Letters to the editor with pictures since 0202. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.
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My dream of living here in paradise came to fruition just over eight years ago. The first thing I realized when that happened for me was the paradise I now live in is quite different than the paradise I used to visit. Those who pop in and out of the Keys simply cannot understand what it is to live here year-round; it’s beyond their comprehension. They ask, “So what brought you to the Keys?” It’s one of those questions where if you have to ask you wouldn’t understand. I just smile and say the blue water. I didn’t come here seeking fame or fortune. I came here seeking a life. Which is good because, bottom line, people who live here, “locals”, could not care less about your fame or fortune and that little nugget of genius is wherein the magic of the blue water lies.
The people who will always hold this community together will be the people who will do whatever is takes to stay. It’s something that cannot be bought, sold or flaunted and it is understood. And even though I’ve only been here a few years, one of my earliest memories is waking up in the backseat of my parents’ car and seeing that magical blue water outside the window. The spell was cast way back then and I would someday be back to stay and become one of the “whatever it takes” locals. I’m actually relieved to have been through my first hurricane. I grew up in Florida, so it was certainly not my first, but my first here. I have what it takes.
But now I see a different storm coming. A storm that doesn’t come and go in the course of twenty-four hours. This storm started brewing a couple of years ago, coinciding with the completion of the Cudjoe treatment plant. It’s a storm of greed, ego and fraud. It’s named Progress and it will destroy everything in its path. The developers looking for a fast buck are the tornadoes that spin out of such a massive storm and once the last buck has been made they leave with a could-not-care-less attitude at what they have destroyed in the name of profit (I mean, ahem, Progress). Our current government seems to be sitting confidently in the (pocket) eye of this storm, oblivious to the destruction around their foothold. If we want to save the Keys way of life we have to create an environment not conducive to the further development of Storm Progress. We all know that once that eye, that pocket of protection, starts to wobble it’s a sign the storm is weakening. We can cause this at the ballot box. We can elect representatives that represent us. We can elect ourselves not more opportunists. We must elect people who see the blue water and not the color of money. We must be very diligent in causing this effect. We have the force to take back our Keys home! Start the chatter and get informed about who is governing us rather than serving us.
Furthermore, the main reason we have no affordable housing is because of individuals seeking a profit here as well. They buy “vacation” homes they cannot afford while being told they can cover their mortgage by renting the houses to vacationers most of the year. Then they come down for a couple months feeling somewhat superior to the rest of us who pull off year-round living. Yeah, right. If you don’t have what it takes to live here all year, if you can’t stand the summer heat and storms, if you aren’t able to see the blue water, you should not own property here. The homes here should be affordable and available for those who have what it takes to keep putting our community back together, storm after storm. People who will do whatever it takes. There are plenty of hotels, resorts and campgrounds to house the visitors. Of course, for homes to be affordable, values will go down. If that makes your skin crawl, if you only see the value of your investment and not the blue water, then I’m sorry. You are not gifted and privileged enough to ever truly live here anyway. We should not be forced to live among loud, obnoxious vacationers in our neighborhoods. We should not have mostly vacant houses in our neighborhoods either. If you want a home in the Keys, then be prepared to live in it and care for it. And be willing to help out in the community you love. Monroe County is not a planned development. It’s a string of islands with limited resources with unique challenges that cannot be met with “back home” politics. No longer should we allow ourselves as a community to be treated the way we have let our government and our guests treat us and our environment for a fast buck. We are not developers and investors and our lives mean more to us than a quick and shallow profit. It’s time we start saying so.
Spring is today!
Spring has sprung
The grass has ris
I wonder where all the birdies is
|The NRA has it all wrong, always has. It’s not the operator that’s the problem, it’s the guns that are the problem. Murderers will always murder. Let’s make it harder for them.
