Produced by Eva Gray
Last Week, the Public Service Commission approved the price of fees for opting out of Smart Meter usage for Florida Power and Light customers. The company has installed over 4.5 million smart meters in Florida homes since 2009 – The PSC agrees that the meters save money for customers and the utility and would help the company monitor energy use more efficiently. But many customers prefer to opt-out of having a Smart Meter, citing health and privacy concerns. FP and L would have to send a meter reader to their home every month, and for that service they want to charge a fee. Commissioners approved a 1 time fee of $95, $10 less than the company requested, and a monthly fee of $13, $3 less than the company requested.
Venice Resident Marilynne Martin found out she had a panel of 10 smart meter located right behind her bedroom in her apartment building's exterior. She says Health and Privacy issues are main concerns with Smart Meters...
- With these personal concerns comes the issue of Public Health and Safety. Groups around the county have appealed against Power Company's right to install Smart meters without customer knowledge. In response to Public health concerns, the Maine Center for Disease Control submitted a report to the the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2010 on Smart Meters, and concluded that Smart Meters did not prove to be a threat to public health. However, the report admits “Since many of the sources of radiofrequency (RF) exposure have not been in common existence until
modern times (radio, television, cell phones, pagers, cordless phones, wireless communications), there are likely to be uncertainties related to their health risks for years or decades to come.” The report still encourages research into alternative energy monitoring methods. Maine, like many states, has pushed smart meters over the last few years, has conceded to an opt out option, while approving opt out fees. I asked Martin about her efforts to appeal to local governments...
Florida's once pristine natural environment saw the development of millions of acres of marshland in the last half century. With phosphate mining, agriculture, and commercial development, the state must backpedal against the negative effects of pollutants in our watershed before the situation worsens. The Everglade's Coalition is one group that seeks to remedy the sickness affecting our environment, by bringing together local, state and national environmental science experts. I spoke to Cara Capp, the Everglades restoration program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association and national co-chair of the Everglades Coalition – which is holding its 29th annual conference starting tomorrow in Naples, with the theme of Protecting Coastal Communities. She explained more about the Coalition ...
...Capp explained what the goals of restoration are for the everglades...
... A portion of US 41 that crosses the state blocks water flow from the Everglades to the keys, and the coalition has identified several areas that would be raised. The first mile bridge opened last year, and the next section is a 2.6 mile portion for which Gov. Scott has promised 90 million dollars for the completion over the next 3 years. For more information, visit http://www.evergladescoalition.org/
produced by Eva Gray for The JMR
Buddhist monks and nuns from Atlanta Georgia arrived to the gates of Fort Benning, in Columbus Ga on Saturday afternoon. The group of over 20 people just finished a 100 mile walk to the military base in protest of the The School of the Americas (SOA) - a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. As the Buddhist order’s procession came up to the gates, they joined several thousand occupying the threshold, who were there as part of the 23rd annual weekend long School of the America’s Watch Vigil.
In 2001 The SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
It was initially established in Panama in 1946 however it was expelled from Panama in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty (article iv) and reinforced under the Treaty Concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal (article v).
Since 1946, the SOA has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor in their own countries. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the what many call the School of Assassins.
Private Manning Support Network
40 years since the military coup in Chile murdered and ousted democratically elected Salvador Allende, the children and families of the murdered, tortured and disappeared are seeking justice.
Here’s Oscar Otzoy from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. He told the crowd on Saturday about his experince as a Guatemalan who has been forced out of his country due to the economic conditions caused by the war waged by the SoA trained dictator Efrain Rios Montt in the 1980s.
Many told me that the action that happens at Fort Benning is part of the ongoing solidarity work from the united states with the people of Latin America. Delegations from the School of the Americas Watch have met with Latin American leaders, leading to 7 countries pulling out of their participation with SoA.
In addition, the organization works for legislative change in the United States. I spoke to Rebecca Canner - of the SoA watch legislative working group. been coming to Fort Benning since 1997, except 2001 when she was in prison for 6 months for crossing the line.
This is the first in a 2 part series of my trip to the school of the America’s protest. In part 2, you’ll hear about what solidarity work means for those who attended, as well as a word from father Roy Bourgeois, who first protested the SOA 30 years ago. This is Eva Gray for WSLR.
Aired on August 16, 2013
Shane Donglason and Eva Gray interview Dream Defender LaQuinta Alexander on a live edition of The JMR.
"Up next, we are featuring a special guest LaQuinta Alexander, a student at Florida A and M University, and activist with the Dream Defenders - a statewide organiation with chapters in 8 universities accross florida. Just yesterday, the group ended their occupation of the Florida capitol, which lasted for 30 days and 31 nights - starting on July 16, three days after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed african american teenager in sanford, florida. They promised to stay until Scott convened a special session on the Stand Your Ground law and several other criminal justice issues. But scott did not budge. and not enough lawmakers showed their support
Laquinta got involved with the dream defenders while attending FAMU in Tallahassee, and says she strongly identified with the groups mission
to fight for youth, against racism and against the justice system, which she says is really the "injustice" system. She arrived on the second day of the sit in, and has spent 30 days in the capitol.
