2017 September

Tuesday, September 17, 2017

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

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I just brought my batteries to AT&T’s free charging trailer and it blew up 10 18V Li-ion batteries and chargers. Those batteries were the basis for our disaster survival setup. I don’t know what we’re going to do. I called AT&T and they didn’t know what I was talking about, but they’re sorry and will be glad to help me bla,bla, bla… Plus my camera battery and charger is toast too so I can’t take any more hurricane pictures.

Good news! Humanity Road gave me an inverter! Whoopie! Let there be light! Let there be fan! No more sticky nights rolling and tossing all over the bed. Yeah!

Humanity Road,my new best friends! I want to kiss Chris and Cat (as in cat-astrophe) the two great ladies who took pity on this poor boy and set me on the road to happy. Link



Hurricane Irma had sustained winds of 136 mph and gusts as strong as 160 mph!

[FTR on IRMA] A huge tip of this Olde Fart’s fedora to all the incredibly hardy and courageous first responders who have been risking life and limb to make our Keys safe again.  And a special tip of the fedora to our Deer Ed who has given us all the info that he can acquire. As this is written I have not yet personally seen the devastation that Irma delivered, but from all anecdotal accounts that I have heard from many friends who stayed, the devastation is far worse than is portrayed by the media.

The rumor mill is running rampant.  No need repeating the rumors, but they are horrifying.  There is a reason for the rumors. Nobody knows what in the hell is going on.

Mrs. FTR and I evacuated Wednesday at 3 AM, as ordered.  We, like the tens of thousands of other Keys residents have been starved for news and direction from our elected officials.

I have no way of knowing how well they managed the crisis, how well they prepared for it, nor how good a job they are doing in managing the aftermath.

Nor do you.  I’m told that an array of local politicos spent a great deal of time on the air with the courageous folks from US1 Radio, but the local politicos failed to keep those of us who they ordered to leave, informed as to what was happening.

A check, even as this is written, Monday, 9/18/17 at 8:30 PM reveals that the Monroe County Commission web site has no information concerning anything more recent than a boil water order dated 9/15.

Perhaps someone in county government will take just a few moments and give all us an official declaration whether or not the sewers are working.  A wild ass guess as to what the plan and sequence will be for restoring electric power to the BPK.  A wild ass guess as to when or even if Fisherman’s Hospital will reopen. Perhaps even a list of places and resources to support Irma’s victims. I know that the BOCC has a public information person.  Where in the hell is he or she.  Why hasn’t our Mayor kept us appropriately informed?

The county has open up all of the lower Keys for Re-Entry Sunday.  To do so you must have a re-entry sticker on your car or proof of ownership of your house or business.   They are still warning that some areas have limited water to homes and not to drink or use with food unless you boil it first.  One owner on No Name Rd report low water pressure at his elevated home.  Not even enough to shower.  Please use the site to get more info on these issues and other current updates.  I hope to return soon and may not be able to report update or other news in our community.

I have heard from several that stayed and they said it is bad.  A lot of roads with power poles on the ground.  Some homes with roof damage, some bad some minor, but overall we’re not as bad as some other areas on BPK.  The water surge in PPH was less than Wilma.  Some said it was around 2’ from ground level.  Several reported a lot of blocked canals due trees and sunken boats.  There’s rumors of looting in PPH but not confirmed.  The county has set up a command post at the old prison on Key Deer Blvd for utility repair trucks and construction equipment.

If you are have not received any information on your house and still concerned about it DJ Halligan, who is a resident, is offering to send you photos.  You can contact him by cell (813-810-8559) or email  I was able to talk to him today and he warned me that his service (Verizon) is lacking but he drives into town to make and return calls so leave voice mail.  He may need to call you back on his satellite phone which is only good for outgoing calls.  That phone number will be different when displayed on your phone.

There was an article from yesterday Miami Herald which covers a lot of the County’s meeting yesterday.  Go to this site to read it. That’s it for now, Chuck Griffin  Link


The real sign that a hurricane emergency is over is when Amazon starts delivering again.

