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THE FLOG

DIGGING FOR ANSWERS

 

It has been too cold this week for gopher tortoises to climb out of their burrows, but when the weather warms up Tania Monserrate expects to see the critters inching across the sand between her house and the dunes surrounding Ft. Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach.

At least she hopes they’ll be there.

A three-story house is being built on the lot next door and Monserrate, who is expecting earthmovers to arrive any day now, says there is no turtle protection plan; she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to check.

“Nobody gives me a straight answer or can tell me if they’re following the rules,” Monserrate says. “Spring is coming and the babies are coming. And now guys with construction trucks are going to dig and fill and bury the turtles.”

Monserrate, who worked as kindergarten teacher, says a FWC law enforcement officer visited the site this week and flagged a gopher tortoise hole on the property.

But, she says, “I haven’t seen any measuring of the burrows. It’s frustrating.”

Long-lived, inland creatures who build deep, complex burrows in dry, sandy upland areas, the gopher tortoise is indigenous to the southeastern United States. 

Over the years, development has decimated the gopher tortoise. Today it is categorized as threatened on the endangered species list. Most remaining members of the species live in Florida.

FWC rules say that construction must take place at least 25 feet away from an active burrow and that the gopher tortoises within 25 feet of construction must be removed. Monserrate says the burrows next door are well within 25 feet of the proposed building site.

Monserrate turned to the internet for help, posting the situation on Facebook and contacting Amelia Island EarthKeepers, a grassroots group of environmentalists with ties to the St. Marys Earthkeepers in Georgia. The group took swift action to try to …   More

The Flog

The FLOG POLL (Hug it out edition)

Hug it out, Bitch

Like tax cuts and a heavy predilection for horse ballet, dirty tricks have become a Republican Primary tradition in the Palmetto State. South Carolina is, after all, where Karl Rove and W. trashed John McCain with their now infamous whisper campaign.

So it was understandable, after a week of foaming malice, that some Republicans were taxed emotionally (albeit at the lowest effective rate).  After the big guns – specifically his mother, Babs, and big brother, Mr. “Mission Accomplished” – failed to help Jeb! earn more than 8 percent of the vote, the prodigal son of the Bush family tearfully dropped out of the race.  The outright dismissal of baby Bush by the Republican electorate has inspired countless think pieces, and certainly the former Florida Gov. looks much less qualified today than he did when he announced his candidacy in June. In the end, Jeb! spent $130 million and all he got was this very creepy youtube tribute:

Hey John Kasich, save one of those hugs for Jeb!

Who loves ya?

Trump on the other hand – who dominated the SC primary and Nevada Caucus, earning 62 delegates  – is likely more wealthy than he was when the race began, which according to this economist article is an amount that, while hard to pin-down, is also most certainly inflated by you know who.  After a week in which The Donald went hair to funny hat with The Pope, repeatedly professed his support for torture, and continued to talk like a fucking fourth grader (which makes sense because he “loves the poorly educated” ) The Donald’s win left many to wonder, if the Orange One might just be unstoppable.

I love you, man

If he ever recovers from the robot Rubio meme, the Florida Senator may be his party’s establishment’s last hope. That establishment, at least here in Jacksonville, threw its weight behind the Miamian last week, as Lenny Curry endorsed Rubio, leaving …   More

The Flog

The Flog Poll (Special Place in Hell Edition)

FEMINISTS DIVIDE

Since New Hampshire, the Democratic Primaries have become increasingly divisive. Gaffes expressed by prominent Hillary Clintonites in the wake of surging support for Bernie Sanders – who continues to increase his lead among young women – caused both sides to dig in their heels (no sexist-pun intended). Offending remarks came from feminist icon Gloria Steinem who, while being interviewed by Bill Maher (who has warmed to Bernie recently, especially after grilling him in December) offered that female Bernie fans might merely be following the boys. But it was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright introducing Clinton last week by telling a crowd “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” that elicited the biggest social-media-thinkpiece-op-ed-rage.(The worst kind).

 

HERE COMES THE DECIDER

For Republican candidates seeking the nomination, South Carolina presents the biggest opportunity yet to prove they’ve got what it takes to win a national election. Out of desperation, dead-man walking Jeb! Bush has brought in his big brother – who has a ridiculous approval rating, approaching 90 percent in the state – to work a miracle, forgetting that W.’s primary victory in S.C. in 2000 was due in large part to Karl Rove deploying some of the most despicable tactics in recent memory. We’ll see if Jeb!’s mild-mannered persona survives the Palmetto State.

