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Free Lolita Update 84

Lolita Update #84
Seaquarium news
May 7, 2006

Dear Friends of Lolita,

We assume these updates are read by the upper management of the Seaquarium. So as a personal message to Arthur and Andrew Hertz, we hope you are paying attention to the two news items below. They concern the consequences of two global phenomena that won't be getting better any time soon. The first is the result of America's slide into a fortress mentality and the obstacles and indignities facing visitors from foreign lands who might wish to come here. The second concerns the increasingly intense hurricanes and rising sea levels that are the result of ignoring the evidence for global warming over the past few decades. Maybe it's time the Hertz family cut its losses and began to divest itself of that obsolete and vulnerable marine park and allow Lolita to return to the waters of the Salish Sea where she was born and raised.

These two news articles both add to the impression that the Seaquarium is facing difficult times. You may remember that in February, 2006 the Miami Herald reported:
"Attendance still hasn't recovered from the post-9/11 downturn, and the park has fallen almost $2 million behind in rent payments on its county-owned site while funding a costly three-year renovation effort." The situation hasn't improved. One of today's articles clarifies that Seaquarium's customers from foreign countries have mostly quit coming to Miami.
Where are the foreign visitors? - (Webmaster Note: Links Dead)

Miami sees fewer foreign tourists than it used to, making the segment a hold-out in a tourism boom.
"Miami-Dade's weakness in foreign travel is showing up in slower ticket sales at the Miami Seaquarium, said general manager Andrew Hertz. The usual influx of South American children dried up at the marine park's summer camp. Hertz blames it on Latin Americans taking fewer extended vacations in Miami at a time of more travel and visa restrictions after 9/11.

''You don't see the South Americans coming and staying for months at a time as you did before,'' Hertz said.

With new Homeland Security precautions, foreign visitors find it much more complicated to get into the country. Visas that once were available through travel agents now require personal visits at U.S. consulates.

That can mean booking a trip to a home country's capital city -- a journey that often requires air fare and a hotel stay -- just to get the paperwork for an American vacation.
Perhaps more ominous, especially for Lolita and all the marine mammals, fish and reptiles at the park, is the new threat of hurricanes brought on by global warming. The Seaquarium was closed for four months during the height of the Miami tourist season after hurricane Wilma slammed through Key Biscayne last October 24.

May. 06, 2006
Katrina-size hurricane would devastate South Florida, scientists say
MIAMI - Seven feet of sea water swamps 45 miles of coastline from Miami Beach through Fort Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach. Salt water surges through countless houses near the coast. Waist-deep fresh water blankets vast regions of suburbia.

Ferocious winds crush tens of thousands of roofs and gut numerous office buildings. Residents who defy orders to evacuate skyscrapers along the coast and in downtown Miami could be blown out of their apartments. Power outages persist for months.

According to simulations conducted for The Miami Herald by scientists at the National Hurricane Center and to interviews with a wide range of experts, those are realistic sketches of what could occur when South Florida is blasted by a hurricane as strong as last year's Katrina was when it devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, or Wilma when it wrecked portions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

"We know that it happened in southeast Florida before and there's no doubt in my mind that it will happen again," said Max Mayfield, the hurricane center's director. "I can't tell people when, but I can guarantee that it will happen."

The sketches produced by the experts and simulations offer a glimpse of a historic event that could transform the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area much as Katrina transformed New Orleans.

The scenarios developed for The Miami Herald reflect the likely consequences if South Florida's Atlantic coast were hit head-on by the Category 3 version of Katrina, which slammed New Orleans, or by the slow-moving Category 4 version of Wilma, which ravaged Cancun and other parts of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

"But what we really have to be worried about is the Category 4 or 5 storm that exceeds Katrina," Saffir said.

Which brings us to another Wilma, even more powerful than Katrina. What would residents see after such a storm?

"You're looking at major, major, major destruction," said Charles Danger, the director of Miami-Dade County's building department. " . . . You will lose infrastructure and the place where people need to go to do their jobs and work in this economy. You are paralyzing a complete city."

The weaker Wilma that struck South Florida on Oct. 24 severed power to 98 percent of Miami-Dade County and Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale. Electricity to some customers wasn't restored for nearly three weeks.

Much is going on to help bring Lolita home and to inform and advocate for her and her family Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to help Orca Network continue this work by clicking HERE. Thank you!

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