Last fall deep-water salvors recovered 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars and hundreds of gold nuggets from the wreck of the SS Central America in a treasure hunt that initially struck pay dirt 28 years ago but has been stalled in litigation for decades.
The storied wreck — the ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with tons of California gold aboard — was still embroiled in a bitter civil court case in Columbus, Ohio, early this year when U.S. marshals flushed out Tommy Thompson, the brains behind the Central America’s discovery, and ended a two-year manhunt for him.
The first salvo in the 2015 edition of the Florida anchorage wars has been fired with a report on the results of last fall’s anchoring survey to the Highway and Waterway Safety Subcommittee of the state House of Representatives on Feb. 17.
The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducted three anchoring workshops last fall and asked stakeholders to answer a survey to help lawmakers decide what to do about counties and municipalities clamoring to reclaim authority to regulate anchoring.
On the first day of basic search-and-rescue courses, students at the Coast Guard training center in Yorktown, Virginia, review the facts and lessons learned from the Morning Dew tragedy. The Cal 34 ran up on the north jetty at the entrance to the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina, on a cold, rainy December night in 1997.
Valerie Jones has been fighting anchorage restrictions on Florida waters for 25 years. The former president of Concerned Boaters, a now-defunct group that advocated for anchoring rights, Jones was one of the 60-odd cruisers attending a workshop in Vero Beach last year to talk about possible changes to Florida’s anchorage law that would return to municipalities some of the authority they used to have to restrict anchoring.
When Charles Thayer read that 32 passenger trains a day would not impact navigation on Fort Lauderdale’s New River, he was stunned.
“Thirty-two trains a day crossing that bridge?” he says. “Why hadn’t I heard about this?”
How could an environmental assessment of the first phase of All Aboard Florida, a proposed high-speed passenger service from Miami to Orlando, conclude that the stretch from Miami to Palm Beach wouldn’t interfere with navigation or require the Coast Guard to weigh in when it would close drawbridges to boat traffic 32 times a day?
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