Since 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures
The Big Pine Flea Market is open Saturday and Sunday from 8am till 2pm. Welcome back to all our friends who just got home from summer vacations. It has been a long hot summer full of unexpected events. We have all your FantasyFest and Halloween costumes for really good deals. Time to get out and socialize again. We have awesome fresh produce, homemade soaps, fishing supplies, polarized sunglasses, tropical furniture, tarps, tools, housewares and the only place in the keys left to get great deals on craft making supplies. It’s time to meet your neighbors again. See you this weekend!
|[Overcrowding Deer] If I remember correctly, years ago the Refuge people were going to cap the deer population when it reached 400. When it reached 400 they increased it to 600. When it reached 600 they stopped saying there were too many. Now the population is in excess of one thousand on a refuge intended for 400. It is suspected that the over-crowding of the deer has spurred this infestation of the screwworm. At least it might be a contribution to this plague.
|[“Overgrown lots”] I’m also interested in what folks have to say about “What to do if a neighbor’s lot is overgrown”. My friends live on No Name Key and their neighbors are slobs as well. Turning down this private road you pass five overgrown properties before getting to theirs – which is well-maintained, renovated and beautiful. I feel for them because to get to their beautiful home they have to pass a trailer park-look of neighbors. It’s disgusting how people can live on such a beautiful island and ruin its beauty by ignoring their overgrown Sanford and Sons junkyards. Abandoned campers, boats, cars and junk scatter these five overgrown, neglected properties. When I pull onto my good friend’s property at the end of the road, I see all the work they did on their three lots and home and sigh with relief after passing through the jungle, “Now, this is the Keys.”
|[No On Amendment 1] I messed up my absentee ballot. I didn’t read amendment one about solar energy carefully and voted “yes” when I meant to vote “no”.
When I flipped the ballot over and read what sounded like a good amendment to guarantee the right to own solar panels, I thought I was doing a good thing by supporting it. It turns out, amendment one is a cleverly worded ruse that would allow power companies and local governments to charge extra fees that will, in effect, penalize you if you want to use solar energy or a generator. The power companies know that if people generate their own electricity, they will sell less electricity. Since their fixed costs of salaries, replacing poles and maintaining power lines keep increasing over time, the utility companies need to find a way to sell more electricity, or else show their (often foreign) shareholders that they can still charge the same amount to customers of the power company that find a way to generate their own power by using a generator or investing in solar panels.
So this amendment should read: “If you want to use your own money to buy a generator or invest in solar panels for your home, the government and the utility companies will create a tax or extra charge on your monthly electric bill, so that they can continue pay their fat-cat shareholders a big dividend check each year.”
If amendment one passes, it will set back the solar initiative in Florida by twenty years. Please vote “NO” on amendment one!
|[FTR’s Zika Files] Yesterday, for the first time, the Feds urged that every pregnant woman who has spent time in Miami Dade be tested for Zika. 30 new known cases of Zika per week are being reported by the Florida Department of Health. On 10/19 there were 1044 known cases. 1044. On 10/12 there were 1014 known cases. It’s estimated that 80% of Zika victims are asymptomatic. You decide how many cases go unreported.
Here in Monroe County the annual birth rate is about 10 per 1000 of population. We have about 75,000 Monroe residents. At any given time between 4% and 10% of women of child bearing age are pregnant. Zika is in our homes. It is a serious threat to public health.
The Save our Skeeters Squad just keeps pushing back against the use of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes. It is obscene that their campaign has become a source of amusement to them. Their attendance at forums has become a social event that they look forward to. They natter about how much fun there is to be had.
An example is a video just put forward on Facebook by FKMCB candidate Watkins-Norris. In the video we see one of the Save Our Skeeters leaders, Barry Wray, bragging and chortling that he is “Oxitec’s number one nemesis.” It appears that Ms. Watkins-Norris was the videographer. The video shows her male companion mugging for the camera. The videographer is careful to show a series of signs promoting the candidacy of Watkins-Norris. Her male companion was Dr. Norris, her husband, who is also an ardent foe of GMM. One wonders just how serious Dr. Norris and Ms. Watkins-Norris view the threat that Zika poses. It is crystal clear that their posture on the issue is strictly political.
