Since 2002. Published Tuesdays and Fridays
Letters to the Editor with pictures
|[Screwworm Testing] Upcoming Public Events on Screwworm Infestation
Big Pine Key, Fla.–In an effort to engage the public in the screwworm eradication program currently underway in the Florida Keys, there will be two public events this weekend. Please see below for details. Please note that the event on Sunday includes free checks to see whether pets have screwworm.
Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Panel of federal, state and local experts to discuss screwworm infestation. This event is hosted by Monroe County Mayor Pro Tem George Neugent. Big Pine Key Community Park, Community Center 31009 Atlantis Drive, Big Pine Key, Fla
Sunday, Oct. 16, 9 to 11 a.m. Screwworm public event for information purposes and to check pets. Winn-Dixie Parking Lot, 251 Key Deer Blvd. Link
|[Screwworm Checkpoint] I don’t understand why the checkpoint for traveling out of the Keys is at MM106. Won’t it make more sense to have this checkpoint just before you leave BPK, since the screwworm is in BPK and No Name Key. If your pet should have contracted this screwworm and start traveling North and you happen to stop along the way to let your pets go potty? This serious situation could spread to the entire Keys. Who decided to do the checkpoint 70, some odd, miles away from the infestation?|
|[Duck and Cover] At the height of the cold war in the 1950s, school children practiced ‘duck and cover’ to protect them from atomic bombs. Yeah, right. Kids would be made to crawl under their desks for protection or made to kneel in hallways with bent backs and heads and their hands clasped behind their necks to protect from the blast. Didn’t anyone question the effectiveness of that stupid practice? A wooden desk, school hallway, or hands behind their necks, wouldn’t offer any protection even from a conventional bomb. They also told them not to look at the blast. Hey kids, if you’re close enough to watch the blast, blindness is the least of your concerns. The stupid things people do.|
|[Sewers] Kurt Zuelch, what hat is he wearing when he’s speaking? Everyone knows that Mr. Zuelch, the former States Attorney, is the Executive Director of the FKAA and when he speaks is it in his official capacity as Executive Director? If Mr. Zuelch is being queried about the CRWS, Mr. Zuelch has no official position other than the head of a Construction for that facility. The entity formally known as the FKAA was created as a General Contractor the instant their signature was placed on the contract documents. General Contractor (FKAA) is then totally governed by contract documents. They can do nothing without the approval of their overseers, the BOCC. As the retired Sr. Contracts Field Representative for the FKAA my premiere responsibility was to enforce the contract to the letter. If a contractor wanted to deviate from the contract they would have to present their request to me for consideration. If the request was within my area of consideration I could either approve the request or send the request up the line to my superior. Mr. Zuelch, contractor, is being paid to tow the owners’ line, period. Whatever Contractor Zuelch has to say regarding the CRWS is meaningless. In this instance Mr. Zuelch is not the FKAA, but just another contractor. Since when is a general contractor for the BOCC their spokesman? Perhaps the media is so impressed with Executive Director Zuelch’s position with the FKAA that they’ve forgotten that in regards to the CRWS he has no official say. Perhaps the media might consider who’s pulling Mr. Zuelch’s strings? ~ Eugene E. Nanay Jr. Ret.|
|[Big Pine Gun Shop Owners Sentenced] A former Monroe County administrator and a former federal courthouse security officer who illegally sold firearms at their Big Pine Key gun store were sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday. Thomas Joseph Willi, 52, of Summerland Key, and Jarvis Nelson Osorio, 36, of Key West, will also serve three years of supervised release following their release from federal prison.|
|Advertising is killing TV and all media with endless product spots. Since the “advertisers” took over the FCC and changed the rules, we get all the unwanted calls, ads, mail, email and any other crap and we still have to pay to use a service.|
|When you use your smartphone too much. Video|
|[You Are What You Eat] Six consumer groups tested chain restaurant food for antibiotics and the following all got a grade of F for having meats that were loaded up with prescription antibiotics in the meat used:
Sonic, Dunkin’ Donuts, Little Caesars, Burger King, IHOP, Domino’s, Jack in the Box, Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dairy Queen, Applebee’s, Denny’s, Chiili’s, and Olive Garden.
Two chains got an A grade: Panera and Chipotle
Subway and Chick-Filet got a B.
Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell got C+ to C-
Pizza hut and Papa John’s got D.
Factory farms typically give all their animals antibiotics so they grow faster and fatter. Those antibiotics are fueling the “superbug” crisis of antibiotic resistant germs. They also turn off the “kill gene” in Oxitec’s GMO mosquitoes so they can successfully breed more of their own and hybrids of natural skeeters (definitely not what we want!).
