"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Signs of the Times: Fort Myers women stage "tree wedding" in Snell Park

Signs of the Times: Fort Myers women stage "tree wedding" in Snell Park
Say what?  the Latest madness form the modern world...

Karen Cooper was ready to go out on a limb to save her beloved, so she got married ... to a tree. Specifically, the giant ficus that has shaded Snell Family Park in Fort Myers for more than a century. 
The tree became the center of a neighborhood controversy when city staff began discussing cutting it down last year. Cooper, who lives in the Valencia Terrace neighborhood that includes the tree's riverfront park, began mobilizing to save it, an effort that culminated with the waterfront nuptials Saturday, complete with flowers, music, a tree-decorated wedding cake and a canine ring-bearer named Little Bear.

Though rooted on city property, some of the Indian laurel's 8,000-square-foot canopy and root system extends to a neighboring lot, for sale for $1 million. 
Last year, would-be buyer Jeff Romer asked the city what his legal responsibilities to the tree would be. "All I was doing was my due diligence on the lot," he told the Fort Myers Beautification Advisory Board at its last meeting. "If I'm allowed to touch the tree, trim the tree, prune the tree ... because I don't want to be liable if the tree falls over onto the neighbor's house."
Neighbors of Snell Family Park in Fort Myers are hoping to save an old fig tree that shades the park. The owners of the lot next to the park want the tree cut down. Amanda Inscore/news-press.com
After a site visit last December the city's public works department OK'd the tree's removal after the beautification board had been notified. In February, the board discussed spending $13,000 to cut down the sprawling tree and replacing it with smaller geiger trees.
Once neighbors got wind of those plans, the protests started: phone calls, posters, fliers and, most recently, Cooper's Saturday wedding, at which she and several other white-dressed women vowed to honor and protect it before some 50 onlookers.
Cooper got the idea from a group of women who've been protesting deforestation in Mexico by marrying trees, she said. "So I saw that and I thought, 'Oh we should marry the ficus tree — kind of giggle, giggle — but everyone said it's a really good idea, so I said, 'OK, let's do it.' "
She staged the wedding three days ahead of Tuesday's Beautification Advisory Board meeting, when the tree's fate is on the agenda. To be discussed: last month's report by certified arborist Rick Joyce, who gave the tree a thorough check-up. He determined it's in fairly robust health and could withstand judicious pruning
In an email, city spokeswoman Stephanie Schaffer wrote, "The City is moving forward to save the Snell Park ficus tree. Every day City employees care for the trees and plants that give our city a sense of community and shared history." 
But even though the city appears to be backing away from its initial plans to cut down the ficus, its fate remains uncertain, Cooper points out.
"It's still not saved," she said.. "It's still not decided, and that's what I don't understand. If the arborist says it can be trimmed and if ... Jeff Romer stood up at the last meeting and said I never asked for the tree to be cut down, and if we all in the neighborhood don't want it to, why are we still talking about cutting the tree down?"
Ward 5 Councilman Fred Burson, the only city official to attend, vowed to help save the tree, in front of which he'd posed with his family for a campaign photo. "If we don't get it settled at the Beautification Board meeting, I'll take it to the City Council," he said.
Cooper and her tree guardians will be there, cheering him on. For her, it's about more than green space; it's personal:
"If they cut down this tree, I'm going to be a widow."

Next meeting

The meeting to determine whether the (now-married) Snell Park ficus will live or die  is 4 p.m., Tuesday, at Fort Myers City Hall, 2200 Second St., in the 2nd floor conference room. 


American adults just keep getting fatter

U.S. adults continue to put on the pounds. New data show that nearly 40 percent of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier, federal health officials reported Friday.
The prevalence of severe obesity in U.S. adults is also rising, heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. According to the latest data, published Friday in JAMA, 7.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese in the same period.
The data – gathered in a large-scale federal survey that is considered the gold standard for health data – measured trends in obesity from 2015 and 2016 back to 2007 and 2008, when 5.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese and 33.7 percent were obese. The survey counted people with a body mass index of 30 or more as obese, and those with a BMI of 40 or more as severely obese.
Public health experts said that they were alarmed by the continuing rise in obesity among adults and by the fact that efforts to educate people about the health risks of a poor diet do not seem to be working.

“Most people know that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and if you eat too much that contributes to being overweight,” said Dr. James Krieger, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington and executive director of Healthy Food America, an advocacy group. “But just telling people there’s a problem doesn’t solve it.”
The latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey come at a time when the food industry is pushing back against stronger public health measures aimed at combating obesity.
In recent NAFTA negotiations, the Trump administration has proposed rules favored by major food companies that would limit the ability of the United States, Mexico and Canada to require prominent labels on packaged foods warning about the health risks of foods high in sugar and fat.
While the latest survey data do not explain why Americans continue to get heavier, nutritionists and other experts cite lifestyle, genetics and, most importantly, a poor diet as factors. U.S. fast-food sales rose 22.7 percent from 2012-2017, according to Euromonitor, while packaged-food sales rose 8.8 percent.
The latest survey data found that U.S. youth are faring somewhat better than adults. Among Americans ages 2 to 19, 18.5 percent were obese in the 2015 and 2016, while 5.6 percent were severely obese. (A severely obese youth is defined as being 120 percent above the 95th percentile of body mass index for age and gender.)
The study found that the percentage of youths who are obese and severely obese rose slightly from the 2007-2008 time frame, but not enough to be statistically significant.
Dr. Craig Hales, co-author of the survey research, said that the small increase in childhood obesity “could be due to sampling error,” and that the upshot was “no increasing or decreasing trends over the last 10 years.”
“Something different is happening with adults and youth,” he said, adding that he wasn’t able to explain the reasons.
One group of youths that has seen statistically significant weight gain are the youngest children, ages 2 to 5. Obesity rates in this group rose to 13.9 percent in 2015 and 2016 from 10.1 percent in 2007 and 2008.
Scholars who study childhood obesity disagree about whether childhood obesity has plateaued or is increasing.
“We haven’t turned the tide. If anything, rates are continuing to climb upwards,” said Dr. David Ludwig, a nutrition professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The 18.5 percent youth obesity rate in 2015-2016 marked an uptick following earlier years dating to 2007 and 2008 when it had held steady at about 17 percent.
Dr. William Dietz, director of the Stop Obesity Alliance at George Washington University, said that it is premature to reach any conclusions about the trend in childhood obesity.
“I’m worried about it for sure, but we need two more years of data,” he said. Still, he called the overall report “dismal,” given that the high rates of obesity mean high rates of disease and premature death.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article206680904.html#storylink=cpy

Man attacks golden arches at Oregon McDonald's, police say

SUTHERLIN — Police say a 37-year-old man was far from lovin' it when workers at a McDonald's restaurant in Oregon refused to make him 30 double cheeseburgers. His response? He tried to destroy the golden arches.
The News-Review reports that police arrested Jedediah Ezekiel Fulton on March 16 on suspicion of second-degree disorderly conduct, second-degree criminal trespass, second-degree criminal mischief and harassment.
Authorities say Fulton became upset when the fast food restaurant in the western Oregon town of Sutherlin declined to make his order. Police say he destroyed a banner and then attacked the arches.
The Sutherlin Police Department says he also grabbed a person's shirt and that a witness afraid for that person's life pulled out a gun.
It's not clear from online records if Fulton has an attorney.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/latest-news/article206680904.html#storylink=cpy