The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is recommending 16 animal species be removed from the state’s threatened species lis.
The recommendations follow biological status reviews of 61 species that began in 2007. Eight of the 16 species recommended for de-listing can be found in Southwest Florida. They include the Black Bear, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Limpkin, Snowy Egret, Gopher Frog, Florida Tree Snail and a fish called the Mangrove Rivulus.
The recommendations follow the adoption of a new system for identifying imperiled wildlife that the FWC adopted in September of 2010. “The old system was definitely broken,” said Dr. Elsa Haubold who manages the FWC’s biological review process.
“It was incredibly controversial and it was difficult to focus any attention on conservation of our listed species because a lot of the attention was what we call the species. We had a multi-category list. So one of the major changes that we made is that we now have a single category list. Either you’re at a high risk of extinction or you’re not.”
Wildlife Commission staff are in the process of creating a detailed management plan for each of the different species evaluated.
Those plans could take up to three years to complete and will include measures to keep the animals from slipping back into peril.
A drop in seasonal donors coupled with a nationwide slowdown has created a critical shortage of blood throughout the region.
Recent demand has left the Naples-based Community Blood Center with a mere three day blood supply.
“We had a few blood drives over the weekend and we used a lot of those resources by Tuesday morning,” says Lauren Rosen, community relations manager for the CBC, an affiliate of Naples Community Hospital Healthcare System.
It’s estimated more than 12,000 pints of whole blood are donated annually by the residents of Southwest Florida.
But, when local snowbirds return home for the summer, a reliable source of blood donors is lost.
Nationally, about one third of eligible adults make regular blood donations.
And, what’s donated locally stays local and immediately goes out to area hospitals, according to Rosen.
While all blood types are needed, Rosen add, there’s a particular shortage of negative typed blood.
“Somebody has an Rh negative blood type, that means they don’t have the Rh factor within their blood, then they can only get a negative. If you have positive blood like I am, A positive, I can receive O+, A+, A- and O- blood. So, if you’re a positive blood you can receive negative blood but if you’re negative, you can only get a negative,” says Rosen.
Donate to win
CBC wants to encourage new blood donors to give, so it’s giving away a trip for four to Busch Gardens to one lucky donor.
“We want to give somebody something special to look forward to for taking time out to save three lives with just a single pint. Having a drawing is just another way of taking the fear out of giving blood that people have,” says Rosen.
Donors as young as 16 can give blood, with their parent’s approval.
And, donors may give a pint of blood about every two months.
Each pint is separated into its component parts … red cells, platelets and plasma –and may potentially help three different patients.
Blood drives are being held this weekend at the Hollywood 20 Cinemas in Naples.
Local health officials have issued as safety warning as record setting temperatures - including a triple digit heat index - is expected to settle over southwest Florida in the next few days.
This time last week, temperatures in Fort Myers broke a near decades long high of 96 degrees, stopping just shy at 95.
That's promoted a word of caution from local health officials who worry because the warning signs of overexposure to heat and humidity are often brushed aside.
"Some of the early symptoms --- nausea, weakness, vomiting --- these are often mistaken for other general illness types of symptoms. And, ignoring the symptoms of course can be very deadly. We know from the CDC that nationwide, nearly 700 people each year die from heat related injuries," says Susan Lindenmuth with the Estero Fire Rescue Department.
Jeff Welle is a registered nurse and health educator with the Collier County Health Department.
He's calling on neighbors to keep an eye on one another as high temps can quickly turn heat exhaustion into the more deadly heat stroke, requiring immediate hospitalization.
"If you see someone who is hot, and dry, their skin would be extremely warm, upwards of 104 to 105, and if they are showing signs of confusion, weakness, you wanna stop by and help them out", says Welle.
More than a dozen people have died nationwide this summer from heat related illness.
None here in southwest Florida.
Experts advise drinking water throughout the day, avoid overexertion and seek out air condition spaces during the hottest parts of the day.
Need help paying FPL bills this summer?
For older residents who may have trouble paying their utility bill this summer there is financial help available.
Seniors can choose from two options according to Eric Flusche, with Senior Friendship Centers of Lee County.
The first is a local program called E-HEAP or the Elderly Home Energy Assistance Program.
"Basically what that program is, is if they are at risk of being disconnected and they meet certain income requirements, then they can qualify for assistance on paying their bill to prevent the disconnect," says Flusche.
Lee County Human Services runs a similar energy assistance payment program for low income residents.
Residents can find more information by calling the Elder Help Line at 652-6901.
A Fort Myers man is on his way to being the world record holder for most blood donations when he gave two more pints Thursday at the Lee Memorial Hospital Blood Center. Friends, family, and officials spoke with and congratulated John Sheppard as he was getting his blood drawn.
Sheppard has been donating blood for 60 years. He wasn’t aware of how much blood he has donated, until staff at the Blood Center brought it to his attention.
The current world record for most blood donations is approximately 220 pints by an Australian man. Sheppard just donated his 315th pint of blood.
The 79-year-old is completing the documentation needed to get his number in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But Sheppard says this record is not about him.
“It’s first of all about a good friend of mine who was severely wounded in Korea in 1951 – and I began giving in honor of him,” he said.
“It’s also about encouraging people when they’re young to begin donating – that you can give the rest of your life as long as your veins and health holds up.”
Sheppard’s blood donations have impacted almost 950 people to date.
In Japan, officials are still dealing with radiation leaking from nuclear power plants damaged in the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. FPL spokesman Mayco Villafana said earthquakes aren’t a factor in the Sunshine state and that their facilities are pretty much hurricane proof.
“These plants have taken an incredible array of processes and procedures to make them safe and secure. In the case of Turkey Point those power plants have already gone through category 5 hurricanes and have resurfaced without any kind of impact” he said.
FPL operates two nuclear power plants in Florida including Turkey Point, which withstood Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in August 1992.
FPL’s St. Lucie nuclear facility went through a number of hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, although none reached category 5. Progress Energy also operates a nuclear plant at Crystal River on the Gulf Coast.
Right now Tropical Storms Bret and Cindy are swirling around in the Atlantic – neither poses any threat to Florida.
The National Park Service and Florida’s largest electric utility are preparing for a land swap in Everglades National Park. Since its boundaries were expanded in 1989, the park service has been buying up privately held parcels.
One of the last parcels is a 7 ½-mile-long corridor owned by Florida Power and Light (FPL). The utility bought the land in the1960s with an eye for building future transmission lines. Now, the parcel sits in the middle of a flow-way that will be created when construction of a bridge replacing a portion of the Tamiami Trail in Western Miami Dade County is complete in 2013.
Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan Kimball said the bridge will allow water from the Northern Everglades to flow south, nurturing the River of Grass.
“We want to be in a situation where we can take full advantage of our major investment with the bridge so we can bring water into the park because right now we’re only getting on an average annual basis about 30 percent of the water, so the park is dying of the thirst,” he said.
Before the park can acquire the land from FPL, it must complete an Environmental Impact Statement and the comment period ends July 25. But, FPL Spokesman Mayco Villafano said the utility is anxious to move ahead with the land exchange.
“It will give us a parcel of land that’s going to be in the periphery side of the park so we can serve the electrical needs of a growing south Florida and the park at the same time will have the land that is inside the annexed area,” he said.
Park Superintendent Kimball said the FPL tract is one six remaining private parcels in the park, which also include three commercial airboat tour operations and two radio tower arrays. There are also plans to build more bridges to replace portions of the lower Tamiami Trail to increase water flow into the Everglades, but those plans are contingent on federal funding.
The number of dead and dying fish washing up on Collier County beaches is declining. But hundreds of marine animals from crabs and lobsters to eels and nurse sharks were seen on beaches or swimming near the beach Monday and Tuesday. Experts think the fish kill was caused by an algae bloom which created a so called dead zone in the Gulf…an area with very little dissolved oxygen. WGCU’s John Davis spoke with Carli Segelson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute which is monitoring the situation.
21- year-old Scott Arciszewski is a student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He’s a graduate of Edison State College and North Fort Myers High School.
The FBI said hackers targeted the InfraGard Tampa Chapter site.
InfraGard and the FBI exchange information to protect national and private-sector assets.
The FBI has arrested more than a dozen other people nationwide for their connection to the hacking group “Anonymous”. Arciszewski’s arrest is connected to those arrests.