The full 44 page report is in this PDF file. Link
|[Screwworm] “Finally a way to cull the thousand-member deer herd.” If you didn’t want to deal with deer in your garden, why did you settle in BPK in the middle of a deer refuge? There are a few trailer parks up or down the Keys that would have done you just fine. “1000 Key Deer” you say? Where did you get that number? ahhh, the government! So that means presently about 1 deer exists for every 3.5 people now (low season, permanents) live on BPK. If that’s the case the deer should have their own check-out line at Winn Dixie. Actually, the latest census released by the feds in April shows the lowest counts in at least 6 years. That’s pre-screwworm, so where is the highest ever population number coming from?
Deer, deer-hater, I hear the government is selling beachfront property in Arizona for cheap
|The Big Pine Flea Market is open Saturday and Sunday 8am till 2pm. Many of our vendors are coming back now that the east coast storms are over.
We have fishing poles, sunglasses, reading glasses, homemade soaps, Bali wooden furniture and wind chimes, seashells, whimsical signs, housewares, tarps, bungee cords, RV supplies and the best fish fry around. See you Saturday and Sunday.
|A brand new report by the Environmental Working Group reveals that more than 200 million Americans’ tap water is tainted with chromium-6 at levels higher than considered safe.
Over 90 percent of water samples collected by the EPA from 2013 to 2015 tested positive for chromium-6.
California’s Chromium-6 public health goal is 0.02 ppb, which is the maximum considered safe to drink over a lifetime without cancer or liver risks. Looking at an FKAA Water Quality Report, I see they admit 0.19 ppb on average in the water distribution system, which is about 10 times the amount considered safe. And who trusts anything FKAA says anymore? We know they faked other water tests recently because they were caught at least twice.
You can remove chromium-6 and a whole lot more nastiness (like the high chloramines and the fluoride) with a reverse osmosis (RO) filter. I recommend it be mounted outside, and preferably under your house if there is room, so the filters are easy and quick to change and you still have room under the sink. Purchased and professionally installed for drinking and cooking water purposes can be done for about $400. Your co-pay for the first chemo treatment will probably be more, and the RO filter will save you more than the price of bottled water, plus no plastic bottle chemical leachate, and no lugging up the stairs or storing bottles. Go for it. I love mine! Link
|[Noisy US1] How do you think it feels to those of us who remember when US1 was silent until Christmas? There was a time I’d close my business and leave for a month or two and come back in time for the snowbirds. Not any more, I want the dough. It’s noisier, busier and above all, more crowded because of all the people moving down here. The good thing is most of them leave in 3-5 years. Ask the long term realtors who keep selling the same houses over and over.|
|[Boycotts Local Stores for Failed Yard Sale] My family will never ever have another garage or yard sale as long as I live after going through the nerve-wracking experience dealing with locals and snowbirds. Also we will buy online out-of-state from now on and never from local retailers. It’s payback time!|
|[Sewers] I heard Kirk Zuelch on the Becker show say that “in all other areas they had charged sewer fees, (based on water consumption) before the properties were even hooked up”. As if that made it legal, ethical or even fair. Until you are actually connected, your water/ sewer bill will about triple while the effluent is not even going to the plant. And they claim they have lowered sewer rates? Easy to do when you give nothing and require payment. Most everyone can understand the legality of the base facility charge, but paying for treatment that you are not receiving is absurd and only adds to the distaste in which we hold the FKAA and their bosses, the BOCC.
A few of other points: There should be no immediate requirement to destroy/ abandon existing septic tanks. There may need to be back up in the likely event of the system failures I foresee and of course a good storm could disable the system for some time. That’s a lot of FEMA Porta- Potties! Would they even allow evacuees to return home? They would not after Hurricane Mathew in northeast Florida. There is no advantage for home owners to “cheat” and divert their sewage to those tanks since the bills are based on water coming in, not effluent out. In addition to the other permits and expenses required for hookup this is simply arbitrary and foolish until we know the system works. This requirement is an added burden to people who have the other permits and expenses facing them already.
Still there is no permit office in the Lower Keys. That should not be too difficult, but has been resisted. Commissioner Neugent’s office on Big Pine Key is barely used and one could be located there. It’s another burden to citizens to go to Marathon or Key West, take off from work and stand in line among applicants for other projects. That office should be dedicated to sewer permits and linked electronically to the building departments in KW or Marathon. It might even be efficient and cost effective for County staff.
There is so much wrong with the way this has been handled. It’s so ham fisted
|[“Do stupid people ever hit a point in their life where they realize they’re stupid”] No they don’t. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. It is called the dunning-kruger effect name after the study. It seems the bars are full of people like this. Link|
First-ever leatherback sea turtle nest found in the Keys. Link
|[Ban Cell Phones In Schools] 100%, because the smart brats are photo copying tests and selling the data to the dummies so they can cheat on tests. Answers are extra!|
We need a good Mexican restaurant on Big Pine, not like that phony Chink-Mex restaurant that was here. This is what southwest Mexican food should look like.
|I love this cool weather. Pretty soon we will start complaining how cold it is.|
|[Editor Sucks] Deer Ed, These words were taken directly from your “contact us” section: “You are invited to participate in the Coconut Telegraph and your submissions will be welcome at email@example.com as long as they are positive and not about national politics.”
What is positive about wishing a plague of rodents on someone, putting out a bowl of antifreeze to kill cats and the most gut-wrenching of all, a photo of a suffering, dying deer along with a message of happiness about the impending demise of the species?
[Rube Goldberg] How to never turn a page yourself ever again. Video
|[Sewers] It’s well-known that the Cudjoe Regional sewer project is atrain-wreck. It’s been mismanaged from top to bottom by Monroe County and their “partner”, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA). Not only is it needlessly expensive and $49 million over budget, but it’s also been the subject of many lawsuits. There’s a good letter to the editor on the Citizen’s website about the latest one. Link|
|[Sewers] There now seems to be a pattern emerging of misrepresentation on the Lower Keys sewer project by the FKAA. Numbers fudged, regulations ignored and attempts to thwart public input, and intimidation. How can the FKAA employees, public servants countenance such behavior and why do it? I don’t understand the motive.
The FKAA executive director, a former State Attorney (without any engineering credentials), like any other good attorney, is representing his client, the FKAA, whether they are guilty or not of deceiving the public or violating state and federal law . That’s his job, but we do not have to believe what he has said when the evidence from public record requests contradicts what they are saying to the local media. They have an extensive advertising budget to propagandize, but I am not buying into it until an independent judge looks at it all. Unfortunately, 3 members of our County Commission have not shown much interest in getting to the truth.
I think the pressurized sewer system is an environmental and economic disaster in the making. And I think the public and the County Commission are beginning to see that. Let’s hope they stop now and take a second look.
|[“Unorganized Huron Village”] In the 16th century Michelangelo and Rafael were creating breathless paintings and frescoes of great art and intelligence and all the ladies at Court were made up and dressed in exquisitely. On the other side, 16th century American Indians were making art by whetting their palms in colored water and pressing them onto rocks. Whoopiee, such creatitivity!
Indian women were wearing animal skins while their Paris counterparts were wearing the finest fabrics and Voltaire was writing plays and discoursing on philosophy. Indians lived in tents on dirt floors. Europeans lived in great palaces.
Europeans saw the American savages and thought it was a waste, so they moved out or killed all the Indians to eventually build Walmarts all over the place.
|America drinks and goes home. ~Frank Zappa|
|I wonder if all these bogus cell phone and home phone incoming calls are done by the phone company just to make more rubles|
[Gulfside Beaches] Can anyone tell me where there are beaches on the gulf side of Big Pine Key down to Summerland?
|If Florida’s highway has so much money to glorify our tourist tracks, why can’t us citizens get some back if we could vote for projects?|
|[FTR Zika Files] THURSDAY, 10/13/16. Governor Scott revealed that there is yet another new ZIKA transmission zone in Miami Beach. The Governor stated that the need for federal assistance in combating the ZIKA vector is “urgent.”
1,021! One thousand and twenty one. FLORIDA ZIKA CASES
As of 10/13 The Florida Department of Health was reporting on 1,014 known cases of ZIKA in Florida. More than 10% of those cases involve pregnant women. That’s only the “known” cases. 80% of cases are asymptomatic. It was only about a week ago that they were reporting on 980 known cases. The count has more than doubled in the last 60 days.
ZIKA is not at our door step. ZIKA is in our homes. The ZIKA mosquito is called the rat of mosquitoes because of the difficulty in wiping it out.
And still our FKMCD dithers.
The anti GMM crowd is ramping up its hysteria, its hyperbole, and its falsehoods. Now they are now engaging in bullying. I believe that many of them are Anti simply for the sake of being Anti. After all, being “anti” is so very stylish these days.
