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Items filtered by date: Sunday, 05 June 2016

Canada and the United States have identified eight substances in the water of the Great Lakes as chemicals of mutual concern under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. These chemicals are potentially harmful to human health or the environment or both.

Canada and the United States work together under the agreement to identify chemicals that are in the Great Lakes because of human activities and that cause mutual concerns.

After a comprehensive scientific review process and public consultations, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the chemicals of greatest concern:

  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) – functions as a flame retardant in polystyrene foam, which is used as insulation material in the building industry.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – used as flame retardants in a wide variety of consumer products such as furniture household appliances and electronics.
  • Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) – used in the manufacture of nonstick cookware
  • Long-Chain Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (LC-PFCAs) – both PFOA and long-chain PFCAs are industrial chemicals. PFOA and PFCA and their salts accumulate and biomagnify in terrestrial and marine mammals.
  • Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) – used in industrial manufacturing of paper, plastics and textiles, in electroplating and in commercial firefighting foam, and in consumer products such as carpets.
  • Mercury – a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust that is released from the burning of fossil fuels. It is also found in consumer products including batteries and light bulbs.
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – used in the manufacturing of electrical equipment and in heat transfer and hydraulic systems, as well as other specialized applications, until the late 1970’s.
  • Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs) – used in rubber manufacturing, the formulation of metalworking fluids, and as plasticizers and flame retardants in plastics and products such as paints and sealants).

“A safe and secure water supply is critical for human health, the environment and the economy. Our joint designation of these chemicals of mutual concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is yet another example of Canada’s commitment to keep our Great Lakes great through collaboration and sound science,” said McKenna.

McCarthy said, “Designating these chemicals of mutual concern puts us on the road to reducing them to protect the public health and water quality of the Great Lakes region.”

Once a chemical has been designated, the two countries develop and implement strategies to address the chemical, reporting every three years on its status to each other and to the public.

“Together with Canada and the region’s partners,” McCarthy said, “we’re making the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement work hard for the tens of millions of people who live, work and play around these magnificent water bodies.”

Published in Environment

TOWNSVILLE, Queensland, Australia, May 31, 2016 (ENS) – One-third of the corals in the northern and central parts of the Great Barrier Reef are bleached out and dying due to climate change, according to Australian researchers. The scientists have just finished months of intensive aerial and underwater surveys that documented the worst-ever bleaching event in the reef’s history.

“We found on average, that 35 percent of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea,” says Professor Terry Hughes, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

Bleached mature staghorn coral in February 2016 at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef , left, was dead and overgrown by algae by April 2016. (Photo by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies)

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says that this year the Great Barrier Reef recorded its highest-ever sea surface temperatures for February, March and April since recordkeeping began in 1900.

These record-breaking temperatures occurred because of the underlying ocean warming trend caused by climate change, the recent strong El Nino and local weather conditions, said the meteorologists.

The impact of the higher water temperatures changes from north to south along the 2,300 kilometer length of the world’s largest reef.

“Some reefs are in much better shape, especially from Cairns southwards, where the average mortality is estimated at only five percent,” said Hughes.

“This year is the third time in 18 years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced mass bleaching due to global warming, and the current event is much more extreme than we’ve measured before,” he said.

“These three events have all occurred while global temperatures have risen by just 1 degree C above the pre-industrial period,” warned Hughes. “We’re rapidly running out of time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Coral bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, like heightened sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae. The loss of these algae causes the corals to turn white.

Bleached out corals can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonize them, otherwise the corals die.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says, “Approximately 93 percent of surveyed reefs on the Great Barrier Reef have bleached to some extent, ranging from severe through to moderate and minor bleaching.”

Dying coral colonized by seaweed at Lizard Island during current bleaching event. (Photo by Dorothea Bender-Champ / ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies)

“Fortunately, on reefs south of Cairns, our underwater surveys are also revealing that more than 95 percent of the corals have survived, and we expect these more mildly bleached corals to regain their normal colour over the next few months,” says Dr. Mia Hoogenboom from James Cook University.

Although fewer corals have died to the south, the stress of bleaching could temporarily slow down their reproduction and growth rates.

The reefs further south escaped damage because water temperatures there were closer to normal summer conditions than reefs to the north.

“It is critically important now to bolster the resilience of the reef, and to maximize its natural capacity to recover,” says Professor John Pandolfi from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland.

“But the reef is no longer as resilient as it once was, and it’s struggling to cope with three bleaching events in just 18 years. “Many coastal reefs in particular are now severely degraded,” he said.

“In Western Australia, bleaching and mortality is also extensive and patchy,” says Dr. Verena Schoepf from the University of Western Australia.

