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Thursday, 30 December 2021 19:42

Italy Votes to Ban Fur Farming

The Budget Committee of the Italy’s Senate voted last week to approve an amendment to the budget law which will see the country’s 10 remaining mink fur farms closed within six months and a permanent ban on fur farming throughout Italy.


The approved measure includes:


• An immediate ban on breeding of fur-bearing animals including mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, and the closure of all active fur farms in Italy by June 30, 2022.

• Compensation for farmers, covered by a fund from the Ministry of Agriculture for a total of €3 million (US$3.4 million) in 2022.


Although the decision requires final approval by the full Parliament, this is expected to go through. When it does, Italy will become the 16th country in Europe to ban fur farming. Many Italian designers have already gone fur-free including Armani, GUCCI, Prada, Valentino, and Versace.


The committee vote follows discussions with animal protection organization Humane Society International/Europe which presented practical, strategic solutions to close and convert fur farms into alternative, humane and sustainable businesses in its recent report, “Mink breeding in Italy: Mapping and future perspectives.” 

Humane Society International/Europe’s fur farm conversion proposal, which sought an end to fur farming due to animal cruelty and public health risks from zoonotic diseases, was endorsed by Italian Member of Parliament Michela Vittoria Brambilla, who launched the political action to implement the conversion strategy with existing public funds, and Senator Loredana De Petris who formally submitted the amendment.

Martina Pluda, director of Humane Society International in Italy, said, “This is an historic victory for animal protection in Italy, and HSI/Europe is immensely proud that our fur farm conversion strategy has played a central role in dismantling this cruel and dangerous industry in our country. There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and of course animal welfare reasons to close and ban fur farms.”

“Today’s vote recognizes that allowing the mass breeding of wild animals for frivolous fur fashion represents a risk to both animals and people that can’t be justified by the limited economic benefits it offers to a small minority of people involved in this cruel industry,” Pluda said. “With so many designers, retailers and consumers going fur-free, conversion of fur farms offers people a sustainable future that the fur trade simply cannot provide.”

Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights and of the Italian League for the Defense of Animals and the Environment, commented on the vote, “In 30 years of animal rights battle this is the best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of unspeakable suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity. Italy is the 20th European country to introduce a ban or severe restriction on fur farming: better late than never.”

“A dream comes true that animal protection associations have cultivated for decades in our country,” Brambilla said. “It is a great achievement, which finally all those who love and respect animals rejoice!”

The Italian fashion house Prada stopped using fur as of its spring/summer 2020 women’s collections. Artistic Director Miuccia Prada said, “The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy is an extension of that engagement. Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design, while meeting the demand for ethical products.”

The move was made in collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of more than 40 animal protection organizations working together to end animal cruelty. Humane Society International is a coalition member.


© Environment News Service (ENS) 2022. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 30 December 2021 19:30

A Recap: Crime and (No) Punishment

The world changed with the first news of a mysterious virus suspected to have originated in a Chinese lab, or wet market, or wherever. An unexpected perfect storm was on the horizon. News of COVID-19 elbowed its way into our consciousness along with a failed impeachment trial in January and February of 2020. Politicians were girding for a Presidential election, and with that, a societal “perfect storm” needed only a lit fuse.

The Memorial Day killing of George Floyd became that lit fuse. The hoped-for opportunity for legitimate and peaceful protests was not to be. Legitimate much-needed reform efforts were kicked aside by anarchists and thugs, stealing the stage with violence, looting, and destruction.

Let’s connect some dots....

Fear, the most powerful human emotion, gripped many state and local governments. Law enforcement was told to “stand down” in the foolish and futile hope of letting angry emotions burn out. But violence raged for months, and in many communities it continues still. Despite a spiking crime rate, many on the left were inclined to label the violence and destruction as somehow virtuous, and “defund the police” movements gained popularity.

Old fashioned tolerance has been radicalized into intolerance and identity politics. And there is a new all-encompassing word to describe it…“wokeness.”

People are afraid of speaking out because disagreement or debate isn’t tolerated. For some, differences of opinion are considered personal offenses.

Intimidation and fear are incompatible with freedom and make it impossible for philosophical opponents to work together. And we learned another new word – “cancellation.” This new “cancel culture’s” success was nurtured by society’s fear.

New ideologies led radicalized leftists to conclude that they know better than some old White-guys who founded our country; better than those whose statues adorn our parks; and are certainly better informed than those who’ve written our history books. Rather than working to fix our many flaws, their appetite for chaos would have us start over as a society and country – surely a doomsday choice.

Eventually, the joy found in destroying historical relics and statues deteriorated. Attention turned to new destructive exploits. Leftist DAs are displaying an appetite for removing criminal accountability. For example, many jurisdictions no longer enforce shoplifting or loitering statutes. And the habit of catch and release with little or no bail is common, even for serious crimes. These measures seem intoxicating to “woke folk.”

Some radicals even support releasing much of the prison population. They believe leniency and compassion will reduce crime. Rather, we see new and ever more bold crimes, including a “smash-and-grab” pandemic and fearless car jackings.