You are to be congratulated for the effort you’re obviously making to keep all interested parties informed in the aftermath of Irma.

As a longtime former resident who thankfully escaped my new home in Sebring to my daughter’s place in Pasco County, ahead of the terrible storm damage to Highlands County, only to find hurricane swerving up the west coast of Florida after passing through the Keys.

Although power was off here in Port Richie until Sept 15 when Duke Energy restored it.

Not so lucky back in Sebring where it is forecast to take until end of the month — maybe.

But all reports there from friend indicates my home there was spared any damage other than loss of a freezer load of food and I say so what… and thank God.

I am far more concerned with friends in Keys, especially Big Pine residents who I’m sure ran, but what remains of homes just recently repaired from previous storms is yet to be seen, but we can only hope for the best and pray for everyone’s good fortune.

Thanks Again for an amazing site,

Mike Gushee


Hello. I sure could use some information. I’ve lived on Big Pine Key for many years, I live at 201 county road MH3 right in front of a turquoise building. I’m seeking any information on my trailer. I’ve had to go to Michigan to escape Irma, I’m disabled and trying to see if could return or even if I have anything left. If anyone would be willing to help me out with information I would be eternally grateful. Thanks for any help.  ~Mary

(Ed: I can’t go because I’m trying to save my stuff and house which is a genuine disaster, but I contacted a relief organization on US1. They said they have different volunteers at every disaster and they are sorry, but they can’t trust them to go to an empty house or trailer knowing no one’s home. Sad, isn’t it?)

My 2010 F100 gets 581 miles on fill-up. I think the tank is only 30-35 gallons. I don’t believe it. I thought they only went 300 miles on a fill up?


My friend has s**it in his hallway. His toilet back-flowed. The check valve didn’t work. That never happened when he had his septic tank.

[Sewers] Grinder pump George has another brilliant solution for the Cudjoe sewer system — an environmental disaster even before the hurricane.  Brilliant George is offering a free plastic bucket and a toilet seat at a reduced price to all those afflicted with grinder pumps. Thanks George. That idea will work better than a grinder pump.

Commissioner Nugent, who obstinately championed grinder pumps, despite overwhelming evidence that such pumps were idiotic to use on islands surrounded by salt water, has kept his mouth shut for obvious reasons after all pumps malfunctioned and will need to be replaced, as so many rational citizens tried to tell him. Thank you commissioner for your fine leadership.

The Sheriff Department was the first one to drop the ball. I called them, worried to death, and no one answered. I didn’t even go to voice mail. No recording telling us what to do. Nothing. No policeman’s Ball for me.
There is a portable cell tower that was stationed on Ramrod Key to help reception.

Most of the power poles on our main roads into Port Pine Heights are on the ground.  Key Electric is responsible for electric for all of the lower Keys.  They are currently working on getting power up fors buildings on US 1 first then residential starting in Key West up to Big Pine Key.  That could mean we will be one of the last communities to get power.

I’m not belittling the relief effort, I so very glad for everything they are doing–and they are doing it well. But is been over a week and one arm doesn’t know what the other is doing. There’s no central booth, or something, to tell us what is where. There’s free water and food next to each other competing to give it away. The only place that’s really trying to coordinate efforts is US1 Radio. Forget the Sheriff, they seem to be happy checking resident’s I.D.s.
Greetings, Rotarians and others – one of the Rotary Clubs on the mainland has arranged for a large donation of much needed supplies which they are delivering to the Radio Shack in the Key Deer Plaza Monday afternoon around 2-3 pm.  They need help off-loading product and handing out product.  If anyone can help with this, please give me (Susan w/the Chamber) a call:  305-407-6106 or KW Rotarian Cathy Crane at 305-797-8578.  I know everyone’s busy and whipped, but if you can spare some time, it would be helpful.  

