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Proponents of a prospective constitutional amendment to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 gathered more than 100,000 signatures in June and are nearly half-way to qualifying for the 2020 ballot.

But with new petition-gathering rules approved by lawmakers in May going into effect July 7, Florida For A Fair Wage’s campaign will have to meet more strident standards between now and Feb. 1, 2020, to secure the 766,320 validated signatures necessary for the measure to be presented to voters in November’s general election.

In addition, those same newly imposed rules will also require the proposal to undergo a more robust Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) review by state fiscal analysts.
Such a review could produce indefinite results, similar to the way a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study released Monday projects raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would lift 1.3 million out of poverty but cost 1.3 million jobs.

According to the state’s Division of Elections, as of July 10, Florida For A Fair Wage had gathered 341,189 signatures, nearly 103,000 more than the 239,000 it had on June 1.
Championed by Orlando attorney John Morgan – who also spearheaded the ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana in 2016 – Florida For A Fair Wage has received more than $3 million in contributions.

Nearly all of that money – including $812,963.45 in May and $812,340 in June – came from Morgan’s law firm and much of it, more than $800,000, was paid to a California petition-collection firm.

As of July 7, however, out-of-state “professionals” are no longer permitted to gather petition signatures as part of a slate of rules adopted by the Legislature in the waning minutes of this year’s legislative session.

The new rules essentially extend the state’s voter registration system for absentee ballots to petition-gathering, requiring every citizen initiative organization sponsoring a signature-drive have its own numbered, serialized petition provided by county elections offices.

They require petition-gathers to register with the state and have a permanent Florida address, effectively barring out-of-state entities from ballot campaigns. The bill prohibits signature gatherers from being paid on a per-petition basis.

As a result, petition-gatherers say they’ll now need at least 1.1 million signatures to ensure 766,320 are verified, and will need to finish collecting by the end of 2019 to give elections supervisors the required 30 days to verify them before Feb. 1.

And if the FIEC review is as inconclusive as the CBO analysis, the proposal could also face tough sledding in the realm of public perception.

According to analysis by the nonpartisan CBO of the federal Raise the Wage Act, gradually doubling the $7.25 hourly federal minimum wage by 2025 would boost pay for 27 million workers, lifting 1.3 million households out of poverty, but also potentially triggering the loss of 1.3 million jobs.

According to the analysis, which used data from 11 studies published in the past four years:

• The $10 option would raise wages for 1.5 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $10 per hour. Another 2 million who would otherwise earn slightly more than $10 per hour “might see wages rise as well.” The option would have little effect on employment in an average week in 2025. There is a two-thirds chance the change in employment would be between about zero and a decrease of 100,000 workers. “This option would have negligible effects on the number of people in poverty.”

• In an average week in 2025, the $12 option would increase wages for 5 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $12 per hour. Another 6 million otherwise earning slightly more than $12 per hour could see wages rise as well. But the option would cause 300,000 other workers to be jobless. There is a two-thirds chance the change in employment would be between about zero and a decrease of 800,000 workers. “The number of people with annual income below the poverty threshold in 2025 would fall by 400,000.”

• In an average week in 2025, the $15 option would boost wages of 17 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $15 per hour. Another 10 million otherwise earning slightly more than $15 per hour might see wages rise as well. But 1.3 million other workers would become jobless, according to CBO’s median estimate. There is a two-thirds chance the change in employment would be between about zero and a decrease of 3.7 million workers.“The number of people with annual income below the poverty threshold in 2025 would fall by 1.3 million.”
The CBO report, only the second to focus on the impact of a $15 minimum wage, comes as Congress prepares to vote on increasing the federal minimum wage for the first time in more than a decade.

John Haughey
The Center Square

"My religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life," said Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. "I accept my church's position on abortion as ... doctrine. Life begins at conception. ... I just refuse to impose that on others."

] For four decades, Biden backed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of the tax dollars of Joe's fellow Catholics to pay for what they view as the killing of the innocent unborn.