|[Guns] One thing left out of the conversation about these attacks is the drugs these looney toons are on or supposed to be taking. Parkland: he was off his meds, Colorado shooter was crazy as a loon and off his meds, The Sandy Hook shooter was off his meds and his mother left the guns out, why is she not in jail? The kid in West Palm Beach who killed a friend at a sleepover this past week, not on his meds? Also, like the San Bernadino and Orlando shooters, the knife wielding WPB[?] 17 year old claimed to be a Muslim. It’s time to change the HIPPA Laws. If you’re prescribed mood altering drugs, your name goes on the Do Not Sell list. If you have a medical weed card, no guns. That’s already the policy, if you use a schedule 1 drug, no gun. If you’re on any med where suicide or suicidal thoughts are a side effect, you go on a list and no guns. In fact, there’s a lady in Key West who used her car to kill a woman by driving on the sidewalk. Her excuse, meds, rehab, etc. Let’s take away cars, knives, guns etc if you’re having to take happy pills everyday. Chantix, Zoloft, Prozac, Xanax, Lexapro, Elivil, Klonapin, the list is huge
|I just realized Corpus Christi, Texas means the Christ’s body, Texas. Yuk
[Corned Beef Hash] I did a taste test on Libby’s vs Hormel. Libby’s lost because it had the taste and consistency of mushy dog food (don’t ask me how I know what mushy dog food tastes like).
|Beware politicians who claim that our children are their first concern and that they will do everything to improve their lives. For it was the early Black statesman and writer named Frederick Douglas who warned ”It’s easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.” Remember this when and if you vote in the coming elections and don’t keep putting the same worthless scum back in office. ~Mike Gushey
This is what armed teachers looked like back in my day.
|Remembering Vietnam My Lai massacre 50 years later, March 16th, 1968. Video
It’s nice to see that the eyesore that was the former Underseas Dive Shop property has finally been cleared. It has been rumored that the property will become a Tom Thumb Super Store with more gas pumps, a fast food sandwich shop and expanded retail. It would also be a nice improvement if we could also get rid of the dilapidated slum-like building that was the former House of Music.
|[Keynoter] OK, so we all heard that the Keynoter won’t be printed and published but now I heard that there’ll not be any Keynoter online and all the people at the Marathon office have been fired. The building on the corner of US1 and 30th Street will be sold and the only reason that people (we) don’t know that there’ll be no online Keynoter is because the Miami Herald doesn’t want to lose the URL for the Keynoter.
|[Flood Insurance] Think of FEMA as just another dirty insurance company and the uncaring push to force people out of surge flood living space becomes obviously about the money. FEMA would never drop the Keys from the flood insurance program because of not forcing people to tear down and build higher. The Keys are a cash cow. Mortgage companies insist on flood insurance even where it is obvious that a flood will never reach the dwelling. There is no non-subsidized flood insurance. That is a myth. If you don’t buy flood insurance, your mortgage company will “force place” you on a policy that is not available to the public and not satisfactory even to them for a refinance. It is a bank insurance policy that is with a subsidiary of the bank that then buys reinsurance from Lloyd’s to cover losses of over so many million. You cannot buy a Florida flood insurance policy from Lloyd’s or anyone else, so the subsidy is a myth. You pay full freight, but nothing is covered if you are in an elevated house.
[Irish Spring to Deter Deer] Have you heard about this trick for the Key Deer eating everything up? Video
|Who does the lethal yellow injection for coconut palm trees?
|[Guns] Friday’s CT was very sad in that it displayed the ignorance and out right stupidity of the posters against guns. As said many times any weapon used to harm another human is bad, but it is not that weapon but the user. The America people will never give up their weapons simply because the rest of the world won’t. The sissies and dreamers will cry and complain forever, but they will always want armies that kill the bad guys!
As we all know, “hurricane windows” are bulletproof as was demonstrated during the Parkland shooting. I assume that all school construction in the last decade included “hurricane windows” so they will not have to be replaced to meet the state mandate for bulletproof windows.
|Common sense is not a gift, it’s a punishment. Because you have to deal with everyone who doesn’t have it.
|It wasn’t for Judy Garland‘s fine voice that we liked her, it was that she had big lungs that could belt out a song from the heart. Ethel Merman was another belter, although I thought she was overrated. Ms Merman was popular because her fame came before microphones. Theaters needed belters to project to the balcony and she was a bloody megaphone!
The mad bomber struck again this morning at a Texas FedEx facility. We should confiscate all bombs. Link
|FYI- The Ides of March is the 15th not 14th.
