Monday, August 31, 2015

RESIST 450 ACTION CAMP September 5-9, 2015 in St. Augustine, Florida



RESIST 450 ACTION CAMP
SEPTEMBER 5-9, 2015

Join coalitions and groups from across the state of Florida by resisting, boycotting and protesting the city of St. Augustine 450th Anniversary Celebration, which shamefully celebrates and honors the doctrine of discovery and Spain’s crimes against humanity. Do not accept the covering up of 450 years of acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The city celebration events culminate on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 with a re-enactment of the landing of Pedro Menendez de Aviles on the shores of St. Augustine.  In 2013, the Viva Florida 500 Celebration, which honored Juan Ponce de Leon, was met with resistance, and we hope to continue this opposition to the glorification of colonial criminals.

See more at the website: http://www.resist450.org

PRESS RELEASE below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
August 26, 2015
Contact:
Shawn Mulford 
(904)377-­1856 
Shannon Larsen
(904) 654-0200
City of St. Augustine’s 450th Commemoration – Violates The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution  

St. Augustine, FL (August 26, 2015) – The City of St Augustine’s 450th Commemoration activities violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, according to a national nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC. This nonprofit organization, dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation, sent a letter to St. Augustine City Attorney, Isabelle Lopez, asking for the City to “please immediately rescind all City sponsorship of these activities and recoup any taxpayer funds spent on them.”

The events from the 450th Commemoration that raised the red flag are the “Procession to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine” and the “Commemorative Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine,” which is co-organized by the City and the Catholic Church, and sponsored financially by the City. Additionally, the “Menendez Landing Re Enactment” which would lead an objective observer to conclude that this event is sponsored by the City and open to the public, is actually being defined as a private event and is being held on the Church’s private property, according to the City Police. The Church, as reported by City Police, will determine who gets to attend and how they will be allowed to participate.

Article 1 section 3 of the Florida Constitution states, “No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination.” The Florida Constitution’s legal language is more prohibitive than the U.S. Constitution in many respects. The City of St. Augustine is requested to respond to the letter by close-of-business on Thursday, August 27, 2015.

How much taxpayers have contributed to these religious events over the years, remains undetermined. Additionally, how the City will “recoup” taxpayer funds that have been spent violating both the U.S. Constitution and Florida State Constitution remains unclear.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wise Women Media for Wednesday August 19th, 2015--Interview w/ Annie Lindstrom, Photographer, Artist, Media Activist & Communications Guru of Talkupy.Net


Annie Lindstrom of Talkupy.net
SOUNDCLOUD LINK TO THE SHOW: 
BIO: Annie Lindstrom is the host of Talkupy Radio (@talkupy_radio), a podcast that features in-depth interviews with people who do good things for community. Please go to www.talkupy.net for more than 130 show archives, photos and Annie's blog. Also a writer, photographer (3cPix.artistwebsites.com) and designer, Annie lives in Florida and on Social Media livestreams. As a media activist, her primary focus is on social justice and the environment.

Recently Annie reached out to me and we found out we are really kindred spirits with similar backgrounds and experiences; sisters from different mothers! We are also both veterans.
Our passions involve telling the untold stories of people that are changing the world.

Annie and I would love to give you our current take on the top news stories of the day. 

Tune into this engaging show and invite your friends. 
Post any questions you have as comments below this page.


The link to the show will be posted here before showtime or check our social networks. 
This show will be archived on SOUNDCLOUD.

We are also on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

PHOTO BY ANITA STEWART

Monday, August 10, 2015

Swamped by rains, St. Pete dumps treated sewage into Tampa Bay


By Charlie Frago
8/10/15
ST. PETERSBURG— Faced with a wastewater system overwhelmed by weeks of torrential rainfall, the city dumped about 5.5 million gallons of treated sewage into Tampa Bay for eight hours beginning Sunday evening.
The wastewater — everything from toilet sewage, sink drainage and rainwater — was treated at the Albert Whitted plant before being pumped about 1,000 feet into Tampa Bay, said Mayor Rick Kriseman’s spokesman Ben Kirby on Monday.
Pumping began about 8 p.m. Sunday and stopped at 4 a.m. Monday, he told theTampa Bay Times.
Shuttered in April, the Whitted plant was reopened Sunday to handle the overflow, Kirby said.
The sewage was aired out to kill bacteria, chlorinated and screened after being pumped from the city’s Southwest Water Reclamation Facility near Eckerd College. That facility had been swamped by increased flow after three weeks of heavy rain, forcing the city to divert 15.4 million gallons of untreated sewage into Clam Bayou last week.
Extra rain this weekend forced Sunday’s emergency measure, Kirby said.
“It was a disaster event. The governor has declared the region a disaster area. An incredible amount of rainfall just overwhelmed systems around the region,” Kirby said.
Entire article can be read at the following link:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An open letter to Hernando County (Florida)

 BY  

Ancient cypresses at Cypress Lakes Preserve
Ancient cypresses at Cypress Lakes Preserve
Dear Hernando County Commissioners,
It was ironic the way our visit played out. Rain pelted us on the drive up I-75, so we almost sought shelter with your neighbor to the south, Pasco County. But we were on a mission to visit and photograph a trail in your county for our new book, so we decided to stay near Ridge Manor, instead. I was sitting in the hotel room, catching up on the week’s news, when I saw this article in the Tampa Bay Times.
I was incredulous. Your program was the reason for our visit. You may be unaware of this, but the Florida Trail traverses your county. It’s one of eleven Congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in America. My husband and I wrote the book on it. We were in your county to explore Cypress Lakes Preserve, one of eight Environmentally Sensitive Lands you’ve set aside for future generations. It provides a protected corridor for a portion of our National Scenic Trail.
We were here as travelers, spending money on a hotel room, food, and fuel. But more importantly, we were here as writers, with the intent of promoting a hike through Cypress Lakes Preserve to our rather substantial online audience and as a part of a new book. If it passed muster, of course.
Not all parts of the Florida Trail are as scenic as a National Scenic Trail should be. We chose Cypress Lakes Preserve because of its easy access from Interstate 75 and visitor services. The fact that it was part of the Enviromentally Sensitive Lands program meant there was a good chance we’d find a good reason to send visitors there.
And we did. Along the 1.6 mile trail (3.2 mile round-trip), we discovered patches ofParonychia rugelii, known commonly as Sand Squares. These are just one of several dozen wildflowers in the sandhills along the edge of the Cypress Lakes, not very common and certainly very showy.
Sand squares. Geometry expressed in nature.
Sand squares. Geometry expressed in nature.

The rest of the article can be found at the following link:

Permits Required to Build TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline in Jeopardy As Hearings Reveal Missteps


