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Date of Issue: May 14, 2008

Sandscript

Disaster upon disaster, the other side of the world

Here’s one of those unbelievable stories that tend to haunt anyone living along a coastal shore.

A tropical cyclone - we call them hurricanes here - struck the shore of Myanmar last week. If you look between your feet and imagine the other side of the world, you’ll be looking at the country formerly referred to as Burma.

It hit the Myanmar coast as a Category 3 storm.

It was devastating.

There are some estimates that up to 100,000 people were killed.

Relief poured in from throughout the globe to aid the stricken people of the country.

But the military rulers of the country denied access. For days. Then decided to hold off aid until they could write their names on the various boxes of food and water, so the people would think they gave them the goods.

Myanmar is a poor country. The cyclone took out most of the fresh water and wiped out the food supplies. The homes of the generals in charge, of course, were getting their mansions repaired.

The image of airplanes circling the country waiting for an approval to land like the flies that must be thick in the country comes to mind.

Without fresh water and food, it’s not out of the realm of reality that another 100,000 could die due to disease before this nightmare is over.

A comment by Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby came to mind from a few years ago. He is pretty much that city’s disaster pre- and post-hurricane guru.

“If anything happens in the way of a big storm,” he said, “we’re calling in for the world to help.”

The world did come calling to aid Myanmar, but no one apparently answered the door

 

Huh?

Speaking of phoneless, a missive from a company planning to build a natural gas pipeline off Anna Maria Island says the line will cut through prime beach renourishment sand and could increase costs up to $50 million over the term of the sand addition for our beaches.

Huh?

Seems that Port Dolphin Energy LLC of Oslo, Norway, wants to pipe in natural gas to Port Manatee.

Natural gas is good. The 42-mile-long pipeline from which we get our sand for our beaches is bad. The sand is pure and close. Getting sand elsewhere is more expensive.

Can’t they find another entry spot through Tampa Bay? Jeez, it’s a pretty big bay, and the passes are pretty wide.

 

… and speaking of passes

On a continuing update of something that has been of interest for about 25 years, Midnight Pass may open again.

Maybe. If.

The inlet between south Siesta Key and Casey Key closed around Christmas 1993. It was one of the “wild” inlets that tended to migrate with wind and weather to the north or south. Back then, it migrated north and threatened two expensive beachfront homes.

Homeowners appealed to and got permission from a slew of agencies to relocate the pass away from their homes at their expense. They tried and tried - something like eight times - but it didn’t work. That pesky pass just refused to stay open.

All threw up their hand and said enough. Midnight Pass has been closed since.

Now, though, there appears to be a general consensus among Sarasota County commissioners to have the pass become an inlet again.

But there is still that “maybe” and “if” factor.

Maybe state and federal authorities will permit the dredging of the channel.

And if there is any money available in this budget-stricken governmental cycle.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Book lore

Forget Jo Rowling. We’re reading Harper Lee, school children are responding in a recent survey.

It seems that despite the gazillion copies of “Harry Potter” that have print, kids still really like to read Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Good. When was the last time you re-read it?

 

More books

In a shameless plug, please consider attending the Mystery Florida conference June 6 and 7 at the Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota, sponsored in part by The Islander. We’ve got a bunch of great authors attending, some terrific panels, and our highlight speaker is bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Tickets for the do are $125. Go to MysteryFlorida.com for all the details.

 

Sandscript factoid

Condolences to the family of Robert “Cowboy” Hatfield - an Island snowbird - on his death last week. Yes, he was of those Hatfields of the Hatfields and McCoys - and although he admitted it - we could never get him to talk about it for the record. He was 76.

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