Letters to the editor with pictures since 2002. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

[What Do Key Deer Eat] Interesting fact from Save Our Key Deer, Inc.: While many of you may respond to our question jokingly with “What don’t they eat?” (and you’re partly right), you may be surprised to learn that due to their isolation in the Keys, Key deer actually have quite a specialized diet. Scientific studies started back in the mid-1950s when there were just a few dozen Key deer left after surviving poachers. Direct observations recorded “at least 21 plants”. Remember that in those days relatively few people lived in the Keys and the few remaining deer had little if any contact with residents. A 1955 study using observations and poop pellet analysis concluded that more than 63% of the studied deer had red mangrove as a major part of their diet.
Fast forward to 1990s, when interest in Key deer contributed to much scientific research through the next decade (unlike now). Much habitat changed between the 50s and 90s due to the huge onslaught of humans and their non-native plants. Dr. Klimstra, the Key deer guru at the time, utilized rumen (deer stomach) samples from 129 Key deer, primarily killed by cars on Big Pine, No Name, Little Torch, Big Torch.
His findings: only 10 plant species comprised 56.6% of everything the Key deer decided to eat in the late-1980s. More than 24% of their diet was red or black mangrove (same as in the 50s)! Indian mulberry and silver palm and thatch palm flowers and fruits pretty much cover the rest. So as far as we can tell, our present Key deer survivors from the ‘50s continue to follow their ancestor’s diet. Mangroves are not on the menu of mainland whitetails but are obviously vital to Key deer. As per the peer-reviewed journal Estuaries and Coasts’ article in-press by one of SOKD’s Board members’, some of Key deer’s major and minor islands lost more than 25% of mangrove habitat (hence food resources) during Hurricane Irma, continuing to this day.
So what do Key deer eat? Just about anything natural in their habitat. Klimstra’s study found over 120 different plants, perhaps including carrots and lettuce from the local store that well-meaning residents regularly offer our four-legged friends. While veggie snacks don’t hurt the deer directly, other non-native, high-carb foods do and kill Key deer regularly. Corn in any form including raw, cracked, chips etc.; bread, pizza, rice, cookies, any foods high in simple carbs kill Key deer regularly. Unlike people and mainland whitetails that have some contact with hi-carb foods, Key deer generally don’t and get very sick, and in extreme cases die a very painful death (we’ve witnessed it multiple times) that is unavoidable once overt symptoms set-in. Of course, the deer don’t know any better, so they’ll gorge on the stuff. Help us tell the tourists to stop feeding our deer doughnuts or other people crap because by the time they are long gone, the buck at Tom Thumb was dead from rumen acidosis.
[Wouldn’t it be nice if …]
Dion’s reopened with their killer chicken.
The owners of the old House of Music finished clearing the property.
The taco truck guy by True Value moved to an inside location.
Local restaurants offered local caught stone crab and lobster so we don’t have to drive to Miami to enjoy them.
When ‘in season’ we don’t have to turn right to turn left across the highway.
[Rip Off] I purchased tickets to the Celtic Festival this weekend through KeysTix.  The charge was $10 with a $2.50 service fee for “will call” tickets.  When I got to the event there was no one in line and I asked what the ticket would have cost had I purchased it at the gate.  I was told $10. Normally, when one buys tickets to something on line, they get some kind of benefit from the process — a discount, free parking, better seats, or at least bypassing the line waiting to get in — something. It’s just wrong and a scam when one is charged a 25% premium for nothing.
[Taking Our Land] The Federal government, influenced by the United Nations, is stealing American land and resources as Agenda 21 Sustainable Development is implemented in all states. Sustainable Development seems appealing and desirable on the surface, but it is actually a plot to erase humans entirely from 50% of American land, with a ban on extraction of resources, like water!  Which translates to no fishing, commercially or recreationally.  Mark my words.
[“Holy roller”] It’s hard to believe, in 2020, that bigoted arsholes like this still exist. They’re here, that guy in Win-Dixie ahead of you buying the cheapest hot dogs he can find and some doughnuts. Maybe.  How about the guy concerned that his doctor might have AIDS. How does he think he could be infected with HIV? Is he f**king him? Sharing needles? He should simply insist on separate needles and perhaps a condom.
[“Fun loving Keys are gone”] Could it be that you are not thirty-years old any longer but an old person? If you talk to young folks, they are partying and doing all the crazy stuff we did when we were that age. Everywhere is different forty years later and so are we. What time do you go to bed? 10 pm? I thought so. Don’t blame your age on Key West, just feel lucky you survived.
[350 Pound Grouper] Man reels in massive 350-pound grouper off Florida coast. Link
[Fake Fish] I had a meal at Mangrove Mama’s a few days ago and had the same disappointment that I had at Kiki’s sandbar with the “Yellowtail Snapper Sandwich”. I picked yellowtail instead of mahi or hogfish because there was a better chance it would be fresh caught. Some dirtbag is selling these restaurants tilapia as yellowtail snapper and apparently the chef doesn’t know any better (I hope that is the case rather than the restaurant intentionally defrauding customers). I have eaten many a yellowtail fillet of all sizes at home and in sandwiches or on their own in restaurants, and they never look like these. And they always taste a hell of a lot better! In the photo, the fried fillet is from Mangrove Mama’s (and an identical one was at Kiki’s) and the grilled one is from a tilapia recipe image on the internet. Twins. Mama’s chef overcooked it, too. I have had yellowtail snapper sandwiches at the Rooster and they have always been the real thing and delicious, melt in your mouth texture like yellowtails should. For a $19 fish sandwich you should expect excellence and the fish you ordered. Mangrove Mama’s has a superb Sunday brunch and almost anything at Kiki’s is great except the snapper sandwich. I think the Feds need to take a DNA test kit and handcuffs and go see the fish supplier before some wise guy “takes him out fishing”. Not that I care which comes first for him.