That video also clearly demonstrated the hypocrisy of the anti GMM squad, the Save Our Skeeters Squad. One of their leaders, Barry Wray, solemnly declared that he had been told by the feds that they “feared” the interjection of politics into the issue. The hypocrisy is flagrant given that the Save Our Skeeters Squad has wielded raw politics as a cudgel in this issue. Their repeated, and fruitless, lobbying of the FDA is raw, crass politics. It is worth considering that the head of the FDA is a Democrat, appointed by a Democrat, and the Save Our Skeeters Squad is heavily Democrat. Nonetheless, the FDA flat rebuffed their efforts to kill the project. The Feds consider it to be safe.
Friends, the anti GMM people have mounted one of the most egregiously hysterical political campaigns that I’ve ever seen. They have threatened public officials with retribution if the project goes forward. They have flooded social media and local media with slick ads that are patently disingenuous. They have made the issue a foundation block of several political campaigns.
The entire anti campaign is built on “what if”….”maybe”…”what might happen” conjecture and speculation. They try to cover up the fact that the most restrictive and nit picking Federal government in our history has declared that the process is safe.
Personally I find nothing amusing about this threat to our public health. I find nothing amusing about the disinformation campaign that they are waging. There is nothing funny about the fact that babies have been born in the USA with microcephaly; Zika related microcephaly.
There is nothing funny about an organized group of real estate professionals putting the public health at risk in pursuit of profit. It is of record that the opposition to the process is predicated on the belief that the process will hurt property values.
The referendum is just around the corner. I’ll be voting in favor of the use of genetic engineering to kill the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. I won’t be voting for Ms. Watkins-Norris (D). I hope you join with me
|[“Painted buntings are back”] I sure would like to see one. Where would be a good public place to see one? Is there a particular area or favorite tree I should look for?
|[They] Have you ever heard the phrase “They won’t let you do that”, or, “Here in Monroe county they won’t allow that to happen”? Well I found out who “they” are. It’s a few old guys sitting at a boat ramp or sitting at a picnic table at the Flea Market or sitting on a park bench. “They” are the ones who are old enough to be smart and advise you on anything that you would ever dream of knowing about anything. If you worry about the new world flies, go to one of these places. “They” are smart men. “They” remember older times when things like this happened and they were there. Many of the things match perfect with more info than you could ever learn online. The screwworms are scary. Ask an old guy. They remember what it was like. Sometimes gruesome, sometimes helpful. “They” remember it all.
|[Medicine For Deer] Why don’t the Deer people give us the medicine to put in the deer’s food? We cured a deer once who had a terrible abscess that put a hole through her bottom jaw. I asked friends for their old antibiotics and put a little in the deer chow every day and the deer got better, but still had the hole in its jaw. Why can’t we do this for screwworms? Are they afraid it won’t be scientific if we administer the medicine? The deer are going to die anyway.
|[10% of Deer Dead] The infestation of screwworms has been detected beyond Big Pine and No Name keys and has reached Middle Torch, Little Torch, Cudjoe, Ramrod and Summerland keys. At this rate we could possibly lose the entire herd! Starting last week, agriculture officials began releasing fly pupae that have been treated with radiation designed to eradicate the screwworms. The plan is to release the pupae twice a week for 25 weeks. However, it could be at least six months before the screwworms are eradicated on Big Pine and No Name keys. “Bring out your dead”
|[Potty Talk] We’ve seen the posters on the toilet walls: “The Jobs Not Over Till the Paperwork is Finished”. Not true! No matter what kind, from Super Soft-for those cute little blotted dabs to the 00 grit for those mega depth charges that guarantee no break through. No matter how much rubbing or scraping you still end up with hash marks in your knickers. You thought you did a sparkling job, but those tobacco stains keep coming back. What to do if paper isn’t up to the job? Want to really have that freshly wiped feeling? Try some baby wipes and see what You’ve been missing. Avoid these embarrassing moments when you whip off those jockeys and those hashmarks are staring you in the face.
