2017 September

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The-Coconut-Telegraph-w-CoconutsSince 2002
Published Tuesdays and Fridays. Letters to the editor with pictures.​

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(Ed: Sorry, I thought today was Friday, not Saturday.)
I have black mould on our kitchen ceiling that just spread to our living room ceiling. It gets thicker everyday. You can imagine my frustration at the Baptists who advertised black mould removal and told me they couldn’t help me because they were blue tarping roofs and cleaning brush. I emphasized that I had two other houses that needed tarps, but black mould removal was an immediate health hazard, a leaky roof wasn’t! Just then some asshole walked by and sarcastically said, “Everyone’s got an emergency.” At that I blew up with all sorts or un-Baptist invective ruining any chance I may have had at Heaven. Out of all the emergency Relief booths on Big Pine, not one was actually willing to address a health emergency. We are still living under the spreading black mould.

I don’t know anyone who will help me. I’ve stopped people on the street and at the relief centers to try to hire someone, but without any luck. I’m too old and used up to climb a ladder and do it myself which is so hard to admit that I can’t bear it. On top of it all, I got this goddamned baby duck I found in the road that can’t fly, that I’m carrying around in a cat carrier trying to get it some disaster relief.

[FTR on IRMA] This Olde Fart and family were extraordinarily lucky. No major damage, just a huge hot mess. No so for so many of our neighbors and friends. We boogied a couple of days before Irma, first to central Florida, then to western Florida, then to Tennessee to wait out the restoration of electricity in Big Pine. Mrs FTR’s health precludes “roughing it”.

I just returned to Tennessee from a solo trip home to check out our house and to clean out our refrigerator. That was an adventure, but being former law enforcement, I’ve smelled much worse. I am in absolute awe at the damage done, but also in absolute awe at the spirit of our friends and neighbors—not a quitter among them.

Naturally we have been deeply worried about those who stayed and have been starving for information. Our BOCC did a thoroughly rotten job of keeping the evacuees informed. Not so some really public minded people like Kristie Kajfasz and her Face Book page, What’s Up Florida Keys. Link

She provided us with a stream of info that the the BOCC failed to do.  That stream of info still continues with  news that the electric subs branching off of Key Deer will likely be cleaned up an back in service in about 10 days (this is being written on 9/22).

Congrats and thanks to Kristie Kajfasz. Another tip of this Olde Fart’s fedora to Dennis Ward.  Mr. Ward is Constitutional Officer, he is the State Attorney for Monroe County.  Unlike our BOCC, Mr. Ward put himself in substantial danger and gave us all current and electrifying information during the passage and beginning recovery from Irma.  He used live FaceBook feeds.  Congrats and thanks to Dennis Ward.

We’ll be back on the rock as soon as elec is restored to do what we can.  Best of luck to all.


On a lighter note, MEET RUSSIAN SINGLES popped up in my email.

I’ve been trying to figure out what all the tents are for on US1 in BPK. Are they just for people with insurance? Folks, how about a nice big sign telling us what you can do for me? I don’t care what your organization’s name is, I only care what, in particular, you can do for me! Normally I’m not so unappreciative, but Irma has messed with me too much that I’m not myself.
There’s money aid for renters, but no one knows which “booth” to go to or how to ask the right questions. Do renters still have to pay rent while this mess gets sorted out?



[Can’t Take No More] It’s 8:30 am, is Coconuts opened yet?

Entry to all the Keys is now available to everybody and not just residents.  Curfews are still in effect.  The time restrictions are different for both upper and lower Keys.  Go to to get the time frame for each area. They will stop you at Florida City from entering if you try to come in after the curfew starts. Go to to get the hours you can come in.

We now have water in PPH!   Been told that the pressure is not high but enough to take a shower.  You will still need to boil it to drink or cook with it.

KW Airport is now open.  Winn Dixie is fully stocked now but short on some meats like steak.

Tom Thumb is open.

Have been told that police are patrolling our neighborhood a lot.  No true to looting in our area so far.

Toni Bruno on No Name Rd. is a second homeowner to offer the taking of photos of your homes and texting them to you.  Her number is 407-202-3956.

