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Happy Birthday Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive!

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first_imgShare on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Please enter your comment! You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here The Anatomy of Fear Please enter your name here Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Apopka’s favorite nature trail turns fourFrom the St. John’s River Water Management DistrictThere is a mystery surrounding the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. It exists in our imagination as we take the slow drive around each twist and turn of this natural masterpiece.“Was that an alligator?”“No, just a tree stump in the water.”“What about over there?”“Looks like one to me!”“Wow, a real-life alligator swimming right beside us, and another sunning himself on the bank.”“Wait, is that a bobcat hiding in the cattails?”The mysteries, both revealed and hidden, never end on this journey through a true slice of Old Florida.Just four years after the St. Johns River Water Management District opened the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy exploring it. To commemorate the drive’s 4th anniversary, on Saturday, May 4th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m Orange Audubon Society volunteers will be stationed at key spots along the Wildlife Drive. Volunteers will share views through spotting scopes, help with bird identification, and inform visitors how to best see alligators, turtles, otters, raccoons, snakes, coyotes and bobcats. The increasingly popular Wildlife Drive is in the eastern part of the Lake Apopka North Shore managed by the District. Once part of Lake Apopka, the 20,000-acre area was diked off and drained and put into agricultural production. The farms were acquired by the District between 1996 and 2001 with the goal of reducing nutrient-rich discharges to the lake. In addition to protecting water quality, these lands provide water storage and critical wetland functions. The 11-mile one-way drive was carefully designed to traverse existing farm levees to provide optimal wildlife viewing opportunities.The drive is open on days that District staff and contractors are not carrying out Lake Apopka restoration work. Open days are Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and most federal holidays. Any day of the week visitors have access to hike or bicycle the 18-mile Lake Apopka Loop Trail, entering from Magnolia Park (trail entrance currently closed due to levee improvements), the McDonald Canal/North Shore Trailhead, Clay Island Trailhead, and the Green Mountain Trailhead. Detailed maps are available at the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive gate, at each trail access point, and on the District website.“With such a large wetland area associated with an enormous lake in the middle of the Florida peninsula, birds migrating north and south in spring and fall easily find it,” said Deborah Green, Orange Audubon Society president and Wildlife Drive enthusiast. “Birders are excited to see Pectoral Sandpipers, that breed in the high Arctic, or Bobolinks, that breed in midwest grasslands, as they pass through over a period of weeks in fall and spring. Eight species of ducks that breed in the prairie pothole region of the western U.S. and Canada winter here on the Lake Apopka North Shore. Right now these ducks and coots have already taken off for their northern breeding grounds, but Black-necked Stilts that winter in South America are back for their breeding season. We have our showy year-round residents, like the herons, egrets, and gallinules, and every year have “rarities,” birds that are off course in migration or otherwise out of range. Every few years a real rarity is found, like the Fork-tailed Flycatcher from South America, that brings in birders from all over.”Over 370 species of birds have been sighted over the years, more than any inland site in the U.S. including the Everglades. The Lake Apopka North Shore has been designated an American Bird Conservancy Globally Important Bird Area, a National Audubon Society State Important Bird Area, an Audubon Florida Special Place, and is on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. In the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s online program in which birders record their sightings, the Lake Apopka North Shore is now the top eBird hotspot in Florida. “When newcomers first visit, they are most impressed with the alligators, but soon fascination with the birds begins,” said Green. “Fantastic photography is coming out of the Wildlife Drive, and as the photographers post their identified photos on Facebook, others are attracted to visit and take their own photos.” In addition to the Facebook pages and Facebook groups, informative brochures developed by the District and Friends of Lake Apopka, the District’s self-guided audio tour, and Orange Audubon Society’s educational kiosks with QR code links to web information help visitors to identify the wildlife and understand the lake restoration process.