Last week, Joe flipped. He now backs the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America welcomed home the prodigal son: "We're pleased that Joe Biden has joined the rest of the 2020 Democratic field in coalescing around the Party's core values -- support for abortion rights."

But when did the right to an abortion -- a crime in many states before 1973 -- become a "core value" of the Democratic Party?

And what are these "values" of which politicians incessantly talk?

Are they immutable? Or do they change with the changing times?

Last month, Disney CEO Bob Iger said his company may cease filming in Georgia if its new anti-abortion law takes effect: "If (the bill) becomes law, I don't see how it's practical for us to continue to shoot there."

The Georgia law outlaws almost all abortions, once a heartbeat is detected, some six to eight weeks into pregnancy. It reflects the Christian conservative values of millions of Georgians.

To Iger and Hollywood, however, Georgia's law radically restricts the "reproductive rights" of women, and is a moral outrage.

What we have here is a clash of values.

What one side believes is preserving the God-given right to life for the unborn, the other regards as an assault on the rights of women.

The clash raises questions that go beyond our culture war to what America should stand for in the world.

"American interests and American values are inseparable," Pete Buttigieg told Rachel Maddow. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Claremont Institute: "We have had too little courage to confront regimes squarely opposed to our interests and our values."

Are Pompeo and Mayor Pete talking about the same values?

The mayor is proudly gay and in a same-sex marriage. Yet the right to same-sex marriage did not even exist in this country until the Supreme Court discovered it a few years ago.

In a 2011 speech to the U.N., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Gay rights are human rights," and she approved of U.S. embassies flying the rainbow flag during Pride Month.

This year, Mike Pompeo told the U.S. embassy in Brazil not to fly the rainbow flag. He explained his concept of his moral duty to the Christian Broadcasting Network, "The task I have is informed by my understanding of my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior."

The Christian values Pompeo espouses on abortion and gay rights are in conflict with what progressives now call human rights.

And the world mirrors the American divide.

There are gay pride parades in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but none in Riyadh and Mecca. In Brunei, homosexuality can get you killed.

To many Americans, diversity -- racial, ethnic, cultural, religious -- is our greatest strength.

Yet Poland and Hungary are proudly ethnonationalist. South Korea and Japan fiercely resist the racial and ethnic diversity immigration would bring. Catalans and Scots in this century, like Quebecois in the last, seek to secede from nations to which they have belonged for centuries.

Are ethnonationalist nations less righteous than diverse nations likes ours? And if diversity is an American value, is it really a universal value?

Consider the treasured rights of our First Amendment -- freedom of speech, religion and the press.

Saudi Arabia does not permit Christian preachers. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, converts to Christianity face savage reprisals. In Buddhist Myanmar, Muslims are ethnically cleansed.

These nations reject an equality of all faiths, believing instead in the primacy of their own majority faith. They reject our wall of separation between religion and state. Our values and their values conflict.

What makes ours right and theirs wrong? Why should our views and values prevail in what are, after all, their countries?

Under our Constitution, many practices are protected -- abortion, blasphemy, pornography, flag-burning, trashing religious beliefs -- that other nations regard as symptoms of a disintegrating society.

When Hillary Clinton said half of all Trump supporters could be put into a "basket of deplorables" for being "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic," she was conceding that many Trump's supporters detest many progressive values.

True, but in the era of Trump, why should her liberal values be the values America champions abroad?

With secularism's triumph, we Americans have no common religion, no common faith, no common font of moral truth. We disagree on what is right and wrong, moral and immoral.

Without an agreed-upon higher authority, values become matters of opinion. And ours are in conflict and irreconcilable.


But how, then, do we remain one nation and one people?

Patrick J. Buchanan

Provisions allowing Guard members to transfer some or all of their Post- 9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouse or children are set to change in less than 30 days, limiting the time frame Soldiers and Airmen can transfer those benefits.

“You have to have a minimum of six years (in service) in order to be eligible to transfer benefits, and after 16 years, you’re no longer eligible,” said Don Sutton, Army National Guard GI Bill program manager, describing the changes set to go into effect July 12.