Hi Laquinta, thank you so much for talking with us today.
Can you tell us why the dream defenders decided to sit in at the capitol?"
A group called Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) staged a protest at a local Sarasota Wendy’s on Saturday, November 16th. SWER called for Wendy's to sign a fair food agreement that would affirm the rights of tomato workers and improve their working conditions. Shane Donglasan talked with protesters and found out how the local Wendy's responded.
The Long Bar Pointe land development project is set to go before the Manatee County Commission on August 6.
In 2008, the county commission approved plans to build over 4,000 homes, plus 150,000 sq ft of commercial space. Carlos Beruff, along with developer Larry Lieberman, will go before the Manatee County Commission and ask for that approval to be amended, allowing them to build a mixed-use development- that includes single- and multi-family homes, a hotel, marina, office and commercial space, and a conference center - on 463.2 acres.
Last weekend, protesters to the project, gathered in boats, kayaks, paddle boards and jet skis on Sarasota Bay to let people that they were not willing to give up the last piece piece of undeveloped shoreline in Manatee County. Shane Donglasan spoke with Terri Wonder, a member of the Bay LIfe Preservers Group and one of the organizers of last weekend’s protest.
Manatee County Commissioners unanimously voted against the text amendment that would have opened up the now protected areas of Long Bar Pointe to more development.
Developers want to build a high-end resort, housing and marina on more than 460 acres in southwest Bradenton. They said the project would provide jobs and improve the area.
Those against the project say it would have a negative impact on the coastal waterways, including the destruction of mangroves and sea grass. The opposition had spent the past month protesting the streets, rallying in the downtown commission offices and garnering more than 6,500 petition signatures against the project.
However, the commission did narrowly agree to a map amendment That will open Long Bar Point up to not just residential but mixed-used development as well, including shops, hotels and restaurants.
In order to get that deal, the developer had to drop plans for a marina.
Andrea Graddus was present at the Commissioner’s hearing and spoke with Caroline Meekeegan, who opposed the Long Bar Development and owner of Florida Journeys Communications, which specializes in creating educational programming about Florida’s natural resources.
At the state level of environmental campaigns is the Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign. It is made up of a coalition of more than 4,000 volunteers and 300 conservation and civic organizations from across the state working to put the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Group leaders the amendment is necessary after conservation program budgets were slashed over the past few years. According to the Florida Water and Land Legacy website the state Legislature has reduced funding for these programs by almost 100 percent since 2009.
The proposed Amendment would allocate less than one percent of the state budget (starting in with $625 million in 2015) to land and water conservation, management and restoration in Florida.
Shane Donglasan talked with field director Aliki Moncrief who explained more about the amendment and the group’s campaign efforts.
Produced by Eva Gray
Universoul circus performed their first show in Atlanta 1994. Cedric walker started the show with a dream: to showcase black talent. 20 Years later, the circus visits 25 cities annually, and even tours internationally. Many have praised UniverSoul for championing diversity in it's act - But animal rights activists and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, say the circus is known for animal suffering. Based on a former UniverSoul Circus employee's sworn affidavit, PETA has submitted a formal complaint asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate allegations of chronic abuse and neglect of the elephants supplied by Bradenton-based Jorge and Louann Barreda to UniverSoul Circus. The whistleblower reported that elephants were routinely struck with bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp steel hook on one end. PETA says that circus acts that force animals to do unnatural tricks, are becoming a thing of the past. Here's Jared Goodman, who spoke to me from PETA's office in DC.
aired Friday, November 15th on The Jumping Mullet Report on WSLR 96.5 LPFM.
Produced by Eva Gray
The Sarasota Chalk Festival is this week. In its sixth year, the Festival hosts an international field of 500 artists, draws upwards of 200,000 viewers and, according to its founder, Denise Kowal, will bring an estimated $10 million in economic impact to the area.
Kowal, who has battled for the funding of this 1.4 million dollar effort has grappled with city officials over permitting, earned the enmity of Burns Square neighbors over the impact on their businesses, and threatened her own financial stability.
Last year, a “Going Vertical” display of murals caused more friction, and traffic congestion and street closures raised the ire of some Burns Square business owners, ultimately leading to a reduction in festival days this year.
But Kowal says she persists because of the positive impact the festival has had on people's lives.
..This year, the festival attracted over 1000 applicants. Artists began working on Wednesday, teeming up grids for the layout of their designs. The theme this year - "A legacy of Valor" - which pays homage to veterans, and is meant to inspire patriotism and embrace freedom.
I asked Kowal about mixing the idea of patriotism and art.
I got to visit the festival early this morning, where some pieces had already taken shape, and some were just getting started. I spoke to Vira from Italy, who is working with a team of 5. to present an image of peacemakers inspired by an early 1800's painting depicting stranded French naval men.
Most of the artists use a method called pouncing to transfer their images to pavement, which is just the first step in the creation of a chalk piece. D Sabian, an artist from St Pete, whose chalk piece will depict a young boy Skyping with his soldier father, explained the process.
The festival will run until Sunday, and is located at Burns Square, downtown on Pineapple Avenue. Kowal explained another event hosted by the festival.