Friday, 30 March 2007 01:00
Thursday, 29 March 2007 01:00
An Associated Press story Thursday claimed authorities are quote- “quietly wondering whether a serial killer might be at work” in Fort Myers.
An ecologist stumbled across several human skeletons in a wooded area off Martin Luther King Boulevard in east Fort Myers late last week. Investigators have since discovered eight bodies in all. They’re all adult – and none were wearing any clothing or jewelry.
Fort Myers Police Department spokeswoman - Shelly Flynn – says the investigation is still in the recovery phase, so it’s way too early to even begin to speculate about how the bodies got there.
“We can’t discredit any theory at this point. The bones are going to take extensive examination before we can figure out exactly what happened. And there are a lot of theories out there. The AP reporter threw out serial killer…but we’ve heard funeral home dumping, we’ve heard Indian burial ground – and it’s just too early to know the facts.”
A group of about 20 forensics experts from around the state – and several local archeologists – are working this week to recover all the bones.
Flynn says they’ll first go to the Fort Myers Medical Examiner’s office for examination – then up to the University of Florida in Gainesville for further study.
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 01:00
In the last week wildfires have closed a section of I-75 – sending thousands of motorists out of their way - and burned 275 acres in Lehigh Acres. The culprit…a combination of careless humans, a stiff breeze and unusually dry weather. Jerry LaCavera is with the Florida Division of Forestry.
“it isn’t normal conditions right now. We were just told by the National Weather Service that the period between February and March is the third driest on record in Florida’s history. The only periods that we had drier weather than we have right now are in 1927 and 1931.”
85 firefighters battled Monday night’s blaze in Lehigh Acres. Twelve outbuildings and a boat and trailer were destroyed. Fortunately, no one was injured. The cause is under investigation. LaCavera says the smallest spark – including carelessly tossed cigarette butts – can start a fire under such dry conditions. Lee County has issued a ban on outdoor burning until further notice.
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 01:00
A Fort Myers man died while scuba diving off of Key Largo Sunday.
50-year-old Mark Matthiessen was diving in 30 feet of water at French Reef. Shortly after 10 Sunday morning he surfaced behind another dive boat.
Deputy Becky Heron with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office says when the captain of that boat, The Tropical Voyager, asked if Matthiessen was all right, he indicated he needed help.
“As Matthiessen was being assisted aboard, he collapsed and stopped breathing. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation was begun immediately and, after loading all their divers on board, the Tropical Voyager started back to shore, continuing with CPR. They were met at the dock by paramedics who pronounced him dead.”
Mark Matthiessen’s dive buddy said he never indicated he was having any problems during the dive. An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of his death.
Monday, 26 March 2007 01:00
A growing number of beachgoers in Naples have been spotted carrying a startling addition to their standard sunny day gear—ski poles. European promoters of Nordic pole walking believe they have finally found the formula to get millions of sedentary Americans off the couch. WGCU's Christine Buckley reports on what organizers call "the world's fastest-growing outdoor health sport."
Thursday, 22 March 2007 00:00
U.S. Speed skater Bonnie Blair was in Fort Myers Wednesday talking about her experience with a rather embarrassing affliction. Her visit is part of a national public education campaign called “What’s Happening Down There?: Breaking the Ice about stress urinary incontinence. WGCU’s Amy Tardif has more.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00
Tuesday, 20 March 2007 00:00
Lee Commissioners broke ground Tuesday on the county’s first certified green building – an 11-thousand-square-foot interpretive center at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.
The building represents the culmination of more than 3 decades of effort. Work to preserve the slough began in the early 1970’s when a group of students, led by long-time southwest Florida educator Bill Hammond, held a letter-writing campaign that blossomed into a tax referendum.
“You don’t get these things done overnight. It takes persistence, and know how to build relationships in the community.”
An all-volunteer group called ‘The Friends of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve” has collected nearly 350-thousand-dollars toward construction of the more than three and a half million dollar interpretive center…including 200-thousand from the South Florida Water Management District.
The Slough is a 9-mile long, 22-hundred acre wetland adjacent to Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Lee County.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007 00:00
Lee County Commissioners issued a ban on outdoor burning Tuesday – prompted by what they call severe drought conditions.
March is always a dry month – and this year even more so. So far this March forestry officials have responded to 31 wildfires in Lee, Collier and Hendry counties – the average for the entire month is 29. Forestry spokesman Jerry LaCavera says remaining hurricane debris, lack of rain and dry vegetation has created a dangerous situation. He urges caution.
"this time of the year all of our fires are started by people – so the price tag is – they need to be careful – they need to use their heads anytime they’re doing anything involving fire or a flame. anytime they’re using anything that has extreme heat or can cause sparks – they need to use their heads and not be careless."
The ban on outdoor burning in Lee County is for 7 days. LaCavera says March and April are historically the region’s driest months so the ban will most likely be extended.
Forestry officials say drought-like conditions prevail throughout much of southwest Florida. Lee County officials have responded by banning outdoor burning until further notice. Forestry official Jerry LaCavera says this year’s dry season is exacerbated by a six inch rainfall deficit. And as usual this time of year, it’s windy.
"march and april are times when a lot of fronts come through and they bring changes in wind and more forceful winds – but we also expect high winds during this period – and its not unlikely that we have those winds driving wildfires very quickly."
LaCavera urges caution – when conditions are this dry the smallest spark can be fanned into a wildfire. The summer pattern of afternoon showers usually becomes established in June – with the arrival of hurricane season.
Monday, 19 March 2007 00:00
The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center – or CHEC - is marking 20 years of service to the community with a special reception this evening for members and volunteers. CHEC is a popular field trip destination for Charlotte County students. And says Naturalist Rich Dorkin, it helps newcomers learn about the areas unique environment.
“most people new to the area – coming from other parts of the united states – there’s a tremendous increase and continuing pressure on natural resources – so we do a lot of programs helping – try to help newcomers about how things are in Florida”
When CHEC opened twenty years ago – it had one employee – now it has 9. Staff members at the three thousand acre preserve located off Burnt Store road also do environmental research and teach about preservation land management.
The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center on Burnt Store Road celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.
The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center – or CHEC – is an oasis of pristine habitat surrounded by increasingly dense development. Naturalist Rich Dorkin has been with CHEC for 11 years – back then cow pastures, farmers fields and orange groves flanked the center.
“we’re on a three thousand acre preserve – so that’s stayed largely the same – although there’s more visitors. but the traffic is astronomical especially since they opened up veterans – a lot of truck traffic – a lot more dead animals – and people coming in and out the center – it’s a bit more difficult turning in and out the center”
On the plus side, Dorkin says most the new developers in the area are making efforts to be environmentally responsible. Chec is a popular destination for school field trips. It also teaches area residents about their unique environment and how to protect and preserve it.