You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Florida’ category.



   Make no mistake about it: the same lands we fought so hard to maintain as wild spaces within the Alachua Forever guidelines are under attack again this Nov. 8th.  It’s the Plum Creek nightmare all over again for our citizens. This first affront to common sense came under the guise of Envison Alachua, a proposal that sought to develop and mine Alachua County’s green spaces.  The Plan’s primary backer was Weyerhaeuser, a company  currently on the US Toxic round-up list, Canada’s Toxic violators list plus the company is being sued in at least three counties in Europe for creating toxic waste sites.

Why do I think Weyerhaeuser is behind the signs placed about town that ask voters to vote against funding Alachua’s Wild Spaces? Basically, the company’s slimy phosphogypsum (more on this later)* foot print is all over the message on those signs, the ones that claim the measure will increase taxes. NOT SO!

   The measure to vote for funding Wild Spaces is a RENEWAL of the same tax measure we, the voters, elected to pass in 2008. It doesn’t represent a tax increase as claimed on the signs, but rather the preservation of Alachua County’s wild spaces. So why the lie on the signs? Why the misdirection? Why the I couldn’t fool you with Envision Alachua last time so I’ll try again by claiming the Wild Spaces measure is a tax increase?

   The rub is mostly about the 37, 495 acres in Alachua County, the Lochloosa Forest. It’s part of Alachua’s Wild Spaces, part of lands kept, supported and maintained by the tax that will be renewed if this measure passes.  Weyerhaeuser and other developers would love this land to be underfunded. Then, they might get it.

Currently, 443,210 acres of Florida are under phosphate mines, and companies that  use and development these and new phosphate mines earned a cool  1.13 Billion dollars in the year, 2000. That’s a heap of cash, and this mining process creates not only thousands of jobs, it renders Florida mountains of problems.

To make it simple, earth containing Phosphate is about 30 feet below ground level.  The earth that’s over the phosphate is called the Matrix, or overburden.  Thing is, once the Matrix is cleared away and the phosphate is extracted from the earth the dirt that’s left is full of  stuff called phosphogypsum-way back when people used to see huge mounds of this dirt near the phosphate mines…remember? Perhaps, if you’re my age, you played on those mounds as a kid.

The EPA came along not too long ago and discovered that phosphogypsum was full of radium, it’s radioactive, and it had to actually be kept in tall stacks-like cooling towers-for public safety. Currently,  over a billion tons of radioactive phosphygpsum is being held in 25 stacks located around the State of Florida. Worse, when the phosphate companies go belly up they walk away from the radioactive towers leaving them for our state to clean up. The cost of cleanup for just three of these towers in Florida recently cleared 160 million tax dollars.

phosphatedragline_5
(Phosphate mine in Florida—they’re no good for hiking.)
   Yeah-no. Alachua County residents have to vote “YES”  on the WILD SPACES measure.
   We love our green spaces, Nature, and we don’t need big business lying to us while trying to erode our support for our environment. We also don’t need phosphate mining in Alachua County.  Those company’s can keep their mines elsewhere and the 140 million they spend yearly on trying to monitor their pollution controls.
    Here’s the dirt on the measure,  Wild Spaces and Trails:

   “The Alachua County Commission has placed a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to rejuvenate the county’s conservation land-purchasing program, Wild Spaces Public Places. Voting YES on this measure would extend the program for eight years and raise $130.2 million to protect more that 27,000 acres of parks and recreation lands that remain on the acquisition list.

 

These funds would also help pay for Gainesville’s $81 million parks, recreation and culture master plan, and fund park improvements for Alachua County and the county’s nine smaller municipalities.

If you believe saving water and land through Alachua County Forever, and improving our parks, trails, and recreational facilities is important, then vote YES for WILD SPACES AND PUBLIC PLACES on November 8, 2016.”http://www.fcvoters.org/wild-spaces/

    See you around town, or in the woods, parks and trails. Isn’t that nice.
Franque23

Did you know that 5 tons of phosphogypsum is created when just one ton of phosphate is produced? Me, neither-that’s a bad trade-off…

Advertisements

(click the pic for a better view)

Having a terrible time down here....it might rain tomorrow!

I’m a nut for body surfing-the riding the ocean waves kind- more than once going out into tropical storm waves that towered over my head just to catch that ride. I’d rise and fall with those powerful waves so I might stroke at their top and slide down their belly, dragging my left arm in the water so I’d lift to the top of the same wave to slide down it once more before being smashed to the ocean floor or tumbled head over heels until my body met the bottom. My head full of salt water, my legs wobbling to straight, I’d dive under the next breaker and head out to do it over again, sometimes for hours on end.

WAVES UP!!!

securedownload (1)securedownload (3)

As a six-year-old, I spent glorious summer mornings on a beach blanket with my family at Long Island’s famous Jones Beach. There my sister and brother taught me how to body surf the shell stuffed, crashing waves.

The beach view stays in my head, that dazzling dark blue water line that meets a lighter blue sky so often dotted by white puffy clouds. My brother chose to live much further from the shore and once asked me what I liked most about the ocean. This view was my answer, though riding those waves…

Looking at the shrimp boat

Looking at the shrimp boat, this is the day my brother asked me about my love for the sea.

