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Items filtered by date: July 2016
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 11:41

A Note From Sheriff Mike Scott:

In the face of continued
protests and intolerable violence
against Law Enforcement
Officers across our nation, I
sent this message to each and
every certified member of our
DO NOT compromise officer
safety over the
ginned up controversy
of current events;
wherein some suggest
that Law Enforcement
Officers are the problem
in our country
when it comes to
s...hooting deaths.
born of groups like
“Black Lives Matter”
who predictably jump
to conclusions and
pour into the streets
mere moments after
certain incidents; refusing to
wait for evidence, facts, or the
rule of law. Controversy born of
hypocrites who express instant,
under-informed outrage in the
comparatively rare instance of
a white cop shooting a black
citizen and virtual apathy when
a black citizen shoots another
black citizen; the latter being
the trend in an overwhelming
majority of black deaths in cities
across this country. Sadly, the
hypocrisy of “Black Lives Matter”
is that black lives apparently
matter far more if a white
cop is involved; despite thousands
of black lives lost to
members of the same race in
neighborhoods across the U.S.
You are part of a noble
and very difficult profession…a
profession that poses life or
death decisions in split seconds;
regardless of race, religion,
gender, or anything else.
A profession that is respected
by a quiet majority and criticized
by a vocal minority. A profession
that becomes far more
difficult when hacks like Minnesota
Governor Mark Dayton
rush to judgement and apparently
learn nothing from the fallacies
of Ferguson.
You are well trained and
well equipped, and my message
to you is stay safe. Stay
safe despite a handful of
elected misleaders and activists
who ignite and fan the
flames of racism by picking
and choosing which lives
matter more to them depending
on ethnicity alone.
Stay safe in the dangerous
arena of public safety
where all lives matter;
starting with yours.
These are increasingly
difficult times to be a law
enforcement or corrections
officer; however, we are
the last line of defense between
good and evil. Stay
safe and always review
your training. Stay safe and always
revert to your training.
Stay safe and never hesitate to
do that which is necessary to
reduce the chances of another
name being added to the ever
growing list of officers killed in
the line-of-duty.
Mike Scott
Sheriff of Lee County

Published in General/Features

A blast of sweltering heat
sweept across the United States
over the past ten days, and some
places will see temperatures as
much as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit
(5.6 to 8.3 degrees Celsius)
above average for this
time of year, according to
the National Weather Service.
Hot weather in
July/August is to be expected,
of course — after
all, it's the middle of summer
— but a so-called heat
dome is kicking these hot
and humid temperatures up
a notch.
A heat dome happens
when a "dome" of
high pressure traps hot air
underneath it, said Mike
Musher, a meteorologist at
the NWS' Weather Prediction
Center in College Park,
Maryland. What we have
seen the past week was an
enormous dome that enveloped
much of the Midwest
before moving toward
the East Coast he said.]This dome formed largely
because the jet stream passing over
the U.S.-Canada border prevented
cooler air from pushing southward,
Musher said. "During the summer
months, with the jet typically so far
north and not much cold air to dig
into the united states, it's natural
for these large high pressure systems
to develop," he said.
Much of the country felt
scorching temperatures the past
two weeks, according to weather
prediction maps published by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). In Minneapolis,
for example, the average
temperature on July 21 is 84 degrees
F (29 degrees Celsius),
Musher said. But last weekend, it
was in the mid- to high 90s Fahrenheit
(about 35 to 37 degrees Celsius),
he said.
By as the heat dome moved
eastward,, some relief was felt as,
temperatures in parts of the Midwest
dropped to the 80s.But the
heat will continue to sizzle some
areas and may return with a
vengeance. Last Sunday, temperatures
hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit
(37 degrees Celsius) in several
states, including parts of Kansas,
Texas, South Carolina and Georgia,
according to NOAA's weather prediction
Heat domes aren't rare, but
this one appears to have produced
the first sizable heat wave of the
summer, Musher said.
Weather and government
officials advised people to stay
cool as the heat dome makes its
way across the country. Even President
Barack Obama tweeted,
"This map says it all. Stay safe as it
heats up: Drink water, stay out of
the sun and check on
your neighbors."
The White House
issued a statement asking
people to be
watchful of heat exhaustion
including heavy sweating;
skin that is cold
and pale; nausea; or
vomiting. Likewise,
heat stroke symptoms
include high body temperature;
skin that is
red, hot and dry; or
even unconsciousness,
according to the government.
Moreover, it's important
to check on infants,
young children
and the elderly, who
are less efficient at regulating
internal body
temperature than
adults are, the statement said. But
even adults should take care to
wear light-colored and loose-fitting
clothing, refrain from strenuous exercise,
and drink plenty of water,
the National Weather Service recommended.
Science Live

