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Attaboy, LCEC, Marco city officials

A big and special “attaboy” and well-deserved praise to Bob Atkins and his Lee County Electric Cooperative crew of 10 that got 85 percent of Marco Island restored to power before additional help was able to respond. They deserve an enormous amount of praise and thankful prayers for their herculean efforts in getting our power restored.

The Marco Players will make a special tribute to them and we encourage all other businesses and nonprofits on the island to do the same.

A “well done” and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has engaged and worked tirelessly in starting to get our lives back to normal.

Also, a huge thank you to Larry Honig and all the City Council, city employees and elected officials for their superb job in getting us through Hurricane Irma and the good starts on getting our lifestyle restored.

Bill Harris, Marco Island Production coordinator, Marco Players theater group

 

Improve water, sewer, power systems

It’s been heartbreaking to follow the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the devastation that areas like Everglades City are still experiencing.

Flooding in many areas has led to damaged homes and even public health crises across the state, most prominently in Southwest Florida. Collier County had to shut off its drinking water to fix its stormwater pumps. The lack of electricity resulted in failed sewage pumps that caused sewage to bubble up through manhole covers in some towns.

Sadly, the disrepair and underperformance of our water and energy infrastructure, revealed most clearly in emergencies like Irma, shows that Florida must reinvest in these critical parts of our everyday lives.

Unseen but essential, the network of pipes that deliver water to our homes, offices and businesses is vastly unappreciated — until something goes wrong. When something does go wrong, calamity strikes. It shouldn’t take a public health emergency like the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, or hurricanes like Irma and Harvey to get our country to invest in clean, affordable water service.

It’s time for our federal government to step up by establishing a sustainable source of funding for community water and wastewater systems like the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act.

The inability of energy companies to ensure electricity to residents, businesses and municipalities also means we have to rethink our energy grid.

State legislators must take a proactive approach to addressing these issues at the start of the legislative session in October.

Michelle Allen, St. Petersburg Florida organizer, Food & Water Watch

 

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