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!
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:
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!
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!
"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.
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."
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."
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"
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
1403 Cape Coral Pkwy
E, Cape Coral, Fl,
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!