Published in Environment
Tuesday, 09 August 2016 10:30


I was visiting my aunt in South Carolina last week, she is a devout
church goer. (I no longer attend but did with my aunt )
I not only used to attend church regularly, I worked within the church
and hated it, then and now. They would pass out a flyer telling you how
to vote for everything, leading up to and on the Sunday before election,
now, I’m sure they aren't the only ones to do that, we’re not even close to
the election and half the preaching last Sunday was about who to vote for
and that we need to convince our friends who to vote for.
WHAT A JOKE, I didn’t know it back then but do so now, this is illegal
and not what a church is supposed to do and it violates their tax free statis.
I fully support the taxing of all the church's profiting any money over expenses..
They do not deserve tax free statis any longer, all profits should be spent
on feeding the poor and providing shelter within our own country and
not just profiting.
And sorry, this especially applies to these mega churches that rack in
millions a year. They should be paying taxes!
Donna Mavrone

Published in Letters To The Editor
Tuesday, 09 August 2016 10:29

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,
All the political ads now on the radio and tv are making me sick! Here’s
a hint to politicians... If your running for a political position or position
of power.....especially locally and your campaign signs, advertising is
massive....overwhelming....and blanketed totally all over so I have zero
clue who your opponent is....you have already lost my vote. When it is at
such as a scale where you know it takes a lot of deep pockets to pay for
it....you lost me. If elected those deep pockets expect to be paid back in
one way or another. That means me as an average citizen of little or no
wealth and without some crazy agenda will likely get little from it or
Jonathan Orento

Published in Letters To The Editor
Tuesday, 09 August 2016 10:27

To the Editor

To the Editor,
In the last election, over 75% of Lee County voters approved Amendment
1 directing the State to acquire and preserve land to protect habitat
and clean water. Sadly, some of our county commissioners did not get
this message and used our Conservation 20/20 funds as a piggy bank to
balance their budget.
Fortunately, in Dick Anderson we have a Republican candidate for
county commissioner who understands that voters care about the environment.
Dick helped draft the Lee County Comprehensive Plan. He understands
that allowing urban sprawl in areas critical to our drinking
water supply proves short sighted. As a member of the grassroots committee
that formed Conservation 20/20, he knows the importance of acquiring
and managing key properties that protect water supply, open
space and wildlife habitat.
One of our biggest environmental problems comes from outside our
county. Our commissioners have not committed to stopping the fresh
water releases from Lake Okeechobee that damage our estuaries. Dick
has the background and skills to take a stand and work with government
agencies and other organizations to solve this problem.
If you voted for Amendment 1, you will want to vote for Dick Anderson.
Gene Gibson
Fort Myers, Florida

