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June-December 2006 Archive:


Nov 17, 2006 Palm Beach County to block new rock mining - County Commissioners agreed Monday to block new rock mining in Palm Beach County until its staff finishes a study showing how blasting affects the Everglades Agricultural Area. Article by Mitra Malek and Hector Florin - Palm Beach Post


Nov 8, 2006 Estero Group Mine Hearing Update - The Lee County Hearing Examiner will hold a status conference with the applicant on February 23rd, 2007 to determine if they are ready to proceed to public hearing. If so, the hearing will be rescheduled some weeks (or months) after that date.

There are still two other mine zoning applications in process. Keep your eye on the "Hearing Watch" box on the right side of this page for status updates. Join the mailing list to stay up to date via email.


Nov 7, 2006

Don't forget to vote today!

Click here to find your voting location.

Estero Group Mine Hearing postponed - The Estero Group IPD Mine hearing scheduled to begin tomorrow, November 8th has been postponed. Yesterday, attorneys for Estero Group LLC filed a last-minute request for continuance of the hearing to "work on the environmental issue identified in condition 5 with the staff and appropriate agencies". Condition 5 deals with requirements for an environmental impact evaluation by the US Fish & Wildlife Service related to the Florida Panther.

The hearing examiner's office was contacted this morning and we have confirmed with them that there will be no hearing tomorrow. No future date has been requested or scheduled at this time.


Nov 2, 2006 Map to Estero Group Mine Zoning Public Hearing - The Estero Group IPD zoning hearing is scheduled to begin at 9AM Wednesday, November 8th. The Lee County Hearing Examiner Hearing Room is located on the 2nd Floor of the Department of Community Development Building, 1500 Monroe Street downtown. A public parking garage is located diagonally across the intersection of Monroe & 1st Streets. Click the link above for a map.

Note: "Neighbors" & "Friends" mailing lists are fixed.


Nov 1, 2006 Florida case law documents permissibility of fact-based testimony from residents or other concerned citizens as competent, substantial evidence.


Oct 31, 2006 Mine Hearing Strategy Meeting Recap - Last night's meeting at the library was well attended by Corkscrew and Estero residents alike. Indications are that we will be well represented at the upcoming public hearing. Bill and Jim Lytell introduced the legal team of Tom Hart and Mike Roeder who will represent us. They presented an excellent game plan for residents to follow in presenting their testimony. Participation in the hearing process will be critical to our success - please make plans to attend.

What to Expect in the Hearing Examiner Process - a helpful document based on a conversation between Chip Block, Senior Planner in Community Development and Peggy Apgar’Schmidt, a former resident of Corkscrew.


Oct 27, 2006 Lee DCD Staff recommends APPROVAL of the Estero Group Ltd. request for rezoning to Industrial Planned Development. In their 22 page report, Lee staffers concluded that the requested zoning is compatible with surrounding property uses, will not adversely affect environmentally critical areas, and will not place undue burden on existing transportation facilities.

While Corkscrew and Estero residents are disappointed by the County's recommendation, it's important to remember that the hearing examiner must consider all testimony prior to making a recommendation to the BOCC. Residents will provide extensive testimony about adverse impacts of the proposed mining operation at the Public Hearing on November 8th & 9th.

You can download the Lee DCD Staff Report here. (large file warning - 1.4MB PDF)


Oct 27, 2006 CALL TO ACTION - Please read this important letter urging Corkscrew Friends and Neighbors to attend the upcoming public hearing for the Estero Group IPD on November 8th. Please mark your calendar with this very important date!

A Pre-Hearing meeting for friends and neighbors opposed to the mines will be held at 7PM Monday, October 30th at the South Regional Library on Three Oaks Parkway.

Estero Group IPD Zoning - Lee County DCD posts signs announcing the upcoming public hearing scheduled for November 8th at 9:00 AM.

The Lee County Department of Community Development provides a very helpful guide that describes the hearing examiner process, and how the public participates in the proceedings. It includes the address of the hearing, layout of the hearing room, and rules about how cases such as ours are handled. Please take a few minutes to read the guide here.


Oct 25, 2006 Estero Community Leaders are invited to participate in the upcoming mining pre-hearing strategy meeting.


Oct 19, 2006 Hearing to explore rock-mining impact in Dade  - The potential environmental impact of rock mining in northwestern Miami-Dade County will be the subject of a US Army Corps of Engineers public meeting set for 7 tonight in Doral. From the Miami Herald, Thursday, October 19, 2006


Oct 2, 2006 Dirt mining plans rile residents - Another development group with plans to mine fill dirt before it builds houses on a swath of east Estero land is meeting with concern from residents.
Article by Chuck Myron - Ft. Myers News-Press - Sunday, October 1, 2006

Bonita land seizure contested - Ex-owner of farm says water district underpaid for 121.7 acres he wanted to mine. The former owner of a farm that was condemned by the South Florida Water Management District said the agency owes him more money for seizing the land where he wanted to conduct a mining project.
Article by Denes Husty IIIFt. Myers News-Press - Monday, October 2, 2006


Sep 20, 2006 Can a panther help Corkscrew avoid a proliferation of mines - As mentioned in my posting on Sep. 17th below, the National & Florida Wildlife Federations are seeking additional oversight by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of the three proposed Corkscrew mines with respect to habitat loss and "incidental taking" of panthers due to increased industrial truck traffic.

I've sent a letter to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) in support of the NWF/FWF requests. Please consider taking a few minutes to write a letter of your own. Even if it's just a few lines that say "I agree", the FWS needs to hear from us directly that we care about how they are protecting our area from loss of habitat critical to the panther and other wildlife.

Panther land stands in way of new mines - Florida Wildlife Federation claims companies will be in violation of the Endangered Species Act if plans go through.
Article by Julio Ochoa - BonitaNews.com - Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Sep 19, 2006

Southeast Lee County mining map updated - Updated map shows the three pending mine applications, adds Cypress Bay which intends to mine, and adds Schwab 640 which is suing Lee County under the Bert Harris Act. Also included on the map are the large landholdings of Corkscrew Plantation, and the northern portion of Six-L's Farms. Generalized boundaries of lands already permitted for mining along with excavations of these properties up to 2005 are shown.



Sep 17, 2006 Everglades Nation Park photoWildlife Federation seeks protection for Corkscrew panthers - The National and Florida Wildlife Federations have submitted a formal request to the US Fish & Wildlife Service to review the three pending mine applications on Corkscrew Road. Section 9 of the Federal Endangered Species Act "prohibits the unauthorized take of federally listed species", and based on this provision, they further request that mine applicants be required to secure an "Incidental Take Permit" in conjunction with an approved "Habitat Conservation Plan". 

The three proposed Corkscrew mines, if approved, would cumulatively eliminate 1800 acres of panther habitat, and increase industrial truck traffic on east Corkscrew Road by 400%.

Corkscrew residents and friends are invited to write the US Fish & Wildlife Service to add your own observations about mining compatibility and habitat conservation for panthers and other endangered species in the Corkscrew area. You can use the address provided in the letter. Click on the title above to read the letter and associated map (300KB PDF) .


Sep 15, 2006 Flooding still a problem on Corkscrew - After more than two weeks of dangerous flooding over Corkscrew Road, Lee County DOT has dispatched a crew with ditch cleaning equipment to work on the flooding problem today. Work will continue on Monday. Mark Hansen captured photos of a school bus navigating the stormwaters on Friday afternoon.




Sep 13, 2006 Flooding continues on Corkscrew Road - Flooding continues across Corkscrew Road near Flint's Cowpens since Tropical Storm Ernesto dumped buckets of rain on the neighborhood August 30th. Continued rains, along with obstructions to historic sheet water flow in the area are contributing to the problem. Corkscrew neighbor Stacie Blank provided some excellent photos.



