Tag Archives: maggie hurchalla

“Going Home” to Meet Maggy Hurchalla, SLR/IRL

The house built in the early days of Miami by Maggie's mother.
The house built in the “outback” by Maggy’s mother in the early days of a growing Miami.
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The driveway leading to the house. (JTL)
The driveway leading to the house. (JTL)
The porch.
The porch.
The grounds has many trees planted by Mrs Reno years ago that are now gigantic.
The grounds has many trees planted by Mrs Reno years ago that are now gigantic.
Oolite rock on the grounds.
Oolite rock on the grounds.
The house only lost one shingle during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. This hangs on the wall as a testament to Mrs Reno.
The house only lost one shingle during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. This hangs on the wall as a testament to Mrs Reno and her husband.
cover of book
Cover of book. Mrs Jane Woods Reno.
In 1994,  when I was a much younger woman, my mother handed me a book entitled: “To Hell With Politics,” a compilation of the writings of Jane Wood Reno.

My mother noted that the author was an incredible woman. She had built her house with her own two hands; was a savant; she had had a career as a reporter for the Miami Herald; she once hiked many miles northward, for days and nights, along the Atlantic’s shoreline meeting, speaking, and writing about the people she met along the way; she had befriended the Miccosukee Indians and they considered her an “Indian Princess;” she raised peacocks on her very large parcel way out west of Downtown Miami; she was a dedicated mother and wife…..she was Martin County Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla’s mother.

To say the least, I found Mrs Reno’s story interesting and never forgot the book. Fast forward twenty years; I was invited to visit the house, and I did.

Driving down on October 24, 2015, I thought it would be a straight shot down the Turnpike from Stuart. But somehow I “took a wrong turn” and ended up in the craziness of Downtown Miami driving in carpool lanes as a single driver, cameras taking my picture, and barriers forcing me to stay in “my lane.” As I pulled off I-95 stressed out and sweating Siri’s voice rung in the tense air. Then I saw it, the mailbox.

Turning right down a long unpaved driveway I exited the bustle, excessive traffic, shopping malls, and crowded housing developments, and went back in time. Driving in I noticed wild coffee plants and gumbo limbo trees  just like some areas of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. “Weird.” I thought. “Is there a creek around here somewhere? I wonder what Kendall looked like before they drained it, filled it, mowed it down, and planted hedges? A pine forest? An oak/palm hammock? Beautiful…”

I parked my car and looked around. Time stood still. A tropical breeze floated through the trees and the sun shined. Birds were chirping. Legend Maggy Hurchalla greeted me and I toured the grounds of her family home. She was there caring for her older sister, former U.S. Attorney General,  Janet Reno. It was a day I will always treasure. A day a book I read as a younger woman came to life.

I think the photos will say it all, so I won’t write much more.

The house is an island. It is a symbol of what was, and what has become. Thank you to Maggy Hurchalla who helped keep what happened around her childhood home from happening in Martin County.

You can see the Reno parcel unchanged amounts the rampant development of Miami Dade. Google maps 2015
You can see the Reno parcel unchanged amoung the rampant development of Miami Dade. Google maps 2015
Up close.
Up close.
Maggy give me a tour or the grounds. (Photo JTL)
Chickee built by Maggy’s brother. (Photo JTL)
Maggie gives me a tour of the grounds.
Maggy gives me a tour of the grounds.
Mrs Hurchalla having a park named after her in Martin County 2013. (MC Flicker photos.)
Mrs Hurchalla having a park named after her in Martin County 2013 for her work as a commissioner from 1974-1994. (MC Flicker photos.)
Plaque in park. Photo Sandra Thurlow 2015.
Plaque in Maggy’s park,  Photo Sandra Thurlow 2015.
Sally Schwarz’ article about park in MC: (http://opinionzone.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2013/12/07/martin-county-names-park-after-maggy-hurchalla/)

Writing History-Changing History: “Resolving System Constraints: An Action Plan,” by Dr Gary Goforth, SL/IRL

Dr Gary Goforth speaking before the SFWMD Governing Board, 3-12-15. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.)
Dr Gary Goforth speaks before the SFWMD Governing Board 3-12-15. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.)