Published in Letters To The Editor
Friday, 05 August 2016 10:23

Guest Commentary

Four years ago, Larry Kiker
ran for Lee County Commission
with a promise for " A Better Tomorrow".
Kiker was swept into office
with tremendous financial
support from Clewiston based U.S.
Sugar Corporation. So not only did
a powerful corporation outside Lee
County determine the outcome of a
local Lee County Commission race
but, they have an ally on the Lee
County Commission concerning
water policy issues. During Kiker's
tenure in office, water quality in
the Caloosahatchee and our coastal
estuaries has greatly deteriorated
resulting in harm to our tourism
and real estate based economy, environment
and public health. In his
disingenuous attempt to address
our dirty water crises, Kiker's news
paper commentaries and trips to
Washington D.C. alleged the need
for greater funding and involvement
from the Federal government.
The real heavy lifting
should be focused on Governor
Scott and the state legislature. For
it is the state that has jurisdiction
over water quality. It was the Governor
and state legislature that refused
to use Amendment 1 funds to
purchase land south of the lake to
store, treat and convey water to the
Everglades. And, it is the Governor
and state legislature, during the
2016 legislative session, that approved
a "Water Bill" that will all
but make it impossible to clean up
the dirty water by giving the sugar
industry safe harbor from being
held accountable in efforts to restore
Lake Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee
and our coastal estuaries.
Kiker referred to the need
to discuss " the lack of water storage
within the Kissimmee River
Basin with the Senate Appropriation
Subcommittee", yet the overwhelming
need for water storage is
south, not north, of Lake Okeechobee
to store, treat and convey
water south to restore coastal estuaries,
rehydrate the Everglades,
recharge the Biscayne aquifer and
protect public and private wellfields
from salt water intrusion. In
referencing water storage north of
Lake Okeechobee, Kiker is working
off the same playbook as Big
Sugar, to redirect resources and attention
away from restoring a
flowway from Lake Okeechobee to
the Everglades. Kiker extols the
virtue of the County's Growth Increment
Funding mechanism to
keep up with pressing infrastructure
needs. Unfortunately, the strategy
is not adequately addressing
the impacts of population growth
and results in the residential tax
payers subsidizing capital construction
costs. Kiker and the majority
of the Lee County
Commission supported an 85% reduction
in impact fees costing the
county and school board precious
funding (approximately $50 million
over three years) for necessary
infrastructure. Impact fees are an
important source of revenue to ensure
that new development, not the
existing taxpayers, pay for the infrastructure
to accommodate
growth. Furthermore impact fees
equals jobs as the funds are used to
pay the labor workforce to build
roads, parks and schools. Kiker's
recent support of the Grand Resorts
on Fort Myers Beach not only led
to an state ethics investigation but
would have given away Cresent
Beach Park and jeopardized beach
front homeowners with a half-mile
sea wall that would have exacerbated
coastal beach erosion. It is
well documented that hardened
structures along a beach coastline
deflects wave energy downward,
resulting in scoring and loss of
beach sand. Furthermore, a regularly
scheduled beach renourishment
program to buffer the sea
wall would have proven extremely
costly to beach front homeowners.
In violation of the public
trust, Kiker and the majority of the
Board of County Commissioners
(BOCC) voted to raid the Conservation
2020 Trust Fund in the
2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal
years, in excess of $40 million dollars,
to balance the budget. In the
2015-2016 fiscal year, the BOCC
shifted the 0.50 mils, designated
for Conservation 2020, to the General
Fund, effectively undermining
a uniquely successful program that
was designed to conserve our precious
land and water resources, enhance
property values, and provide
open space for public enjoyment
and quality of life. Lee County's
future is at a crossroad, and the
voters have a critical decision in
the Lee County Commission District
3 race to reject Kiker's failed
promises and policies and elect
Dick Anderson, a man genuinely
committed to representing the public
interest not the special interest.