Thankfully, the recent Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal was a potential watershed event in this 2-year chain of events. Rather than trying the young man for illegal “vigilantism,” the trial was properly about whether his actions were legal self-defense. Rather than legitimizing the destruction and violence that occurred, the acquittal acknowledged his actions were legal, however ill-advised.

The “rule of law” prevailed. Let’s build on this.

Who would ever have imagined that Americans would ever be arguing about enforcing law and order? Law enforcement is receding as violence and other crimes increase. I’m frustrated that some see justifiable purpose in the destructiveness and actions of “cancellation.” And I’m saddened by the permanence of so much of the damage.

Hopefully, the radical leftist movement to achieve what they’ve labeled as “criminal justice reform” will burn itself out. Let’s bring an end to the time that opposition to lawlessness is labeled “White supremacy.” We should no longer find chatrooms and letters-to-the-editor discussing ways to dodge violence and about where to find safety.

Gone should be the time that true crime is falsely labeled as an elite “construct” for preserving White privilege. Petty crime should no longer be accepted as an unavoidable reality of urban living. Let’s think once again about character and not just about skin color. True criminals should no longer be considered unfortunate victims. Let’s bring back responsibility, accountability, and enforced rules of law.

Public safety requires rules and stability.

Think about the things that keep us safe and secure.

How can we have a nation, or culture, and how can we be called a civilization, without them?

Begone fear, uncertainty, confusion, and societal division.


steve bakke small

Steve Bakke,
Fort Myers

Thursday, 30 December 2021 19:00

To Make Resolutions or Not To Make Resolutions

For many people, the dawn of the new year is marked not only with celebration, but also the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.

But as the year progresses, our initial drive for self-betterment can falter but our tendency to give up can be circumvented. There are various ways we can strengthen our commitment to our new year’s goal.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail, finding only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. But me, being a glass half full kinda guy sees that as
almost half succeeded! So look to your left and then to your right when with family, friends and co-workers, almost every other one of you ...will succeed!

The study also found 74% of participants listed their most important resolution as the same, or nearly the same, as in the previous year.

And, more than half of the resolutions focused on either “Weight Loss” (29%) or “Exercise” (24%) followed by “Quit Smoking”. (less people are smoking these days so this percentage has dropped) This suggests health-related goals tend to get rebooted each year — perhaps because New Year’s Day follows plenty of end-of-year festivities and feasting.

Furthermore, despite the participants reporting a strong commitment to their listed resolution, many gave up within one month…. One Month!!! Other studies have shown similarly high rates for not sticking with new year’s resolutions. So how do we increase our odds?


How To Succeed This Year!

As we said many resolutions are recycled from last year… many resolutions involve losing weight. Here are a few suggestions to help with that one…. For example, the resolution to “lose ten pounds” will more likely endure in the face of obstacles and difficulties if it’s linked to higher personal values, such as beliefs about one’s health or appearance such as “I will be healthier and feel better when I lose ten pounds and drop 2 dress sizes/pants sizes”.

In general weight loss is related to intake of food and the burning of calories… “If you eat 2,000 calories a day and burn off 2,000 calories a day, at the end of the week and end of the year you do not gain or lose any weight”, my naturopath nutritionist told me a few years ago… she continued to say “If you added just one bowl of soup in the course of every week… at the end of a year, you would gain 5 or more pounds”….

Now my mind works differently than other minds (I’ve been told many times) so I immediately asked her “so you’re telling me that if I remove one bowl of soup’s calories from my weekly balance of intake/burn ratio I would lose 5 or more pounds a year?” she said “exactly”.

So………. I suggest that you eat a little less and burn a little more and you will find success this year with your weight loss resolution….. Add smaller, easier to accomplish resolutions which will work towards a weight loss resolution’s fulfillment such as “I will stop eating when I’m full, if I’m eating out, I will take the remainder of my meal home to enjoy later” or “I will eat only half of my fries or onion rings” these are easily implemented into your new year routine, are actually doable and help sustain your motivation because as you leave the restaurant with your “doggie bag” you have accomplished a resolution… Yea!

So being adaptable in the process of meeting your goals will not only improve your general well-being, it will also help you pursue/ succeed with your new year’s resolutions.


Tips For Setting Your 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

When it comes to sticking to resolutions, insight gleaned from psychology research can be applied into several practical and easy-to-use tips.

Set Resolutions That Match Your Deeper Values

Your personal beliefs and hopes have a key role in sustaining your motivational impetus and keeping you focused. This form of motivation is associated with increased personal well-being.


Set “New” Resolutions

This is preferable to recycling old ones. If you still want to pursue a resolution from last year, (weight loss being the most popular resolution) we recommend that you be more specific in your approach... see above suggestions.

Set Resolutions As Specific Plans
These should account for factors such as time, place and people. Specific plans provide the mental cues needed to stick to our goals but it is important to make small attainable goals.

This is because they’re also less mentally taxing than more vague or generic plans that require further thinking. For instance, consider this resolution: I will walk for at least 30 minutes around the nearby lake with my friend Toni on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

It already sets a framework that provides plenty of mental cues and strategies on which to follow up. Also, including another person in the plan also sets a greater sense of responsibility, accountability and social enjoyment — compared with a more vague resolution such as: I’ll go on more walks this year.

