PHIL LEWIS: Open-government seminar will spread much sunshine

Phil Lewis
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Registration is open for our 2010 Sunshine Seminar co-sponsored by the First Amendment Foundation and the Florida Bar.

The seminar, scheduled for Sept. 28 in the Gates Community Room at the Naples Daily News, 1100 Immokalee Road, will address Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine laws, including open meetings and public records.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, conducts these seminars for government officials, news reporters, the legal community and the general public.

The First Amendment Foundation is based in Tallahassee and is supported in part by Florida newspapers. Petersen last conducted a seminar in our area 10 years ago at the request of the Daily News and the News-Press following the public referendum to incorporate Bonita Springs and form a municipal government.

The seminar begins at 9 a.m. with Petersen reviewing Florida’s Sunshine Laws and any recent changes.

After a break at noon, the Florida Bar Media and Communication Law Committee will focus on news gathering, including “dos and don’ts” for reporters and issues involving Florida’s shield law, which dictates when news reporters can be subpoenaed as witnesses in court cases.

That session ends at 2:30 p.m.

There is a $25 seminar fee, which includes a copy of the 2010 Government-in-the Sunshine Manual, a reference book for compliance with Florida’s public-records and open-meetings laws.

Government employees, students and members of the First Amendment Foundation will receive a discount. The cost for public employees is $15. Students and foundation members will be asked to pay $10.

To register, call the First Amendment Foundation at (800) 337-3518.

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Hot and cold

The stats are in. After experiencing the coldest winter on record, Naples followed up with the second-hottest summer on record.

According to the National Weather Service, the average summer temperature was 84.3 degrees, which is 2.4 degrees above normal.

The hottest summer on record was back in 1944, when the June-August temperature average was 84.5 degrees.

The weather service, which uses readings at Naples Municipal Airport, considers summer the three-month period ending Aug. 31.

This past summer, the highest temperature recorded was 97 degrees on June 12. The daily high temperature broke the 90-degree mark 82 days.

Back in 1944, the 90 mark was exceeded 90 days.

It was even hotter on the other side of Alligator Alley.

The weather service says Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach experienced the hottest summer on record. All three cities topped previous average temperature records set in 1998.

Temperature records in Miami and Palm Beach go back to 1895 and 1888, respectively.

In Naples, the weather service started keeping official records in 1942.

This past January, February and March — the weather service considers that winter for record-keeping purposes — the average daily temperature in Naples was 61.3 degrees — 4.7 degrees below normal and the lowest on record.

Lewis is editor of the Daily News. His e-mail address is plewis@naplesnews.com.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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