Since 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures
[“The oldest businesses on Big Pine”] Underseas dive shop was first opened next to Gabby’s Texaco station which is now the Shell station. Mr. Jim’s was a breakfast only place where Springer’s is now located. Bistro 31 was Judd’s, the only “grocery” store. Sea Center was here but the original building is now gone. Big Pine Fishing Lodge and the Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Camp were here. The Big Pine Inn was in full swing. Soon came the Sharecropper, that is now the Bucktooth Rooster. New businesses on Big Pine are Coconuts, the health food store and True Value.
|[Healthcare Idea] Why don’t we give all Americans basic healthcare like all other democracies do? Everyone will be covered, no premiums, no bills, no insurance companies, no nothing, just a healthy America. Pay for it with payroll deductions and government subsidies from our income tax. Everyone, young and old must pay. If you work you pay. If people don’t want the basic plan and long wait times and shitty service, let them pay extra for private insurance like they do in Canada and England.
57 percent of people facing foreclosure on their homes identified medical debt and other medical costs as a primary cause. Here’s the clincher: only 10 percent of those people didn’t have insurance! The others were all insured, but their policy was so complicated that they didn’t know they weren’t covered until they needed the insurance. Health insurance is a criminal enterprise designed to avoid paying claims and misleading the insured. Life is too complicated as it is, let’s make it better. We need national healthcare to make America great again.
[“Wedding venues in the Keys”] My son and daughter-in-law were married at Parmer’s Resort on Little Torch. It was beautiful and most of the guests stayed at the resort. Everyone had a great time.
|Having a few drinks on a hot day with a friend is good but having a hot friend on a cold night after a few drinks is better.
|[What People Want] New bills will establish statewide regulations for services such as Lyft and Uber that include limited background checks with disqualifying criteria, insurance coverage standards and a zero-tolerance policy for substance abuse. The services have been banned in Key West since 2015 to protect the taxi companies in that city.
In March 1898, the Spanish Naval Court of Inquiry submitted to U.S. Secretary of the Navy John Long it’s results that found the Battleship Maine was destroyed by an internal explosion. The conspiracy theorists are still having a field day speculating on the cause of the sinking
|[Developers] Key West restaurateur Joe Walsh purchased the 8-acre old Shrimp Farm aquaculture property off U.S. 1 and plans to build 163 housing units on Summerland Key. His plan will go before the Monroe County Planning Commission on Wednesday.
|[7 Mile Bridge Run] The bridge will be closed this Saturday from 6:45 am and reopen at 9 am.
|[Web Design Volunteer Needed] I have somewhat public service question. Do you know anyone who could help us re-build the website for the Friends of Bahia Honda State Park? We were doing quite well with our site until a couple of dishonest people destroyed the domain. We’ve since regained our access and control, but don’t have any board or general members capable of doing the programming required. We’re an accredited 501c3 and would like to have friendsofbahiahonds.org ready again to take both membership and personalized paver brick orders on the site. We’re limited to Facebook activity at this time. We generate money for projects and goodwill in the community, such as sponsoring this year’s Earth Day.
Thank You, Gary Wilkins, Board member, Sgt. at Arms, email@example.com
|[FTR On Term Limits] On Friday a poster who supports term limits asked about polling on the issue. The most recent poll I could find was from Rasmussen in October of ’16. That poll showed that only about 13% of likely voters were against term limits. Nearly 75% were in favor of term limits, the balance was undecided. I think that those numbers are probably accurate. Those numbers seem to be static from at least 2013 when Gallup also polled the issue. The national polls spoke to Congress, but it’s a sure bet that it would carry over to local elected boards. I commend the ‘Skeeter Board members for daring to go forward against the long time, entrenched power structure. Please take just a second and email the board and tell them that you want term limits for the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board. This certainly is not a partisan issue, both Democrats and Republicans who want good government support the issue. Here’s one of the board’s email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org
|[Government] Let’s build a wall with funds cut from the Coast Guard. Think about this, take all the time you need.
