And just when I thought it was safe to cruise through the shopping center parking lot again, I am reminded that it doesn’t have to be an out-of-town car or driver to make all of our lives miserable.
For several years, the shopping center parking lot here on Big Pine had one single space that was close to the entrance door and not a handicapped only space. I watched many a dance of Detroit iron trying to figure out a way to get to that spot. Then, they made that single space a handicapped space and the daily potential metal twisting ballet was over.
Despite the best efforts of child advocates, child welfare workers, law enforcement agencies and judges, the issues surrounding our youth in the care of the state continue to mount.
The red tape involved in the bureaucratic morass that passes for child welfare these days makes it near impossible for children in the system, a system that is supposed to put their well-being first, to emerge unscathed.
For starters, the cases drag on far too long. Florida has long had a policy of family reunification for families that get themselves embroiled in the child welfare system.
That’s a laudable goal. It’s an achievable goal.
I’ve had a lot of questions from people about building boats for our annual paddleboat race coming up next Saturday at Looe Key Tiki Bar.
Before we get into a not-how-to discussion of building a paddleboat, let me fill you in on the annual Board of Directors walk along the race course.
Because of the length of the canal behind Looe Key versus the open water dock area of our former race course, we have definitively approved the installation of a 180-degree turnaround as part of the race course.
The course will start at the boat ramp. Racers can walk their craft to the drop off and climb in, which will make for a little easier mounting than the dock was, or they can pitch the craft out into the water, swim out and climb aboard. I’ll sell tickets for the latter.
We are all happy to see the economic indicators for the Keys trending upward with property valuations expected to rise for the next budget cycle, sales tax income increasing, and bed tax monies on the upswing again.
We have been very lucky that we didn’t suffer through the current recession as much as some other areas where wholesale flight to other areas was the norm and unemployment remains rampant.
But let’s not test that luck just yet.
It would have made a great back drop for a low-budget science fiction flick if it had involved something a little more innocuous.
But as it was, even die-hard sci-fi fans probably wouldn’t be intrigued by dogs, iguanas and geckos, unless of course they were chemically or radiation enhanced in some fashion, with menacing teeth and a hunger for blood.
But they weren’t.
I can, however, call this little saga the “Days of the Flying Animals.”
It began innocently enough. But let me set the stage for act one.
Monroe County is being called the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the coastal United State when it comes to the effects of global climate change and eventual sea level rise inundation.
It’s an apt description.
If sea level rises just to the minimum of the published expectations, some 12 percent of the land currently above water in the Florida Keys would be either under water or part of an unusable wetland.
If the more moderate projections are real, closer to 25 percent of the coastal areas of the Keys could be suffering from sea level inundation in the next 30 years.
In other words, we have a problem folks.
Prejudice is a funny thing. It’s ugly on the face of it and should not be tolerated in today’s homogenous society, but the pre-conceived notions it gives people can be hilarious on closer examination.
As a reporter, I was warned long and hard by the teachers in my formative years to question anything that smelled like a “glittering generality.”
A glittering generality is anything that encompasses everything in a given situation, or everyone in a given situation.
For instance, a glittering generality that many of us are familiar with is the one that we get every time a hurricane comes within 200 miles of us from people who live in inland areas and mountainous regions.
As long as is the tradition of volunteer fire departments in this country, almost as long is the tradition of the phenomenon known as a fundraiser.
Just hang up and drive
It seems as though every day I find another reason why cell phones in (or on) vehicles should be banned.
Just tonight, as I was working late again, I see this guy on a bicycle riding past the front door. He has no lights on the bike, it’s dark, he’s wearing dark-colored clothing, it’s dark, and I’m not sure his mental faculties were completely intact. The bike did its fair share of weaving between the bike path and the roadway, but the thing that amazed me most was his one-handed style of riding. You see, the other hand was filled with a cell phone.
And of course he felt it necessary to scream into the receiver in case the person on the other end couldn’t hear through the phone they could get it from the wind.
No lights and dark clothing are bad enough when riding a bike at night, but adding the cell phone to the list seems a little bit like a Charles-Bronson nemesis death wish.
In one of the most ecologically sensitive states in the country, where unspoiled wilderness, the attendant wildlife, and pristine waters are responsible for the near-constant uptick in tourists, cutting out programs to purchase sensitive lands and preserve them for future generations seems like bad business.
And that is what the state Legislature’s decisions the last couple of years on funding for land purchases is—bad business.