Sunday, March 30, 2014

The-Coconut-Telegraph-w-CoconutsThe Original Unsocial Media
Anonymous Letters to the Editor with Pictures
Published Daily by Noon Since 2002 – No Saturday Edition

pinwheel spin

[Seven Mile Bridge] “Spin numbers”?  Really?  Friends of Old Seven have the records and can tell you not only how many people walk the bridge each day, but they can pinpoint the numbers in 15 minute increments.  They have these numbers for the last 2 years.

It’s understandable that if you can’t comprehend what you read, that you wouldn’t be able to figure out what is going on.  In season, there are over 600 visitors to the bridge each day.  In the summer months the number of visitors drops to between 200 and 250 per day.  This doesn’t include the people who come to Old Seven to watch the sunset, but don’t even go out on the bridge.

What you really need to do, is to research the facts first then come to your conclusion based upon the facts.  You have obviously started with your conclusion, and then you try to force your “facts” to fit your conclusion.

Chamber-ad 760w
[Speed] 27.8 mph is the fastest time a human has ever run (Usain Bolt).
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shark arm in mouthIn response to the loss of the big bull shark post. I would first like to say that the shark was caught humanly and 100% legally, and the shark’s presence in this area is a result of 100% illegal activity, i.e. shark feeding.  The shark’s presence is a direct result of regular feeding, which is illegal (in state waters) and desensitizes sharks to humans, putting humans at much greater risk. It’s a recipe for disaster.

This shark was Not wasted as another writer had misinformed people of and was not “dispatched with explosive power-heads” as the writer also stated and misinformed reader as to the truth.

On one hand you have people who enjoy their presence because they are a sight to see, but what about the men, women, and especially children who swim in the area and are exposed to highly elevated risk because of regular feeding. One might argue that they have been present for years without incident

If I recall correctly there was a man on animal planet who used to feed bull sharks, specifically, on regular basis. That was until his calf was torn off by an “accidental” mistaken identity between the fish and the leg of the man. This was not even an aggressive attack just a light bight and tug, and gone! Imagine if this was not a full-grown man but a small child. If a child were swimming and saw this massive shark he would likely panic and start swimming fast triggering an instinctive predatory response in the shark, possibly a catalyst for an attack. What if a child fell off the dock, where these sharks are trained to eat whatever hits the water? A pack of bull sharks competing for food are not going to be selective about what they eat.

Let me reiterate that feeding sharks is illegal for a reason, and irresponsible and selfish for obvious reasons. Is the enjoyment and entertainment of a few paying customers really worth exposing so many people to unnecessary danger?

Bull sharks and sharks in general are great for the ecosystem, and great for getting other fish to bight on the reef. They should not however be trained to feed from the hands of humans or trained to be fed from docks in close proximity to swimmers and patrons.

I wrote this to clarify some misinformation and offer a different perspective.

Nira-Tocco 760w
Power means never having to say you’re sorry.

smile old lady[Old People and Jobs] If you’re looking for a job after the age of fifty you’re in trouble. Employers don’t want you so you have to try harder and the first thing you have to do is get fit. Employers don’t want an old, fat, out of shape employee. You must look fit and robust otherwise they’ll hire a young, fit and robust person.

You must also be tech savvy and know about social media. If you don’t know about tech go to a junior college and get training. It’s a new world out there and if you want to work in it you have to know how to navigate it. Linkedin has tutorials to help with a lot of this and you do need a strong Linkedin profile.

Employers don’t care about your experience, just what skills you’ll bring to the company. You must show you’re up to date and hip to compete with those who are. You must also show that you are willing and able to learn.

It’s scary out there.

If God sneezes, what do you say to Him?
Isaksen-ad-760w

[Traffic Delay for Movie] Video production for the new KZK/ NetflixlSony television series taking place Monday and Tuesday is expected to cause short delays for Upper Keys motorists.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Monday, 12 hours of shooting are anticipated between Mile Markers 74 and 92. The same day, begin­ning at 8 am., a 17-hour road closure is scheduled for the Old Highway, on the southwestern end of Plantation Key behind Theater of the Sea.

On Tuesday, Mile Markers 77 through 90 are the region for shooting from 11 am. to 7:30 p.m.

