Monday, 19 March 2007 00:00
The number of discount nail salons have mushroomed in Florida over the last two decades. The state has twice as many nail salons as any other Southern state, and 6 times as many nail techs--particularly Vietnamese--who make up nearly forty percent of the country's 6-point-3-billion-dollar industry. WGCU's Christine Buckley discussed the business with one Florida family.
Friday, 16 March 2007 00:00
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows there’s a growing, nationwide trend of hospitals unable to provide emergency angioplasties on heart attack victims over the weekend. But that’s NOT the case here in Southwest Florida.
Medical Director of the Heart & Vascular Institute for Lee Memorial Health Systems - Peter Sidell - practiced cardiac surgery in Fort Myers from 1977 until 2004.
He says this area has 3 hospitals, including Lee Memorial Health Park, that are capable of doing angioplasties on short notice – 24-7.
“What we already have now is…if somebody shows up in the emergency room and a diagnosis of a heart attack is made. Arrangements are made to get them quickly to the catheterization laboratory with a cardiologist there standing by to do a heart catheterization. And then if a stint is appropriate to do that. And if not the decision will be made as to whether or not a heart operation would be appropriate.”
Dr. Sidell says Lee Memorial has joined what’s called the national ‘door to balloon alliance’ – with the goal of shortening the time from admittance to angioplasty...to hopefully within 90 minutes.
He says his main advice for anyone who thinks they’re having a heart attack…call an ambulance, because EMT’s will know which hospital to go to for the right kind of care.
NPR broadcast a story last week about a report in the recent New England Journal of Medicine that basically said, if you’re going to have a heart attack, don’t do it over the weekend.
That’s because many hospitals don’t have the resources to offer around the clock angioplasties…and weekends that often get cut back.
But Medical Director at Lee Memorial’s Heart & Vascular Institute – Dr. Peter Sidell – says that’s not the case in Southwest Florida. He says three area hospitals perform the service, - 24-7.
But his number one advice: if you suspect a heart attack, don’t drive yourself or even get a ride to the hospital…call an ambulance!
“The EMT’s are pretty good about figuring out which hospital people need to go to. They’ll do an electrocardiogram, and if that’s abnormal they’ll know to take you to one of the hospitals where they can do the intervention related to heart problems. Plus, once you show up at a hospital in an ambulance you know, they get you into a room quickly. They do an electrocardiogram quickly…things get expedited better.”
Dr. Sidell says heart care is a high priority here in Southwest Florida, with the area’s large senior population.
He says Southwest Florida Regional, Health Park, and Naples Community hospital all have programs designed to get heart attack victims to the catheterization lab as quickly as possible.
Friday, 16 March 2007 00:00
Friday, 16 March 2007 00:00
New water use restrictions are in place in south Florida. Measures adopted Thursday are aimed at cutting the region's water consumption by 15 percent, and more in some areas.
They come after months of below-normal rainfall. In Southwest Florida growers who pump water from the Caloosahatchee River need to cut consumption by 30 percent. Ron Hamel of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association says the restrictions are problematic.
“the growers are going to have to decide what areas of their groves are going to get watered and areas might not get the same level of water they really need. It’s certainly going to impact the fruit set for the year and it could affect the size of the fruit depending on how long the drought is”
Citrus growers in Southwest Florida pump about a third of their irrigation water from the Caloosahatchee. Residential use by about five and half million people in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties is under new restrictions. Golf courses, nurseries and utilities are also being asked to make cutbacks.
Friday, 16 March 2007 00:00
A local clergyman travels to Washington DC Saturday to take part in a march protesting the United States invasion of Iraq four years ago.
Reverend Wayne Robinson of the All Faiths Unitarian Congregation in Ft. Myers will take part in the action organized by the group “Christian Peace Witness”. It begins with a 7 PM service at the National Cathedral followed by a candlelight procession to the White House. Robinson says about four thousand people will take part….and some, including him, will risk arrest.
“we will have a candle light prayer vigil encircling the white house and around 10:30 or so there are 700 clergy who will be in clergy attire who in waves of 100 are going to engage in civil disobedience. the part of Pennsylvania avenue that they no longer allow you to be on after 9-11 we’re going to go in there to kneel to pray and when ordered to leave we’re not going to leave”
Robinson, who is also an adjunct faculty member at Florida Gulf Coast University – in civil engagement – says marches take place all the time and often go nearly unreported. He says civil-disobedience “creates tension by direct action” thus raising the profile of the event.
Robinson plans to be back in his pulpit in Ft. Myers Sunday morning.
Thursday, 15 March 2007 00:00
Lee County Tourism Officials will release January sales figures Friday – and the numbers are forecast to be excellent.
Tourism Director DT Minich says after some somewhat slow winter occupancy rates following two tough hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005 – things are hopping.
“the planes are full the hotels are full it’s our time of the year to be making money for our hotel and tourism industry and they’re definitely doing this these last few weeks and its looking good all the way through mid April.”
Minich credits bad weather up north and good weather in Southwest Florida for the high occupancy rates – along with baseball fans here to see the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins for Spring Training. South Seas Plantation – one of the areas largest resorts – and badly damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004 also reopened this week.
