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Here’s The Scoop…We Did NOT Make The News…

June 13, 2009 by Barbara


BC- LBTS will shoot fireworks off  plywood on its beachfront at El Prado…permits were issued this week …as the sea turtle nests in that location were relocated further north…It is reported they were moved due to  LBTS not complying with their own  light ordinance….( after hearing the Town Atty. say there is no real recourse for not turning the lights out and the commission making it clear that was enough for them to keep them on)….but the blatant disregard for turtles by the 2009 4th of July Co-Chairs…McIntee and Silverstone and their main man- Coordinator Marc Furth…( the big Coral Reef Capital Improvement Project proponents )…have left many wondering if this is really a  “politically correct” excuse for doing what the FWC said they no longer advise …in moving nests….. Many will recall that Furth & the Co- Chairs were not forthcoming in their assertions that it could not be done off the pier ( saying it cost too much) and were less than honest in their assertions of the FWC stance of compliance and that of the Mayor and Comm. Dodd’s inquiries!…OOPS!….

The article below…makes no mention of LBTS…


FORT LAUDERDALE – The countdown is on to July 4, but federal rules are keeping several cities’ fireworks plans in limbo.

The U.S. Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service are still considering whether to allow cities to launch fireworks from ocean barges.

The government agencies are trying to prevent harm to endangered sea turtles and federally protected corals from fireworks, boats, barges and anchors.

“We’re working on a plan over the weekend and are encouraged we’ll have one to allow the festivities to continue while still protecting the threatened species,” said Lt. Commander Matthew Moorlag, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman. “But cities should still work to identify alternative plans in the event we cannot issue permits after consulting with other government agencies.”
Decisions are pending for Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood. Delray Beach won a permit but could have it rescinded, and Pompano Beach had canceled its application and then decided to reapply this week.

In November the government designated thousands of miles of ocean floor from Boynton Beach to the Florida Keys as critical habitat for elkhorn and staghorn coral. That status grants various government agencies the right to review use permits for potential harm.

On May 22, Broward County’s Environmental Protection department recommended to the Coast Guard that cities choose inland fireworks locations; formulate plans to prevent spectator boats and barges from dropping anchors; minimize impact upon nesting turtles and make media announcements about threats to wildlife.

“If a permit was issued and there was species damage, the Coast Guard could be found liable for violating the Endangered Species Act,” Moorlag said.

Late Friday he said discussions with the National Marine Fisheries Service were encouraging and that over the weekend solutions will be considered that may include enforcement help from local, state and federal marine patrols to prevent anchoring at reefs.

Pompano Beach’s seaside event was to cost $93,810. As a backup they also negotiated with the Isle Casino to host fireworks. The new venue would cost taxpayers $44,278, and includes a $7,500 kill fee for the barge rental.

“While we’ve identified a second location, the city commission has decided at this late date they would like to host it on the beach,” spokeswoman Sandra King said. “We have a plan to protect the turtles and reef and we’re prepared either way.”

Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Storey said they don’t have another venue.

“There really are no other alternative sites that can host this type of a show,” Storey said. The city’s marine patrol will pitch in to prevent reef damage. “Obviously, we would like to know as soon as possible what the status is of our applications. There are a lot of people who love our show and are trying to make plans.”

Fort Lauderdale is going forward with preparations, said Angela DiPietro, city spokeswoman for Parks and Recreation that has $80,000 budgeted for the beach celebration. “The city has plans for boat patrols and turtle monitors. We’re hoping we’ll have a spectacular July 4th.”

Delray Beach’s permit is being reviewed, Moorlag said.

“We’re all planned and ready to go,” Assistant City Manager Bob Barcinski said about the city’s 23-year tradition. Their barge does not anchor and a tug keeps it steady at sea. “We don’t have a backup location.”

Their event costs $68,000, with $28,000 paid by sponsors.

“If it doesn’t happen people will be very disappointed,” Barcinski said. “It brings a lot of business to the city.”

He is remaining positive about the situation. “I can understand the concerns and hope at least this year it happens, but we’ll have to see what we get back [from the Coast Guard] and go from there,” Barcinski said.

