3 To Know: Audit will move forward, water conditions improving

Marco Eagle

1. Algae crisis: Red tide count improving in some areas

Red tide levels across Southwest Florida are falling in the wake of Tropical Storm Gordon, which brought heavy offshore winds that pushed the bloom away from beaches.

More:Marco Island Council considering audit of purchasing contracts after employee's mishaps

“The samples I looked at are way down in concentration,” said Rick Bartleson, a water quality scientist with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “They were around 40 million cells per liter last Friday and now they’re down to 40,000 cells at Beach Access 1. Algiers on Saturday was 41 million and in three days it went down to 200,000. That’s basically a 99 percent drop.”

Dead fish washed up along Bonita Beach due to red tide on Aug. 1, 2018. This red tide bloom has been along the Southwest Florida coast since October 2017.

Some Sanibel areas have tested below 1 million cells per liter for the first time in two months, which could be a sign that the bloom has moved offshore or is beginning to break up. 

Red tide was barely detectable this week in Collier County waters and fluctuating between background concentrations and 1 million cells per liter in Lee, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report.

The National Weather Service also dropped its hazardous beach conditions advisory for several Southwest Florida counties.

2. Audit will move forward

The city of Marco Island is moving forward with a sample audit of its purchasing contracts after meeting with the Collier County Clerk of Courts Office.

Vice-Chair Charlette Roman reported Tuesday on her meeting with Clerk of Court Crystal Kinzel, who was supportive of the process and has agreed to assist the city at no charge.

The discussion of performing an audit on a sample of contracts came about last month after multiple indiscretions by Purchasing and Risk Manager Lina Upham surfaced.

In addition to looking at the contracts, Roman said the audit may include a review of the bidding process and internal controls.

Once the audit is completed, a written report will be provided to the City Council.

3. CDC warns against eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

Thirty more people are sick after eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which was recalled in June over salmonella concerns. That brings the total number of cases to 130, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Cereal Honey Smacks, de Kellog's

In an update this week, the CDC told retailers not to sell any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal and customers not to buy or eat it. The update followed a CDC advisory in July, when the health agency also told people not to eat the cereal.

The latest illnesses were reported across 19 states. Three of those states were not on the CDC’s previous update: Delaware, Maine and Minnesota. In total, at least 36 states have been affected by the tainted cereal.

Eating cereal contaminated with salmonella can cause serious illness, including fatal infections, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.