|I just checked out a world cruise for 120 days. It stops at lots of ports, but has 60 sea days or half the cruise. That would be ok if we got the free booze package, but world cruises seldom offer such goodies. That means our bar time will cost as much as the cruise itself! No way, Jose
|I was not surprised with the explosion on Aviation Blvd, Marathon Thursday morning. Just last month I sent out email to city officials about potential disasters and fires in the same area to Code Enforcement officials Stacy Charlton and Patti, City Manager Garrett, and also the City Fire Department officials were aware of this. I also raised concerns about Discount Rock and Sand doing the same thing that caused the explosion on Thursday–wielding and burning close to the fuel pump and tanks at the County fuel station, across the street 100 feet away. Plus, people are living on site. With so many things that are flammable it is only a matter of time before something of a larger magnitude happens. Something should be done to clean up this mess–another accident waiting to happen.
|[Unedited] In 76 or so I worked at Bahia Honda. Did diving, finger piers in the marina; boat ramps, a lil’ walking bridge. And lived on canal on Big Pine just off Watson, on Sunset. The “Plank” and Ernie’s Island Woman……. No Name was within’ stumbling distance……..Hey now My lady worked as a Marine Biologist. Me; a diver,sailor and part time smuggler. Worked on the Bahia Honda Marina for quite a while. And dove the old bridge every time the tide was right. We did a nice job. It was “Bitchin’ ” So great Aloha!
|I saw FTR’s letter to the editor on term limits in Sunday’s Citizen. You go, FTR. Good luck with that
[Savages] Congo — A Congolese militia group has decapitated 42 policemen after ambushing them in an increasingly violent region where the U.N. is searching for missing American and Swedish investigators.
|I think the Federal Government should just ban all insurance, medial, vehicle, home, liability, and whatever else is now insured so people have to pay for their own misfortune!
[Remember the Main] On March 27, 1898 eight bodies from the Battleship Maine were buried in the Battleship Maine Plot in Key West City Cemetery.
|[“People move to better themselves”] You forgot that people move for love too.
[Pet Peeve] When the stapler is out of staples. [ [ [ [ [ [
|[Sewer Crooks] FKAA billing for sewage based on your water meter reading before you are actually connected to central sewer is not really legal. FKAA writes its own Rules. Those Rules say they can do it, but it is charging for a service that is not provided (theft, extortion). It’s called “color of law”, defined by Wikipedia as “‘Color of law’ refers to an appearance of legal power to act that may operate in violation of law. ”
The policy was initiated to encourage connection without the heavy hand of Code Enforcement being involved.
If it takes 3 weeks to get a damned permit and there are limited plumbers, then the 30-day requirement to hook up is an impossibility. That 30-day law was passed to encourage connection (and more importantly, revenue) before the more sensible State requirement of 1 year to connect.
Yes, it is a windfall for FKAA. There is some basis for charging the “base facility charge” once sewer is available to connect, since there is expense involved in operations and maintenance of the infrastructure, but there is no basis for charging for sewage that is not pumped or treated. When your water meter is off, you pay the base charge to operate and maintain the infrastructure, but no water consumption is billed because your portion of water is not treated and pumped
[Redneck Blinds] No need to clean or dust them. Just tear off and toss away.
|Always take life with a grain of salt — and a slice of lime and a shot of tequila. Most of life’s problems can be solved with nudity and tequila.
|[“Term limits”] People go into politics as a career because once they’ve felt power it’s very hard to give that up. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” That is why we will never see term limits, but I won’t stop trying to make it the law. We deserve better.
Bacon is better than that girl or guy who said they would die for you. Bacon, actually, did die for you. Bacon’s love is real.
|[Sewers] FKAA’s self-written rules provide that they can turn off your water for failure to pay any portion of your bill including reclaimed water or sewage charges, and they can then have their attorneys hunt you down and extort their fees on top of your unpaid charges. No, it’s not fair, but until there is a public uprising such crap will continue and probably get worse.
The Cudjoe Regional windfall of sewage charges for uncollected, untreated sewage is what allowed FKAA to reduce the sewer bill by 15% for FKAA executives in Key Haven who never even “contributed” their $4500 special assessment for our sewer infrastructure. Instead, our rates will pay to replace their super leaky piping that FKAA bought for $2 million with your money, and pump it to Big Coppitt (built with your tax money) where it will be inadequately treated and dumped into shallow wells for distribution into nearshore waters. Central sewers have always been about the money and facilitating development, not the water quality.
|[On Big Pine Key we need CLARC = Church Lane Anarchist Road Care] The shopping center semi trucks have destroyed Church Lane. Why is the shopping center not responsible for repairing Church Lane behind Winn Dixie and Bealls Outlet? Why are Winn Dixie and Bealls not responsible for repairing Church Lane? Why is Church Lane called Church Lane? There are no churches on Church Lane. Does the Key Deer Refuge own Church Lane? Their land borders Church Lane. (Ed: Photo: Baptist church at Key Deer Blvd and Church Lane)
|[Doctors] Be warned, if you are over 40 doctors will work on you excessively, over 50 decently, over 60 somewhat over 70 depends on your insurance, over 80 forget about it you’re not worth keeping!
|[Canal Restoration] Who should pay for expensive canal restoration projects in unincorporated Monroe County? Those on canals? It’s going to be expensive.
