Saturday, November 4, 2017

How dis America go so Wrong

As a nation when did we stop thinking in terms of right and wrong? Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives, they have just become labels devoid of meaning. Principles that every American held sacred are no longer universally accepted. We once chose the selfless to be our leaders instead of the selfish. Philosophical truths are subject to change based on the polls instead of intellectual rigor. Is this any way to govern a city, a state or a nation?
Our elected leaders and officials are not our best but our most driven. It is more important for our politicians to remain in an elected body than achieve any other goal. The greater good is sacrificed so that our individual leaders can remain tied to their offices. This is the country that we now live where we share no critical thought or moral principle.
How often do we hear from our representatives that “I have done nothing wrong legally” instead of “I have done nothing morally or ethically wrong” when trying to justify an action? The entire premise of public service is to put the good of the community over one’s self-interest. Which means as Montesquieu wrote that the motivating force or “spring” for democracies is the good of the community over those of an individual.
Sadly, we have lost the true nature of that concept. We now apply the words public servant to anyone who works for the government and hero to anyone that wears a uniform. This cheapens the person who actually does serve the public or sacrifices their life for the country. The meaning of words does matter. The reporting of facts untinged by personal bias is the role of the press.
Our political leaders need to have a moral compass and a governing philosophy. We need to hold them to a higher standard. We once voted for people who actually believed in what they said. Leaders that stood with the people. They believed in the common good and not just their next re-election campaign. Their governing philosophy was not the other guy is worse and I will promise anything for your vote.
Politics is derived from the Greek meaning people. A political party needs to be for something not just against something. It needs to represent with clarity of thought a governing philosophy. A political party should inspire for the better not sprout conspiracy theory or pander to our fears. A city on a hill is a far cry from lock her up.
Is this how our country finally ends dissolved into petty squabbles. The purpose being to address wrongs that really don’t exist and to preserve a way of life that never did. By locking out the world does anyone really believe it will go away. The bad will be kept out by walls and jobs that long ago ceased will return. This is just as much a fairy tale than anything in the Brothers Grimm.
Change is inevitable, incontrovertible and un-yielding on our country. No amount of myopic thought or wishful thinking prevent change. It is how you manage that change that is important and consequential. Our political parties and leaders need to help us accept and adapt. Persevere and move forward are the goals. Lying to us about what is possible is the basest of crimes because it robs us of our future.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dumbing us Down

"The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantitive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites(now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."
-Carl Sagan

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Extinction?

When you think “ocean life,” you may picture the iconic blue whale, frolicking dolphins, or even majestic sea turtles gliding through the water. North Atlantic right whales don’t get a lot of notice — probably because there are so few of them. They’re one of the most endangered large whales in the world.

These critically endangered whales live right off our shores in the Atlantic Ocean, with habitats stretching from Florida, along the Southeast U.S. coast, up through the Gulf of Maine — exactly where fossil fuel corporations are intent on drilling for oil.

What's worse, before drilling comes the seismic airgun blasting used to find oil deposits beneath the ocean floor. These ear-splitting blasts are so loud they can be heard from 2,500 miles away, and by government estimates, could deafen or kill up to 138,000 dolphins, whales, and other marine life — including nine critically endangered right whales.

For the North Atlantic right whale, this could mean extinction.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Wildlife

Anti-wildlife interests in the House and Senate moved one step closer to passing legislation that contains some of the most serious threats ever posed to imperiled wildlife—and to the bedrock law that protects them.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Purpose of Art

We should always have art around us! It’s good for us, it lifts our spirits and inspires us to be a better person! Furthermore, ugly, square brick houses are built on purpose to suppress us. Modern architecture teaches and funds only those projects that are square. These buildings push us inwards into the space, in order to keep our energy down. Instead circular, curvy, rounded buildings made of wood, with high ceilings, domes and spirals would be much better, since they are powerful energy enhancers that raise our consciousness.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dirty Banks