Sutton said the six-years-of-service rule isn’t new. “You’ve always had to have a minimum of six years of service in order to transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits,” he said, adding the big change is the cutoff at 16 years of service.

“You’ll have a 10-year-window in which to transfer benefits,” he said, stressing that Guard members won’t lose the benefits after 16 years of service, just the ability to transfer them to their spouse, children or other dependents.

“The Post-9/11 GI Bill and the transfer of benefits are two entirely different and separate programs,” Sutton said. “Even though Soldiers may be ineligible to transfer benefits, they still have the Post-9/11 for their own use.”

For those interested in transferring their benefits, an additional four-year service obligation is still required.

“The (transfer of benefits) is a retention incentive,” Sutton said. “It’s designed to keep people in the service.”

Being able to transfer benefits to a dependent may have been perceived by some service members as an entitlement, said Sutton, adding that was one of the reasons for the time frame change.
“In law, transferring those benefits has always been designed as a retention incentive,” he said.

The exact number of Guard members who may be impacted by the change wasn’t available, said Sutton, adding that among those who could be affected are those who didn’t qualify for Post- 9/11 GI Bill benefits until later in their career.

“We do have a small population of Soldiers who are over 16 years (of service) before they did their first deployment,” he said.

Some Guard members who may have earned the benefits early on, but didn’t have dependents until later in their careers, may also be affected.

“They joined at 18 and now they’re 15, 16 years in and they get married or have kids later on in life,” said Sutton, who urged Guard members who plan on transferring their benefits to do so as soon as they are eligible.

“If you wait, you’re potentially going to miss out,” he said.

Some Guard members may have been waiting to transfer the benefits until their children reach college age. “There sometimes are some misconceptions that they have to wait until their kids are college-age or that they’re high school seniors in order to do the transfer,” Sutton said, adding there is no age requirement to transfer Post-9/ 11 benefits to dependent children.

“As soon as a child is born and registered in (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System), you can transfer,” he said.

After that transfer has been completed, Guard members can still make changes to how those benefits are divided between dependents or which dependent receives those benefits.

“Once the transfer is executed, and you’ve agreed to that service obligation, you can add dependents in, and you can move months around between dependents,” Sutton said. “It’s just that initial transfer has to be done before you hit 16 years of service.”
However, there is one group of Guard members who will not be affected by any of the changes: those who have received the Purple Heart since Sept. 11, 2001.

“The only rule around transferring benefits that applies (to those individuals) is you have to still be in the service to transfer them.”

Regardless of status, Sutton reiterated that Guard members are better off transferring those benefits sooner rather than later.

“Transfer as soon as you’re eligible,” he said. “Don’t miss the boat because you’ve been eligible for 10 years and you just didn’t do it.”

Canada intends to ban “harmful” single-use plastics as early as 2021 and hold companies responsible for plastic waste, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today.

“Canadians know first-hand the impacts of plastic pollution, and are tired of seeing their beaches, parks, streets, and shorelines littered with plastic waste. We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce plastic pollution, protect the environment, and create jobs and grow our economy. We owe it to our kids to keep the environment clean and safe for generations to come,” said Trudeau.

Less than 10 percent of the plastic used in Canada gets recycled. Without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated C$11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030.

Calling plastic pollution “a global challenge that requires immediate action,” Trudeau pointed out that plastic waste ends up in landfills and incinerators, litters parks and beaches, pollutes rivers, lakes, and oceans, and entangles and kills turtles, fish and marine mammals.

The Canadian government has not released a list of the plastic products that will be banned as “harmful,” but in his announcement, Trudeau mentioned plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks.

About one-third of the plastics used in Canada are for single-use or short-lived products and packaging. Up to 15 billion plastic bags are used every year and close to 57 million straws are used daily in Canada.
Globally, one garbage truckload of plastic waste enters the oceans every minute, and that amount is increasing. Every year, 640,000 tons of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear enters the oceans, where it can persist in the environment for up to 600 years.