“We’re proud of the drive’s success and the incredible educational opportunity it offers residents and visitors,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. Any weekend throughout the year, you can see many out-of-state plates on the Wildlife Drive, showing that birders and nature photographers have learned of it, and these people buy gas and supplies, eat in restaurants, and stay locally, which brings in ecotourism dollars. Having this as a free place for families to get out and enjoy nature not only raises the quality of life for Orange County residents, but it also raises real estate values as well.The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is open year-round between sunrise and an hour before sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and most federal holidays. There is no cost to visit. The one-way drive begins at 2850 Lust Road in Apopka and exits onto Jones Avenue in Zellwood. Due to its popularity and limited pullover opportunities, visitors are recommended to allow over two hours to go through. There are limited places to park and walk. See www.sjrwmd.com/recreation for maps and more information and https://www.facebook.com/pg/lakeapopkawildlifedrive for photos.On Saturday, May 4th between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. bring your family and friends and stop by Orange Audubon Society’s stations along the drive with your bird questions, take a peek through a spotting scope, and discuss and share enthusiasm for the Lake Apopka North Shore with Audubon’s volunteers.See which mysteries you and your family can see on the slow drive through Apopka’s favorite nature trail.Orange Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a chapter of both National and Florida Audubon Societies. It has been in existence for 52 years and is the 2nd largest Audubon chapter in Florida with members throughout Central Florida. Orange Audubon Society partners with and supports the St. Johns River Water Management District in educational efforts on the North Shore.Photo by Joyce Stefancic Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate TAGSLake Apopka Wildlife DriveOrange Audubon SocietySt. Johns River Water Management District Previous articleDemings delivers 2019 State of the County Address next weekNext articleDemings reintroduces legislation to block firearm funding for teachers Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replylast_img read more

The British elections and the defeat of the Labour Party

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first_imgThis is a slightly edited talk from the Dec. 19 Workers World Party forum in New York City.I thought we should take this opportunity to talk about the Dec.12 British elections. I’m not going to give a comprehensive analysis of it. What I’m going to do is reflect on it. First thing, you know this is important, especially because we’re on this side of the Atlantic. The British Labour Party is not the same as the Democratic Party. There are similarities, but there are also important historic differences. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why the Democratic Party has existed, especially over the last 75 to 80 years, is actually to thwart any movement to form such a party — either a revolutionary workers’ party or a moderate labor party — that says it’s going to represent the interests of the working class. The Labour Party in Britain is like the social democratic parties all over Europe and all over the world. It is a product of the development of social democracy, of the political development and struggles inside the labor movement between revolutionary Marxists and reformist social democrats. So it has a different history than the Democratic Party. It is sort of an alliance, representing the workers and the interests of the British ruling class. Obviously, that’s a contradictory thing. It’s an uneasy alliance. For most of the last century, the ruling class has dominated the alliance. Four years ago, Jeremy Corbyn, an important leftist leader, got into the Labour Party and became its leader, I believe, on the basis of the vote of thousands upon thousands of young workers — who, like a lot of young people in this country, were adversely affected not only by the global financial crash, but it certainly made things worse. It was a significant development. Corbyn pushed the party to the left in a distinctive way, not in a revolutionary way, but nonetheless important. Their election manifesto for 2019 compares favorably to anything Bernie Sanders is raising. Corbyn is to the left of Sanders, not only on some domestic issues, but also in terms of the anti-war movement. He has mostly broken with Israel. Ruling class, media demonized CorbynWhy did the elections turn out the way they did with Labour losing badly and the Tories, the Conservative Party, gaining ground? Number one: There were the vicious attacks on Corbyn. Since we aren’t there, we didn’t feel it. We didn’t feel the heat and the seriousness and the constant effort of the bourgeois media and bourgeois politicians to demonize Corbyn. They whipped up this whole thing about Corbyn being anti-Semitic, primarily because he criticizes Israel. The military came out and almost held a press conference with generals in uniform, saying that if he was elected it would represent a threat to the national security of “our empire.” Some of the bankers came out and said if he’s elected, the British Parliament will go down. There will be a financial collapse. The country will fall. This was constant every day. There are some who say that Corbyn made too many concessions to the bourgeois elements in his party, represented by Tony Blair, and that Corbyn should have had a hard line and pushed all the bourgeois elements out. Something to think about. That’s compared to other countries — let’s say France right now. But compared to other countries in Europe and around the world, there are not many workers’ strikes going on in Britain, particularly in England. Actually there is a local strike of transportation workers. Just to give you an idea of how a strike and a workers’ struggle can compare to an election — and the danger in that. The striking workers actually called off the strike for one day so they could come back and vote — like that makes sense. Elections: bourgeoisie’s gameThis is important to me and I think it’s important to all revolutionaries because if you rely on elections, and not pushing or helping the