During my twenties I lived with my wife on North Tropical Trail near Cocoa Beach, Florida, swimming every morning while she and I started work in the mid-afternoons. My parents owned a house in Satellite Beach just south of Cocoa for over 35 years-that stood three blocks from the Atlantic.  We visited often with our family in tow.

 

Mom's last day at the beach....

Mom’s last day at the beach….at her home by the sea in Satellite Beach

14495454_10210068251967873_7571947101147003435_n If  you get to Ormomd Beach enjoy the Beach Bucket chow-14433094_10210068251527862_6345061734774287213_n Dale and I hung out and ate right on the beach side-standard fish place fare with a most spectacular view…

It wasn’t until this past weekend while spending three nights ocean side in Ormomd Beach that the question came to my mind once more: why do I love the beach so much?

the mornings are incredible at the beach,, and I did catch one--my wife took this shot.

The mornings are incredible at the beach,, and I did catch one-but my wife took this shot.

the balcony gave a great view....

The balcony gave a great view….

The sky trumpeted a light, bright fluorescent blue amusingly streaked in wispy white strands of clouds;

14502877_10210069047427759_894359846325182830_n the birds flew by in numbers I hadn’t seen for years; the waves, still driven by a recent tropical storm, crashed the even sandy shore making thunderous rumbling sounds one after the other, again and again.  I fell into a trance with my next sip of coffee.

I felt the warm sun, the breeze blew by feeling like a comforting newly washed bed sheet. Children’s laughter, the calling birds, waves crashing, all of it combined to even my breathing and still my head. Suddenly, as if I’d slipped, I felt as though I was inside the womb of the world, a startling place, a living, breathing , pulsating place of life so large it contained the entire earth.

That’s when it hit me.

I imagined myself back in my mother’s womb, resting comfortably with little to do but listen to the ongoing sound of blood rushing through my Mother’s veins and arteries as she breathed. One wave of rushing blood after another, and each with a slight pause before the next loud roar of life-giving blood and oxygen rattled my senses. This was the first I knew, maybe all I knew, and if I’d a thought, it would’ve been that this would go on forever since it had all come without rhyme or reason.  Does a newly conceived fetus decide to stay or go back? No. They stay inside within the ever flowing sounds of life.

Those same ocean waves, their crashing foam, their retreat only to smash the shore line once more has always tingled my ears and thrilled my being. Is it because they resonate so much like the first sounds I’d heard while inside my mother’s womb? To me, the likeness between the two lined up so well that the thought fit. I came to from my trance sitting in a place I’d always been. Yes, I’d arrived and walked away from my birth, but maybe merely from one womb into another, a much larger all-encompassing one; earth. And one sound the earth makes while breathing is that of the crashing sea upon any shore.

Up, down, in, out, over and under, swirling left or right, the waves move on and they’re never as far away as they might seem. The world is ever connected, including us. We are born to be born to be born. If we are not in our mother’s womb, then we romp in the womb of life. It’s nice to see it all now-the sea and life.

You've helped make our day, year-life.Way young but my shirt says it all….never far from the sea.

securedownloadPeace….we all love peace.

Franque23

My books are on Kindle…. The Avatar Magic series, by Gerald Franquemont..I hope you’ll read them….

 


The library district I work for, The Alachua County Library District in Florida, has made the national news? Usually when this happens we make feel good, happy days, we’re one of the ten best libraries in the country type of news. Not today.

To be specific, the story about our library district refers to a patron who claims our buying preferences are bias, tainted with a prejudice, a mess of a heap of spending that leans towards liberal material  purchases while giving the thumbs down to books or media that favors the conservative right.

The book in question is, Clinton Cash, the graphic novel version.  The headlines on the matter state that “A Florida Library Bans book….” Below is the actual immediate follow-up to the headline.

The Alachua County Library District denied Alachua County resident Ann Lhota’s request to make Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel available to borrow.”

Let’s be clear—Not buying a book for the library shelves is a far cry from  banning a book, but there’s so much more that goes with this story, and none of it is being discussed in the news stories.  Not only has our library district not banned this book, we own ten or more copies of the book, just not the graphic novel format. The Alachua County Library owns this book.

It is relevant to note that only 60 libraries nation-wide have bought this book in the graphic novel format. Why? This  I can’t answer, but it’s clear that 99% of library purchase departments country-wide deem buying this book a poor use of tax payer’s money. This basically means the purchase departments for libraries across the county don’t think the graphic novel will circulated enough to be worth its cost. In our case, the hard print version of this book has not circulated well up to this date-that could change with all the commotion this so-called news story has created.

It’s also important to note the Alachua County library has actually bought 35 of 39 purchase requests this patron has made over the past two years. Actually, this is an astonishing number of purchase requests for any one patron to make within a two-year period. I think it nice that she is so motivated but it’s even more mind-blowing that our purchase department has bought such a high number of her book request! Why this one book is stuck in her craw I can’t say…but her complaints on this matter have been as highly motivated as her interest in submitting purchase requests.