Sep 9, 2006 Video of flooding from TS Ernesto on Corkscrew Road - Truckers plow through deep stormwater flowing across Corkscrew Road. The county maintained road has been flooded at this location since August 30th. To date, Lee DOT has made no efforts to fix the problem.  (Click on link above to view video - high-speed broadband recommended).

Charlotte Deputies Crack Down on Speeding Truckers - Speeding truckers are putting local children at risk. Deputies with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office are launching a major crackdown aimed at keeping impatient truckers from slamming into school buses packed with children. Article and video from NBC-2.com.


Sep 7, 2006 Election bad news for Lee builders - Commission changes to benefit environment. In the wake of Tuesday's primary election, the new county commission could become more environmentally-friendly and more skeptical of proposed developments. (Article in Ft. Myers News-Press)

Another new mine on Corkscrew? At the bottom of the sidebar in the above article is this quote from Gary Tasman, real estate advisor with VIP Commercial in Fort Myers who works with Six L's Farms:

"If anyone thinks it's going to be a massive, sprawling community, that's not what it's going to be. We're not really concerned (about the new commission) because it's going to be a fill-dirt operation that provides material for roads."


Sep 5, 2006 Next Corkscrew Community Planning Meeting - In a follow-up to our first community planning meeting, residents of the Corkscrew Community are invited to provide input and participate in the process of creating The Corkscrew Vision and Community Plan. Please mark your calendar and make plans to attend.

Corkscrew Community Planning Meeting
at the South County Regional Library
7:00 PM - Monday, September 11th 2006


Sep 4, 2006 Yet Another Truck Wreck on Corkscrew - A cement truck from Drake Ready Mix overturned on Corkscrew near Lazy D Farms Road on Monday, August 28th. The truck was traveling east when the driver hit a damaged section of the pavement and overcorrected. The driver wasn't seriously injured. It's unknown whether law enforcement or emergency services were called to the scene.

Neighbor Mark Hansen heard the crash from his home and captured photos. The photos show diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, coolant, engine oil, and concrete were spilled at the site. Lee County DOT has been contacted at least twice to clean up the accident site, however they have not responded to the requests to date.


Aug 24, 2006 Florida Panther struck and killed this morning on Corkscrew Road - An endangered Florida Panther was killed by a truck this morning before 6AM on Corkscrew Road. The accident happened near the wildlife crossing at the Corkscrew wellfield. The 138 lb. adult male panther was not fitted with a radio collar.






Photo courtesy myfwc.com
(not actual panther from story)

Aug 22, 2006 Corkscrew residents face growth - Residents along Corkscrew Road East, which cuts through mostly rural areas of southeastern Lee County, worry about the effect the growing number of trucks from mines along the road will have on their quiet communities. News-Press article by DENES HUSTY III -  August 20, 2006


Aug 11, 2006 BOCC Candidate Tammy Hall contributor suing county for $18M over mine - On July 21, Schwab Materials sued Lee County for $18 million over land the company wants to mine on Corkscrew Road. That same week, Schwab family members and companies owned by the Schwabs contributed $6,500 to the re-election campaign of Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall. Article by Charlie Whitehead - naplesnews.com - Thursday, August 10, 2006

DR/GR land should figure into county commission race - What to do about the so-called DR/GR may be one of the most important issues immediately facing Lee County commissioners. Article by Charlie Whitehead - naplesnews.com - Monday, May 8, 2006


Aug 9, 2006 More news on the Schwab lawsuit -

Miners suing Lee for $18M - Schwab Materials Inc. says county’s anti-blasting ordinance cost them millions. Article by Jamie Henline - naplesnews.com - Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Aug 8, 2006 Important: Corkscrew Community Meeting - Residents of the Corkscrew Community are invited to come and learn about community planning and share their ideas about the future of Corkscrew. Please mark your calendar and make plans to attend.

Corkscrew Community Meeting
at the South County Regional Library
7:00 PM - Tuesday, August 15th 2006


Aug 7, 2006 Benzene at core of Dade mining case - A serious chemical plume has largely dissipated but raises new questions in a federal court hearing on the future of rock-mining around Miami-Dade County's largest well field.

Benzene probe creates a fissure - In a mystery chemical contamination, county agencies clashed over one possible suspect, an explosive containing benzene used in rock-mining operations.

What is Benzene?

Articles by Curtis Morgan - Miami-Herald - Posted on Sun, Aug. 06, 2006


August 6, 2006 On land with few uses, mines force difficult decisions - An article about mining on Corkscrew Road by real estate broker and News-Press columnist Frank D'Alessandro. August 6, 2006.

Editor's note:
The article provides mostly accurate information, but fails the “fair & balanced” test from our perspective. The columnist acknowledges "potential" environmental impacts of mining as well as traffic and noise impacts to our friends in Estero, yet he clearly avoids any mention of impacts to those nearest the proposed mines - the rural residents of East Corkscrew Road. Our concerns are excluded from the story as if we don't exist, or there aren’t enough of us to matter in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, this is a common bias among some urban planners who consider rural residents guilty of “residential encroachment” upon "valuable rock resources".

Will Lee County government yield to pressure from mining interests and ignore objections from long established rural residents? Will they silence us by approving new large-scale long-term mining developments on Corkscrew Road? Will the industrial land-use study being commissioned by the Horizon Council identify our rural community as the next Alico mining corridor? Will mining & development interests influence Lee County Smart Growth to recommend expanded mining on Corkscrew Road? The answers will be determined by those who participate in the County's planning governance process. The miners and developers are already at the table. We need to do the same. The future of Corkscrew hangs in the balance.

Lee County land-use study goes industrial - A new study on land use could affect commercial and industrial development for years to come. Article by Frank D'alessandro - from The News-Press July 30, 2006


July 24, 2006


Estero mine owners sue county over blasting law - Owners of an Estero limestone mine are suing the county for more than $18.3 million because of the anti-blasting ordinance approved in 2002. Article by The News-Press July 24, 2006


July 6, 2006 Dade mining ban could crush construction industry - Local construction needs rock from east coast Lake Belt area. Article by - The News-Press July 3, 2006

Frantic growth drives water-supply crisis - Population boom comes amidst dry wells and dropping water tables. (Note: article is from last year.)
Article by Wendy Fullerton & Pamela Smith Hayford, The News-Press - March 27, 2005

Final Frontier - Growth is coming to Florida’s heartland. Who gets to say where it goes and how? - In February, longtime Orlando lawyer J. Charles Gray, representing a consortium of rural landowners, sketched a suggested route for a new highway onto a road map and faxed it over to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the agency that builds and runs the state’s toll roads.

Article by Cynthia Barnett, Florida Trend Magazine, July 2006



June 18, 2006



Protection sought against mining - Request to join west-based community panel gets sticky.
Article by Denise L. Scott - The News-Press


June 17, 2006 Estero leaders pledge anti-mining support - Estero Council of Community Leaders will assist East Corkscrew Road residents in their fight against rock mining near their homes.
Article by Jessie L. Bonner - Bonita Daily News


June 11, 2006


Signs pop up against mining - Bright yellow protest signs have started popping up along Corkscrew Road near three proposed mines in east Estero. Read more...

Article by Denise L. Scott - Fort Myers News-Press


June 6, 2006


Rural residents worry about new plans for mines - Residents of the Corkscrew Road Rural Community have spent $120,000 to keep two mining operations away from their homes. They hired lawyers, flew in experts to testify at public hearings and took time off work. Read more...

Article by Jamie Henline, Bonita Daily News




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