By Jordan Melnick | November 4th, 2011 | 2 Comments
Honorary Mo Bro Rick Scott
With last month’s plethora of pink (ahem), even the color blind couldn’t help but notice it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But fewer people know that for the last eight years men around the world have grown out their moustaches during November in support of the fight to cure prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death among men.
The initiative is called Movember (November + moustache = Movember) and, since its 2003 launch in Melbourne, Australia, it has raised millions of dollars for men’s health worldwide, including $7.5 million in the United States in 2010 alone. By literally “changing the face of men’s health”, Movember is attempting to make men more comfortable discussing prostate cancer, which, despite its high incidence rate, remains a touchy topic among the masculine masses.
Considering Movember’s fundraising prowess, it should come as no surprise that Florida Governor Rick Scott has taken notice. In a Nov. 1 letter, he applauded Movember for “encouraging men to remove the stigma and speak out against prostate cancer.”
Scott’s support may be ironic — the man is as glabrous as Mr. Bigglesworth’s biggles — but it nonetheless shows that Movember is growing stronger.
“Governor Scott was the first state governor to officially recognize Movember since its inception and this is an indication of the movement’s growing influence and efficacy,” says Diego Echeverri, who secured the letter from Scott and is the captain of his Movember team, Los Bigotudos.
Endorsements by politicians aside, Echeverri says Movember’s true strength lies right under men’s noses.
“Movember is so effective because the moustache initiates a grassroots dialogue regarding men’s health issues,” he says.
To learn more about the hirsute pursuit and how you can get involved, visit the Movember website. The movement welcomes men (Mo Bros) and women (Mo Sistas) alike, so don’t let gender keep you on the sidelines during moustache season.
As the month wears on and the moustaches grow in, expect Movember-related events to start curling onto the Miami calendar. Already on our radar: The Emerge Miami Mustache Ride on Saturday, Nov. 12. If you know of any others, feel free to add them to our events page.
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By Jordan Melnick | May 23rd, 2011 | 6 Comments
In today’s Herald, Andres Viglucci provides grim analysis of what will happen to South Florida if — when — Governor Rick Scott signs measures that would mortally wound the department in charge of keeping suburban sprawl from gobbling up the Everglades. An excerpt:
Measures approved by the Florida Legislature with little scrutiny or debate in the waning moments of this year’s session would dismantle the state oversight that has acted as the principal brake on repeated efforts by the county commission to breach the line for new development.
The measures, almost sure to be signed by business-friendly Gov. Rick Scott, would significantly water down the state’s 25-year-old growth-management system, giving counties and municipalities far greater freedom to amend the local comprehensive development plans that are meant to control suburban sprawl.
“In time,” Viglucci continues, opponents of the measure fear “Miami-Dade will look like Broward County — fully paved from the Atlantic Ocean to the Everglades dike, with no remaining agricultural land.”
In blatant disregard of Florida’s millions of vacant dwellings and hundreds of millions of unused commercial square footage, Gov. Scott will likely approve the measures in the name of jobs, jobs, jobs. The ramifications are ominous for the fragile Everglades, itself the unsung and underutilized economic engine of the Sunshine State. (A recent study suggests restoring the national park could net Florida more than $100 billion.)
Indeed, there is a lot at stake in a battle that already seems to be lost. As Viglucci writes at the end of the article, “Former Democratic Florida governor and U.S. senator Bob Graham, in a joint letter with Nathaniel Pryor Reed, a Republican who served as assistant Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Nixon and Ford, called on Scott to veto the measures, calling them a ‘massive assault’ on 30 years of mostly effective growth management, and a potentially pivotal moment in state history.”
Pivotal, yes, but turning the wrong way.
Read Viglucci’s article in full on miamiherald.com.
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By Jordan Melnick | February 19th, 2011 | 5 Comments
Dear Governor Scott,
It’s one thing for you to deprive Floridians of the comfort of knowing they have an earthling, eyelids and all, in the Governor’s Mansion. It’s quite another to deprive them of a really cool toy like a bullet train (see below) to appease the Tea Party. Do you not realize they won’t be happy until we retrogress to wagons and galleys?
Listen: I acknowledge the existential absurdity of a train that carries passengers between Tampa and Orlando — two places no human deserves to be — at 160 mph. But how does turning down $2.4 billion in federal dough for a project that will employ thousands of Floridians square with “Let’s Get to Work”? And I know you’re very concerned about the debt — that whole historic Medicare fraud thing notwithstanding — but how does forfeiting the $2.4 billion to California help balance the nation’s books? I can’t make sense of any of it without reaching the cynical conclusion that it’s simply a cold calculation made in the interest of keeping your own job. Which, you know, could backfire. And I don’t think there is a train out of Tallahassee, let alone a bullet.
A Lowly Lad of the Lidded Masses
By Jordan Melnick | February 8th, 2011 | 5 Comments
Rick Scott unveils his $65.9 billion budget proposal during a tea party rally in Central Florida. -- AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Following up on our Feb. 4 post about the 53 state parks and six aquatic preserves the Department of Environmental Protection proposed closing to slash its budget by 15 percent — everything I’ve read and heard from local activists suggests the FDEP proposal was not included in the 166-page budget Rick Scott presented yesterday. This does not mean the parks and preserves, including the Barnacle in Coconut Grove and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, are safe. NB: This excerpt from naplesnews.com:
Scott’s budget does not make any specific recommendations about state parks to close, but his proposal to cut the DEP’s budget by 180 jobs and $148 million is severe enough to put at least some parks on the chopping block, said Audubon of Florida executive director Eric Draper.
“You get rid of the government that protects these places,” Draper said, “you turn them over to the pirates.”
Scott’s budget proposal includes cuts all around, including a $4.8 billion (that’s billion with a B, as in pinky-to-corner-of-mouth) slash to the state’s education budget. Having worked at a public elementary school in North Miami for three years, I shudder to think of our already deeply flawed school system trying to make do with less money. From the Miami Herald:
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By Jordan Melnick | February 4th, 2011 | 4 Comments
Deregulating Biscayne Bay can have potentially 'devastating' consequences for Miami, Reynolds says.
On Monday Florida’s new governor, Rick Scott, will release his 2011 – 2012 state budget proposal. Until then, environmentalists across Florida are holding their collective breath to see if Scott has incorporated a proposal to close 53 state parks and six aquatic preserves. The proposal to close the parks and preserves comes from the Department of Environmental Protection itself in an effort to cut its operating budget by 15 percent, something Scott wants all state agencies to do.
The 53 state parks include the Barnacle, a 120-year-old house that sits on five wooded acres in Coconut Grove. Built in 1891 out of the lumber of wrecked ships by yacht-designer Ralph Munroe, the Barnacle House looks out on the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, one of the six preserves the DEP proposed closing.
This morning, I talked to Laura Reynolds, executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society, about exploding sea grass, tar balls, and the potentially “devastating effect” of deregulating Biscayne Bay.
How will closing the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve impact Miami?
LR: I don’t think this county has ever really understood what Biscayne Bay means to our economy. Everyone trashes it, takes advantage of it, but doesn’t spend the time [to protect it]. Some people are starting to realize that it is on the brink of crashing just like Florida Bay did a decade ago because of tons of algal blooms and too much nutrients. In fact, sea grass exploded and died, and that caused anoxic conditions in some areas.
If you ask any one who has lived here for a long time, you can’t catch fish anymore [in Biscayne Bay]. It’s not really as productive as it used to be. As far as shrimpers, the fishing industry, the boating industry — that’s an economy that we need to worry about.
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