working class get into motion through mass struggles, through strikes, through occupations, it’s very dangerous. Those strikers did carry out occupations. Nine times out of 10, bourgeois elections are the most important thing to the bourgeoisie. That is their game. It’s rare that the bourgeoisie doesn’t somehow win in bourgeois elections. When the workers are fighting with strikes, they have had the opportunity to realize more of their strength and their power. So that’s something I hope will be reviewed over there when they’re going over how it happened. I think a lot of leftists feel very down and bad all over the world. But this will pass, and the crisis for the British workers is going to deepen with more austerity, more attacks. So this is just one phase, and we’re trying to discern some lessons.Of course, the major problem in this election was Brexit — the vote in the summer of 2016 to leave the European Union and just be under the thumb of the British ruling class. If everybody was truthful, it should have been made as clear as possible that this was a dead end for the working class. Sure, the bourgeoisie of the European Union is horrible. We are against them, but to trade the European bourgeoisie as your master for the British bourgeoisie is a dead end for the working class. A massive workers’ strike is neededSome say that Corbyn’s position on Brexit was too equivocal. It tried to please everybody. This was probably true. It seems like he didn’t feel secure enough and strong enough just to say: Brexit is a trick to divide the working class, especially against immigrant workers. And it’s racist. So that should be what we’re talking about. We should be talking about how to rally a massive strike of the workers and their allies around the world — which means the entire working class. Perhaps the chances of Corbyn and the Labour Party winning were very, very slim because of Brexit and other things. It’s not just about the workers. It also represents a division in the British ruling class. But as far as we’re concerned its principal target — in terms of division and using racism — was definitely the working class. I don’t think the British ruling class was going to allow Corbyn to win. They weren’t going to do that. He was feared. He was considered too atypical for the interests of the British bourgeoisie — unless there was some kind of revolutionary situation where the masses were in the streets by the hundreds of thousands demanding revolution and socialism. Maybe then. But that wasn’t the case last week. Also, the ruling class inside the Tory Party and the ruling class inside the Labour Party were united against Corbyn. That’s where their class unity transcended their party loyalty. If you’re going to lose an election from a tactical and political perspective, maybe some in the Labour Party were optimistic. I’m sure they fought to the last minute before the elections. However, if you thought it was going to go your way — and a lot of them had a lot of questions about that because they were aware of the war being waged against the Labour Party — sometimes it’s better if you’re going to lose an election to be politically strong. And not equivocate on principled issues, so that at the very least you’ve laid the basis for future struggle. We can’t put ourselves in Corbyn’s place. Generally our party shies away from having some up-and-down analysis of the situation that the working class and the left faces in another country — although we do maintain our right to comment on it. It would have been better if Corbyn had come out more strongly as an internationalist. No one was defending the migrant workers who are under attack. Solidarity with migrant workers is keyEven if it lost Corbyn some votes, he should have said very strongly: “I am with the migrant workers. They are part of our class.” One of the reasons why the Labour Party’s going to have to strengthen themselves on this question of proletarian internationalism is because today there’s so much confusion about it. Without qualifying internationalism, it is viewed as something that serves the bourgeoisie. In other words, with imperialist globalization it’s the rich who are internationalists, and they’re saying that’s in the interests of the working class. That’s just like the lie that the cities are for the bourgeoisie and the countryside is for the working class. Trump has tried to play that card, too. No. The workers in the city, regardless of their jobs, that’s the working class. Workers in the cities belong to the working class just as much as the workers in the countryside. It’s not a generational divide. Some say a lot of young people were for Corbyn, but he lost the older white workers in the center of the country. No to racism! Forge working-class unity!Our message is: No. We don’t choose. All of them are the working class and that’s the point. You have to talk more and more about class. For any revolutionary who’s going to be viable and for any revolutionary party, you have to. The next phase of the global class struggle is to take a really strong position against racism and for working-class internationalism. Now it may seem a bit abstract, and not as important as addressing the local struggles that people are in. Whether it’s Medicare for All or free college or fighting racist police brutality in the subways or on the streets, people relate to local struggles. But sooner or later as the worldwide crisis deepens along with class struggles, internationalism is going to become more and more decisive. I wonder whether it would have been a good idea for Corbyn to call a conference in London of European socialists and revolutionaries who want to discuss how we can strengthen the class struggle against the European Union, the bankers in Germany — and bring them all