Dear Friends of SLEAT:

Twice a year, the Georgia Ports Authority Board (https://www.facebook.com/gaports) holds formal meetings in the Brunswick area. Their spring meeting, which I attended at the Solarium of the King and Prince Hotel, was held on Sunday afternoon (March 20) for over two hours with a follow up by the full Board on Monday morning at 8:30 AM. While the Brunswick News provided a full report

There are a few matters I’d follow up.

One is the fact that an increasing number of cargo ships are sitting idle — some going to anchor as soon as launched.
This is explained by both a down-turn in trade and a significant increase in the production of containerized cargo ships. The latter, it seems, has been prompted by the initiation of new pollution control standards for ships built after January 2016. In other words, a lot of un-needed ships were ordered and built in 2015 to beat the new regs.
Of course, if they’re sitting idle, they’re still polluting because their engines are running to generate power. And that brings up an interesting issue which we, who live on the Georgia coast probably ought to address — i.e. whether the container ships bringing cars into and out of our ports are pouring unnecessary carbon into the air. Moreover, since the Brunswick port is looking to add another berth, we might inquire whether the facilities to provide them with land-based power (some produced by the sun) are in place. The following article is from 2010 but is still instructive.
As improvements to the port facilities are proposed, we might inquire about the extent to which pollution is being reduced.

Also of interest was the report about the joint venture being undertaken in Effingham County by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority and OmniTRAX on 2700 acres of “donated” land.

OmniTRAX and Effingham County Industrial Development Authority Launch Public/Private Partnership to Develop Land Near Savannah

“ECIDA had sought a development partner for the property, formerly known as the Research Forest, for several years. OmniTRAX was approached early last year to determine interest, the two entities quickly learned they shared a common development goal for the property and began discussions in mid-2015.”

The Authority’s new and improved web site with links to social media can be found here: http://www.gaports.com

The Glynn County Tree Advisory Board revealed the outlines of a tree protection ordinance for St. Simons Island, which presumably includes Sea Island, at a town hall style meeting at Epworth on Tuesday evening, March 22.
Many people spoke and there was a general consensus that proposed penalties to prevent violations are not stiff enough. Also, that the goal is to have a tree canopy of 50% where we currently have 85% seemed questionable. The “explanation” was that 50% is the current coverage on Sea Island, Jekyll and the rest of Glynn County, which is, however, not proposed to be regulated at the present time. A couple of people made the point that public works ought to be setting an example and resisting the impulse to clear cut as a matter of convenience or for short term revenues (Airport Authority).

J. Peter Murphy, a candidate for the District Two County Commission position introduced himself and spoke several times. Citizens 4 St Simons and Sea Island have issued the following precis:

Peter Murphy is running for the District 2 seat on the County Commission and has asked that we share the following as an introduction to him and his candidacy:

Peter Murphy has jumped into the Republican District 2 race with both feet running. Like many islanders, Peter feels that helter skelter development is outstripping the infrastructure, robbing us of our trees, sinking us into a mire of unmanageable traffic. He wants to do something about it.

Peter is all for growth but he thinks there’s smarter way to handle it.

Peter believes that in a democracy, islanders should have a right to vote yes or no on incorporation.

Peter wants to explore innovative ways to improve the automobile traffic flow on the island and values your input.

If the turnout at the recent town hall meetings and the anger unleashed are an indication, Peter is not the only one who feels our county commissioners seem to have a hearing problem when it comes to listening to what the residents who live on the island want. Peter wants an end to deals (some might call them “negotiations”) that appear to give builders and developers free reign to do what they want. He wants open, honest government.

Peter and his wife Deborah are hardly newcomers. They have enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of this island for forty years. They are deeply embedded in the life of our community. Members of St, William Catholic Church, they serve as lay ministers, Deborah serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Brunswick and the Board of the Humane Society.

Peter was born in Washington, DC. He received his medical degree from George Washington University, served in the U.S.Navy and was a cardiothoracic surgeon until his retirement.

There are 70 days before the May 24 Republican primary. Peter wants to make the most of the time. He is eager to debate, discuss and listen to the concerns of this community. He believes the time is now for a significant change in your county representation. He hopes to earn the chance to offer a new and different voice and perspective. If you would like to talk to Peter Murphy he would love to meet with you or your group.

Please note . . .The above is simply an introduction of an individual Glynn County Commission candidates to you, the voter. It should not be construed as a political endorsement of the candidate.

Julian “Puddy” Smith, also a candidate for a Glynn County Commission at-large seat reports the following:

Last week, on Tuesday morning, the BOC heard a presentation from Hainley concerning the possibility of adopting impact fees for SSI (and not the mainland). If you’re interested, you can see this presentation by going to the Glynn County Media Center website, then clicking on the long video mis-identified as the “Joint Work Session Meeting”.

That video is actually a combination of two work sessions, a morning session that went on for several hours with just the county commission, then an afternoon joint session with the city commission.

If you go to the time bar at the bottom of the video and move it to 1:29:00, you will see the start of Hainley’s rather pro forma presentation, which runs until about 2:05. Hainley tells the BOC all the hoops and studies they would have to jump through to impose impact fees, and near the end Provenzano blithely points out that a SPLOST is an easier way to fund infrastructure improvements.

James Holland video of a cormorant flaying a catfish to break the sharp protruding fins — this week at Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge.