Thursday, July 18, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein: Financier given work-release despite ban on sex offenders (Palm Beach Post)

FBI and U.S. Attorney must investigate Palm Beach County Sheriff RICHARD BRADSHAW for this outrage.  JEFFREY EPSTEIN was allowed work release even though he was a sex offender.  Then the criminal was allowed to have sex with women and girls while on work release.  We have those paragons like KENNETH W. STARR and ALLEN DERSHOWITZ to thank for EPSTEIN azd desuetude of law enforcement by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, RENE ALEXANDER ACOSTA, deposed Secretary of Labor.  ACOSTA met with defense attorneys at their convenience, dozens of miles away from and outside of the office, outside the ordinary course of business.


Millionaires and billionaires get their cases "fixed" in our criminal injustice system, perverted for pedophile sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein by Florida and national influence peddlers like KENNETH W. STARR and ALAN DERSHOWITZ.

Jeffrey Epstein: Financier given work-release despite ban on sex offenders (Palm Beach Post)

Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to leave the Palm Beach County Stockade nearly every day to go to work even though Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has a policy that prohibits sex offenders from participating in the jail’s work release program, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The reason Epstein was exempt from the policy, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera, was that the politically-connected financier wasn’t required to register as a sex offender until July 22, 2009 — a day after he was released from jail after serving 13 months of an 18-month sentence on two state prostitution charges, including procuring a minor for sex. Until then, Barbera indicated, he wasn’t an official sex offender.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Deborah Dale Pucillo didn’t make such a distinction in July 2008 when she accepted Epstein’s guilty plea and designated him as a sex offender, a transcript of the hearing shows.
Florida law says that a person becomes a sex offender when he is convicted of soliciting a minor for sex. Some of the the girls Epstein is said to have abused were under the age of 14. The requirement to register with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, so it can alert neighbors that a sex offender is living nearby, is separate, according to the law.
Growing interest in Epstein’s treatment by sheriff’s officials comes as the 66-year-old millionaire who has a $12 million mansion in Palm Beach fights two child sex trafficking charges in New York. Epstein counted President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew as friends.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman on Thursday will decide whether Epstein will be released from jail on bond after being accused by federal prosecutors of luring dozens of underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion and his townhouse in New York for nude massages that, for most, led to sex. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
PBSO Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Gauger, who called Epstein a “model prisoner,” during his stay at the stockade, didn’t return several phone calls on Thursday to comment on the sheriff’s policy about sex offenders being granted work release and how it impacted Epstein.
Gauger has insisted that Epstein was treated like every other jail inmate. His ability to leave the jail 12 hours a day, six days a week was routine, he said.
Bradshaw’s longtime right-hand man defended off-duty deputies who Epstein paid $127,000 to guard him during the months he was allowed to leave jail to work at his nonprofit Florida Science Foundation.
Gauger bristled at a claim made Tuesday by an attorney for some of Epstein’s accusers that young women had sex with Epstein while he was working in his 14th-floor office at One Clearlake Centre on Australian Avenue in West Palm Beach. Only Epstein’s attorneys were allowed to visit, he said.
“That would shock me if the deputies let someone else in,” Gauger said. “They knew exactly what the rules and regulations were.”
But a list of Epstein’s approved visitors, released Thursday by the sheriff’s office, shows it was long. Roughly 20 attorneys, from five law firms, were on it. And any of their paralegals were allowed to stop in as well, according to a 2008 memorandum.
Even sheriff’s officials questioned whether the people had been properly vetted. “An investigator from one of the plaintiff’s attorney has indicated 2 are not paralegals,” Major Christopher Kneisley wrote in May 2010 while Epstein was on house arrest. “Trying to prepare a preemptive strike.
Attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents more than a dozen of Epstein’s accusers, says he has talked to women who said Epstein had sex while he was on work release at his foundation.
“There was more than one person who visited him,” Edwards said at a press conference. “I don’t know if any of them were under the age of 18. They believed they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose and while they were there, surprisingly to them, the situation turned sexual.”
He declined to name the woman or women who told him about the encounters but he indicated that additional details would be coming.
“What you are going to learn is that he was not sitting there conducting some scientific research for the betterment of the community,” Edwards said. “But he was having office visitors, some of whom were flown to him from New York and continuing to engage in similar conduct literally while he was in quote, unquote, jail.”
In preparation for Thursday’s bond hearing, more attention is being focused on Epstein’s activities at his 7,000 ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and why he wasn’t forced to register as a sex offender in that state.
Annie Farmer, one of his accusers, testified at Epstein’s bond hearing on Monday that she was taken to his ranch after first meeting him at his New York apartment. In a court affidavit in a civil case involving Epstein, her sister, Maria Farmer, said she was also abused when she worked for Epstein at his New York apartment.
But, she said in the affidavit, her real concern was for her younger sister and the abuse heaped on her by Epstein and his close friend, former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
“During the summer of 1996, Epstein and Maxwell flew my younger sister to their ranch in New Mexico,” Maria Farmer, a Kentucky artist wrote in the statement. ” She was only 15 at the time and they directed her to take off all of her clothes and get on a massage table.”
New Mexico authorities say they are now investigating allegations that Epstein lured underage girls to the ranch for sex.
Judge Berman on Monday questioned why Epstein didn’t register as a sex offender in New Mexico as he was required to do in Florida and New York.
According to documents his lawyers filed Wednesday, he was told he didn’t have to register in New Mexico. News outlets in New Mexico have reported that the state only requires registration if the victim was under the age of 16. The Palm Beach girl wasn’t.
Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said Epstein registered with the agency in 2010.
“Our records indicate that the only contact the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office had with Mr Epstein was when he came into our office to register as a sex offender,” he said in an email. “Our records indicate no other interface was engaged with Mr. Epstein beyond his sex offender registration.”
In the court documents Epstein’s lawyers submitted to Berman, they included emails Epstein wrote to a Santa Fe sheriff’s detectives in 2012, 2013 and 2015, alerting her he would be visiting his ranch.
“As an extra precaution I am letting you know that I will be on my ranch for the month of August,” Epstein wrote in July 2015. “Hope you are well.”
At Thursday’s hearing, his attorneys have said that Epstein will pledge ”$100 million,” as well as real estate he owns, to secure his release. His brother, Mark, who has a $100,000 condo in the Golden Lakes retirement community near West Palm Beach, is also willing to pledge “the full amount of his net worth,” which they estimated at $100 million.
As he did when he was on work release from the Palm Beach County stockade, he is also offering to hire armed guards to watch over him around the clock.
Federal prosecutors, however, contend that due to Epstein’s vast wealth there is no way to devise a bond package that would ensure he wouldn’t flee.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Oyster restoration project aims to improve water quality in Naples Bay (NBC2)

