Some of those who protected the Celery Fields
From Luigi Verace of Stand Up Fight Back SRQ:
Stand Up Fight Back as a group became involved in actively opposing a proposed dump at the Celery Fields in Sarasota, Florida, in February of 2017. I personally had been following the issue from abroad in Sweden and upon my return in Jan 2017 our steering committed agreed to officially proceed.
- I headed up the Celery Fields wing of our group and immediately began organizing events and public outreach to the County Commissioners. Along with hundreds of activists, thousand of hours and a massive amount of money, we won an impressive victory on August 23rd 2017 in defeating an industrial waste concrete crushing construction and yard debris facility situated within the 450 acres that is the Celery Fields.
- Dozens of members of our group were actively involved and showed up at every event, town hall, private meeting and all the public hearings. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart to the top of the Celery Fields hill.
- This is a list of some of those involved beyond SUFBSRQ. It's by no means complete. My apologies to anyone I missed:
Researcher, facilitator, force of Nature, and organizer of in-depth data. Her posts, comments, radio shows, preparation of documents, and passion was beyond the call of duty for many. She was a huge player in all this. She facilitated the SUFBSRQ portion of the public hearing and provided over a dozen well-thought-out presentations for our members to enter live into the public record during the BOCC meeting. She spoke and presented in virtually every pubic meeting of various groups involved over the course of this entire year and of course at every public hearing.
Glenna tirelessly helped organize the Palmer East Group - the dozen neighborhoods on East Palmer that formed a working group that worked for months to battle a land use change -- permitting a Waste Processing Facility on Palmer Blvd., near their homes, their children's schools, and their priceless Celery Fields Preserve, bird sanctuary, and recreational area. She produced PowerPoint slides and organized the presentations of 15 speakers at the final Celery Fields / TST Ventures Hearing on 8.23.17.
David G. Johnson
Another founding member of the Palmer East Group, David was instrumental in organizing and creating a website and Facebook page for this issue, and spoke extensively to media at events and public hearings.
- https://celeryfields.org/ David is the founder of this site
- David's thoughts on this issue as a coalition and the non partisan aspect, something that was crucial for me.
Citizen advocate, researcher, blogger and a major force in this effort. Co-founder with Cathy Antunes of Citizens for Sarasota County.
- Tom’s must read blog.
- Citizens for Sarasota County's Facebook group with a rather impressive following.
As Sarasota Audubon conservation chair, Rob was another voice of reason and knowledge not only of the Celery fields, but of their connection to our fragile eco-system. Rob was instrumental in our victory.
Palmer East Group (PEG)
A neighborhood group of homeowners and HOAs, PEG grew into the Save the Celery Fields movement. They met every Monday and held larger events for the entire community, educating us all on the issues. These were the people presenting facts on traffic, environment, toxic air particles, pollution and more.
Founding members of PEG include Glenna Blomquist, Jamie Caseber, Carlos and Joan Correa, Peter Gemma, Paula Berkowitz, Jonny Howell, Gary Walsh, Rob Wright, David G Johnson, Tom Matrullo, Matt Moffitt, Wendy Loomis, and many others.
Allan Mestel - Allan was a huge behind the scenes player. He never once refused a request by me to shoot photos and did so on many many occasions for several different public presentations I gave. He also photographed all our Save the Celery fields events and rallies. All his time and resources were donated. A slide show he did brought tears to many eyes at the BOCC meeting, myself included.
Tom Walker, the Peace and Justice Report and Mary De Jesus, News producer. WSLR was a partner featuring this issue on air and through phone interviews.
WMNF - Sean Kinane - WMNF News Facebook
Sean did a full hour show in July on the Celery Fields dump issue with Luigi Verace and Adrien Lucas.
Kafi Benz, Bill Zoller and Pat Rounds of CONA (Sarasota Conference of Neighborhood Associations) held three well-attended meetings with community leaders to inform the neighborhoods and plan a strategy to combat the TST Ventures Waste Facility plan.
Cathy is a citizen advocate, former CONA boardmember, and co-founder of Citizens for Sarasota County. Her show, The Detail on WSRQ RADIO, featured the CF issue at least six times. She also wrote about the issue on her blog and for SRQNews.
A few additional organizations and groups that worked seriously to halt the planned dump for the Celery Fields:
Fruitville 210 Community Alliance - Gary Heffner, Chairman.
Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee - representatives of more than a dozen neighborhoods along Bee Ridge Rd., Bee Ridge Ext., and Iona Rd. Uwe Hinrichs, Chairman. The committee include Dr. Marguerite Malone, Charles Young, Tom Matrullo, Joseph O'Hara and more.
Lake Sarasota Community Group - Keith C. Russo, Chairman, Jami Caseber, environmental consultant to Palmer East.
Suncoast Waterkeeper Andy Mele
Rachel Hackney, The Sarasota News Leader
Robin Bloom, artist
Matt Casella, creator of first online Petition to save the Celery Fields that gathered over 7,000 signatures.
Democratic Party Issues Committee
Ralph Smith, cartoonist
Control Growth Now
what we could expect, early on.
Environmental Activist Jono Miller.
Attorneys Judy Earl, Aaron Alfano, Charles Young, Steven Thompson and Dan Lobeck, planner Tim Litchet, Howard Diener MD, LTE writer Dennis Robertson and many, many more, including lawyers, scientists, doctors, planners, artists, illustrators, realtors, and regular citizens who preferred not to be named, whose combined efforts totaled thousands of hours of research and dissemination of information.