Identify and imagine your desired positive outcome Visualizing your goals will help keep you focused on identifying the specific resources your resolution requires. It will also help mobilize a sustained pursuit of the goal. Imagine and/or See yourself in a new outfit/suit, as a leaner and healthier you!

Reward small gains along the way Enjoying small progress gains is not only pleasurable, it will also help to motivate you.


Review Your Resolution Regularly

Let’s face it, if you are not thinking about your resolution regularly, you are not going to follow through. Thus, a crucial part of realizing your goal is a regular review.

At a minimum, this review should be monthly, but the more frequent the better.

Also….. If You Fall Off Track, Get Back On and Quick!

For example: If you go 3 weeks without a cigarette and find yourself over a friends house holding one and puffing on it before you even know how it happened… give yourself a break!

Put it out and start again! After all, you went 3 weeks already so pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again…!!! This is not an excuse to start smoking 2 packs a day again!


And Finally … Be Realistic

The more realistic your resolution is, the more achievable it will be and the less likely you are to set yourself up for failure.


happy new year2 sm

After the federal government began dolling out trillions of dollars in coronavirus stimulus money, criminals saw the windfall as an opportunity ripe for theft. Since early last year, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office began issuing consumer alerts to warn Floridians about a range of scams.

The latest consumer alert issued Monday warns Floridians about fraudulent robotexts being used to trick consumers into sharing their personal or financial information. Robotexts are sent to users’ phones from unknown numbers that often contain malware or lead to malicious websites.

With Americans on track to receive 86 billion automated texts this year, according to, robotexts have become more prevalent than robocalls, and Floridians are expected to receive nearly 5 billion this year, making Florida one of the most spam-texted states in the nation.

“These automated text messages are now more prevalent, and potentially more dangerous, than robocalls since malicious links can be clicked on directly in a text,” Moody said. “These links often contain malware that can be instantly downloaded to a phone. Any interaction with this type of text will show the scammer that the phone number is active, making the targeted user vulnerable to further messages. Consumers should be wary of opening or clicking links in unrecognized texts.”

In April 2020, the AG’s office issued an alert warning Floridians of COVID-19 robocall scams.

Over the past two years, Florida has seen its fair share of bad actors committing a range of COVID-19-related fraud. From March 2020 to January 2021, the AG’s office issued more than 30 consumer alerts related to COVID-19 emergency scams as well as tips to avoid them.

“As we have seen throughout the pandemic, bad actors are looking for ways to exploit the crisis to steal money, government benefits and people’s identities,” Moody warned.

COVID-19-related scams have included robocalls, robotexts, phishing emails, and websites that claim to offer fraudulent services. Fraudsters have impersonated government officials, health care workers or others, attempting to steal funds or commit identity theft.

One example involved scammers posing as county health department officials attempting to take payments for booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or asking for personal information, attempting to commit identity theft. Anyone asking for money or personal information in exchange for an appointment is a scam, Moody warned.

Another scam involved fraudsters claiming to be Medicare officials offering seniors in-home vaccination appointments and requesting a copy of their Medicare card in an attempt to steal their information and commit fraud.

The AG’s office also warned Floridians about posting their vaccine cards online and called on Twitter, Shopify and eBay to prevent scammers from fraudulently posting COVID-19 vaccination cards on their platforms.

“Those who buy fake cards can fraudulently add personal information to the cards to falsely claim proof of vaccination,” Moody warned. “These deceptive cards threaten the health of our communities, slow progress in getting people protected from the virus and violate many state laws."

The AG’s office also issued an alert this summer about a COVID-19 vaccine survey scam that involved contacting people by email or phone offering them compensation in exchange for completing the survey designed to capture their personal information.

“Once a victim’s information is stolen via the fake survey, scammers may use it to access bank accounts, set up credit cards and/or steal identities,” Moody said.

Another scam this summer involved fraudsters impersonating FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan in phishing emails, claiming recipients were eligible to receive non-existent COVID-19 relief funds after they provided personal and financial information.

“These brazen scammers are impersonating a federal agency charged with investigating and shutting down scams,” Moody said. The FTC has never sent out any COVID-19 stimulus money, and encourages consumers to report such scams.

Another COVID-related scam recently thwarted involved Floridians fraudulently filing unemployment claims in multiple states in order to receive pandemic relief payments and unemployment benefits, as well as recruiting others to do the same on social media. A multi-agency investigation found that none of the alleged perpetrators were unemployed in Florida because of COVID-19 or had been employed in the states where they also filed claims. They allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $550,000 in pandemic-related, unemployment-assistance funds from multiple states as a result of the scheme and were charged with multiple counts of fraud.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have prompted more people to use mobile payments rather than transfer cash, or even credit cards, between individuals to prevent the spread of germs,” Moody warned. The AG’s office published guidelines on how to safely use mobile payment apps.
the AG’s office also created a scam hotline and website to file complaints: 1(866) 9NO-SCAM and

Bethany Blankley
The Center Square

When the legislature convenes next year, one of the budget priorities it is expected to address is record funding for environmental conservation projects, which have received a wide range of support from conservation and environmental groups.