Oyster reefs and mangrove trees are among some of the methods for coping with ocean level rise and flooding here in St. Augustine, Florida.  Here's a story about the oyster reefs planted by the City of Naples, Florida, from NBC2:

Oyster restoration project aims to improve water quality in Naples Bay

The City of Naples completed the first site of the restoration project last week, creating 24 oyster reefs that went into the bay.
Monday, July 15th 2019, 6:29 PM EDT by Edna Ruiz
Monday, July 15th 2019, 6:29 PM EDT
NAPLES, Fla. - An oyster restoration project could be the answer to improving water quality in the Naples Bay.
The City of Naples completed the first site of the restoration project last week. The project has been in the works for several years, but construction only took a few months to complete.
The project included creating 24 oyster reefs that went into the Naples Bay. Three chevron barriers were also added to protect the oyster reefs and mitigate boat wake.

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“Oysters are great filters. Each oyster can filter between 10-50 gallons of water per day," said Naples' Natural Resources Manager, Dr. Stephanie Molloy.
Molloy said the oysters will be able to filter nutrients and toxins in the water, which can include red tide plankton and blue green algae, if they are present. 
“We’re looking to restore some of that ecosystem function back into the bay and help improve water quality," Molloy said.
Before the 1950s, the Naples Bay had about 50 acres of oyster reef habitat along the bay, according to the city. A study found that due to urbanization over five decades, the number of oyster reefs decreased by 80 percent. 
The restoration project aims to add five acres of oyster reef habitat into Naples Bay.
The project was paid for through a $484,244 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center, Office of Habitat Conservation, Coastal Resilience Grant Program, as well as a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Coastal Management Program for $30,000.  
The city plans to complete two more restoration sites. One is under construction, and the other is on hold due to funding.
If you want to volunteer with the project you can contact Katie Laakonen at
© Copyright 2019 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

Aware of Plastic’s Downside, Florida Tech Researching Steel Mesh Oyster Mats. (Florida Tech press release)

Another good idea.  With more creative thinking like this, we can work wonders in saving nature.

Aware of Plastic’s Downside, Florida Tech Researching Steel Mesh Oyster Mats


Oyster reefs are essential for healthy coastal ecosystems, filtering large volumes of water and improving water clarity and quality. In the Indian River Lagoon, where oyster populations have decreased as a result of overharvesting and habitat degradation, human-made oyster mats are a helpful tool in the fight to restore the estuary’s health.

