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:

Adrien Lucas 
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 Blomquist
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.

    Tom Matrullo

    Citizen advocate, researcher, blogger and a major force in this effort. Co-founder with Cathy Antunes of Citizens for Sarasota County.

    Rob Wright
    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 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.
    Mestel Photo
    Mestel Photo Facebook 
    Streetwork Studios 

    Allan Mestel

    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.

    CONA Sarasota
    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 Antunes
    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

    Sierra Club

    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

    Ralph Smith

    Control Growth Now

    Roger and Lynda Letourneau, whose photos told the story of what we could expect, early on.

    Environmental Activist Jono Miller.

    Tom Lyons, Columnist

    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.


    Thank you to Luigi and Tom and the others who put all the effort into compiling this list. And of course, more importantly, thank you to all who put so much effort into the initiative to prevent the County from approving Mr. Gabbert's project at the Celery Fields!

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