Outside the Nest

A weekly recap of local, state and national news




Fort Myers Police Chief Search Continues Causing City Officials to Worry

Fort Myers’s city manager Marty Lawings’s police chief nomination was struck down by council members in a 4-3 vote according to Wink News. The passing of Police Chief Derrick Diggs has led to a chief search which has occurred over the last four months. The mayor of Fort Myers, Kevin Anderson, fears this rejection will send the wrong message to potential candidates, and the city wants someone with police chief experience. 


Board of Governors Confirms FGCU’s Next President

FGCU’s fifth president, Aysegul Timur, Ph.D., was confirmed by the Board of Governors (BOG) on June 22. During their regular meeting, BOG chair Brian Lamb and member Alan Levine recognized and honored FGCU’s current president, Michael Martin, for his contributions to higher education and FGCU. President Martin will retire from the position June 30 and President-Elect Timur will take office July 1. She will be leaving her current position as Vice President of Strategy and Program Innovation at FGCU. According to NBC2, she was also a member of the university’s Regional Economic Research Institute. 


Fort Myers Citizens Outraged Over LeeSar/American Contract Systems Plant Releasing Carcinogens into Air

An EPA meeting on June 22 revealed the LeeSar/American Contract Systems plant has been releasing carcinogens into surrounding air for the last 12 years. According to the News Press, the plant sanitizes medical equipment with ethylene oxide and releases the gas into the atmosphere which then enters homes, schools and businesses. Aside from the risks outside the plant, the EPA said even workers who have not been in direct contact with the chemical have a concerningly high risk of being affected. Community members are left without answers from the EPA as to how this happened since the effects of this chemical have been known since 2016. 


Cape Coral’s Newt Food Truck Park Begins Construction

Slipaway Food Truck Park and Marina broke ground June 22 in Cape Coral. The latest attraction sits on three acres of waterfront property along the Caloosahatchee River. Current plans allow for 10 food trucks with prime waterfront access. Due to its location on Cape Coral Parkway, the location allows for water and road access.  This new development will bring new business and job opportunities to the area according to Fox4, and will also be another pet-friendly addition to the community. 




U.S. Court Strikes Down Florida Transgender Rule

A Florida rule and statute which banned transgender healthcare qualifying for Medicaid was struck down on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. The rules were pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and would have restricted coverage for gender dysmorphia treatments. Hinkle declared the state’s practices violate the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of sex discrimination and federal Medicaid statute, as well as the constitutional right to equal protection, according to reuters.com


Tropical Storm Cindy Forms Behind Tropical Storm Bret

Another tropical storm has formed behind Tropical Storm Bret in the Atlantic Ocean. As of 11 p.m. Thursday night, Tropical Storm Cindy has formed and is moving west with sustained wind speeds, but does not seem to present a threat to Florida, according to the Weather Channel. Tropical Storm Bret is still working its way west, bringing heavy rains to portions of the Leeward Islands, but is expected to dissipate over the central Caribbean Sea by the weekend. Tropical Storm Cindy is still expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours and will continue to work its way west-northwest over the upcoming weekend, but is expected to weaken early next week. 


Giant African Land Snail Spotted in Florida

The invasive giant African land snail has been spotted north of Miami and state agriculture officials have put a 3.5-square-mile section of Broward County under quarantine. Unlike the quarantine used for Covid-19, residents are able to move around as normal in the area, but it is illegal to move the snails, along with any soil, debris, yard waste or plants into or out of the quarantine zone, according to nytimes.com, without an agreement from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This invasive species carries a parasite that can cause meningitis and can grow up to the size of a human fist.


Malaria Cases Reported in Florida

Two cases of Malaria have been reported in Florida this week, the first locally transmitted cases in over a decade, according to the Weather Channel. One case was reported in Manatee County, the other in Sarasota County. One victim has recovered while the other is still being treated. Malaria cannot be spread from person to person, however, health officials are asking local residents to do their part by eliminating any standing water, wear long sleeve clothing when possible and use bug spray when going to places with high concentrations of mosquitos.




Titanic Submersible “Titan” Debris Found Near Titanic Wreckage

OceanGate Expedition submersible “Titan” set off on its first 2023 mission on Friday, June 16, according to Reuters.com. The sub conducted many successful missions in 2021 and 2022, this time carrying OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush along with three paying passengers and a Titanic expert. Due to weather conditions, their dive down to the Titanic wreckage was postponed until Sunday, when they began what should have been a two-hour descent. U.S. Coast Guard lost communication with the vessel 1 hour and 45 minutes after its descent, and the vessel did not resurface when scheduled, which kicked off a search and rescue mission for the sub. Debris of the vessel was found on Thursday around 2 p.m. with no survivors. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the debris is consistent with a pressure-related implosion. 


US Airman Pleads Not Guilty in Document Leak Case

U.S. Airman Jack Teixeira, 21, has been accused of posting secret documents to an online group chat. He attended a hearing this week in front of a federal magistrate judge, David H. Hennessy, according to an article found on nytimes.com. Airman Teixeira, after listening to his rights, stood to plead not guilty to the six counts of federal charges he has been charged with. His lawyer requested the judge reconsider holding Airman Reixeira without bond, a decision which had been made previously, but was denied. His next court date was scheduled for early August.


Hunter Biden Reaches Plea Deal With Federal Prosecutors Over Fraud Charges

In 2018, a federal probe was launched into Hunter Biden after court documents alleged that he failed to pay over $200,000 in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018. In Dec. 2020, this investigation gained popularity in the public after he announced receiving a subpoena as part of the Justice Department’s look into his taxes. A plea deal was announced Tuesday in which Biden will plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax offense and, as long as he adheres to the court conditions, will avoid the more serious felony charge he is facing after illegally possessing a firearm as a drug user. This information was found on AP News.


U.S. Approves “Lab-Grown” Chicken for Public Consumption

On Wednesday, U.S. regulators approved the sale of “cell-cultivated” meat made in a lab. The Agriculture Department has given the green light to the first two firms, Upside Foods and Good Meat, to start producing and selling meat not from an animal, but generated from animal cells in a lab. According to apnews.com, their goal is moving away from the slaughtering of animals and reducing animal grazing and animal waste for environmental purposes. Both companies’ federal inspections have been approved to sell their meat and poultry in the U.S. Depending on the company, the meat comes out on a large sheet pan and then formed to look like chicken cutlets, sausage or nuggets, or it is already formed from the cell into the desired shape.