Florida continues to lead the U.S. as a tourist and recreational destination known for its Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches, estuaries, the Everglades, fishing and other sporting destinations. In order to preserve the state’s natural resources, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ "Freedom First" budget directs $4.4 billion to a variety of environmental and water conservation projects.

“Florida’s natural resources are the foundation of our state’s communities,” the governor said when announcing his budget priorities earlier this month. “The environment drives tourism, affects property values, anchors many local economies and is central to our quality of life.”

The governor’s budget proposes more than $980 million to restore the Everglades and protect Florida’s water resources. It builds on an executive order DeSantis previously issued calling for $2.5 billion to be invested over four years for the protection of water resources. The proposed funding surpasses that, bringing Florida’s four-year investment to $3 billion, and doubles the investment of the previous four years.

The funding includes more than $660 million for Everglades restoration, $195 million for targeted water quality improvements, $35 million to improve water quality and combat the negative impacts of harmful algal blooms, including blue-green algae, and $5 million in additional funding dedicated to address red tide cleanup.

“When I took office, I outlined a bold vision to protect Florida’s environment, and we have not only kept the promises we made, we’ve exceeded them,” DeSantis said. “We have seen great results so far, but we are not yet at the finish line. It’s nice to see so many coming together to support these initiatives.”

Eric Eikenberg, chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation, said $660 million for Everglades restoration is “the largest investment in the history of the program.” In addition to restoration efforts, the funding will “create and save jobs, boost our state’s tourism-based economy, and yield tangible benefits for Floridians,” he added.

The budget also invests more than $550 million to increase the resiliency of Florida’s coastal and inland communities, and more than $151.7 million to protect prized properties and waters in Florida. This includes $100 million for the Florida Forever program and $51.7 million for infrastructure improvements and natural resource management at Florida’s award-winning state parks.



The budget also allocates $50 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs, $100 million for continued stabilization, water treatment, and closure at Piney Point, and $40 million for the alternative water supply grant program to help communities plan for and implement vital conservation, reuse and other alternative water supply projects.

Last year, the governor championed the passage of the Resilient Florida Grant Program, which enhanced efforts to protect Florida’s inland waterways, coastlines, shores and coral reefs. The proposed budget builds on this by investing another $550 million.

“Florida has serious flooding challenges to tackle but has a Governor who is serious about delivering solutions that can lead the nation on resilience funding and policy,” Noah Valenstein, former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, said. “By working with communities, the Resilient Florida Program will capitalize on environmental investments to reduce flooding and protect Florida’s water resources.”

“Coming off yet another active hurricane season, Floridians across the state face the challenges of more frequent flooding and higher seas every day,” Kate Wesner, Florida director of the American Flood Coalition, added. “With another historic investment dedicated to resilience, the funds, coupled with the historic Always Ready legislation signed into law earlier this year, will help build a stronger, better prepared Florida.”

Temperince Morgan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida, lauded the $550 million allocation, adding “a strong commitment to addressing climate change from the public, private, and non-profit sectors is the only way we will protect Floridians from sea-level rise and other impacts affecting our 1,400 miles of coastline and the communities that live along them.”

Dr. Jennifer Jurado, chief resilience officer for Broward County, said the funding comes at a critical time “as local governments across our state are increasingly pressed to address the impacts of rising seas and increased flooding.”

The budget also prioritizes Florida’s 1,300 miles of coastline, which it says “is critical to our growing economy and quality of life, as millions travel from around the world to visit our world-renowned beaches.”

It allocates $50 million in beach nourishment funding to restore eroded shorelines, $137 million to clean contaminated sites related to petroleum tanks, dry cleaning solvent, hazardous waste, and other contaminants, and $53 million to implement the State Mitigation Plan for the $166 million Volkswagen Clean Air Act settlement. The settlement addresses diesel emission reductions, including funds for electric vehicle infrastructure and electric buses.

The budget also allocates $3.8 million to protect the state’s manatee population, and up to $3 million for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove pythons from the Everglades, an increase of $2 million over current year funding.

The biggest chunk of the environmental budget, more than $1.7 billion, is allocated to help the state’s agricultural industry.

And while Florida hasn’t experienced the damage of wildfires like other states have, the budget also allocates $6.7 million for wildfire suppression equipment and $4 million for road and bridge maintenance.

Bethany Blankley
The Center Square

Small, unique antibody-like proteins known as VNARs -- derived from the immune systems of sharks -- can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19, its variants, and related coronaviruses from infecting human cells, according to a new study published last week.
The new VNARs will not be immediately available as a treatment in people, but they can help prepare for future coronavirus outbreaks. The shark VNARs were able to neutralize WIV1-CoV, a coronavirus that is capable of infecting human cells but currently circulates only in bats, where SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, likely originated.

Developing treatments for such animal-borne viruses ahead of time can prove useful if those viruses make the jump to people.

