Many Floridians living with HIV/AIDS were living at or below the poverty level before economic times became rough. Drug costs continue to rise and some patients have conditions that prevent them from working.
Gan Fradin is a food and clothing bank operated by ARC/The Bob Rauschenberg Center for Living, a resource center for patients living with HIV/AIDS. Interim Executive Director Anna McDaniel says there’s a greater need than ever before.
“Last year we were providing food for just over 300 individuals a month. That was primarily our patient,” said McDaniel. READ MORE
A young male panther was released back into the wild this week in a remote portion of the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County. The cat had been found orphaned more than a year ago as a small kitten.
“We got a hold of him and he was in really poor condition,” said Big Cypress wildlife biologist Deborah Jansen. “He was five months old but he only weighed 16 pounds. He was removed from the wild and transported up to White Oak Conservation Center in North Florida.”
The endangered panther spent more than a year at the wildlife facility near Jacksonville until his weight came up and until experts felt confident he could hunt and kill his own food. READ MORE
A large red tide bloom looming in the Gulf of Mexico offshore Lee and Collier Counties is giving scientists a chance to learn more about the centuries-old phenomenon.
While the cause of red tide outbreaks remains elusive, wildlife researchers are learning more about how the toxic algae blooms impact marine life.
Research manager Jeff Schmid with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida uses satellite technology to track endangered Kemps Ridley sea turtles.
“The primary objective of the tracking study was to investigate their seasonal movements,” said Schmid. “As water temperatures cool, the turtles will move to find warmer waters and that’s usually offshore or southward and this red tide outbreak that’s presented itself is giving us a unique opportunity to study how turtles behave during an ongoing event.”
Schmid says most of the turtles he’s tracking have remained within Pine Island Sound, but that one moved out into the bloom and is now believed to have died. READ MORE
The Wall That Heals, a half size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, arrived in Marco Island Tuesday December 6 for a five day stay. The truck moving the memorial was escorted onto the island by a motorcyclists from across Southwest Florida. We hear from some of them as well from veteran Lee Rubenstein who was responsible for bringing the Wall to Marco.
Photos courtesy of Frank Steiger Photography.
The level of economic freedom in the sunshine state has been in decline. That’s according to the Economic Freedom of North America Index released last week by the conservative non-profit Frasier Institute.
The annual report from the Canadian based think tank measures and ranks the level of economic freedom in the 50 states and the Canadian provinces. The report considers the size of government, taxation and labor market freedom to determine how much control individuals, entreprenuers and businesses have over their financial resources.
We spoke with Florida Gulf Coast University Economics Professor Dean Stansel about the report, and what Florida’s ranking indicates about the prospects for economic recovery.
Delegates from developing nations across the globe are in Southwest Florida this week for the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization or EHCO Global Farm’s International Development Conference.
ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers works with NGOs, non-profits, community leaders and farmers from 180 developing countries throughout the world.
“ECHO’s different from many relief or development organizations around the world,” says spokeswoman Danielle Flood. “ECHO doesn’t come in with ideas and say ‘This will work for you.’ We work through partners that already know the language, already know the culture, and are intimately involved with the problem and say ‘Here are some options. What do you think will work with your people in your community?’”
Delegates at the conference are discussing agricultural challenges and sharing solutions they’re experiencing in their own countries. READ MORE
Robert Sanou is the conference delegate from Burkina Faso in West Africa where he coordinates efforts by a Christian Aid organization called The Christian Alliance for Economic Cooperation and Social Development.
“Last year we had floods that destroyed many harvest crops; completely destroyed, said Sanou. “And this year it’s not flood but dryness. So our agriculture is so challenged and that’s why also the government is more and more focusing on what kind of seeds can fit with our reality.”
Conference workshops and presentations will continue through Thursday.
Community agencies in Southwest Florida are starting up an initiative to improve health care for people in Immokalee. And they plan to do so by using the arts.
The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and University of Florida chose Immokalee as the latest site to develop an art in health care program. The initiative targets rural communities in Florida with widespread health issues that remain unaddressed.
The program plans to use all forms of art – from drawing to dancing – to improve people’s health in Immokalee.
Dr. Victoria Frehe-Torres is a psychologist with Collier Health Services and Florida State University College of Medicine, two of the local agencies involved in the project. She says she sees the important role of the arts in her own practice.
“As a psychologist, I do believe in the power of writing,” said Frehe-Torres.
“When you get your ideas, your thoughts, your suffering to a piece of paper –for a lot of people [the process] is very healing. That’s an example that I have of how the arts and health care come together for the wellbeing of the patient.”
The planning meetings for the project begin this week. Frehe-Torres says they hope to start implementing programs in the community next year.
The Arts in Healthcare for Rural Communities will hold a reception to introduce the project at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, December 5 at the FSU College of Medicine Health Education Site in Immokalee.