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With Earth Day 2021 on the horizon, get your environmental swerve on at the iconic Mound House on Fort Myers Beach! The Mound House offers two new and free Earth Day events on Thursday, April 22. While free, advance registration is necessary due to space limitations at www.moundhouse.org.

The “Earth Day Beach Walk & Clean Up” is for all ages at 9 a.m. Meet at the Bay Oaks Recreational Center at 2731 Oak Street, just down from the Fort Myers Beach Public Library. Mound House Staff leads a free “Beach Walk Clean Up” while providing educational lessons about wildlife and plants. The walk begins at Beach Access #25, with free parking at Bay Oaks. The Mound House provides gloves and buckets, with all participants wearing masks.

Earth Day afternoon features the free “Earth Day Clean Up: BYOK!” for ages 12 and up at 1 p.m. “BYOK” standing for “Bring Your Own Kayak!” Departing from the Mound House launch, kayakers cut monofilament lines from mangroves and clean up litter while exploring Matanzas Pass and Hell Peckney Bay. The Mound House has limited kayaks, so it encourages participants to bring their own. It provides gloves, buckets, and scissors, with everyone wearing masks on land and life jackets on water.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach operates the Mound House as a museum complex and cultural and environmental learning center that offers numerous monthly educational programs, including for children. All visitors wear masks, while observing Center for Disease Control and Social Distancing precautions. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Mound House is at 451 Connecticut Street with overflow parking at 216 Connecticut. Admission is $10 ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free, with Town residents receiving a 50% discount. For information, reservations, and a monthly programs schedule, call 239-765-0865 or see www.moundhouse.org. To celebrate Earth Day, the Mound House Museum Store offers 20% off all earth-friendly merchandise that day.

A Hands-On Difference

“This is the first time the Mound House is hosting Earth Day events in this capacity,” stated Environmental Education Manager Dexter Norris. “We want to do something outdoors, in a safe and healthy manner, where people make a difference in a hands-on manner to directly and positively impact our local environment. The two Earth Day events are free, and that is especially unusual for a kayak program, but folks pay us back with their Earth Day clean-up efforts to beautify the beach. It is important to register in advance, to keep groups small to observe COVID-19 precautions, and especially for the afternoon program to know who will bring their own kayaks.”

Dexter stressed that the environmentally-sensitive Mound House “treats every day like Earth Day! Much of what we do carries an environmental focus, like our native plantings that do not require much water or any fertilizer. It is important that we pass this philosophy on to our guests so they make these behaviors part of their daily lives, to do the right things environmentally. If we all do the small things every day, that adds up to big changes, and one of our goals is to articulate that message. By offering our two Earth Day programs, we give residents and visitors the chance to get outside, clean up our island community, and share our environmental education and passion with others.”

“Get Your Inquiring Minds Stoked!”

Assisting the Mound House’s environmental movement is a Town of Fort Myers Beach volunteer committee known as the Marine Resources Task Force (MRTF), with its seven members appointed by the FMB Town Council, including Jennifer Rusk. “The MRTF promotes the stewardship of our marine resources,” she explained, “to halt further damage to and the rehabilitation of the Estero Bay and its waters, including air and water quality as well as wildlife and plant life. We live on an island, so it is our responsibility to keep it beautiful and environmentally healthy, so we meet the second Wednesday of each month in a public forum in Town Hall to address these issues.”

An initiative MRTF recently inaugurated is the “‘Ask Me’ Pop-Up Environmental Adventure Booth.” “MTRF was looking for new and innovative ways to get our message and mission out to the community,” Jennifer recalled, “when a friend said, ‘Why don’t you do a “Pop-Up Tent,” like they do for restaurants and food trucks,’ and I thought that was a good idea. I brought the concept to MRTF, the other members felt that it was great, and off we went!”

The “‘Ask Me’ Pop-up Environmental Adventure Booth debuted on March 31, and was instantly popular, Jennifer said. “Several organizations joined us that day, like Turtle Time, the Florida Master Gardener Program, and the SWF Audubon Chapter, and everyone spoke with us and asked questions on various environmental subjects. A few days later, we had the ‘Ask Me’ Booth at Lovers Key State Park’s ‘Mermaid Festival’ and enjoyed the same reaction, letting us know we were on to something good.”

Jennifer is cognizant that MRTF cannot have representatives from every environmental group at each “Pop-Up” site, “so we came up with the ‘Ask Me’ Question Box! If the organization you need to speak with is not present that day, write your question and put it in the box. I will sort through them and forward them to the specific group who can help you find your answer. Questions so far are all across the board, and as current as today’s headlines. With the Piney Point crisis in the Tampa Bay area, water quality questions are the most common. No matter your issue or concern, visit the ‘Ask Me’ Pop-Up Environmental Adventure Booth and get your inquiring minds stoked!”

To get your inquiring mind stoked on Earth Day, the “Ask Me” Booth is at the two free Mound House programs. “We will be at Newton Beach Park at 4650 Estero Boulevard,” added Jennifer, “where the ‘Beach Walk & Clean-Up’ concludes, from 9 to 11 a.m. We then move to the Mound House from Noon to 2 p.m. In addition to our experts and information, we will have Turtle Time knickknacks for kids.”

