Little Fort White was the center of activity today, Oct. 29, 2016, as dozens of water protectors descended on the intersection of hwys 27 and 47, at the one traffic light in the center of town. For three hours young and old waved signs and waved at passersby as many honked in support.
President Pam Smith organized this event and she got the people here. Well done Pam!
She had help from Merrillee, who was here today as OSFR, citizen of Fort White and riparian owner. She called in her friends and associates.
We had a soapbox and a bull horn, here being used. OSFR was vibrantly visible!
Maryvonne Devensky of Suwannee St. Johns Sierra Club Group addresses the crowd.
OSFR member Mike Roth lives very near the Santa Fe River Sabal Trail crossing. He is not happy.
Merrillee was busy for three hours, her stamina is amazing.
Jayne & Roger Nogaki and Toni McIntosh, staunch and loyal advocates
Patty Street, OSFR board member, Laura Daily and Walter Bickmeyer (and Gracie not shown)
Charles Maxwell Ich. Alliance KC Cavanaugh, the Trail walker Janet Barrow very hard worker
Harry Patterson Green Party Billie Jo Benedict OSFR Karen Arrington Gainesville
Jayne Orr Woman’s Club John Moran Photographer Cindy Noel OSFR member
Jo Jo Gardens Tracy Marinello FL. Defenders of the Environment
Joshua Birmingham Karen Mullins, Laura Dailey, OSFR
Although Fort White is small in size, it lies in the springs heartland and close to the Sabal Trail gas pipe crossing and other critical venues. Upwards of 75 enthusiastic people came out to let the community know what is happening here. Our Santa Fe River, Inc. is extremely active and is engaged in several projects to improve the quality of life now and in the future in our community.
These include water withdrawals, nitrate control, fracking, the chicken factory, the phosphate mine and the Sabal Trail pipeline.
OSFR attends water management district meetings and monitors the water dispensing activities of them and the DEP. We call for curtailed use of agriculture fertilizers, especially on the unconfined aquifer area along the Santa Fe River, and better control of septic tanks. Our president Pam is a member of the executive board of the Florida Springs Council, the most important resistance group fighting abuse of our water resources.
The Floridians Against Fracking Coalition has been extremely active in Tallahassee and all counties throughout the state. Our past president and current member Merrillee, sits on the executive board and assists in directing activities, which has had success in the past Session in defeating bad fracking bills. Our members have traveled extensively to speak to local leaders and we have a presence in Tallahassee.
Our group initiated the fight against the chicken CAFO on the outskirts of Fort White, so unwisely placed in a fragile recharge area of the river. We are working diligently with some success to prevent further fiascos such as this one.
The threat of the phosphate mine in Union and Bradford Counties has been challenged immediately by OSFR, who assists the local residents in organization, letter writing and consistent visits and speeches to the county commissioners in both counties and especially Bradford.
The very first scoping meetings for Sabal Trail were attended by then-president Merrillee and OSFR has not let up since then. Along with WWALS, Spectra Busters and many other groups, we have consistently directed activities against this unnecessary threat to our environment.
All of the people pictured above are important. There are many more in group shots whom your writer does not know who are of equal importance and we thank and commend our leaders for organizing this gathering, and especially everyone who came out to help make our community aware of the threats of special interests and greedy people who want to exploit or resources and contaminate our river and air so they can get richer.
If you are reading this and are not of our group, you can help preserve Florida for posterity by joining us and participating. We are slowly making progress. We need your help and you can make a difference.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-