiring any US resident to disclose their medicals records is illegal... PERIOD...

THEY ARE CALLED HIPPA LAWS.... so if you think otherwise .... LOOK IT UP!