Published Tuesdays and Fridays. Letters to the editor with pictures. Since 0202.
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|[Insurance Claim Rip-off] I am guessing that the insurance companies are abusing many besides me. My windstorm “Homeowners Choice” sent me about 12% of what they should have and then refused to answer or return calls or email. I hired a lawyer and he sued them immediately since they were not dealing responsibly. I could have hired a public adjuster, but success going that route requires that the insurer negotiate reasonably with him. Why would they? Then you pay for the public adjuster and their lawyer and it all takes longer. The good news is that the insurer pays the lawyer fees.
My vehicle had some damage, and instead of getting a repair estimate, the auto insurer (AARP/ Hartford) immediately declared it salvage and sent me a really bogus valuation of about half of its actual value before the storm. The claims handler waited two weeks after they valued the vehicle for salvage before sending an email with the numbers, and refused to answer or return the several calls or emails during the interim. One “comparable” vehicle had 7 times the mileage of mine. None were the same model. I found unrepaired wrecks being sold with salvage titles that were valued higher as wrecks than what the insurer claimed I could replace my low mileage vehicle. They also cancelled the insurance. Like the wind insurance, they continued to refuse to answer or return phone calls or emails, and they basically have stolen my vehicle. Again, a lawyer was required.
|W/D weekly ad. Link|
|[Hurricanes] Wednesday’s Miami Herald editorial includes a list of items that could be done better after the next hurricane. While the Herald’s focus is Miami-Dade County, I believe that their recommendations equally apply to Monroe County.
I especially agree with their insistence that the county should better communicate with the public, something that continues to be woefully poor in Monroe County. The Key West Citizen addressed the situation today with its observation that “County officials still have not come forward with a plan to address this ridiculous situation (debris removal), and taxpayers are left wondering why a simple schedule of pickups in the hardest hit areas can’t be distributed. Does the county not even know yet who is picking up what and when?”
Communications is always an imperative and Monroe County has left a lot to be desired from the pre-Irma warnings to this day. The decision to delay, if not cancel, public meetings to assess the county’s response to Irma is very disturbing. It is as if to say to the public, “We do not care what you think, and we do not want to hear your criticisms.” Ignoring public input will not make the criticisms go away
|[Affordable Housing] Demographic and economic shifts are expected to increase demand for affordable rentals over the course of this decade. Millennials — those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — are projected to form 11.3 million new households by 2020. The Keys needs downstairs enclosures to be legalized.|
And now a PSA from former NBC reporter Matt Lauer. “This is probably not the year to hang that mistletoe up around the office.”
|[Obey Signs] The Blue Heron Park on Lytons Way has signs on the gates and fence reading, “Park Closed, No Trespassing”. But pickle ball players are a special breed. Rules do not apply. Sunday, six cars were there, two of them from out of state, all Pickle ball players. On Thursday afternoon two cars, one from the Florida Keys Aqueduct. Again, playing pickle ball. I guess the county had excess paper and ink that had to be used, so they just developed signs. Is the park closed due to a category 5 hurricane damage and it is un-safe or just place a sign because they excess paper and ink? If they were part of the clean-up I can understand their park occupation.
There is no longer hurricane Irma dumping on US 1, so the visitors do not see the destruction. Watson Boulevard east of Key Deer, grows nightly, as the debris encroaches the lanes (blue roof and shingles). Key Deer north of Watson grows as fast. Why are the roofers not required to deliver directly to the land fill and my tax paying dollars are fueling this abuse?
Why are my Piner neighbors all-about-me people. We are one human family, so please be considerate of others. I guess I was brought up with a different set of values. I was taught to abide by the rules, regulations and signs
|[Affordable Housing] ‘Downstairs enclosures’ is too simple a solution for our County leaders. They need to use any land available, spend money they don’t have, study, talk, and do nothing–when the solution is staring them in the face–downstairs enclosures|
[Bar Band] For those who have frequented the Looe Key Tiki Bar’s Tuesday Jam night over the last year, you’re certainly familiar with Michael and the Jam Band’s awesome brand of Motown, Rock ‘n Roll and Classic Rock, always sure to fill the dance floor – you’ll be happy to know he’s got a new band: “Michael’s Rock ‘n Soul Band”, appearing this Saturday, December 9th, from 7-11 pm, at the Looe Key Tiki Bar on Ramrod Key. If you’re looking for just the right recipe to let loose and dance the night away, come on out – it’s sure to be a blast!