Every year, one million birds and over 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die when they mistake plastic for foodor become entangled.

“We’ve reached a defining moment, and this is a problem we simply can’t afford to ignore. With the longest coastline in the world and one-quarter of the world’s freshwater, Canada has a unique responsibility, and an opportunity, to lead in reducing plastic pollution, Trudeau said.

Trudeau said that the new measures will be grounded in scientific evidence and will align, where appropriate, with similar actions being taken in the European Union and other countries.

On May 21, the Council of the European Union adopted the ambitious measures proposed by the European Commission to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.

On May 10, 180 United Nations member countries reached a deal to restrict shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to developing countries.

Exporting countries, including the United States, now will have to obtain consent from countries receiving contaminated, mixed or unrecyclable plastic waste. Currently, the U.S. and other countries can send lower-quality plastic waste to private entities in developing countries without getting approval from their governments.

Prime Minister Trudeau said that by improving how Canada manages plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, the country can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs.

The new measures will also support the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s development of an action plan to implement the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.

In November 2018, Canada’s environment ministers agreed to work collectively toward a common goal of zero plastic waste. They approved in principle a Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste, which outlines a vision to keep all plastics in the economy and out of the environment.

The strategy outlines areas where changes are needed across the plastic lifecycle, from design to collection, clean-up and value recovery, and underscores the economic and business opportunities resulting from long-lasting and durable plastics.

“We’ve all seen the disturbing images of fish, sea turtles, whales, and other wildlife being injured or dying because of plastic garbage in our oceans. Canadians expect us to act. That’s why our government intends to ban harmful single-use plastic products where science warrants it, and why we’re working with partners across Canada and around the world to reduce plastic pollution,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“Taking these steps will help create tens of thousands of middle-class jobs and make our economy even stronger—while protecting fish, whales, and other wildlife, and preserving the places we love,” she said.
The Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste is expected to be a driver for innovation and to create opportunities that will increase competitiveness in new business models, product design solutions, and waste prevention and recovery technologies.

Over the last 25 years, nearly 800,000 volunteers have removed over 1.3 million kilograms of trash from across Canada’s shorelines through Ocean Wise and World Wildlife Fund’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program, supported by the Government of Canada. The most common litter items found on shorelines are single-use or short-lived products, many made of plastics.

“The health of our oceans is vital to the economic, cultural, and social well-being of Canada’s coastal communities,” said Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson. “We know plastic pollution harms Canada’s oceans, wildlife, communities and our economy. It’s a problem we simply can’t afford to ignore. We are working with industry to prevent and remove ghost fishing gear, to protect marine animals and the marine environment now and for future generations.”

Environment News Service (ENS) 2019. All rights reserved.

Tell a parent of a child with autism that 40 percent of children on the autism spectrum also have an anxiety disorder, and odds are you won’t be met with surprise.
Parents of children with autism are all too familiar with the signs of anxiety; the outbursts when a predictable routine unexpectedly changes, the self-soothing behaviors to cope with inner worry, the obsessive-compulsive rituals. While these anxiety symptoms are often masked by a child’s autism, they present a real challenge for children and their families. Children with comorbid anxiety and autism experience more behavioral issues and functional difficulties than children with one disorder or the other.
Researchers are still investigating the best approach for treating anxiety in children on the autism spectrum. While medications used to treat anxiety in people without autism show some evidence of helping kids on the spectrum, they also seem to worsen other behaviors, namely hyperactivity, impulsivity, and insomnia.
That’s not to say parents should rule out medication — research is still underway, and so far, results show that medication can help some children with autism and anxiety, if not all. However, it’s not all parents can do to alleviate anxiety in their child.
If you have a child with anxiety and autism, these strategies may help.


