Gazette Extra: Florida students reclaim passion of Stoneman Douglas

Gazette Extra: Written by Esther Cepeda. February 28, 2018.

It would, no doubt, repulse Marjory Stoneman Douglas to know that an unthinkable shooting at a high school bearing her moniker has sullied her good name.

But we can’t let that horror recast such a remarkable woman’s legacy—she was far too accomplished to sacrifice her name to the worst possible bad news.

Marjory Stoneman was born in 1890 to an entrepreneur father and a concert-violinist mother. A child of affluence, she attended Wellesley College, where she majored in English, became involved in the women’s suffrage movement and graduated in 1912.

Let’s put this into context: In 1910, of all the bachelor’s degrees earned by the tiny percentage of the population who was even able to attend college, only 23 percent were earned by women.

After graduating (and marrying, thus adding on the “Douglas”), Stoneman Douglas, at the ripe old age of 25, started writing for The Herald, the newspaper which would eventually become the Miami Herald, where her father had become the publisher.

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TC PALM: Uncooperative Florida Crystals holds key to Lake Okeechobee reservoir expansion | Analysis

TC PALM: Written by Tyler Treadway. February 2, 2018.

Whether the proposed reservoir to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges will be enlarged appears to be up to Alfonso and J. Pepe Fanjul.

The Fanjul brothers own Florida Crystals, which owns the land that most logically could be used to expand the project's footprint.

"Any solution to expanding the project has to involve Florida Crystals," said Thomas Van Lent, science and policy director at the Everglades Foundation.

The Fanjuls were among 14 landowners with large holdings south of Lake Okeechobee who signed a letter to the district stating they "are not willing sellers of our farmland to the government."

The state law creating the project also allows for swapping state-owned land either south of Lake Okeechobee or elsewhere for land adjacent to the reservoir site.

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NY TIMES: How to Stop Eating Sugar

NY TIMES: Written by David Leonhardt. 

If you’re like most Americans, you eat more sugar than is good for you. But it’s entirely possible to eat less sugar without sacrificing much — if any — of the pleasures of eating. Surprising as it may sound, many people who have cut back on sugar say they find their new eating habits more pleasurable than their old ones. This guide will walk you through why sugar matters, how you can make smart food choices to reduce sugar consumption, and how you can keep your life sweet, even without so many sweets.

The first thing to know: Added sugars, of one kind or another, are almost everywhere in the modern diet. They’re in sandwich bread, chicken stock, pickles, salad dressing, crackers, yogurt and cereal, as well as in the obvious foods and drinks, like soda and desserts.

The biggest problem with added sweeteners is that they make it easy to overeat. They’re tasty and highly caloric but they often don’t make you feel full. Instead, they can trick you into wanting even more food. Because we’re surrounded by added sweeteners — in our kitchens, in restaurants, at schools and offices — most of us will eat too much of them unless we consciously set out to do otherwise.

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Surprising Origin of American Flamingos Discovered

National Geographic: Written by Liz Langley. March 10, 2018.

Few of us Floridians are native to the state. Even our emblematic flamingos were widely thought to be escapees from captivity—until now.

A new study sheds new light on a long-standing controversy by suggesting flamingos are indeed true residents of the Sunshine State.

There are six species of flamingo, and the American, or greater, flamingo is found in Florida. The bird also lives in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America.

"During the 1800s, it was commonly accepted that [flamingos] were native," says study leader Steven M. Whitfield, a conservation ecologist at Zoo Miami's Conservation and Research Department.

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NY TIMES: Big Sugar Versus Your Body

NY TIMES: Written by David Leonhardt. March 11, 2018.

The sugar industry and its various offshoots, like the soda industry, have spent years trying to trick you.

Big Sugar has paid researchers to conduct misleading — if not false — studies about the health effects of added sweeteners. It has come up with a dizzying array of euphemistic names for those sweeteners. And it has managed to get sugars into a remarkable three-quarters of all packaged foods in American supermarkets.

