Thursday, March 31, 2016

Corrupt Sheriff's Emetic Campaign Website: Sheriff Spends-a-lot, who covered up Michelle O'Connell Case, LIes for Votes




Check it out!  Laugh your ass off at this criminaloid personality, who lies, spends a lot, and even  splits infinitives:
o  Developer-driven Sheriff DAVID BERNERD SHOAR, a/k/a "HOAR":

Under FBI investigation, St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR has the audacity to run for a fourth term, having disgraced his office with coverups.  

Sheriff DAVID SHOAR has not responded to my request to disclose his medical records.  

Nor has he responded to questions from The New York Times, The St. Augustine Record, Folio Weekly, PBS Frontline and this blog over the years.

For the facts, not Sheriff SHOAR's & entourage's "paranoia and fantasy," please read and view the following:
The New York Times, "Two Gunshots on a Summer Night" by Walt Bogdanich & Glenn Silber (November 24, 2013):
PBS/Frontline, "A Death in St. Augustine (November 26, 2013): ;NBC News Dateline, "Two Shots Fired" (April 18, 2014):
Folio Weekly: Jeff Billman, "Somebody's lying -- An activist accuses the St. Augustine Record of bowing 
to pressure from Jeremy Banks' attorney. The paper accuses her of spreading misinformation" (September 17, 2014),,10912
Dr. Phil, "The Mystery of Michelle O'Connell" (November 3, 2014):
Folio Weekly, "Murder, He Wrote," by Susan Cooper Eastman (November 19, 2014),
Folio Weekly, "The Proxy War," by Derek Kinner (March 4, 2015):

Photo credit: The New York Times   

Proven Leadership. A Lifetime of Public Service and Professional Excellence.

Dear Fellow Citizens,
Serving as a law enforcement officer for the past 35 years here in St. Johns County (four years as Chief of Police and 12 years as Sheriff) has truly been an honor. When I moved here from Massachusetts at the age of 19 and began my career working in construction, little did I know of the journey to come. 
Once again, I seek your support to serve as your Sheriff. You have elected me to this office three times, and each time I have reinforced the original commitment I made to you: to do everything in my power to deter crime in our county, and when it occurs, to find those responsible and bring them to justice. I also committed to always do the right thing for the right reasons and to pay special attention to our most vulnerable citizens: our youth and our elderly. My final commitment was to be honest and forthright in all my efforts and to make decisions based on what I felt was right at the time, absent of any malice or political expediency. Once again, I affirm these commitments. 
During the past 12 years at the Sheriff’s Office, we have made tremendous progress in many areas, and because of this progress, our agency enjoys a sterling reputation statewide. Everything we have been able to accomplish has been because of the wonderful men and women who work at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and because of our wonderful community. 
I would be honored to once again receive your support and your vote in the upcoming election on August 30, 2016. Please free to call on me any time—there are several ways to contact me on this website, and I am one of the few Sheriffs statewide who has a published home phone number. Thank you and God bless!
David B. Shoar

What our community leaders are saying...

“I have worked with Sheriff Shoar for many years on various projects to improve our community. His experience, professionalism, and dedication to law enforcement exemplify his qualifications to serve all the residents of St. Johns County with integrity and compassion. Please join me in voting for David B. Shoar for St. Johns County Sheriff.”
— Cathy Brown - Executive Director (retired), St. Johns County Council on Aging

“Sheriff Shoar has been an incredible partner to the St. Johns County School District for his entire career. The leadership he provides has made our schools more secure and has provided our children the opportunity to maximize their learning in a safe environment.”
— Joseph G. Joyner - Ed. D. Superintendent, St. Johns County Schools

“I have served side by side with Sheriff David Shoar during his entire 35-year law enforcement career here in St. Augustine. David is one of the brightest individuals I have ever served with. He is recognized at the local and state levels as a visionary leader who treats people with compassion, dignity, and respect. David has dedicated his life to protecting the vulnerable against bullies and always speaks the truth, even when it is difficult to do so.”
— Loran Lueders - Chief of Police, City of St. Augustine

St. Augustine Beach Tree-killing Continues: Come Speak Out April 4, 2016 at 7 PM

St. Augustine Beach City Commission meets at 7 PM on Monday, April 4, 2016. Come question this tree-killing orgy, made possible by a prior Commission and hick hack lawyer Mac McLEOD (who represents JEREMY BANKS and SCOTT O'CONNELL in their lawsuits against FDLE Special Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers, retaliation for is doing his job "too well" in investigating the September 2, 2010 shooting of Michelle O'Connell in BANKS' home).

