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Issue 594 Delete 06/28/2012 at 5:15pm
EvergladesEverglades Restoration
Plan Approved

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently received notification from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that the permits for Everglades restoration projects requested earlier in the month have been approved. This paves the way for an historic 12 year plan that includes an array of treatment projects and water storage construction, all with the goal of improving the water quality of one of the world's most precious habitats, the Everglades.

Months of scientific and technical discussions led to the comprehensive plan, which the Department will enforce through state-issued permits and consent orders that include milestones for project completion, as well as enforcement mechanisms to ensure the milestones are met. The plan calls for the District to construct approximately 6,500 acres of additional state-of-the-art storm water treatment areas and close to 110,000 acre-feet of associated water storage. Many core project components will be designed, constructed and operational within six years.

Issue 593 Delete 06/21/2012 at 3:55pm
Deputy James ButlerDeputy Butler
Go-To Guy For Islanders

The Island Sand Paper would like to introduce our readers to the Lee County Sheriff's Office Community Police Officer for Fort Myers Beach - Deputy James Butler. While many business owners are likely already familiar with Deputy Butler, those who have yet to meet this easygoing and friendly officer need to know that he is the go-to guy whenever they have issues with those breaking the law.

Deputy Butler explained that his role in the Sheriff's Office is that of Community Police Officer and a member of the ‘Selective Enforcement Unit' - meaning that he and his team focus on areas of the Charlie (West) District where there are criminal issues.

"The community policing part of my job means that I get out with business owners and manage police issues as well as go one-on-one with beach residents,” he said. "I've handled literally hundreds of issues here like spring break, and events like the Fourth, and we're scheduled to be here for all events - such as Taste of the Beach - where we can interact with people and get to know them.”

Issue 592 Delete 06/14/2012 at 3:53pm

Artificial ReefArtificial Reefs Attract Interest

A couple of weeks ago the Sand Paper did a story on the Mohawk, a WWII vessel slated to become the first wartime ship ever sunk off the west coast of Florida for use as an artificial reef. While the economic impact to our area from such a project is expected to be quite significant – area dive shops are already filling rosters for charter dive trips to the historic ship – the artificial reef program has been flourishing in Southwest Florida for over 30 years. Appealing to sports fishermen and divers alike, there are 23 such structures dotting the sandy shallows of the Gulf – some as close as Cape Haze – located in 18' of water in Charlotte Harbor – to Charlie's Reef, which is nearly 30 miles off of Captiva Island in 87 feet. According to a study done in 2009 by the University of Florida, these folks spend more than $60 million in the county each year, with an average of 1,350 people using the reefs every single day.

Issue 591 Delete 06/07/2012 at 3:57pm

Green LivingGreen Island Living

They say no man is an island, but one Islander is leading by example. He has forged a way of living sustainably both at home and at work, and he has taken serious steps towards getting off the grid.

The term "green living” gets bandied about a lot these days. Indeed, each of us can do our part to help the greening initiative if we feel so inclined. For Dr. Leroy Hommerding, the concept of green living is "to live in such a way as to be very friendly to the environment and also to one's fellow neighbors on the planet, so that in the long term we are not doing harm to another person.”

"I grew up with a family of five sisters and two brothers in the country. There were a lot of us and we spent a lot of time in nature so we learned what it means to have respect for nature and each other,” said Hommerding.