Boca Raton will host their fireworks from the Florida Atlantic University campus at 777 Glades Road. Boynton Beach’s July 4 bash fires from a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway.

“A tug boat holds it in place, and we do not anchor,” said Kathy Biscuiti, special events director at the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. “Our fireworks company takes care of permits.”

Moorlag said his branch of the military is doing its best to ensure everyone an enjoyable holiday.

“The Coast Guard absolutely understands that any decision impacts communities and tradition,” Moorlag said. “We all want to see fireworks on the Fourth of July, but we don’t want to see damage to those endangered species.”‘

full text link below…,0,1709610.story

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Here’s The Scoop…Two Years Later…LBTS Turtle Workshop Still Gets No Respect…

May 21, 2009 by Barbara


Dear Readers…2 years ago this writer attended the turtle workshop put on courtesy of Broward County in Jarvis Hall…I recall it was not well attended and I was most surprised it was not televised for the residents on the local government channel 78…It was a missed opportunity and one I was sure would be remedied the next time one of these workshops came our way ….On Monday May 18, 2009…they returned , and I fully expected it would be on cable and online, especially with all the recent dais discussions on the lighting problems affecting El Mar Drive and the July 4th Beach Blast Fireworks Display set to go off …But alas, not only was it not put on…the event itself was down to 1 small table of lights…a sharp contrast to the many tables of vendors in the past…

Sadly in attendance, were a handful of residents…5 non-residents…included in these numbers were the local papers..BTSTimes Co-Editors Furth… Judy Vik from the Pompano Pelican and this writer….along with Commissioner Dodd…Comms. Silverstone and Clottey arrived after the event ended at 11:30 and 11:45 respectively along with the Town Manager who arrived somewhere in between the two, again after the program concluded…The largest contingent in the hall were State and  County staff and volunteers from several agencies…

Natural Resource Specialist III  Lou Fisher from the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth management Department Natural Resources Planning and Management Division welcomed all and introduced the first speaker…

Jeff Howe a Fish and Wildlife Biologist from the U.S. Department of The Interior Fish & Wildlife Service, S. Florida Field Office…gave a power point presentation on the history and challenges facing the sea turtles…including …Pointing out that turtles pre-date dinosaurs…..Modern sea turtles are smaller than their predecessors….They are literally living fossils that spend almost their entire life in the ocean…Females return to the beach to lay eggs on a “small necklace of land” on the S. Florida cost and lay 120-130 eggs per nest….The majority of hatchlings come out at night to go to sea looking for the brightest light to follow to the ocean…There are 5 species …the green turtle is increasing and the loggerhead has declined in nests…A startling photo was show of Destin Florida…with the coastline of beach in the 1960s -70s….contrasted to 30 years later (2004) with a highly developed area and much less beach to nest on…He went on to discuss light pollution…habitat degradation and the effects they have on nesting females…keeping them from returning and causing disorientation…One photo showed a dead turtle clutching her lost eggs (2007)…she was killed by lighting disorientation…Large structures can act as “silhouettes” steering the turtles towards the sea…such as dunes and vegetation….Hatchlings have limited energy reserve for their “frenzy” period…He ended with a data summary from 2006 showing 72,ooo turtles were documented as disoriented….

Jean Higgins from the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission…..came next to speak about lighting…compliance and a new program that encourages lighting manufacturers to go a through certification process that includes involvement in the review process for all new development…working alongside local code enforcement and local ordinances modeled after state ordinances…especially with keeping light sources that wreak havoc for the turtles off the beach…She spoke of the “Three golden rules”…for lighting low/shielded/long (wave length…referring to wattage…and low height/shielding from the beach/ visible light waves…colors yellow,amber, red…Also discussed at length were types of shields…LED lights such as were installed in Boca Raton…and working with neighboring towns as they look for solutions to their own lighting problems…

