The Lee County Extension of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or IFAS, holds its third annual sustainability conference tomorrow. The day-long event includes an expo featuring local leaders and innovators in the clean and renewable energy sector as well as lectures from policy makers and university researchers. We caught up with Martha Avila, IFAS’s SustainabLEE program coordinator and Jayne Coles with Lee County’s Pollution Prevention Department to talk about the conference and what attendees can expect to find.
There is a brotherhood among combat veterans; a brotherhood with an exclusive membership. It exists only in the memories of its members, and only those who have faced first-hand the horror of war can join. Rod Clarke talked with vets from World War II to the Gulf Wars, and found they share many of the same feelings. Today, we look inside that brotherhood of veterans.
As Veterans Day approaches, WGCU examines the challenges and issues facing southwest Florida’s combat veterans. From World War II to Afghanistan, Korea to Vietnam to Iraq, wars have one common denominator: the men and women sent off to fight them return home changed forever. And for many the battles never end. Today he brings us the story of Vietnam Veteran Jim Marshall.
The Charlotte County School district is starting a pilot program in ten classrooms by replacing textbooks with iPads.
The effort is in response to a new state law requiring public schools to convert textbook materials into digital form by the 2015-2016 school year. The Charlotte County School District’s Director of Learning through Technology and Media Chris Bress says integrating tablet technology can make the curriculum more engaging.
“I think most people can remember when they were in college or when they were in high school and when they had to study, they had to read the book in an analog fashion where you started on page on and you went all the way through and you had to search for things in the index and such,” said Bress.
“But now, when curriculum becomes digital, students will be able to jump and search and interact with it in a much more advanced way. And therefore we hope the curriculum will be come much richer,” he added.
As many as 300 iPads have been purchased for the digital conversion pilot program, but it’s unclear whether the digital conversion will save money in the long run.
Although there could be a savings from not having to print and ship textbooks, Bress predicts publishers will still charge schools the bulk of what they’re paying now for learning materials as intellectual capital.
A new outreach campaign called NPower is helping households and businesses in Naples conserve natural resources and save money.
NPower consultants are meeting with community groups, property owner associations and others to offer tips on conserving energy and water.
NPower co-founder and environmental consultant Cloe Waterfield says the savings on utility bills can be significant. “We waste about ten percent of our home electricity use just because we’re not paying attention and we’re not turning things off,” said Waterfield.
“So about ten percent of your bill is wasted on standby power. If they’re willing to make some small behavioral changes and make an effort, we’ve worked out that you can save about $700 a year,” she said.
Waterfield says households can see that savings by doing small things like turning off lights and reducing the temperature on hot water heaters.
The campaign also has a green business program component to help businesses stem energy waste.
The program is in partnership with the City of Naples Natural Resource Division and is funded through the state by a Federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant. Naples Architect and NPower co-founder David Corban says the project’s aim is to make at least 50 presentations to various groups by the end of April 2012.
Bestselling author Andrew Gross comes to Southwest Florida week after next . His latest thriller is “Eyes Wide Open”. He’s also collaborated with James Patterson on a number of his fast paced thrillers.
Gross is the featured guest at the Lee County Public Library Systems – Read Between the Wines Fundraiser on Wednesday November 16th.
Andrew Gross spent twenty years working in his family’s clothing business before he decided to take some time off and exercise his urge to write fiction.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., shared his concerns about federal tax reform and his opposition to the state’s new voting law in Naples Friday.
In Southwest Florida to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Campaign for Leadership at the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce’s event at the Naples Botanical Garden, Nelson expressed his continued opposition to a new voting law passed by the legislature earlier this year.
The measure reduces the number of days for early voting and places new restrictions on third party groups that register voters.
“It makes it harder to vote. It makes it harder to register to vote. It makes it harder to have your vote counted as you intended,” said Nelson.
“I’ve talked to the governor about this, asking him to try to reverse what the legislature did and I just wrote to the Attorney General of the United States pointing out that there is a similar pattern among 13 other states in suppressing the rights of voters,” he added.
A three judge panel in Washington is considering provisions in the law, but despite pressure to reach a decision before Florida’s January 31st primary, the panel isn’t likely to rule before next summer.
During his presentation, Nelson also spoke about reforming the federal tax code through the elimination of loopholes for special interests.
“There is more money going out of the U.S. Treasury in the special exemptions for certain special interests. There’s more money going out of the Treasury than there is coming in each year in individual income tax,” said Nelson.
“If you get rid of some of those loopholes, take the revenue instead, poor it into the revenue code, you can actually simplify the IRS code and you can lower everybody’s rates including the corporate income tax rates,” he added.
When asked about the growing field of GOP candidates looking to challenge him in next year’s election, Nelson said for now, he’s focusing on his work in the Senate