 

Words and images are powerful tools in our quest to save the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. It is critical that we are part of “writing history,” and not “allowing it to be written for us.”

Even though things get discouraging sometimes and we may feel like we are “getting nowhere,” believe me, in time, we will see that our work has not been in vain. A better river history is being made right now. You are part of that history.

Today I will share the document of Dr Gary Goforth, (http://garygoforth.netResolving System Constraints: An Action Plan,” that is really “making history.”

It was passed out March 12, 2015 at the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Governing Board Meeting where eighty members of the public signed up to speak on behalf of supporting the purchase of US Sugar option lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) in order to create a reservoir to store, clean and convey significant amounts of water south to the Everglades, thus sparing the estuaries from the redirected waters of Lake Okeechobee that are killing our rivers on top of the already destructive discharges from area canals. 

This document will be an important part of that day’s “official record”…

Please read and store this document in your reference folder. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

Thank you Dr Goforth, River Warriors, Mark Perry, Maggy Hurchalla, Indian Riverkeeper, Marty Baum, Martin County’s Deborah Drum, Commissioner Ed Fielding, Ray Judah, Rae Anne Wetzel, the Sierra Club, the Everglades Coalition, The Stuart News, the state press, and all others, especially the “varied general public”—who continually speak in support of  the St Lucie, Indian, and Caloosahatchee rivers. Thank you to those who everyday are part of this ongoing cause. 

Thank you to the SFWMD for hearing our voices and reading our words, even when you are silent….

Thank you to Dr Goforth for writing our goals down scientifically for the District to read, reference, and remember, as all of us build a new history we know is coming…

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Page 1.(SFWMD, 2012 option lands and EAA map adapted by Dr Goforth, 2015.)
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2. (Image, cover of constraints document prepared by Jeff Kivitt, SFWMD, 2015.)
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Dr Gary Goforth speaking before the SFWMD Governing Board, 3-12-15. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.)
Dr Gary Goforth speaking before the SFWMD Governing Board, 3-12-15. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.)

Dr Goforth’s work can be referenced below:  (http://garygoforth.net/Other%20projects.htm) (http://garygoforth.net)

Jeff Kivett, SFWMD, Division Director, Operations, Engineering, and Construction Division, “Types of Constraints Present in the Existing System, including those that may affect operation of the Central and Southern Flood Control Project:”  (http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/gb_pres_system_constraints_2015_0312.pdf)

Artist Julia Kelly and the Second Edition River Kidz’ Workbooks, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Artist Julia Kelly's beautiful artwork will be featured in the River Kidz Second Edition Workbook. Her work was also featured in the first edition. (Photo 2014.)
Local artist, Julia Kelly’s vibrant artwork will be featured in the River Kidz second edition workbook. Her work was also featured in the first edition in 2013. (Julia Kelly, Photo, 2014.)

In 2013, the first edition of the River Kidz workbook was produced with help from Mary Anne Conrad, teacher at Jensen Beach Elementary, Nic Mader, River Mom and Dolphin Ecology Project, Julia Kelly, artist, (http://juliakellyart.com), input from the “Kidz,” and me, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch.

The workbooks were a great success and shared in many of the Martin and St Lucie County elementary and middle school classrooms.

Cover of River Kidz, "Paradise is Home"  workbook, first edition. Artwork by Julia Kelly, 2013.
Cover of River Kidz, “Paradise is Home” workbook, first edition. Artwork by Julia Kelly, 2013.

(In case you have not seen the first edition,  electronic copies are available  at (http://riverscoalition.org) at the bottom of the page.)

Now, in 2014-2015, a second edition will be released. Exciting! But what’s the difference and why so soon?