 

This clever collage is in Miami Beach’s Mount Siani hospital. It’s made from photos of some of the thousands of patients they have helped. It depicts their new surgical tower.

In 1831 U.S. Army troops, under the command of Lt. Francis B. Newcomb, arrived on the schooner Thames to establish the Army Barracks, Key West on the site of the present-day Peary Court.

 

 

The Man–O-War are here in big numbers.  Be careful in the water and on the beach.

[Wounded Warrior Project] The writer in last Friday’s CT who put a serious knock on the Wounded Warrior Project was 100% correct, as of 2016.  The Wounded Warrior project went completely off the rails from about 2015 to 2017.  There was rampant abuse and self-dealing by the organizations’ president and blind stupidity and willful ignorance by the board, which included many high profile individuals who should have known better and stepped up to shut down the behavior immediately.  The Project was only brought back under control when veterans (many of whom were combat wounded) and large donor groups went to the media and stopped fundraising for the organization.

WWP was up front early with help and support when combat wounded troops were streaming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  They put the national spotlight on the concept of community support for injured vets and their motto “the greatest casualty is being forgotten” hit the nail on the head for many in the military community whose husbands, wives, sons and daughters were trying to patch their lives back together after devastating injuries in service to this country.

The organization has been back on the right track for several years now and gets a 4 star (out of 5) rating from charity navigator.  WWP deserves our support.

 

[“Are local Key West  doctors infected with AIDS supposed to notify their patients”] People can’t be infected by AIDS.  They are infected with HIV. And why do you care so much? Planning on buggering your cute gay doctor.

 

 

What exactly is a “Holy roller”? Someone on here has been referring to them for years. He can’t seem to post anything without mentioning that they are taking over. At first I thought he meant religious people, seems to make sense. But I’m not so sure any more. I have not seen some huge surge of religious fanatics in the Keys. Who could he mean? He is terrified of them.

[“Accomplishments of the Marine Sanctuary”] I read those accomplishments and from what I read they haven’t done anything but have meetings, reviews, agreements, newspaper ads, closures and research papers. I didn’t see any physical accomplishments that directly affected the reef or water quality. It just seems the Sanctuary is a bureaucracy that ensures its own continuation no matter how little they do. Link

 

 

 

 

[For Sale] Good as new and ready for the road.

[Pooping] It’s a proven fact that you shouldn’t take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.
[Hurricane Irma] Don’t rebuild the Florida Keys. Link
[Wounded Warriors] Marine Corps Major and Upper Keys VFW Post 10211 Quartermaster Jason Kendall, along with his beautiful Olympic Gold Medal Winner wife Marketa Kendall, enthusiastically welcomed our Wounded Warriors as they disembarked from their buses in preparation for their therapeutic bicycle ride through the Keys. They were greeted with a magnificent spread of delicious delicacies donated by Ms. Lisa Brown’s Tavernier Dunkin Donuts store. Many civilian well wishes to include a cadre of law-enforcement and first responders assembled at the VFW Post to encourage and support these combat wounded veterans as they mounted their bicycles for their ride to Key West.