Ann Lhots has complained to town commissioners,  to newspapers and to library officials about this decision to not, at this point, pick up one of her 39 purchase requests. Fellow sympathizer’s for her cause have sent e-mails from around the nation, some flat-out rude, laced with name calling, crude expressions and vile wishes. Why? We house over 250 thousand books in just one of eleven locations comprised within our library district-the issue is over one format of one book that we do own in another.

More to the point, why is this story national news? How bizarre.  Tsk-tsk to the papers that ran this story. Of course, the fuel to this over blown story lies within the motivation of those who wish to portray libraries as national hot beds of radical, liberal thinking.

It’s a common core belief of many on the Right or conservative side of politics that libraries should not be funded by tax dollars. Case in point.  Texas had the nation’s lowest state funding for its public libraries  when George Bush Jr. was its governor.  So yeah, people who might like us to carry the graphic novel version of, Clinton Cash, a book that leans ‘right’ when it comes to embracing Hillary Clinton’s downside, may well be among those who think libraries are ill-suited for the public cause.

The bottom line is pubic libraries have no agenda but to exist and to provide free and open access to any type of information-factual, entertaining, trendy, now or then, to every edge of knowledge or furthermost out there speculation. It’s all good if it’s information, that’s any public library’s unspoken motto.

Please go out and visit your public library; we love seeing patrons. The materials we provide are free to access and librarians across the country are available to help you locate what you hope to find. As for Ms. Lhota’s complaint, I would have expected a “Thank You for buying 35 of the 39 books I requested you buy,” instead. Or, at least a smile.

The papers running this story should have taken a broader look at the story before spending their hard-earned money on the ink it took to print.

See you in the public library.

Franque23–I’ve been a library Specialist for the past twenty-two years.


April showers have already brought April flowers-(Click on the pics for a much better view)

The red single Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer---I find the different varieties of this plant amazing.

The single red Hibiscus is a simple reliable bloomer—I find the different varieties of this plant amazing. The petal is extremely soft to the touch.

With American’s declaring war on about everything, drugs, immigrants, poverty, crime, being fat, too thin, a commie, cop, black man, social security recipient, slacker, rapper or street walker, etc….I thought a reconnaissance of my yard this spring was in order.

Our Hibiscus flanks a walkway now surrounded by twenty foot high Oranges trees, a Valencia, a red seedless navel plus one grapefruit.  I bought these on the same day about 8 years ago….at the time, they all fit nicely in my back seat.

We've nine oranges trees of differing variities but only six are yeilding-three more have to age a bit more.

We’ve nine oranges trees of differing varieties but only six are yielding-three more have to age a bit more.(Shadow stands in for a size comparison.)

I open the front door and love this sight.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man's Beard Tree...currently in full bloom.

The path less taken steps by the bird bath, roses and our Old Man’s Beard Tree…currently in full bloom.

I remember this rose as being a Tea Rose, but the size of this year’s blooms have me scratching my head…..

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

The not Tea Rose plant?!?!

See?

A handful for a Tea Rose.

A handful for a Tea Rose.

Nearby, underneath the Old Man’s Beard Tree, we have a number of pineapples growing. This year’s warm winter seems to have started the pineapples bearing about 6 months early…

I've nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we'll see!

I’ve nine pineapples coming, but I suspect they may be on the small size-we’ll see!

See last years pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

See? Last year’s pineapple came in large, and of course, I planted the tops.

Over all yard view….

a bit of trimming and upkeep, but I like the feel. It's a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

It takes a bit of trimming and upkeep. Thing is, I like the feel. Landscaping, planting gardens for food or flowers and random trees to flower or fruit, it’s a reason to get out and listen to the birds and Hawks above.

Our “Victory Garden”* is located to the left of shot above. Beans, tomatoes, egg plants, herbs, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce. peppers-yellow, green, red-and banana peppers, everything is coming along fine.340

My buddy stays close at hand and helps me routinely patrol the yard for squirrels…

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow is my backup,,or am I his,,not certain.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Shadow reminds me each morning to check the pool for snakes or unwanted stray cats.

Speaking of monring....our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Juniper blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.

Speaking of morning….our yard has several spots where lovely Mexican Petunia blooms appear anew each day,,dropping most pedals by night only to burst forth more blooms by morning.(drought resistant)

 I love these, though they last only a few days…the Amaryllis Belladonna, or Naked Lady plant…Great thru droughts, a delicate bloom in clusters. And, at the risk of turning this into a drought resistant plant blog, I have to add the wonderful Plumbago-

Just breaking out in bloom

Just breaking out in bloom

 

It's another no brainer.....a hoax head's up!

It’s another no brainer…..we should ask politicians running for any office not how a subway card works or how well the know how to eat pizza, but what they  know about growing stuff-just saying…

Just the idea of politicians planting more than BS got Shadow running in circles!

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don't run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

Actually, Shadow does this-if we don’t run him, he runs himself like a madman/dog

 

We've three Myer's lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yeild often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person's face!

We’ve three Meyers’s lemons planted, and they seem to bloom nearly year round, and yield often. Plus, we have one Ponderosa Lemon,,,the kind that gives fruit as large as a person’s face!

The place would be perfect is I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin' the joint.

