I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s possible for someone to get half a driver’s license.
I know it’s not, but if the driver has half a brain, why should they get a whole driver’s license?
This comes to mind after the last couple of weeks as I’ve watched folks just seem to only half finish the job of driving.
Let me explain.
Last week during a trip to the shopping center on Big Pine, I wanted to turn up the aisle from the grocery store side to a parking space about halfway up.
There’s that pesky half again.
As we approach the halfway point of 2014, just before us is Foster Parent Appreciation Month, a time to thank those who provide a safe haven for the youth of our community who, for whatever reason, need someplace to go in the short term.
If you were to ask most who serve as foster parents in Monroe County, they would give varying reasons why they take in children who need some love and attention during a traumatic time.
But in this case, the publishing staff of this newspaper can speak with some degree of authority on the subject as they are foster parents.
In the final analysis, fostering is a satisfying and rewarding experience for the adults who put themselves out as surrogate parents.
Someday, someone will probably write a book that includes homespun tales of traveling through Big Pine, the sights and sounds of the islands, the people and the places.
I hope they devote a chapter to moving around the island without using US 1.
It is possible to go from one end of this island (excluding Ship’s Way and connected streets) to the other without getting on US 1. You just have to be willing to either take it very slow, or sacrifice your suspension to do it on a routine basis.
I’m not the only one around here that drives a light, high-off-the-ground SUV. And I know I’m not the only one that slips around on the back roads of the island to avoid the mass of confusion that is Big Pine on US 1.
I’ll go half a mile out of the way to avoid the remote possibility of a left-hand turn anywhere but the light. The way I figure it, if I use an extra 10 minutes bouncing across a back road, at least I’m not waiting for traffic to clear enough to turn left, and then only if I leave a little bit of rubber on the pavement.
But as I travel the byways of Big Pine, I notice how steadily more deteriorated the road bed becomes.
We always fail to understand why our local elected leadership usually first tries to throw our local economy and workforce under the bus when discussing solutions to problems.
As our elected leadership, elected to represent our best interests, it would seem that proffered solutions for every problem would first focus on how that solution can benefit our economy, our people, our home.
I may have to stop writing about the evil intentions of iguanas for a while.
You see, I think they’re learning to read.
And I don’t think they’re happy with me.
Let me tell you why I might get this impression. And let me also say that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Three times last week I had run-ins with an iguana.
Monroe County’s two-day sport lobster mini-season is coming under fire again from groups opposed to the event for a variety of reasons, some newly on the bandwagon, others remaining so..
The latest power group to join the anti-mini-season bandwagon is the Commercial Fishermen of the Keys who are asking the National Marine Sanctuary to recommend that the two-day sport season be eliminated.
The sanctuary is currently in the process of updating its marine zoning regulations for areas controlled by the sanctuary, and that process has already raised outcries from fishing groups for suggesting that additional areas be closed to commercial and/or recreational harvest.
Maybe two extra lanes aren’t good traffic control devices.
Just when we thought we had won the battle with our friendly neighborhood tourists and our roads, it seems that they have left a few stragglers behind. And these stragglers seem to have little idea that they are traveling on an island with limited roadways.
For the first time in months, I was actually able to make a left hand turn on U.S. 1 on a Saturday without waiting 15 minutes for the traffic to clear. I pulled out of the post office, made a left hand turn–yes you heard me right–a left hand turn in the space of about two minutes. I accelerated into the northbound lane and was sailing along smoothly right up to the strip where Walgreen’s starts.
I was happy.
Then, I was attacked by the “I don’t know which way I need to go, and I’m going to take both lanes until I do” folks.
“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” …Thomas Jefferson
And thus has it come to pass.
First we had the federal Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United that deemed corporations as people for purposes of political contributions, opening the door for unlimited campaign contributions from any particular company to any particular politician.
The court, in essence, made it legal for mega-corporations to buy politicians.
I had every intention of writing this week’s drivel on my disappointment with our community that not one single April Fool’s Day prank was attempted on the general public.
I made a futile stab at it with last week’s Drivel, but I didn’t see one single public display of an April Fool’s Day prank.
There were no torso-less Key Deer heads poking over the fences on US 1. There were no new controversial businesses coming to town. There was no clothing optional resort, nobody tried to sell the Blue Hole, no one tried to put a boat-up McDonald’s at the old swimming hole.
All in all it was just another boring holiday, and I was extremely disappointed.
But just before I sat down to write this piece this week, I got sidetracked with one of my favorite pastimes, which is watching what I call the “Detroit iron foxtrot.”
Monroe County, Florida and the US Government have spent so much time ignoring true infrastructure needs in the last decade that the repair of that infrastructure has now become what might be an insurmountable number.
The state of federal travel infrastructure, highways, bridges and waterways, has gotten to the point where we no longer ask the question “Will it fail?” but rather we ask the question “When will it fail?”
In the Keys, that question should spark immediate concerns.
After all, we have but one road in and out of here, a federal highway, maintained by the state, that is only connected from end to end because of 42 bridges.
The majority of those bridges are either approaching, or have surpassed, their initial expected life span. And we know something has to be done.
But we haven’t yet seen the political will at the federal and state level in this environment of cut-expenses-at-any-cost to move forward on protecting the millions of motorists who use aging roads and bridges.
And that cost will be lives.