2019 April

Friday, April 5, 2019

Letters to the editor with pictures since 0202. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

[County Commissioner Requirements] In spite of what some candidates say about living on Big Pine Key being a pre-condition of being able to serve as County Commissioner, it is just not true. Any candidate that lives in the district they want to represent is sufficient. Experience and education are the real requirements needed to serve the citizens of their community. Choose with care when you vote. Your decision will have ramifications for years.



Kayaking off Big Pine Key at sunset with Captain Chris.

[County Commissioner Requirements] Deer Debbie Halama, because somebody lives 17 miles down the road from Big Pine Key does not disqualify them from working for the people in the lower Keys. Marathon is not Kansas. How does your extensive experience as the owner of a pawn shop prepare you for the challenges of overseeing multi-million-dollar budgets, personal issues, public safety, etc. The lower Keys needs representation with some knowledge of the complexity of the job ahead.


[Dumping] May the fleas of a thousand mangy dogs invade the crotch of the a**hole who dumped this debris pile on Lyttons Way rather than paying a few dollars to take it to the dump.  It blocks half of the road and creates a hazard to navigation, especially at night. So far, the County has ignored the pile rather than remove it despite a number of phone calls

FKAA charges $17.93 a month even if the house is vacant.
[Afraid of a Word] Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called Social Security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people…  ~Harry S Truman (1952)


[Bingo] Please come and join us tonight, Tuesday, for Bingo at Boondocks. Grab your cards after 6:30 and the fun starts at 7. If you want to help sell the staycation raffle tickets, we can use some help with that, and don’t forget to wear your Rotary t-shirts if you have one!

[“Modern Capitalism”] In my diatribe published Tuesday (thanks Deer Ed, you bugger) I made some strong disparaging remarks about the state of capitalism in our country. Let me be clear I was not referring to small businesses. Perhaps the following will help explain my feelings. Let’s look at Publix and Winn Dixie, the two large grocery chains here in the Keys. 1st up, Publix. An easy company to like.

Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Publix is a private employee-owned corporation that is wholly owned by present and past employees and members of the Jenkins family. Publix was ranked No. 12 on Fortune magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2019. Fortune ranked Publix #1 on their 2018 list of World’s Most Admired Companies in the Food & Drug Stores sector. The company’s 2017 sales totaled $34.6 billion, with profits of $2.3 billion, ranking No. 88 on Fortune magazine’s Fortune 500 list of U.S. companies by revenue for 2017.
Now that is what Capitalism is all about! You can look up more about Publix if you want. Or just enjoy the superior shopping experience and say hello to one of the owners as you check out. Oh yeah, don’t forget their free medications program–an example of their civic virtue.

Then we have Winn Dixie. Unfortunately. Nothing against the employees or management at the stores, who I like and appreciate.
Winn Dixie was one of the great American Grocery Chains. Founded by the Davis family in Miami in 1925, W-D grew to over 1000 stores by the late 1990s. Some notable events of civic virtue included heavy support of the Boy Scouts of America, endowing Stetson University, and supporting historically black colleges and universities.

But in 2005 Winn Dixie, after closing many stores, filed for its 1st bankruptcy. Competition, some poor decisions (such as putting Sam Walton on its Board of Directors where he learned the grocery business for Walmart) brought the company down. In the reorganization all stock holders were wiped out, primary the Davis brothers who lost the company.
So here it gets murky. Emerging from bankruptcy, through loans during the easy credit time before the Great Recession, the company was saddled with debt. In 2012 the company again went bankrupt and this time private equity stepped in. Lone Star Funds bought the company for $530 million and W-D became part of Bi-Lo. After some more closures Lone Star took out a loan for $800 million against the store assets, effectively paying itself back the $530 million, and pocketing the balance as “profit”. W-D, Bi-Lo and a few others under Lone Star control consolidated as Southeastern Grocers in 2015. Then because of too much junk debt, another bankruptcy in 2018. You can be sure Lone Star made money on the bankruptcy too.