St. Augustine Beach development surprises some residents

Posted: March 31, 2016 - 9:45am

The rumble of land-clearing equipment operating on a piece of wooded property in St. Augustine Beach recently caught the attention of a few residents who weren’t aware the land was slated for development.

Much of the confusion likely stems from the development having been approved nearly 10 years ago by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.

Susan Johnson told The Record on Wednesday she moved to St. Augustine Beach about seven or eight years ago and has lived in the St. Augustine area for roughly 30 years.

That the roughly 23-acre property on the southeast corner of 11th Street and Mickler Boulevard was about to become a 72-unit development was not on her radar, she said.

“We’re just kind of confused as to what’s going on,” Johnson said.

All she could find was a 10-year-old news story that said Beach commissioners had voted to deny development of a subdivision called Ocean Ridge, she said in an email earlier this week.

She said Wednesday the story left her wondering, “Why is the land being cleared when this was not approved?”

Sandra Krempasky, who moved to St. Augustine Beach about two years ago, said Wednesday she also had no idea the property was going to be developed. She hadn’t heard it mentioned at any recent meetings, she said.

“It’s certainly a surprise when a large development just pops up without mention,” Krempasky said.

Developer Jay McGarvey, of McGarvey Residential Communities in Ponte Vedra Beach, said Wednesday the proposal for Ocean Ridge that was denied in January 2006 was his first shot at getting the property developed.

It was originally a planned unit development that included flexible setbacks for “topography” and “to save trees,” he said.

“The community went berserk because somebody was going to develop that land,” McGarvey said during a phone interview.

When the PUD ended up being denied — first by the PZB and then on appeal by the Beach City Commission — after pushback from residents, he submitted a “straight zoning” land development plan to the PZB.

“It’s just right out of their zoning book,” McGarvey said.

He said the original pushback was unfortunate because he thinks the accommodations made to the city under a PUD are typically better for the community and the developer.

“A PUD is much better zoning than straight zoning,” McGarvey said.

Mayor Rich O’Brien echoed the same sentiments Wednesday.

“In a PUD the city can pretty much request the developer to do anything,” O’Brien said on the phone. “It’s where the city has the most control.”

But with the PUD already denied, the PZB approved the development plan in May 2006, finding it met with the city’s land development regulations.

In January 2008, Runk Properties, the owner of the land, asked the commission for an extension on the final development order. According to minutes from that meeting, Runk attorney Mac McLeod told commissioners a 10-year extension would allow the developer to wait until the economy improved to the point that the market would support a quality development. Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the expiration date on the plan to February 2018.

Now, as development of the property gets under way, McGarvey said he is aware that some members of the community are still upset. Some of that might have to do with residents using the wooded acres for “BMX trails and dog walking” over the years, he said.

But Johnson said she is most concerned about old trees on the property.

“I want to be sure they are being environmentally aware in the tree removal,” she said.

O’Brien said he toured the site Wednesday.

“It’s a fantastic piece of property,” he said “There are beautiful, beautiful oak trees.”

McGarvey said he is well aware of those trees and is planning to come to the Commission soon and ask for adjustments to be made to the original plan that might help protect some of them.

“Trees are worth a lot, and I agree with the community on that,” he said.

Returning to the flexible setbacks that were part of the PUD — as opposed to the rigid setbacks in the “straight zoning” — would be a step in the right direction, he said.

City staff said the only tree removal currently being done at the site is for roads and a retention pond.

