3 To Know: New Everglades area visitor center, more

Marco Eagle

1. New Everglades area visitor center opens

Historic Everglades City has so many interesting places to see and things to do but where do we get information about them? No problem now that the new Everglades Visitor Center is opening.

Everglades Visitor Center

The official ceremony is 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, with Mayor Howie Grimm cutting the ribbon at the renovated premises in 207 West Broadway, the salmon-colored building opposite the famous Rod & Gun Club.

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The visitor center is also the Trail Town headquarters for the city which was recognized in 2019 by the Florida's Office of Greenways & Trails as an important hub for recreational activities, such as paddling, hiking and biking.  

 The visitor center is operated by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. For info, see visitevergladescity.com or stop in at the center any day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the winter season.

If you have questions, email ESHP@hotmail.com or phone Marya at 239-695-2905.

2. Official proposes no school on Nov. 1

Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, has proposed declaring the day after Halloween an official public school holiday to give kids a chance to recover from a night of trick or treating.

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Taddeo told the News Service of Florida she filed the bill (SB 1462) at the request of students and parents. The requirement for a day off would not apply in years Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday.

A student-driven Change.org petition collected more than 300,000 signatures from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“As a parent, I totally get it,” Taddeo explained about the need for a day of rest after a night of feasting on chocolate and other sweets. It would apply to K-12 students.

Taddeo filed the proposal last week. It has yet to be assigned to committees for hearings.

The Legislature’s 2020 session begins next Tuesday.

3. Algae focus of Everglades summit

Fixing Florida’s ailing freshwater systems can be done largely by removing excess nutrients flowing off the landscape. The state just has to find those sources and help the polluters cap the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen entering the various waterways.

That was one of the thoughts from a three-day Everglades Coalition meeting held on Captiva last week. The coalition is a consortium of more than 60 groups that represent local governments, environmental groups and farming interests.

A wintertime bloom of blue-green algae, courtesy of Calusa Waterkeeper.

Blue-green algae refers to a group of different types of algae found in freshwater systems, some of which can produce toxins like cyanobacteria.

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These outbreaks have been problematic on the east and west coasts of Florida in recent years, with both the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers being clogged with toxic mats of blue-green algae since 2016.