|[More Bar Bands] Crappy weather forecast for this weekend, but two great nights of music are lined up for Looe Key Tiki bar this weekend: Haywire on Friday for non-stop rocking and Michael Oberon’s new band (forgot the name) for fast and slow dancing oldies. Should be great if it is not raining!|
|[Eating Out] Men, this is so simple, it’s genius! Don’t ask your wife/girlfriend where she wants to eat. Tell her to guess where you’re taking her to eat. Then take her to her first guess. Brilliant!|
|[Photography Club] Looking for a new adventure? We invite you to attend the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Photography Club meeting. We welcome everyone, from beginners wanting to learn, to experienced photographers who want to share their expertise. Together we’ll explore the natural areas of the Florida Keys looking for great photography opportunities and stories to share. Bring 3-5 photos to share. Learn about our upcoming field trips and photo classes. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec 13th, 6:30-8:00 P.M. at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center in the Winn-Dixie plaza on Big Pine Key. For more information, contact Kristie @ 305-304-9625. Facebook: Florida Keys Wildlife Refuges Photography Club
Attached photograph: credit Joe Gilroy/ Great Blue Heron
|Affordable housing can only be achieved in an area like the Key with limited land available by legalizing and encouraging downstairs enclosures. A simple solution that is quick, cheap and benefits everyone.|
|[15th Century Catholic Inquisition] The Emperor of Austria then moved vigorously for the extirpation of the Protestant religion. The Protestant pastors were silenced; courts were instituted for the suppression of heresy; two hundred and fifty Protestant ministers were sentenced to be burned at the stake, and then, as an act of extraordinary clemency, on the part of the despot, their punishment was commuted to hard labor in the galleys for life. All the nameless horrors of inquisitorial cruelty desolated the land|
|Key West and Marathon’s FEMA disaster recovery centers will close this Saturday.|
[Super Moon] Last week I thought I was getting a great picture of the “Supermoon” coming up through the trees, then my wife focused the camera for me. Damn my old age eyes.
|Affordable housing for workers in the Keys is soooo needed. The federal government has created a number of programs that address preservation of subsidized and privately owned stock, 44 In 1997, Congress launched the Mark-to-Market (M2M) program, partly in anticipation of the large numbers of Section 8 properties whose affordability requirements were set to expire in the late 1990s and partly in response to the subsidized developments’ rents, which, due to automatic yearly increases, often exceeded the neighborhood’s market rate|
|[Friday Joke] The lone Ranger and Tonto walked into a saloon and sat down to drink a beer. After a few minutes, a big tall cowboy walked in and asked, “who owns the big white horse outside?” The Lone Ranger stood up, hitched his gun belt, and said, “I do, why?” The cowboy looked at the Lone Ranger and said, “I just thought you’d like to know that your horse is about dead outside!” The Lone Ranger and Tonto rushed outside, and sure enough Silver was ready to die from heat exhaustion. The Lone Ranger got the horse water and soon Silver was starting to feel a little better. The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said, “Tonto, I want you to run around Silver and see if you can create enough of a breeze to make him start to feel better.” Tonto said, “Sure, Quimosabe” and took off running circles around Silver. Not able to do anything else but wait, the Lone Ranger returned to the saloon to finish his drink. A few minutes later, another cowboy struts into the bar and asks, “Who owns that big white horse outside?” The Lone Ranger stands again, and claims, “I do, what’s wrong with him this time?”Nothing, but you left your injun runnin’!”|
|[The Affordable Housing Crisis] The precious few federal programs that provide rental assistance to the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable families are already underfinanced. These programs provide decent housing for about only a quarter of the low-income families who qualify for them. And with nearly nine million households teetering on the verge of homelessness, the country clearly needs more support for affordable housing, not less. Link|
|[No Public Meeting] The School District finally, on its website and a press release, notifies the public of a meeting of the Sugarloaf Housing Task Force–then promptly cancels it! Unfortunately, the cancellation did not make it in time for today’s noon news on US1 Radio. Hope no one shows up looking for a meeting at 3:00 pm. And, of course, no one knows when it will be rescheduled.|
|[Burning] The Key West City Commission voted against burning vegetative debris from Hurricane Irma on Rockland Key Tuesday, opting instead to haul it to the mainland at a cost of nearly $3 million. Why was this allowed on Cudjoe? Just find out who is making money on this.|
|How to Use a Mooring Buoy. Video|
|[Coping with Disaster] FEMA says limit your exposure to traumatic news coverage and social media about the disaster until you can handle it. Stay connected with family and friends. Accept the fact that your recovery may take time. Link|
MDsave is the world’s first online healthcare marketplace, bringing together patients seeking affordable, reliable care with providers offering high quality services at fair prices.