The place would be perfect if I could just keep those roadsters from buzzin’ the joint.

three children, all grown up1

My three roadsters long ago.

Now, more about the Ponderosa….

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

My grandson standing next to a few Ponderosa Lemons

A meyrs next to Ponderosa

Our Meyers’ next to our Ponderosa Lemon

caught my eye this morning.

This caught my eye this morning.

It’s true, I’ve left out a lot, like the Indigenous Jasmine that towers by our front door each year( fifteen feet or higher) to scent the entire yard for months only to die back to the ground every winter,

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

This unusual clumping bamboo-type Jasmine blasts fragrance over at least a 1/2 acre each night.

The Mulberry and fig trees,,,you’re welcome, squirrels are very important to us.

We've two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other....

We’ve two figs-the one I water regularly is twice the size of the other….a huge Mineola Tangelo is in background(honey bell)

The side 1/2 acre features three types of orange trees, a blueberry and several invasive lantana’s the butterflies love.

a look at Shadow's 1/2 acre run, petunia's and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

a look at Shadow’s 1/2 acre run, petunia’s and a Chinese mandarin and Satsuma in the background.

Invasively neat.

Invasively neat. (Can’t leave the mailman out of the fun)

The beauty of Florida is not just the weather, the ocean, springs, lakes and rivers, but what a person can grow  in the smallest of yards if they would like. It’s a jungle out there, and we can nurture it so it nurtures us.

Cheers during Spring in Northern Florida.

Franque23

 

 


Phosphate mines cause cancer……

An aerial view of an open-pit phosphate mine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is walking away from an area in central Florida where it had raised fears that residents living on top of former mines were being exposed to dangerous radiation levels.An aerial view of an open-pit phosphate mine. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is walking away from an area in central Florida where it had raised fears that residents living on top of former mines were being exposed to dangerous radiation levels. (Shutterstock/B. Brown)http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/epa-abandons-major-radiation-cleanup-florida-despite-cancer-concerns/

 

A thousand year old stand is cut in the USA to build a dam....

A thousand year old stand is cut in the USA to build a dam….

Many think  Nature is not a part of us. I recall reading books and essay’s or hearing opinions that placed Man and the Nature of our planet in juxtaposition. For so long the world of Nature has been thought to be somehow  unrelated to each of us on a personal level. Of course, Nature, and our environment is outside and inside of us on a constant basis throughout every hour, every minute and every second of every day of our lives. The Nature of our planet lives through us as part of our biochemical body, our senses and our understanding.

This is why it’s important for citizens of Alachua county to ask the commissioners to turn down the plum Creek plan. It will allow mining on our county’s East side and that’s not good.

Here, In Alachua county, Florida, the people still have one last chance to turn down a phosphate mining proposal for the East side of Gainesville-It is important for our outer and inner bodies in this county that this proposal to mine, called Envision Alachua,  is stopped. County commissioners will meet this Thursday, Feb. 25th at 5 PM , at East side High School, to hear people’s opinions on the matter and to vote yes or no. This is our chance to make a difference; to protect our environment and help Alachua county’s air quality remain as pure as it is now. If you live on the West side far away, you still will eventually breathe the same air I will or have-it’s just the nature of life and air to circulate.

For more on the huge downside of Phosphate mining in Florida, please read this- http://www.sierraclub.org/florida/phosphate-mining

It turns out the Native American saying, Be one with Nature, was not a suggestion or request, but a fact.

We all get the idea of Body Bubbles. It’s that uneasy feeling we have when someone encroaches our invisible body bubble that tells us this surrounding zone of space really does exist. Thing is, our individual lives extend far beyond our perceived body bubble. Every person, large or small,  sitting, walking or even running consumes on average about  19 cubic feet of air per day. Think of a crowded room, a meeting, someplace you have to be or go that’s full of people, and ask yourself a simple question: whose air am I breathing now?

A full size pine can produce up to 28 cubic feet of air per day....plus they absorb CO2... STill--we cut them down without much thought of how connected we as a people are to their growth and health.

A full size pine can produce up to 28 cubic feet of air per day….plus they absorb CO2… Still–we cut tress down without much thought of how connected we are as people to their growth and health.(Canada-timber company at work)

People are connected in a physical way to the nature of everything that’s around us.

People invisibly move in and out of other people’s lives through the routine task of exhaling and inhaling–we share the  air we breathe with almost everyone we encounter. More, we share our breath with every living thing on the planet. Worse, we share our breath with every non-living thing as well. Rust oxidizes, rubber will eventually break down and then there’s the way that we as a society produce power.coal-power-plant-emitting-carbon-dioxide-smokestacks-three-fired-emit-pollution-60081810 Coal power plants emit 40% of the carbon dioxide  found in our atmosphere…..

powerplant

The importance of curtailing industrial waste and smoke-any type of pollution-should not be over looked. Certainly, we can’t help but to take in pollution as we breathe but we can limited the amount of poisons our lungs are infusing into our blood streams during the process.

The landscape we live in is mapped in our heads every day of our lives.

Central Park is inside every New Yorker's lungs and mind of every day. The planner of this park got that.

Central Park is inside every New Yorker’s lungs and mind  every day. The planner of this park got that.