|A question for the “No” on Amendment 1 solar. When there is no sun or no wind, who will provide power to the renewable power folks? For those with wind turbines and solar panels, are you expecting to get electricity from the utility company? If so, what if there is no utility company because they went out of business because not enough customers paying to maintain the conventional power grid? I’m not anti-renewable and I don’t think it’s an either/or decision. We need both. I would also like to hear from folks who have lived in Germany, where the renewable energy mandate has quadrupled energy costs over the past decade or so. Is that what we want?
|[Screwworms] I just had lunch with a retired Veterinarian. We chatted about the Key Deer screwworm problem. I’m no expert, but the Big Pine deer herd is massive, they are about as endangered as Chinese people. Driving down Key Deer Blvd I see dozens, whereas years ago maybe I saw 2. The herd is skinny and sickly looking. The food source here is absolutely not enough for the numbers we have now. I think screwworm found this herd because they are debilitated. I notice with my own body, if my immune system is down being the time I invariably catch a cold.
The deer refuge people would have you believe there are three hundred deer. They said there were three hundred right up until the Infrared study showed 1200 (I believe that was the number and it didn’t Include deer from other islands. That was like 10 years ago. The numbers have grown far more now. I recall the DNA of the key deer exactly match a Virginia whitetail deer. Should this animal even be on the Endangered Species list? Are these numbers still being hidden from us to support the Governmental waste of Key Deer Refuge workers by the handfuls all guarding their jobs? I guess my point is, according to this retired Veterinarian – we are going to see many opportunistic diseases affect this herd as their numbers keep growing and growing and the depletion of their food source. Interestingly, mother nature wants to fix the problem, but we are releasing flies to halt its spread (thank god) instead of allowing the herd to diminish to numbers that our limited food source support. Just the opinion of a 30 year Big Pine resident and a retired Veterinarian. Take it for what it’s worth.
Everybody complains about the weather, but no one wants to sacrifice a virgin to change it.
|[Dinner] Is it safe to eat freshly killed Screwworm-infected Key Deer?
|[Screwworms] I just found out that humans can get screwworms too! If you have an open cut, the best thing to do is to cover it well so no little fly can lay its eggs in your wound.
[Paradise Does Not Come Easy] Welcome to paradise! First it was lethal yellowing, then two floods, then spiraling whitefly, then Zika, now it’s screwworms! It’s always something. Damn.
|See the stunning images that won Nikon Small World’s microscope photography contest. Link
[LSD] Based on the true story of Operation Julie – the biggest drug bust in British history. In the 1970s a large proportion of the world’s LSD supply was coming from the wilds of West Wales. Audio
|[“Solar” Amendment 1″] Electric vehicles don’t pay gasoline’s highway tax. The gas tax is used to maintain our roads. Where is the money going to come from when no one is paying the highway tax on gasoline? That’s something to think about. That’s what Amendment 1 is trying to deal with. The utilities want to tax solar users in order to keep the electric grid in case of no sun
I’ll pass. And who approves these logos?
|The AARP November and December calendars are here! See what’s going on! Full Menu > Ongoing Events
|[FantasyFest Around the Corner] They’ll kill it with rules like these?
•Public nudity: is absolutely prohibited in Key West. Male and female genitalia must not be exposed. Female breasts cannot be exposed. Breasts painted with body paint will only be considered as covered when in the Fantasy Zone. Body paint cannot be applied in public; it must be applied in an enclosed area, out of the public view. Sex acts in public are absolutely prohibited.