 A Digression: This whole Trump-JEB-W-McCain-in-South-Carolina thing is rich with irony. Consider that 16 years ago, W. – after being defeated in Iowa by an upstart candidate who rode in on the “Straight Talk Express” professing to tell the electorate the truth about politicians and their corrupt ways – was desperate for a victory. His campaign to smear John McCain, which included Rove's Whispering Campaign (in which Bush supporters …   More

The Flog

STICKING IT TO SOLAR

 

This morning, in a round room that affords glorious panoramic views of the city and the St. Johns River, a packed house amassed on the nineteenth floor of JEA headquarters for the utility’s board meeting. Nearly the entire audience was there to voice concerns about potential changes to JEA’s net metering policy.

The utility has traditionally given equal credits for energy that is put back into its grid by customers with solar panels who are on the net metering system. Solar units produce the most energy throughout the day, when residential users' demand is typically lower; in the evening and at night, when demand peaks, solar units produce little to no energy. When their supply of renewable energy exceeds demand during peak daylight hours, the excess is sent to JEA’s grid and they receive an equal credit for any energy they withdraw.

 

Today JEA’s board began officially considering cutting these credits by nearly a third.

 

For local renewable energy advocates, the proposed changes came as a huge surprise. David Shacter, owner of energy-efficient homebuilding company TerraWise, wryly noted during public comment, “We did not know about this meeting until yesterday.”

 

Still, somehow, advocates succeeded in creating a substantial presence. A guard in the lobby told Folio Weekly Magazine that this morning approximately 75 people arrived at once; a steady procession took the microphone for well over a half an hour during public comment.

 

This morning advocates spoke passionately and eloquently about their concerns that JEA is rushing to make sweeping changes to its net metering system, changes that will substantially increase costs for those who have already invested in renewable energy sources, and may stifle local investment in renewable energy. Solar units are an expensive investment – it can take decades for solar units to pay themselves off in energy savings …   More

THE FLOG

REIMAGINED PHANTOM SOARS TO NEW HEIGHTS

As you might know, the Phantom of the Opera has always been a total control freak.

He sends demanding letters, sometimes signing his notes “OG” — but we’re pretty sure that stands for Opera Ghost, not Original Gangster.

It’s a balance between classic story and haunting score along with a dynamic reimagining that has captured audiences at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. This Phantom of the Opera production, presented by Artist Series, continues through February 21 in the Moran Theater.

The spectacular, ominous sets, the beautiful costumes and the technical wizardry turn this into an otherworldly production that fans of this musical won’t want to miss.

The voices of the three stars go from solid to superb with Katie Travis providing the strongest turn as the soaring ingenue Christine Daaé.

Chris Mann mesmerizes as the titular star, and Storm Lineberger’s Raoul has the chemistry with Katie’s Christine to break the Phantom’s spell.

Fans of this classic and Northeast Florida musical aficionados won’t want to miss this staging, but what about those “Phantom” virgins? What’s in it for them?

In addition to the updated sets and special effects, this Phantom lays out a more straightforward storyline.

The signature chandelier prop of the Paris opera house doesn’t disappoint and neither does this new Phantom of the Opera. From top to bottom, it's one of the most memorable productions the Artist Series has presented in years.   More

The Flog

THE FLOG POLL (NEW HAMPSHIRE EDITION)

FWM's weekly salute to the 2016 Presidential Primaries

Before we talk about New Hampshire, a quick recap of how we got here:

Even for the most politically astute, the aftermath of the Iowa Caucus was difficult to sort out.

Ted Cruz won.

But Donald Trump said Cruz cheated.

Also, Trump wasn’t really trying, so technically he won.

Yet the media said Marco Rubio, who came in third, was the real winner.

As for the Democrats: Hillary Clinton won, but Bernie Sanders' supporters – citing media bias – said it was actually a victory for Bernie.

So then New Hampshire happened. Here’s what the national media is saying about who lived free and who died hard:

Ru… Ru… Rubio!

First of all… Rubio Robots. Can we talk about this?

 

(A digression: As evidenced by James Cameron’s 1984 documentary about robots, self-aware androids are capable of mistakes, such as afflicting a muscle-bound cybernetic organism with a thick Austrian accent. So is it crazy to wonder if the Rubio Robots are actual robots trying to fix their newest mistake, offering a Presidential candidate who, in his last debate performance, appeared more exposed than a naked automaton walking into a biker bar? I’m not convinced.)

Anyway, according to many, Rubio, one of the aforementioned winners in Iowa, was a huge loser in the Granite State. Aided by what Esquire politics writer (and frequent guest on NPR’s Wait…Wait…Don’t tell me!) Charlie Pierce called Chris Christie’s efforts to “wrap his arms around Young Marco Rubio and hurl himself off a cliff,” Rubio underperformed and John Kasich was the media’s big winner in New Hampshire. Who the F*#K is John Kasich?

Trump Back on the Stump:

The actual winner, on the Republican side, wasn’t that “Pussy” Ted Cruz. It was of course, the man born of modest means, The Donald. Trump will not be …   More

WIN WITH FWM

COME TO OUR WINDOW

Get FREE tickets to see Melissa Etheridge! To win, correctly answer these five questions. All of the answers can be found in this week’s issue. The first person to post correct answers IN THE COMMENTS BELOW will receive two tickets to see Melissa Etheridge on Feb. 17 at Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts. Sure, it’s a ploy to get you to read Folio Weekly Magazine. But what have you got to lose? 

1.   What gives the Amazing Kreskin headaches?

2.   What does 2 Chainz believe that his name really means?

3.   Which of the following local bands ARE NOT performing at this Saturday's concert in Hemming Park: Master Radical, Herd of Watts, Ruffians, Grandpa's Cough Medicine, Groove Coalition, Neural Moon?

4.   Where was Le Orchid's new Sandcastles EP recorded?

5.   During what years did Georgia-Pacific discharge waste into Rice Creek?   More

Folio Digital

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME

Folio Weekly Magazine happily announces that founding publisher and co-owner Sam Taylor has finally completed his “layaway program” to consolidate ownership of the news magazine and other media assets. Taylor is now the sole owner of Folio Media House. Former co-owner and vice president Farrar Martin will remain with the team as an associate publisher.

The consolidation is a “lifelong dream” of Taylor’s, and he looks forward to many more years as the fearless leader of Northeast Florida’s alternative voice.

*A previous version incorrectly spelled Farrar Martin's name   More

THE FLOG

WEED DONE IT

After tallying nearly 700,000 signatures, the Florida Division of Elections says the petition to legalize medical marijuana in the state has exceeded the requirement to be placed on the 2016 ballot. The corresponding amendment will appear on the November ballot as Amendment 2.

The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, also Amendment 2, was on the November 4, 2014 ballot, where it was defeated. Advocates for “compassionate use” such as John Morgan of Jacksonville law firm Morgan and Morgan are optimistic about the potential outcome this time around.

“This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief,” Morgan said in a press release issued by United for Care – a Florida based organization dedicated to legalization of Marijuana for medical use in the state.

If it earns 60 percent approval from voters, amendment 2 will make Florida the 24th state to allow physicians to recommend marijuana to individuals with debilitating conditions.

Passage of amendment 2 won’t necessarily guarantee those who are prescribed medicinal marijuana will be getting it immediately. In June 2014 Gov. Rick Scott signed off on the legalization of low-THC marijuana, also known as Charlotte’s Web. Yet, it took more than a year for the Florida Department of Health gave contracts to grow and dispense the drug in four regions across the state. While patients await treatment, there are currently 11 nurseries across the state disputing the FDOH’s decisions.   More

FOLIO DIGITAL

Northeast Florida Power Meter

POWER UP: Half-cent Sales Tax

As state lawmakers return to Tallahassee after an extended vacation, they’ll have a full plate of both new and neglected challenges. They’ll also have a visitor in Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who is sounding the alarm — even going as far as to say, “the sky really is falling” — asking the legislature to approve a measure that would allow the city to use a half-cent sales tax increase, which was approved and instituted through the Better Jacksonville Plan in 2000, to pay down the city’s crippling unfunded pension liability.

NEXT: 5-11 is just fine >>>   More