“On the Kimberley coast where I work, up to 80 percent of the corals are severely bleached, and at least 15 percent have died already,” said Schoepf.

The scientists plan to re-visit the same reefs over the next few months to measure the final loss of corals from bleaching.

The recovery of coral cover is expected to take a decade or longer, but it will take much longer to regain the largest and oldest corals that have died.

Environment News Service (ENS) 2016.

Ed. Note: Worldwide loss of coral reefs is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Here in the South Florida Keys where the only living coral reefs in the continental U.S. are located, by conservative estimates over 80% of the reefs are dying or dead. Most studies point to agricultural runoff though climate change is also views as a causative factor for the declines. The biggest threat to the health of Florida's Coral Reef is the decline in water quality due to the reduction and quality of flow from the Everglades entering the waters where coral lives. Corals require clean, nutrient-free waters to thrive. A healthy coral reef has from 30-40% live coral coverage.  However, in the Florida Keys, coral coverage is now reduced to an alarming 3%.  Coral spawning has been reduced due to lack of healthy coral colonies and clean water.

Published in Environment
. Number still low compared to arrivals.
The German government is claiming that it expects up to 100,000 undocumented migrants to leave the Teutonic nation
Published in Politics
Monday, 06 June 2016 14:52

Sunnyland Trailer Court

Changes keep coming to San Carlos Island and the recent sale of Sunnyland RV Park on the corner of Main and San Carlos Boulevard is part of that transformation.

MAJB, LLC purchased the 33 unit park last week for one million dollars and the investor who bought it says he intends to keep it as an RV park but with “substantial improvements” to upgrade the area which is located on a prime corner right at the base of the Sky Bridge leading to Fort Myers Beach.

“Our immediate plan is to take out some trailers that are in bad shape, freshen up the paint, clean the lots and laundry room and weed out a few bad tenants,, said Scott McGuire, MAJB’s manager.

“Some have told us about some not-so-desirable dealings in the park and we intend to clean that up,” he added, referring to a long-standing reputation by some in the community over what has been mildly called “suspicious activities” over the years.

One resident of the park said a lot of the trouble has come about because of the adult club “Fantasys” right across the street. The club’s sign advertises itself as “Stopless Adult entertainment.

“Anytime you have a strip club, you’ll find drugs nearby, it’s just the nature of the beast,” said GY, who asked not to be named since he still lives in the park.

“If there’s drugs in the park, you can be sure we are going to get them out,” said McGuire.

The Sun Bay interviewed some of the current tenants and they seem well-pleased with the improvements being made by the new owners.

“For the few weeks Mr. McGuire has been here, he’s done really well,” said Ray Conley who has lived in the park for 15 years.

Conley also noted that Sunnyland has had a bad reputation in the past but that he feels the new owners are making great progress to reverse that perception.

“There was a time when you walked down the street here that you never knew what you’d run into – bums, drugs and just generally problems but now I’ve seen McGuire walking around at night and things are getting a lot better,” elaborated Conley

Sunnyland now also has an onsite person, Melonie Burton, who serves as the owner’s administrative assistant.

“We appreciate the facility the way it is and despite some rumors, we are just upgrading the park and have no plans to tear it down to build condos,” Burton said.

“It’s important to us to help build a sense of community here and to that end we plan to host barbeques and picnics several times a year,” she added.

The park will retain the name Sunnyland which it has been known by since George and Dennis Henderson from Trico Shrimp purchased it decades ago to serve as living space for their shrimp boat crews. Now that their fleets are a bit smaller and the affable partners are nearing retirement they decided to sell the park.

“George and Dennis have a lot of properties throughout Lee County and they’re looking to downsize and have little spare time to manage the property and just generally want to be free to enjoy life,” said Bob Beasley, the Realtor with Robert    Beasley Real Estate the company that handled the sale.

“Sunnyland is a great investment,” added Bob, “the park takes in about $12K a month and after all expenses probably spins off approximately $40 thousand a year.”

Sunnyland is one of several developments occurring on San Carlos Island. Just a bit further down Main Street is Bay Harbour Marina Village which is still in the permitting stage. Even further down, close to Salty Sam’s Marina is Ebb Tide which has already been permitted. Together, if the Bay Harbour project is approved San Carlos Island will undergo a much-needed facelift and the plans of the new owners to upgrade and improve Sunnyland will play well into the overall positive transformation planned for the small unincorporated Island community.

Just a few short years ago, Diversified Yachts built a large dry and wet storage facility near the Coast Guard Station on the west side of San Carlos. It is a noteworthy edifice and though initially opposed by some residents on the island, now is generally viewed favorably and stands out for its modern, cleanly finished architectural design.