[Friday Joke] A girl brings her boyfriend home and introduces him to her parents. Whilst sitting on the couch the boyfriend breaks wind and the father shouts at the dog, Rover. The boyfriend thinks he was lucky and got away with it. A few seconds later the boyfriend does it again and the father shouts the dog’s name, “Rover!” The boyfriend thinks, I got away with it again. Finally, the boyfriend lets out a huge fart and the father shouts, “Rover get away from that man before he craps all over you!”





[Low Key Tye Dye] I haven’t been to the Low Key Tye Dye since they opened 8 years ago. there’s lots of cool things and has a new owner, Mark who lives on BPK. It’s at 31109 Avenue A which is the side road off US1 & First Street. Now open 7 days a week from 10-6. Check it out and support the local guy.

Happy April, Rotarians and friends of Rotary and the Coconut Telegraph! Attached is our April newsletter. We have a very busy month and it’s already started with Bingo this week. If you have any time and the inclination to serve our community we have some easy and fun and free ways for you to help. Please take a look through the newsletter and see if you can give back in any way. We appreciate your help and support. 2019.04.01 Rotary Newsletter
[“Modern Capitalism”] Our local TV station, KEYTV, has a program called Top 5 restaurants. Coincidentally, all 5 restaurants advertise on that show.
[“Modern Capitalism”] I agree with your ranter. The products get cheaper, with less in a package, but at a higher price. Think of the waste in packaging. The 2-liter bottles holding soft drinks have the top 3” empty.  Cereal boxes made for 16 oz of cereal only have 10 – 13 oz., That’s a lot of empty space.

Packaging should never be 500% bigger than the actual product, as in all of the eye liners, mascaras, lipstick, eye shadows, and facial creams.  In most cases, the packaging costs the manufacturer more than the product itself.  Vitamin bottles with only 30 capsules are the same size as bottles of 100?  Medicine boxes have more plastic inside than medicine.

Fill up the package or cut the size to what is needed, and our garbage problems would shrink in half! Video

China bought lots of Florida lobster despite tariffs. Keys fishermen paid the price. Video
City of Chicago wants Jussie Smollett to pay $130,000 for cost of investigation. Why were charges dropped against the Empire actor at the end of last month for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime? Are actors above the law? Video


[“Rotary Club bingo at Boondocks”] I know that Christy Crooks loved it when it was at the Big Pine Moose.  It is a shame that you guys aren’t doing it there any longer.  It seems to me that you would sell more drinks on those nights having it there, rather than sending everyone to a different bar?

The Marathon Moose has Bingo every Wednesday and as I understand it, it is doing real good.  For all those who can’t make Boondocks you might consider supporting another local Moose lodge like The Marathon Moose. Best of luck to everyone!

[Aviation Feats] The greatest “Hold my beer” moment ever. Link



[Winn Dixie] Weekly ad. Link

[Stupid  Is As Stupid Does] It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.  ~Bill Murray
[Crook] Pedro C. Rodriguez, 51, who operated JC Marr Tax Services in Marathon. Judge sentences Keys tax preparer to five years in prison. Link
[The Marathon Pentathlon] April 13 at Banana Bay Resort. This year’s Marathon Pentathlon ‘Welcome/Sign in Registration table’ opens at 7am on Saturday the 13th, although the production crew will be there starting by 6:30 to assist those bringing their own SUP boards and kayaks.

Two annual benefactors of the day, The Girl Scouts of The Florida Keys and Cub Scout Pack 901 will be assisting with the event again this year. They will be joined this year by two new benefactors of The Marathon Games – Students from Take Stock in Children and athletes from The Special Olympics of Monroe County team. Mike Puto, Mr. Marathon, blows the conch shell at 8am to start the first event – the foot race! Visit to register today!


Thompson Island off Key West, for decades the home of philanthropist and developer Edward B. Knight, has sold for $8 million to a man who owns another luxury waterfront property nearby. Andrew Lippi, who owns the “Real World” resort compound used for the 17th season of the MTV series, last week bought the gated island estate off A1A close to the entrance of Key West. Link