Andy Bailey, of Precision Land Grading, was working at the site Wednesday and said the same thing. No lots are being cleared, he said.

But Bailey did say he has caught some flak from “youth” in their “late teens to early 20s” who have been shouting obscenities at him and the others working there. And on Tuesday night someone broke a window in a piece of excavation equipment, he said.

St. Augustine Beach Police Cmdr. Jim Parker said Tuesday that police are looking into the incident and are going to be keeping a closer eye on the property in light of recent events.

“We’re going to start making regular patrols through there” and “enforcing trespassing,” Parker said.

“We hate for it to have to come to that, but that’s the way it’s going to have to be,” he added. “That’s a designated construction site. It’s a third-degree felony to be in there.”

McGarvey said he is disappointed by the recent vandalism but thinks the development, when complete, will be a positive addition to the community.

“It will look a lot like Anastasia Dunes,” he said.

Police Chief Hire: Charter, Civil Service Rules Required Internal Hiring Decision

I was not planning to write about the hiring of Commander Barry Fox as St. Augustine's new police chief, effective November 2016.

However, upon reading some rather misguided criticism, here, I decided to opine.

The City Charter and ordinance governing hiring of the Police Chief and Fire Chief require hiring from within. The Charter provision was adopted by vote of some 77% of St. Augustine residents during the 1980s. The City Code of Ordinances states:

Sec. 2-54. - Filling of vacancies; chief of police or fire chief.
At the time of any vacancy for the position of chief of police or fire chief of the city, the civil service board or its examiner, subject to its approval, shall provide examinations and maintain a list of eligibles to appointment of chief of either the police or fire department and shall certify such list to the city manager and such vacancy shall be filled only from such list of eligibles. In the event that the city manager shall determine that no one on the list of eligibles shall be qualified to serve as chief of the fire or police department, then such civil service board shall prepare an additional list of eligibles for certification to the city manager from which such appointment shall be made.

Thus, the statement on Historic City News that no external or minority candidates were considered is misguided. One female candidate was considered, Commander Tania Michele Perry. She was not chosen.

If we want to amend the Charter or ordinances, we can talk about it. I personally favor outside searches, and have made that clear for years.

But to have rejected five qualified applicants and advertised externally would have violated the vested due process rights of five St. Augustine police officers under the Charter and ordinance 2-54, and would have risked a federal court civil rights lawsuit that the City might have lost, just as it did in the firing of a police chief in the 1980s.

St. Augustine City Manager John Patrick Regan, P.E. made the correct choice in hiring Barry Fox as Police Chief. Commander Fox has shown moral reasoning and growth in the job, as I understand from people who have seen his compassion in dealing with homeless people.

On the other hand, Commander Michelle Perry has a reputation for abusiveness and abrasiveness, which I can externally corroborate as an eyewitness in her treatment of septagenarians and octogenarians protesting the Iraq War downtown. Acting like a stereotypical Hollywood movie Southern hick hack badass cop, Michele Perry yelled at ladies and gentlemen who had protest signs with metal supports sticking into the dirt -- our dirt -- at the Bridge of Lions, threatening us with arrest. Arrest. Think about it. In our town. In our time. Some twenty feet away was a similar sign, pointing the way to an ice cream shop. She did not touch that sign. Her manner was nasty, brutish and bullying. She acted like a fool with a gun and a badge, a bully bullying citizens simply because we were anti-war. I was ashamed for our City.

In short, Michelle Perry is mean, mean, mean and might have subjected the City to civil rights liability with excessive force and bad decisions. Morale would also have been a problem. Michele Perry is not police chief material. Picking Michelle Perry would have been a huge mistake. She is the daughter of the late corrupt County Sheriff NEIL PERRY and the developers' corrupt ISSUES GROUP political action committee maven SYD PERRY, who vetted pro-developer candidates for St. Johns County Commission.