[Movie Review] “A Dog’s Purpose” at Tropic Cinema, in Key West. Terrific film. Alas, the entire gig hinges on dogs, but not humans, can’t piss off the religious elements, are born, live, die, then are born again, live, die, and keep doing that, I suppose, until they get it right, or whatever. I bawled plenty at the end of the film. Maybe, I hoped, it was a sign that somehow, some way, my own life would be a happy ending. Probably not going to hold my breath and hasten the ending.
|This was in the Los Angeles Times personal ads column: “I live in constant fear that Trump will deport my Latino mother-in-law who lives at 1837 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023. She gets off work at 6:00 PM and rides the #24 bus home.”
|I just read in the Florida Keys Free Press that the new Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex on BPK is on need of $500,000 to complete the project. Their spokesperson sites the screwworm outbreak and hurricanes in other refuges for the shortage of funding.
Who plans these projects? Why wasn’t the money set aside so you don’t have a new empty building sitting there — for Lord knows how long — looking stupid?
An internet search shows that the Refuge Manager in May 2016 said the project would cost $500K. Another article just in January 2017 quotes the Public Relations Representative saying the project will cost $300K. Here we are now with a shell of a building and a need for $500K more!
Did anyone at the US Fish and Wildlife Service think this through? This is not how you plan and fund a project.
|We seem to be rapidly losing the things that make Big Pine special. There is only more development in our future.
|[“Term Limits”] How can you get politicians to vote themselves out of office? Almost every citizen supports term limits, but we’ve allowed the fox to guard the hen house, so it isn’t going to happen until the citizenry grows a pair of–you-know-whats! It’s similar to the protectionism of politicians having better healthcare than what they are offering to the rest of us. That wont change either. It’s all talk with them, that’s why we need term limits.
[Screwworms dead] A public meeting was held Saturday to wrap up the New World Screwworm eradication efforts and explain the monitoring that will continue regarding the endangered Key deer. Representatives were at the meeting to discuss what was done and what will happen in the future.
|[Healthcare] All those happy laughing people in prescription drug ads must have great health insurance.
|The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.~Coconuts Bar & Liquor Store. Downtown Big Pine Key. <@)}}}><
|[Sewers] When Tom Walker claimed that the CRWS would be processing 964,000 gal. in raw sewage per day using the 40%/25% estimated agricultural usage, he was so full of caca his breath smelled. I challenge Tom Walker to come up with any documentation of agricultural usage to substantiate Tom Waker’s wild guess. I personally use zero gallons of FKAA water to irrigate my crops as I lived on a cistern supplied water for 9 years before Hurricane Georges and then I got City water.
I’ve worked for large utilities in a construction overseers capacity for over 40 years and there’s been numerous occasions where I’ve had to manipulate figures and documents (cook the books) to make things work or look good.
Tom Walker, prove to the taxpayers that your 40%/25% is a fact or the usual way to get away with not abiding by rules and regulations that are inconvenient.
|I went to the Watson Trail on Key Deer Blvd. Lo and behold, they have a brick tiled parking lot. Now I don’t know about what this would cost because I have to pay my bills with my money so I have a coral rock driveway, similar to what they bricked over. I would assume that asphalt or even cement would be cheaper if they needed anything at all. I’m making this assumption because all the very rich people have brick driveways. Then on the trail they mention endangered Key Deer? These deer are anything but endangered. Maybe they should read the history section in the Citizen. In 1885 the guy wrote in his diary. “Went to Big Pine Key to do some deer hunting. Spent a whole day searching for deer. Saw nothing.” Try doing that today. There are so many deer they had to move them to other islands. In nature when you over populate a species nature takes over to bring the population down to what the area can handle — screwworm?
Now let’s discuss the bike path. Before we had the path, bikers rode on the road. A little dangerous, so someone decides to build them their own path that half the bikers refuse to use. I can understand the path. I don’t understand all the railings. They bikers no longer have to be on the highway. Does the guardrail mysteriously make them dizzy causing them to fall off the straight and level bike path? Luckily, they held off closing the bridges until the rails were completed?
