Mar 28
April Fool prank goes very wrong

Strictly Drivel

In five days, it will be that most dastardly of holidays.

It will be April 1. April Fool’s Day. The day of mischief and mayhem.

In year’s past, my community has pulled some very good pranks for April Fool’s Day.

And there have been years where the pranks have fallen flat. There have also been years where there were no pranks.

Those were disappointing years.

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Mar 28
Keep our youth on the right track

It appears that the anti-science crowd is becoming more and more determined to ensure that Florida youth have absolutely no dog in the fight when it comes to actual knowledge in the field of science.

The state Legislature is currently contemplating a change in the distribution of school dollars that will allow for a bigger percentage of those dollars to go toward faith-based schools, particularly those that teach creationism as a part of the science curriculum.

For the last two decades American students have been falling behind the rest of the civilized/industrial world at an alarming rate because we fail to fund education at the levels necessary to keep our students in the top ranges of the basics…math, science and reading.

In an ever-increasing technological world, advanced by scientific breakthroughs, not realizing that science is the way to keep pace with the future is short-sighted at best.

Continue reading ‘Keep our youth on the right track’

Mar 21
Oh so many reasons to dislike the cats in this world

Strictly Drivel

As if I didn’t have enough reasons to dislike cats, the cat that has been adopted by our commercial strip has given me more.

I don’t know if I’ve ever fully explained my aversion to cats. The reasons are many.

Continue reading ‘Oh so many reasons to dislike the cats in this world’

Mar 21
We don’t always know safety best

The Monroe Board of County Commissioners Wednesday decided not to endorse a pedestrian cross walk on US 1 about a quarter-mile west of the traffic light.

The commissioners were concerned that they were asking the Florida Department of Transportation to unilaterally change the face of traveling on Big Pine Key without enough public input.

The idea originated through a request from Big Pine Academy for a school zone to heighten safety for the children who walk to school every day during the school year.

Continue reading ‘We don’t always know safety best’

Mar 14
Get yourself ready for more paddleboat hijinks

Strictly Drivel

Our annual paddleboat races are set to go in just under a month, Saturday, April 12. This is an event you’d pay to see if you had to, but since you don’t you really need to come out to Looe Key and watch.

Sponsored every year by the Big Pine and Lower Keys Rotary Club and the News-Barometer, with prizes offered up by local eateries and liquor stores, the Paddleboat Pursuit is just plain fun.

We give racers a very minimal amount of materials to build a wooden boat powered by paddle wheels, which are in turn powered by human muscle.

The creativity that goes into the design of these boats is amazing.

Continue reading ‘Get yourself ready for more paddleboat hijinks’

Mar 14
Warning shot proposal a bad idea

Where do we draw the line in allowing gun-toting hot heads to fire off a shot anywhere they wish with no regard for the safety of the rest of the world?

The Florida Legislature is currently considering making it legal to fire a warning shot during the “Stand Your Ground” process. The thought, of course, is that the warning shot will make the intruder, assailant, racially profiled, hated person at the other end of the gun sight run for cover and take you out of harm’s way.

That warning shot, however, is not bound by any rules. It can be fired into the air.

The only thing sure about that warning shot is that once the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun, the shooter has absolutely no control over where it comes to rest.

And there we have an inherent danger.

Continue reading ‘Warning shot proposal a bad idea’

Mar 07
A free vaudeville show for my long drive to work

Strictly Drivel

Sometimes, the last thing anyone wants to do in the morning is drive to work. Even if, like us, you only live a few miles away. No matter the distance, driving to work can be a real pain in the behind, and unless you have something else to do, very boring.

As I drove to work this morning, I had no reason to fear boredom, for I soon discovered that I had front row seats to my own traveling road show.

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Mar 07
Insurance policy must be the same

Okay. We’re trying to get a handle on the situation here, and thus far have failed to find a logical link between the two actions. Let us explain a little bit.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has made it a priority to raise premiums for windstorm insurance policy holders around the state to protect Citizens Insurance, the state-run and state-owned insurer of last resort in Florida.

Scott has actively lobbied the insurance giant, and even removed board appointees who didn’t see eye-to-eye with his philosophy, to raise premiums to bolster the $6 billion bank account the insurer had when he took office three years ago.

His first move was to allow the insurer to raise rates. The second move was to order that the company divest itself of policies, even going so far as to give part of that surplus to private insurers willing to cherry pick only the safest policies.

That logic escapes us.

Continue reading ‘Insurance policy must be the same’

Feb 28
Put up those dukes you feral cats and raccoons

Strictly Drivel

It was kind of funny even to me to see our cartoonist Dan Schwab bring his strip by one morning like he always did in the past, and the subject be wild raccoons versus feral cats.

I guess it just goes to show that truly warped minds do really think alike, because I had already started this outrageously funny column about exactly that issue.

I was going to talk about clandestine meetings in the wilds of Big Pine between wild raccoons and feral cats and the conversations they must have since both are now targets of the trapping program.

Something like this:

Continue reading ‘Put up those dukes you feral cats and raccoons’

Feb 28
Look at efficiency for savings, too

Last week the Monroe Board of County Commissioners spent considerable time discussing the possibility of raising building permit fees here so that the general fund isn’t subsidizing the building department to the tune of more than $2 million yearly.

The goal is to make the users of the service pay for the service so that those who don’t use the service aren’t subsidizing what they don’t use.

An admirable goal.

Building fees here are already somewhat high compared to the rest of the state, at least on the upper end of the scale.

And yes, we have the toughest building codes in the state, so we need people who can review and enforce those codes effectively so we all aren’t paying for shoddy construction practices after the next minor storm.

But our question to the commission and to the staff that proposed the higher fees, is why are we only looking at raising fees to compensate for losses in the building department?

Continue reading ‘Look at efficiency for savings, too’

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