My doctor told me, now that I’m older, I need to install a bar in my shower. What do you think?
|[“KW Illumination 1857”] Likely they were talking about an event where people decorate their porches and outside their houses with Chinese paper lanterns. Here is a snippitt from an article about the first “Grand Illumunation” on Marthas Vinyard. They still have Illumination nights to this day on Marthas Vinyard
The first Illumination Night, on Saturday, August 14, 1869, was sponsored by the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company. The Seaside Gazette reported, “The illumination and fireworks at ‘Oak Bluffs,’ on Saturday evening last, was a very fine affair. Chinese and Japanese lanterns were displayed in abundance, suspended from cottages and trees. There was a good variety in the pieces at the fireworks. The Foxboro Brass Band, brought here by the liberality of E. P. Carpenter, Esq., of Foxboro, discoursed fine music for the occasion. Several thousands of people of both sexes were out to see and hear.” It had nothing to do with electricity of gas. Link
Most of America’s fruit is now imported. Is that a bad thing? America first? Link
|Some of Buster Keaton’s most amazing stunts. Before computer generated effects there was Buster Keaton who did his own stunts. Before talkies … way before. 1920 – 1929 Video
|[“18-mile stretch”] The problem with the 18-mile stretch is some jerk is always pissing off some other jerk by driving right on his rear end, angering him and causing him to drive the speed limit or less and then speeding up in the passing zones to keep the first jerk from passing. It’s not too complicated and the rest of us plan our trip through there accordingly. It’s 18 miles, get a grip, dude.
[Waco] Janet Reno, Bill Clinton, the ATF, and FBI killed a bunch of people at Waco, Texas, but nobody is protesting that. Never forget that 7 little children died at the hands of the very govt that was sworn to protect them! Video
|[Weapons of War] How, madam, does my “rapid fire gun” affect your life in any possible way that you would need it removed from your, and your children’s lives? You don’t even know me. My “rapid fire gun” is locked away in a safe bolted to a wall in an unassuming closet. I certainly won’t remove it and cause your family bodily harm. Why do you assume I would? You don’t even know me. The gun itself, simply a machined hunk of metal and plastic, won’t jump out of the safe and hurt children. Why call me a nut and a hater? whom do I hate? You don’t even know me. I would never point the gun at anyone, let alone go on a killing spree with it. Take a deep breath and try to think rationally.
Some of you who are old enough will get this. (spoiler: Rocky & Bullwinkle)
|Feeding brown pelicans can jeopardize their lives and lead to jail time. A biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission noted that the birds can become so used to free daily meals that they fail to migrate south and end up becoming sick or die from exposure. Under a new rule passed by FFWC, feeding more than one pelican is considered a second degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail. It is also illegal to discharge fish scraps that attract pelicans to the area. The bones of discarded and dismembered fish can become lodged in the pelicans throats.
|[KW Sucks] We went to party in Key West on St Patrick’s Day, but didn’t last long because it seems Key West died last year. None of the good old spots were worth going into and the cops gave us the felling of some sort of gulag! Never again. It’s off to New Orleans or Hawaii next year
[Hot Shower] For those of you who’ve lived off the grid or done a lot of trekking, I bet you’ll all agree that there’s nothing like a hot shower!
|I recently was informed that the Miami Herald and USA Today will cease home delivery to the Keys. I wonder if I will be receiving a refund for the remaining months of my subscription? Nope? I didn’t think so.
|[Photography] Winner 2016 Special Award: People’s Choice, Mario Cea, Spain
The blue trail” The kingfisher frequented this natural pond every day, and Mario used a high shutter speed with artificial light to photograph it. He used several units of flash for the kingfisher and a continuous light to capture the wake as the bird dived down towards the water. This is the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) also known as the Eurasian kingfisher, a small kingfisher with seven subspecies recognized within its wide distribution across Eurasia and North Africa.
Technical specification: Canon EOS 7D; 100–400mm lens at 160mm; 1/15 sec at f7.1; 250 ISO; four Godox V860 flashes; LED light lantern; Benro tripod and ballhead; Cable release; Hide
|I always wonder how much money the stranger I’m talking to has.
|No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. ~Charles Dickens
Special super thanks to Joseph C. Britz and Meri-Lynn Rondeau Britz for their continued support of the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Outdoor Fest – support the “Nut” – March 17, 2018 – Big Pine Key – I know there are many who support the Outdoor Fest, but this is my contact–Coconuts is a cool place to hang out!
|[16th Century Florida] The Indians are accustomed to kill deer by encircling them with fires. The pasturage is taken from the cattle by burning, that necessity may drive them to seek it in places where it is desired they should go.