"The big issue is there are a number of coronaviruses that are poised for emergence in humans," says Aaron LeBeau, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of pathology who helped lead the study. "What we're doing is preparing an arsenal of shark VNAR therapeutics that could be used down the road for future SARS outbreaks. It's a kind of insurance against the future."

LeBeau Aaron Sharks

Aaron LeBeau


LeBeau and his lab in the School of Medicine and Public Health collaborated with researchers at the University of Minnesota and Elasmogen, a biomedical company in Scotland that is developing therapeutic VNARs. The team published its findings in Nature Communications.
The anti-SARS-CoV-2 VNARs were isolated from Elasmogen's large synthetic VNAR libraries. One-tenth the size of human antibodies, the shark VNARs can bind to infectious proteins in unique ways that bolster their ability to halt infection.

"These small antibody-like proteins can get into nooks and crannies that human antibodies cannot access," says LeBeau. "They can form these very unique geometries. This allows them to recognize structures in proteins that our human antibodies cannot."

The researchers tested the shark VNARs against both infectious SARS-CoV-2 and a "pseudotype," a version of the virus that can't replicate in cells. They identified three candidate VNARs from a pool of billions that effectively stopped the virus from infecting human cells. The three shark VNARs were also effective against SARS-CoV-1, which caused the first SARS outbreak in 2003.

One VNAR, named 3B4, attached strongly to a groove on the viral spike protein near where the virus binds to human cells and appears to block this attachment process. This groove is very similar among genetically diverse coronaviruses, which even allows 3B4 to effectively neutralize the MERS virus, a distant cousin of the SARS viruses.

The ability to bind such conserved regions across diverse coronaviruses makes 3B4 an attractive candidate to fight viruses that have yet to infect people.

The 3B4 binding site is also not changed in prominent variations of SARS-CoV-2, such as the delta variant. This research was conducted before the omicron variant was discovered, but initial models suggest the VNAR would remain effective against this new version, LeBeau says.

The second-most-powerful shark VNAR, 2C02, seems to lock the spike protein into an inactive form. However, this VNAR's binding site is altered in some SARS-CoV-2 variants, which likely decreases its potency.

"What is exciting is that these new potential drug molecules against SARS-CoV-2 differ in their mechanism of action compared to other biologics and antibodies targeting this virus," says Caroline Barelle, CEO of Elasmogen. "It is another great example of how Elasmogen can effectively deliver potent therapeutic molecules."

Future therapies would likely include a cocktail of multiple shark VNARs to maximize their effectiveness against diverse and mutating viruses. This new class of drug is cheaper and easier to manufacture than human antibodies, and can be delivered into the body through various routes, but has yet to be tested in humans. LeBeau is also studying the ability of shark VNARs to help in the treatment and diagnosis of cancers.

Vaccines form the bedrock of protection against SARS-CoV-2 and future coronaviruses. But some people, such as those with compromised immune systems, do not respond as well to vaccination and may benefit from other treatments like antibodies -- which makes developing these treatments an ongoing priority.


University of Wisconsin-Madison


The Town of Fort Myers Beach will celebrate its 26th year of incorporation on December 31, 2021, with the return of the annual cupcake giveaway in Times Square and a fireworks display and ball drop.

The cupcake giveaway is from noon to 1 p.m. or until supplies last. It is a tradition begun by several families after the Town was incorporated in 1995.

The annual fireworks display will start at midnight from the pier at Lynn Hall Memorial Park near Times Square with the ball drop to happen in Times Square (the pier will be closed.) Town merchants provide financial support for this display.

Traffic is expected to be heavy in the Downtown District for these events. Visitors should consider using the convenient public transportation options offered by LeeTran, particularly the park and ride lot located a few miles off Estero Island at Pine Ridge Road. LeeTran will be extending hours for its beach services until 1 a.m. Call 239-533-8726 with questions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Matanzas Pass Bridge will be closed to oncoming traffic from midnight to 1:30 a.m. Big Carlos Pass Bridge on the sound end of the Island will be open.

For information about Town parking, text the word PARKING to 239-FMBeach (239-362-3224) or visit the parking section at > Things to Do > Parking.

The Town’s Beach and Street Enforcement (BASE) team monitors town spaces and posts the percentage of their availability at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. daily.

The Town operates several hundred pay-for-parking spaces in and near the Downtown District and beach accesses and there are also several commercial lots.

Town’s 26th Birthday on New Year’s Eve Please help keep everyone safe and the festivities enjoyable by observing the Town’s ordinances that prohibit personal fireworks displays in any part of the Town, including the beach, and open containers of alcohol outside the boundaries of Times Square. Also, please dispose of trash in the proper receptacles.

Watch the Town’s website and social media outlets for updates. For information about New Year’s Eve activities and entertainment that will be going on in retail and restaurant establishments, visit the FMB Chamber of Commerce website at


From what we were told by Andy’s boss, James Comey, Andy’s admitted leaking of FBI information to the MSM was NOT authorized by Comey… Comey said under oath that he NEVER told anybody to leak information! That includes Andy McCabe!


McCabe testified he did in fact leak information to the Press…but with James Comey’s direction! Both cannot be telling the truth…If McCabe was told by Comey, to break the law…McCabe, in my opinion, knew or should have known better, and should have refused! I heard his testimony before Congress! It seems both should be Indicted on their own confessions alone…what do you think?