The leaders are aggressively seeking to deny the people of Monroe County a safe and effective method of combating the spread of disease. ZIKA is but one of the horrible tropical diseases that is spread by the AE mosquito. Their motive is simple. Profit! They are convinced that GMM will harm property values of a select few. We know this to be true because it has been admitted.
A great deal has been made of the “NO CONSENT” signs that we see scattered about in Key Haven. The reality is that many of those signs were put in place so as not to draw the ire of the anti GMM people. Many were put in place so as to “go along to get along.” No one wants to anger a bullying neighbor. There are reports of the anti GMM people aggressively acting out against people who are supportive of protecting the public health by being in favor of the use of GMM in vector control.
We know for stock certain that the anti GMM crowd, the Save Our Skeeters people, will brook no dissent, will tolerate no questions, and will strike out at any and all who have the temerity to ask hard questions of them. in the anti GMM Facebook groups dissension or questioning is squashed. The managers of those groups kick out those who dissent. We know that because I have personally been banned from participating in such groups.
They fear the truth. They fear it because they do not have the truth on their side. They obfuscate and twist facts.
For example, the anti GMM “Save Our Skeeter” groups have railed that Oxitec, in some nefarious fashion, attempted to evade or manipulate the federal government’s approval of the Oxitec process. The truth is that Oxitec did not select the federal agency that vetted its process those agencies, the FDA, the EPA, the CVN, and the USDA were the agencies with jurisdiction. Only those specific agencies had jurisdiction. Those agencies determined that the process was safe, but only after a multidisciplinary examination of the process. The process is safe.
Another example of their hysterical nonsense is their ludicrous fear mongering that “IF” a human “MIGHT” get bitten by one of the tiny number of GM females that are to be released; then, “MAYBE” some rogue GMM protein “MIGHT” be transmitted to a human. Friends, anything is possible…the world might come to an end tomorrow. But the odds against it are Brobdingnagian. It beggars belief but they actually use the fantasy of Jurassic Park in their propaganda. They insult your intelligence.
We can’t ignore the hypocrisy of the anti GMM, the Save Our Skeeters crew. They wail, and tear their hair at the notion of persons supporting public health by the use of GMO vector control being involved with a PAC. And yet….they have their own organizations that routinely publish slick propaganda and flood social media. They are masters at the black art of propaganda
They try to tout you on the Wolbachia process. That process may or may not be a viable weapon. We just don’t yet know. But we do know that even if the go ahead were to be given tomorrow. The process could not be in place before April 2017. The GMM process can be started within 30 days of the go ahead. I think that waiting puts us a risk. And given the anti GMM preoccupation with the Wolbachia process, one should ask what is motivating their focus, their obsession. Given that they accuse the FKMCB of backroom dealing, one must also question the anti GMM crowd’s motivation. You should also consider that fact that many of the complaints that the anti GMM folks voice are also extant in the Wolbachia process.
If you care about public health, if you care about the unborn, then in the privacy of the voting booth please vote for the use of GMM to protect our community from the ravages of tropic mosquito borne disease. Link
|[Spam] Does anyone know how to set email to automatically forward spam to the FCC or to the CEO if the ISP?|
|[Screwworm Deaths] Finally nature is following a real course. Too many deer, and nature with disease will take them out until the level drops low enough that the habitat will support them again. People are next!|
[Paid Speeches] What could a politician say that is important enough to warrant thousands of dollars per hour for a speech, except that Earth is being invaded!
|I’m a certified licensed handyman and I only charge $50 per hour to do anything, except during Happy Hours then it’s $100 per hour.|
|[Key West Orchid Society] The first regular meeting of the year is next Sunday, October 16 at the Fort at 1pm. The program begins at 1:30. We welcome back Segundo & Yolanda Cuesta of Quest Orchids. Their program is always entertaining and informing, and they always bring great plants for sale & raffle.
The Redland Fall Open House is this weekend, Fri., Sat, Sun, Oct. 14, 15, 16. 9am to 5pm each day. Of course you can’t go on Sunday because you will be coming to our meeting. The nurseries are Motes, Soroa, Carib & Whimsy. There are special sales at all 4 nurseries, as well as programs at 10:30am, 1:00pm & 3:00pm. For addresses, schedules & directions: Link
Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You…Be Free…Think about this my friends, if you don’t spend your life yourself, other people spend it for you. ~Coconuts Bar & Package Store
|[3.2 Million Animals Killed by Feds in 2015] The highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 3.2 million animals during fiscal year 2015, according to new data released by the agency. The total number of bears, mountain lions, beavers, foxes, eagles, wolves and other animals killed represents a half-million-animal increase over the 2.7 million animals the agency killed in 2014.