Trigger Management

Identifying the anxiety triggers of a child with autism is difficult, especially if the child has developmental delays that affect the ability to communicate. However, many children with autism share similar triggers, including unfamiliar situations, changes to routines, social situations, and lack of sleep. Many children also have sensory triggers; while these tend to be highly individual, parents can familiarize themselves with sensory processing disorder to learn the types of sensory hypersensitivities and narrow in on their child’s specific triggers.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven effective against anxiety disorders in the general population, and there’s evidence to support its use in children on the autism spectrum as well. CBT aims to alter a patient’s thought patterns to reduce negative responses to difficult situations. This gives children the tools they need to manage their emotions without outside intervention. Researchers have found that CBT is effective not only against anxiety but also anger, depression, and other emotional challenges.



A 2019 study found that over 80 percent of children with autism experienced improved anxiety symptoms after six months of treatment with cannabidiol-based oil. While the study in question used a CBD product with low amounts of THC, which isn’t currently available outside of states with medical cannabis, parents can access legal hemp-derived CBD products no matter where in the US they live. While CBD oil is the most available product, children who have issues with the taste or texture of oil may do better with CBD gummies. Parents should talk to their child’s doctor or therapist before adding CBD to their child’s treatment regimen, as well as read up on the different gummies currently available on the market.


Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques quiet the intense physiological response triggered by anxiety. However, in order for relaxation techniques to be effective, children must practice them in safe situations. Parents can role play stressful scenarios with their children and teach them how to identify difficult thoughts and emotions and manage them through relaxation. Deep breathing is one technique used by neurotypical individuals and people with autism alike. Children with autism may also find calm from fidgeting or positive sensory experiences, such as playing with water or stroking a comfort object.
As you can see, there’s no quick fix for anxiety in children with autism. The experience of anxiety is a highly individualized one, and the coping strategies and treatments that work for one child may have no meaningful effect on another. However, by experimenting with different strategies and finding what resonates with their child, parents can turn their child’s anxiety into something predictable and manageable.

Submitted by
Jenny Wise

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 19:43

Hurricane Preparedness

Determine Your Risk

Hurricanes bring hazards to the U.S Coastlines and Inland areas, including storm surge along the coast, inland flooding due to heavy rainfall, tornadoes, strong wind, rip currents and large waves.
Find out today what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing now for how to handle them. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem.
Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur without it being a major hurricane. Now is the time to prepare for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane.

Develop an Evacuation Plan

Find out today if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Plan where you'll go and how you would get there. Leave immediately if ordered to evacuate and be sure to plan for your pets.
The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

Assemble Disaster Supplies

Get your supplies before hurricane season begins. Have enough food and water for each person for at least three days. Be sure to fill you prescriptions and have medicine on hand. Radios, batteries and phone chargers on are also must haves. Gas up your vehicle and have extra cash on hand.
You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of three days. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Many of us have cell phones, and they all run on batteries. You’re going to need a portable crank or solar powered USB charger.

Get Insurance Check Up

Check in with your insurance agent well before hurricane season. Remember that flood insurance must be obtained separately. Prepare your home and vehicles according to your policy, and know where your insurance documents are located and take them with you if youevacuate.
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it, and it’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

Strengthen Your Home

There is alot you can do around your home to help protect it from the strong wind that come with hurricanes. Well ahead of the approaching storm, trim trees on your property, shop for approved window covering, collect loose outdoor items, secure all doors on your property, and find a safe location for your vehicle.
If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications.
Many of these retrofits do not cost much or take as long to do as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.

Help Your Neighbor

Many people rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Help your neighbors collect the supplies they'll need before the storm. Assist them with evacuation if ordered to do so or check on them after it's safe for you to head outside.
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes. Start the conversation now with these Neighbor Helping Neighbor strategies.

Complete a Written Plan

Writing down your plan will help you avoid mistakes when faced with an emergency and ensure everyone in your home is prepared for the next storm.
The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions.
Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a hurricane warning is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line. Being prepared, before a hurricane threatens, makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.


Monday, 15 April 2019 21:42

Boat Responsibly in Lee County

Boat sober!

