“Florida Power and Light provided on Saturday a different kind of service than providing electricity to homes and businesses. The utility and Miami-Dade County teamed up for the 36th annual Baynanza Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day. The event gave more than 200 volunteers a chance to remove waste from the Biscayne Bay shoreline and take part in the largest shoreline cleanup in South Florida.”
View video and read entire article
Photo: Tiffany Tompkins
“On one side of the Green Bridge in Palmetto sits the Regatta Pointe Marina, where the liveaboard lifestyle is growing and flourishing. Boat owners take care of their vessels, pay their fees and enjoy their ‘homes’ on the water.
On the other side of the bridge, and many other waterways across the state, it’s a different story.
Federal maritime law allows any boater, with any boat, to anchor in navigable water and stay as long as they want. It’s a scenario that all too often leaves non-functioning vessels in place to the point they become derelict, a community eyesore and potentially an environmental hazard.
In August, Palmetto updated its property ordinance to include language in a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2016 that gives local law enforcement agencies more authority to deal with the statewide nuisance of derelict boats. The law allows law enforcement to take action on boats ‘at risk’ of becoming derelict.
Derelict and abandoned boats tend to draw what are essentially squatters, and the law doesn’t solve the overall issues regarding the difficulties of dealing with irresponsible boat owners. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Randy Bibler was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times, saying, ‘Much of the public doesn’t understand how the process has to be handled.’
It’s essentially an eviction process where certified letters must be sent out and responded to, and tracking down the owners who have long since abandoned a vessel, even if it was registered, can be a daunting process. Agencies can’t tow boats off the water without making every effort to find the owner, Bibler said.
Hurricane Irma and an overactive storm season in Florida made things worse. FWC and the Department of Environmental Protection have been bogged down in trying to find and remove damaged or missing vessels and ensure those boats have not created an environmental hazard…
‘We continue to work on marine enforcement and right now we are working on agreements with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to use their boats,’ Tyler said. ‘The problem with availability is that Irma caused a lot of derelict boats those agencies are busy chasing around.’
Vice Mayor Brian Williams said it’s not getting any better: ‘When you have a boat tying up to a sunken boat, that’s an issue. That group is still an issue and hopefully we can accomplish some change on our waterfront.’
Tyler said the changes in the statute were a good start and the subsequent amendments to the city’s ordinance give him the chance to improve the situation…’
— Mark Young, Bradenton Herald
Read entire article
Photos: Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
“Little things add up, said Ramil Celestin as he plucked a beer carton, a plastic grocery bag and a french fry box off the center lane of Pine Hills Road.
He chucked the trash into the back of a county van stacked with illegal road-side signs that shouted: ‘JUNK CARS’ and ‘DELETE YOUR BAD CREDIT.’ He had snatched up those signs, too.
‘Little things can add up to good, they can add up to bad,’ said Celestin, 57, who has worked for about a year as a ‘beautification technician,’ a title created for the job by Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District.
She will address the Orange County commission…on progress in Pine Hills, one of the county’s largest communities and a place fighting to wipe away the stains of crime and blight.
‘We have a lot of exciting things that are beginning to gel in Pine Hills and, going forward, this is all going to have a huge impact on what people think of when they think of Pine Hills,’ Owens said.
Celestin believes he is making a difference in Pine Hills, where he earns $18 an hour to pick up litter and remove ‘snipe’ advertising signs. He usually works three or four mornings a week.
Celestin, also the CEO of a janitorial business, said he picks up enough trash and litter from the roads and sidewalks of Pine Hills in two mornings to fill up a dumpster.
Ramil Celestin dispose of trash he picked up in Pine Hills as part of the community’s effort to improve its image. He works mornings three or four days under the title ‘beautification technician’ and collects enough garbage in two mornings to fill a Dumpster.
‘It was really filthy, really nasty,’ Celestin said, recalling his first week picking up soda cans, cigarette packages, lottery tickets and fast food litter.
His work is a never-ending chore as a street which he cleans Friday is often trashy again by Monday.
‘But I do my best,’ Celestin said.
The tax-supported improvement district also gave ‘trash grabbers’ to some neighborhood businesses to help them tidy their store fronts.
One shop then chose to hire a homeless man to pick up litter in their parking area every week, Owens said…”
–Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
Read entire article