Even though it doesn’t seem that way to me, there is actually a lot of work that goes into bringing you this weekly newspaper.
For me it’s a labor of love. For the rest of our tiny staff, it’s a job with nice working conditions and not much pay. For my beautiful wife, it’s simply supporting me in a life-long love affair with something other than her.
And I’m selfish enough to say thank you.
We deal with about 100 business owners or organizations every week to gather and produce advertising copy that pays for the publication you eventually see on the streets. I deal with dozens of officials at all levels to try and produce news stories that will in some way enhance your knowledge of what goes on in your communities.
After the hours of chasing too-busy business owners and too-busy news sources, it’s usually late afternoon Wednesday before I’m ready to even begin putting the final product together. Sometimes it’s later than that.
I have a personal deadline of midnight Wednesday to have the final product shipped to the printing plant in Miami Lakes where they run it into the printed product you see on the shelves each week.
Again, it’s a labor of love for me and I hope an interesting read for you.
The often controversial, never used, money draining, abandoned black eye on the Monroe Board of County Commissioners called the Hickory House Wednesday entered its next phase of history.
On a unanimous vote with one abstention, the BOCC agreed to sell the decrepit Hickory House to big-time local developer Pritam Singh for $2 million, a net loss of $1.1 million on the property flip.
While that’s not great news by any stretch, that is the best purchase offer the county has had to take that particular albatross off our hands.
This week marks the beginning of another hurricane season.
And I am not so different from many in these parts.
Because it’s been more than eight years since last we felt the wrath of a major storm (many of us remember Wilma in 2005) we have gotten kind of lax on making major preparations for the storm season that has burst upon us.
I for one am only solo generator at the moment. We had two, one that we used for the office so we could stay operational and one for the house so we could keep the refrigerator running, a few lights, and one air conditioner to avoid the really sticky heat that follows a hurricane around here.
But after eight years of no use, the generators crapped out on me. I would start them every season, but then get busy and not pay attention to them the rest of the year. They paid me back for my lack of attention by breaking.
Today was supposed to be the last day of the 2013-2014 school year, but due to some calendar reshuffling, the youngsters got a break at were able to call it quits for the summer yesterday.
That means summertime. No school. Lots of young children out and about doing what young children do during the long, lazy days of summer.
And now it becomes our responsibility to watch over our children during the times when normally they’d be safe and sound behind school doors.
It’s that time of year again when every driver must be ever-vigilant for young children as they make their way around town. As either makes their way around town.
We, as adult drivers, are supposed to have the attention span of more than the common gnat. That makes our attention span, supposedly, much greater than that of the average young person.
Wednesday was a day for the proof of the human condition called “Lack of an attention span.”
In my less sober moments, I call these episodes an outbreak of hedupyerassitis, otherwise known as cranial/rectal inversion.
Before I got started for the day, I wanted to go to a local convenience store and purchase my daily quota of caffeine. I have all but given up Mountain Dew and replaced it with Pepsi Max. I’m told it has fewer calories and is less harmful to my system.
But it sure doesn’t hand out the immediate charge that a good swig of Mountain Dew does.
But that’s another story.
Monroe County will soon take up the issue of how to measure traffic level of service here in the coming years. How to get cars through and around the Florida Keys has been an issue for several years. At one point, traffic level of service became such an issue on Big Pine Key that the state declared a building moratorium for nearly eight years. No one could build a new house. Commercial entities could only rebuild on an existing foot print.
When the state came along and fixed the US 1/Key Deer Blvd. interchange, traffic started moving again enough to lift the moratorium. When the widening project was completed, traffic began to flow a little more smoothly.
But over the years, traffic concurrency issues have made any further development a little dicey in several other locations in the Keys.
So county staff is seeking ways to end the problem for good.
Now that summer seems to be coming up on us before many of us realized it was here, it’s time to spend a few minutes cleaning out the dreaded junk drawer in my desk.
This is a task that I do faithfully at least once a year, whether it needs it or not, and spend all the time required to do it right (it takes too long to pull the darn thing from the guide rails and just tip it into the trash can, so I have to physically pull everything out).
Let’s see here, what is this scrap note? Oh yeah, that’s the one to remind myself of a meeting somewhere. I probably would have been there if I had remembered to look in the junk drawer for scraps.
OK. This pile I need. It’s a collection of miscellaneous phone numbers, most of which I have either memorized or forgotten why I needed, but since I know my memory is slipping, I write them down on little scraps of paper and place them all in the same pile inside the junk drawer. See, who says there isn’t organization in chaos? Now if I could just figure out why there are four or five copies of each scrap.
For those that have lived here a while, this will be old hat…been there, done that, heard it all before…kind of stuff.
For some of our newcomers, and definitely our visitors, treating our wildlife with respect and watching out for their safety needs to become a priority.
The actual attacks on wildlife, such as the throat-slitting of pelicans months ago, are the rare occurrence, and generally our law enforcement personnel are quite good at keeping this type of thing under control.
But what isn’t under control is the dismissal of safety for some of our favorite wildlife.
I know we’ve touched on this subject before, but it seems as though the chicken population on Big Pine has reached epidemic proportions.
Just the other day, I saw two feathered fowl strutting about town. Now, in and of itself, this was not an unusual occurrence. Seeing two chickens walking around together is an all-too-common sight these days.
These two birds, however, had a distinct attitude about them. Maybe it wasn’t so much the way they walked, because chickens always seem to strut whenever they walk, perhaps it was where they strutted.
These two particular birds were strolling down the bike path on the island’s east side. More specifically, they were strolling in front of Coconuts and the bank.
And they knew they owned the joint.
Trash has become a rather out-sized concern in the Florida Keys of late. And that’s not hauling out the stuff that gets thrown out by the folks who live and work here. That’s the stuff left on the side of the road, under bridges and in out-of-the-way private dump spots scattered around the island chain.
Nearly every month some group is staging a clean up some where to pick up human trash from the ground, the water, the mangroves, the trees, and anywhere else trash can congregate with just a little bit of wind.
Picking up the refuse left behind by humans is a full-time job. The Monroe County Public Works Department devotes a truck and crew to the task every month. And that crew alone picks up and disposes of an average of more than 30,000 pounds every month.
Just as an example, that would be the equivalent weight of seven SUVs every month.
It would be an understatement to say that’s a lot of trash.