Waterways are second only to highways when it comes to accidental deaths. Many factors impact an individual when underway. Sun, wind, noise, vibration from the boat, motion and dehydration all act as stressors to the body when boating. These stressors can negatively impact a person's balance, vision, coordination and judgment. When alcohol is added to the mix, all the negative impacts can be seriously magnified. Not only is it important for the operator to boat sober, passengers also have an obligation to act responsibly. Erratic behavior or sudden, unexpected movements can result in injury, capsizing or a fall overboard. Alcohol can cause even greater disorientation to a person thrown into the water. So for captain and crew, boat safe, boat sober.

Big water, big boats, big foam

It is always a smart idea to wear a life jacket that allows unrestricted freedom of movement at all times on board an open boat. Being immersed unexpectedly in the water is a situation of last resort. In the circumstances of being forced to ride out a storm or abandon ship, a life jacket with maximum flotation, turning ability can provide protection. When rescue arrives, you'll be glad for the survival colors, reflective tape, whistle, light, locator beacons and anything else that has kept you alive and visible in open water. Skydivers wear their parachutes...

Football players wear their helmets...

Drivers wear their seat belts...

Responsible boaters wear their life jackets! A U.S. Coast Guard Approved life jacket is designed to place an unconscious victim in a face up position, however it must fit properly. Too big, and the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small, it will not be able to keep your body afloat. Life jackets designed for adults will not work for children! Try It on For Size: #1 Check the manufacturer's label to ensure that the life jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and U.S. Coast Guard Approved.
#2 Make sure the jacket is properly fastened with all the straps and buckles in good condition.
#3 Hold your arms straight up over your head.
#4 Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up.
#5 Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face. For the best fit, try the life jacket in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions.
#6 Inflatable type life jackets only count under the law if they are actually being worn and are prohibited for Jet Ski Operators and water skiers.
#7 It’s a good idea to write the name of your vessel or registration number on the life jacket to help with lost lifejackets.
#8 Have life jackets within reach on your vessel and explain to passengers where they are and how to use them.
#9 Every person on board under the age of 13 must wear an approved Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway.
#10 Take a safe boating class.
Learn more valuable boating tips at the “About Boating Safety” Class on Saturday, April 20th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in South Fort Myers at the Pine Ridge Community Center (next to the Iona McGregor Fire Station #75) at 15660 Pine Ridge Rd, Iona, FL 33908. The cost is $45 per person and includes study material. Advance registration is required, by phone 239-690-6780 option 1 or online at - the class fills up quickly so register today.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the lead agency protecting America’s seaward frontier in recreational boating safety. Our vessels and aircraft deploy across the U.S. and they aid or save countless boaters every year.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit

Editorial Note:
Adult life jackets do not work for children. This Photo demonstrates children’s instinct to reach out to parent and would fall out from the bottom of an adult life jacket. Use a children’s life jacket that fits properly and use the crotch strap.
Kayaks and Paddleboarders need life jackets
On a vessel underway, children under 13 must wear an appropriate Coast Guard-approved life jacket Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin.
Life Jacket Loaner Station can be found on Fort Myers Beach by the fishing pier. Supported by Sheriff’s Youth Activity League, Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Golisano Children’s Hospital and Lee County, in partnership with Lee County Medical Services, Florida Department of Health and Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties and Vasari Cares Foundation, Inc., Women's Golf Association.

Thursday, 11 April 2019 07:12


Dear Doctor: I was a huge Luke Perry fan in high school, and like so many others, I was shocked that he had a stroke at just 52 years old. Isn't that awfully young? How do you know if you're having a stroke?

