Politicians contended for prestige beneath an environmental spotlight while government agencies pushed their personal land grab agendas on the hopeful South Florida community of Ochopee. Since the 1920s pioneering families came to the area with the common belief of making a life in an America free from oppression: an airboat and swamp buggy venture, tomato farmers, restaurants, bars, a general store, a campground, and a motel. When environmentalists in league with government came to take, it was the common person, the one who scrambled every day to feed their family who suffered. The only one with a stake in it, they had something to lose.
“Thus began what Ochopee locals deemed a land grab that resulted in residents being forced from their property”-Brent Batten, reporter for the Naples Daily News
“With tears in my eyes, I write you a note of thanks for the awesome book What Happened to Ochopee?…I cannot begin to tell you how much this book meant to me. My heart was deeply saddened to read of all the abuses given out to the wonderful hard working folks of Ochopee.”-letter from a reader
“A sad story of politics, bureaucrats, takers and bird watchers destroying a way of life for families just trying to live in a completely unique place in our country.”-Amazon reader review, Minneapolis, MN
“Why do the government officials listen to bird watchers before they listen to us?” County Commissioner Moore looked at him and said, “It’s unfortunate that one of those bird watchers has the weight of about one hundred of us.” He looked around the room. “Let’s see if we can’t get one hundred of us to every one of them!”-book quote
Awards: Non-Fiction Adult
Florida Authors & Publishers Association 2016 President’s Awards