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Friday, 04 September 2015 09:09

Dave Powers: A Lifelong Love Affair with Music

For over 35 years, Dave Powers has lit up the music scene in Columbus, Ohio, on the piano and keyboard, entertaining crowds as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. He has backed up many legends who came through that part of the county, including the likes of Gene “King Sax” Walker, 10-time Grammy award winner George Benson, and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Buddy DeFranco. Powers is also helping bring up a new generation of musicians as an adjunct faculty member of The Ohio State University School of Music, where he teaches music theory classes.

dave powers piano2

Thursday, 03 September 2015 18:38

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Charles Moore Discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997.

As a follow up to our environmental article, “Ocean Slaughter Touches Florida,” Sunbaypaper.com has learned that another ocean-going crew, this time based out of the Netherlands, recently mapped a massive mound of trash that is floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is hundreds of miles long and has been described as a “swirling mass of human debris. The “Patch” contains several hundred times more plastic than marine life or any living organism for that matter.

The vessel, Ocean Cleanup, accompanied by a flotilla of volunteers in sailboats, sampled the mostly plastic trash near the Hawaiian Islands and found pieces of the non-biodegradable refuse ranging from basketball sized chunks down to near microscopic all brought into a convergence by circular, clockwise ocean currents, known to mass garbage, including “deadly “ghost nets” floating monofilament that has killed millions of entangled fish and marine mammals.

Working at the site for over a month, the group collected samples including a net that weighted in at 2,000 pounds. According to oceanographer, Julia Reisser, they also “mapped the area and using aerial balloons and trawling equipment sampled the refuse.”
"We did three types of surveys in 80 locations, and now we are working on completing an up-to-date estimate of the size of the patch, making a chart of hot spots and publishing our findings by mid-2016," Reisser elaborated.
"Hundreds of times more plastics were in these areas than there were organisms."

The sampling mission was conceived by Boyan Slat, the founder of Ocean Cleanup. Funded in part by CEO Marc Benioff from Salesforce, crowd funding and other donations raised more than 2.2 million dollars for the trip, according to Ocean Cleanup.

In 2016, there are plans to deploy a model “oceanic debris collection system” in Japanese waters that could cover an area up to 60 miles.
The proposed system will use floating stationary booms tethered to the ocean floor and linked together to skim gather plastic debris floating on the ocean’s surface in convergence areas.

The “system” invented by a Dutchman, known only as Slat, was patterned after another of his inventions - floating booms used to anchor deep sea oil rigs. “We will only deploy the collectors in international waters and outside shipping lanes,” the inventor said.

While many conservationists and marine biologists have praised the project, critics have said the method is impractical and too costly. “It is very difficult to work a large system in an open ocean environment, particularly when equipment is deployed in areas where major currents are present.

Scientists are discovering increasing amounts of human generated garbage in the world’s oceans and the majority of it is found in places where currents converge. Items as large as steel shipping containers have been found. It is plastics, however, that concern biologists and oceanographers the most since the materials are non-biodegradable.

“Plastic can last hundreds of years in the ocean and when they are in the form of nets and fishing lines, marine life becomes entangled and die,” said Renee Otweiller a volunteer on one of the clean-up missions. “The smaller plastic is swallowed by marine life and chocks them to death,” she added.

While this garbage collects unseen by most human eyes to those who venture to where it is collecting it is just one more giant pile of evidence showing humankind’s impact on the planet.

“Even the most remote areas of the world are now home to our garbage,” said Otweiller.

There are people who don’t want you to read The Sun Bay Paper. Since we commenced publishing one month ago, two places have refused to let our newspapers onto their property. One is Santini Marina Plaza on the south end of Fort Myers Beach. The other is Key Estero Shops, also on Fort Myers Beach. Of course, there are well over a hundred places that do welcome our newspaper.

While there are legitimate policy reasons for a private property owner to keep newspapers off their property, when one like The Sun Bay Paper is singled out, there’s usually a bad reason and it’s not usually that hard to see. We well know why Santini Plaza and Key Estero have refused; they don’t like what we’ve had to say about the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. In the case of Key Estero, both the Chamber and their close neighbor –The Island Sand Paper Newspaper - rent offices on the property.