Upcoming Fort Myers Beach “Ask Me” Booth appearances will include Bowditch Point Park, Bay Oaks Recreational Center, and Times Square, as well as return trips to the Mound House and Newton Beach Park. “Look for us all over the island,” Jennifer stated, “at all kinds of events, like at Lynn Hall Memorial Park on Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to Noon and the ‘Taste of The Beach’ event with the FMB Chamber of Commerce at Salty Sam’s Marina on Sunday, May 2. To find future ‘Ask Me’ Booth locations, see the Town webpage at www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov.”

Jennifer stressed that “we are still feeling our way and want to add future appearances as well as new environmental experts. If you want the ‘Ask Me’ Booth at your event or can partner with us to share your wisdom, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 757-450-5451. The more appearances and partners, the more inquiring minds we stoke!”

Gary Mooney

Part of the Point of View...."I think I know but do I?" series

The concept is raising a red flag about government overreach, the Whitehouse is reportedly working on a vaccine passport program, what is a vaccine passport, what should be used for, what should it be incorporated in?

A vaccine passport would allow Americans to prove they've been vaccinated against the corona viruses as business try to reopen, and would be free and available through apps for smart phones which display a scanable code, similar to an airline boarding pass.

The demand to produce personal documents to move about truly is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. And requiring someone to give out their medical records is also not legal.

But the left is trying to get you to think, it is something we are going to have get use to.

New York State is already announced an app called Excelsior pass, which can be used by New Yorkers to prove they have been vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19, it's a smartphone app that acts as a Covid passport So you can attend concerts, sporting events, other event and beginning this week, it will be accepted at dozens of arenas throughout New York state!

The argument is that it also gives you an incentive to overcome Vaccine hesitancy, some people are not sure still, if they want to do the vaccine, but if you promise more mobility, more ability to get a job, more ability to travel... That's very powerful incentive to achieve fuller vaccination!

There's a lot of news reporters and politicians that are just giddy over the idea of selling away all of our rights, destroying our right to assemble, destroying our right to free speech, destroying our right to body autonomy, but there are some brave individuals, those that are not afraid to go on those networks and speak the truth.....

former Clinton advisor Naomi Wolf has been out there, a warrior, trying to warn people this may be the world's stupidest idea.


Naomi: " I can't say it forcefully enough, this is literally the end of human liberty in the West, using orders that simply strip us of our rights to property, rights to assembly, rights to worship, and all of the rights that our constitution guarantees"

The Federal government is not saying we have to have the vaccine passport, they're just asking private businesses to keep you from entering without using a passport, the Federal government won't be involved but she has made some pretty strong statements about this, so tell me why, Naomi, why do you think that is, in your words, this may be the point of no return?

 

Naomi: "No, I will go further, it is the point of no return, I've been warning people ever since 2008, my book in The End of America, that there are 10 steps that would be dictators, always take, when they want to close an open society and people always say, tell us when we're at step 10 and we're at step 10 and the vaccine passport, you cannot come back from it.

 

I am a CEO of a Tech company as well as being an author and a fellow at the American's Chief Economic Research and so I understand what a lot of people, reasonably enough, don't understand about the absolutely catastrophic danger of a vaccine passport, which by the way, the push for it has been rolled out around the world, in democracies around the world, it's been launched in Israel and 4 months later it completely ended Israeli civil society, it's an apartheid state now, between vaccinated and unvaccinated and dissidents and activists are letting us know in Israel, that their surveilled and monitored and ostracized and marginalized, 24/7 now due to this vaccine passport.
It's been rolled out in Denmark, it's being rolled out in Britain, it's being rolled out in Canada and my own tyrannical governor, Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared that the Excelsior pass is going to be rolled out in New York State so it's beyond dangerous."

she continued...."I try not to overstate things but this is the end. You cannot roll this back, you can't make it better.
Once it's out there, you and I can't meet in a bar or in a restaurant with our friends to have a conversation about, 'how to start a movement to get our freedoms back,' because the app will know!"

"The danger about this app is not just the division of all society into 2 groups; vaccinated and unvaccinated, that's just the beginning, what's really dangerous is that you don't have a choice about opting in or out, in order to engage with society or to engage the private sector and what's incredibly dangerous is that and I say this is a Tech CEO .... any functionality can be loaded onto it like that, (snaps her finger) without any difficulty so tomorrow Apple Pay and Google Pay or Google wallet, which already are talking about getting the contract for the vaccine passport, can seamlessly synthesize whether you get paid or not, whether you can turn on your revenue stream or not, based on your vaccine status."

"AI can scan social media and feed that effortlessly into a social credit system, where if I say the right things, I can go more places and if I say the wrong things, I can't even get on the bus, where I have to show my card."

"It can seamlessly Geo locate you ...and it will ! Every time you scan that code when you go to a restaurant, it is Geo-locating you, it's saying Naomi Wolf is at the restaurant on this street and this street and when other people scan their codes, it creates a network of you and all your friends and there's software that shows kind of maps of everyone's social group and how they intersect each other interact with each other, so the app will scoop all of that up as well."