Also attached is some great information from Sandy Tuttle that she thought might be helpful.  Follow the Lower Keys Chamber Facebook page – I’ve been posting as much info as I think may be helpful. Tuttle insurance letter

The good thing about hurricanes is all the relief people make US1 look like a state fair. It’s great. You can stop at anyone of them and get free everything. Food, water, money. housing, dog food, clothes, wifi, you can even get free gas. Bring it on!

Are they still going to do the controlled burn now that the trees no longer have leaves and there’s nothing that’ll burn?
Due to hurricane Irma “Soup & Salad Daze” event was cancelled.  We were all very excited about this event and are planning to reschedule, as one of the main pottery studios was significantly damaged.  We will be in touch once we know more in the next few weeks. We appreciate all the support we have received from our chefs, potters and attendees and look forward to seeing you soon.

Thank you again for supporting the Good Health Clinic and for your interest in “Soup & Salad Daze”.  In good health.

Warning, you cannot run a 15 amp electric chainsaw on an inverter connected to a running truck battery. I know. It’s burns the inverter after just 10 minutes of sawing fallen trees. We can no longer run our fan and light without the inverter.

I’d been using my boat battery, charged by a 3 foot solar cell placed on the roof, then I’d bring the battery from the roof down stairs and connect the inverter to the terminals, plug in the fan, and, voila! A good night’s sleep. I use the same setup to plug in a bright lamp in the kitchen. I can even run my PC if I disconnect two of the monitors. But that’s gone because stupid me burnt out the invertor and stupid AT&T burnt out my other batteries and chargers. They failed at hurricane relief, doing more harm than good; leaving me far worse off than when I accepted their help.

Friends of the Movie Festival, This has certainly been a September we will all remember. Many communities have been devastated by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Though the Keys made it through better than many had feared, the destruction in the wake of Irma is still widespread.

Just yesterday, the Keys were opened fully again so that local residents could return to their homes. Many don’t know what they will face when they arrive. The prospects for what lies ahead are daunting. On behalf of the staff of the Key West Film Festival, I would like to extend our best wishes and prayers to all of you who were affected by the hurricane.

Six years ago, we committed to Key West to host our film festival because of the vibrancy and tenacity of its people. And in this time of great adversity, that strength and resilience is more powerful than ever. But recovery and rehabilitation will not come easily. It will require an incredible amount of assistance and outside support. I implore you to do what you can to help….to give what you can to help…and to help rebuild a place that so many of us treasure.

In that vein, the Key West Film Festival for 2017 will proceed on schedule. Our main venues — The San Carlos, the Studios of Key West, The Tropic, and the Key West Theater — all survived the storm with minimal structural damage. Their patrons, however, and others in the community, did not fare as well. Injuries and deaths are still being reported as residences continue to be inspected. Power and water resources are also still uncertain. Now is among the most difficult of times to be a Conch. But it is also a time that defines what it means to be one.

The Key West Film Festival will be holding a silent auction with all of the proceeds benefiting the local Key West community. The items in the auction will be memorabilia and souvenirs from films. Details for the auction will be emailed to you. When you receive it, please share the link to encourage others to help and post it on social media sites. In addition, 25 percent of the earnings from every piece of merchandise sold between now and the end of 2017 will be donated to recovery efforts supporting Key West and neighboring communities.

The  KWFF 2017 event and film schedule is in its final stages. We are very excited about the films, personalities, and the experiences that this year’s festival will bring. This year’s Official Launch Party will be October 17th at 7 pm at Mangoes.  Please spread the word 100 percent of the proceeds from the evening will also go directly to Key West hurricane relief.

The renewal process will be arduous. It is my hope the Festival can directly contribute to the rejuvenation of the human spirit that makes Key West truly special and continue to bring new people to the greatest location in the world.

Peace and Love,
A. Brooke Christian
Key West Film Festival
Founder and Chairman



Give peace a chance, you don’t even have to wait for the electricity to come back on. Remember Jeannie’s human peace sign she organized at Bahia Honda a few years ago?

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