The planners of this mine in Canada , didn’t get it, or forgot, or maybe they were never told how connected everyone is to everything we do.

Don't look now, but these mines are wrecking our lives.....

Don’t look now,  but these mines are wrecking our lives…..

A phosphate mine is a fairly horrendous thing to our environment and to our sense of well-being. It’s time for citizens of Alachua county to stand up, to Stand by Our Plan as expressed  by the will of 75% of our voters when we passed Alachua Forever last November.  I hope you can make the meeting, or write our commissioners…. Please ask the commissioners to step away, take a deep breath and rethink passing this proposal. Vote it down.

Franque23

 

 


One More Meeting to Decide the Fate and Future Alachua County
Thursday, February 25th, 5:00pm * Eastside High School

A Phosphate mine in florida

A Phosphate mine in florida

It used to be that about everyone understood the meaning of this saying, a pig in a poke, but not so much now. Thing is, this so-called Plum Creek plan as presented under the guise of Envision Alachua is exactly a pig in a poke, something many Alachua County citizens are buying into without really knowing what they’re getting.

The pretense of this plan is that it provides for better development of the East side of Alachua County.  The claim is that it will preserve green space, eliminate the use of septic tanks in the new project area, provide for work centers to enhance employment in the region and create an environment that might attract further, progressive community building  in the area.

Very little of what is said to be favorable about the Plum Creek plan is true, while much of the plan is truly bad.

Though preserving 50% of the area as green space and the exclusion of septic tanks are two parts of this provision, the rest of the favorable blathering about Plum Creek is the “poke” that’s hiding the “Pig” in this plan.

The only major change in the provisions of land use not already provided by the recently voted in Alachua Forever plan is this:  Plum Creek Envision Alachua allows mining in the East side area.

To understand what this means, just check the Keystone area of Florida and search for the lakes that were once there before mining came to the region…..

by removing large volumes of phosphate from the ground every aspect of the environment becomes at risk(this mine is in Florida.)

By removing large volumes of phosphate from the ground every aspect of the environment becomes at risk(this mine is in Florida.)

Simply put, plum Creek is a mining bill that opens up Gainesville’s East side to phosphate mining-that’s the sole purpose of this plan in a nut shell. Speaking of nuts, who in their right mind would want a five acre property located near a phosphate mine? Especially when they had the pristine NW side of Gainesville to choose for a home site? Can you imagine the citizens of the North West side of Gainesville approving a phosphate mine in their local community?

It would never happen that the NW side of Gainesville would allow a phosphate mine near their homes….

The projected employment gain by this plan ranges from 2000 new jobs down to 200 jobs-the latter is more likely a true estimate at best. Why? Mining has never produced an environmental sound,  booming community nearby its mining site. In fact, mining has left environmental disasters all around the world in their wake.

Put a phosphate mine on the East side and you’ll never see people who are first moving to Alachua county choose that area as a place to settle….never.

The county has already stated that the proposed Plum Creek land does have abundant supplies of phosphate beneath the ground. Why is this important?

Another part of the Plum Creek plan that’s a Poke hiding a Pig is in its name. There is no Plum Creek anymore-Weyerhaeuser has bought the entire Plum Creek company. This is important since, although Weyerhaeuwser has glowing reviews on its timber management, Weyerhaeuser has perhaps the world’s worst record for causing or leaving behind environmental disasters when it mines anywhere.

 Yes-the new owners and developers of Plum Creek, Weyerhaeuser(pronounced ,ware-howser), is currently on the US Toxic round-up list, Canada’s Toxic violators list, and being sued in at least three countries in Europe for creating toxic waste sites.

Is this the type of company Alachua County citizens want to let mine in our county? No, is the only answer.

I remember hearing the then director of our Alachua County Library district, Ann Williams, as well as commissioner Charles Chestnut discuss the need for further development on our East side as far back as 1996. It is a struggle to develop the East side as quickly as we would hope to, but at least the beautiful Cone Park Branch of the Library district has come to fruition and fits the bill for progressive, advantageous development.

Our East side needs much more, but the last thing the area needs is mining. That would be a death knoll to future, more attractive development in the East side. This Plum Creek plan that allows mining is a slap in the face to all those who have worked to improve the East side for so many years.

Envision Alachua-The Plum Creek plan-is a pig in a poke. Don’t buy it. Please attend the final meeting on this issue at East Side High  school and ask the commissioners to check the true price tag of this proposal-mining- and ask our commissioner’s to turn down the Plum Creek plan.

One More Meeting to Decide the Fate and Future Alachua County
Thursday, February 25th, 5:00pm * Eastside High School

Thanks,

Franque23


The bugaboos in America’s health care system are unexpected expenses, catastrophic loss and/or cost as we age, plus the way our health care industry separates the haves from the have-nots in our society. Inherently, by design, our health care system creates another way for us to hate one another, or think of ourselves as better or worse than the rest.*

But, I  should start from the beginning, from a conversation we had in small waves…

We hit Cocoa Beach early this past Saturday just before the crowd arrived. It was a calm morning; no waves, no wind, the heat index would be high later on for sure.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is one filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything on the sand.