"It literally turns overnight into a China style social credit system and like I said elsewhere...."

"How do you keep a billion, educated people, who want freedom and democracy, completely unable to revolt... as in China? Well because they have this app, with the functionalities loaded onto it.... the authorities can find any dissident or any critic within 5 minutes and that's it, you can be switched off... turned off. So it's terrifying and when I say there is no going back... like someone said on my Twitter feed this is the Hill to die on and I said absolutely right, I don't literally want to do that but if there was ever a time for patriots and citizens and people who love the freedoms of the West and around the world to love freedoms, to not let something happen, now is the time because there is no world in which we have any autonomy after this is over, and I'm not even talking about the president of letting the government inject us with things, that unless we let them inject with the next thing and then it will go on to Sterilization etc."


We now turn to Del Bigtree from Highwire.com for his thoughts, ....


Del: " I remember Working on the CBS talk show, "The Doctors" I was always into doing these stories... at one point, I wanted to do a facial recognition story about how there are all these video cameras around the country and the executive producers said to me Del,, why you always into these stories, I don't understand what the problem is with cameras that recognize you, if you're not breaking the law, what difference does it make, I said, well it depends on what the law is, something I do today may be considered illegal tomorrow, like gathering in a park, my 1st amendment right, if that's made illegal, then I don't want them to know I'm there.
In this case, I think there's so many people that just think well I got my vaccine, or I believe in vaccines, so who cares!.... but what happens if that's tracking you, what happens if the vaccine only last for 2 months, so now all of a sudden,, your green badge turns red and it doesn't work anymore and they're following you wherever you are in town... and by the way, it's illegal ... so a cop car shows up, grabs you, because you were too near somebody that has been vaccinated or whatever it is ... they're carting you off to inject you again ... you will have no control over this.... And now we also live in society, by the way, where apparently, it's OK that we don't do safety trials, that we're gonna do no long term safety trials on future pharmaceutical products, 2 weeks, a month is good enough and after the 2nd shot, we won't know the causes cancer, we don't know if it has something even more diabolical, they don't care, your gonna have to get it, so people aren't looking at the long term, it's just a short sighted, and they prey on that right They prey on the fact that was so busy that we're just saying... take care of this for us"

Naomi..." yes, there is a lot of preying on us going on a but there's a massive disinformation/propaganda campaign going on to force us to adopt it. Look I was a political consultant at the highest levels and what that taught me was to analyze events backwards and what I mean is, when your political consulting or you're in those rooms where history is made, the goal is identified and then what happens is... how we create a story to get people to adopt that goal, and then the goal is given to the message shop, and the message shop comes up with the story right, that's why, I often look at what's the outcome, because that's what the intention usually is, so these lockdown measures are not sensical, the data are in, that States and countries that "locked down" didn't do any better in terms,, of Carona virus in States and countries that were open but the effect is... people will do anything to be free again, they will do anything to be able to go to that restaurant, go that bar, sit in a park with your friends, go to church, go to synagogue and so if you're going to have a goal of getting everyone to adopt, this one technology that will basically, enslave the world and I not overstating, that's not hyperbole and will allow 6 people in China, basically, to be in charge of everything that happens right, its meta national, it's above the level the government, 6 tech bros in China will get to decide what happens to everybody, who to switch on, who to switch off, if you want to do that, the way to do that is to have a pandemic, I'm not saying it wasn't real, but we know now that the PCR tests lead to false positives, we don't know the extent of the pandemic, we don't know if it's over because we don't have access to the raw data sets for the PCR tests."

"We have measures that don't make any sense, keep kids home from school which doesn't make any sense scientifically, don't let people open their businesses, don't let people open their restaurants, drive the economy into crisis until everyone is like ......... fine, just give it to me."

Last issue we talked about the components that make up our watershed; The Gulf of Mexico, Lee County Bays and Estuaries, The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary and Lake Okeechobee and we discussed the problems; Blue-green Algae, Red Tide, Red Drift Algae and Aquatic Plant Overgrowth.
This week we will discuss the causes for these problems we are facing!

The water quality issues that we are experiencing, originate from a variety of causes.

Urban storm-water runoff is one of the primary sources of pollution and it may carry fertilizers and pet waste, among other things. Agriculture run-off, aged and leaky septic tanks and releases from Lake Okeechobee are some of the more well-known causes of pollution in our waterways, but there are other sources that contribute as well, like reuse irrigation water, trash and atmospheric deposition (particles from the atmosphere).

Storm-water Runoff

runnoff4Urban storm-water runoff

Storm-water runoff is rainfall that flows over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground.

The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters.
There are two types of runoff: rural and urban.
Both types of runoff can be managed through engineered structures and/or the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP). Releases from Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee historically overflowed its natural banks, sending a sheet flow of water south through the Everglades.

historic flow
Since 1928, in the aftermath of the infamous storm that drowned thousands of people, the hydrology of the lake has been changed for safety reasons, with the construction of dikes, culverts, locks and levees.
When the Caloosahatchee River became the Okeechobee Waterway, the flows to the estuary were forever altered.

current flow

The resulting nutrient rich releases have the potential to cause environmental issues and aesthetic changes in the waterways and estuary.