Dear Reader: While it's true that the majority of strokes occur in people 65 and older, they can happen in people of any age. This includes not only young and middle-aged adults, but also children and even infants in utero.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes. Of the 795,000 people each year who have a stroke, 140,000 do not survive. A significant percentage of those who do survive are left with a range of disabilities that affect speech, movement and cognition. One of the challenges for younger stroke victims is misdiagnosis. Symptoms can be mistaken for conditions like migraine, seizure and inner ear disorders.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, which happens in two ways. The most common type of stroke, known as an ischemic stroke, occurs when blood is unable to travel through a blood vessel and reach the brain. This can be due to a clot that arises in or travels to the brain and blocks the vessel, or to narrowing of the blood vessel itself. In a hemorrhagic stroke, the second major type of stroke, the blood vessel tears or ruptures. In both types of stroke, the result is the same -- the oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood can't reach the brain cells. In a very short period of time, the brain cells begin to die.

A third type of stroke is known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. This is when stroke symptoms appear for a brief period of time but then go away. These so-called "mini strokes" can sometimes be precursors to a major stroke, so it's important to take TIAs seriously and seek medical treatment immediately.
Signs of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in a limb or in the face, often on just one side of the body. Sudden dizziness, confusion, garbled speech, loss of balance or coordination, or problems with eyesight in one or both eyes can also signal a stroke. So can the advent of a sudden headache, often quite severe, sometimes accompanied by tingling sensations in the face or body.

A useful memory prompt for stroke symptoms is the word FAST. The letters represent three major indicators of stroke. F is for face drooping, A is for arm weakness and S is for speech. The final letter, T, stands for "time to call 911." That's particularly important because swift treatment can be the difference between life and death. It can also affect the level of disability that the stroke causes in a survivor. Studies show that receiving emergency medical care within three hours of the first symptoms of stroke results in less disability three months later as compared to those for whom medical care was delayed. So no matter someone's age, when symptoms suggest a stroke, seek immediate medical help.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, and Elizabeth Ko, M.D.

Thursday, 11 April 2019 07:03

To Unplug 'Unplanned'

The conversion of Abby Johnson -- from one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in America to pro-life leader -- sounds like the kind story line that would never make its way into the movie theater. But it has. "Unplanned" debuted in 1,059 theaters on March 29 and grossed $6.1 million on its opening weekend, double the commercial expectations. It received an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences. It has been expanded to 1,700 sites and is captivating millions with its heart-wrenching portrayal of the reality of abortion and the organization that champions the atrocity.

Johnson estimates she was personally responsible for overseeing 22,000 abortions at her clinic in Bryan, Texas, during her Planned Parenthood career. She had two of her own. This is her story, necessarily rated R because of its honest depiction of what transpires inside the Planned Parenthood clinic. The opening scene depicts the moment of conversion. Abby, who serves in a management capacity, is asked to assist with an ultrasound abortion of a 13-week-old baby. She watches -- and the viewer watches very real footage -- as the unborn baby resists, moving desperately to avoid the suction tube. It swooshes into the cylinder of death, exiting into a bucket with blood and pieces of human tissue. The womb is now empty. Abby Johnson falls apart.

We go to the start of the story, with her two abortions, her unlikely marriage into a strongly pro-life family and her rise of the ranks of her local Planned Parenthood outlet. She knows she has made it when director Cheryl ceremoniously invites her to come into the "P.O.C" room -- the clinic's sanctum sanctorum, open only to the chosen few. When a nurse asks if Abby knows what "P.O.C." stands for, she offers the euphemism "products of conception." Her colleague sardonically provides the correct answer: "pieces of children." Abby and Cheryl approach the table containing the body parts of countless babies. Little feet. Little hands. Little heads. The parts of every aborted child must be accounted for so they can be sure nothing is left inside the womb.

Unsurprisingly, "Unplanned" has received the same opprobrium from the cultural elites as last year's pro-life movie "Gosnell." A half dozen major music labels refused to license their tunes for the movie, including Disney, Universal Music and Sony/ATV. Cable TV networks refused to run ads for the movie -- USA, Lifetime, HGTV, the Travel Channel, the Cooking Channel, the Food Network ... even the Hallmark Channel!

The movie was trashed on TBS. Unfunny radical feminist Samantha Bee bizarrely claimed the movie was "mostly made up" and mocked it for suggesting that taking on the nation's largest and most powerful abortion conglomerate is scary.