Picking Tania Michele Perry was widely predicted by St. Augustine cognizenti ten years ago, when WILLIAM BARRY HARRISS was City Manager, and ran St. Augustine as Republican Lord of All He Surveyed, dumping a landfill in a lake and favoring developers.

Not picking Perry -- and picking Barry Fox -- is a sign of wise leadership.

Some people resigned to a Perry regime were both surprised, and thrilled.

Three cheers for City Manager John Regan for choosing Barry Fox as our next Police Chief.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SAB Mayor O'BRIEN Appeals 4-2 PZB Denial of Two Illegal McMansions on F Street

On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7 PM, St. Augustine Beach Mayor RICHARD O'BRIEN et ux are planning to ask Commissioners to reverse a 4-2 vote of the St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board March 22, 2016 to DENY their demand to build two illegal McMansions on F Street, likely to be tourist rentals. O'BRIEN has not yet declared whether he is running for re-election. It's time for Commissioners to say NO to too-big, too-tall developers, starting with the Mayor himself.
This will be the first meeting where new City Attorney James Patrick Wilson will be giving legal advice to Commissioners.
The St. Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) March 22nd rejected by vote of 4-2 a thinly-documented proposal by Mayor RICHArD BURTT O'BRIEN, et ux. to build two oversize houses on F Street on commercial-zoned property.
The mass, scale and lack of plans led to the rejection after nearly two hours' discussion.
The St. Augustine Record, while running an article quoting O'BRIEN on SAB's "growing pains," has not covered this story.
Once upon a time, lugubrious gooberish good-ole-boys and their bad projects were rotely and routinely rubber-stamped by hick hack local officials in this corrupt County, now the gimlet eye of board volunteers routinely rejects lame-brained projects.
In this instance a bad project pushed by Mayor RICH O'BRIEN was rejected.
A red-faced O'BRIEN was called out by PZB member Karen Zander, who pointed out the legal inconsistencies of seeking a use by exception instead of a zoning change. Citizens Craig Thomson and Ed Slavin (that would be me) opposed the special kid gloves treatment sought by Mayor O'BRIEN. O'BRIEN's wife, LAUREN CHRISTINE RINGHAVER, called out imprecations from the audience (she was ignored, but O'BRIEN was given extra time with the clock stopped, standing challengingly at the podium while making dopey arguments lacking in legal merit.
O'BRIEN is a hotelier whose administrative appeal is now to the same City Commission that elected him as Mayor -- reckon the large cribs are destined for vacation rentals if he wins?
(Ms. RINGHAVER was the person who once pushed her husband, Mayor O"BRIEN, to complain about the lack of lighting in Anastasia State Park on the way into the north end of St. Augustine Beach at the end of SR 312. The expense and threat to wildlife led to that idea being rejected.)
Speak out and oppose this special privilege sought by the Mayor of St. Augustine Beach, RICHARD BURRT O'BRIEN, from his four colleagues, after a 4-2 vote DENYING his application by the PZB.

Antarctic loss could double expected sea level rise by 2100: NATURE/The Washington Post

Antarctic loss could double expected sea level rise by 2100, scientists say

By Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney March 30 at 1:00 PM

Landsat 8 natural-color mosaic of the ice cliff at the terminus of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica on 9 January 2016. Data available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Credit: Knut Christianson

Sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, according to new research published Wednesday.

The startling findings, published in the journal  Nature,, paint a far grimmer picture than current consensus predictions, which have suggested that seas could rise by just under a meter at most by the year 2100. Those estimates relied on the notion that expanding ocean waters and the melting of relatively small glaciers would fuel the majority of sea level rise, but did not factor in changes to the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

The scientists behind Wednesday’s study used sophisticated computer models to decipher a longstanding riddle about Antarctica: how did it surrender so much ice during previous warm periods? They found that similar conditions in the future could lead to monumental and irreversible increases in sea levels. If high levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, they concluded, oceans could rise by close to two meters in total (more than six feet) by the end of the century. The melting of ice on Antarctica alone could cause seas to rise more than 13 meters (42 feet) by 2500.

