Published Tuesdays and Fridays. Letters to the editor with pictures.
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|Lobster season is here. It started Sunday. I don’t know why the lobster mobsters don’t come during regular season and only come for the two-day mini season. And how come they only rape the reef during those two days, but leave it alone the rest of the year?|
|[Crooks] The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office nabbed two Latino Miami men Saturday with 44 speared lobster out-of season, some of which were so small they barely fit in a deputy’s hand [cocktail lobster], reports say. Julio Turino Borroto, 29, and Jesus Molinet-Salinas, 28, both of Miami, were charged with possession of undersized lobster, possession of lobster over the limit, possession of speared lobster, possession of lobster out of season and having no measuring device while harvesting lobster.|
|[2 Tons of Ivory Kaput] New York. Trinkets, statues and jewelry crafted from the tusks of at least 100 slaughtered elephants were fed Thursday into a rock crusher in Central Park to demonstrate the state’s commitment to smashing the illegal ivory trade. The artifacts placed ceremoniously onto a conveyor belt to be ground into dust included piles of golf-ballsized Japanese sculptures, called netsuke, intricately carved into monkeys, rabbits and other fanciful designs. Many of the items were beautiful. Some were extremely valuable|
|[Crook] Marathon — A 34-year old office manager accused of stealing more than $80,000 from Marathon Garbage Service Inc. during the last five months who was arrested last week is facing more charges, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Michelle Ludwig, of Marathon, was initially charged with 69 counts each of grand theft, forgery and fraud after turning herself in. She now faces 42 more counts of grand theft, forgery and uttering a forged instrument. Ludwig did payroll for the company and is accused of writing checks to herself over and above her normal paychecks and using the scanned electronic signature of the owner to sign the checks, reports say. (Note to business owners: It’s always the most trusted employee who steals from you.)|
[Burning the Woods] Here are two maps of the prescribed burn units planned for this year. email@example.com
|[Founded by Geniuses, but Run by Idiots] Some food for thought. If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally …you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If the only school curriculum allowed to explain how we got here is evolution, but the government stops a $15 million construction project to keep a rare spider from evolving to extinction … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If children are forcibly removed from parents who discipline them with spankings while children of addicts are left in filth and drug infested “homes”… you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If you are offended by this article, I’ll bet you voted for the idiots who are running, and ruining our great country.
“If we concentrated on the really important stuff in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles” ~Coconuts Bar & Package Store, down town Pine Key
|[The Poker Run is Back] Tarpon Springs-based Full Throttle magazine is sponsoring a one-day motorcycle run from Florida City to Key West on Sept. 16 in an effort to continue the legacy of the Phil Peterson Poker Run, which was canceled this year due to a lack of sponsors and local organizers.|
[Total Eclipse] Even though I’m living about 10 miles away from the center line of totality, almost 2 minutes. You in Florida will not be totally left out. Video
|[Old Diver Down] A 66-year-old New Jersey woman, visiting the Keys with her husband, died while diving offshore of Key West on the Cayman Salvager yesterday. Patricia Simmons got into the water and immediately began to descend. One of the dive masters on board chased after her, catching up to her at 60 feet. The dive master began to bring her back to the surface. She struggled, acting as if she was panicking, and kept trying to remove her mask. At the surface she kept trying to spit out her regulator and then became unconscious.|
|[Phone Spam] New technology allows users to leave voicemail without the phone ever ringing. Developers of the backdoor voicemail argue that the “do not call list” does not apply. Ringless voicemail is a new technology that allows users to leave you a voicemail through a back door, without the phone ever ringing. There is growing concern that this capability can allow telemarketers to flood your voicemail, causing you to miss important messages. Remember that you are paying for the “air” time to recover each message.|
|I wonder if Fat Albert and now his mate, Skinny Albert, are really there as rescue vehicles for the VIP crowd in Key West when a super wave comes along and wipes out the Keys?|
|[No Business–Raise Prices] Word came down Sunday night that Looe Key Tiki Bar has raised menu prices again — a lot. Two people have already said, “That’s it for me eating at the Tiki” after experiencing the new prices. Bistro 31 got praise from one for providing good value, and the Moose Club got praise for their new Friday rib special from the other person. Draft beer prices also reportedly jumped up 25 cents at Tiki. So when business is slow, the wise restaurateur raises prices to try to make the same daily income? That seems really counterproductive to me, but maybe that’s why I can’t afford to go around buying up restaurants.|
|Imagination is a place where all the important answers live. Imagination — Frank Sinatra|
