Local Fishermen Say Thanks

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Fisherman Alton Roberson says the year has not been so bright, all thanks to red tide.

"Red tide killed the oyster industry, and I have had to work on the banks, and when they closed the bay, I couldn't flounder fish because the tide would go into the lungs of the fish too," says Roberson.

Roberson's family will not go without this Thanksgiving as he is one of hundreds to receive a holiday care package thanks to the Red Cross.

"Whatever is in these boxes is what we are going to have, this is it," adds Roberson.

Local Red Cross Director Chris Floyd says about 1,000 packages went out to deserving families, and for the past four months the Red Cross has even stepped in to help with utility and rent payments.

Tony Sadler, a local oysterman, says, "It helps. I appreciate it. I don't like charity, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do."

Chris Floyd adds, "The whole idea is Red Cross comes in; we are going to provide ongoing assistance, provide some meals. Christmas is just around the corner. We are happy to help."

Officials with Florida's Department of Agriculture say part of the Apalachicola bay will reopen to oyster harvesting Thursday morning.

The approved western shellfish harvesting area has been closed since September 2.