The projection “nearly doubles” prior estimates of sea level rise, which had relied on a “minimal contribution from Antarctica,” said Rob DeConto of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who authored the study with David Pollard of Penn State University.

According to a new study, high levels of greenhouse gas emissions could cause oceans to rise by close to two meters in total (over six feet) by the end of the century, and more than 13 meters (42 feet) from Antarctica alone by 2500. (Nature, Rob DeConto, David Pollard)

The research already has created a buzz in the community of scientists studying Antarctica, and experts largely praised the new model as thorough and impressive, while noting its remaining uncertainties.

“People should not look at this as a futuristic scenario of things that may or may not happen. They should look at it as the tragic story we are following right now,” said Eric Rignot, an expert on Antarctica’s ice sheet and an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in Wednesday’s study. “We are not there yet … [But] with the current rate of emissions, we are heading that way.”

Should the new research prove correct, it could trigger a “tectonic shift” in expectations for the speed and severity of the sea level problem, said Ben Strauss, director of the program on sea level rise at Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists based in New Jersey. He said that while the study’s findings represent potentially grave problems for many coastal areas in the decades ahead, the century beginning in 2100 could see truly catastrophic shifts, unless societies make sharp cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Under the high emissions scenario, the 22nd century would be the century of hell,” Strauss said. “There would really be an unthinkable level of sea rise. It would erase many major cities and some nations from the map … That century would become the century of exodus from the coast.”

Places as far flung as South Florida, Bangladesh, Shanghai, Hampton Roads in Virginia and Washington, D.C., could be engulfed by rising waters, Strauss said. Even by 2100, Miami Beach and the Florida Keys could begin to vanish. New Orleans essentially could become an island guarded by levies. Floods that pushed as far inland as the surge from Hurricane Sandy could ravage parts of the East Coast with far greater frequency.

The researchers behind Wednesday’s study make clear that their model has limitations and that human behavior can alter the possible outcomes. For instance, the worst-case scenario — of seas rising nearly 4 feet due to Antarctic ice loss alone by 2100 — assumes that very high emissions continue for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

In Paris late last year, world leaders forged an historic agreement to begin scaling back such emissions in coming years. They embraced the goal of holding global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but at the same time, it has been widely noted that current country-level commitments to cut emissions fall far short of this target.

But even under a more moderate emissions scenario, Wednesday’s study found that the Antarctic contribution to sea level rise still could reach about two feet by 2100, and much more by 2500. Only if countries sharply reduce emissions does the model show that it’s possible to preserve Antarctica in roughly its current state.

“This research highlights the importance of doing even much better than the Paris agreement if we’re going to save our coastal cities,” Strauss said.

DeConto and Pollard arrived at their projections about future sea level rise by first turning to the past. Their study is based on an improved understanding of two past warm eras in Earth’s history that featured much higher seas, known as the Pliocene and the Eemian. The Pliocene was a warm period about 3 million years ago, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are believed to have been about what they are now — 400 parts per million. Sea levels are believed to have been significantly higher than now — perhaps 30 feet or more. The Eemian period, between 130,000 and 115,000 years ago, also featured sea levels 6 to 9 meters above current levels, with global temperatures not much warmer than our current era.

Sea level rise on the scale seen in those eras likely required a loss of ice not just from Greenland, but also from Antarctica. But previous computer models of Antarctica have failed to accurately reproduce such scenarios. Scientists had spent “years of struggling to be able to simulate tens of meters of sea level rise in the Pliocene,” DeConto said. “This has been a longstanding problem for us. And we had known for years that we’re probably missing some important underlying physics.”

Scientists already knew that key parts of Antarctica, and especially West Antarctica, feature a condition called “marine ice sheet instability.” That is, vast glaciers are already rooted below sea level and lie on downward sloping seabeds. Warm water can not only melt them from below, but as the glaciers retreat, more and more ice will be exposed to melting.