|My wife had been strangely quiet one evening and finally asked, “If I were to die would you remarry?” I told her that I might after some time. Then she asked if my new wife would be living in house and I said, “Well, there would be no reason to sell a perfectly good house.” Then she asked, “Would you let her use my golf clubs?” I said, “Of course not, she’s left handed?” That’s when the fight started.|
|[Sewer Connections] Notice to residents giving deposits to plumbers for sewer hook ups — don’t! I gave a deposit in Nov, was promised hook-up by May. I have not heard from or seen the plumber. I talked to neighbors with different plumbers and they have the same experience Beware, keep your money in bank till you see them in your neighborhood.|
|[Carpetbagger Drivers] Taxi drivers say the new ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are causing loads of trouble in Key West, while Uber officials say the rollout has been smooth with few complaints. “There is a fleet of about 50 to 70 people from out of town who are sleeping in their cars often and are coming in from out of town often and are depriving us of a living often,” one driver said. There should be a Keys residency requirement for those drivers.|
|[“Diving the Maldives”] Go for it. They have much of the Great Barrier Reef beat, and some fish you won’t see anywhere else. As long as you’re going that far you might consider diving Vanuatu. I was the only diver to show up below in 50 years or so, and everything was amazing – litter free, and pristine. You won’t need a wet suit, but you’ll probably have to take all of your equipment with you. It’s been a few years since I sailed it, but I didn’t see any air compressors either place. Have a great trip!|
|Monarch butterfly population status. Link|
|Big Pine Key Winn Dixie’s Weekly Ad|
[Skull and Boned Found] A Florida man and woman from Naples found what appeared to be a human skull and bones Sunday while diving for lobster under the Card Sound Bridge, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
|Protect yourself from credit card skimmers at gas pumps. Video|
|On Tuesday, Cuba’s government said it would suspend the issuance of permits for a range of occupations and ventures, including restaurants and renting out rooms in private homes. The suspension included the growing field of private teachers as well as street vendors of agricultural products, dressmakers and the relatively recent profession of real estate broker. The announcement did not say when the issuing of permits would resume and said that enterprises already in operation can continue.
Cuba’s economy has grown too fast and many restaurants cannot find the food to cook as there is no supply chain set up in the country as yet.
[Total Eclipse] Enter your own ZIP code in the yellow box and it’ll show you how the total eclipse will be seen where you live. Link
|[1858 Sudan, Africa] “The people here were highly superstitious, and, like all ignorant races, very punctilious in their ceremonies of worship. As true Mussulmans [Muslims], they were constant in their time of prayer, and abused my interpreter for never saying his. When I made him cut the deer’s throats a little lower down the throat than their canons permit, to save the specimen, they spat on the ground to show their contempt, and abused him heartily. If I threw date-stones in the fire (the seed of paradisiacal food), they looked upon it as a sacrilege. They were also very suspicious. If I walked up and down the same place to stretch my legs, they formed councils of war on my motives, considering I must have some secret designs upon their country, or I would not do it, as no man in his senses could be guilty of working his legs unnecessarily.”|
|Al-Anon Family Groups, a support group for the friends and families of alcoholics, offers regularly scheduled meetings in Marathon. Monday nights and Friday nights meet at St. Columba Church located at 451 52ndrd Street Gulf in Marathon beginning at 6:00 p.m. A daytime meeting is held during season, October 1 through April 30, on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. at the Marathon United Methodist Church located at 3010 Overseas Highway in Marathon.
Al-Anon’s purpose is to help families of alcoholics by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. Al-Anon is a safe, anonymous environment for its members and there are no membership dues. For more information about Al-Anon, call 973-479-6670 or 305-797-1704.
[Scam] Here we go again. A slightly different type of a scam, but still a scam.
|[Flying Iguanas] It seems the ospreys are more avant-garde than our local restaurants. They’ve caught on that Iguanas are good to eat, and several have been sighted flying across our islands with iguanas in their clutches. Perhaps that will take care of our iguana problem, our need to hire someone to check out our iguana problem, insure the Iguana Killer Club doesn’t get thrown into the hoosegow. The benefits are endless!|
[Truck Malfunction] Too bad there wasn’t a sound recording with this clip! Video
|[Marathon Parking] This is an issue about Ralph Lucignano’s ongoing abuse of the City of Marathon’s Parking Code which is confirmed by his current blatant violation with his outdoor seating at his deli. I am his neighbor in the adjoining Shopping Center and have a legitimate complaint and standing in this matter. While Lucignano has a history of violations with the City of Marathon, I do not and have never been in violation of your parking code, in spite of ongoing false complaints directed at me by the City and certain City Council Members over the years. I have learned about your Article 22 from City Attorney David Migit which places interpretation of your Land Development Regulation (LDRs) with your Planning Director.