The beach we prefer in Cocoa is filled with tourists from all around the world-and you see people doing about everything. We did have someone doing hand stands in front us, but  I’d no idea that I’d hear something this day that would turn me on my head as well.

My wife had already struck up a conversation with a Canadian by the time I’d waded out to her side, standing in ripples of waves beneath clear blue skies, the ocean horizon so easily seen.

People could stand anywhere they wanted, while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked their way well off shore...

People could stand about while big shrimp boats, cruise lines and others tanked well off shore…

It's a casual beach where people wear what they want-but mostly the college crowd goes further south to Coconuts...

People wear, or not, what they want-but mostly the college less-dressed crowd goes further south in Cocoa to Coconuts…Here, the beach is somewhat conservative, but internationally accepting of fashion and preference…I like the meeting of diverging cultures.

The surf made it easy for people of all ages to stand around in chest deep water, others did crawl strokes, or paddled a surf board. Beginners road there first ripple.

Calm waters have the advantage of teaching the young or novice how to ride out those waves.....

Calm waters can help the young or novice to learn how to ride out those waves…..

With no big swells to  body-surf, I was all ears as my wife stood in the sea and talked to her new-found Canadian friend. The man hailed from Toronto, a ‘coincidink‘ since that is the only Canadian city my wife and I have ever spent time visiting. In his late fifties, a business man, the Canadian talked about the guns in America as opposed to those not often carried in his country, but what I wanted most to hear about was his take on his country’s National health care system…

He pays a lot in taxes, but stressed what a relief it was to not worry about end of life expenditures that are bound to come, and those costs related to being a father of two and an aging man.  He remembered various family health issues, ER visits, broken limbs etc.(his son plays Hockey) that were taken care of quickly and at no additional, unexpected cost to his pocket-book! He added, Canadians have a prepaid world-wide health care system! Canadian citizens can seek health care anywhere in the world for treatments not given in his country, or for those procedures attended to better by other providers world-wide, and Canada pays for  it ALL  but for the airfare it cost Canadian citizens to get to where ever they need to go.

He poo-pooed the idea that there were long waiting periods or waiting lines for health care in his country, but he’d heard that was the rumor. I decided that anyone could come up with thousands of examples of people dying in U.S. waiting rooms if they wanted, anecdotal experiences, but that wasn’t the norm in the U.S.  And, I guessed rumors in our country were the same when it came the truth about the Canadian health care system-just anecdotal crapola.

They have secrets......American health providers, and one is that they spread endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that national health care doesn't work...especially for them, that is. Think about, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America????Not.

They have secrets……American health providers I mean. Their industry spreads endless rumors, fear, into the hearts of Americans that National health care doesn’t work…especially for them.

Not that I draw my conclusions from one conversation, but from many readings on the subject and simple observation. Think about it, where are there lines of Canadians dying to get into America for health care, or for any other reason????Not-!

Thing is, it gets worse, for the U.S. workers……

The man’s job, like most professional business jobs in Canada, has a paid for non contributory pension. As listed, his employer pays one-half each month of his pension cost, and then his employer also pays the other half of his liability which he can claim as a tax deduction! (In effect, he pays nothing, but gets to claim 1/2 of his pension contribution cost on his taxes as a deduction as if he had paid it! )This is routine in Canada-a working man’s benefit.

The small ocean waves rolled by as I thought this over. The man has paid for life health care for his entire family, no worries there, and a routine, run-of-the-mill pension in Canada that ensures his well-being in retirement. I started to think about the Canadians’ I’d met while in Toronto and how relaxed they all seemed-happy. No wonder.

To be fair, housing in Canada is something like California’s housing market on steroids, but those snow hounds can afford the prices, and sit back as their pensions add up, and the people are covered for every medical emergency. This is a far cry from what it’s like to be a working American. Sad, for us.

So about those waves that eased on by-I thought I’d glide with one for about ten feet to get the nothing of a thrill.

No one was worried about the big waves coming, but bobbed about in the easy up and down drift of the day's ocean current.

No one was worried about the big waves coming as we all bobbed up and down in the easy drift.

I launched off my feet to hit the top of a two footer when something completely unexpected happened!  I hit some sort of vortex, not a rip tide mind you, but a weirdness that sunk my relaxed body straight down through the water and smashed me face-first along the ocean’s bottom. The non-wave then pushed me along the sand, scraping my nose and, actually, I’d thought I’d possibly broken it. I stood up in calm waist-deep water where children played nearby and couldn’t fathom what had just happened. It was all too shocking, and that small wave made me totally get the power of the ocean-it all starts with small waves.

The thing is, society usually starts to bring about powerful change with small conversations that build between people as waves do in the ocean, as one small wave builds to the next. Eventually, those conversations can become a roar that is heard nation wide, one that can’t be ignored by the leaders anymore. The Vietnam protests are a perfect example of a powerful wave of change. That protest didn’t start with hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. It started with small, connected conversations. Maybe, like this one.

Start or keep talking about the wave of changes you think America needs to go through in the coming years. Voices have ways of echoing, expanding, and if we continue talking, eventually our leaders will have to listen.

Franque23

*Result of listening to my wife think out loud…..

Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.


Baked Alaska has nothing on melting Florida this summer.