Along with the new bike path comes aggressive signage. There is so much signage that they have to put 2 or 3 signs on each pole. On the Key Deer stretch if they put in another 10 signs they will be able to tear the fence down because the deer won’t be able to get around the signs to get to the road.
Normally rum will let me ignore all the waste and stupidity, but they have brought all this to a level where I need a new drug to be able to absorb this insanity. They need to legalize really, really, good pot if the government expects us to believe they have any clue about anything at all.
Munson Island, just off shore of South of Big Pine Key. Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. Blessings my friends. There is beauty if all forms, shapes, color & texture. It surrounds you. ~Coconut Bar & Liquor Store
|How to give your opossum a proper massage. Video
|This is an incredible collection of tinted photochromes from the end of the 19th century and dawn of the 20th, hiding away in the Beinecke rare books and manuscript library. Published by the Detroit Photographic (which no longer exists), the firm’s photographers traveled the country snapping the sights of North America to be printed on postcards and sold to the public. Link
|I lived on Big Pine just off Watson. Was a diver/salver building the marina at Bahia Honda Park. So great. Ernie’s Island Woman. The Gang Plank. Would go with the lady to Key Wasted on Sat. Night out on the town, man. Top of the La Concha, Capn’ Tony’s, Half Moon Saloon.
|[Big Bear Dead] It was reported by his immediate family that snowbird Big Pine drummer and indisputably huge guy “Big Bear” died in his sleep of a heart attack. Lots worse ways to go when your time is up, I guess. He was a generally mellow, friendly dude, thank God because he was big! Sorry to see him gone.
|Arguments in favor of aquaculture: 1. Can create jobs in community 2. Can increase revenue on city, state and national level 3. Can reduce seafood trade deficit 4. Can help feed a growing U.S. and world population 5. Can encourage local investment 6. Can increase scientific knowledge and technology 7. Can place more emphasis on protecting coastal waters from pollution, especially in the case of mollusk and seaweed culture. 8. May reduce fishing pressure on certain wild stocks if that species can be produced through aquaculture rather than fished.
If Mote Marine is so wonderful then why, dear County Commissioners and City Officials, aren’t they addressing these issues and why, Sanctuary Advisory Council, aren’t they addressed at the SAC meetings?
|The Chamber’s new “Self Reliance Award” program is initiated to provide cash awards for the High School Seniors in Monroe County Schools (Marathon HS, Key West HS, and Collegiate Academy) who best exhibit this fine character trait. Acknowledging that the outstanding scholar and athlete are often rewarded with college scholarships, the Self Reliance Award is designated to seek out and honor the Senior who “does the best with what he or she has” whether he or she is a scholar, an athlete, a student leader or youth who must seek employment to help his or her family meet expenses. Applicants must reside within the boundaries of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce (the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge through south Stock Island). Applications are available from each school’s counselors, as well as in the April Chamber Compass, accessible through the Chamber’s website, click on “Monthly Newsletter.” For questions or more information, please contact the Lower Keys Chamber ab 305-872-2411. Link
|Marijuana could be legalized by 2018 Canada Day. Video
|I cannot figure out who controls whom? Does the media control religion or via-versa? Both should be eliminated.
|[Armed Fishermen] A local in the Lower Florida Keys came home to find a snowbird (a vacationer from Ohio) in his house packing a box with valuables. The home owner didn’t pull a firearm, but talked the robber into realizing he was doing wrong. They made friends and the next day the home owner took the robber “fishing” 20 miles out into the Gulf Stream. The owner never did know the robbers name. Things are different in the Keys. Link
|Does anyone know the story on Budd Key? There are 3 old mobile homes and two old cars on the island.
|[Solar at Marathon’s New Branch Library] Finally some common sense has prevailed over the feel-good pressure by the Greenies to promote solar. The new Marathon library was to include a $700,000 to $1.4 million solar array. The payback on this project ranged from 20 to 73 years- well over the life of the panels even ignoring potential hurricane damage. The only commissioner that threw logic out the window was Ms. Heather. She wanted solar panels for some reason other than economics. I guess it is better to feel good than to do good for the taxpayers.