Published in Politics

U.S. regulators are investigating
a fatal accident involving a
Tesla Motors Inc. sedan that was
driving on autopilot, drawing
scrutiny to a key technology the
electric-vehicle maker is betting on
for the future of self-driving cars.
The crash involved a 40-year-old
Ohio man who was killed when his
2015 Model S drove under the
trailer of an 18-wheeler on a highway
near Williston, Florida, according
to a Florida Highway
Patrol statement. Shares in the automaker
rose 0.3 percent to
$212.95. at 10:38 a.m. New York
The details of the accident
are likely to add fuel to the debate
over whether self-driving cars are
ready for the real world. Autopilot
didn’t notice the white side of the
tractor trailer against a brightly lit
sky, so the brake wasn’t applied,
said Tesla, which reported the May
7 incident to National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration. In a
blog post, Tesla said that the fatal
crash is the first known fatality in
more than 130 million miles of Autopilot
If the Autopilot system didn’t
recognize the tractor trailer,
then Tesla will have to recall the
cars to fix the flaw, said Clarence
Ditlow, executive director of the
Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy
group in Washington. Ditlow
said that Tesla’s Autopilot system
needs to be able to recognize all
possible road conditions.
“That’s a clear-cut defect
and there should be a recall,” Ditlow
said in a phone interview.
“When you put Autopilot in a vehicle,
you’re telling people to trust
the system even if there is lawyerly
warning to keep your hands on the
Tesla said in the post on
Thursday that it requires specific
knowledge from the vehicle owner
that Autopilot “is new technology
and still in public beta phase” before
it will enable the system. No
other automaker sells unproven
technology to customers, said Eric
Noble, president of CarLab Inc., a
consulting firm in Orange, California.
“There’s not an experienced
automaker out there who will let
this kind of technology on the road
in the hands of consumers without
further testing,” Noble said in a
phone interview. “They will test it
over millions of miles with trained
drivers, not with consumers.”
Mobileye NV, a supplier of cameras
and technology to Tesla for the
Model S, said its system is designed
to brake automatically to
avoid rear-end collisions but won’t
be able to brake for laterally crossing
vehicles until 2018.
Rocky Year
Tesla, on a mission to fulfill
Chief Executive Officer Elon
Musk’s revolution in sustainable
transportation, has had a rocky
year. Shares fell 40 percent by Feb.
10 on concerns about production of
the Model X sport utility vehicle,
then rose 85 percent in the next
two months on enthusiasm over the
smaller Model 3 sedan, which generated
373,000 reservations accompanied
by $1,000 deposits.
Just in the last month,
NHTSA asked the youngest and
smallest publicly traded U.S. automaker
for information about its
suspension systems following a report
by the Daily Kanban blog. The
government characterized the inquiry
as a routine data collection,
and Tesla insisted there’s no safety
defect. The company did, however,
revise its so-called Goodwill
Agreements to make it clear that
customers are free to report safety
concerns to regulators.
Then Tesla shares fell more
than 10 percent on June 22 the day
after announcing a proposal to acquire
SolarCity Corp., the rooftop
solar company that also counts
Musk as its chairman and largest
shareholder. The stock declined a
total of 12 percent this year
through Thursday.
Safety Record
Tesla has always prided itself
on its safety record. In August
2013, the Model S sedan was
awarded a 5-star safety rating by
the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. The company’s
website states that “Model S
comes with Autopilot capabilities
designed to make your highway
driving not only safer, but stress
“What we know is that the
vehicle was on a divided highway
with Autopilot engaged when a
tractor trailer drove across the
highway perpendicular to the
Model S,” Tesla said in the post.
“Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the
white side of the tractor trailer
against a brightly lit sky, so the
brake was not applied. The high
ride height of the trailer combined
with its positioning across the road
and the extremely rare circumstances
of the impact caused the
Model S to pass under the trailer,
with the bottom of the trailer
impacting the windshield
of the Model S.”
News of the investigation
comes as the world’s
automakers are making increasing
forays into self-driving
features, technology that
is built on the promise of saving
In its statement,
NHTSA said it sent a special
crash investigation team to the
scene, a step the agency reserves
for accidents that represent
emerging areas of interest. The
safety agency said it will examine
the design and performance of the
automated driving systems in use
at the time of the crash.
NHTSA emphasized in its
statement that its preliminary evaluation
of the incident doesn’t indicate
any conclusion about whether
the Tesla vehicle was defective.
‘Beyond Saddened’
Tesla said that the “customer
who died in this crash had a
loving family and we are beyond
saddened by their loss. He was a
friend to Tesla and the broader EV
community, a person who spent his
life focused on innovation and the
promise of technology and who believed
strongly in Tesla’s mission.
We would like to extend our deepest
sympathies to his family
The victim,
Joshua Brown, had posted
videos on YouTube demonstrating
the ability of Autopilot to avoid accidents.
An online obituary said he
was a former Navy SEAL.
Tesla began rolling out its
Autopilot features in October.
Autopilot is a step toward
autonomous or
self-driving cars, and includes
features like automatic lane changing,
auto steering and the ability of
the vehicle to parallel park itself. In
release notes about the software
updates that are sent to owners,
Tesla stresses that drivers still
maintain responsibility for safe
driving and should keep their
hands on the wheel at all times.
“Similar to the autopilot
functions in airplanes, you need to
maintain control and responsibility
of your vehicle while enjoying the
convenience of Autopilot in Model
S,” Tesla has said.
Self-driving and semi-autonomous
cars have a good track
record so far, but they aren’t perfect.
In February, a Lexus-model
Google self-driving car hit the
side of a bus near the company’s
Silicon Valley headquarters.
The vehicle was in
autonomous mode going
about 2 miles per hour
around sandbags in the
road. Google’s software
detected the bus but predicted
that it would yield,
which it did not, according
to a company report
about the incident.
There were no injuries
reported at the
scene, the company
noted. “In this case, we clearly
bear some responsibility, because if
our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t
have been a collision,” Google
said in its report.