South Seas Plantation Resort on Captiva Island officially re-opened last night. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Charley in August 2004. Director of Tourism for Lee County D.T. Minich says the opening caps off what’s been the busiest tourist season in several years.
“they’ve done an incredible job out there of redoing that resort and it’s like having a brand new resort in our area we’re real excited. This is really our first good season since Charley”
Minich says planes and hotels are full and will be until at least mid-April. He says other travel destinations in Florida are also doing well this season – but that Lee County is doing exceptionally well.
Thursday, 15 March 2007 00:00
Florida Gulf Coast University hosted a speaker Thursday night who related his struggle for justice and human rights at the U.S. detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
James Yee is a former U. S. Army Captain and Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay. He’s also the author of the recently published “For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire”.
Yee talks about the prisoners and his own ordeal, in which he was falsely imprisoned for being a terrorist spy for Guantanamo prisoners after raising concerns about abuses. The third-generation Chinese American and West Point graduate who converted to Islam says his life changed after serving 76 days in a naval brig accused of espionage.
“After suffering through this harrowing ordeal, being falsely accused, threatened with the death penalty and being treated like an enemy combatant. I was put under a tremendous amount of surveillance and I even learned recently that my banking records, my credit and financial records were probed into by the Pentagon’s use of what they call the National Security letter. So I suspect that I will be under some type of government surveillance for the rest of my life.”
All criminal charges were eventually dropped. Yee’s speech is tonight at 7 in the Student Union ballroom at FGCU.
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Fort Myers crime lab will soon provide DNA analysis.
Right now evidence submitted for DNA analysis in the ten county southwest Florida area goes to the FDLE Crime lab in Tampa, which is one of only five in the state. This results in back-logs. FDLE Spokesman Larry Long says the DNA testing facility in Ft. Myers will speed things up.
“we’re hopeful by opening up the DNA lab and services in SWFL it will also help the backlog issue we have in our Tampa office so we’re hopeful when we get operations set up and running we will help reduce that backlog not only in Tampa but also across the state”
The DNA processing facility in Ft. Myers will cost about a million and a half dollars and will requiring hiring additional staff. Long says it should be up and running by October – greasing the wheels of justice from Manatee County south to Collier and east to Okeechobee.
Tuesday, 13 March 2007 00:00
The Number 1 FGCU Eagles women’s basketball team is headed to Kearney, Nebraska after winning last night in front of a record crowd of more than 4000 fans at Alico Arena.
The Eagles face North Dakota State next Wednesday. This is the farthest any FGCU athletic program has advanced. If the team wins, it heads to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
Head Coach Karl Smesko says name recognition coming from the winning team makes it easier to recruit.
“You know our university’s getting national recognition for academics. And then our athletic programs are helping get the name out there a little bit more. So now when we call recruits, especially in Florida, and we say hey we’re from Florida Gulf Coast they know who we are now. Before we were explaining to them who we are. So the name recognition is definitely been increasing every year. Now it’s very rarely that we have to explain to somebody where we’re at, or who we are, or how long we’ve been around. We’re starting to get ourselves established.”
This is only the fifth year for the basketball program at FGCU.
The South Regional Tournament is the last NCAA Division II championship the FGCU women's team will pursue because the school will move to Division I and join the Atlantic Sun Conference next season. Then, the school can’t pursue a national title until 2010.
Monday, 12 March 2007 00:00
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission holds a public meeting Tuesday night in Fort Myers to find out if better options exist for managing Florida’s alligators.
There may now be more than a million alligators in Florida – no one’s counted in a decade. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided last fall to evaluate its options for improving the way it manages the reptiles.
It conducted a Web-based survey and the response showed Floridians to be fairly evenly divided over whether alligator harvest regulations are too restrictive or too lenient. So it set up public meetings around the state to learn more.
FWC’s alligator management program coordinator Harry Dutton says it’s time to revisit what are now outdated rules.
“We’ve been down the path of alligator management for a little over 20 years and we’ve never gone through a comprehensive review of the program. Many of the approaches we’ve taken and continue to take were based on information that’s starting to be dated. The alligator population isn’t at the same place it was 20 years ago and there might be room for doing things a little differently.”
The state wants to reduce the populations of alligators in residential and high recreational–use areas. The meeting Tuesday night in Fort Myers will focus on public safety and nuisance alligators. It’s at 6:30 in the Lee County Commission building.
The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says there were more then 275 unprovoked alligator attacks on humans since 1948. About 18 of those people died. Several recent attacks took place in Lee County, resulting in three of those deaths.
A public hearing in Fort Myers Tuesday night will focus on public safety, while the state evaluates its alligator management program.
FWC’s alligator management program coordinator Harry Dutton says Southwest Florida is a core nuisance alligator complaint area people they are tolerant of humans.
“Alligators are uniquely different than a big mammal like a panther who requires just vast amount of wilderness and basically people-free space to really thrive. Whereas the alligator, they’re more like a deer in terms of not minding living in close proximity to people. Sharing a shoreline with a community doesn’t seem to bother them.”
Other key areas up for review are recreational and commercial harvests and alligator conservation. An FWC online survey found Floridians are evenly divided on whether the state’s alligator harvest regulations are either too restrictive or too lenient.
The meeting is Tuesday at 6:30 at the Lee County Commission building.