Tag: community news

Red Tide Hits Florida Shores

The state of Florida has been under attack by a surge of the “Red Tide”. The Red Tide has been coloring our oceans red, which is actually caused by red algae in the water. Generally, algae is considered to be very harmless, but this variety is extremely dangerous to both the ocean ecosystem and humans. What has resulted of the tide is a stream of dead ocean wildlife, and beaching of turtles, fish and other sea life. But why does this type of algae cause so much damage? When the algae blooms, and subsequently dies, it releases harmful toxins that contaminate the sea water, which results in the events aforementioned. The next question is: How does this affect us?

There are huge economic consequences of this red tide, and it all stems from tourism. Tourism is one of Florida’s main economic powerhouses; it fuels almost every part of our economy. With this tide getting in the way of some of Florida’s most popular spots, our beaches, expect to see a decline in revenue. This also hurts small businesses near the beaches, as the dip in beachgoers will cause sinkholes in business.

It can also harm us physically. Red algae can cause major health issues, such as respiratory issues and dermal ones, too. It can even affect what we eat–when shellfish gets contaminated by the toxins, and we eat it, it can cause NSP, or Neurotic Shellfish Poisoning. Overall, the algae is not life threatening by any means–you can still swim in red tide-infested water–but it can cause discomfort and be harmful to those who may have respiratory problems that are pre-existing (like asthma).

This is not the first time the red tide has ravaged Florida, though. In 1996, a red tide came to Florida, and killed nearly 10% of its manatee populations, along with 162 dolphins in Mexico. We could see this damage again if we do not take measures to stop this, but there are no real solutions as of yet. All we can do now is sit and take the punches of this toxic tide.

Daylight Savings Time Bill

Florida lawmakers want to pass legislation for more working, learning and playing time in the sunshine.Two bills, called the “Sunshine Protection Act,” would ask Congress to give the state permission to make Daylight SavingS Time year round. The proposals each passed their first Senate and House committees unanimously this week.

 
If Congress agrees, Florida would join two other states that have exempted themselves from the 1966 law that set a uniform time for all time zones across the country. Hawaii and most of Arizona are on Standard Time year-round.

 
Under federal law, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been given the task of setting time zones but allows states to exempt themselves from the new ones if Congress approves. Daylight SavingS Time (when you set your clocks forward or backwards by one hour) runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.
The practical impact of that change would mean that on the Winter Solstice — that’s the day in the Northern Hemisphere with the least amount of daylight — sunrise in Florida would be at about 8 a.m. and sunset would be at about 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. like it is now.

 
The Senate’s version of the bill also moves the western part of the state, which is in Central Time, into the Eastern Time zone, if Congress approves.
 

Senate sponsor Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, said he got the idea after walking into his local barbershop last fall, shortly after the clocks changed from Daylight Savings to Standard Time.
“One of the barbers had young children and it had such a negative impact every time they set their clocks back [that they had trouble] getting their kids up for school,” he told the Senate Community Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday.
 

So he filed the bill and the idea has “turned into something I’ve never seen happen,” he said.
Studies have found that observing Daylight Savings Times year-round would boost the economy, save energy, improve road and public safety, and reduce crime, due to the fact there is more sunlight in the evening hours,” she told the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs on Wednesday.
 

Fitzenhagen predicted it will improve mental health and simplify life.
“This is the first great step to putting more sunshine in our lives,” she said. “How many times have you gotten home from work in the winter time and you’d like to throw the football, dip a line in, or go out to dinner with your spouse? This will give people the opportunity to have more quality time when its nicest in Florida.”
This isn’t the first time the idea has been proposed. Rep. Mark Danish, a Tampa Democrat, filed a bill to make Daylight Savings Time year round in 2014, but the measure never got a hearing.

 

 

Written By: Kimiya Watkins

Image Credit to Getty Images

Las Vegas Massacre

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On the night of Sunday, October 1st, Las Vegas fell victim to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. A man since identified as Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert attendees at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing at least 59 people and injuring at least 527 others. People suffered from gunshot wounds and stampede injuries as 22,000 attempted to flee from the shooter.

Stephen Paddock was a 64-year-old man with no criminal record besides a routine citation from several years ago. According to his family, Paddock was “not a normal guy,” but had indicated nothing about any plans or motives for the shooting. Eric Paddock, Stephen’s brother, said he is “horrified” and “dumbfounded” by what he did. So far, Paddock has not been connected with any terrorist groups, although ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to CBS news. Police believe Paddock acted alone, and have not yet determined his motive.

Paddock was found dead in his hotel room, believed by Las Vegas police to have killed himself before they could reach him. Also in his hotel room were 23 firearms, including a handgun and multiple rifles. In a report from CNN news, authorities announced that thousands of rounds of ammunition and ammonium nitrate, a material used to make explosives, in his car and at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, about 75 miles away from Las Vegas.

Thankfully, many citizens are offering all their help to aid Las Vegas in recovering from this tragedy. Hundreds of Nevadans have lined up to donate blood to U.S. blood banks for those injured in the shooting, waiting in lines as long as 6 hours–and officials in Las Vegas say that no more blood is needed right now. Steve Sisolak, Chair of the Clark County Commission, has set up a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims. As of Monday, October 9th, the page has collected over $10 million in donations for the victims and families affected by the shooting and is still going strong.

By: Rachel Smith

Photo credit to David Becker