As fossil fuel cronies and an anti-science agenda erode our federal government, it's clear we need to flex our consumer power in the fight for climate justice.
Big banks like Wells Fargo fund the companies behind dangerous pipelines -- like Keystone XL, Line 3, and Dakota Access -- that threaten Indigenous rights, our climate, and our communities.
Keystone XL poses a grave and immediate threat to our climate and to every community it cuts through. It would carry 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil -- tar sands -- every day from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It would be responsible for annual greenhouse gas emissions each year equal to 37.7 million cars -- a disaster for our climate.
The pipeline would cut directly through Sioux treaty lands and near several other tribal reservations and the Ponca Trail of Tears, yet Tribal Nations in Nebraska and South Dakota have not been properly consulted.
But the movement of citizens and stakeholders calling on big banks like Wells Fargo to divest from pipelines is growing and working.
Earlier this year the city of Seattle became the first major city to divest from Wells Fargo because of the company's involvement with pipelines. After public pressure, U.S. Bank formally excluded gas and oil pipelines from their project financing. And it's becoming clear that Keystone XL is a risky investment, as companies like Shell and Exxon sell off their tar sands instead of making plans to ship them through the pipeline.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Being taken to the cleaners

We see many examples of the negative effects of monopoly power with little effective oversight, the Equifax debacle just to cite one. Even worse, however, is monopoly power that has captured the regulatory oversight that monitors it. That appears to be the case in Florida with Florida Power and Light (FPL).
A Miami New Times article points out the billions in dollars that FPL gained through rate increases in order to be more prepared for hurricanes was apparently totally ineffective, as 90% of FPL’s customers lost power when Irma hit. That includes areas on the east coast of the state where winds only reached the strength of a Category 1 hurricane. Despite supposedly spending $2 billion to reinforce more than 500 critical power lines and trimming trees near power lines, a major cause of power loss, the damage to the power grid was substantially more extensive than the Category 2 hurricane, Wilma, that struck the state in 2005. Now, obviously, there were differences between the two hurricanes, especially as Irma’s more destructive side hit Florida. But the billions of dollars spent by FPL preparing for a storm just like this does not seem to have had much effect.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Lessons to be learned

Thoughts to consider in Florida:
The cycles of storms and droughts are an inevitable fact of life in Texas. But as he will also tell you — even if you could make the case that climate played no role whatsoever in Hurricane Harvey’s fury or that we weren’t to blame at least in part for the severity of the last drought or the next — those storms and droughts are still more destructive than they ever were before, simply because there is more to destroy.
In the 16 years since Tropical Storm Allison deluged Houston, that city, which famously balks at any kind of zoning regulation, and the surrounding region, which encompasses all or parts of 15 counties, have undergone a period of explosive growth, from 4.8 million people in 2000 to more than 7 million today. Harris County alone, which includes the city of Houston, has grown to 4.6 million, up from 3.4 million.
You can almost feel it, that wave of development, of strip malls and gated communities, of big-box stores with bigger parking lots, rising up from the outskirts of faraway Austin, ebbing toward Houston and gaining strength as it rolls south toward that very spot.
A century’s worth of unchecked growth, has brought prosperity to many. But it also has altered the landscape in ways that have made both the droughts and the floods more destructive and made that prosperity fleeting. Much of the region sits atop the overtaxed Gulf Coast Aquifer, and though efforts have made over the last 40 years to limit withdrawals from it, enough water has been sucked out of it that the ground still subsides in some places, altering runoff patterns and allowing flood waters to gather.
What’s more, those more than 2 million newcomers to the region are living in houses and driving on roads and shopping in stores built atop what once was prairie that could have absorbed at least some of the fury of this flood and the next. What once was land that might have softened the storm’s blow is now, in many cases, collateral damage in what could turn out to be a $40 billion disaster.
It will take months before the full weight of Hurricane Harvey’s ruinous rampage along the Gulf is realized, and it will be years before a full recovery. And in the space between those two points, there might just be a moment to consider how best to rebuild, to pause and rethink how and where we build, to reflect not just on whether we’re altering the weather, but whether there is a way to make ourselves less vulnerable to it. Perhaps we could build differently, or set aside land that would both help recharge the dwindling water supplies in times of drought and slow the floods when they come.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Picture this

Let your imagination take you here:

The Rochelle School was built in 1885, and is located off of Hwy. 234 in Rochelle, in eastern Alachua County.  The school was added to the National Register in 1973, as building # 763000565.  The school was originally called the Martha Perry Institute, to honor the wife of Florida Governor Madison Starke Perry, a prosperous Alachua planter from Rochelle who became Florida’s fourth Governor.  The large two-story school operated from 1885 to 1935.  The building is interesting because of its architecture and because of its use as an educational institution.  The building appears to be in good condition, but it should be confirmed that the roof is not leaking.  The building is in private ownership.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

