Whatever happened about…

Published on: May 18, 2011

AB channel dredging; SCC U.S. 301 connection; FEN Lawsuit

AB channel dredging; SCC U.S. 301 connection; FEN Lawsuit




AB channel dredging


Community efforts to clean its channels of boat-slowing silt got a substantial financial boost this month from a near neighbor, Tampa Electric Company. 

The utility, which owns and operates the Big Bend power generating plant immediately north of the community, has pledged $35,000 to an ongoing local campaign aiming for funds sufficient to dredge the three channels that give AB boaters access to and from Tampa Bay, said Len Berkstresser, president of ABWIG. The organization, more formally known as the Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group and initially formed several years ago when it successfully raised monies for cleaning out internal canals, recently was re-instituted. 


Building on the Tampa Electric donation, ABWIG has lined out a multi-pronged endeavor currently involving fund-raising entertainment events, business community participation and “pickle jar” collections to be pushed during the next 18 months. The goal is about $350,000 to cover the estimated costs related to dredging both the north channel and the two south channels. 


A concept proposed by Hillsborough County involving creation of small taxing districts which would allow the administration to front canal dredging costs that then would be repaid over a period of years by waterfront residents through their annual property taxes has not proved universally popular. However, it is to be tried with one project — dubbed the Master Canal — expected to begin taking shape in the fall.


SCC’s U.S. 301 connection


With a unanimous – 6 to 0 – vote, county commissioners last week effectively closed out a periodic debate that has divided the retirement community and closed off a full time open roadway connecting South Pebble Beach Boulevard and U.S. 301. 


Minto Communities, Inc., SCC’s current and probably last developer, had petitioned the county to alter the retirement center’s original site plan by removing an opening shown that could have permitted extension of Pebble Beach, the primary north-south roadway, to the U.S. highway at its far southeast corner. Minto then withdrew its petition when objections were raised by some southside residents. A heavily-attended community meeting followed and then a two-day referendum was conducted with 2,659 residents voting in support of the closure plan. A minority of 310 called for free flowing traffic. 


Some 60 residents from the majority attended the BOCC meeting last week, with 10 speaking to affirm the closure plan, said David Floyd, SCC Community Association board director and secretary. In addition, he added, hundreds of emails to commissioners supported the position. Major Ron Hartley, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office commander in District 4, accompanied by Deputy Chris Girard, also addressed the multiple anticipated public safety issues if the roadway connector were created. No one spoke in opposition, Floyd said. 


With alteration of the site plan, the potential ingress-egress shown becomes a locked, emergency-only gate in keeping with the original Minto petition – an exit for SCC residents opened by emergency personnel only when such a situation arises. 


FEN Lawsuit 


Legal action brought against Final Exit Network, a national organization which provides life-ending information to terminally-ill individuals requesting it, has resulted in a generally favorable jury verdict in Arizona. The two-week trial in Phoenix centered on allegations that two FEN volunteers illegally aided in the suicide of a patient in 2007. 


The jury found a FEN medical director innocent of conspiring to commit manslaughter and deadlocked on similar charges made against a FEN “exit guide,” said Dr. Thomas Tuxill, a Florida FEN volunteer who spoke during a recent informational program in South Hillsborough County. The litigation result also may be precedent setting as a Georgia court begins consideration of charges against FEN, Tuxill added.


Copyright 2011 Melody Jameson