Septic Systems

septic2

Septic systems, also called on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), include a septic tank solid settlement and a drain field for the liquid to be dispersed into the soil for natural treatment. Solids are removed in the septic tank by settlement, and the effluent is discharged underground, where natural biological processes provide treatment in the soil.
It is important that adequate depth of dry soil not connected to the groundwater table be available for the percolation and treatment. Per Department of Health (DOH) requirements, the minimum depth is 3 feet, and without proper soil depth, the effluent would immediately impact the local groundwater.
While functioning septic systems effectively remove bacteria and reduce the water's biological oxygen demand, there is limited nitrogen and phosphorous removal. These nutrients eventually transport into surficial groundwater and have been found to migrate into nearby water bodies in coastal areas. Other Causes of Pollution

water plastic

Common trash from consumer goods pollutes our waterways and oceans, threatening aquatic life and altering all types of aquatic habitats. Many items, like plastics, can persist in the aquatic ecosystems affecting the environment, wildlife, and human health.
All waste that isn’t properly disposed of has the potential to cause
environmental harm.

Next issue.... In Part III of this series we will discuss 'What is Lee County Doing About It?'

Meanwhile check out www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater
and get involved in the "hand written letter campaign.­"

Water provides Lee County with an environment and quality of life that lures new residents and visitors alike. Human activities, population growth, and watershed alterations, though, have caused significant impacts to the County’s water and other natural resources.

In this multipart story, we will take you on a tour of the watershed, discussing the problems and causes as well as the steps the county and partner agencies have taken to help improve our local water quality. The county can’t do this alone so we also share some ways you can help keep our local waters clean and safe for us, and our future generations.

Lee County is home to all or part of several major waterbodies, including the Caloosahatchee River, Estero River, Imperial River, Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Gulf of Mexico in addition to many smaller tributaries.

gulf of mexico sailboat

1) Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is the largest gulf in the world, encompassing over 600,000 square miles. It is an ocean basin that is bounded by five U.S. states as well as Cuba and part of Mexico.

The Gulf is one of the water features that makes Lee County a great place to live, work and vacation. But it is more than a grand waterbody with beautiful beaches – it is a vibrant ecosystem with an exciting history and a vital commercial role.

2) Lee County Bays and Estuaries

An estuary is where fresh and saltwater mix; where river waters meet the sea. A Bay is a type of recessed coastal water body that directly connects to a larger waterbody such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Two rivers, the Imperial River and Estero River, bring freshwater into Estero Bay, an estuary that was designated as the state’s first aquatic preserve.

The Charlotte Harbor Estuary has a very large watershed: is mostly located within Charlotte County, but approximately one third of this estuary lies within Lee County.
San Carlos Bay is located at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. It connects to Matlacha Pass to the north, and Pine Island Sound to the west.

3) Caloosahatchee River and Estuary

The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary is another west coast treasure, and its health is essential to the Lee County way of life.

The river flows west-southwest from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico, becomes a tidal estuary within Lee County, and broadens as it nears the Gulf.

Extensive historical modifications to the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed have altered the hydrology of the region. As a result, heavy rainfall can bring large influxes of fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary from stormwater runoff within the basin, Lake Okeechobee releases or both. The increased freshwater flows affect salinity levels and water quality in the estuary, potentially causing environmental harm (SFWMD).

water

4)Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee means “big water” in the Seminole Indian language, and with a surface area of 730 square miles, the lake is the liquid heart of South Florida. In fact, Lake Okeechobee is only slightly smaller than the entire land area of Lee County!

Lake Okeechobee provides water for people, farms and the environment, and habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife. The lake’s health has also been affected by human influences, but restoration efforts are underway here too. The Caloosahatchee River starts at Lake Okeechobee.

Through this story map, we explore water quality issues that the County has been actively working to manage, explain some of their causes, highlight steps Lee County is taking to address water quality and provide useful tips that residents and visitors alike can use to help us save this most valuable resource.

Problems

Our region is characterized by a marked seasonality that offers different water quality challenges at different times of the year.
The dry season - from November to May - brings seasonal population growth, and with that comes an increase in the impacts to local water quality from additional fertilizers, septic tank use, traffic, and other factors.

Lee County’s rainy season lasts from about June through October, and supports aquifers, agricultural activities, fish and wildlife populations as well as the growing water demand from communities throughout our area. The stormwater run-off at this time of the year is at its annual high. Increases in the concentrations of pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus to the estuary can destroy the natural balance and even fuel algae blooms.

In aquatic systems, when there is an overload of nutrients, opportunistic species take advantage of this issue to rapidly grow into blooms. These species can cause the famously known blue-green algae, red tide and red drift algae phenomena and the eutrophication of fresh water ecosystems.

water

Blue-green Algae

Blue-green algae, or “cyanobacteria,” are bacteria but, like plants, use sunlight to grow. They are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems. They play an important role in the environment, as part of the natural nutrient cycles and the food chain.

Blue-green algae thrives in warm waters with a high nutrient content. When the environment is conducive and they have the resources to grow out of control, they will become a bloom.