The new study factors in not only this process, but two new ice processes that have scientists already have seen destabilize several glaciers in Greenland: “hydrofracture,” in which water formed by the melting of snow and ice atop a glacier’s stabilizing ice shelf causes it to break up; and “cliff collapse,” in which a sheer ice cliff 100 meters or more above sea level becomes unstable and crashes repeatedly into the ocean below. Both phenomena can speed up the pace of ice loss from glaciers and cause sea level rise.

“Build a little sand castle and it is fine; too high and it may break,”said Richard Alley, a glaciologist at Penn State University who has published previously with DeConto and Pollard, describing the revelations regarding ice cliff collapse.

Knut Christianson, a glaciologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, said the new work will spur additional research to determine precisely what happens at glaciers where cliff collapses and so-called “calving” occur. “It’s a more comprehensive analysis than before, and it certainly indicates that we should look more closely to see whether or not the way they treat these processes in the model is accurate in the real world,” he said.

The research further undermines a string of sea level projections from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which have been faulted for being too conservative.

In 2013, the body projected that for the same high-end emissions scenario used in the current study, sea level rise by the year 2100 would be between 0.52 and 0.98 meters (1.7 and 3.22 feet), relatively little of which would come from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. It noted that beyond this likely range, only Antarctica’s marine-based regions could conceivably contribute a lot more, but the panel found that “there is medium confidence that this additional contribution would not exceed several tenths of a meter.”

The new study challenges that reasoning. It also emerges as mounting research has pointed at one region of Antarctica in particular — the Amundsen Sea sector of remote West Antarctica, centered on the enormous, marine-based Thwaites glacier — as particularly vulnerable.

If the projections in Wednesday’s study prove correct, they could present especially bad news for U.S. coasts. The reason is gravity: Antarctica’s enormous mass pulls the ocean toward it, and when it loses significant mass, seas would surge back toward the opposite end of the world.

“Sea level rise is not going to be felt evenly over the surface of the Earth. It’s really bad for New York, Boston. We are sort of in the bullseye,” DeConto said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Time to Talk About Ocean Level Rise Here in St. Augustine

Here are some of Walter Coker's photographs of flooding last year.

Washington Post on Florida Ocean Level Rise

At least The Washington Post covers archaeology helping inform the issue of global ocean level rise. Our yokel St. Augustine Record, being aligned with Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT, a/k/a "RICK SCOTT," and polluters like Koch Industries, does not give a fig about or future, or a hoot in hell about global warming. Thanks to The Washington Post for reporting the news, and the past.

What Florida’s ancient past tells us about sea-level rise today


What Florida’s ancient past tells us about sea-level rise today
By Chelsea Harvey March 28 at 3:17 PM

The looming threat of sea-level rise is a cause for anxiety throughout much of the coastal United States, and Florida is one of the unlucky states most at risk. Miami, alone, is considered one of the most vulnerable cities in the nation — it’s already subject to frequent flooding and has plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on flood control in the near future.

But today’s Sunshine State residents are by no means the first Floridians forced to deal with the rising tides. In fact, some of the state’s earliest inhabitants were also forced to move and adapt in response to changing water levels thousands of years ago — and their history may provide some helpful insights into the struggles faced by today’s coastal dwellers.

This is the conclusion presented by a new study, published last week in the journal Geoarchaeology by researcher Paulette McFadden, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. Since 2009, McFadden has been involved in field investigations along Florida’s northern Gulf shore, both on the mainland and on small islands in the adjacent marshes. Some of these sites contain evidence of human occupation stretching as far back as 4,000 years. McFadden became interested in how the placement of these sites may have been influenced by the changing environment throughout the millennia.

Regional studies have suggested that sea levels began to rise along the Gulf Coast following the Last Glacial Maximum, when the climate in the Northern Hemisphere began to substantially warm, and ice sheets started to melt.

“I was very interested in trying to understand how people in the past dealt with some of the same issues that we’re grappling with in our present life — mainly sea level rise,” McFadden told The Washington Post. “One of the things that I did learn during my research is that environmental change on the coast is a normal part of life, or it certainly was for the people in the past. So I wanted to know what kinds of strategies did they use when sea-level rise on the shoreline began to move inland.”