I’m heading home tomorrow to see how we fared so not sure if I can give you any further reports.  You’re welcome to respond and hopefully I can respond.   Keep the faith and we’ll recover.

I think I’m going to hire one of those private disaster insurance adjusters to advocate for us. I’m just too stupid to get the tens of thousands of dollars that we need to recover our ‘empire’.

Deer Ed, Tomorrow at 11 am Senator Nelson will be here to inspect the flea market relief center. Just giving you a heads up because I told their office that you write the local news here.  You are invited as local press to attend the briefing. (Ed: That was from a few days ago when I walked away from Nelson saying I’m here because of the disaster not for useless babble. Commissioner Nugent appeared shocked.)

You many be interested in this local e-paper that came today. Maybe it came earlier, but I just got wi-fi a few hours ago.

The story shows one perspective. What I saw here, 17 miles from Key West is an impressive presence of First Responders. They were here at daylight on the day after the Storm. I heard of a convoy of 250 bucket trucks ready & waiting to restore power. There were National Guard, firefighters, aqueduct workers , police from all over the country,  Every entity but the Boy Scouts. Search & Rescue teams went from house to house. I had a team from the sheriffs & an unidentified one sent by worried relatives to check on me. Then a local woman came by to check because she saw that someone was looking for me on Face Book. Neighbors brought me cases of water & MRE’s. Another friend brought me hot dinners. Lent me Flashlights & a battery radio.  At the nearby school water, ice & food were available — & still are. There are multiple sites around the Keys that have provisions. Many residents lost their homes & are taking refuge in schools. They are waiting for FEMA trailers to arrive.  Hotels are housing First Responders, but the rooms will soon be given to homeless locals. Restaurants began to cook the food in their freezers before it could spoil & gave it away free. Most gas stations were demolished. A national charity brought in tankers of gasoline & gave away 40,000 gallons for cars & generators.

Only people with proper certification were allowed back into the Keys: recognized agencies bringing food & other needed supplies. A doctor I know arrived with a truckload of medical supplies & opened his clinic for emergencies. Before the hospital actually opened there was a MASH unit, then the ER opened.

Among the true heroes were 3 men who manned the only radio station broadcasting in the Keys. They kept it going 24 hours a day bringing news & comfort to the people. They kept it up for 10 days & as they said, before long they were very fragrant & said that their beards made them look homeless. As their generator began to run out of fuel, several people drained it out of their own boats to keep the station going. Cellphone serves was nil to spotty but people managed to call the station with questions or observations. Those who couldn’t call just walked into the station & told their story on the air. [Like me, but that’s another story].

Residents who wanted to get back home waited, sometimes grumpily, in South Florida until they were allowed in. The day the flood gates opened nine thousand people poured into Key West alone. Gradually neighbors are returning to my block. I’m not alone anymore.  Dusk to dawn curfew is still in effect.

I didn’t mean to ramble on like this, but once the floodgates opened I couldn’t stop.

But I have more.

[When is Relief No Relief] Twice now I’ve been promised relief and when it didn’t come. The organizations, both, never heard of me. AT$T had a charging station that ate 2 18V batteries and chargers putting us in a precarious position as we were relying on that battery power for many things. No one AT$T, could be contacted who even heard of a mobile charging station. Sometimes we need relief from the relief.



The senior center is currently being occupied by a FL task force.  Canines included.

You recently experienced damage to your home due to flooding. We would like you to rate your damage on a 5‐
point scale. Please read the damage descriptions and select which number best matches your situation.At the top of the body of your reply message, send the number of your choice from the menu below.
1: I had minor damage. My flooring got wet but it was less than a couple inches.
2: I had moderate damage. The flooding was around a foot but lower than the electrical outlets.
3: I had major damage. The flooding was higher than the electrical outlets on the wall
4: I had extreme damage. The water was at least half way up the walls.
5: Unknown. I am unsure as to the extent of the damage to my home.
Isn’t it odd that all these relief organizations, who have so much nation-wide experience can’t coordinate with one another? One doesn’t know what the other is doing and none of them have what adequate signage that tells us what they do. They all have big signs promoting their organization, but no explanation of what they offer. One of the worse signage is the Army Corps of Engineers Blue Tarp Program’s sign. The lettering is only 4 inches high. And it says Blue Tarp “Program”. I mentioned to the attendant that seeing Army Corps of Engineers and the word Program might lead some to think that it’s another government program where you have to go to meetings before receiving the tarp to cover our roofs. Small matter, but signage is so very important.

