Archive for October, 2012

Sen. Mike Bennett injects politics into LeeSar grand opening and gets it wrong

The opening of the LeeSar regional service center on Winkler Avenue in Fort Myers, Fla. is the kind of news practically anyone, regardless of their political inclinations, would be excited to hear. The facility creates about 100 new jobs in the area, helps to hold down health care costs and already plans to expand, thus creating even more jobs. Here’s NBC-2’s coverage, and Florida Weekly will print a photo spread from the event in next Wednesday’s paper.

It was jarring, at least to this journalist, when former State Senator Mike Bennett took his opportunity at the podium to bash government at an event that up to that point had been a politics-free celebration.

“This is what happens when you get government out of the way,” said Sen. Bennett, pointing to the brand new 205,000 square-foot building. “You can bring a project on time, under budget and that’s what happens when you get government out of the way.”

The problem is, the project received quite a bit of government support to get it off the ground and keep it under budget. The Lee County Industrial Development Authority, which falls under the Lee County Office of Economic Development (government) issued the tax exempt bond. LeeSar has also recieved FIRST Initiative incentive funds from Lee County taxpayers for creating jobs. One can only assume that builders had to work closely with inspectors and plans reviewers in order to turn around the project in a remarkable 12 months — it’s government that issues the Certificate of Occupancy.

Sen. Bennett served the maximum allowable number of years in the Florida Senate and is currently a shoe-in to become the next Supervisor of Elections for Manatee County. Last year, he argued against making it easier for people to vote, citing how hard it is for people in Africa to make it to the polls. According to, he said: “Do you read the stories about the people in Africa? The people in the desert, who literally walk two and three hundred miles so they can have the opportunity to do what we do, and we want to make it more convenient?” Politifact exposed the line about Africans walking hundreds of miles to be absolute baloney, which is exactly what the former senator’s comments at the LeeSar grand opening were as well.

ImageState Senator Mike Bennett


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Developing the cold-bloodedness necessary to garden

This week’s #FloridaWeekly presents a primer on gardening (out this Wednesday.) Now is the time to start growing in Southwest and South Florida.

Roger Williams relays his conversations with the folks at Worden Farm and Millisa Bell, The Unruly Gardener with his usual expressive charm and erudite finesse.

Below however, is a far less civilized account of local gardening adventures: a brief description of my fight to keep my green bean saplings and tomato and pea seedlings safe from the hungry mouths of snails. This violent account will not be appearing in our pages, thankfully, for the sake of our young readers.

I could swear that the first snail I plopped into the pickle jar gurgled. Its tiny mucocutaneous mouth twisted — a sphincter emitting a fart-squirt like you might hear out of a mustard bottle. There was froth. I looked away. The humanity…  The molluskity.

I dumped another five or so in the rubbing alcohol reservoir during the following two minutes — looking for signs of pain or struggle. Fortunately, the rest fell shell-side up; so if they did writhe and gurgle and call out to me with their muffled mustard-fart screams, I did not hear.

Gardening, it turns out, is war. I’m also on the lookout for hornworms and cutworms and stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs. I’ll soon recruit the help of a coffee grounds/eggshell mixture, a phalanx of ladybugs and a pair of long, sharp scissors. But tonight, the pickled isopropyl death-trap commands the battlefield.

The Maglight scanned for another minute or so, snail shells clanking like cubes in an empty rocks glass as I moved. Shaken not stirred, I am licensed to kill. Beware creatures who might dare to eat my food.

The label may say, “Kosher,” but this is as trayf as it gets.

What are you growing this season? How goes your war?

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