McFadden’s research focused on an area of Florida’s Gulf Coast known as Horseshoe Cove, which is located in the Big Bend, the general region where the panhandle meets the peninsula. The area is marked by wide marshes, a network of tidal creeks and numerous small islands, which contain archaeological deposits from human settlements as far back as 4,000 years.

To reconstruct the region’s coastal evolution over the past several thousand years, McFadden took sediment core samples from both exposed and submerged land along the coast and analyzed them to see what kinds of materials they contained and how old they were. This information helped her figure out what areas were underwater, and when, throughout history.

She also conducted archaeological excavations in the same region and used radiocarbon dating to figure out how old the human settlements in any given location were. Using this information, paired with her reconstruction of the coastline’s history, she was able to make inferences about how the early Floridians might have moved around in response to their changing environment.

She found that there was a strong correlation between environmental change and the timing and locations of human settlements throughout the centuries. Reconstructed maps of Horseshoe Cove from 2800 BC to after AD 200, using McFadden’s data, show the way the coastline — once dominated by solid land — gradually flooded and became characterized by salt marshes. At the same time, the sites chosen for human occupation throughout the centuries appeared to be dictated by where land was available and what the environment looked like at the time.

“They had very specific strategies,” McFadden said of the region’s early inhabitants. “When it was time for them to move because the sea level was coming up, they were targeting very specific areas on the landscape.” Settlements tended to crop up in areas bordering the marshes that would be protected from flooding and storm surges, but that also offered easy access to fishing and other marine resources.

“So as the sea level came up, they probably had ingrained in their culture these strategies and a knowledge that eventually they were going to have to move back away from the water,” McFadden said.

Interestingly, she noted that the region’s human inhabitants were also able to exert some long-lasting influences on the environment as well.

“The modern coastline in the Big Bend region is largely shaped the way it is because people lived there in the past,” she said. “They piled up shell and they piled up debris as they lived in an area, and some of those islands that I did the archaeological work on only survived today because the elevation was increased by people living in them.”

The work underscores the idea that human civilization and the changing environment have been closely tied up with one another for centuries — and that the struggles faced by modern humans, while heightened by the accelerating effects of anthropogenic climate change, have existed throughout the ages.

Moreover, this kind of archaeological work could even help modern humans better adapt to the changing landscape, McFadden suggested. For one thing, local archaeological studies can provide important insight into how different regions have responded to environmental changes over time, and that could help us make better predictions about how they’ll change in the future.

“For instance, my study area has remained relatively stable over about the past 1,500 years, and if you look at the east coast of Florida you see it’s eroding very quickly,” McFadden said. “Those kinds of wave-dominated areas are vulnerable to sea-level rise much quicker than the marsh-type areas. So what this tells us is we need to maybe focus our efforts toward those more vulnerable coasts right now.”

Indeed, local studies are the best way to get a good sense of any given area’s history and potential future, said Neill Wallis, an assistant curator of Florida archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and one of McFadden’s supervisors. Scientists sometimes use data from one part of the world as a proxy for past sea-level rise all over the world, he said, which may not always be accurate.

“Those don’t really tell us always what happens in any particular location, because sea level can rise globally and we might not see much change in one area,” he said. “In that sense, I think all archaeological research that relates to climate change has to be done locally.”

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lobbyist, City Officials, Federal Grand Jury: OPA-LOCKA, FLORIDA CORRUPTION PROBED BY FBI CORRUPTION TASK FORCE (Miami Herald)

Here's some insight into what local Sheriff DAVID BERNERD SHOAR and his possible co-felons are sweating as the FBI Corruption Task Force investigation into St. Johns County corruption continues. Let justice be done.

Opa-locka’s ‘shadow’ force moves millions in city contracts

Dante Starks is at the center of an FBI probe into government kickback schemes
Powerful lobbyist wields enormous influence at Opa-locka City Hall
Secret recordings and videos capture corrupt payments between top city officials