I’m going to Lower Keys Med Ctr for an MRI. Just thought I’d share & help us all save some dough, re, mi. Link
|[Debris] Here are my notes of comments made by County Commissioners and staff after yesterday’s BOCC vote to ask FDOT to come back and clean up US1.
The new FDOT cleanup of US1 will be done by MCM and may start as early as Wednesday. Completion is scheduled before January 16th. They will start in Big Pine and work outward. This does not include County roads.
The question about what is eligible to be picked up on US1 was answered with, ‘everything.’ (time will tell if the mobile homes and RVs will disappear)
The local roads clean up is completed in Tavernier northeast and MM16 west. Nothing can be put out. Regular trash collection should be used.
Right now nothing should be put on US1 outside of MM 16 to 40. This is illegal dumping. After this last FDOT pass is completed (Jan 16th?) the same will apply to MM16 to 40 – Nothing on US1.
County rights of way within MM16 to 40 are still being cleared. Residents can still put out but contractors cannot. County Administrator Gastesi estimated three more months in the Lower Keys.
DRC is clearing County rights of way – 33 trucks – vegetative debris to Cudjoe, mixed debris to the new Summerland site. Shrimp Farm debris was being moved to Cudjoe – separate pile from MCMs.
Transfer stations are still free for residents. Contractors must pay the tipping fee.
Commissioners said MCM has now stopped burning and will truck their remaining debris to a landfill in Homestead. There was discussion about not enough County debris management sites. Debris backing up for lack of room.
Commissioner Neugent Commissioner Neugent mentioned the newer technology that Rudy Krause proposed would reduce routine county vegetation haul out. He questioned the ‘older technology’ air curtain equipment producing too much smoke. The contractor said there are no air quality issues.
Mayor Rice suggested the BOCC not weigh in on Key West’s plan to burn until after the City Commission hears the issue tonight.
|[“Sal is back”] Not! Never to venture past the Last Chance Saloon again. I’m just looking at what karma has done to all the Gotminers who voted for the five people running the asylum now.
~Salvador Gutierrez Jr, The one you should have voted for the BOCC years ago. Good Luck and I feel your pain, kinda’.
A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talked to each other instead of talked about each other. ~Ronald Reagan
|Since our Keys’ government does not know what to do about housing being affordable, why not take a page from the Massachusetts book? They are providing some incentives to towns for affordable housing. Executive Order 418, signed into effect in January 2000 by then-Governor Cellucci, was designed to help communities implement more effective strategies. Under Executive Order 418’s two-pronged process, the State provides: Planning assistance to municipalities that attempt to increase their supply of housing for families and individuals across a broad range of incomes (Community Development Plans)
Incentives for communities who do so in the form of “bonus points” for various competitive grant programs (Housing Certification).
The next meeting of our Big Pine Computer Club is coming up this Saturday, December 9, 10 am at the Big Pine Key Library’s back room. Hope to see you there!
|[Don’t Give Up On FEMA Application] Here is a news release explaining that people with damages from Hurricane Irma can appeal and ask for FEMA to reconsider decisions on their assistance. Appeal an Initial FEMA Determination Letter|
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