It’s interesting to note that James Comey put Martha Stewart in jail for lying to him!


I believe lying to Congress, under oath, is much more serious than lying to a sole FBI Agent. Working Criminal Agents, are lied to every day they work! These two FBI characters, McCabe and Comey, knew or should have known that every step they took across the line was a felony and violated more than just Title 18 USC, and if the allegations are true, they also violated their oath of office, the Federal Rules, and more!


Andy’s boss,James Comey, in January 2017, said that the Steele Dossier… the sole basis for the FISA wiretaps and the Mueller-Russia-President Trump criminal investigations… is “salacious and unverified” and was paid for by Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election!


If that was true in January 2017, months after that exact same Dossier, was used as the FOUNDATION for the initial FISA Wire taps on Carter Page, it was then also “salacious and unverified”, when Andy McCabe and James Comey, signed their names to the Carter Page Wire    Tap Application Documents!  Those Documents were put “before” the FISA Court, under oath by McCabe and all the other affiants/signers…that the information was True and Accurate… to the best of their ability AND resulted in the issuance of a Court Ordered wiretap against US Citizens and a Campaign of a Presidential Candidate, all when Comey, Strzok and  McCabe most certainly knew or should have known the Dossier was “salacious, unverified and paid for by Trump’s opponent Clinton”  !  I’ve taken that oath many times for Affidavits before many Federal Courts. Its serious business and people have been fired and jailed, FOR LYING TO THE COURT.



Many times we would hear from the Bureau, Courts and USA’s Office to be careful about forgetting Exculpatory Evidence. “The biggest lie is the UNTOLD truth”! They were referring to Exculpatory evidence…evidence that goes to prove innocence and not guilt! I believe that had the FISA Court known that the Steele Dossier was “salacious and unverified” and paid for by Clinton’s Campaign, the FISA Court would never have issued any wiretap Court Orders for anything or anybody…NEVER ! Taking it a step further and just based upon what FBI Director Comey has stated about the entire Carter Page debacle, that warrant should NEVER have been issued!



I firmly believe that no Federal court in this Nation, would issue a wiretap order based upon the hearsay, lame, asinine, wanting information in that application…none…thank God and thank our Constitution. The… “WHY was the FISA Court Order even issued” …has, to my knowledge, never been answered and should be resolved! In my opinion, that Court Order was to monitor US Citizens protected against unlawful Search and Seizure, the 4th Amendment!!



Those who were monitored, as a result of those unlawful wiretaps, I believe, could take legal action in Civil Court for apparent violations of their Civil Rights against unlawful Search and Seizure by all the signers! The facts that Mueller’s investigation found NOTHING is excellent evidence for the plaintiffs!



Do you wonder why they, didn’t look to Title 3 USC for wire taps?

There’s basically 2 ways to monitor a US citizen’s “wire” conversations and they are Title 3  USC and the FISA.



The FISA was created in 1978 after numerous complaints to Congress regarding warrantless search warrants and wiretaps. In Fact the Watergate investigation uncovered many of the same including warrantless searches of Congressman…that’s all it took and in 1978 FISA was created and placed restrictions on many actions including ,the monitoring of US citizens inside the US!!



The difference in requirements is astronomical in law enforcement terms… FISA being a piece of cake, and Title 3 being a walk through the most dangerous desert with no water, bear traps, trip wires and undrinkable water when you are ready to quit…and that’s the easy part! I ‘ve worked on all aspects of many Title 3 applications from several, single field offices to the largest fraud case in FBI history out of the Indianapolis field office. That major investigation, involved almost every field office in the FBI and even involved the theft and recovery, of Elvis Presley’s jet…that was an aside and unrelated case that popped up during the wire!



In order to monitor any person‘s wire conversations in the USA, a Title 3 search warrant must be obtained…period…the only exception is ,FISA!



In a Title 3 there must be very specific, substantial, verified, crimes committed and very specific individuals for whom you must have substantial, verified Probable Cause (PC) that they committed those crimes and prove that, all other efforts have failed to prove the case or there is clear and eminent danger to the public. The efforts must be substantiated, with very time consuming, man power commitments such as 24 hour surveillances, detailed examinations of phone records, financial records, pen registers and on and on …all of which require their own search warrants and all of which have failed to provide the necessary PC!



The biggest hurdles involved, are that there must already be a crime and you can’t prove who did it and you need verified, substantial undisputable PC to obtain a warrant. You may ask …”Then why bother getting a wiretap”? Good question…the answers to those questions usually involves danger…danger to the public in a Bank Robbery for example…where a gang, that is doing armed bank take overs and shooting cameras, tellers, or customers during robberies. A cop killer fugitive like Joanne Chesimard or her BLA Paramore, Twymon Myers or a kidnapping case…get the idea?



I never worked a FISA case nor ever applied for any type of FISA wiretap but I have read the law.

First of all, FISA is intended to nail foreign Agents operating in the US who we believe intend to do harm to US! Remember, by law the FBI is prohibited from conducting investigations     OUTSIDE the US and the CIA is similarly prohibited INSIDE the US!



