Happy 100th Anniversary, Lake Worth Drainage District!

JLWDDune 15, 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Lake Worth Drainage District. To commemorate this milestone, the District will share monthly “Centennial Moment” videos showcasing the agency’s history.  An open house reception will be held in June for our residents. Keep an eye out for more information in the near future.

Learn more in their latest newsletter, here!

Michelle Diffenderfer Named President of Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.

Michelle DiffendererWest Palm Beach, Fla., December 17, 2014 – Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A. is pleased to announce that Michelle Diffenderfer has been named President of the firm, effective January 1, 2015. Michelle, the firm’s first female President, brings many years of experience in managerial and leadership roles both within the firm and in the community.

Michelle began her career with LLW as a law clerk in 1994, moving from associate to Shareholder in 1999. Michelle has served as Practice Group Leader for various Practice Groups within LLW, Chaired LLW’s Business Development Committee and was elected Executive Shareholder as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. In addition to her leadership within the firm, Michelle maintains an active environmental practice, assisting landowners, businesses and governments with the various local, state and federal requirements for permitting land development and infrastructure projects.

“Michelle was elected President by her fellow shareholders, which reflects her exceptional contributions and dedication to the firm” said Ed Ratka, Chief Operating Officer of Lewis, Longman & Walker. “I’m confident that Michelle’s strong leadership will help keep LLW on our path of continued growth.”

Michelle added: “I am thrilled to step into this leadership role for our law firm. I have been blessed to be a part of LLW’s first 20 years and appreciate the numerous opportunities that my partners have given me to succeed. I look forward to paying that forward as our President.”

Michelle is a past Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, the Florida Bar’s Environmental and Land Use Law Section, and Girls II Women. Michelle has also served in various leadership roles with the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. Michelle received the Chamber’s ATHENA® Award in 2008 which honors individuals that have achieved professional excellence, actively served the community, and helped women reach their leadership potential. Michelle is in the current class of Leadership Florida and is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County. For more on Michelle please click here.

Michelle can be reached at (561) 640-0820 or mdiffenderfer@llw-law.com. For more information, please visit our website at www.llw-law.com.

For more than 20 years, the attorneys at Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A., have helped the individuals, businesses and governments that have shaped Florida’s future. We offer solutions to issues associated with complex local, state, and federal laws and regulations. We focus on the specific, technical and seemingly ever-changing areas of Environmental, Land Use and Governmental Law. The Lewis, Longman & Walker team is comprised of well-known and respected attorneys with the experience and skill to quickly resolve difficult legal challenges. We are committed to responding to clients’ needs promptly and economically and believe in building long-term attorney-client relationships based upon collaboration and solid performance.

Our offices are in Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and West Palm Beach. Wherever you are, we’re nearby.


Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue Announces 2014 Award Recipients

cedar hammockCedar Hammock Fire Rescue is pleased to announce the recipients of awards for 2014. The announcements were made by Fire Chief Jeffrey S. Hoyle at the annual employee recognition dinner held on December 20, 2014.

The nominations for each category came from all employees. Chief Hoyle selected the exceptional duty award which went to Captain Ed Shumaker. Captain Shumaker has served Cedar Hammock and the Fire Service with “pride, commitment, and courage” for 30 years. He will retire in June, 2015.

Staff Employee of the Year went to Captain Nick Herlihy for his continued outstanding work in developing exceptional training for the entire department. Fire Officer of the Year was presented to Battalion Chief Sam Collier for his leadership and support of his B Shift Battalion, Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue, and the Fire Service for over 30 years.

Firefighter of the Year went to Ryan S. French of A Shift. Ryan was selected from a group of two other Firefighters, A.J. Dudley of B Shift and Tim Pillsbury of C Shift. Firefighter French was also nominated for the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2014 Gold Medal Awards for Public Servants. The winner will be announced in January.

Fire Commissioner Dee Bennett was honored for her leadership as Chair of Cedar Hammock Board of Fire Commissioners during fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Alexander D. Lobeto
Division Chief / Administration
941-727-2071 office / 941-737-4057 cell

Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue Says “DON’T HIDE, GO OUTSIDE”

Fire Prevention Week

By Marshall Eiss, Life Safety Technician

Over 380 students at five different elementary and preschools listened intently to the on-duty firefighters of Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District as they spread the message during fire prevention week of “DON’T HIDE; GO OUTSIDE”

Knowing children will get scared when there is a fire in their home, the fire department has four parts to the message:

  1. Don’t hide in closets or under beds.
  2. Get low and go – crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest exit.
  3. Have a place for the family to meet (mailbox, a tree or a sidewalk).
  4. DO NOT go back in the house for any reason.

The firefighters demonstrated getting dressed in their protective firefighting gear to lessen the children’s fears should the firefighters have to rescue them from a fire. At the conclusion of the program, the students were given coloring calendars with fire safety messages their parents could help them learn.