Welcome to the dog days of summer.....

Welcome to the dog days of summer…..

Ha! This state has put Hell out of business. Now, if a person lives a routinely horrid life, the Devil merely sends them to Florida to spend out their time as a sand flea.

It’s so hot in Florida even the bugs have slowed to a crawl…

Floridians go to indoor sauna’s to cool off.

Ya don't wanna get stuck in traffic.....

Ya don’t wanna get stuck in traffic…..

I’ll never think of a good lookin’ gal as being  hot any more…Ha! Not!! Anyway, the outside temps here in the land of the palms have given the word hot a scorching new threshold, a plethora of sizzling platitudes: way hot; fried and fired up; burned out; back draft day; blistering baby; no touch day and hell’s breath day to name a few.

Wanna lose weight? Blitzkrieg your way to Florida from up north. Stand outside a few hours then go back home. You’ll be amazed by what a difference few bazillion degrees can make. Then again, there’s an upside to the heat. Think of the money to be saved by cooking on the sidewalk, though who’ll be left alive to eat the food? As I get it, maybe only sharks.*

 more good news--Floridan roads haven't melted like they have in India-not yet.

more good news–Floridian roads haven’t melted like they have in India-not yet.

Nudist throw in the towel and run for cover.

Be sure to turn that door knob with your gloved hand and bring a diver’s oxygen tank into your car when driving.

Florida should change its name to IV central. The ants have burrowed to China; the roaches have flown to the Himalaya’s. KKK members have quit burning torches and decided to throw ice parties instead.  The last remaining umbrella in Florida was sold one hour and ten minutes ago. Sad.

So yeah, hitting forty below up at Lake Bonaparte, New York, during the winter is not perfect, but jumping over forty degrees above Hell heat in Florida during the summer is centrally unnerving as well. Freeze or fry, that’s the question McDonald employees ask as they hand out driving directions to the north into the hands of liquified tourist who dribble up alongside their window.

Idea man strikes again!

Idea man strikes again!

Come to think of it, the Floridian afternoon showers are such a blessing when they do come that they create the perfect time for state-wide wet tee shirts contests! Where or where is our state leadership in this one? At least the students at U of F have an idea.**

student skip the wet tee shirt idea and run for a fountain....

students skip the wet tee-shirt idea and run for a fountain in their undies….

Singing in the Rain should be Florida’s state song.

Check out a beach scene in Florida before AC hit the fan----thankfully, our society came to its senses for a bit before we went nuts-again.

Check out a beach scene in Florida before AC hit the fan—-thankfully, our society came to its senses for a bit before we went nuts-again.

Times have changed….

But I still miss the hats!

But I still miss the hats!

So yeah….Floirda cooks in the summer.-

Franque23

*http://www.businessinsider.com/sharks-found-swimming-near-active-underwater-volcano-2015-7

**http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/image_581191b4-0e9f-5442-b1e7-449c37c7044d.html

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

I may be getting old and grumpy-okay, I am. I may go around mumbling curses under my breath, smashing walls(who saw that corner coming? Not me.), breaking dishes that slip through my fingers, kicking defenseless sticks, raking leaves-sometimes I burn them-and I’ve stepped on more than a few ants in my artsy- ol’ fartsy years(don’t ask), but these are the good things I do.

But really, I'm just concerned....

But really, I’m just concerned….

About being irritated…..I’m starting to think the city of Gainesville and Alachua County leadership is a bit screwy.

Gainesville had a reputation of being the Berkeley of the South back in 1970’s South.*  It wasn’t just the daylight nude block parties or the clothing optional Halloween Ball that earned the city it’s reputation. The leaders seemed progressive-they planned stuff like Farmers Markets,bike lanes, city beautification(once earning Gainesville a top ten tree city award in the USA), and tolerance was promoted when it came to casual pot smoking or large outside gatherings of like-minds. (Omit Gainesville eight here**).

Gainesville used to rock.

I’m one to think that the over-all Laissez-faire attitude put forth by city and county commissioners and authorities alike gave birth to some of the greatest rock musicians of all time…Don Felder; Bo Diddley; Tom Petty; Minnie Reperton; Stephen Stills and Bernie Leaden, to name a few. All either came from Gainesville or lived in the vicinity-and nearly all at the same time! Think about that list of creative souls-amazing.

Freedom bares creativity, happiness, an energetic populace and a true spirit of cooperation. That truth is exemplified by Gainesville’s past, but that past is history, too…

Now, Gainesville and the County are being directed- or maybe controlled- by a bunch of numb-nuts.

Drat! That's the problem in a nut shell!

Drat! That’s the problem in a nut shell!

Why do I think this? The advent of a disastrous Bio-Mass plant has been found by an independent firm to not be in the best interest of the county citizens. It turns out, the Bio Mass plant is a polluting smoke machine that will not lower energy prices and worse, one that will cost those living here hundreds of millions of dollars. Hence, the name calling is a good place to start. But, what exactly did that independent panel write about the plant? Read on-

“Navigant’s report affirms the view that the commission’s biomass decision was made mostly for ideological reasons rather than being based on a good assessment and risk analysis of the benefits outweighing the costs.