Delays up to 10 minutes are anticipat­ed. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office depu­ties are to aid traffic control.

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seeds bean stalk

Every Keys survivalist should have seeds stockpiled for a survival garden. The first questions is, why would anyone need a survival garden? Because during extended wide spread disasters, food production and shipments might get disrupted. Most grocery stores only have a few days worth of supplies in their warehouse. When the panic buying kicks in, those stocks could be wiped out in a matter of hours.

Thanks for posting the “Istanbul was Constantinople” song. I sing the first line every time they mention Istanbul on the news.
fanci-3.20.14-760w

[Surplus Supplies] I was watching Deals on LWN (channel  210 on Comcast) and they said there is a program that is offered by various counties/cities where used items are offered to the general public through the Solid Waste Management Division.  Used paint, fluorescent bulbs, fertilizer, home cleaners are some of the things that the show mentioned.   These items were checked by the department running the program to ensure that it is safe for the general population.

Has anyone heard that Monroe County Public Works or their ilk offers something like this to us locals?  If not, can a person on a commission, council, board, advisory council of some sort answer this?

flights30

 

If you have an iPhone with Siri say,  “flights overhead” and you’ll get this.

Resentments are like stray cats: if you don’t feed them, they’ll go away. You feeling me?
Flea-Market 760w
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luckys-landing30
George Neugent
expects us to actually vote for him when he stuck us with grinder pumps and these lovely Little Torch  Cottages.  Please, when was the last time he even listened to his constituents?

[Font Size] Thanks for all your work in improving your site. Could I make one request for your consideration? The font is awfully small, for my eyes anyway. If there’s any way your default text size could be enlarged a little closer to the size it was before, it sure would be appreciated.

Thanks for all you do. (Ed: Thanks for the comment. The font I use is 12 point Arial. The standard is 10 point. Would the rest of you readers like a larger font?)

hangman30

Countries that lead the world in executions. U.S.A ranks #4. Texas doing half of those. Link

There’s been a lot of  discussion about methane explosions in the  grinder pump system recently.  The Lower Keys Barometer had an article and FKAA Executive Director Zuelch was on US1 radio Thurs morning saying there’s no problem. Then why are they requiring some  $250  thingamajig in your electrical wiring when you have a grinder pump installed? We were never told about that either.

Manley-deBoer 760w
[Cruise Ship Engineering, Germany] This cruise ship is cut in half, stretched 99 feet and welded back together, painted and sent back out to sea. Three minute time lapse video.

luckys_landing9-00

 

I think the Little Torch cottages are a vast improvement over the Rv’s that were there before. They look tropical and neat. That area has needed to be cleaned up and developed for a long time since Lucky’s was leveled.

[“Catholic Church on the hot seat”] The fellow making the critiques of the Catholic church listed quite a litany of transgressors. I assume to make such a list of accusations the poster has all his facts in order, or is he just making such statements with a healthy portion of his ideology under the guise of proof of such statements. It is interesting to hear that Pope Francis may be the savior of the Catholic Church. When people make such statements they are absolutely meaningless unless the poster is willing to give us something to back up his rhetoric otherwise the post is like listening to some one say he likes circles rather than squares.
Dennis-Ward 760w
[Re: Putin] Napoleon once said never interrupt an enemy when he is busy making mistakes.

skunk wafting smell

[Tame your B.O.] Instead of bar soap that only removes dirt and oils, use anti-bacterial soap which also removes the bacteria responsible for the odor. Use anti-bacterial laundry soap as well. You’ll be more attractive to women using just a little cologne instead of overwhelming amounts of it in a attempt to mask things.

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[Interpreting posts] One thing I have learned about reading the CT is that you must take the postings with pure logic and forethought, not verbatim. The spin merchants here are forever trying to turn you to support their money programs and egotistical projects. Beware!
Coconuts-new-sign760
[Animal Abuse] No ‘pellet to the head’ here! Marcy Myers, Port Largo Villas manager, said staff and guests have found 16 dead animals, including birds and one pygmy goat, floating in the water with their heads lopped off. Almost 20 headless animals found in Keys resort canal. No indication they were executed humanly and for religious reasons. Link

twilight30Dump the Pumps wrote a rebuttal to FKAA’s Tom Walker’s quotes in last week’s News-Barometer, but it was not published as a rebuttal letter. Instead, parts of it were used in an article on the sewer grinder war.

