Sugar U: The US Sugar Corp

@sugarcard2

In a few week we’ll be going to the Sugar Summit that is being put together by our great friends, the Florida SIerra Club. I thought it was a good time to bone up on who’z who and what’s what.

Please feel free to chime in. Even at sugarcard2 – we want to hear from you!

Yesterday, my friend Jules and I went out to Clewiston. The headquarters for US Sugar Corporation resides there.

They call themselves ” America’s Sweetest Town.” Maybe sweet in sugar but not sweet people. The last time I went out there was to shoot “The Sugarland Rally”

Sugarland-540x675The Sugarland Rally was a really sincere effort to bring people together to discuss our water issues together. Lead by our friend Justin Riney. This was their message.

An open letter to Florida residents from The Sugarland Rally Committee:

Dear Florida,

Please read these important details regarding a bicoastal rally we have planned for September 1st on Lake Okeechobee. There are multiple organizations involved in planning this event, and we need your help immediately to get the word out.

 The Sugarland Rally will unite the east and west coasts of Florida in a peaceful, historic demonstration to speak out against the pollution of our estuaries from Lake Okeechobee discharges. We support both immediate and long-term solutions, but ecosystems and communities along the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries are in crisis. We cannot afford to wait for ecological and economic collapse. We urge all stakeholders–especially local, state and federal governments–to act immediately.

 We chose Clewiston as a central location to unify east and west at Lake Okeechobee, the source that is polluting our estuaries, and because we believe Florida’s sugar industry can be part of the solution. Please don’t misinterpret our intentions–we are NOT holding a rally at Clewiston to protest or point fingers at “Big Sugar.” It’s quite the opposite, actually. We invite Florida’s powerful sugar industry to join us in crafting an immediate solution to the ecological and economic crisis caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Here’s a golden opportunity to earn the respect, loyalty, and trust of Floridians for generations to come–to squash the stereotypes–by standing with the people in support of a solution. Without the healthy longevity of Florida’s land and water, we’re all out of business. Our children and grandchildren are out of business. We invite Florida’s sugar industry to stand with us in support of preserving the wonderful land and water that keeps us all in business. We must think longer term, we must think sustainably, and the time to act is now.

 Our message is a peaceful one to emphasize a powerful sense of unity needed among ALL Floridians, and to urge local, state, and federal governments to act immediately to stop the pollution of our estuaries from Lake Okeechobee discharges. We are all entitled to healthy land and water, and it is our responsibility as citizens, working with our government, to preserve these treasured assets and ensure their longevity for generations to come. Let’s all unite as Floridians in support of both immediate and long-term solutions. The Sugarland Rally will be a peaceful demonstration that we can all be proud of.

 Join The Sugarland Rally conversation on the event page at http://www.bit.ly/sugarlandrally, and please share this post with as many concerned Floridians as possible. This is a call to action, and we need your help.

 Respectfully,

The Sugarland Rally Committee

This was a rally to have a discussion to pull us all together.  US= east coast, west coast, and the people of Clewiston. For us it was to make sure we respect the people that live in the south of the lake and make sure they are safe. Human being stuff. Community stuff.

Here is the video I shot. As you can see at the beginning we were quit stoked to be there.

After the rally we went on the invitation of the Mayor to the Roland Martin Marina for some food. When we got there they refused to serve us. Every person in the room stared us down and honestly if they had guns they would have shot us down.

We went next door where I met up with friends Bob and Lisa Riney (parents of justin) and ate lunch and my friends did end up getting a few drinks because Mayor Roland showed up.

Mind you, I’m the video girl, who’s only job was to document the event. And I was starving, hot, tired. So so much for Southern Hospitality. So much for olive branches.

Afterwards in the Clewiston New’s more hate came from the people who were quite verbal, quite nasty and totally unwilling to listen to any kind of reason.

To this day, I still believe in the mission of the Sugarland rally and our extended Olive Branch.

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I can’t tell you why. I’m not a psychic. I can only tell you what happened.

In spit of that, I still worry about the people who live there and how much work is being done on the dike and always hope they will be safe.

When we went out yesterday I even wore my Marshall Tucker Band T shirt. I mean who would shoot a video girl with a Marshall Tucker Band Shirt? (Really didn’t stay there long enough to find out)

This stop BTW just a pit stop on our way to STA 5/6.

On the corner of “Happy and Healthy”

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US Sugar

US Sugar

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Sugar_Corporation

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They also run the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Central_Florida_Express,_Inc.