How do we know this for sure? Well, it’s quite evident to us. First of all, the manager of Santini Plaza told us directly when asked if we could distribute The Sun Bay Paper, “Can we put a paper box where all the others are?” “No”. This denial came on the heels of a conversation where the manager of the plaza - Al Durrett - said he “didn’t want us to write anything bad about the Ft. Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Key Estero phrased it a little bit different. They called and said we “hadn’t gotten their permission” to put the box right beside the other 3 or 4 newspapers and 8 to 9 brochure racks. They told us to “take ours out”. When we pointed out that one of us owned The Island Sand Paper for over ten years and that the box they now had was placed there by him the same way and in the same place the current one was placed, the reply, and a rather rude one at that, was “No, you can’t have a box here” with The Island Sand Paper, The Observer and Florida Weekly.

Of course not. They aren’t rocking any boats. We don’t care if a newspaper wants to print everything’s a rose garden, spreading “kudos” to everyone where they circulate. We don’t care if a paper chooses to avoid hard cutting issues and write only soft, human interest tales. We don’t care if a paper refrains from digging into matters so as not to offend any potential advertisers. We know that route and we’ve done some of those things ourselves. But that’s not what The Sun Bay Paper is doing now. We’re publishing what we learn, what we know, what people tell us and what’s obvious.

If a reader calls us and says, “Would you find out why there is a large pot in the middle of my street and what it is?” When we go to that street and look at the pot and it smells something like crap, looks like crap, then stick a finger in it, it feels like crap, you can bet we aren’t going to report “We found a rose garden or pot of potpourri in your street” We’re going to call it what it is and try to find out who put it there and why. We’re than going to tell our readers, all of that, as well.

Getting back to attempt to suppress our distribution, we know the reasons why it’s being done and we know the players. We also know the Beach Chamber and we know they owe money to good credible local people for several reasons. We have given them an opportunity to “tell their side” and their pat answer is one of two: “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and “I won’t talk to The Sun Bay Paper”. I bet they won’t. If what we say is a lie they can sue us for libel. That’s printing things that aren’t true, but if what we say is true then we would be doing readers a disservice to keep quiet about any wrongs being done in our area of circulation. No matter how hard a small group tries to keep you from reading The Sun Bay Paper, we know you’ll simply find us in the other 140 locations where we do circulate freely. In places where no one is trying to keep you from the facts even if they aren’t a “rose garden”.

We don’t have any desire to rock the boat just to see it rock. We want to be fair and we do enjoy publishing “good news” and much of what we print is about the good people of our area. But we won’t be intimidated. We called Mr. Al Durrett just before press time to ask again about circulating at the plaza newsstand. He said “maybe when you stop reporting on the Chamber, I’ll reconsider”.

You decide if that’s the kind of paper you want.

The old downtown of Bonita Springs is gearing up for a new look, and on August 24th members of the City’s government and local residents got a look at a potential direction for future development.

Kayaking down the twisting stretches of the Estero River, there are a few places where you can trick yourself into believing you are in the middle of nowhere.

Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane (right) was recently reappointed to the board of directors of the Florida League of Mayors.

The residents of Fort Myers Beach have already experienced a summer full of torn-up roads, as the reFresh Waterlines project has been underway from almost a full month now.

Monday, 31 August 2015 18:18

July Hottest Month On Record

Still having doubts about global warming? Well, last month was the hottest month on record for the Earth, breaking all prior markers, according to U.S. Weather officials.

Monday, 31 August 2015 17:12

Python Challenge 2016

Building on the success of its 2013 Python Challenge™, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida Inc.(Foundation) this week announced additional details of the 2016 Python Challenge™, a conservation effort that includes public outreach on invasive species and a month-long competition to remove Burmese pythons from public lands in Florida.

For close to six years, George Altemeier has run the Tours Information Center down in Times Square of Fort Myers Beach. However, over this past year, he has concerns that the booth’s run might almost be over, with the Town of Fort Myers Beach openly stating that they want the Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce to have a presence in that area.