The article left out much of the rebuttal. There were several examples given on how explosive gasses might accumulate in the grinder pit.  Walker’s claim that NFPA says the pumps are safe was challenged. Even the manufacturer E-1 tells you in the Installation Instructions not to install it in a hazardous location as defined by ANSI/NFPA 70, which they define to include confined areas with sewage. Walker had suggested people put the grinder pit close to their house.  That is a bad idea even if it doesn’t explode because the contractor has to dig a big hole about 8 feet deep to put in the flimsy plastic pit.  Stilt house columns are often only down about 3 feet so next to one is not where you want a permanent hole that is 2.5x  deeper.  You don’t want a deep hole next to your slab foundation either.

Walker’s claim of big savings on sewer connections with a grinder was also rebutted. Most of the sewer connection cost for most uncomplicated connections is in the permits and septic abandonment. Most of the rest of the cost is in the backwater valve and fittings near the house and the time lost to inspections. The pipe itself  is cheap, and like the article said, excavation cost will be higher because a flimsy plastic pit is in the way of using equipment. Every other alternative to gravity is cheaper and better and does not require an easement. Worse, in their effort to force the system design to fit grinders, they have designed a system that will fail catastrophically. There are bigger problems than just the grinders here.

[What do Elephants eat?] This is a really funny video about two Chinese girls feeding an elephant. You don’t have to understand Chinese to understand this one. Video
Springers 760w
[Gun Nuts] Police say an 86-year-old man shot his grandson in the head and then killed the grandsons girlfriend before fatally shoot­ing himself in New York City.
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boat30

 

2004 Hewes Red Fisher 18’8” flats boat with 150 hp V Max and trailer, looks like new, all options and accessories, original owner, less than 30 hours, 16K, call 8725742  Classified Ads > Boats

[Powerful Governments Compel Obedience Punish Dissent] Deliberately administering any type of cruel and violent punishment to an animal is a serious criminal act. There is not, nor will there ever be, a law that sanctions such behavior.

Most societies and cultures that butcher animals for food, adhere to a merciful means of terminating their lives. In accordance with the ‘United States Humane Slaughter Act’: “No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering, shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States, unless it is humane”. (continued below in Long Winded Tomes)

wet-cat

 

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

Many proud parents like to advertise their children’s accomplishments with customized bumper stickers on their cars. The problem is, those stickers and decals reveal information that could give criminals an edge, like where your children go to school or how many people are in your family.

“Sometimes criminals can use these to their advantage,” said Corporal David Hicks with the Montgomery Police Department. “We’re proud of our families and that’s OK but sometimes, we place decals that tell a little too much about our families.” Police discuss risks associated with custom bumper stickers. Video

Johnsons 760w

I’m curious as to the demographics of the CT readers and posters and I wonder:
1. How many actually live on BPK?
2. How many live in the lower Keys?
3. How many are just vacation renters?
4. How many never visit this area, but just like to read and post on the CT?

atom bomb

 

Cure found for global warming. Link

Looks like Balfour Beatty may be at it again!  Have privatized military housing contractors been ratted out while trying to sneak a new tax exemption bill into the Florida Legislature?

Balfour Beatty’s local military housing affiliate, Southeast Housing LLC, owns all of the Navy family housing units in the Key West area.  Over a year ago The Blue Paper blew the whistle on the fact that the British conglomerate had failed to pay property taxes on its Key West properties [over 890 units] since 2007.  Balfour is still suing over the issue and hopes Circuit Court Judge David Audlin will soon render a decision that will get them off the hook for what is now well over $ 11 Million in back taxes not to mention a free ride on property taxes on into the future.

Balfour had made an all-out attempt last year to get the Florida Legislature to grant a full exemption from ad valorem taxes.  Representative Holly Raschein had proposed a compromise that would exempt only those units that housed active duty military personnel and their families.   [In Key West a significant percentage of the housing is rented to non active duty tenants.] The ‘Raschein amendment’ was accepted by both the Florida House and Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Scott who favored a full exemption.

