Tuesday, 06 February 2007 00:00
Mobile home communities were the hardest hit by the severe weather crossed North Central Florida last week – killing twenty people.
Victor Hill of the Golden Gate Fire District witnessed the damage from Hurricane Charley and Wilma …but that didn’t prepare for him for carnage wrought by the three tornadoes that touched down Thursday night and early Friday morning.
“the things that are striking here are the mobile homes, where you don’t know where the mobile home was and the only thing you see is the foundation that’s carved into the ground or the remnants of it, or a resident telling you about the mobile home that’s gone that ended up a few hundred feet from it was originally at and you go to look at it and its wrapped around a tree.”
Hill says some conventional structures were destroyed too…but not nearly in the numbers of manufactured and mobile homes. But he says the power is back-on and people who still have houses and businesses are getting on with their lives.
Relief efforts continue in North Central Florida where severe weather and tornadoes last week killed twenty people and destroyed more than a thousand homes. Public Information Officer for the Golden Gate Fire District, Victor Hill, was deployed to the area. He says mobile homes were the hardest hit.
“in the lake mac area a lot of these places have been around since the early 80’s before a lot of the codes were updated so you’re seeing a lot of early model homes and in some cases a path of destruction in some cases a half mile wide that cut a swath through these things and decimated these neighborhoods. there are several cases were these mobile homes are just thousands of pieces of several mobile homes just scattered all over.”
Hill says the power is back and on this Monday many people returned to work. Meanwhile FEMA has set up shop near Lady Lake – one of the hardest hit areas. Its employees are helping the homeless find temporary shelter.
Monday, 05 February 2007 00:00
Friday, 02 February 2007 00:00
South Florida lawmakers say the federal government needs to put its money where its mouth is. Members of southwest Florida’s legislative delegation said as much in a meeting with Republican Congressman Connie Mack the Fourth today in Fort Myers.
Although topics included insurance and transportation concerns…the lack of funding for the multi-billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was the lawmakers’ primary focus.
Passed by congress nearly 7 years ago – funding for the restoration plan was supposed to be a 50-50 split between the feds and the state. Since then Florida’s spent more than 2-billion dollars…the federal government, only about a quarter billion.
Congressman Mack says there’s clearly a problem…
“The federal government said we will pay for half. And the federal government has not. And I serve on the subcommittee that oversees it and we push and we push and we push, but when it gets to the final product the appropriators then decide well, we’re going to fund these programs, but we’re not going to fund these. So the federal government has let us down as far as that’s concerned.”
Congressman Mack says he’s hopeful the lack of funding can be overcome – but that unfortunately there’s no guarantee.
He says it’s crucial that Florida’s state and federal lawmakers speak with one voice on this bipartisan issue.
Congressman Connie Mack the Fourth – a Fort Myers Republican – met with state lawmakers from around southwest Florida today at Florida Gulf Coast University to get input on which issues need more federal attention.
The group talked about insurance and transportation…but the conversation wound up focusing on the lack of federal funding for Everglades Restoration.
Democratic State Senator Dave Aronberg says the basic message he wants Congressman Mack to take back to Washington…live up to your promises!
“You know the federal government in past few years has done great by special interests. Well let’s have the people win once in a while. In this case the people have been promised federal funds for Everglades cleanup, and the federal government as not delivered. And that’s been my biggest frustration with the federal government. And to Congressman Mack’s credit he came here to look us in the eye and tell us that help is on the way, and I believe him. And I think that he and the Democrats in Congress can do what’s right…and not just do what’s right by the special interests this time.”
Passed by Congress in 2000 – the multi-billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is supposed to be a 50-50 funding split between the state and federal government. But while Florida’s already spent more than 2-billion-dollars…the feds have only come up with about 250 million.
Thursday, 01 February 2007 00:00
Thursday, 01 February 2007 00:00
The Taylor Creek Nutrient Recovery Facility opens today – just outside the city of Okeechobee. As Valerie Alker reports it’s a new approach to removing nutrients from water flowing into Lake Okeechobee.
It works like this. Water from Taylor Creek will be diverted to a large pool with a flourishing population of algae which in theory eat and therefore remove the nutrients nitrogen and phosphate. Taylor Creek is a major tributary of Lake Okeechobee and has a history a nutrient problems. Fifteen million gallons of water a day will be treated. South Florida Water District Water Shed Manager Susan Gray says the nutrient recovery facility may provide an alternative to large filtration marshes.
“We know it is a smaller footprint and has more intensive management operations but once you balance out the size of the facility and the management versus a passive system which is very large, is it still competitive. The original experimental study looked very good which is why we’re interested in seeing how it performs on a larger scale.”
Project managers estimate their “Algal Turf Scubber” will remove two metric tons of phosphorous a year from Taylor Creek. Funding comes the Water Management District and the Florida Department of Agriculture. It’s build on land owned by the water district.
South Florida Water Managers unveil a new system for removing nutrients from water today. The Taylor Creek Algal Turf Scrubber Nutrient Recovery facility is on land owned by the water management district just north of Lake Okeechobee. Taylor Creek is a major tributary. The District’s Susan Gray says the facility diverts the water from the creek and uses naturally occurring algea to remove the nutrients.
“It’s taking advantage of the natural nutrient uptake you can get from algae that grow on a fairly flat surface. The whole idea being that algae are very efficient at taking out nutrients from the water – it can take up the material and then they’re harvested and the material can then be used in compost or potentially other uses.”
Gray says the “Turf Scrubber” technology takes up much less land than filtration marshes. She says its effectiveness will be evaluated based on nutrient measurements of Taylor Creek’s water before and after the algae treatment. If it works as well as predicted, the technology could adapted for use throughout the water district.