|[Remove Healthcare for the Poor] Well, it looks like the free riders have gotten their free healthcare back and the rest of us who work for our living have to support those bums. I won’t because I will stop paying my income taxes and take every free handout that the government offers, just like the blood suckers are doing. Why not, it’s my fucking money in the first place!
|[Roads] Road people are getting ready to fix US1. If they paved the existing dirt road that is Litton Way all the locals could get through Big Pine Key without getting on the highway. If they removed one concrete barrier at the south end we could go all the way.
|The Australian Pines at Ft. Zachary Taylor State Park are again in danger. I did not know who to contact to voice my concern for these trees so I searched the internet. I contacted the group at Saveourpines.com for more information and this was the reply: “Thank you for your concern. We have a Memorandum of Understanding with the state that the existing pines are not to be cut down at Fort Zach. We have managed to be an exception to the rule of “invasive species” removal. They are not in danger of being cut down however we are now fighting for a replenishment program so for every tree that is removed due to disease or old age, we want to replace with a new pine.”
I applaud the efforts of this group and now that I know of them I will support them in their efforts. Its nice to have the shade of these trees for a break from the heat and sun. I don’t feel the need to cut them down just to be environmentally politically correct. Link
|[“Trumpcare”] Sunday’s TV pundits were blaming everything under the sun for the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. The real reason it failed was because it was a lousy bill. If it was a good bill it would have passed. Americans want more people to be covered, not less.
|[Sewers] Attached is a photo of a Cudjoe Regional grinder pump pit with no Wager mushroom vent. It was set too low, so the vent gap under the cover is barely above grade. If you zoom in to the left of the pit, you can see where the very thin coating of pea rock has been scraped away so you can see the original pit installation is way too low and the pea rock restoration inadequate to deter weeds. More pea rock would bury the venting. This pit is fully connected and in service now because the plumber did not know it was an unsealed pit that would not have a top vent added. I do not think this significant contract change is public knowledge, so people will not know to alert FKAA of an improper installation that might adversely affect operations. Even in heavy rains, inflow of surface water can be expected, which the customer will then pay to pump.
The next door neighbor showed photos that indicate that already, on “king tides”, the road in front of this house goes partially underwater. So in a storm surge of significance there is no question that the pump station will submerge and be flooded. The collection system was not designed to accommodate significant Inflow & Infiltration in grinder pump areas, so if this is a typical installation, the wastewater may not all reach the plant in even heavy rain conditions.
The Contract called for sealed pits and “flood-proof” Wager brand vents. This flood protection feature that was supposed to prevent total destruction of thousands of E/one grinder stations such as occurred in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and in the northeast in Super Storm Sandy was proclaimed in multiple public meetings as why the same fate would be avoided in the CRWS.
Questions for FKAA and BOCC and maybe the State Attorney: Was there a change order and contract credit for this further cheapening and endangerment of the system by installing unsealed rim-vented pits and eliminating the flood-proof vent? If not, who authorized the change to this SRF-funded contract, and by what means? Did the BOCC, as system owner, approve the change, with full knowledge of the possible repercussions?
The Wager vent is shown on the permit application drawings approved by the DEP on a sheet titled “Simplex Grinder Package Typical Site Installation.” Did the DEP approve this significant change to the Drawings and Contract that renders the grinder pits prone to flooding? Approximately how many pump stations are not flood protected and on which islands?
|[Trumpcare] The Art of the Deal only works where profit is the only consideration. The President’s defeat in trying to repeal Obamacare was because he forgot to consider the “people” factor that all presidents must consider. Even Republicans realized Government isn’t a business or it would be called “Business” and not “government”. We need to fix Obamacare not replace it. There’s been too much work put into Obamacare to throw out the baby with the bath water.
|This Month at UWFK. Link
|[Recycling is Wrong] Do a little research on recycling and you will find that metals are about the only thing that is cost effective to recycle. Politicians know they can get people to do stuff if they tell them it is for the planet, for the children, etc. The know that for most people it is more important to feel good than to be logical. Who is pushing recycling? The waste collection companies, they charge a lot more for the pickups. And some of this money just may trickle down to the politicians that promoted recycling
|[“Wedding on Big Pine Key”] The Lower Keys Chamber responded immediately to this post with a lot of positive information on our members who have great locations for weddings, as well as photographers, musicians, caterers – anything she might need to plan the wedding of her dreams. We directed her to our website and invited her to call our Chamber Visitor Center with questions. The Chamber snags every possible opportunity to promote our local business members! Link
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