Apparently, this renewed attempt is a more stealth approach.  Proposed language, mimicking last year’s original bill for a full tax exemption to all privatized military housing in Florida, has been placed in the hands of Florida’s Office of Economic and Democratic Research [EDR] and was on their agenda for today [Friday March 28, 2014].  The EDR conducts Revenue Estimating Impact Conferences that are held periodically prior to, during, and subsequent to each legislative session to assess the impact of pending and passed legislation.

We contacted the office of State Representative Holly Raschein who investigated the matter immediately late yesterday.  Representative Raschein’s assistant Kate DeLoach told The Blue Paper her office had just been informed that the item has now been removed from the agenda.

John Dent, attorney for the Monroe County Property appraiser, told The Blue Paper that there is some risk that the tax exemption language could be piggy-backed onto another bill and ultimately be approved without anyone paying much attention to it.  DeLoach informed us that Representative Raschein plans to watch this issue very closely.

In the meantime, other Counties in Florida are following Monroe County’s lead in requiring privatized military housing contractors to pay ad valorem taxes.  In 2013 Florida’s Escambia County began taxing another of Balfour Beatty Communities housing complexes at the naval air station there.  Escambia’s property appraiser had denied BBC’s application for exemption and the company’s appeal to the Value Adjustment Board was also denied.  Balfour has refused to pay and recently filed a suit similar to the one pending in Monroe County.

Dent points out that if an exemption does make it through the legislature Monroe County taxing authorities would be required to refund over a million dollars in taxes that were paid when Peary Court was sold last year.  The City of Key West’s slice of that was $ 579,000.

According to Dent, passage of such a law would grant to profitable entities a tax break that is unjustified.  “In their proposal to the US Government they were required to assure that those taxes would be paid.  This would just be a windfall for profit making companies.  I don’t know how the legislature could even consider it.” Link

Accurate 760w
The older I get, the more I come to realize that I just don’t care what the hell anyone thinks.
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roast-chicken30

[“Missing Winn Dixie Chickens”] I hope the Monroe County Sanitation Department finally woke up and cooked them!

[Captain Doom and Gloom]

DEF: SELFIES n, Pictures taken of yourself by yourself so you can see what others see and not what a mirror lies to you about.

DEF: TRAVEL v, The overpriced movement from your abode to view other abodes to see who has the most debris in their yards!

DEF: AIRCRAFT n, A long aluminum tube with winds that crams in cattle in the rear, snot-nose execs in the middle and obnoxious brats in the front.

DEF: STEWARDESS n, A middle aged woman with a stern mug and a truck-drivers body who hates everyone except the rich guys in 1st class.

DEF: AIRPORT n, A corral for organizing cattle and mutants to empty their wallets with obnoxious prices and garbage products.

DEF: RESORT n, A plastic place to fantasize what should have been there before the developers destroyed the real history for profit.

DEF: BEACH n, A place in the sun where the French woman bring their infants to defecate and urinate in front of people who walk up-right.

DEF: DEODORANT n, That which the French find disgusting, repulsive and unnecessary. SEE: Anti-Hygiene

DEF: ROLL-ON n, A mechanism to ally deodorant which tangles in the underarm hair of French chicks.

DEF: HEAD n, A toilet on any aircraft which is not for human occupation and may be the cause of the next world plague!

DEF: BABY n, The vocal screamer on any ship or airplane that has a parent who wants to share their suffering with others. SEE: Bait

DEF: 1st CLASS n, That rich and famous area that has become the cesspit for lottery winners and their relatives from LA, Haiti, Cuba, and Detroit.

politics-zone 760w
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from the right

Just for fun, let’s assume that four major Republican politicos were either arrested or it was learned that an investigation was underway into their affairs. You can bet the farm that it would be the subject of much braying by the liberal media.

Now let’s assume that all of the politicos were Democrats. Do you suppose that there would be any coverage of those stories by the liberal media?  If you said no, you’re right and you’re right.

bias30Please ask yourself if you heard of any of the following recent news which chronicles very illegal or unethical conduct on the part of Democrat politicos.

Just the other day in California, State Senator Leland Yee was arrested for bribery, corruption, and gun trafficking. The FBI sweep also snared a reputed Chinatown gangster. The arrest was on Wednesday.