South Central Florida Express, Incorporated (reporting mark SCXF) (originally known as the South Central Florida Railroad (reporting mark SCFE) and run by the Brandywine Valley Railroad until September 17, 1994) is a short line railroad in southern Florida run by US Sugar Corporation. It serves customers at 26 locations.

U.S. Sugar, the only sugar company in the continental U.S. to transport sugarcane by rail, owns private trackage to take the cane to the SCFE. From there, the SCFE runs around both sides of Lake Okeechobee. The west side connects to CSX‘s Auburndale Subdivision at Sebring, and the east side crosses CSX at Marcy and interchanges with the Florida East Coast Railway at Fort Pierce, with haulage rights to CSX and Norfolk Southern at Jacksonville, Florida.

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US Sugar Corp campaign to help cancer

Here are some people you may know that work there.

Robert Coker

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http://www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/coker_bio.html

Robert Coker is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, of United States Sugar Corporation. He is responsible for managing the company’s federal, state and local government affairs department and the company’s corporate and charitable giving programs encompassing numerous community and employee-relations activities. As a member of senior management, Coker also actively participates in corporate matters involving real estate, environmental regulation, budgeting and allocation of capital.

He is a former Chairman of the Board of Regents for Leadership Florida. He serves on the board of directors for the Florida Sugar Cane League, the Board of Trustees of BIZ-PAC of Palm Beach County and is a member of the Board of Governors for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and serves on the Executive Committee of Florida Taxwatch.

Malcolm “Bubba” Wade

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http://www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/wade_bio.html

Malcolm S. Wade, Jr. is Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development of United States Sugar Corporation. He has been employed by the Company for more than 27 years and has been a member of the senior management team for over 20 years. Wade, a certified public accountant, joined the company as Director of Internal Audit in 1982 and subsequently was named director, vice president and senior vice president of the Administrative Service Group and is currently senior vice president of sugar operations.

For more than 20 years, Wade has been involved in developing and overseeing the Company’s environmental responsibilities. Through his appointments by two governors and the South Florida Water Management District to working groups on South Florida environmental issues, Wade has helped shape public policy regarding Everglades Restoration.

In March 2005, Governor Bush appointed Wade to a four-year term on the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board, a position he resigned in 2008 due to the State’s proposed acquisition of U.S. Sugar. Previously, Wade was a member of the team representing South Florida farmers that spent more than a year negotiating with the Interior and Justice Departments, the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District to resolve the legal disputes over Everglades Restoration. He represented farmers on the technical mediation committee that crafted the Technical Mediated Plan for Everglades Restoration, which was adopted by the Florida Legislature in the spring of 1994.

He was appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles to the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, which worked for four years to establish a consensus plan for Everglades Restoration. The work of the commission became the framework for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) approved by Congress and is currently being implemented throughout south Florida.

Wade’s work on restoration issues continued with his appointment by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Governor’s Commission for the Everglades. He is a past member and co-chair of the South Florida Water Management District Water Resource Advisory Commission (WRAC) as well as a past member and chairman of the Lake Okeechobee Advisory Committee of the WRAC. He is also a past member of the District’s Lower East Coast Water Supply Planning Committee and the Budget Review commission. In addition, Wade served on the South Florida Agricultural Council Water Commission, the Caloosahatchee Water Management Advisory Committee and is a director of the Everglades Agricultural Area Environmental Protection District.

Wade is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

JUDY C. SANCHEZ

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www.ussugar.com/press_room/bios/sanchez_bio.html

Judy C. Sanchez is the Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for United States Sugar Corporation. She joined U.S. Sugar in 1994, transferring from its South Bay Growers vegetable division where she worked as a Marketing Specialist.

Mrs. Sanchez attended the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in communications. A fourth generation farmer, she has spent most of her life in and around the sugar cane industry, both in Florida and Louisiana. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau, Childcare of Southwest Florida, and the Agricultural Institute of Florida.

She lives in Belle Glade, Florida, with her husband and two sons.

Judy follows me on twitter so I hope she reads this. We night not like what Judy does or says but for her boss’s she does a great job! Check out the tweets!

I think this tweet says it all.

Here are some fun videos for our friends out in Clewiston.

Don’t be a bad arnie!

Sure glad my visit to Clewiston yesterday didn’t end like this.

or this

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The Uninvited. Barking up the wrong tree.

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So you know when you call someone on the phone and you talk and talk and then they interrupt and say ” You got the wrong number.” Then your embarrassed and apologize and try to figure out what number should have been called. Sometime’s you just dialed wrong and sometimes you have the wrong number.

Or you go to the wrong house and the kindly people at the door direct you to the correct place. That!