But the mats are traditionally made using plastic mesh, a material which breaks down into smaller pieces that marine organisms ingest. These microplastics are an increasingly alarming problem across the globe, especially in large bodies of water.

Florida Tech assistant professor of Oceanography Kelli Hunsucker, along with professor of Oceanography and Ocean Engineering Geoffrey Swain, associate professor of Ocean Engineering Robert Weaver, and graduate student Afanasy Melnikov, are the recipients of a $40,000 grant from the Brevard County Tourism Development Council to investigate a new approach to oyster restoration in the lagoon.

They are exploring alternatives to the plastic mesh, looking closely at using electrically charged steel mesh instead. The electricity causes a rise in the pH levels, which results in calcium carbonate depositing on the steel mesh, similar to reef substratum or limestone. It allows for increased survival of oysters and growth through reinforced substrate stabilization. All of this allows for a more environmentally friendly approach to oyster rehabilitation.

The idea to use the charged mesh came from Swain, who is familiar with the work done using this process in coral reef systems. The Florida Tech team tested various materials to see which mesh would allow for optimal calcium carbonate growth and now have test mats in the lagoon as they assess how much mineral growth is occurring on each version and the electrochemical properties for each. Phase two of the project will involve working with local partners to deploy test mats lagoon wide, including: Rib City at Grant Station, the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EELS) program, and a Florida Tech facility in Port Canaveral.

“Part of our focus is to restore the natural filter feeders which have been overfished in the lagoon. We need to increase the number of these organisms, like oysters, to help us combat the water quality issues and the algal blooms that we have,” said Hunsucker, the principal investigator in the steel mesh research. “But obviously, removing the muck, stopping fertilizer and grass clippings from going into the lagoon, those are all really important, so I think of it as a multi-faceted approach. Our project is one piece of the effort to restore the lagoon”

Oyster castles to restore bay and protect Naval Weapons Station Earle (Asbury Park Press)

Oyster castles to restore bay and protect Naval Weapons Earle

The NY/NJ Baykeeper is deploying 'castles' near the Naval Weapons Station Earle pier in the Raritan Bay that serves as a home to a growing oyster colony. Thomas P. Costello , Asbury Park Press
MIDDLETOWN — A growing reef in Raritan Bay is what environmentalists hope will be a sanctuary for fish and ocean life as well as protection for structures along the Jersey Shore.
Divers with NY/NJ Baykeeper, an organization devoted to protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems, set out Tuesday from the Leonardo State Marina with a boat loaded with concrete-and-shell blocks and clam shells covered in juvenile oysters. Their mission, once out in the bay, was for divers to lay the blocks on the bay's soft floor in four- by four-foot wide pyramids.
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These blocks, or so-called "castles," would serve as homes for the developing oysters, which on Tuesday speckled the castle blocks. 
These new oyster reefs, Baykeeper staff said, would attract a rich diversity of marine life and serve an important role in reducing the force of waves in future storms.
"It's like a speed bumps to break that energy up," said Meredith Comi, restoration program director for NY/NJ Baykeeper. 
The reefs, which run parallel to the shore off Naval Weapons Station Earle, will therefore help protect the station's structures, she said. 
The naval station took $50 million worth of damage during superstorm Sandy. As a result, its commanders turned to oyster reefs for future protection
Other military bases are taking similar measures. Elgin Air Force Base Reservation in Florida and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia are also trying to protect their facilities through reefs, according to the Navy Times.
"It's our version of a coral reef really," said Comi. "It provides a lot of homes, habitat and some species can only come and reproduce in this estuary, in these reefs."
Oysters help filter the water and also attract juvenile fish, crabs, shrimp and snails to the reefs, she said. 
"The diversity difference between an area that has nothing and an area with some kind of habitat is tremendous," Comi said.
These natural shorelines, called "living shorelines" by proponents, are also often more effective at preventing erosion and mitigating storm damage than bulkheads, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
In 2017, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat from Monmouth County, introduced a bill that would give grants worth $100 million over five years for coastal communities to build oyster reefs and recreate wetlands. A similar bill sponsored by California Sen. Kamala Harris was introduced to Congress on June 5, but the bill remains in the congressional Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Regardless, staff with NY/NJ Baykeeper will continue seeding the Raritan Bay with young oysters and building more reef habitat with their shell and concrete blocks.
In the past, the bay was covered in oyster reefs, said Comi.