Sometimes Indians carry loads of wood and water when they go to hunt deer, which are usually found where neither is to be got. On the day of their arrival, they kill the deer and other animals which they can, and consume all the water and all the wood in cooking and on the fires they make to relieve them of mosquitos. They remain the next day to get something to sustain them on their return; and when they go, such is their state from those insects that they appear to have the affliction of holy Lazarus. In this way do they appease their hunger, two or three times in the year.
Limes by Deb Kik
|Re-entry to the Keys following evacuation from a hurricane. A plan is only as good as the execution of that plan. First responders is a great idea but what I observed from the first responders in my neighborhood, police and a federal agency, they rushed out to their own homes to put up tarps to damaged homes while other homeowners who evacuated waited in Homestead to get back. These first responders, policemen from Key West and a federal agent, worked on their homes for about a week before others were allowed to. This delay caused more damage. Other store owners who had relied on getting back soon to turn on generators to save product lost everything.
We also know the problem the county had with a few deputies who could not be contacted who had been assigned to stay and help quick recovery. Some of these deputies rushed to tarp up their homes first. To the sheriff’s credit, he acknowledged this problem right away and probably has addressed the issue. The plan has to be followed by individuals who know how to, adjust and execute with extreme character on all levels of government.
As for communications, thousands of people left without cleaning out refrigerators and freezers and turning off power. This lack of planning and execution by residents created a mess for others to clean up at great expense. Also, many things flew around because they were not secured with rope or stored away. Seems like a simple thing but the attitude of thinking a storm won’t hit is wishful thinking. The plan should be to always assume the storm is going to be bad.
On debris, it should be clear in advance that cars, boats, RVs, personal watercraft, golf carts and ATVs are not debris. Owners of large oceanfront properties should be instructed to not simply dump everything in front of other homes nearby. Don’t put the junk in front of other homes but find an area of public right of away without homes.
Also, most docks without permits floated away. The county’s lack of enforcement of codes created this problem. They simply refuse to enforce building codes unless someone complains, causing millions of dollars in damage to other properties. Until the county and the municipalities get serious about code enforcement, we all will suffer while the county expects the federal government to pay for the neglect of others. Everything has to be secured. That’s a good plan, now let’s execute the plan with government employees who have the will to do that. Re-entry should be limited to those who can take care of themselves and those who are public servants should have a sense of responsibility or be fired by supervisors or voters. ~Florida Keys News
|Well dang, the blue paper still around? How can someone think making false accusations and writing unfounded rumor could be worth 5k a month? Geeze, take your commie agenda and cop hating rag and fold already! I’ll bet you nobody actually pays 2 grand, much less 5. That’s unreal. ~firstname.lastname@example.org
|[“Irma repair work”] Ha ha ha. It’s called politics you ninny and you pay for it or else! Look at MM 15 to 30, there is still trash on the roads. Why? because the county does not give a darn for the lower keys nobodies. You can’t sue the government, but you sure can break a few knee caps.
|Joe and Meri-Lynn Britz of Coconuts Bar and Package at 30535 Overseas Hwy on Big Pine Key, delivered it’s annual Christmas Tree Check to the new Food Pantry that opened on Feb. 5th at St Peter’s Catholic Church. Every year Coconuts puts up a huge Christmas Tree for it’s customers and provides them a way to “give” to those in need. This year the customers raised $685.00 in small bills pinned on the tree. Coconuts always matches that figure. This year, one of Coconuts Employees, James Rush, went above and beyond as he knew there was great need because of Irma. He continued to collect from customers and friends and raised a total of $1275.00. Father Jesus “Jets” Medina and his office manager, Nancy McCrosson, D.R.E are shown her receiving a check for their Food Pantry for $2,645.00.
|The way things are going here in the USA our enemies won’t have to fire a shot to take over, they just have to pat our butt and kiss us.
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