TransCanada’s decision to purchase all of the pipe needed to complete the Keystone XL Pipeline before receiving a presidential permit could prove a costly mistake.
Not only is President Obama expected to reject the permit TransCanada needs in order to cross the U.S.-Canadian border, the company must recertify an expired permit before it can install the pipeline though South Dakota as well.
At a hearing that began on July 29 in Pierre, South Dakota, the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is tasked to decide if it should recertify the company’s permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. Those opposing the Keystone XL, referred to as interveners, are making the case that TransCanada is not up to the job.
During the first week of the hearing, a mix of members of the grassroots group Dakota Rural Action, Native American tribes, individual landowners, and a team of all of the interveners’ lawyers began presenting testimony challenging TransCanada’s narrative that the Keystone XL “will be the safest pipeline ever built.” The interveners claim that is a public relations ploy far from the truth about TransCanada’s performance record.
TransCanada bears the burden to prove it is capable of following the rules that the PUC set when the original Keystone Pipeline permit was granted in 2010, so it is no surprise that the company objected to the interveners’ introduction of evidence that showed the company has had problems with its other recently constructed pipelines, including the Keystone XL’s southern route, renamed the Gulf Coast Pipeline.
Lawyers for the interveners have also questioned the PUC’s impartially. They believe the commissioners’ pre-hearing rulings to exclude testimony relevant to their case was unjustified. But instead of letting the PUC’s move weaken their case, they laid the foundation during their examination of witnesses that enabled them to refer to the excluded documents in their cross-examination. It was a technique John White, an attorney for TransCanada, repeatedly objected to, but in many instances his objections were overruled. 
The interveners also challenged the credibility of the witnesses called by TransCanada and the PUC staff by pointing out the witnesses’ lack of expertise and potential conflicts of interest. Though the commissioners did not strike the testimony of any of the witnesses as requested by the interveners, the testimony given by some of those witnesses was tainted. 
The PUC staff have gotten upset with us for accusing them on the record of being in collusion with TransCanada,” Bruce Ellison, a lawyer for the Dakota Rural Action group, told DeSmog. 
We are just calling it as we see it based on their continued support of TransCanada to keep the PUC from hearing evidence it should hear about the realities of this trans-national and its hired witnesses – two of whom work for an engineering company that lists TransCanada as one of its clients – who are being called on to support TransCanada’s bid for recertification of its construction permit through South Dakota.”
David Schramm, vice president of EN Engineering, is one of the witnesses hired by the commission to testify as an expert witness on corrosion. When questioned about his relationship with TransCanada, he insisted he never worked for the company and didn’t know if EN Engineering was currently doing business with TransCanada, despite the fact that TransCanada was listed as a client on EN Engineering’s website, according to the interveners' attorney. Schramm did acknowledge the company had done work for TransCanada.
The interveners also questioned the credentials held by Meera Kothari, who was the manager of technical services pipeline engineering for Keystone Oil Projects, and who had oversight responsibility for design and engineering for the Keystone XLPipeline project. She was recently moved to another position in the company, but was one of those chosen by TransCanada to testify about the Keystone project.
Kothari frustrated the interveners by avoiding answering numerous questions by stating, “That isn’t my area of expertise.” Interveners say she seemed to know very little for someone with such a high level of responsibility on the project. Although she lived in Houston for a number of years, Kothari never obtained an engineering license in Texas, a point the interveners stressed.
Precluded from pre-trial evidence were photos of segments of pipe procured for the Keystone XL that were stored at the Gascoyne pipe yard in North Dakota. The interveners were able to introduce the photos during their cross examination of Kothari when she disclosed that the pipe had been purchased by 2011.
At first Kothari claimed the pipe was stored at a few manufacturing facilities, but when questioned about pipe being stored at the Gascoyne pipe yard, she admitted some of it was also at that location.
The photos of the Gascoyne pipe yard show sections of pipeline piled up several layers high and left out in the open. The duration of time the pipes were stored without protection against the elements led the interveners to question the integrity of the pipe materials.
EN Engineering’s Schramm testified that the National Association of Pipe Coating Applicators recommends protecting pipe materials left above ground within six months. But Schramm added that Scotch, a,manufacturer, recommends taking measures to protect the pipe within 12-18 months. (Audio of Schramm’s relevant testimony at 0:23:15 – 0:29:00 on Saturday Aug. 1)
However, Sabrina King, a member of the Dakota Rural Action group who shot the photos referred to during the hearing, claimed the pipe had been at the Gascoyne yard in North Dakota since December 2010.
King’s photos were taken in May of 2013. By August that year, TransCanda did take action and protect the pipe, past both of the recommended times that Schramm mentioned.
That is 2.5 years of pipe laying out in North Dakota, where the weather is horrendous, before it was fully covered,” King told DeSmog.( Audio of Schramm’s relevant testimony at 20:30 to 26:00 on Saturday Aug. 1)
At the close of the first week, John Harter, a South Dakota landowner and an intervener, described the proceedings as tense at times. “TransCanada has done little to help itself, sending incompetent witnesses,” Harter told DeSmog. He complained of TransCanada “witnesses answering questions with two answers, and witnesses not knowing what they are talking about.”
During questioning of Kothari, she responded that TransCanada is asking the PUC to recertify its permit based on documents submitted into evidence, some of which are out of date and have not been signed off on by engineers.
Kothari also revealed that the engineering for the pipeline is still not complete.  (Audio of relevant cross examination of Kothari at ~1:34-1:38 Saturday Aug 1)
Harter expressed bewilderment that the commission was willing to make a decision with incomplete information. 
Purchasing all of the pipe needed to build the entire project before getting a Presidential permit demonstrates the kind of risks TransCanada is willing to take, the interveners argue.
Despite the huge sums of money the company has spent lobbying for the Keystone XL Pipeline and for advertising, the pipeline’s completion is far from a done deal.
The PUC hearing has turned into a marathon event. Although the process was predicted to wrap up by August 4,the commissioners acknowledged the hearing timeframe would have to be lengthened. Parties involved in the proceedings tried to nail down an end for the hearing unsuccessfully at the start of today’s proceedings.  It is possible a decision on the presidential permit could come before the commission decides on how it will rule on TransCanada’s permit.

Photo: Pipe for the Keystone XL Pipeline at Gascoyne pipe yard in North Dakota. © 2013 Sabrina King

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