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Port St. Joe plans Earth Day celebration

The inaugural Port St. Joe Earth Day celebration this Saturday, April 27 will bring together community barbecue, environmental education, art, film, children’s activities, and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the corner of Avenue C and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. in Port St. Joe.

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, millions of people from more than 190 countries have gathered every April to champion a greener, more equitable future for the planet, serving as a reminder of the responsibility to safeguard the environment.

“In hopes of restoring and protecting this place and bringing hope to North Port St. Joe, our community came together to stop an LNG export facility,” said Dannie Bolden of Florida Panhandle Minority Communities Climate Change Coalition, hosts of the Earth Day event. “Together, we must stand with one voice against any organization or industrial entity that attempts to locate unhealthy and unsafe environmental and hazardous conditions in or near our community.”

Artist Ocean Clark, a Port St. Joe high school graduate, the program will unveil a new mural together. “We invite community members to join in to create art that visions a healthy, hopeful future,” he said.

The Earth Day celebration will feature a free hamburger and hot dog cookout, and speeches by Jeff Carney, an architect and city planner who is an associate professor at the University of Florida, where he directs the Florida Institute for Built Environment; Lewis Jennings, president of the Okaloosa County NAACP; and Alyssa Portaro of Louisiana LNG community and head of the nonprofit Habitat Recovery Project.

Also taking part in the program will be Mary Gutierrez, a former environmental chemist and planner with over 20 years of professional experience in the field; Dr. Calvin Avant, a Navy veteran and pastor who has worked with marginalized and underserved at-risk youth and young adults throughout Florida; Patrick A. Barnes, a professional geologist and environmental justice advocate who has managed site assessment, environmental permitting, and water supply development needs for central Florida municipalities; and Christy McElroy, a former chair of the Capital Area Community Action Agency and of the Gulf County Economic Coalition.

There will be a new short film premiere about North Port St. Joe by Dayna Reggero, a former journalist with the Port St. Joe Star, as well as educational booths by community organizations, art activities for children, face painting and a deejay.

Community partners include Philadelphia Primitive Baptist Church, Gulf County Citizens Coalition Healthy Future, North Port St. Joe Project Area Coalition, BFA Environmental/Limitless Vistas, University of Florida (FIBER), University of West Florida, Gulf/Franklin County Health Department, ReThink Energy Florida, Earth Action Inc. and the St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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