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2012 Letter from the Chair and Award Winners

12/17/2012

As 2012 comes to close I wish to convey personal thanks to all those who have worked so diligently this year in so many ways. With each year come new challenges and this year had a few.

[click here to jump to the list of 2012 Award Winners]

One of our biggest challenges has been incorporating Pasco County activists into the Tampa Bay group. In late 2010, the Nature Coast group folded and the East Pasco territory moved under the Tampa Bay Sierra Club umbrella. Pasco County is a hotbed for development so the pleas for help from residents have been constant from stopping landfills and road construction to fighting permits for dredging and wetlands destruction. In the meantime, we are dealing with many other issues from Odessa to Ruskin and beyond.

One campaign we initiated this year is Stop the Skyway Resort Project. We have joined with other environmental and sport groups from Manatee and Pinellas to quash a state land swap proposal that would allow for construction of a major condo and tourist resort on the south end of the Skyway Bridge. This project would result in the destruction of north Terra Ceia Bay, a pristine habitat that is home to bird rookeries and marine life. Like Stop the Skyway Resort Project on Facebook to keep up with this project.

Growth management co-chair Kent Bailey has been at the forefront, fielding calls, writing letters and attending meetings, a regular superman in my book, which is why we have presented him with the annual Black Bear Award for 2012. If you live in Pasco County and would like to help with Pasco environmental issues, we need your help. Please contact Kent Bailey at kent.bailey@florida.sierraclub.org and have a chat about how you can get involved.

GOOD NEWS: Tampaís new summer fertilizer ban kicked off this year, a giant step toward reducing harmful nutrient pollution in our bay and waterways. And we were able to stop legislation that would have pre-empted all local fertilizer ordinances throughout the state.

Our Inner City Outings program, which takes disadvantaged urban youth on day trips and campouts, is a huge success, taking out hundreds of kids who are discovering the great outdoors for the first time. Kudos to ICO chair Rocky Milburn and his team of volunteer leaders.

Finally, thanks to all those who worked on our Political Committee and Victory Corp to help our endorsed candidates get elected. You canvassed, worked phone banks and stood for hours at polling places. We won a few and lost a few, but in the end we can proud of our accomplishments.

Marcia Biggs, Chair


Kudos to Our Award Winners

At the Holiday Party held at Carmineís on Dec. 12 the following recipients received awards:

Black Bear Award: W. Kent Bailey, Excom, Growth Management Co-Chair

Certificates of Appreciation:
Dave Varrieur: Team Leader for Stash Your Cans Program
Karen Kress and Chris Loy: Longtime leaders for Inner City Outings
Pamela Jo Hatley: Co-Chair, Growth Management Committee
Mike Raff: Longtime Outings Leader
Alan Snel: Community Leadership

State Chapter Awards:
Beverly Griffiths: Florida Executive Committee, Chair of State Phosphate Committee won the Manatee Award for group service
Brandt Henningsen: SWFWMD Chief Environmental Scientist won the Osprey Award for extraordinary effort by a governmental staff person to promote or effect changes in policy or practice to protect or preserve Florida's environment.
Mike Davis: Tampa Sports Authority, won the Pine Tree Award for working with Tampa Bay Groupís Stash Your Cans Recycling Program at Raymond James Stadium for 22 years.

Also recognized for their dedication working to promote Sierra Clubís officially endorsed candidates were Gayle Bertlestein, Barbara Fite, Tom Krumreich and Irene Rehrberger.

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