Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Challenges put off long-delayed cleanup of a county-owned site in Brooksville even longer

BROOKSVILLE — A cleanup of the contaminated former public works site in south Brooksville, already delayed for several years, will have to wait a while longer.

While the county got state approval for a plan to remove, treat or block the toxins on the site in 2010, officials put off the required public notice of the approval until they could meet with area residents to talk about specifics.

At that meeting in September, residents argued that capping the site with concrete, removing more dirt, adding chemical agents to clean the soil and other means proposed in the cleanup plan, were not addressing their real concern.

They argued that the entire community surrounding the site at 201 W Martin Luther King Blvd. including Mitchell Heights, also suffered from the same pollution by solvents, petroleum products and other chemicals. They wanted a solution that would somehow repair the damage to the community, which they blamed on years of neglect by city, county and state officials.

Now some of those residents have formally challenged the plan approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection. So far two of several complaints filed have been found to be legally sufficient to be sent on to the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings. One other complaint is also under review and could be forwarded to that agency.

The two cases, one filed by Almazine and Howard Delaine and the other by Booker T. Byrd, have been consolidated into one case which will likely be heard by an administrative law judge later this year. Until the challenges are done, however, the county cannot move forward with the clean-up of the site.

The Delaine property is adjacent to the public works compound and in their complaint, the Delaines argue that the pollutants on the compound have also spilled into their backyard. They note that high levels of arsenic were found on their property and that health officials gave them a letter that warns them to take precautions when exposed to the soil.

The complaint states that family and friends have been exposed to unhealthy conditions and that the county has done nothing other than buying up two other homes in the community and razing them.

The complaint goes on to challenge the remediation plan arguing that the contamination continues to rise up out of the site and pollute the surrounding area. The Delaines statements also accuse officials of bias and secrecy. They state that documents related to the cleanup, including one that indicated all the neighbors in the area should be relocated, have gone missing.

The complaint says the county and the DEP have been negligent over the years in safeguarding the health of area residents, calling it "a conspiracy of the highest magnitude.''

"This neglect as carried out by the conspiratorial actions of the (DEP), the county and the city of Brooksville has resulted in the premature deaths of a significant number of residents of south Brooksville,'' the Delaines allege in their petition.

Byrd, who filed the other petition for an administrative hearing, lives adjacent to a drainage pond which holds water from the old public works complex. His complaint mirrors that of the Delaines on various points of history, noting how residents have long been exposed to cancer-causing substances in the neighborhood.

"As a petitioner, I believe that all of the streets, A Street, B Street, C Street, D Street, Bethune and Booker T streets should all be included'' as contaminated and a solution found for the entire neighborhood, Byrd wrote.

Similar cases of complaints filed with the Division of Administrative Hearings can take months or longer to resolve.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

Advocates push orca breeding law as SeaWorld’s policy appears murky

The announcement was rolled out to the world as a pledge. A promise.In March 2016 SeaWorld declared it would end killer whale breeding, making the orcas in its care in the United States and abroad its last generation to live in captivity.Later that y...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

ATLANTA — A sudden power outage brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Authorities announced that electricity would be restored...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts Rolling a fat one — 100 feet longMarijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint. The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporter...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Friendly competition

Friendly competition

 
Updated: 8 hours ago