While there are numerous businesses closed on San Carlos Boulevard, investment activity is increasing and there are several other properties rumored to be under contract. Besides being close to the Beach, the island offers great Back Bay waterfront views and direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. With new ownership, great plans and an obvious clean-up underway, it is starting to look like the Sun will soon be shining in Sunnyland.

Carl Conley

Colin Conley also contributed to this report

Published in Business
Monday, 06 June 2016 14:49

Alfredo Russo

“In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion.  In oceanic minds the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle.”

                                                                                         A treasured quote of Alfredo Russo: by Yukteswar Giri

                

Sunday was a day for mourning when Alfredo Russo a beloved and respected member of the Fort Myers Beach community passed away on Sunday, May 29th 2016 from complications following the rupture of an aortal valve.  Longtime restauranteur Russo had been an active member of the business community by preserving the historical and cultural landmarks of the beach.  Russo has been in the food business for over three decades while simultaneously operating many important lcons on the beach such as, Junkanoo, a site he took over in 1987 and Fresh Catch Bistro.  Mama Angie’s was just downstairs but closed in May of 2012.  Russo later opened two adjacent restaurants the Playmore Tiki Bar and Sunset Beach Grill, located in Times Square, recently renovated from the Top O’ Mast building. The original structure was located over on Sterling St., which was actually part of the first school on Fort Myers Beach in the 1930’s later moved in the 40’s using tree trunks, Russo told the Sun Bay back in December.  Russo also built the one of a kind “ship” restaurant in 1995 in Bonita Springs modeling the 16th century Spanish Galleon that was torn down in 2013.  He demonstrated his love for the beach community last December during the grand opening when he said “This is so wonderful” over the live music, “this is emotional, because this will be my last grand opening, this community has been supporting me for over 30 years, and here it is again.”    

            Russo was born in 1956 in a little town near Positano, Italy called Avellino, located beside the Mediterranean Sea on the Amalfi coast.  The Russo’s were a hardworking family of fisherman who made their livelihood catching fish daily for the seafood markets.  As a kid in Italy he felt the pressure of securing the “good fish” for his family, but his grandmother assured him that “Grandson its fresh fish! How can you screw it up?” Like he told the Sun Bay Paper in Issue 20 “fresh seafood, local ingredients, It’s as simple as that.”  Russo gave many jobs to people in our community including Executive Chef Pablo Felin at the Fresh Catch Bistro who only took the position after being a professional chef for over 30 years saying “I accepted it only because he gave me the latitude to be creative.” Ollie Curran, owner of Hair Etc. also said “Alfredo always had a big heart and loved employing people, my prayers go out for all those who worked for his businesses, but I’m sure his son will take care of them just like his Dad always did.”  Russo will be greatly missed by the entire community and remembered as a creative, generous and astute business man of many accomplishments.

A brief search of Russo shows just how many people he actually affected, with everyone extending their condolences and expressing the loss of a man loved by all.  Russo’s son, Franco Russo, a resident of California, received an unwelcome call but despite the distance he was still able to be with his father during his passing.  Too many people Russo was like family and will be sorely missed by his friends and family. As business associate Joe Orlandini said, “He was loved by so many.  Whatever he had was yours that is the kind of person Alfredo was. I’ve never known anyone like him.  He loved the beach and all its inhabitants.”  One of Russo’s favorite quotes used above, “In shallow men the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion.  In oceanic minds the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle” reflects his wisdom and love for the beach.

The moment of his passing word spread down the beach like a tidal wave.  It wasn’t long before every news source was writing about him, that’s just how loved and well known he was.  The Fort Myers beach community has lost a man who encompassed the qualities of perseverance and generosity leaving behind an ocean of accomplishments that has rippled across the beaches.  I think we can all agree that Russo was a one of a kind person, entrepreneur, father, and friend.  To all those that knew him and are grieving the loss remember that he left behind a great legacy and lives on through family and friends.

There will be a Mass of Christian burial held Friday, June 3rd under the direction of Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Garden, Naples, FL.  A wake is to take place Thursday, June 2nd between 5:00pm and 8:00pm.  A friend of Russo, David Annaruma wrote Sunday “This planet has lost a true and amazing person today.  Alfredo was the first person that my baby daughter Victoria would allow to hold her.  That was 13 years ago.  He has been a blessing to me and my family for years.  He will be missed here on Earth; however he will be walking streets of gold with our lord and savior, my deepest condolences to Frankie and the family.  May god be with you all during this sorrowful time.”  

Published in General/Features

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