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Smart landscaping in Manatee County

Smart landscaping in Manatee County

Bradenton, Florida -- April is Water Conservation Month and Manatee county wants to remind residents of some of the easy, fun ways to enjoy their garden while being kind to the environment.

On average, up to half of your home water is used outdoors. One way to reduce your water consumption is by practicing Florida-Friendly Landscaping techniques. Florida-Friendly Landscaping, established by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program, is a commonsense way to landscape that conserves water and protects the environment. Florida-Friendly Landscaping emphasizes nine principles, including the following:

New energy efficient cooling system could save $138,000 annually

New energy efficient cooling system could save $138,000 annually

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (March 21, 2011) – A new energy efficient chiller connected to the Manatee County Historic Courthouse is expected to save Manatee taxpayers an estimated $138,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs.

Work crews recently completed the chiller project that connects the highly energy efficient chillers at the Manatee County Judicial Center with the Manatee County Historic Courthouse. Last weekend crews removed two 120-ton, 42-year-old chillers and cooling towers on the roof of the Historic Court House.

The $1.5 million project was funded entirely by the Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, administered by the United States Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant was dedicated for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions and that improve energy efficiency.

Today: Better Manatee Day

Today: Better Manatee Day

Bradenton, Florida --A new park is opening in Bradenton, and the city needs your help to make sure the site is ready!

Kiwanis Club of Bradenton in conjunction with Manatee County Government Neighborhood Services Dept. is proud to announce the site clean-up project at the future home of the Pride Park Community Center today, from 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Drinks and light snacks will be provided. If you plan to participate, please bring: gloves and any of the following tools you have access to: shovels, pruning saws, hand clippers, and rakes.

Beach renourishment efforts scheduled on Anna Maria Island

Beach renourishment efforts scheduled on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island, Florida -- Positive changes will soon be coming to the coasts of Anna Maria Island.

Soon, residents and visitors may begin to notice beach renourishment efforts from Coquina Beach to Longboat Pass in upcoming days and weeks as crews begin to mobilize the first of a three-phase project to restock island beaches with their trademark white sand.

Actual dredging will begin by April 1 and should last about one month, depending on weather conditions. Following the Coquina renourishment, a smaller project will be done near the Sandbar restaurant on the north end of Anna Maria.

Portions of Coquina receiving sand will be closed for one day at a time while 200,000 cubic yards of sand are delivered but the rest of the beach will remain open. Charlie Hunsicker, director of Manatee Natural Resources Department, said renourishing the beach will help protect Gulf Drive from storm waves.

Bradenton storm pic this morning

Bradenton storm pic this morning

Bradenton, FL -- This photo was taken by Bill Long of this morning's storm rolling onto Bradenton Beach at 10:15 a.m. 

Got some great photos you want to share of events, weather, breaking news, etc., send it to us at mugs@wtsp.com!

Thanks Bill for the beautiful shot!

Thousands turn out for manatee festival

Thousands turn out for manatee festival

Apollo Beach, FL -- This weekend, the Manatee Viewing Center at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station celebrated its 25th anniversary of keeping the gentle sea cows comfortable during cold weather in the warm water discharge of the power plant. 

The center boasted between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors yesterday, and expected the same size crowd today.

Since it opened, three million people have visited the viewing center. 

Researchers to study cold weather and local citrus crops

Researchers to study cold weather and local citrus crops

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) -- Federal officials will conduct a special survey to determine how this season's cold weather has affected Florida's citrus crop.

According to a news release from the United States Department of Agriculture, researchers will cut oranges and grapefruit to record the extent of freeze damage. They will also assess leaf damage and administer maturity tests to determine internal juice quality from groves throughout the citrus growing region.

The survey is scheduled for release Jan. 18.

The citrus industry in Florida generates some $9.3 billion in economic activity.