Most of us, as a result, eat a lot of sugar. We are surrounded by it, and it’s delicious. Unfortunately, sugar also encourages overeating and causes health problems. As confusing as the research on diet can often seem, it consistently points to the harms of sugar, including obesity, diabetes and other diseases.

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NOAA: Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ is the largest ever measured

NOAA: Written by Keeley Belva. August 2, 2017. 

Scientists have determined this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and marine life, is 8,776 square miles, an area about the size of New Jersey. It is the largest measured since dead zone mapping began there in 1985.

The measured size is close to the 8,185 square miles forecast by NOAA in June.

The annual forecast, generated from a suite of NOAA-sponsored models, is based on nutrient runoff data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Both NOAA’s June forecast and the actual size show the role of Mississippi River nutrient runoff in determining the size of the dead zone.

This large dead zone size shows that nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf.

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TC PALM: Lake Okeechobee reservoir to cut discharges approved by SFWMD; heads to Army Corps

TC PALM: Written by Tyler Treadway. March 8, 2018.

A proposal to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges will soon be on its way to the head of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The South Florida Water Management District board Thursday unanimously approved a design for the project developed over the last several months by district scientists and engineers.

The project's plans are to be given to Ryan Fisher, who heads the Corps as acting assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, by March 30.

Corps to Congress
The Corps is scheduled to review and forward the plans to Congress for inclusion in the upcoming Water Resources and Development Act by Oct. 1.

"We'll push hard for congressional approval and appropriation," said Matt Morrison, the district's head of federal policy and coordination who led the design and planning for the project.

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ORLANDO SENTINEL: Florida coastal environments are collapsing

Orlando Sentinel: Written by Kevin Spear. March 4, 2018.

Central Florida's Indian River Lagoon, North Florida's Apalachicola Bay and a trio of coastal estuaries in South Florida are in the throes of ecosystem collapses that threaten sea grass, fisheries, recreation and local economies.

What's to blame? A historic toll of chronic pollution and crippled drainage has been compounded by drought in recent years and El Niño downpours this winter.

The troubled environments are far apart, but their stories are similar and even intertwined.

Health of the Indian River Lagoon along Volusia and Brevard County was mauled earlier this decade by "super blooms" of green algae and an infestation of brown algae.

The onslaught killed a combined area of sea grass twice as large as Titusville and was linked to deaths of manatees, dolphins and pelicans.

After a lull, algae is smothering the lagoon again, but the timing is unusual; such rampant algae ordinarily occurs in summer.

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WINK: Red tide causing fish to pile up on Southwest Florida beaches

WINK: Written by Kelsey Kushner. March 2, 2018.

A sight on the beach no one like to see. Red tide has litter the coastline on Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs with dead fish.

The situation is much worse than it was just two days ago.

We asked officials when they plan to clean the fish up but no one’s taking responsibility.

Right now, Florida Fish and Wildlife says they’re seeing medium levels of red tide in Lee County.

And it’s bringing in hundreds of rotten fish, scattered for miles along the shoreline.

WINK News reached out to the county who says its up to FWC to clean up the beaches.

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MIAMI HERALD: Waters off Florida Keys hit with rare red tide. It’s prime suspect in fish kills.

Miami Herald: Written by Jenny Staletovich. March 1, 2018.   

A rare red tide has spread across waters off the Florida Keys, likely triggering numerous fish kills reported by anglers.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists began tracking Karenia brevis, the algae that makes up red tide, in southwest Florida north of Monroe County several months ago. On Feb. 19, they reported elevated levels near Sandy Key on the western edge of Florida Bay.

Red tide can kill fish, cause respiratory problems and make shellfish dangerous to eat.

Wind and current likely carried the tide from the north, said FWC spokeswoman Michelle Kerr.

Over the last month, anglers reported seeing large fish kills, although it’s still not clear the algae killed the fish, that included grunts, small eels, trout and cowfish, along with bigger barracuda and ladyfish.

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