As I stated above, Title 3 requires a crime and verified and un-salacious Probable Cause (PC)… that the defendants, committed a crime…none of which…the FBI had!



The FISA was created in 1978…because of “abuses by government”, with numerous complaints to Congress, regarding abuses of warrantless wiretaps and searches of citizens and members of Congress, under the guise of Foreign Counter Intel gathering…hence the FISA appeared into law with rules protecting citizens. Sounding familiar? In fact warrantless wiretaps and searches uncovered during the Watergate debacle pushed the legislation forward.



In FISA, the over-hear of US Citizens was prohibited except under certain specific circumstances and their identities must be protected…masked! Although PC was needed, for the FISA warrant, it didn’t have to be a “crime” and the PC test did not stand up to the Title 3, PC requirements! It could be to prevent a terrorist actor attempt to see if a crime was about to be committed! Great idea…but open to abuses, by unscrupulous politicians with hooks into law enforcement Agencies?!



According to the signors of the FISA application, ALL they had was the Steele Dossier, which was, in my opinion, a second rate, fabricated, 2nd and 3rd hearsay, “unverified and salacious” document paid for by Hillary Clinton, to discredit Trump. That’s all they had for their FISA Search Warrant. If they had more…shame on them and where is it?



Remember… THEY said that all the evidence they had, to the best of their ability, was in those affidavits.



Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton actually signed a written contract with the DNC giving Clinton 100% control of the dispersal of ALL DNC funds, she actually owned the DNC, read the agreement, it’s on line!



Do you believe that neither McCabe, Peter Strzok nor James Comey, all signors of the Search Warrant Applications, didn’t know that?



FISA was created to STOP exactly what they did!

It was also reported by the MSM, that McCabe took evidence from Huma Abedene husband’s computer (felony ex-convict Weiner)… and kept it in McCabe’s desk…for months…before turning it in. That’s grounds for dismissal for anybody else!



By the way …how did Huma get that info from the State Dept and bring it home and put it on that computer and why was the file folder named “Just in Case”…? Just wondering!?

gary small

J. Gary DiLaura

retired FBI RED

The Republican Ascendancy of the 1920s is associated with a return to conservative politics with the presidential administrations of Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

Harding, who was elected president in the election of 1920, initiated an era of conservative government based upon policies that were rooted in constitutional limited government.

Harding was a constitutional conservative who revered the American Founding. He described the Constitution as “the very base of all Americanism, the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ of American liberty, the very temple of equal rights.” Harding was a conservative nationalist who placed the interests of America first.On Nov. 2, 1865, Warren Gamaliel Harding was born in Blooming Grove, Ohio. A conservative in a Republican Party that also had a progressive wing, Harding served in the United States Senate before winning the presidency. He supported President William Howard Taft in the Republican civil war of 1912 that split the GOP when progressives bolted to join former President Theodore Roosevelt in the Bull Moose Party.

In the 1920 presidential election, Harding campaigned on a “return to normalcy,” which translated into an abandonment of the progressive domestic and foreign policies associated with President Woodrow Wilson and a return toward constitutional limited government. He also campaigned on the slogan of “America First.”

Harding, just as with President William McKinley, ran a “front porch” campaign and thousands of people visited his home. At his home, Harding would give speeches and greet visitors. Al Jolson even wrote and performed a song, “Harding You’re the Man for Us,” at the Harding home. Harding won the election in a landslide.

Once in office, Harding rejected the imperial presidency of Wilson and selected several notable leaders including Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, and Charles Evans Hughes, as Secretary of State.

President Harding’s first major challenge was to pull the nation’s economy out of depression at the end of World War I. In the “forgotten depression” of 1920-1921, the nation faced 11.7% unemployment and much economic uncertainty. In the process, the national debt had escalated because of the war, tax rates were extremely high, and government spending was out of control.

The solution that Harding utilized was to restore the economy by stimulating the private sector by reducing regulations and slashing tax rates. The historian Paul Johnson in Modern Times wrote that the short-lived depression was the “last time a major industrial power treated a recession by classic laissez-faire methods…”

As president, Harding believed and advocated for economy in government. Harding called for reduced spending, tax reduction, and paying down the national debt. Reform was brought to the federal budget process with the Budget and Accounting Act. Although the federal government has increased dramatically in size in comparison to Harding’s time in office, he still had to say no to demands to increase spending.

Harding, along with Treasury Secretary Mellon, advocated for a conservative fiscal policy. This included reducing both spending and tax rates. As a result, “federal spending was cut from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $5 billion in 1921 and $3.2 billion in 1922. Federal taxes fell from $6.6 billion in 1920 to $5.5 billion in 1921 and $4 billion in 1922,” noted Jim Powell, senior fellow with the Cato Institute. Harding also started to chisel away at the national debt.

