News Columns & Blogs

Who says the East residents don’t talk?

It came to light this week that citizen leaders of the Community Emergency Response Teams from a huge chunk of East Manatee have set up an informal but highly effective communications network.

Tim Hyden, the training and safety officer for the East Manatee Fire Rescue, presented a weather awareness class to more than 60 residents, who were drawn from University Park, Lakewood Ranch, Greenfield Plantation, Mill Creek, Waterlefe and other neighborhoods.

Those citizen emergency responders have been meeting for some time, alternating locations between Lakewood Ranch and Waterlefe.

The teams are all having the same problem: recruitment, said Tim Sherer, president of the Lakewood Ranch team, which has incorporated as a nonprofit.

The Lakewood Ranch team has emergency response training scheduled April 23 and 25 and May 1 and 2. For more information about the classes or joining the team effort, e-mail

An explanation

In a column Sunday, I wrote about periodic efforts over the past decade by East Manatee neighborhoods to reach out to one another.

That column was inspired by a town meeting March 26 that was called by Residents for Road and Highway Noise Abatement, which drew from many of the same neighborhoods that the citizen emergency response teams are seeking to coordinate.

Also in that column, I mentioned the very effective efforts over the years of the East Manatee County Coalition and its founder, Clint Miller.

A danger in trying to condense so much history into a relatively short piece of writing is that something will not be fully explained.

One example was the coalition’s opposition to building a school at the intersection of Caruso Road and State Road 70.

The reason for the Coalition’s concern was not the school itself but rather the agricultural contamination left behind on the site by the Gulf Coast Education and Research Center.

The site underwent an exhaustive cleanup where soil was hauled away and incinerated to make it safe for use as a school campus.

As Clint noted in an e-mail to me:

“I never attempted or suggested that the high school not be built. What, in fact, I objected to was the fear of contaminated soil on the building site due to many years of agriculture testing of various herbicides and pesticides. My fears were found to be valid and “many truckloads of contaminated soil” were removed from the site before construction was allowed to proceed.”

My apologies to Clint.

And now you know the rest of the story.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 708-7916.