Less than six months on the job, Patrick Cannon, the mayor of Charlotte N.C. was arrested Wednesday and accused of accepting more than $48,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen who wanted to do work with North Carolina’s largest city. Did I mention that Cannon is a Democrat?

The Feds just executed a search warrant on the offices of New York Democrat Assemblyman, William Scarborough. They were looking for evidence concerning misuse of public funds.

Rhode Island Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox, a Democrat, announced his resignation on Saturday following the raid of his home and office last Friday. Law enforcement officials were reportedly looking for evidence in a criminal investigation regarding an undisclosed issue.

Even the icon of the Democrat Party, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is under investigation for taking money from companies under investigation for bribery law violations. But wait there’s more:

It has just been disclosed that Reid was under investigation for misuse of his campaign funds. He ‘fesd up only after some really serious arm twisting by the investigators. He finally admitted giving his granddaughter over $17k as gifts from his campaign funds. He knew that it was illegal, but he did it anyway. He tried to disguise the gift by using a fraudulent name for the granddaughter and labeled the payment as “campaign supplies”

Part 2) A new AP poll tells us that only 26 percent of Americans support ObamaCare. That’s 13 points below where the law stood when it passed four years ago. Democare has proven to be an incredible cluster buck. Team Obama claims that it has no idea how many people have actually paid an insurance premium, hence they really have no idea as to how many are insured under Democare.  They claim that they have no idea as to demographic makeup of the pool of “sign up’s.” Some insurance insiders claim that only about 20% of those who have signed up are the young and healthy. If true that means that Democare cannot be self-sustaining because it must have between 40 and 50% of premium paying youngsters to sustain the much more expensive health care of old farts. Say hello to more new taxes.

Nonetheless, putative Democrat candidate for Governor, Charlie Crist, thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. He loves it, but for him it is an acquired taste. That’s no surprise because he is nothing more than a professional politician.

Crist is an attorney (since ’81) by trade, but he barely managed to become an attorney, he flunked the bar exam the first two times he took it.  It’s pretty obvious that Charlie doesn’t like working for a living in the private sector. In ’86 Charlie failed in his first bid for public office, he ran for the Florida Senate and lost. His then brother in law took him in and gave him a job in his law firm. Charlie didn’t like working in the private sector, so very soon he returned to politics as an aide in the successful 1988 United States Senate campaign of Connie Mack III. Finally Charlie got elected to the Florida Senate in ‘92. Whew!

But then, Charlie left the Florida Senate and ran for Governor. He lost, big time. But, he was thrown a life ring and was appointed as Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, he didn’t last long there.  In 2000, Governor Crist won a special election and became Florida’s last elected Commissioner of Education. Charlie soon tired of that job, he was only using it as a political stepping stone, and he quit the job before his term ran out, ran for Florida Attorney General and won. In 2007 he ran for and was elected Governor. Then the recession hit, and Florida’s economy was swirling down the drain. Faced with a really tough job, he refused to run again, but did run for US Senate. His fanny was whipped. It was during that election cycle that Charlie vowed not to change parties, but he did. Now he has changed parties again and has ardently clutched Obama and Democare to his breast. Whatever else Charlie may be, he is all for Charlie. Charlie lusts to be our President.

Please remember that the Democare has resulted in massive cuts in Medicare. Under the thumb of Democare, many Floridians will be cut off from the Doctors and facilities that they know and trust. Please remember the Democrat in Chief’s solemn pledge repeatedly uttered: “If you like your insurance/doctor, you can keep it/him.’”  Donkey Dung. As a Republican, Crist was dead set opposed to Democare. It is obscene that Crist is now telling us that Democare is our salvation.

Deer Friends, anyone who wants to be in high political office has to have a guiding set of principles upon which they can make decisions. Crist has no such principles.

Crist is a conniving political opportunist. He has a history of breaking promises to the public, and quitting when the going gets tough. He is not worthy of your trust.

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Long Winded Tome
(continued from above …) [Powerful Governments Compel Obedience Punish Dissent

Deliberately administering any type of cruel and violent punishment to an animal is a serious criminal act. There is not, nor will there ever be, a law that sanctions such behavior.

Most societies and cultures that butcher animals for food, adhere to a merciful means of terminating their lives. In accordance with the ‘United States Humane Slaughter Act’: “No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering, shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States, unless it is humane”. This compassionate law applies to a food source, while many believe the actions being taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, directed at creatures who have become our pets and a part of our families, to be callous and heartless.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its operation at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Key Largo, has initiated an aggressive policy that has triggered an ardent cadre of cat hunters, who are truculently stalking, baiting and trapping domestic cats (felis silvestris catus).

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife news release (9/16/11), this agency has: “No National Policy” on the trapping of cats. During a formal meeting the FWS approved a policy: “to protect native wildlife from predation, disease and other impacts presented by feral and free-ranging cats”. This policy does not call for the FWS to kill cats, nor does it outlaw the practice of Trap-Neuter-Release programs.

During this commission meeting, FWS staff were directed to ‘cooperatively interact’ with all ‘affected parties’, when initiating cat trapping policies. Any decisions reached between FWS and the ‘affected parties’, must collaboratively reflect the ‘humane handling and treatment’ of these animals.

It appears that these directives and policies are not being adhered to by the FWS employees stationed at the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The pseudo-science used to justify some of their actions are spotty and shallow. Cherry-picking facts proffered by bureaucrats depended upon the government for their jobs, is not science.

The FWS has formed compromising alliances with organizations that benefit from their agreement with this powerful government agency. This symbiotic relationship has distorted and twisted the facts to suit the needs of FWS. In addition, activists and extremists with a self-fulfilling ideology, have taken a series of positions that upon further examination expose an unwillingness to work towards a resolution, with those providing a viable alternative.

Opting to traumatize and kill one animal, so that another animal might live, is not a solution.

Unfortunately, it appears that agencies who stand a chance of improving their bottom lines and standing as vendors with the government, have been willing to provide a biased rendition of support for the FWS trapping policies.  

Of serious concern is the fact that I uncovered a hunter, while he aggressively pursued cats residing on the private property of their owner. Upon questioning this cat hunter, he informed me that his orders were to place his traps near the homes of citizens with cats on the boundary line of the ‘wildlife refuge’.

Of note, this federally funded hunter working for the FWS was trapping on state property, directly adjacent to the private property of a cat owner. The traps were heavily baited to draw and snare these sentient creatures from the homes where they lived. Upon capture they are delivered to an animal shelter where they may be killed.

The grouping of these cages, as they were laid down by the hunter, were designed to lure and snatch these family pets from their owner’s property. When I again confronted the trapper about the specific placement of the cages on the property line of another cat owner, he told me that he was doing what his boss had told him to do. I asked him if he was paid by the number of cats that he baited and snared?  

When I pointed out the heaps of trash teeming throughout this wooded area, and informed him that this was a threat to the survival of the Key Largo woodrat (neotoma floridana smalli), he ignored me and continued to load his traps.

Doing further research, I was informed by a reputable leader from  the Ocean Reef Community in North Key Largo, that a hole had been cut through the fence that encloses their property. Cat food had been placed on the Ocean Reef side of the damaged fence at specific intervals, establishing a trail from their side of the fence to cat trapping cages on the other side. When an FWS official was confronted by a representative from this community about the incident, the Ocean Reef advocate was told that he had cut the hole in the fence.

The primary threat to the Key Largo woodrat is habitat loss and fragmentation caused by increasing urbanization. Development, land clearing and construction practices have decimated the tropical hardwood hammocks that support life for the woodrat. Human intervention that could actually acquire land that would stop or slow their habitat destruction down, so that this endangered species might actually stand a fighting chance of survival, has been absent.

Human encroachment, natural catastrophes, the dumping of trash and contaminants, along with competition from black rats and Norway rats, all threaten the survival of this specie.

Potential predators of the woodrat that have been identified. Many of them thrive within the ‘wildlife refuge’. They include raccoons, Virginia opossums, nine-banded armadillos, common boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, Gambian pouch rats, green iguanas, the Nile Monitor, black spiny-tailed iguana and imported red fire ants.

The red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), corn snakes (Elaphe guttata), diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus), eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon corais couperi), Florida black racers (Coluber constrictor priapus), Keys rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta deckerti), barn owls (Tyto alba) and cats (felis catus) have been known to live and flourish within the boundaries of this refuge. All of these creatures threaten the survival of the woodrat.

However, three photographs submitted with this article show a rat licking and grooming several cats, while the recipients of this attention purr with approval. Cat loathers, along with those who have drank the government’s Kool-aide, have been indoctrinated  with the propaganda being spewed by the government agencies charged with the eradication of these creatures. The accompanying pictures do not portray a ravenous predator that will compulsively pounce upon and kill another creature smaller than itself.

I’ve ridden my bicycle between 2 and 4 hours every day, over the last 15 years throughout the state property that borders the Crocodile Lake Refuge. Never, at any time, have I witnessed a cat on any of the government’s property. However, I regularly see a vast variety of snakes and other predators that pose a threat to the woodrat.  

The high power night scopes and cameras purchased by the FWC to allegedly take a picture of a cat at nighttime, which was  published in many newspapers, identifies a calm and poised animal that is not attacking another creature, tearing up the environment or clawing away at anything.

What a waste of time, taxpayer money and resources; so that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can attempt to build a case, whereby newly proposed criminal action can be taken against  law-abiding citizens, for the alleged wrong-doing of their pet cats. Simultaneously, the policies of this agency are capable of directing these unsuspecting felines towards a mass execution.

It’s troublesome for me to read a FWS official statement: “If a cat is on one inch of conservation land, it is subject to capture”.  Really… If one front paw crosses some vague and ambiguous line drawn on  the ground in a hammock, you’re going to pounce on my pet with all the weight and force of the United States government??? And you’re going to use my money to fund this insanity???  

As an American, I never thought there would be a day when our government would be energetically directing this fascist  type of action against its own people.

As compared to all of the other risks facing the survival of the woodrat, particularly the conduct of human beings, the innumerable family pets that the government  is going after, rank near the bottom. To many, it appears that this police action targeting families and their pets, is a contrived ploy to justify the salaries, employment and budgets of a bloated bureaucracy.

In addition, the high-speed road CR 905 running straight through the reserve has fragmented the habitat causing many road mortalities. The many man-made stressors faced by the woodrat are causing these creatures to become aggressive towards one another.  

The National Audubon Society has identified areas of proposed land acquisition that would be a realistic step towards protecting the woodrat. Although the FWS concurs with their findings, apparently they prefer the easier softer way, as they appear comfortable bullying and besieging citizens, while coming after their animals.

Given the flexibility and sensitivity demonstrated in the policies set forth by the FWS during their previous meeting, as it addresses this matter, I’m surprised by the stern threats and hard line taken by the Crocodile Lake Wild Refuge.

Criminally charging cat owners for the conduct of their pets, particularly when the only reason these animals may have left  the grounds of their owner, was caused by enticing and luring these creatures onto government grounds through the use of heavily baited traps, is immoral and scandalous.

Fixating upon a preconceived remedy that excludes the very parties that the FWS has been directed to consult with, may be feeding some prejudices, rather than effectively moving towards a solution. It is the duty of leaders within these bureaucracies to follow the guidelines set forth by the organization that employs them. As a United States Marine I expected myself and my Marines to conduct themselves with a certain level of brilliance and compassion, in accordance with our orders, while we protected and served the people who paid our salaries. Court-martials awaited those who inappropriately used deadly force or destructively interpreted the context of a mission.

Traumatizing and killing creatures who have been revered through the ages as Gods and Goddesses, is distressing. During my years teaching children and young adults, who were having a difficult time learning how to read, I brought cats into my classroom. I explained to my students that these cats enjoyed having someone read to them. After some preparation, these students were bound and determined to make their new friends happy. In one year, I had one young girl improve her reading level by 5 grade levels. Every student exposed to this experience made significant gains in their sight word vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Nursing homes have enhanced the quality of their patient’s lives, while giving them a sought after dignity, simply by allowing them to feel the vibratory flow of energy passing through these creatures.

The primary cause for the demise of the woodrat, rests squarely at the hands of human beings, not domestic cats.

Unfortunately, FWS construction vehicles, projects and venders have had the capacity to kill and infringe upon the survival of the woodrat, far more than the cats, whom I’ve never seen in or near any part of the refuge.

A reasonable and measured approach addressing the concerns of the FWS can be arrived at. However, many citizens were offended by what they interpreted as public threats in our local newspapers by the authors of this cat trapping agenda. This policy authorizes armed police officers, capable of arrest and the use of deadly force, to compel compliance to these policies.

To most of the people that I have spoken with, this approach appears insolent and intimidating. It looks like the government  is willing to do whatever it wants, regardless of the harm that it may cause ‘the people’. It has thwarted a judicious and circumspect resolution to this controversy.

If we are to retain any decency and cohesiveness as a community, I urgently request the Crocodile Wild Life Refuge  to cease and desist from the furtherance of those agenda items that are hurting people. As I suggested to the Crocodiles Lake Manager, the needs of the FWS can be arrived at in a far more effective and humane manner if he will stand-down, temporarily, and allow the needs of those people being negatively impacted to be addressed. I have spoken with some of the aggrieved parties and I can assure the ‘refuge manager’ that a cooperative agreement can be reached, if he will allow some dialogue and a process to unfold.

There is a body of work in our country, known as the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence; whose principles and laws have demonstrated a particular abhorrence to the type of force and control reflected by the government, in the disputed FWS policies.

It’s the hope of many, that the FWS station at Crocodile Lake will extend a helping hand to their community partners and neighbors surrounding the refuge. Standing-down from an operation that many believe is reckless and cruel, will provide an environment where these sensitive topics can be reasonably discussed. I pledge my allegiance to facilitate a successful remedy.

While not diminishing the goals and objectives of the FWS, a lot of tax dollars are being spent waging a war, which targets the lives of cat owners with police action, while exposing their beloved pets to injury and death.

In congruence with the unlimited resources of the government and the extraordinary individuals employed within the FWS, we can most assuredly arrive at a resolution through the means once described as “The American Way”.

Consensus, compromise and cooperation with our neighbors is necessary; if the mission of the FWS is to be legitimized and accomplished.

Data compilation, night scope camera pictures, tracking information and position papers cannot be utilized to justify conduct, that appears to many to be nefarious.

A divergence of perspectives and experiences within the scientific community, view the present FWS policy with great alarm. Miami-Dade County has enacted an extremely effective alternative known as Trap-Neuter-Release. Their humane and compassionate treatment of abandoned cats, reflects an advanced and evolved state of mind. The Miami-Dade County model has significantly reduced the number of discarded cats in a cost-effective manner, while here in the Keys we spend on average nearly $4,000 to catch one stray cat.

Studies conducted by Dr. Julie Levy at the University of Florida, which followed a long-term Trap-Neuter-Release program, found that the population of felines living within a supervised cat colony declined by 66% over 10 years.

Please remember that these cat colonies are provided with food,  given clean water and showed affection each day by their caregivers. In addition, all of the cats in these colonies are spayed and neutered, while being attended to medically. In all of the cases that I’m familiar with, the medical expenses incurred for the care of these animals has been paid for privately, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, the FWS has adamantly refused to accept Dr. Levy’s data and the humane alternative that she offered.

The truth is that Trap-Neuter-and Release programs are nationally accepted as a widespread life-saving practice, supported by major animal protection organizations, which include Alley Cat Allies, ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society, as well as over 250 nonprofit organizations dedicated to abandoned cat care across the nation.

Several scientists who have reviewed all of the existing data regarding the treatment of disserted cats, believe that the strident and inhumane policies proffered by the FWS, are the least desirable. A detailed examination of the Crocodile Lake model reveals a lack of creativity and a certain amount of subterfuge. When challenged with the harshness and ineffectiveness of their approach, while providing them with viable alternatives, they become very defensive and shut down. To many, their insensitive attitudes and witless adherence to the party line are startling.

Having recently spoken with the manager of this ‘wildlife refuge’, I was comforted by this man’s intelligence, character and charisma. I spoke with him in a truthful and sincere manner. It’s my hope that he will not use the force and might of the United States government to trample the dissenters of his methods into submission.

An amenable solution can be reached, if the manager will extend a hand of friendship to the aggrieved parties. Creating a  dialogue, whereby a mechanism can be developed that will collectively represent the objectives and concerns of all; will be arrived at, if the government so desires.