Pinellas Suncoast serves the communities of Belleair Shore, Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and the Oakhurst area of the mainland..

Merger of East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and the Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District

CHAPTER 2014-240
Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 951

An act relating to Collier County; merging the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and the Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District to create a new district; creating and establishing an independent special fire control district to be known as the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District; providing that the district is an independent special district; providing legislative intent; providing for applicability of chapters 191 and 189, F.S., and other general laws; providing a district charter; providing boundaries; providing for a district board; providing an exception to general law; providing authority of the board; providing for staff; providing duties and powers of the board; providing for elections to the board; providing for salaries of board members; providing for removal of board members; providing a savings clause for the existing district authority to levy up to 1.5 mills; providing for bonds; providing for raising of revenue; providing for taxation; providing findings; providing for impact fees; providing for collection and disbursement of such fees; providing for deposit of taxes,
assessments, and fees and authority to disburse funds; providing for immunity from tort liability; providing for liberal construction; providing for severability; providing that this act shall take precedence over any conflicting law to the extent of such conflict; providing for the determination of millage; repealing chapters 2000-392, 2012-231, 2004-433, and 2000-444, Laws of Florida, relating to the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and the Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District;
transferring all assets and liabilities of the existing districts to the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District; requiring a referendum; providing an effective date.

Click here to continue reading.

Click here to read the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District Resolution.

More than $1 Million Committed to Restoration Project for Lake Okeechobee


CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


 DEP and Spring Lake Improvement District continue efforts to improve water quality with stormwater project
SEBRING – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, together with the Spring Lake Improvement District (SLID), have committed more than $1 million to a stormwater system improvement project that will help reduce pollution reaching Lake Okeechobee. The department’s contribution to the project is $624,000. The project includes the construction of a 70-acre stormwater treatment area including a treatment pond and wetland marsh.
“I would like to thank the Spring Lake Improvement District for their environmental leadership,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “This project is evidence that dedicated communities of any size can leverage their resources to make great strides for Florida’s waters.”
Water that flows off the land and into creeks, streams or rivers after a rain is referred to as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff typically contains fertilizers, pesticides, oils, grease and other pollutants. Without treatment, stormwater carries these pollutants directly into Florida’s waterbodies. Capturing and retaining runoff from storm events allows for control over the quality and quantity of the stormwater reaching nearby waterbodies. Natural physical, biological and chemical processes work over time to remove pollutants.
“Our very small district has spent close to $4 million over the last seven years on our updated watercontrol plan, and FDEP is the first state or federal agency to actually provide financial assistance,” said Joe DeCerbo, district manager of the Spring Lake Improvement District. “Once they viewed our program they became active participants, and we sincerely appreciate their involvement.”
Currrently, runoff from the residential areas surrounding Arbuckle Creek, including State Route 98 and the Sebring Airport, receives treatment through a system of cascading lakes, ponds and canals. After project construction, stormwater runoff will continue to travel through the lakes before undergoing additional treatment through the marsh and then discharged into Arbuckle Creek through a pumping station. The proposed project should reduce the pollutant load in Arbuckle Creek and consequently positively impact the Kissimmee River, Lake Istokpoga, and ultimately, Lake Okeechobee. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project is planned for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.
Florida has historically been at the forefront of the nation in addressing stormwater management, as one of the first states to implement a statewide stormwater program. Florida was also one of the first states to address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water-quality restoration program.

About the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management,  promotes pollution prevention, and acquires environmentally sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains  a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. To view the department’s website log on to www.dep.state.fl.us.

Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department Fire Prevention Week Activities


DATE:            September 24, 2014
FROM:           Vicky Fay, Key Largo Fire Rescue & Emergency Medical Services District Clerk
CONTACT:     For more information, please contact Vicky Fay at 305-451-5517


The Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a series of activities in the community to support Fire Prevention Week.  The Fire Department will kick off Fire Prevention Week activities in conjunction with Kmart’s “Safety Weekend” Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The department will be selling PINK shirts to support breast cancer awareness, as well as hotdogs.  Literature and materials promoting home safety will be available for adults and children.   The department will host a live-burn demonstration about 11:30 a.m. to show the effectiveness of home sprinkler systems in saving lives and property.  Also participating in the event will be the MCSO, the FWC, Key Largo EMS, Upper Keys K9 Team and Florida Fire Marshall’s office.

During the week the Fire Department will be visiting Key Largo Elementary School (all grades), St. Justin’s School, and the Montessori Schools in Key Largo and Tavernier to provide fire prevention training to about 1,100 to 1,300 students.  The training will range from stop, drop and roll; stove safety and many other topics; planning fire escapes to practicing evacuations during smoke events.  The students will be given fire prevention literature and materials to share with their families.  For more information, please contact Linda Newman at 451-2700.

2014 FASD Legislative Forum

2014 FASD Annual Conference

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