•Fantasy Zone: Lower Duval Street to United Street and the streets that cross it. Those cross streets are only considered part of the Fantasy Zone between Whitehead and Simonton streets.
•Artificial or toy weapons: You’re better off not using them at all. But if your costume simply must have one, make sure it’s clearly a fake. Law enforcement officers will be watching for anything resembling a weapon, from water guns to artificial swords or knives. Replica weaponry may be confiscated. In addition, laser pointers are not allowed during the event, and they too may be confiscated.
•Backpacks and coolers: are strongly discouraged in the Fantasy Zone. If you do bring them, you may be asked to have it searched by an officer.
•Masquerade March: On Friday, Oct. 28th, the Masquerade March takes two routes leaving the Key West Cemetery at 5 p.m. and arriving on Duval Street at approximately 7:30 p.m. The streets are not closed along these routes so motorists can expect delays and are advised to take alternate routes. Revelers are reminded that nudity is absolutely prohibited during this event.
•Street Closures: To accommodate the many street activities during the festival, several areas are closed during the week, starting with the Bahama Village Goombay Festival which begins Friday, October 21st. Street fairs and evening events are scheduled throughout the week, culminating in the parade.
•Zombie Bike Ride: On Sunday, October 23rd, motorists can expect delays as the Zombie Bike Ride runs from East Martello Towner on South Roosevelt Blvd. to downtown Key West. Anyone needing to access the airport is advised to approach from the east.Fantasy Fest has a tradition of being a fun and peaceful party, and the Key West Police Department is looking forward to continuing that tradition. We will have extra officers on duty.
In addition, other members of the law enforcement community, including the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Florida Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Orange County Mounted Unit, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Bi-sexual Scouts will be on hand to help ensure a safe event. Oh joy, I can’t wait to see the riots over an open beer can! Wonder if the American Nazi Party will carry those crosses again this year?
I think I found my epitaph.
|The next meeting of our Big Pine Computer Club is coming up this Saturday, October 22, 10 am at the senior center. Hope to see you there. Full Menu > Ongoing Events
|National Key Deer Refuge Initiating Treatment on Screw Worm Infested Key Deer
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with wildlife veterinarians to evaluate and select treatments to prevent healthy Key deer from becoming infested by screwworm, and to treat deer in the early stages of infestation. Treatments will be administered to Key deer by Refuge staff and partners on Cudjoe and Sugarloaf Keys beginning October 19th, and will continue on Big Pine and No Name Keys starting October 20th. Doramectin, an antiparasitic in the avermectin drug family, will be administered periodically via oral dose and subcutaneous injection. This drug will serve as both a preventative and a treatment for early-stage infections. Injectable antibiotics may also be administered to early-infected individuals under the appropriate conditions. Deer will be marked with a non-toxic paint to identify those who have been treated. Treatments will continue until screwworm infestations have subsided.
The use of pesticides on refuge lands is strictly regulated as consequences to other threatened and endangered wildlife species and ecosystem health were fully considered. All drug treatment options have been evaluated using contaminants modeling techniques and species expert consultations. Avoidance and minimization measures are being taken to decrease the effect of these chemicals on plants, animals and their environment.
Those interested in assisting with the treatment effort should contact Kristie Killam, Park Ranger (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are currently seeking volunteers to assist with the process. The Service encourages you to report any suspected infected Key deer to the Key Deer Hotline (305-470-6863, ext 7). Please drive carefully – Key deer are in the middle of the rut (mating season), and driven by hormones and instinct, they are interacting by fighting, mating and generally running around without much concern for traffic. Please do not feed Key deer. Feeding the deer will significantly decrease our ability to treat the deer effectively and efficiently. Attracting large numbers to feeding stations can lead to fights between deer, causing wounds that are susceptible to screwworm. Deer congregating in groups may also promote the spread of this infestation and other diseases. It is unlawful to feed Key deer.
