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Date of Issue: January 03, 2008

Sandscript

Hopes and dreams for 2008, news weirdness from 2007

Happy New Year!

There’s some sort of journalistic rule that calls for a set of wishes for the next year. Mine?

I would really like to see a managed anchorage mooring field in place in Bradenton Beach in 2008. The field is under consideration just south of the city pier off Bridge Street in Anna Maria Sound.

I’d like to see a groin opened for the public at Cortez Beach. The three there have been closed for years due to storm damage. Manatee County officials have indicated that at least one could be reconstructed to a level that folks could stroll out and watch the sunset, fish or just enjoy the water. Soonest is goodest.

I’d like to see Grassy Point in Holmes Beach be assessable to birders, canoeists, kayakers, snorklers and anybody else who won’t hurt that fragile environment.

I’d like more beach access in Anna Maria. We’re not talking about walkers or cyclists, but how about a place for folks to come, park for a bit and enjoy the best beach in the world.

And, of course, that comment will produce a slew of letters to the editor offering differing views.

 

Exotic love

One of the arguably biggest environmental issues of 2007 on Anna Maria Island was the demise of 60-plus Australian pine trees on Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach, as well as the later fervor over taking out Australian pines and Brazilian peppers near Kingfish Boat Ramp in Holmes Beach and along the causeway to the mainland.

Pine lovers were fervent. Pine haters were fervent. Lines were drawn. In one case, some folks tied themselves to the trees destined to be cut at Coquina to keep the pines.

The issue resides in state mandates that Australian pines are a noxious, invasive species of tree that creates a monoculture in which no native plants can survive. The pine needles that fall from the trees apparently produce some sort of toxic stuff that prohibits other plants from growing under their canopy.

Enter yet another exotic to the rescue of pines.

Wedelia is a bright-green groundcover plant that has brilliant yellow flowers. According to Philip Busey with the University of Florida, “the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council classified it as a Category II invader in their 1997 plant list (see links, below) and that listing continued through 1999.”

He says that the problem with wedelia is that it can take over a lush lawn at frightening speeds. If you like the plant, it’s no big deal, but if you’re trying to keep your yard perfect, wedelia is a pest.

But wedelia apparently has no problem living under the canopy of Australian pines, at least from observations in Tampa last week, where a stand of pines and a groundcover of wedelia were living happily together.

Exotic and exotic playing nice together. Isn’t that nice?

 

Some news nuggets

Reporter Lisa Neff sent me the following from The New Yorker magazine, culled from newspapers throughout the country in 2007. Some are pretty funny. The following is verbatim from the magazine, including the staff’s comments on the news McNuggets.

Advertisement in the Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer:

Full service hotel looking to expand its existing food operation with a quality Sioux chief. Salary range 25K, commensurate with experience.

The place must serve a lot of buffalo burgers.

From the Palo Alto Daily News:

Someone reported loud chickens. Upon police arrival, the chickens were clucking intermittently.

From the Key West Citizen:

A busy store at 425 Front St. is seeking honest, responsible, reliable and ambitious employees for part-time and full-time positions. Good salary with advancement opportunities for the right person. Job duties include retail sales, stocking and cleaning. Previous sales experience, with register responsibilities, preferred. Spanish as a second language is a plus. References will be verified. If you get drunk, do drugs, call in sick or just plain don’t show up for work don’t bother applying; you probably have already worked here.

From The New York Times:

An article in The Arts on Tuesday about the most popular movies of 2006 and others that did not do as well at the box office referred incorrectly to two languages spoken in “Babel,” one of the films with subtitles that did not draw big crowds. They are Spanish and Berber, not “Mexican” and “Moroccan.”

From the Wall Street Journal:

And if history is any guide, the claiming of a scalp this large will only add fuel to a pyre that is already licking at the heels of several even better-known CEOs.

Headline in the Narragansett (R.I.) Times:

LITERARCY GRANT BENEFITS LOCAL STUDENTS.

But not the local press.

From the Washington Post:

After he was exposed, Lambton told an intelligence officer that he had thrown himself into a “frenzied” round of “gardening and debauchery” to get over the fact that he had lost a three-year battle over the use of his father’s title.

From Professional Remodeler:

Last month’s column about how Blackdog Builders delivers an exceptional customer experience ended with the following quote from Blackdog president Dave Bryan: “[Customer satisfaction is] a million little things like that. It isn’t building the addition. It’s building the addition while delivering an experience that makes them feel upset and disappointed when you leave.” Bryan wanted to make it clear that he meant that the customer was sad to see his crews finish the job and leave because they had enjoyed the remodeling experience Blackdog provided.

From a solicitation for the Arctic Summit Summer 2008, whose purpose is:

To create and run a summit or forum whose goal is to coalesce influential segments of society to put global warming on the front burner.

From the Blue Earth (Minn.) Faribault County Register:

About 18,000 deer in the state will take part in a postcard survey asking them to report information about wild turkey sightings while hunting.

From the St. Helena (Calif.) Star:

St. Helena urologist Dr. James Woolley will present the facts on basic bladder health, and Glenn Ratterree from Steves Hardware will present advice on the basics of do-it-yourself plumbing during a free course in basic home maintenance and a lesson on the challenges of midlife bladder control.

From the Towanda (Pa.) Daily & Sunday Review:

When asked why Bradford County had only two semifinalists, Gloria Davis with the National Merit Scholarship Program said, “If there are only two semifinalists in your county, it is because only two students in the county attained a score high enough for semifinalist standing.”

From the Chicago Tribune:

So now what we are dealing with is the rubber meeting the road, and instead of biting the bullet on these issues, we just want to punt.

From the Denver Post:

A chief lieutenant in a violent drug and prostitution ring run out of an Adams County motel was handed a stiff sentence Monday. Alvin Hutchinson received three life sentences and five 30-year sentences, followed by six years of supervised release, all to run concurrently.

From the Washington Post:

A man sawed off his hand at a Fairfax County butcher shop last night after a dispute over his order, county police said. Police said the man was taken to a hospital in serious condition after the 7 p.m. incident in a market in the 7000 block of Spring Garden Drive in the Franconia area. Police said that they understood that the man had wanted goat and was given chicken.

From the Eureka (Calif.) Times-Standard:

A carpenter who keeps his clothes clean by working in the nude was arrested after a client returned home early and found him building bookcases in the buff. Percy Honniball, 50, was charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure this week for the October incident. He told officers he stripped before crawling under the client’s house to do electrical work because he didn’t want to soil his clothes, police said. Honniball said Thursday that working au naturel gave him a better range of motion and that a skilled craftsman can work clothing — and injury — free. “In certain situations such as demolitions where you are smashing rock you want to be clothed and protected because this rock can harm you,” he said.

From the Bath (Maine) Times Record:

Except for a tragic accident, the 35th annual Bath Heritage Days parade went off without a hitch. 

From the Washington Post:

Despite the rougher times, IHOP Corp. has watched its revenue crepe upward, showing a 2.5 percent uptick in second-quarter sales this year compared to last.

At least the company isn’t waffling.

 

Sandscript factoid

And on a final note for 2008, commercial shark fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean could come to a close, at least until August, perhaps forever.

Federal authorities have halted the taking of any sharks commercially for most of the new year in an effort to restore what is being called a stressed fishery.

Shark isn’t a big fish catch commercially in our area, but it is elsewhere in the country, where the fins are sold for as much as $20 a pound and the meat for $1 a pound.

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