Well, long story short, one of the projects that master-teacher Crystal Lucas did with her Jensen Beach High School (JBHS) Marine Biology II Class last year, during the LOST SUMMER, was a “rework” of the first edition workbooks. The idea was to have the older kids teaching the younger kids. A collaborative effort and from their perspective.

River Kidz was started by two fifth grade girls in the Town of Sewall’s Point in 2011, Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader. The power of the movement is that it comes from kids. The overseeing adults of River Kidz wanted to keep that theme going, but to bring it to a new level.

The JBHS students were in a position to do this because with Crystal’s leadership they had had extensive studies of the Everglades, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon in reference to discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the local canals, C-23; C-24 and C-25.  This education involved attending the Everglades Coalition Conference, studies with the Everglades Foundation, air boat rides in Lake Okeechobee with legends Nat Reed and Maggie Hurchalla/SFWMD, classroom visits by the Army Corp of Engineers’ Lt. Col. Thomas Greco, Marty Baum, the Indian Riverkeeper and many local and state elected officials including myself.

The students even won first place in the Keep Martin Beautiful Environmental Stewardship Awards  for their work on water issues!

Concerning the rewrite of the workbook’s first edition, the JBHS students decided first and foremost that there needed to be a mascot and a story.  They determined the mascot should be named , “Marty the Manatee,” and yes, this was inspired by none other than Mr Marty Baum! (http://www.indianriverkeeper.org)

So artist Julia Kelly was task to come up with a character and she did, even though she refused to put a mustache on Marty as the students requested because she felt “we needed to be wary of anthropomorphizing the animals.” The steering committee agreed, and Marty was born! 🙂

"Marty the Manatee" by artist Julia Kelly, 2014.
“Marty the Manatee” by artist Julia Kelly, 2014.

Through the JBHS students’ eyes, Marty tells the story of his ancestors’ former home in all its glory with the mythical Pond Apple Swamp at the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee, clean rivers, and a life with animal friends throughout the northern and southern Everglades.  He then goes into today’s struggle with overdevelopment, agriculture, sugar and agribusiness south of the lake, polluted water discharges, redirection of  water into the St Lucie/IRL and Calooshatchee from Lake Okeechobee, and other drainage canals, loss of seagrass, algae blooms and friend “die-offs.”  He gives ideas for a better, cleaner world and a happier future. There is hope! And that hope lies in the River Kidz, the future….

Marty the Manatee with all of his river friends. Julia Kelly, 2014.
Marty the Manatee with all of his river friends. Julia Kelly, 2014.
Apple Pond Forest.
Apple Pond Forest.

The workbooks will be a beautiful collaboration of student and artistic ideas that are sure to inspire generations to come. The goal is to have a fundraiser-grand-release party in November at Blue Water Editions, a division of Southeastern Printing, the invaluable local company that  will be printing the workbooks.

The workbooks are a collaboration, and River Kidz is a division of the Rivers Coalition. The steering committee consist of Nichole Mader, Crystal Lucas, Valerie Gaynor, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and Blue Water’s Jason Leonard.

Donations are welcome!

Bumperstickers promoting the workbook are available at Blue Water Editions, located at 4665 Se Dixie Highway, Port Salerno. (http://www.bluewatereditions.com)

More information will be forthcoming. But for now, enjoy the artwork and remember ALL KIDZ (and ADULTZ)  are River Kidz!

Our mission is to “speak out, get involved, and raise awareness, because we believe kids should have a voice in the future of our rivers!”

Marty...
Marty eating, swimming and thinking…
Marty the wonderful and friendly manatee!
Marty with friends and family discussing wounds from boat hits, polluted water, and lack of seagrass…teaching the kids how to build a better world for him and the kids through creating a better water environment.