Despite increasing calls for reform, a century after the federal wildlife-killing program began in 1915, the latest kill report indicates that the program’s reckless slaughter continues, including 385 gray wolves, 68,905 coyotes (plus an unknown number of pups in 492 destroyed dens), 480 black bears, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats, 492 river otters (all but 83 killed “unintentionally”), 3,437 foxes, numerous bald eagles and 21,559 beavers. The program also killed 20,777 prairie dogs outright, plus an unknown number killed in more than 59,000 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. It’s time dismantle Wildlife Services.
|What to do if a neighbor’s lot is overgrown and you cannot get in touch with the owner? I have tried everything from the County records to the State, to calling, but can’t get anywhere. The lot is so overgrown I fear being overrun with beasties. Can I burn it?|
|[Screwworm Screening Sunday] Free screwworm screening for pets will be given Sunday morning in Big Pine Key. Veterinarians Nelly Amador-Jehn and Joe Fisch with the Florida Department of Agriculture and local veterinarians Doug Mader and Gerry Diethelm will conduct the screenings. They take just a few minutes to complete. If an infestation is found, pet owners will be directed to immediately see their veterinarian for treatment.
Pets are 100 percent treatable if the infestation is detected early and animals will not be euthanized, so pet owners should not fear having their pets checked
|[Sewers] One correction: Palm coast uses PEP (pretreated effluent pumping) which is virtually identical to STEP (septic tank effluent pumping) instead of grinder pumps. I worked in that utility’s engineering and operations administration, so am very familiar with it.
PEP/STEP is what should have been used here for sparsely populated areas. The pump is a low power centrifugal model that only pumps the tank effluent that would normally go to a drain field. Grease and grit/solids remain in the tank, so there is no worry about scouring velocities to keep the pipes from clogging. If the pump is installed between an existing septic tank and the drain field, then in the event of a power outage, there is no backup: flow goes to the drain field when the interceptor pumping tank fills. The pumping equipment sells for about $2,000 less than a grinder and can be run off a standard 120v receptacle- perfect for No Name. They could even have used a 12 volt DC pump. About $1500 is saved on homeowner connection cost because there is no septic tank abandonment. Power loss does not interrupt the ability to flush normally.
In Palm Coast, the entire system was designed as conventional gravity, but where density was low, a temporary PEP system was installed until enough homes were built to justify the cost of gravity pipe installation. So there is no drain field installed, just a tank with a pump and controls. The utility paid for the entire installation including an electrician to run the circuit, and compensates the resident for electricity cost. I recommended STEP to FKAA’s Ray Shimokubo instead of grinders back in the conceptual design phase of CRWS (2009?) but he said it was not being allowed. He did not elaborate to say who forbade STEP, but we were all dealt a disservice by that directive.
Bob Dylan was Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature this week. Troubadour of my time. Link
|My wife treats me like a God: She totally forgets I exist except when she needs some.|
|[“Coconuts is the only real pool room in the Florida Keys”] No it’s not. There are tons of “pool rooms” with “big sticks and balls” along the side streets of Key West!|
|A woman who went out of her house saw three elders of white beards, sitting in the garden of her house and asked them to come in. “We can’t be invited to a house together” said one of the elders.
“Why?” asked the woman very intrigued. The old man with the beard whiter replied, “His name is Wealth ” he said pointing to one of them and pointing to the other added, “His name is Success, and mine is Love. Which of us do you prefer to invite.”
“How fantastic! If that’s the case, let me invite Wealth so we’ll fill our home with wealth” said the woman. “No, maybe I should invite Success so we’ll be admired by all.” No, maybe I should invite the Love? Why do we always have to think about the Wealth and Success as if Love wasn’t important to us?”
The woman went to the elders and asked, “Which of you is Love? Please come in and be my guest.” Love got up and started walking towards the house. The other two also got up and followed them. Surprised, the woman looked at Success and Wealth and said, “I only invited Love, why do you also come?” The three old men replied together, “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two were out, but you invited Love. Wherever he goes the others follow him. Because where there is Love there is always Success and Wealth.
~Coconuts Bar & Package Store, downtown Big Pine Key
|The only reason we have a screwworm epidemic is because it’s an election year. They’ll be gone soon|
This photo captures lava, Milky Way, Meteor, and Moon in a single shot. More pics and full article. Link
|One thing about the Keys, everybody gets kick-backs or they don’t do anything for you!|
|Submit anything but National Politics to firstname.lastname@example.org For National Politics go directly to that page, log in, and post your comment. NATIONAL POLITICS|