Question and answer time followed with Diane Boutin asking about the change in policy of moving turtle nests, a practice used in the past…Ms. Higgins said they no longer do that …too intrusive and they address the lighting instead…Cristie Furth asked about the embedded lighting used in Boca Raton, and if it was used with sidewalks along with bollard lighting…Ms. Higgins said they used to have the bollards but removed them and did not believe they had sidewalks…A volunteer asked about the Fort Lauderdale strip with their poles and Ms. Higgins confirmed their shielding used was louvered and faced the light west although there is a problem with some…Diane Boutin followed up about poles and FPL cobraheads ( the current lights in LBTS) … asking if a solution would be to lower the arm of the light head down the pole…Ms. Higgins said the lowering was a feasible option…and went on to discuss certain problems with FPL and their poles…Marc Furth asked about the LBTS portals which have colored filters over their lights…he heard they were no longer allowed…Ms. Higgins said they found that the filters did not last …and the degridation decreased their effectiveness…This writer asked about the agency’s involvement if there was any, with our town for the El Prado park and parking lot due to the parking lot finished this year…having non-turtle friendly lights…Ms. Higgins was most politically correct and cautious in saying unfortunately they were not involved in the early stages…and they are now working with the town on shielding those lights…( The Town Manager previously quoted $650 ea.)…YIKES!……..Lou Fisher asked about A1A and the DOT after Wilma with retrofitting ..FPL…and the problems found with some “flared” shields…Ms. Higgins responded they are working on it…Mr. Fisher added info on the planning stages for the DOT and changing the law on how much illumination was required for street lighting…Ms. Higgins said it may have stalled…but variances could be used and addressed project by project…as it is now in Vero Beach and Fort Lauderdale…that DOT is being cooperative…The Rep. from Greenlight Go…asked about working on a project and if the FWC “test drive” it…Ms. Higgins said they have three fulltime reviewers …and added in her experience with seeing that the commonly used “paper” review does not always accurately describe the site inspection…and they are now doing finals on projects…on site…which is causing some changes afterward….Crisite Furth spoke about LBTS and El Mar Drive…and asked if they (FWC) were actively involved …Ms. Higgins said they are “actively meeting” on this issue and that “Chuck Collins” met with the Commission…( Comm. Dodd was not aware of it)…Comm. Dodd informed Ms. Higgins of the decision made at the last commission meeting about turning back on some lights for safety…and asked if she would work with the town …Ms. Higgins said yes on an invitational basis….Marc Furth asked about red LED rope lighting for  (as is used around his hotel) for the pavilion…Ms. Higgins answered it could be used under the benches and perhaps up in the eaves..Marc went on to ask “How do you feel about Christmas?”…The audience members replied “We love Christmas, it’s not turtle season”….OOPS!…Marc went for the “save”  to cover his embarrassing query …saying some Christmas lights are up all year..(It didn’t work)…..The Engineer from Greenlight Go asked about fines…Ms. Higgins spoke of working with code enforcement officials addressing problems and citations for non compliance…adding they will do whatever they can to help…A volunteer asked about special permits …events on the beach at night looking for clarification…Ms. Higgins answered with the DEP permits required and local codes…This writer could not resist asking a followup to the volunteer’s…about fireworks off the beach (as the Mc-Furth July 4th committee are going to do)…Ms. Higgins again was politically correct saying it was a “hot topic”…and that it did cause disorientation for the turtles ans cut down on their nesting…statistically shown…

The meeting ended…and afterward as mentioned above Comm. Silverstone arrived at 11:30 although he knew it was from 10-12…and as quickly as he walked in the door he walked out to talk to Marc Furth…Then came Manager Colon who sat down next Comm. Silverstone who had returned after his discussion with Furth…and finally 15 minutes before the end…Comm. Clottey arrived..and then she too immediately walked back outside to talk to Comm. Silverstone for quite a while…

At one point this writer was truly disgusted at observing the unprofessional behavior of the Town Manager…Comm. Dodd sat down to discuss the required invitation for the FWC to assist the town  and she sat looking straight ahead for quite some time, ignoring  Commissioner  Dodd ……It became a war of wills…until the woman talking to Comm. Silverstone said something that broke the ice…they all laughed and then and only then did Town Manager Colon turn to acknowledge Comm. Dodd!…This Manager definitely needs a review!…

The program was over at noon…


more to come….

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