19 is the new 60

When it comes to physical activity, 19 is the new 60. That’s according to a study published in June, which examined data from 12,500 people who wore tracking devices for a week. “Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low,” said the study’s senior author, Johns Hopkins Prof. Vadim Zipunnikov, “and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds.”
In elementary school, a quarter of the boys and half the girls weren’t getting even a single hour of “moderate-to-vigorous activity” each day. By ages 12 to 19, those figures were even worse. American kids reach their Geritol years before they’re old enough to drink.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Healthcare

When you give Americans the details of single payer, such as the degree of tax increases and government provisioning required, the policy’s popularity collapses. Recent proposals for statewide single payer systems in Vermont, California, and Colorado were overwhelmingly rejected by voters for being far too expensive. Claiming victory because Americans support a label but not its details is just as dishonest as when the GOP crows about Americans hating Obamacare while polls show them supporting its individual components. Such dishonesty is largely harmless in the context of an intraparty policy debate, but would quickly be met with devastating reality if the party ever tried to woo moderates and conservatives with single payer.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Solar energy and the economy

Solar energy alone created 1 in every 50 new U.S. jobs last year, employing 260,077 in 2016, an increase of more than 51,000 jobs over the previous year.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sold!

I've sold my "Dead Lakes" image up at the Arts Center in Gadsden, FL for $999.00

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Cross Creek - 2

"It is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. One is now inside the orange grove, out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another. And after long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again. Here is home."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Cross Creek - 1942

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cross Creek

From "Cross Creek", by Marjorie Kinan Rawlings:
“…the consciousness of land and water must lie deeper in the core of us than any knowledge of our fellow beings. We were bred of earth before we were born of our mothers. Once born, we can live without mother or father, or any kin, or any friend, or any human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in a man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of man.”
- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, from "Cross Creek"

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thought for the Day, or any Day

“For where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds, or of the falsehood of all he condemns; or can say that he has examined to the bottom all his own, or other men's opinions? The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others.”
― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Friday, July 21, 2017

Tobacco Barn

It turns out that the log cabin I wrote and posted two images of was a tobacco barn from the early 1900's.  This black & white image gives it a much more solemn touch.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Another Historic Church in Northern Florida

Jackson County's best example of private preservation of historic sites can be found in 
Dellwood. The community's old Methodist Church, long a landmark in eastern Jackson 
County, has been beautifully restored. The grounds 
are open to the public and a marker at the front
outlines the history of the church and community.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Historic Log Cabin

Exploring once more in northern Florida and came across this historic log cabin. The lumber company that had stripped the ground apparently came across it and did no damage. I hope the historical society hears of it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

19th Century Church

In my travels last week, I came across a quaint old church dated back to the 1800's.  Apparently, it has served as both a Methodist and Baptist Church.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Florida's 4th Governor

Madison Starke Perry was Florida’s fourth Governor.  Born in Lancaster County, SC, Mr. Perry moved to Alachua County and became a prosperous plantation owner.  His plantation was located about six miles east of Gainesville, in the area of present-day Rochelle.  The community of Rochelle was located directly on the Railroad and old Stagecoach lines, and was the hub of business activity.  Mr. Perry’s farm was also on the site of the first civilian fort in Florida during the Indian Wars.

Mr. Perry was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1849, and to the Florida Senate in 1850.  Gaining a wide reputation as an orator, Mr. Perry, a Democrat, was elected fourth governor of Florida, serving from 1857 to 1861.

Major developments occurred during Mr. Perry’s term.  The Florida Railroad was completed from Fernandina to Cedar Key, the border dispute was settled with Georgia, and the expansion of slavery in Florida brought related unrest.

Governor Perry called for the expansion of the Florida Militia and the expansion of military resources in response to the slavery issue.  As the Presidential election of 1860 neared, Governor Perry warned that secession might be Florida’s only option, should the Republican Party be victorious.  Governor Perry recommended that a convention be called to consider secession, and on January 10, 1861, the Convention adopted the Ordinance of Secession. 

Governor Perry quickly ordered the evacuation of all U.S. Troops from Florida military installations, and be replaced by state militia troops.  At the expiration of his Gubernatorial term in October, 1861, Mr. Perry joined the Confederate Army and was soon elected colonel of the Seventh Regiment of the Florida infantry.