Published in General/Features

What are the most addictive
drugs? This question seems
simple, but the answer depends on
whom you ask. From the points of
view of different researchers, the
potential for a drug to be addictive
can be judged in terms of the harm
it causes, the street value of the
drug, the extent to which the drug
activates the brain’s dopamine system,
how pleasurable people report
the drug to be, the degree to
which the drug causes withdrawal
symptoms, and how easily a person
trying the drug will become
There are other facets to
measuring the addictive potential
of a drug, too, and there are even
researchers who argue that no drug
is always addictive. Given the varied
view of researchers, then, one
way of ranking addictive drugs is
to ask expert panels. In 2007,
David Nutt and his colleagues
asked addiction experts to
do exactly that – with some interesting
1. Heroin
Nutt et al.’s experts ranked
heroin as the most addictive drug,
giving it a score of 3 out of a maximum
score of 3. Heroin is an opiate
that causes the level of
dopamine in the brain’s reward
system to increase by up to 200%
in experimental animals. In addition
to being arguably the most addictive
drug, heroin is dangerous,
too, because the dose that can
cause death is only five times
greater than the dose required for a
Heroin also has been rated
as the second most harmful drug
in terms of damage to both users
and to society. The market for illegal
opiates, including heroin, was
estimated to be $68 billion worldwide
in 2009.
2. Cocaine
Cocaine directly interferes
with the brain’s use of dopamine
to convey messages from one neuron
to another. In essence, cocaine
prevents neurons from turning the
dopamine signal off, resulting in
an abnormal activation of the
brain’s reward pathways. In experiments
on animals, cocaine caused
dopamine levels to rise more than
three times the normal level. It isestimated that between 14-20m
people worldwide use cocaine and
that in 2009 the cocaine market
was worth about $75 billion.
Crack cocaine has been
ranked by experts as being the
third most damaging drug and
powdered cocaine, which causes a
milder high, as the fifth most damaging.
About 21% of people who
try cocaine will become dependent
on it at sometime in their life. Cocaine
is similar to other addictive
stimulants, such as methamphetamine
– which is becoming more of
a problem as it becomes more
widely available – and amphetamine.
3. Nicotine
Nicotine is the main addictive
ingredient of tobacco. When
somebody smokes a cigarette,
nicotine is rapidly absorbed by the
lungs and delivered to the brain.
Nutt et al’s expert panels
rated nicotine (tobacco) as the third
most addictive substance.
More than two-thirds of
Americans who tried smoking reported
becoming dependent during
their life. In 2002 the WHO estimated
there were more than 1 billion
smokers and it has been
estimated that tobacco will kill
more than 8m
people annually
by 2030. Laboratory
animals have
the good sense
not to smoke.
However, rats
will press a button
to receive
nicotine directly
into their bloodstream
– and this
causes dopamine
levels in the brain’s reward system
to rise by about 25-40%.
4. Barbiturates (‘downers’)
Barbiturates – also known
as blue bullets, gorillas, nembies,
barbs and pink ladies – are a class
of drugs that were initially used to
treat anxiety and to induce sleep.
They interfere with chemical signalling
in the brain, the effect of
which is to shut down various
brain regions. At low doses, barbiturates
cause euphoria, but at
higher doses they can be lethal because
they suppress breathing. Barbiturate
dependence was common
when the drugs were easily available
by prescription, but this has
declined dramatically as other
drugs have replaced them. This
highlights the role that the context
plays in addiction: if an addictive
drug is not widely available, it can
do little harm. Nutt et al’s expert
panels rated barbiturates as the
fourth most addictive substance.
5. Alcohol
Although legal in the US
and UK, alcohol was scored by
Nutt et al.’s experts 1.9 out of a
maximum of 3. Alcohol has many
effects on the brain, but in laboratory
experiments on animals it increased
dopamine levels in the
brain’s reward system by 40-360%
– and the more the animals drank
the more dopamine levels increased.
Some 22% of people who
have taken a drink will develop dependence
on alcohol at some point
during their life. The WHO has estimated
that 2 billion people used
alcohol in 2002 and more than 3m
people died in 2012 due to damage
to the body caused by drinking. Alcohol
has been ranked as the most
damaging drug by other experts,
Eric Bowman
Lecturer in Psychology
and Neuroscience,
University of St Andrews

Published in Lifestyle
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