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Letters to the Editor, August 7

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

Waterway Impairment – a 30,000 foot view

Waterway water quality is an important issue here on Marco and I thought I’d share my thoughts with pre-2000 historical perspectives.

Some serious mistakes were made in the Orlando area in the ‘50s –‘60s changing the natural water flow from south/southwest down the peninsula to an east/west flow. The thinking was, “Get the water out to the Gulf and Atlantic quickly.”

The Feds realized their mistake and initiated the building of man-made locks and canal system to restore the natural water flow to south/southwest down the peninsula. The result, Lake Okeechobee has become a big throttling mechanism, collecting fertilizer enriched waters, most of which are being directed south/southwest to the gulf. The Feds are continually fine tuning this system.

Fast forward to 2010-20. Agriculturally enhanced waters are finding their way into the Marco River via Rookery Bay and Henderson Creek and subsequently into our tidal canal system.  This is one of many “offenders.” After Marco completed the STRP, at great cost to our residents, the city initiated a new method of Storm Water Control called the “conveyance method” with large pipes and drains in our swales to suck the rain water off our roads and lawns directly to outfalls into our canals. It defeated the natural ability of our swales to filter out chemical nutrients by “percolation via slow sand filtering.” This change occurred from 2000 to present.

The best way forward: Restore the swales to their original purposes; allow the water consultant to complete his work and make his recommendations and educate residents and landscape workers.

Joe Rola, Marco Island

Candidates, what about water quality?

Based on television advertising, it seems there are three leading candidates competing for the Republican nomination for the congressional seat in District 19 — Figlesthaler, Askar and Donalds. I haven’t seen in one of their ads any concern for our area’s water quality issues.

Will this be a win, win, win for the sugar Industry? Even President Trump has supported Everglades restoration.

The health of our area’s environment should not be a forgotten issue. Perhaps an organization such as Captains for Clean Water can review and determine whether one of the candidates is suitable. I fish, I boat and I vote.

William Kerrigan, Naples

[Editor’s note: District 19 covers Lee and Collier counties’ coasts, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, San Carlos Park, Estero and Bonita Springs. U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney represents the district now but is leaving Congress.]

‘Russian roulette with our kids’

As a medical/science writer who spent the final decade of my public health career alongside World Health Organization epidemiologists and virologists helping to battle the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, I believe it’s crucial to postpone the opening of Collier County classrooms.

HIV and the novel coronavirus differ in their virulence and transmission routes, but both have given rise to a parallel and dangerous epidemic: denial, downplaying and disregarding of public health guidance. This epidemic of denialism among our political leaders (and a sizable proportion of Collier residents) is what’s driving community transmission. Our positivity rate rose to over 16% on Friday; our cumulative rate has increased for 40 consecutive days.

Collier County is nowhere near the low prevalence rates under which European countries were safely able to open their schools. Until we curb this epidemic and get our rates way down, it’s unconscionable to play Russian roulette with our kids, teachers, and administrative and custodial staff, given the risks of COVID- 19 contamination to them — and from them to the broader community.

Suzanne Cherney, East Naples

Naples ‘negated’ Collier mask rule?

I am writing to express my extreme disappointment with the non-decision at the Naples City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss a mask mandate. The council’s decision to not adopt a mandate was a mistake and bordered on cowardly. Many fellow Naples residents feel the same way.

For those who claim a First Amendment right: The First Amendment allows someone to swing their fists, but that swing has to stop where someone else’s nose begins.

If we are to stop the spread of the coronavirus, masks are mandatory. To abdicate the responsibility of an enforcement policy and throw it over to the city manager seems toothless. Mask mandates do not work without enforcement.

Many of us are proud of the stand that Paul Perry and Ray Christman took. We just wish the rest of the council had followed suit.

Viruses do not stop at the city limit, so the council in effect has negated the mask mandate that Collier County recently passed.

By the way, Sanibel adopted this policy June 30. Why would we not? Everyone over the age of 2 years in Sanibel is required to wear masks or other facial covering when inside businesses or other places of public accommodation.

Linda LaRue Brown, Naples

More:Letters to the Editor, August 4