Daniel Parker, MSP, GAL
From: Herman Hale, RN
Subject: Update - West Ocala Neighborhood PACE EH
The West Ocala Neighborhood PACE-EH project is continuing its course, after recent personnel changes. The new Marion County Health Departments PACE-EH coordinator, Herman Hale RN, has been meeting with the recently appointed regional PACE-EH consultant, Samuel Brobbey, Jr.
Since the last PACE-EH meeting, much has changed within the West Ocala community. Increased pressure placed on Royal Oak - the alleged main cause of the air pollution problem, coupled with negotiations with and support of several City and State officials, and other government agencies resulted in the closure of the plant. This outcome clearly demonstrated the renewed interest in, and concerns regarding the environmental health status of the community. The department feels the PACE EH Process may have played a role in helping the West Ocala Neighborhood Group bring this long time air pollution issue to the forefront. The community at this point feels empowered to continue the process in order to restore the community to an environmentally safe area. Several preliminary tests have been initiated to clearly determine and establish the connected relationship of the charcoal plant and the health status of the community.
The Marion County Health Department has demonstrated continued leadership by paying for EMSL Analytical to conduct some ambient air monitoring around the Royal Oak Charcoal Plant. Marion County Environmental Health staff assisted in the air sampling process through the placement of the EMSL air equipment at strategic locations, and then collected the data after a 24 hour run. The initial test results will be sent to Tallahassee for additional evaluation. The results, when available, will be discussed at the next PACE-EH community meeting. It should be noted that, a significant accomplishment thus far is not only the closure of the Royal Oak charcoal plant, but the renewal of social capitol and community empowerment to address environmental concerns, which is an essential pillar of the PACE EH process. As of this reporting period Royal Oak has ceased its operation in Ocala and the plant has begun the process of dismantling.
Mr. Hale has been in contact with core CEHAT members and is keeping them informed of any new developments related to the test results. At the suggestion of Mr. Brobbey, Mr. Hale has also begun the process of making additional contacts within the West Ocala community. By scheduling their attendance at various community functions, this newly created PACE-EH duo hopes to carry forward the momentum generated within this community. They also hope to address some outstanding concerns related to the involvement of Wildlaw, as it relates to the PACE-EH process and educate the community that, even though they have moved forward and have seen first hand how successful the process can be, there were more goals established within the community. To attain those goals, the participants must remain motivated and understand the PACE-EH process is a long term commitment built around short term successes.
Past Marion County Updates
Media Coverage (.pdf files)
May 20, 2006 - Unlikely Rebels Defeat Gritty Plant
May 19, 2006 - Company Remains Silent
May 19, 2006 - Air of Suspicion
February 21, 2006 - Pollution concerns Royal Oak neighbors
January 25, 2006 - Ocala to fund charcoal plant emission tests
January 21, 2006 - Royal Oak says no to pollution inspection
January 13, 2006 - Ocala may inspect Royal Oak site
January 5, 2006 - Marion County PACE EH Project Wins Walter Driggers Award
January 3, 2006 - Editorial: Once they are heard, they roar
December 31, 2005 - Soot sleuths: Volunteers monitor industrial plant emissions
August 24, 2005 - Coat of charcoal: Residents concerned with soot from Royal Oak
April 10, 2005 - Unkempt properties, pollution cited in west Ocala survey
August 1, 2004 - West Ocala's health to get a close look