Due to illness, Mr. Perry was forced to resign his post, and returned to his plantation in 1863, where he died in 1865.  Mr. Perry is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery along with his wife Martha Starke Perry, a daughter, Sally Perry, and a son Madison Starke Perry Jr., also a Confederate veteran.   The land for Oak Ridge Cemetery was personally set-aside for the community by Mr. Perry in 1854.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Road Trip

Way up in Northwest Florida, where EST meets CST, is the abandoned town of Parramore. The only thing I found left is an abandoned church next to a cemetery. I've been told that people in neighboring communities do the upkeep of the cemetery. I hope to learn more soon.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

An obscure note of Florida history

In 1881, an industrialist/financier purchased 4 million(yes 4 million) acres of a penniless Florida for 1 million dollars. It was his dream to dry up the Everglades for farmland and the creation of cities. Do you know who I'm talking about? Why is his name so obscure in Florida history?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meeting with Audubon

Had a good meeting with the Indian River County chapter of the Audubon Association. I may be able to teach some school children on Florida's history and "Vanishing Florida."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Money and Politics

The word “oligarchy” gets thrown around a lot in progressive discourse, usually to highlight the problem of money in politics, but not many people seem to really settle in and grapple with the hefty implications of what that word actually means. If you say that America is an oligarchy (and it certainly is, which we’ll get to in a second), you’re not merely saying that there is too much money in US politics or that the wealthy have an unfair amount of power in America. Per definition, you are saying that a small class of elites rule over you and your nation, like a king rules over his kingdom.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Another Exhibition Opportunity?

I was contacted by the Vero Beach chapter of the Audubon Society to do a talk on my "Vanishing Florida" project.  We've agreed on January 15th as the day at the Community Center.  Further talks resulted in the possibility of doing an exhibit at the Audubon House, also in Vero.  We've scheduled for this Tuesday, June 27th, for me to visit the Audubon House to see if it can accommodate an exhibit.  More to come.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Abandoned Cemeteries

I visited two abandoned cemeteries on Florida's west coast on Saturday. I am curious to find out what happened to these families and if any still are alive elsewhere. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Vanishing Florida

My exhibit will be held at the Gadsden Center for the Arts and Museum from July 14 - Sept. 30, 2017. The address is 13 North Madison St., Quincy, FL 32351. Here are the links to my first three volumes of my "Vanishing Florida" project. http://www.blurb.com/b/6520617-vanishing-florida-a-visual-story-of-florida-s-lost http://www.blurb.com/b/6923224-vanishing-florida-a-visual-story-of-florida-s-lost http://www.blurb.com/b/7907507-vanishing-florida-a-visual-story-of-florida-s-lost Sincerely, Kevin Boldenow

Monday, June 12, 2017

Corporate Media

Corporate media pundits do not exist to deliver journalism. Corporate media pundits exist to serve as attack dogs for the establishment.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ft. Kissimmee Cemetery

Fort Kissimmee Cemetery is one of the oldest Florida Heartland pioneer cemeteries located on the eastern boundary of the Avon Park Bombing Range in Highlands County, Florida, along the Kissimmee River. The cemetery is approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Avon Park, Florida. The cemetery was started from a community of cattle farmers located along the Kissimmee River near the old Fort Kissimmee site used during the Seminole Indian Wars. Kissimmee River is an Indian name meaning "long water", given to the river by the Creek Indians. Once the Indians were driven further south, the Florida Heartland area was then opened up to pioneer settlers. Getting to Heartland was not easy during the mid-19th century since there was not many well traveled roads except for military roads connecting the different forts. Much of the supplies were brought to these settlers by steamboats and used to haul out their produce.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Florida's Great Freeze

On December 29th, 1894 the course of Florida’s history changed forever. A massive cold front moved through the state. Temperatures logged in Orlando reached an all-time low of 18F and a frosty 24F in West Palm Beach. The bitter cold turned the oranges black on the trees and destroyed most of the crop for the year.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Creativity vs. Data

Creativity allows us to take the data we have, question our starting assumptions about what the data is telling us, and experiment until we make something useful out of it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

DeFunding the banks

This is the perfect time to turn up the pressure on the banks, in particular, for their role in financing the climate crisis. Summer is also the season when most big companies hold their shareholder meetings. And the global divestment movement is putting the screws to companies large and small in demanding that they align their investments with the future of life on earth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We've been had by the mass media

The function of the mass media is not to inform the American public of important things that are happening in their country, it is to turn attention away from the important things that are happening in their country and to keep them sleepy and compliant.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Our Connection to Nature

This is sad: Americans encounter a number of society-wide forces disconnecting them from nature. Americans face competing priorities for their time, attention and money. They live in places that often have more concrete than green space. It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside. More than half of adults report spending five hours or less in nature each week, and most are satisfied with this minimal amount of time. Many parents and older adults lament that children today are growing up with limited opportunities to experience nature. Parents say their 8 -to 12-year-old children spend three times as many hours with computers and TVs each week as they do playing outside.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Everglades Restoration

It is going to take multiple tools and approaches to save our Everglades. Protecting the land north of the lake from intense development is part of the solution. Wetlands throughout cattle ranches in the northern Everglades supply valuable habitat while acting as natural water storage systems that help clean and supply the drinking water to millions of people in south Florida.

Friday, April 28, 2017

1997 Environmental Disaster

In 1997, amid heavy rains, a dam broke atop one of two gypsum stacks at the Mulberry Phosphates plant on State Road 60, unleashing a 56-million gallon spill of the acidic wastewater into the Alafia River. The pollution killed everything in its path for 42 miles, eventually rolling into Hillsborough Bay. The death toll included more than 1 million baitfish and shellfish and 72,900 gamefish near the river’s mouth, 377 acres of damaged trees and other vegetation along the riverbank, and an unknown number of alligators. When state officials hit the company with a multimillion-dollar fine for the damage done, it declared bankruptcy and shut down. (Its insurance company wound up footing the bill.) Ten years later, local and state officials were still working on restoration projects. Meanwhile the old gyp stack was taken over by a larger company—Mosaic—with plans to close it permanently.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ruffling some feathers

anyone with a vested interest in the future success of the Democratic party should be doing everything they can to try and get everyone to forget about their unelectable joke of a candidate as quickly as possible so that they can maybe start winning some elections someday.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

History and Education

Founding father and President Thomas Jefferson once remarked, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” His words were crystal clear: in order for a free society to function, its citizens must be informed about current events, the functions of their government and the history of their nation. Jefferson’s advice, however, is increasingly ignored by his fellow Americans more than 200 years later. It seems that fewer and fewer Americans care to know about how history and governmental affairs affect them personally. The 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report found that only 18 percent of 8th graders were at least proficient in U.S. History and only 23 percent in Civics.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Photography Degree

When you enter the world of professional photography as a photographer, it is your work and how you present that work — not a certificate or grade — that speaks for you.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

1000 Friends of Florida's Goals

For 2017, 1000 Friends has an ambitious list of proactive legislative priorities including: Saving special places by dedicating at least 25% of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (formerly Amendment 1) each year to acquiring conservation and recreation lands through the Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust programs. Building better communities by improving the local governments dispute resolution and providing a more equitable 'preponderance of the evidence' standard of review to impacted local governments in administrative court when dispute resolution is unsuccessful. Protecting Florida's waters by improving last year's water legislation through common sense policies that increase water conservation and reduce pollutants entering Florida's waters.

Florida Legislative action or inaction....

The Florida House and Senate announced their individual 2017-2018 environmental budget recommendations this week. Both chambers propose cutting environmental spending, with the Florida House proposing a shocking 25% reduction in the Department of Environmental Protection budget from last year. Equally disappointing, the Florida House defunded the state's major land protection programs Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The Florida Senate's proposed budget, offered by Sen. Rob Bradley, is equally disappointing. It recommends only $10 million for Florida Forever and no funding for Rural and Family Lands.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ghost Town

Hidden in the woods of the Croom Wildlife Management Area you'll find the forgotten ghost town of Oriole, that is if you know where to find it. The town of Oriole began when families began settling in the area back in the 1800's. These early settlers built farms and started orange groves and traded amongst themselves. In order to get to the area, many people would have take a ferry across the Withlacoochee River to get to this remote location. Eventually the first post office of Oriole was established in 1884 and a railroad line reached the town bringing in further growth. Around this time phosphate mining was a booming industry and the town got their mining permit in 1890 and operated in the industry until around 1915. The town's cemetery can still be seen today if you know where to look. It is known as both the Oriole Cemetery as well as the Giddens Homestead Cemetery. The Giddens family was one of the first families to settle in the area. The cemetery is believed to be the third oldest in Hernando County. Oriole was a small town with only about 100 people at its biggest. Just like many other small Florida towns the great freezes of 1894 and 1895 wiped out the majority of the crops that folks depended on for sustenance. An outbreak of influenza claimed many lives of settlers in the area, most of which were very young judging from the dates on many of the tombstones. Eventually the town of Oriole was abandoned but the land was used by ranchers who built homesteads during the 1900's to the mid 1920's while raising cattle and various crops. Remains from these homesteads can also be found in these woods, there's even a windmill that is still standing serving as a reminder of this bygone era.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

City Planning

To live in a world without pollution and waste, yet keep parks, playgrounds, art and music centers, schools, and health care available to everyone without a price tag, profound changes are required in the way we plan our cities and conduct human affairs. To support this new aim and direction, our city designs, industrial plants, waterways, energy systems, production and distribution centers, and transportation systems must be re-designed and operated as a coherent, integrated, global energy system enabling them to be safe, clean, and energy efficient. In this way we can use our technology to overcome resource shortages, provide universal abundance and protect the environment.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What happened to Ochopee?

What Happened to Ochopee? by Jeff Whichello Like a tall palm tree growing from a single seed, the community of Ochopee emerged from one man’s solitary dream. In 1928, twentyeight-year-old James Gaunt saw undiscovered potential in the swamp that lay on either side of the new road that connected Tampa to Miami. His love of farming and community fueled his actions to build his own world. One of the top producers of tomatoes in the country, Ochopee earned its place on the Florida map but when the market dropped, other adventurers joined. Only people with a certain creativity, workethic, and talent succeeded in this mucky land. An airboat and a swamp buggy venture, animal exhibits, real estate businesses, a water company, a mining operation, restaurants, a motel, bars, a general store, a campground, movie makers, and a skunk-ape followed Gaunt to the grassy field he first declared his home. A small twentieth century pioneer town prospered on the open plain where children were born and families lived in peace. Then, the takers came. These big-picture people were unconcerned about the details of their actions while staring at a map of Florida from their government offices. They were unable to imagine or realize the activities of this unique community living free in the wild. When environmentalists and developers collided on the Ochopee battle ground, it was the common person, the one who scrambled every day to feed their family who suffered in this war. The only one with a stake in it, they had something to lose.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Only Cypress Ghosts Remain

Only Cypress Ghosts Remain The majesty of the giant Tidewater cypress is something to behold – or wish you could – as most of the thousands that once stood near Copeland, Florida have long since fallen to the lumberjack’s saws. The seemingly ageless trees stood for hundreds of years – but one day in 1943, the almost sacred grounds of the cypress were invaded by man in search of cypress for lumber. He carved out a settlement at the edge of the swamplands, built houses for workmen, machine shops, a railroad roundhouse, streetlights, a water system and sewers – a support community for the rape of the cypress. Copeland, north of Everglades City and the Tamiani Trail and south of Alligator Alley just off State Road 29 was a Lee Tidewater cypress town. And at the edge of the ancient Everglades, they came to take the cypress. In 15 years of operation(it closed in 1958), millions of board feet of cypress were marked, cut, hauled out of the swamp by steam engines to a siding of the then Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The cypress was shipped to the company’s Perry mills for sawing into lumber. The whine of the power saw, black smoke of the engines and hustle and bustle of the logging community faded. The large stands stood no more. Birds find the once-dense cypress forest no longer available for nesting. Wildlife misses the trees for shelter and the cleared land now has less water retention. It takes time to grow a tree and hundreds of years for a cypress. There is not too much hope for the return of the giants. Some say the Everglades is drying up and the once misty home of the cypress may become a desert. - George Lane Jr. – St. Petersburg Times, May 21, 1970

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More to it

It is not enough to criticize, point out the shortcomings of society, or advocate that people of high moral character be elected into office; this would do little to advance civilization. What is needed is the intelligent management of the world’s resources, and a comprehensive and workable arrangement of environmental and social affairs that are in strict accord with existing resources and the carrying capacity of our planet.