This can deplete the oxygen in the water, which can cause fish kills.
Some blooms can also produce toxins. In their toxic form, it can cause illness in humans, pets, waterfowl, and other animals that come in contact with it.

red tide dead fish

Red Tide produces a potent toxin, when red tide blooms are bad enough, it kills fish

Red Tide

Florida's red tide is a natural occurrence that begins offshore. It was first recorded in the 1800s. If the bloom moves inshore, nutrient runoff from land may promote bloom expansion.

A bloom can linger in coastal areas for days, weeks or even months. Red tides occur when microscopic algae multiply to higher than normal concentrations, often coloring the water to red or brown hues.

The most common species of red tide in our coasts is Karenia brevis. Its toxins, which can cause health problems in humans, are capable of killing fish, birds and other marine animals.

red drift algea

Red Drift Algae

Red drift algae is also influenced by nutrients.

This type of algae is visible with the naked eye. It is common for them to detach from the bottom and wash up along beaches in small amounts.

On occasions, if there is an excess of nutrients in the water, they will bloom. If the currents and tides are favorable, they may wash up on the shore in huge quantities.
Although it does not release toxins, the piles of algae will decay after a few days and they will emit an unpleasant odor until removed or washed away.

overgrowth beforebefore

overgrowth afterafter

Aquatic Plant Overgrowth

Aquatic vegetation is essential for fresh water ecosystems. They produce oxygen in the water, remove nutrients, and serve as a source of food and shelter for aquatic organisms.

An excess of nutrients in the water can make plants overgrow to levels that are harmful for their ecosystem.

This is especially true for invasive exotic species that are capable of growing at a high rate and take over the ecosystem. When they are out of control, they can even deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Next issue, we will discuss causes in dept and what Lee County is doing about it.
leegov.com

It seems right out of the Bible.......Hordes of fearsome biological monstrosity's Cicada are about to drag their way to the surface of the earth after developing underground for 17 years. It comes only to mate and spawn; however, it imparts terror and disgust in the hearts and minds of every man, woman, child, and beast unfortunate enough to cross its path.

This is no Hollywood fantasy ladies and gentlemen, this creature is real. (a 17 year cycle of cicadas and it is called 'Brood X')

When a particular brood matures and emerges, it is usually in many millions of noisy insects in May and June. The last time this brood emerged was in 2004. The 2021 Cicada emergence is the largest of all broods, affecting portions of DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY,OH, PA, TN, VA, WV.

Depending on where you live, these heinous herbivores should be dive-bombing your friends and family any day now, actually, they are more likely to fall out of a tree than fly, but, rest assured, they may be landing somewhere on your body sometime soon. During their brief emergence, they are a major nuisance.

In areas where they emerge all at once by the millions, they can do serious damage to a the trees and shrubs. In addition, their high pitched, shrill noise is very irritating. While Cicadas are fascinating to some, their presence in big numbers, is un-nerving to many people.

Cicadas have the longest adult-to-adult cycle of any animal known, taking the full 17 years to mature from ant-sized nymph to peanut-sized adult. During their years of subterranean seclusion, the juvenile forms suck juices from small roots, shedding their skins four times as they grow. When their time in the sun finally comes, the nymphs tunnel to the surface and wait for the soil to warm to about 64 degrees F. before venturing out. “They’re amazingly synchronized,” with hundreds of thousands to more than many million per acre appearing almost simultaneously at night in some areas.

Within a day or two, the adult males begin their cacophonous chorusing, producing sound by vibrating abdominal drums called timbals. One Circada can emit sounds at 100 decibels or more when up close, the racket is among nature’s loudest sounds, rivaling a jet airplane at takeoff.

The adults will spend about six weeks engaged in raucous reproductive behavior, and then they’ll be gone, leaving millions of tiny offspring behind to burrow into the soil and start the 17-year cycle all over again. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies. This dramatic phenomenon occurs only in the eastern United States.

Adults do not eat. Egg laying females cause significant damage to trees, bushes and shrubs, during their brief adult stage. Damage to trees is caused by the adult female, as she cuts slits into twigs and small diameter branches, to lay her eggs. An abundance of eggs can cause the branch tips to break and terminal leaves to die. The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. The nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground tree roots. They remain there for years, slowly growing, until their periodic cycle calls them to emerge again as adults.

Cicada Curiosities

• If the human life cycle followed the same pattern as the 17-year cicadas, we’d have a 102-year childhood followed by a one-year adulthood.

• The first record of 17-year cicadas appeared in a book published in 1669, describing an emergence that probably occurred in 1651. Reminded of Biblical grasshopper plagues, Pilgrims called cicadas “locusts,” a misnomer that persists today.

• During the Civil War, Union soldiers held at the Andersonville, Ga., Confederate military prison relied on cicada choruses to mask the sounds of prison breaks.

• The W-shaped mark near the outer edge of 17-year cicadas’ front wings prompted the superstitious belief that the insects foretell war.

• There are three species of 17-year cicadas. In most places where they occur, all three species are found intermixed.

• Recordings of cicada songs, rather than specimens of the insects themselves, are more useful in telling the species apart.