Windy weather and overcast skies could not dampen the spirits of these courageous and grateful Warriors in pursuit of the restorative challenge that awaited them. State Attorney Dennis Ward and Sheriff Rick Ramsay coordinated and worked through the intricate details necessary to make this event possible. Safety concerns and specific accommodations for these disabled riders were required in order to insure their successful transition through the Keys.

As we approached our first rest stop in front of Coral Shores High School the energy pulsating from the students and staff was palpable. Basking in the love of Plantation Key and Coral Shores students refreshed, healed and prepared these Warriors for the next leg of their journey. Firefighters, Fire-Rescue, Ambulance Corps, the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority all set up a beautiful and refreshing environment for the riders to recover. During the lay-over students and veterans interacted with one another, exchanging pleasantries and initiating personal conversations. Cards and drawings were given to the veterans as gifts by many students. These combat veterans went out of their way to engage the large crowd of students and personally express their heartfelt thanks to each one.

There were extensive groups of enthusiastic students and staff lined up against US1 from the Burton Memorial and Montessori Schools, with beautiful displays of appreciation greeting the riders as they proceeded South. Grateful civilians from Mariners Hospital, the Electric Co-op and Froggy’s Gym sparked the cyclists with a powerful surge of energy. Thank you.  ~John Donnelly

[Cheap Teeth] Find Health in Ecuador Dental Clinic is an “American Standards” dental clinic, located in the heart of Cuenca, Ecuador, which proudly serves thousands of North American Expats living here, in addition to those visiting Ecuador as dental tourists for their Dental Care, plus we very regularly partner with USA dental clinics in allowing underserved/underprivileged patients (naturally for economic reasons) to travel to Ecuador so as to get done their needed/desired Dental Work that they otherwise couldn’t afford in the USA. We are the only Preferred Partner of “Dental Departures” in the entire country of Ecuador. This requires a rigorous certification and verification process, in demonstrating our dental clinic’s 100% American standards!

[More Regulation] The EPA just finalized one of the biggest land grabs in American history. Under the Clean Water Rule, all “tributaries” will be categorically regulated by the federal government. Tributaries — which quite literally mean anything with a bed, banks and an “ordinary high water mark” — are now under federal control. Not my words; the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA). This includes ditches and less. What is going to become of our Florida Keys?  No fishing, that’s what!

 

 

[Sex or Life] Here it is clearly shown that sex is more important than a meal, and that watching porn is more important than running for your life.

The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.   ~Socrates
[“Because Key West is a gay oriented city are local doctors infected with AIDS supposed to notify their patients?”] Where did you move your uneducated self to the Keys from? “Gay oriented”? Are you a moron? Key West is a drinking village with a fishing/diving/tourist problem. Yep, Gay folks live here. There are gay people everywhere – even under the rock you crawled out from. Along with stupid folks like yourself. As far as the doctor having to disclose their health status, that statement sounds like you’re about to “out” someone in the community. KW has become a shadow of the coolness that once was – proven by CNN’s choice to hang at the 801 Bar and make a spectacle out of NYE celebrations while the real party is in the street with everyone regardless of preferences.

 

 

 

This is the best picture of a White Crowned Pigeon I’ve ever seen. They are one of the hardest birds to photograph as the are so skittish.

[Book] “The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck”In my life, I have given a f**k about many people and many things. I have also not given a f**k about many people and many things. And those f**ks I have not given have made all the difference. Link

 

[Sewers] Let me get this straight, some guy from FKAA commented that the sewers are cleaning up the water but may not have accomplished much because nutrients from the mainland might overshadow all the improvements. It seems to me that before starting the sewer project and tripling every ones water bill some studies should have been done to determine if it would make any significant difference. Could it be we got screwed again by our trusted leaders?

[Fun Fact] Nobody likes a know-it-all.
[Marine Sanctuary] Here’s another one: Do you like to fish? Well, enjoy it while you can because it looks like special interests once again are trumping common sense and the voice of the people. A new report says it’s a move to appease environmental groups and, just like before, without the consent of the people and by executive order.
[“Key West Has Changed”] Yep, it has, and your Friday post nailed it!