Twenty eight years ago I was living in a place called Folly Beach, just south of Charleston SC. Well that night a little category 3 hurricane named Hugo roared through. Like you in the Keys we picked ourselves up and rebuilt. And now I have to tell you, my friends in the Florida Key’s that the buildings will be rebuilt but the vibe will change forever and not necessarily for the better. the vultures are coming.

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Deerly Beloved Keysers, I apologize for the scant Coconut Telegraphs as of late, it’s because, like so many of you Piners, we have taken an especially hard hit from Irma. The only internet is at the flea market tent

and it’s real hard taking the time to publish from my rebuilding responsibilities. As you long time contributors and readers know by now, I’d rather publish the CT than repair hurricane damage and make our house safe again. Actually, I’d rather do anything than repair hurricane damage! A particular frustration for me is the inability of this shitty $118 laptop to run Photoshop. I have some really good photos to show you but can’t. Soon come, but now is when they’d have the best effect. Sigh.

[Tools Badly Needed] There’s a whole lot of small businessman on the island who were wiped out. If you have any tools, of any kind, shovels, hammers, come-alongs, etc. please bring them to the Distribution and Resource Center. Just go to the main entrance at the flea market and tell the volunteer there you are looking for the Distribution and Resource Center to drop off tools or equipment. If the person doesn’t know what you’re talking about go to the ladies in the corner of the big tent who represent HUMANITY ROAD as they seem to be the only ones who can get things done. They know everyone and the relief ‘system’.
I didn’t expect it, but I came to the computer just now & I HAVE WI-FI! A whole new world is opened up to me. Yesterday I got water. 3 days ago I got electric. The repairman says my generator is not toast.  The lift man is coming next week. Life is good.

What isn’t so good is that there are 677 emails waiting to be deleted. Among them maybe a dozen or two that you sent & that I will read.

So just poo poo on paradise? Everything can be fixed?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  completed surveys of areas known to provide fresh water to wildlife in the National Key Deer Refuge (No Name and Big Pine Keys west to Sugarloaf Key) following Hurricane Irma.  Due to the storm surge from Hurricane Irma, salinity levels in fresh water wetlands are on average higher than acceptable levels for most wildlife species, including the endangered Key deer, resident and migratory birds, rabbits, butterflies, and other species. There are areas on Cudjoe Key that have fresher water suitable for wildlife needs.

The general public is welcomed to help by providing fresh water for wildlife on their property until conditions improve over time as they have in previous hurricanes.  Service staff and partners will also be providing supplemental fresh water stations for wildlife on the refuge.

“We recognize that fresh water is still a rare commodity at this time and first responder and resident needs should be considered before offering water to wildlife,” said Dan Clark, project leader for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex.

If you do have water resources to share, here’s how you can help:

– Provide water in a shallow basin so that Key deer, birds, and even insects like butterflies and other pollinators can drink.  (Something like an upside down trash can lid would work well.)

– Change water frequently to avoid mosquitoes; clean water basin daily to minimize disease spread.  Use soapy water or a 10% bleach solution to clean containers, rinsing well afterwards.

– If there are mosquito control activities in your area, turn the container upside down or move it indoors during pesticide application.  Clean the basin to minimize pesticide exposure to non-target critters before putting it back outside.

– Place containers away from residences and roads to minimize encounters between wildlife and people. Keep wildlife wild!

Service veterinarian Samantha Gibbs also conducted an evaluation of available food sources for Key deer on Big Pine Key this morning. She noted, “At this time, there appears to be enough forage so please do not feed wildlife, including Key deer.” The Service will continue to monitor both food and water availability for wildlife.

The refuge has a source for water for this effort, so donations are appreciated but not needed at this time. If you want an additional way to help, consider reaching out to Friends and Volunteers of Refuges, a nonprofit support group for the refuge, at Thank you for your support for our wildlife! Working together, we can all make a difference!

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