Harding also appointed pro-business individuals to regulatory agencies and he nominated conservatives to the Supreme Court. Some of President Harding’s Court appointments included Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Justice George Sutherland, both of whom are considered judicial conservatives. Harding also advocated a policy of civil rights and civil liberties for African Americans.He also pushed for and achieved limiting immigration through reform, and he addressed the importance of Americanization and citizenship. In terms of foreign policy, Harding took a more nationalist approach. It is often assumed that Harding was an isolationist, but this is untrue. Harding and Secretary of State Hughes led the Washington Naval Conference, which led to disarmament in the aftermath of WWI.

Harding also placed the interests of America first in terms of trade by supporting the protective tariff. Harding believed that a tariff would benefit and protect American industry, agriculture and labor. “I believe in the protective tariff policy and know we will be calling for its saving Americanism again,” stated President Harding. The Fordney-McCumber tariff was passed as a result.

The Harding economic program, which was continued by President Calvin Coolidge after his death, was responsible for creating the roaring economy of the 1920s. Coolidge would continue to reduce spending, tax rates and pay down the national debt.

President Harding deserves reconsideration just as historians have given President Ulysses S. Grant, whose administration was also marked by scandal. Scandals did occur in Harding’s administration, but he was not personally connected.

Many of the policy challenges that the nation is being confronted with today could be solved by following the principles and polices of President Harding. Harding’s conservative nationalism is an example for today’s policymakers.

President Harding, just as with President Donald Trump, believed in America First and American exceptionalism. As Harding said, we are forever devoted “to safeguard America first, to stabilize America first, to prosper America first, to think of America first, to exalt America first, and to live for and revere America first.”

John Hendrickson
The Center Square

You can see Fall colors all over Fort Myers Beach – the different-colored license plates from across the nation on cars driven by seasonals and tourists! With visitation rapidly increasing, the iconic Mound House is boosting its hours of operation from three to five days a week, now being open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., though it does close on November 25 & 26 to observe Thanksgiving.

One of Southwest Florida’s most-beloved historic attractions, the Mound House traces its roots to the ancient Calusa of over 2,000 years ago. The Town of Fort Myers Beach operates the Mound House as a museum complex and cultural and environmental learning center that offers numerous educational programs each month, including for kids. The oldest standing structure on Estero Island is at 451 Connecticut Street with overflow parking at 216 Connecticut. Admission is $10 for ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free, with Town residents receiving a 50% discount. The Mound House enforces Social Distancing guidelines at all programs and recommends that all unvaccinated visitors wear masks. For information, reservations, and a monthly programs schedule, call 239-765-0865 or see

FREE “Newton Beach Park Guided Beach Walk”
For all ages every Tuesday and Thursday weather permitting at 9 a.m.; no program on Thursday, November 25, for Thanksgiving.

This twice-weekly free outdoor nature program is different every single time, as the “Guided Beach Walks” have a simple premise – the groups walk roughly a half-mile down the beach and back, discussing whatever you find that particular morning. Meet at the thatched hut closest to the beach, with Social Distancing in place. Bring sunscreen, shoes to get wet, sunglasses, and hat. No reservations necessary; while free, parking is $3-per-hour, with one hour generally enough. Newton Beach Park is mid-island at 4650 Estero Boulevard.

“Garden Tour”
For all ages each November Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday at 10 a.m.; no program on November 25 for Thanksgiving.

Stroll through the Mound House gardens to discover how its unique plants conserve water and protect wildlife, while learning how the Calusa and other Native Americans used them in their daily lives. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission; Mound House members free, with Social Distancing guidelines in place.

“Shell Mound Tour”
For all ages every Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; no programs on Thursday & Friday, November 25 & 26, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

If you dig archaeology, the Mound House’s signature program is for you! Tour the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound led by the interpretive staff as you explore the site’s archaeology to unearth clues about this ancient society. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission; Mound House members free, with Social Distancing guidelines in place.

“Untold Stories Tour”
For adults on Thursdays, November 4, 11 & 18, all at 2 p.m.

The Mound House is the oldest standing structure on Fort Myers Beach, with an intriguing cast of characters who called it home, from farmers to casino owners; scientists to developers! Learn about their individual stories along with a good dose of island history on this guided tour through the Mound House Museum, native gardens, and majestic grounds. Adults $15; Mound House members free.

“Full Moon Kayak Tour”
For ages 12 & up on Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m.

This unique tour offers kayakers the rare opportunity to experience the backwaters of the Estero Bay in the quiet of twilight by the light of the full moon! Participants explore the estuary’s tidal creeks, winding mangroves, and abundant wildlife illuminated by the full moon. Weather permitting and reservations required at; $45-per-person with Mound House members $15. The Mound House provides all paddling equipment with a maximum of 12 people per tour and Social Distancing in place.

“Archaeology: Can You Dig It?”
For all ages on Tuesday, November 23; Wednesday, November 24; and Saturday, November 27, all at 10 a.m.

Learn what it takes to be an archaeologist! Handle real artifacts and discover how archaeologist study past cultures in a program that is perfect for families. $5-per-person that does not include Mound House admission, with Mound House members free.

For dates and times for the “Cool Calusa Tools,” “Family Fun Kayak Tour,” “Latino History Tour,” & “Mangroves by Kayak Tour” programs, telephone the Mound House at 239-765-0865 or see

Gary Mooney

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