in. That would say so much. That would be a signal to anyone who is worried about chauvinism and bourgeois nationalism having an effect. No, this is a leader who has an internationalist view. I’m not sure whether this issue became part of the program of the commentary of the Third International. (We had a discussion about that a few months back, as this is the hundredth anniversary of the Third International formed in Moscow in 1919.) But if the International didn’t take that position, at least they were discussing it and calling for the workers to declare a United States of Europe, where it would be united European workers fighting the imperialist unity of bourgeois forces. That’s an important point. Sooner or later we’ve got to go back to that. Build internationalism! I wonder what would have helped Corbyn — what would have made the difference. What would have sent a message that would have been interpreted as: “We’re not going to turn against migrant workers or workers anywhere outside of our geographical boundaries.” Maybe Corbyn should go to Paris because there is a tremendous general strike in France with thousands upon thousands of workers out in the street in every city. You know the strike is primarily against attempts by Macron and the bourgeoisie to take away retirement benefits. Some people will have to work longer to get them. But there are other issues involved. Imagine if leaders of the Labour Party would have gone to Paris to say we are all with the French workers. And imagine if delegations were sent from Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway and Poland to show solidarity with the French workers and their general strike. And, moreover, we’re going to have a continent-wide general strike so that bourgeois unity will no longer ring in the European Union, but it will mean working-class unity. As I said earlier, this issue of internationalism may not seem as urgent and as important at the moment, but that is going to change, especially if a war breaks out anywhere. It would do our party very well — when our efforts in history are judged — if we were the primary party at the center of world imperialism and had the strongest record not only on paper and in speeches, but in actions, that we were ready to show the direction to a new kind of proletarian internationalism. Ultimately, the way to fight racist bourgeois chauvinism and nationalism — and we’re talking about Trump as much as we’re talking about Boris Johnson or any of the neofascists in Europe — is to fight it with internationalism. You fight reactionary bourgeois nationalism with internationalism. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Number of people seeking LGBT help on the rise

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first_imgPredictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Email Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Print Facebook NewsHealthLimerickVideoNumber of people seeking LGBT help on the riseBy Editor – October 16, 2018 1518 THE number of people seeking LGBT support from the Gender Orientation and Sexual Health (GOSHH) service in Limerick has increased by more than 100 per cent since 2014.Since the 2014 marriage referendum, the number of LGBT people availing of the service has increased from 40 to 86 people annually.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The service, which is based on Davis Street in the city centre, caters for a wide number of people from various backgrounds who have to deal with societal judgement on a daily basis.GOSHH LGBTI Project Support Worker Patrick McElligott said that the stigma and assumptions surrounding the community still persist and are a very real issue.“In Ireland, everyone is protected in the eyes of the law. There is, however, a very large difference between the words in the law and the experience of a person in their society,” Mr McElligott said.He said that there is still an assumption that if someone is homosexual that then they are less of man or a woman.“There is a message that there may not be space for a man to be emotional and with women, there is a treatment that if they are a lesbian then they are a different kind of woman, a less emotional woman,” he explained.The total number of people looking for support from GOSHH has risen from 175 in 2015 to 204 in 2017. The organisation has supported 177 people so far in 2018. The figures show a rise in the number of LGBT clients and a fall in the client load in other departments.Mr McElligott attributed the increase in the number of people willing to get help to the fact that “there is now a space to reach out”.He also believes that the process of educating society on LGBTI issues is a slow process.“Sometimes I wish that we could flick a switch and this would be okay. It would be really nice in five years if we could move closer to that place of acceptance,” he said.The organisation also works with client families.They attempt to build self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence, while with the families it is about giving them space to ‘come out’ with the person.“We all know what it is like to come out. Everyone has to come out whether it is about your first boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, pregnancy – in any situation where you feel anxiety about telling someone something,” Mr McElligott said.GOSHH ran multiple workshops and seminars during Limerick mental health week and they can be contacted on (061) 314 354. Linkedin TAGSGOSHHLGBTlgbt issueslimerickMental Healthmental health week Previous articleEarls and Mathewson doubts for Gloucester visitNext articleWatch: Samaritans outreach programme gets a boost Editor center_img Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR WhatsApp Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more