Bee tried to suggest that Johnson couldn't possibly turn her heroes into monsters: "No matter where you go, no matter where you hide, I will give you health care!" Ripping babies apart is "health care."

Even social media giants were hostile. On the opening weekend, the movie's Twitter account was suspended for a time, which Twitter claimed was a mistake, as if anyone believes that line any longer. Then fans of the movie couldn't successfully follow the account. Twitter has a nasty habit of blocking pro-life material as "inflammatory."

Newspapers refused to review the movie. The New York Times reviewed 12 new movies on debut day, but not "Unplanned." This included a review of "Diane" (released in only three theaters nationwide), a liberal documentary on former Trump strategist Steve Bannon called "The Brink" (in four theaters) and the French Canadian teen comedy "Slut in a Good Way" (in seven theaters).

The Washington Post had no review from its own critics in the "Weekend" section but directed readers to its Common Sense Media page for parents, where those outside critics said the film was inappropriate for children under 17. This camp thinks abortion is appropriate for teenage girls but a movie about abortion is not.

Maybe this near silence is for the best, since one of the few film reviewers, Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter, thought he was being witty when he explained, "There have been films that treated Nazi doctors conducting evil experiments in concentration camps more sympathetically."

Scheck somehow can't absorb the fact that there is evil in Planned Parenthood, that it is a big business making a profit from exterminating more than 300,000 unborn babies a year.

Abby Johnson came to understand it and devoted her life to fighting the horror of abortion from that moment forward.

Her babies are in paradise, dancing with delight.

L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham

Thursday, 11 April 2019 06:57

Local Happenings and Updates


Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has established a Construction Management Department, offering a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management. The program was introduced to the business community with a Day at the Ballpark on March 16th. The event was sponsored by REIS, Lee BIA, the CCIM Chapter, Realtors Land Institute (RLI), and FGCU. The Construction Management Department is part of the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at FGCU.


The Lee County Board of County Commissioners has delayed the public hearing on land uses in wetlands until May 22nd. County staff has proposed an amendment (CPA1029-00001) to the Future Land Use Plan that will authorize Lee County to issue Development Orders for non-residential uses in the wetlands category where impacts are authorized by a State agency.


Cape Coral City Council has approved a major rewrite of the Land Development Code (LDC), which now will be reviewed by State agencies. The changes are intended to make the LDC more consistent with zoning and facilitate commercial and multi-family residential development. The amended LDC may be reviewed on the City’s website, along with an interactive mapping tool to compare existing zoning with proposed zoning.



Home Rule: HB 3 would prohibit local governments from imposing or adopting new regulations of businesses after a certain date. Preempts regulation and licensing of professions and occupations to the state. Proceeding through committees with minor revisions.

Impact fees: HB 207/SB 144 would revise minimum requirements for adoption of impact fees by specified government agencies. Exempts water and sewer connection fees from Florida Impact Fee Act. Bill has passed all referred committees.

Open and Expired Building Permits: HB 447/SB 902 is moving through committees with much support - provides requirements related to open & expired permits, permit requirements, closing of permits, amendment of Florida Building Code, applicability, & notice requirements.

Wetlands Mitigation: CS/SB 532 authorizing a local government to allow permittee-responsible mitigation on lands purchased and owned by a local government for conservation purposes under certain circumstances; requiring such mitigation to meet specified requirements. Bill has passed the referred Senate committees.

Dredge and Fill Permitting: HB 799 urges Congress to direct U.S. EPA to issue memorandum of agreement so Florida may complete assumption of section 404 dredge & fill permitting program under federal Clean Water Act. On State Affairs Committee agenda April 8th. Comprehensive Plan Amendments: HB 6017 removes acreage limitations applying to small-scale comprehensive plan amendments. Bill is proceeding through House committees with strong support. Opportunity Zones: HB 481 would enable state and local governments to provide incentives to developers if they proceed with opportunity zone projects that benefit the local community. Bill is in committee review.




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