• For many cicadas, only males sing. This led the Greek poet Xenarchus to write, “Happy are cicadas’ lives, for they have only voiceless wives.”

• Male cicadas have three kinds of songs: calling choruses attract females and other males to the aggregating area; softer, complex courtship songs are produced just before mating, and disturbance squawks are used when cicadas are approached rapidly or grasped.

• Cicada songs may sound strange and grating to our ears because they’re at ranges we’re not accustomed to hearing in music or human voices.

**If you see or hear them report them with the Cicada Safari app. Use the hashtag #BroodX or #BroodXCicadas in social media.

 

Mermaid Fest FMB is this weekend from April 2-4 at Lover's Key event field. Mermaid fest is a collaboration of artists, wellness groups and local not for profits who understand the beautiful symbiosis between our earth and our local communities. Mermaid Fest is presented in a safe socially distanced manner.

A 2 day nature/beach art show featuring nationally acclaimed and local artists, daily yoga and earth awareness groups, mermaid contest and more...


Glass blowers, potters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers, lamp makers and so many other intriguing mediums will be on display, many with a nature inspired theme. Nationally acclaimed, award winning artists and local crafters will display, sell, engage and educate patrons from 10am to 5pm daily. Crowd favorite, woodworker Isaac Brooks will have a new array of hand carved fish, birds and other interesting marine life. 
Original cypress sculptures made from reclaimed Florida cypress. Each piece is hand carved as well as hand stained and finished with a two part epoxy making them safe indoors or outdoors. Each piece is meant to represent Florida's aquatic life. Mixed media artist Michelle Cheng creates breathtaking ceramic painted images of birds, turtles, fish and other nature scenes. Support local artists and crafters during this difficult time by buying direct from them. Ask them the process, their inspiration and what drives them!Do you know the perfect mermaid? Sign up for MERMAID FEST's best dressed mermaid contest 3pm Saturday for cash prizes. Best dressed Mermaid, Merman and merkid categories. Don't have a costume? Come to support your favorite mermaid. Sign up to enter at www.daniellesblueribbonevents.com

Mermaid Fest 2021 will feature many conservation groups with a mission to educate, demonstrate and share their love for saving our oceans, local wildlife and even your sanity.

Schedule of events:

Friday

  • 10-5pm Mermaid Marketplace – Nature inspired Art & craft show
  • 10am FREE morning Yoga with FMB Wellness
  • Reef Safe sunscreen samples
  • 10-1pm daily Turtle Time – Educational information on Sea Turtle Conservation, 

    Great for kids! Come help save the turtles! Fun information on the upcoming 2021 nesting season, with educational goodies to give out.

  • 3-5pm April 2 & 4 Ranger Bob will be on hand educating about manatees and clean water initiatives
  • Master Gardeners Volunteers will be there Saturday 3rd 1-3PM
  • 1-3pm Florida Master Naturalist

Saturday:

  • 10-5 pm daily nature Inspired Mermaid Marketplace
  • 10 am FREE morning Yoga with FMB Wellness
  • Reef safe sunscreen samples
  • 10-1pm daily Turtle Time – Educational information on Sea Turtle Conservation
  • 1-3pm Master GARDENERS to educate and answer all questions on plant species in our area. Spring is right around the corner! Let’s get our hands dirty!
  • 3pm Mermaid Contest for cash prizes. Best mermaid, merman and merkid awards.
  • 3-5pm Southwest Audubon Society
  • 3-5pm Ranger Rob, Florida Master Naturalist, Calusa Waterkeeper – manatee protection and clean water. Fun facts and educational modules for kids and adults

Sunday:

  • 10-5 pm daily nature Inspired Mermaid Marketplace
  • 10 am FREE Yoga with FMB Wellness
  • Reef safe sunscreen samples
  • 10-1pm daily Turtle Time – Educational information on Sea Turtle Conservation
  • 1-3pm Master GARDENERS to educate and answer all questions on plant species in our area. Spring is right around the corner! Let’s get our hands dirty!
  • 3-5pm Southwest Audubon Society
  • 3-5pm Ranger Rob, Florida Master Naturalist, Calusa Waterkeeper – manatee protection and clean water. Fun facts and educational modules for kids and adults

Blue Ribbon Events have become very popular with social distancing policies and procedures in place for the safety of patrons and artists. With dozens of successful COVID socially distanced events since June, our primary concern is to present art while keeping artists and patrons safe. In a world where everything has been cancelled, there is a way for us to move forward safely while supporting the arts. Hand sanitizing stations, social distancing and directional flow are utilized. Come for the art, stay for the beach!

 

As we get closer to rainy season, the fight over how to handle water discharges from Lake Okeechobee is intensifying!"

US Congressman Brian Mast, representing District 18, Florida's ‘upper’ east coast area, containing Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach, has sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers urging them to eliminate discharges to the Saint Lucy River, claiming there are models where this can be accomplished without causing harm to the environment and/or the west coast of Florida.

