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LWV of Sanibel to kick off luncheon programs for season

By Staff | Nov 15, 2019

Howard L. Simon

The League of Women Voters of Sanibel will kick off its 2019-2020 luncheons on Nov. 21.

The program, “Water Currents 2.0,” will review what has evolved since the 2018 elections. New groups have formed to better focus on water quality problems, and other groups have been continuing scientific and medical research that impacts public understanding. The program will focus on the issues and policy prescriptions that could shape the upcoming legislative lawmaking.

The speakers are John Cassini, of the Calusa Waterkeeper, and Dr. Howard L. Simon, of the Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation. Both are experts in policy and scientific work being done in Florida.

Cassani started his professional career as an ecologist in Lee County in 1978, after receiving degrees in biology and fish and wildlife. He has authored peer-reviewed scientific publications and media sources on resource management, history, water policy and conservation issues and is a FGCU courtesy faculty member with the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences.

Cassani became the first Calusa Waterkeeper in 2016. He has been involved with a panel of medical and research experts in the development of two documentaries addressing the public health impacts of harmful algal blooms, “Toxic Puzzle” and “Troubled Waters.” Cassani will share his insights into what he and other professionals have learned over the course of creating the films.

John Cassani

Simon retired last year as the longest-serving state director of the American Civil Liberties Union, serving 23 years in Michigan and 21 years as the Florida director. He now works for policies to address the health threat from harmful algal blooms.

Simon earned a doctorate in legal and political philosophy from the University of Minnesota, where he taught, and at DePauw University before becoming an ACLU executive director. He has recently written a comprehensive white paper, “From Science to Policy,” which is centered on “a public policy advocacy agenda to mitigate harmful algal blooms.”

The luncheon will be held at the Sundial Beach Resort, with registration at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and the program from noon to 2 p.m. It also will include a question-and-answer session.

The cost is $25 per person for the lunch and program. Mail a check in advance with the names of all attendees to: LWV Sanibel, P.O. Box 1194, Sanibel, FL 33957, or attendees can pay at the door day of.

Reservations are required by Nov. 18 at noon by contacting lwvsanibel@gmail.com or Robyn Cook at 239-312-4996. A vegetarian meal option – not vegan – is available for lunch for those interested.

The Sundial Beach Resort is at 1451 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel.