Native is Not A Nuisance
City Council gathered for the first meeting of 2020, Tuesday, January 7 at 6 p.m. The first topic of discussion featured a special guest from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC), Angeline Scotten, Senior Wildlife Assistance Biologist.
City council members requested Scotten’s expertise concerning urban wildlife in Gulfport. During her brief, Scotten focused on what the community can do to address the native raccoon population in a safe and humane way.
“The state does not define a native species as a nuisance, the state defines nuisance by behavior,” stated Scotten. “Nuisance is defined as an animal that is about to cause or has caused property damage. Is an annoyance in, under, or upon a building or is a threat to public safety.” If the raccoon meets all three issues, land owners are then allowed to take action to remove the critter.
First and foremost, it is illegal in Florida to feed raccoons, coyotes and foxes. There is also no legal poison that can be administered to raccoons. If residents believe there are issues with poisons in their neighborhood, Scotten suggested calling FWC law enforcement.
Key points and Takeaways:
Raccoons prefer to be around more densely populated areas due to easy access to food.
Pet food, unsecured garbage and bird seed are the biggest contributors for squatting raccoons. “Once you remove human related food, you address the conflict,” stated Scotten. Suggestions to reduce animal access include:
– Pick up bowls of food after pets have eaten, especially for outdoor pets.
– Clean up fallen fruit
– Keep lids on trash receptacles
– Place a pan or catchall under bird seed feeders to catch spillage
According to Scotten, a raccoon will change its habits in as little as two weeks after attractants have been removed, without the use of other interventions. There are many other options for landowners who wish to quicken a raccoon’s behavioral cycle. Scotten suggests a “scarecrow” sprinkler — a motion activated sprinkler head for garden hoses.
Scotten’s department also provides public education sessions, presentations and workshops to the public at either the city or community level. Individuals can also receive telephonic assistance.
More information can be found online at MYFWC.com.
Gulfport Little League is Ready for Spring Season
On Tuesday, January 7, during a regularly scheduled city council meeting, city councilmembers unanimously and enthusiastically voted to approve a three-year lease agreement with the Gulfport Little League organization.
The Gulfport Little League was the first organization to complete the city’s newest “Facility Use” forms without a hitch according to City Manager Jim O’Reilly. O’ Reilly proposed the new formulized property usage form during November 20, 2019’s city council meeting. The new form allows city council to make more informed and objective decisions concerning an organization’s impact and role in the community.
Now that the formalities with the city are over, spring registration is now open. Parents can register online for the early bird discount at GulfportLittleLeague.net or call 727-656-6957.
“Last fall  we had one team, which was 16 kids,” said Trevor Mallory, President of the Gulfport Little League. “This past fall  we had four teams. In the spring, I’m projecting for us to have 6 to 8 teams; that’s 80 to 100 kids that get the opportunity to come out and play baseball.”
“No kid goes unfunded,” said Mallory. “If the family can’t afford the $50 registration fee, we ask the parents to grab us two-cases of water from Walmart, we sell that at the concessions and we make our money that way, and it goes towards the child’s registration.”
Children ages 4-16 within Gulfport and the Bay Point area are encouraged to sign up.
First day of practice will be Tuesday, January 21 at Tomlinson Park, 1820 54th St. S. from 6 to 8 p.m.
The City Council Meeting on March 17, 2020 has been cancelled due to Municipal Election Day.
The city is stepping back from hosting the Gulfport Candidates Forum, due to a conflict of interest. If there are any interested parties willing to organize, host and mediate the Candidates Forum please reach out to the City Clerk, Lesley DeMuth.
2019 Holiday Decoration Contest Winners
Congratulations to the 2019 Holiday Decoration Contest winners! On Tuesday, January 7th, during a regularly scheduled city council meeting, winners were presented with plaques from Mayor Sam Henderson. John Miller of 5902 15th Ave. S. won “General Theme,” and John Riesebeck, owner of Smoking J’s Real Texas BBQ, was the “Commercial Theme” winner.