You know human things that we do. Honestly. Politeness. Respect of our fellow human beings. Every day life with our fellow travelers.

So, our good friend of the Indian River Lagoon  and awesome blogger Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote this blog.

http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/06/01/trying-to-understand-the-structure-of-the-sfwmd-within-government-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/

“A few months ago when the South Florida Water Management District was ignoring a desperate and pleading public that had come before them begging for the purchase of the US Sugar Option Lands through Amendment 1 monies, to help save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and Calooshatchee, I drove to West Palm Beach and met with high level officials. They were very nice but it was a frustrating meeting. Basically I asked them, “What are you doing?” “Why are you acting like this?”

The answer?

“Commissioner, you know the power isn’t in our hands anymore anyway…”
“What do you mean?” I inquired.

A conversation around the table ensured:

SFWMD: “Well after the debacle that occurred 2008-2010 with then Governor Charlie Christ, the recession, and the attempted buyout of all of US Sugar’s lands, basically a water district was trying to purchase a corporation…..the Florida Legislature got fed up.  So later,  in section 373.556 of Florida Statutes, the Florida Legislature made sure the District would never be in a position to do that again….Significant legislative changes have occurred related to water management budgeting with substantial ramification for Water Management District land transactions. In 2013, Senate Bill 1986 provided that certain District land transaction should be subject to the scrutiny of the Legislative Budget Commission. As this bill renewed the authority of the Governor to approve or disapprove the SFWMD budget, as with all water management budgets of the state, we can no longer do things we have done in the past like oversee giant land purchases using the monies from our ad-valorem taxes…There is a lot more to it but that’s the main difference now. You are talking to the wrong people….”

I stood there just staring…..”I didn’t know this gentlemen, so how do you expect the public to know this ? Are you telling me, the SFWMD has no power to purchase those Sugar Lands?”

“I am telling you the legislature is in charge of the budget and we don’t have enough money to buy the lands, and couldn’t without their approval….”

“So why don’t you explain that to the public?” I asked.

Stares….

Long awkward silence….

The reply was more or less: “It’s best not to get involved in such a discussion…..”

I lectured them on the importance of communication and education and said they certainly still have influence even if they say they “do not” …..but this did go over particularly well… the meeting ended. I shook their hands. I felt like an idiot. I drove home.”

Poor Jacqui.

We were the uninvited.

“Shall I tell you who taught you the things you’ve done. The things you’ve said”

So my question is  who does that?  Why not just say so. Why not just say “Your barking up the wrong tree?”

June is educate your legislators in mental illness month. I said so!

@joenegronfl

who said

http://fcir.org/2012/07/26/florida-slips-even-lower-in-mental-health-funding/

“More specifically, state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, advocated cuts to so-called soft services, which include mental health and drug-addiction programs, because many of these services address what Negon views as “a lack of willpower, a lack of discipline, a lack of character.” Negron was the chair of appropriations for health and human services in the state Senate.”

This attitude has got to change. We cannot have legislators that do not believe in taking  care of our most vulnerable people and do not believe in science.

Mental illness knows no parties. It is a bipartisan disease.

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Let’s educate our legislators. Let’s make a difference.

Let’s make June “Educate your legislators on mental illness month.”

Society is Judged By How They Treat the Most Vulnerable.

What does this say about us?

http://www2.nami.org/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm?ContentFileID=93487

Mental Illness Is Common
Of Florida’s approximately 18.3 million residents, close to  660,000 adults live with serious mental illness
and about 181,000 children live with serious mental health conditions.
Untreated Mental Illness has Deadly and Costly Consequences
In 2006, 2,440 Floridians died by suicide.
Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or under-
treated mental illness.
Public Mental Health Services
are Inadequate to Meet Needs
Florida’s public mental health system
m provides services to only 26 percent of adults who live with
serious mental illnesses in the state.
Florida spent just $38 per capita on mental health
agency services in 2006, or $686.6 million
Nationally, an average of 70 percent is spent
on community mental health services and 28 percent on state hospital care.
by the numbers
Criminal Justice Systems Bear a Heavy Burden
In 2006, 7,302 children were incarcerated in Florida’s juvenile justice system.
Nationally,
approximately 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice
systems experience mental health disorders, with
20 percent experiencing a
severe
mental health condition.
In 2008, approximately 24,600 adults with mental
illnesses were incarcerated in prisons in Florida.
Additionally, an estimated 31 percent of female and 14
percent of male jail inmates nationally live with
serious mental illness.
Many Residents Rely on Public Services for Needed Care
Approximately 10.1 percent of Floridians are enrolled in Medicaid.
Housing is Unaffordable for People who rely on SSI or SSDI.
The average rent for a studio apartment in Florida is
119 percent of the average Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) payment, making housing unaffordable
for adults living with serious mental illness who rely on SSI.
Here is an article from Science Daily

Brain circuit problem likely sets stage for the ‘voices’ that are symptom of schizophrenia

Scientists have identified problems in a connection between brain structures that may predispose individuals to hearing the ‘voices’ that are a common symptom of schizophrenia. Researchers linked the problem to a gene deletion. This leads to changes in brain chemistry that reduce the flow of information between two brain structures involved in processing auditory information.