Lee County Officials quickly responded to rebuke the Congressman for his viewpoints, sending an email to everyone involved which among making many other great points....
stated:"This is not a complicated issue. Until the State and Federal governments are able to construct the major infrastructure projects that are part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, there are only two major outlets for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie Rivers. Shutting down one outlet means higher discharges for the other. Despite any other narrative that has been widely disseminated, this is a fact. Shutting down releases to the St. Lucie River will turn what is now an intermittent high flow problem for the Caloosahatchee into a chronic one, causing permanent loss of critical estuarine habitats including oyster reefs, sea grass meadows and mangrove forests"

This is another reason why to join this campaign spearheaded by Fort Myers Beach Town Councilor Jim Atterholt, to write hand written letters to our government representative is so crucial! Especially now with this new development! Please mention they can't allow this to happen in your letter!

waterdead fish floating

Anyone that was in this area during the summer of 2018 will never forget the devastating effects of Blue Green Algae and Red Tide that wreaked
financial and physical havoc on our residents, visitors and community.

If you are a resident of the State of Florida, a Snowbird or just someone who just likes to visit..... go to the new Facebook page: "Florida for Clean Water Advocacy Reserves." This page has been created for the sole purpose of having all these govt. contact information links in one location, on line, where all can easily access this contact info and also as a forum and sounding board for all people concerned about this matter to get together and organize this...Clean Water ‘Hand Written’ Letter campaign and beyond! go to: www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater

Fort Myers Beach Town Councilor Atterholt, with the full support of FM Beach Town Council, has launched this initiative to encourage Town residents, Florida Residents and anyone that visits our shores to 'help in the fight to win the war for clean water' by sending handwritten notes to legislators in Florida and around the U.S.A. “Solutions to the water quality problems in Florida require a two-pronged approach involving both the federal government and the state of Florida,” said Councilor Atterholt. “Having been a legislator in Indiana and chief of staff for a governor, I know that elected officials rarely get handwritten notes. Receiving even a handful of letters on one topic from people who live in their district or state can really get their attention.”

Please write your State Representative, your State Senator and the Governor and ask them to keep up the fight for our clean water.

Here's how YOU can help:

Find your legislators' contact info at one of the links below:

www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx

www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm

www.house.gov/representatives

www.flgov.com/contact-governor

All these links will be available in this same article on the new Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater in the first post listed!

Write your Senators and your Representatives a letter introducing yourself, let them know that you reside in their respective district/state. Make sure you include your home address where you permanently reside.

Water is our most important resource and the reason why we live here and the reason people come here. It’s why Florida is what it is!

Tell them in your own words why clean water is important to you. You may have environmental reasons, recreational reasons, personal health reasons or other reasons. Let your voice be heard!

It is key to let your elected official know why this issue is important to you. Tell them that the problems caused by red tide and blue-green algae must be solved because they impact our environment, our economy, and our health.

If you are a resident of Florida, write to your Florida State Representative, State Senator and Governor Desantis, He's already on our side and knows how precious clean water is to our state and is already fighting for this cause, your letter will give him more power to fight in Washington for our state. Please ask them to support and fully fund clean water programs for Florida and the Everglades.

The solutions to the water quality problems in Florida require a two­-pronged approach involving both the federal government and the state of Florida.

So get all your friends from back home on board too, have them write their Representatives and Senators and our Governor DeSantis, let him know that clean water is essential for them to continue to visit here (most of us have come from another state anyway) Get all your friends that visit you on board too...

Get them all to go to the new facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater and contact their representatives!

When you take the time to participate in this campaign we will have letters going to elected officials not just in Florida but to elected officials all over the country.

We have made good progress, they have heard us...... but we must continue to keep up the fight...

 

and we need YOUR HELP!

Especially now that the east coast is trying to make all discharges from Lake O come our way!

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Friday, 12 March 2021 10:05

Now That’s Italian!

I had the opportunity to speak with Franco Russo of Two Meatballs Restaurant in Fort Myers and we got to talking about his dad.....Alfredo Russo....I had met him before but it surprised me to learn Franco was Alfredo's son, just never made the connection I guess.

I met Alfredo back in 2001, while working at the Island Sand Paper, met him at Junkanoos getting him to advertise in the "new" Beach paper.... and over the next 15 years we got to get to know each other better, I am proud to say I had the opportunity to know Alfredo. Whether at Junkanoos, the Fresh Catch or “The Ship” restaurant on Route 41in Bonita Springs: modeled after a 16th century Spanish Galleon and later,

The Sunset Beach Grill and The Playmore Tiki Bar...... Alfredo, has left his mark on South West Florida!

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"The Ship" Restaurant & Tavern, in Bonita, I think was his coolest concept, I had eaten here a dozen times before I even met Alfredo

He had a heart of gold, he was well loved a

nd respected on Fort Myers Beach. One of his favorite quotes was... "In shallow men, the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion. In oceanic minds, the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle.” --Yukteswar Giri

By chance, I ran into Alfredo on a flight headed to Boston one day, 7 or 8 years ago, and we had a chance to chat a bit, Alfredo loved the beach and all its people, he really was a nice guy.

"Prior to my father passing away in 2016, he told me he wanted to retire and open a small Italian restaurant, just to keep himself busy. That always stuck with me" Franco said.