I was not aware of this Article 22 which places the interpretive powers of your poorly written LDRs with one individual. It seems to explain some things. At this point I have questions about this April 29, 2011 Memorandum.
1) Section 107.50 (B) of your Code of Ordinances states “where shared parking strategies are proposed shall be determined by a study prepared by a professional engineer….”. Mr. William Knetge of Terra Mar Architectural at residential address 11270 6th Avenue Gulf, Marathon is an Architect not a professional engineer. How did the City of Marathon determine Mr. Knetge was qualified to conduct and prepare a honest parking study in which you based a reduced parking agreement?
2) How did the City of Marathon and on what basis did the City of Marathon conclude that the submitted parking plan was even close to accurate? I ask this question because after reviewing the study there are some very obvious mistakes. How could a competent study estimate zero (0) parking usage for businesses during their open hours of business? And zero (0) parking for employees during those same open hours? And zero (0) parking for a two bedroom apartment at Gemini? The assignment of partial parking spaces using .10, .25 and .50 parking spaces is clearly against your code which requires those numbers to be rounded up to the next whole number. The City is responsible for review and to correct these kinds of simple mistakes or errors but it seems to not have been the case here.
3) What is the City of Marathon’s requirement for retail parking? Was it ever 1 parking space per 1,000 square feet because I have always known it to be 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet? I have attached a copy of your Parking Schedule. The “BACKGROUND” section of this memorandum states that the site should require 110 total parking spaces which is not true. Per your Parking Code Gemini Printing, Vito of the Keys and Marathon Liquors would each be required to have 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet making the accurate requirement at 138 total parking spaces, not the 110 in the Memorandum. The basic premise on which your Parking Agreement is based on is wrong. The City of Marathon should never have allowed this increased intensity of use. Yet the City of Marathon found a way to give Lucignano a right to build his Plaza Grill.
4) Also according to your “BACKGROUND” section you state that there will be 75 parking spaces associated with the project site which is 35 parking spaces less than what is required per your Memorandum number of 110 but 63 parking spaces less than what should really be required when using the correct number of required parking spaces which should have stated 138. So, my question is, what was the real number of parking spaces actually provided at the time of the Plaza Grill opening? Not sure that it was even the 75 the City was reducing the requirement to be. Excuse me for asking this question because this is not unlike Mike Cinque’s Stuffed Pig restaurant problem where he had a parking requirement but was never required to provide one single parking space. By the way, Lucignano does not now currently meet even your beneficially reduced number of parking spaces of 75 (gift or not). Please confirm Lucignano’s current number of verified parking spaces.
5) Why has the City of Marathon waited so very long to address this situation when it has been known for years by the City that Lucignano has continually been in violation of your parking code with his addition of more outdoor seating years ago? I filed a code complaint at the time, yet you did nothing!
6) Finally after 6+ years of living with this Lucignano agreement that he has never followed or been willing to abide by, it has become clear to anyone attending the Theater or Cinema that this Parking Plan was never close to adequate and that the increase of intensity of use by allowing the Plaza Grill restaurant should never have been allowed in the first place due to insufficient parking. The question now is, how are you going to address it? Certainly this is different than your problem with Sunset Grille since that is a zoning problem but at least the owner of Sunset Grille is willing to address your parking problem there if you would allow that to happen. The problem with Lucignano and with Cinque is how can you take back a gift that they never should have given in the first place?
As the neighboring property owner Lucignano has caused First Florida Keys Properties real harm. We have been unfairly treated over the years with false and malicious accusations by City Council Members. Permit delays and an unsubstantiated parking code complaint from the City of Marathon has cost us time and real money.
Answer these 6 questions in writing, do not ignore them. I am not the problem here and I am not your enemy just because I tell you the truth. Yes, this email is going out to as many people as possible and I hope it gets passed around without limitation. This ongoing problem should be addressed, right or wrong, like it or not, in the sunshine because these back room deals must stop! It’s not because I say so, its because the People of Marathon are sick and tired of all of this secret stuff and behind the scenes handing out of special deals and beneficial gifts! Let’s finally put an end to special interest benefits in the City of Marathon and follow you own rules. ~Bruce Schmitt ~firstname.lastname@example.org
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