For more information, please contact Dan Clark at 305-872-2239 ext. 209, Kristie Killam 305-304-9625 or Kate Watts at 305-872-2239 ext. 227
[14-Pound Lobster] He let it go, bless his heart. Video
|[Voter Fraud] Just because there are millions of dead voters on the election rolls, that doesn’t mean that some unsavory person is having phony I.D.s made for each of them, finding what polling place, in what city, the dead person is registered, than getting a phony photo for a phony ID, and then going to the correct polling place and voting. Imagine doing that enough to swing an election? It’s almost impossible. Just because there are dead people still on the voter rolls doesn’t mean that anyone can use any of that information without proper documentation. States go to extraordinary measures to prevent voter fraud, but conspiracy theorists can never have their mindset altered so the rumors continue.
|The debate between Democrat Monroe County State Attorney incumbent Catherine Vogel and former State Attorney and Republican challenger Dennis Ward featured some of the night’s most heated exchanges. Ward painted Vogel as a terrible leader who is lazy and afraid to try cases dealing with public corruption and take on other tough cases especially when they include influential people. Vogel retorted that Ward tries his cases in the media and not just in court
|Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. Status quos are made to be broken. Vote wisely. ~Coconuts Bar & Liquor Store
|[“When a locals’ bar starts to fantasize and write weird slogans”] Another who moved to Florida from New Somewhere Else. There was a time, back when the Keys were laid back, that all the bars were local’s bars and you suckers bought our weird slogans written on t-shirts. This period in Keys history was in Before 19 TVs and Sysco portions made a bar. Take your lobsta mac-n-cheese and fake tiki-loving-self back north. Oh, and screw the Packers. If Green Bay was so great why aren’t you there?
|Any news on if the work environment at the NOAA offices in Key Largo and Key West are still hostile as reported when Sean Morton and Mary Taglarini operated them?
I wonder if the monthly Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings have been addressing it. I don’t see any mention in the minutes.
|[Screwworm Warning Signs] Back during the ‘beloved’ lobster mini-season the MSCO placed their solar powered warning signs on the sides of US1 warning the tourists that there were thieves among us and to lock your cars and dive gear up. Heh, like no one knew there’s thieves among men.
I know the powers that be are working their tails off to get a handle on this thing, but let’s face it; people don’t read or listen to news anymore. Protect your pets, check them, get them checked. Thanks to Dr, Doug and those that are working to stop the spread.
At what point will we put signs up warning tourists about screw-flies being found Big Pine to Cudjoe? Link
|The poster that thinks that election fraud in this country is extremely rare and the perpetrators are always caught is drinking of the proverbial cool aid. Not only is election fraud rampant but there is rarely anything done about it. For example, in our own state of Florida at least one county reported over 100% voter turnout. Yes, that is not possible — without fraud. In Ill. several voter districts reported 100% votes reported for one candidate, another impossibility. Add to that dead people being registered to vote and people being allowed to vote who are not citizens or are convicted felons you can see that there is plenty of voter fraud and no one does anything about it
The sun and the moon sometimes argue over who will tuck me in at night. If you think I am having more fun than anyone on this planet, you are absolutely correct. Life is more fun if you play games. ~Coconuts Bar & Liquor Store. Downtown Big Pine Key
|This year’s FantasyFest will be all Puritanism, with costumes depicting the Holier-than-thou and other Federal agencies who are now controlling your life. Nudies will be only allowed by the costumed persons depicting Native Americans which will show how history is repeating itself like a bad cheeseburger.
Free hand-outs of U.S.D.A. approved personal body lube and body paints will be passed out to the pubic public. All hijabs must be made of Saran Wrap. To negate the spread of infectious diseases, no bare feet this year. No fake weapons will be allowed, except for the Fuzz and NSA. Have fun this year, it might just be our last FantasyFest party animal gig for some time.
|Gallup: Support for marijuana legalization surges to new highs as more new people get high. Link
|National Parks Arts Foundation presents NPS Centennial Arts Events. You are cordially invited to attend these events. Link
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