Here is a video by ROCHE that is a simple explanation on schizophrenia.

The biology of schizophrenia.

Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCaltech

Where are the Pet-Friendly Shelters?

@MartinCountygov

@TCPalm

@TCPalmAndreassi

To Our Commissioners in Martin and St Lucie County.

This past Saturday I attended  our annual disaster conference. Our area includes Martin County, Port St Lucie County, Okeechobee County and Indian River County. The MRC (Medical Reserve Corp) are volunteers who assist in disasters.

CGQKShmWgAA1jj9.jpg_largeThe only county that seemed to have it act together was Indian River County. They have this:

ifyougotheygo

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It was suggested you take a photo of yourself with you and your pet so no one can show up and say that your pet is their pet.

meme selfie

meme selfie (you should have your face in the photo)

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Do not leave your pets if you have to evacuate. If you go they go!

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don’t leave us food source your our only hope!

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The number for the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County is 772-388-5492. Our commissioners can call them and get info on how to set up programs in our county. I bet they would be deee-lighted to come down and show you guys how to do this.

In a storm everything east of Federal Hwy is considered an evacuation zone. That means your veterinarians in that area are in a potential evacuation zone.

We still do not have pet friendly shelters in Martin or St Lucie County.

I found this article that George

@TCPalmAndreassi

wrote in 2007:

http://www.tcpalm.com/weather/30martin-pets-canshelter-in-storm

The Humane Society of the Treasure Coast in Palm City, the county’s first pet shelter, can withstand winds of 140 mph or more and accommodate as many as 200 cats and dogs.

The offering, free for up to five days, is a temporary solution that allows Martin County to comply with a new Federal Emergency Management Agency pet shelter strategy requirement, Holman said.

The county in the meantime is working to provide a similarly secure shelter for pets as well as their owners, Holman said.

It’s 2015- what’s the plan?

We really need a plan especially for our seniors who have pets. We have a lot of people who live by themselves with their dog or cat in substandard  housing. What are we going to do to help them?

In Indian River County the first pets they take are the volunteers that work the shelter. HINTHINTHINT

Here is a list of pet friendly shelters for Florida. Plan now. Many of these place require that you pre register. Your pets must be up to date on their vaccinations and you need to bring a crate, food, basically everything your pet will need.

http://www.floridapetfriendly.com/pet-friendly-hurricane-shelters.htm

We also need an update list of hotels/motels that accept pets and I am told that some that usually don’t take pets will change their policy during a storm.

After Hurricane Katrina hundreds of pets were displaced. Please make sure your pet has at least a tag with a phone number.

Here is a nice video from the AVMA.

Here is a good FEMA video that I found.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUbSF_S20bE

Paddlefest 2015: RiverKidz

Paddlefest 2015: RiverKidz

We have an amazing group of RiverKidz!

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This year, I caught up with Katy Lewey.

Here is some video of the Riverkidz speaking out.

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The River Kidz have some cool new tee shirts. I just bought a bunch for my grandson and nieces.  Nice white cotton. Perfect for the summer.

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and cool new bags.

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River Kidz Martin County https://www.facebook.com/pages/River-Kidz/237123116309196?fref=ts

River Kidz St Lucie and Indian RIver County https://www.facebook.com/riverkidzslc?fref=ts

Join the River Kidz http://riverscoalition.org/riverkidz/membership-registration/

Gettin here

If someone told me in 2007 that I would be living in Jensen Beach, working again as a home health nurse, practicing reiki, studying to be a spiritual counselor and a meditation instructor I would have told them they were nuts. Life takes you on the journey you were meant to be on. You just have to let go and enjoy the ride.  “Flow” as my friend Victor says. My very best advice is if you are  at a fork on the road take the high road. Believe in yourself and believe that this is happening for a reason. You may not know the reason but trust there is a force bigger than you and that if you hang there one day you’ll wake up and say “Oh YA now I get it.” and if your just not ready  to do that believe in Yoda.