 

 

Martin County, the “Epicenter” of Florida’s Governor Campaign, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Cover of "Let's Keep Florida Beautiful," The environmental plan, Gov. Rick Scott, 2014.
Cover of “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful,” the environmental reelection plan for Gov. Rick Scott, 2014. Many Florida springs have stopped flowing and are choked with algae. The SPRINGS ETERNAL PROJECT explains the plight of Florida’s ailing springs:  (http://springseternalproject.org) They, like our SLR/IRL, are dying.

Yesterday, I stumbled out of bed by 5:00 A.M to write my blog and make it to Palm City for the Collaborative Chamber Breakfast starting  at 7:30 A.M. I had to get up as Governor Rick Scott’s kick off campaign tour to publicize his “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful Plan,” was kicking off,  in of all places, Martin County, Florida. I wanted to hear what he had to say.

Scripps reporter, Isadora Rangel,  implies this morning in our Stuart News that Martin County was chosen as the kick off location because “it is the epicenter of grassroots efforts to clean the estuary.”

Reporter Isadora Rangel interviews Congressman, Patrick Murphy who attended the breakfast.
Reporter Isadora Rangel interviews Democrat, Congressman, Patrick Murphy who attended the breakfast. (Photo JTL)

There were about 200 people at Martin Downs County Club and both Democrats and Republicans and were present. The Lagoon goes beyond political boundaries. But politics abounds…

I greeted everyone from Democrat Maggie Hurchalla, to Republican Senator Joe Negron, and found my seat.  I introduced myself to the people at my table. I looked around the room to see a veritable “who’s who.”

Hmmm? I thought.

In spite of the politics. This is pretty cool. Martin County has been chosen to kick off the governor’s reelection campaign. Why?

Because we are the most vocal little county in the state! Because 5000 people protested last summer at the height  of the SLR/IRL toxic algae outbreak and releases from Lake Okeechobee. Our voices were heard. We practiced our right to assemble under our constitution. We are fighting still as last weekend’s 1500 plus at the Clean Water Rally showed.  We have made a name for ourselves. Some of our politicians helped us, yes. But WE did it. We have called attention the dying St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, the canals and Lake Okeechobee and maybe now there will be help.

As I was daydreaming about how great Martin County’s River Movement is, the governor walked to the front of the room and took the microphone.

He was very well dressed and looked more comfortable than usual. He greeted the crowd and then told the story of his life:

Born in Illinois, single mom, did not know his father, step dad, poor, Eagle Scout, Navy, University of Missouri, Law-Southern Methodist, no money, worked since a kid, rose to success, went to church a lot as his mother said he would….no money…family….made money….the importance of jobs…

I sat there thinking that if the governor had a really good P.R. person they would have written a book on the “Eagle Scout” part….and not concentrated so much on the business….

So anyway, his assistants walked around the room and passed out a booklet with a photo of a spring on the front reading “Rick Scott, Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful.”

“Hmmmm? I thought. This is different. A pretty picture of a Florida spring and Rick Scott’s name on it.”

I opened up the booklet and right on the first page it read: DURING MY SECOND TERM I WILL: 1. Ensure that Everglades and Indian River Lagoon Restoration continue to have the vision and funding to provide a restored ecosystem to our children…”

“Remarkable” I thought. After the “Indian River Lagoon” having “no name” in Tallahassee for years, it is now listed in the first sentence of a governor’s reelection booklet. Will it happen? Time will tell. At least we are recognized.

One thing is for sure. Martin County is not just the epicenter for the Indian River Lagoon, it is the epicenter of water change for the whole state. No place has a reputation like we have. The governor choosing Marin County to start his campaign supports this point. Like him or not, that’s cool.

I have included photos I took of the booklet below. Some are blurry but it will give you an idea of what it says.

Politics are as toxic as the waters of the SLR/IRL. And we, little Marin County, have risen to the top of the fermenting algae heap. Be proud and keep fighting for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon! 

Booklet passed out  at yesterday's kick off re-election campaign for Rick Scott.

Booklet passed out at yesterday’s kick off re-election campaign for Rick Scott.

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