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Fort Myers location

He continued... "Luigi (Franco's partner) and I looked at a few different locations but in 2018 when I caught wind that Two Meatballs was for sale, I jumped on the opportunity. I knew the place had been there for a long time and had a great reputation. When we took it over, we decided to keep everything the same, as if ownership didn’t even change hands."

With the pandemic, now being over a yearlong, I asked Franco how the restaurant was doing? "We've had it a little over 2 years now and even through all this Covid adversity, not only is the Fort Myers location going strong, but we recently opened our second location in Cape Coral, which is doing very well."

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cape coral location

 

I asked him what was the best compliment he has received... "Every year we have a very close family friend come stay with us from Italy, his name is also Luigi but everyone calls him Billy, because as a baby, he had blonde hair and blue eyes, so everyone teased his parents that he looked American so they gave him an American nickname. One night we were sitting outside of Two Meatballs and he said to me in Italian"..... “it’s crazy, everyone leaves here with a bag of food and a smile on their face."

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They even won Best of Cape Coral Award last year!

Later, I caught up with his partner Luigi, we talked about his experience, he said he had been in the restaurant business for 35 yrs, working for others and running his own businesses too. Then he went on to tell me how he met Alfredo some 25 yrs ago, at Anthony's On The Gulf, which is now The Fresh Catch Bistro. "I hit it off with Alfredo right away, we were buddies until his death and I miss him every day. As for Franco, I met him when he was a pre teen and now we work together at 2 meatballs ... you just never know." he said.

We talked a little more about family, I'm Italian too (The food here is amazing, and believe me, as an native Italian... I don't say that about most Italian restaurants) and know how important family is, he replied, "I am blessed with a loving and caring wife, a son and now a grandson, all healthy .... thank god"

So I asked him what makes 2 meatballs so special. "It's simple, quality food at affordable prices"

2 meatballs Zuppa

Zuppa di Pesce

"Our homemade sauces are unmatched and our signature dish, Zuppa di Pesce is to die for. "....."The Smiling faces of our customers tell me about their experience while here and when they come back, that lets me know we are doing it right." He added... "with my experienced staff, a good partner and my right hand man Sergio, I cannot miss."

Of course Franco is still owner of his dad's two beach restaurants, the Junkanoo and Fresh Catch, but his General Manager, Neal, Christine, the controller and Manager, Jerry have those restaurants handled....

I asked him about the future of 2 Meatballs..... "We will be continue to look for opportunities to grow the concept within 2021, having Luigi with me feels like a piece of my father is still here, they have very similar characters and even mannerisms, it is truly is blessing. I hope he’s proud up there! 2 Meatballs now has two locations, and are open from 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM
remember to tell them “Bobby sent me”

8880 Salrose Lane,
Fort Myers, Fl
(239) 489-1111

1403 Cape Coral Pkwy
E, Cape Coral, Fl,
(239) 347-3013

Bobby Mimmo

Bill Semmer and Joanne Semmer and San Carlos Island residents have won their appeal to the Bay Harbor Marina project.

We heard late yesterday afternoon as we were about to go to press with this current paper.

The Semmers, have homes near the Main Street development, they have opposed the project at numerous hearings. but the marina and housing project gained approval from the Lee County Board of County Commissioners in June last summer, by a vote of 4-1.

“We feel the Citizens of the San Carlos Island Community did not get a fair and just decision at the June 17th County Commissioners meeting regarding the land use change for (the) Bay Harbour Marina Village project,” Ms. Semmer stated.

The citizens weren't even given the proposed settlement document, which was discussed at the hearing, until after the hearing after a public records request
“We believe in the State of Florida legal system and look forward to a fair and honest hearing of all the facts by the State of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge." she said at that time.

The Semmers are okay with the marina aspect of the business and have no objection to that, but not with the 100-foot tower and commercial space on the property currently housing Southern Comfort Storage, Ms. Semmer said. “The legally adopted procedures and rules of Lee County have been ignored in favor of the developer,” she had stated.

And now they won their appeal!

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This should be front page news for Fort Myers Beach and all of Lee County since it involves Fort Myers Beach/Lee County School children. Unfortunately our hard copy hit the street this morning and we just received this from Tracey Gore
 
A request to rezone residential to hotel/retail/ restaurant with outdoor seating and consumption on premises of alcohol next to a Lee County Elementary School, park, community pool, rec center, library, church and little league ballfields?
 
Deviation to allow back out parking (with the addition of consumption on premises of alcohol), where children walk to and from a Lee County Elementary School/ ball fields/ rec center/ community pool/ etc...  (full request below)
 
This is going to Fort Myers Beach Town Council Monday 3/1/2021.
 
FMB Town staff recommends denial... FMB LPA recommends approval?
This is irresponsible. Areas like this with children should be protected.
Town of Fort Myers Beach Council should listen to their staff and deny this absurd request! 
 
 
 
 
B. DCI 2020-0009 Myerside CPD Rezoning Ordinance First Reading
Open the public hearing and if approved, set the second reading and final hearing for April 5, 2021 at 9:00 AM
 
 
 
 

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