The report makes it clear that the commission should’ve walked away from the contract with GREC.

There’s more in this report about how wrong Gainesville’s commissioners were to build the plant under the changing contractual terms they finally accepted-but you get the point-name calling is an appropriate response for citizens to take when faced with elected officials who refuse to bend to the will of the people, read the facts, change course when that is best, or read the hand-writing on the wall.

From another finding….”Burning wood and other biological materials for energy emits as much or more pollution than burning fossil fuels, including coal.”

http://www.pfpi.net/air-pollution-2 Read it and weep Gainesvillians!

Of course, the same money it cost to build a stupid bio-mass plant would have been better spent on solar power development. This would have been in the best interest of Alachua County citizens, the ones who pay the bills, but the politicians here now choose to lag behind, follow others who can’t see the sunshine. It seems they’re afraid to lead, or they’ve been coerced by big money to make poor decisions.

It’s brain drain time in Alachua County/City of Gainesville….I think this calls for an idea…

images (23)Wait! Why stop with crazy ass power decisions  when there’s more to do? The aesthetic view of the clouds, sun and stars can be obliterated as well!

Recently, it was proposed that a large, twelve story commercial(money-making) property be built downtown. This is all the rage in the local paper-what a great idea-it’s the way to go! No, it’s not a good idea, but another example of outrageous lack of leadership. Here’s what’s wrong with this idea. Long ago(2009, in those ancient times) faithful representatives of citizens of Gainesville directed-by a vote of 7:0- that no buildings over six stories be built downtown since we enjoy seeing the sky! Imagine! Some people want to see beyond a block! (here’s the ordinance)

Name: URBAN MIXED-USE 1 BUILDING HEIGHTS (B)
Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
File created: 4/2/2009 In control: City Attorney
On agenda: Final action: 4/16/2009
Title: URBAN MIXED-USE 1 BUILDING HEIGHTS (B) Ordinance No. 0-09-01; Petition No. 34TCH-07 PB An ordinance of the City of Gainesville, Florida, relating to density and building height in the Urban Mixed-Use 1 zoning district (UMU-1: up to 75 units/acre); amending subsection 30-65.1(d)(4) of the Land Development Code by deleting redundant references to density and building height; amending subsection 30-65.1(d)(5) by imposing a maximum overall building height with a minimum of two stories and a maximum of six stories and by deleting the option of seeking additional stories by special use permit; providing a severability clause; providing a repealing clause; and providing an immediate effective date.

As noted, this ordinance passed with a 7;0 vote, a tally that had been well pushed by public opinion. But, alas, that was 6 longs years ago-a lifetime or two for butterflies, and maybe maggots. Now, it seems Gainesville’s elected officials can’t wait to make our town look like Miami.  Developers drool at the thought.

Recently, a vast woodland within the city limits was bush whacked and chain sawed down.  The area ran a muck with wild growth,(think forest) full of annoying birds, rabbits, every type of small animal on up to an often spotted bob cat. First, all the underbrush was bulldozed away, and then all trees but sand pine, maybe an oak or two, were destroyed in the name of “restoration.” Wowoow–there’s a laugher! Of course, this is all part of a 100 year-long plan, so when it fails to improve our environment citizens can hold those who made this scourge of our forest accountable-we’ll be here to do that, right?

Since one bad land raping decision deserve another, it’s said county officials plan to use a poisonous defoliant upon whats left of the acreage to help. eradicate all unwanted growth. There’s just nothing like killing everything in sight, when you have no insight, no sense, no environmental concern but for a bogus one hundred year plan. Bah!

You might guess, I have another question about this massive killing of forest land we need to do now in order to restore our environment 100 years later: does that stuff we removed burn well in, like, Bio-Mass plants?

So yeah-call me grumpy, but I’m right.

1)The bio mass plant is not a good idea-It’s a wrong way turn for power development in Alachua County. Elected officials refused to read the stop sign on that. The independent review states there was no blatant wrong-doing by elected officials,(meaning they didn’t actually go out and shoot people), but it’s clear in the report that they were hardly less than corrupt in their decision to force this project though. Back room deals, off the books conferences/agreements, difficult postings of meeting times meant to hear public views, and a willy nilly decision to own not just a % of the plant, but take on all of it’s liability makes this whole fiasco seem like a Gainesville tea-pot doom hoe-down.

2) Bulldozing woodland for a 100 year plan is not enforceable, and allows for no direct accountability . It’s a sham that appears more like a pine planting that can be used in the bio mass plant within 20 years time that’s hidden under the guise of environmental development. Wildlife and forest be damned.

3)Building up in downtown Gainesville is expressly against the people’s will and that of the elected officials who voted 7;0 against high-rise development as recently as 2009. Still, all the PR I read states Gainesvillians can’t wait to be hemmed in by city canyon-like buildings.

Hmmm,,lets review the term I used for those responsible for our local  leadership’s IQ  downturn: Numb-nuts-….. yeah, it fits, though I could think of worse terms to use…believe me, others have.

The worst news? There’s so much more to talk about.

Franque23-

*http://www.gainesville.com/article/20060213/LOCAL/202130320

**http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258051/

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Categories

Advertisements