11 July 2023

What's wrong with people? - Weekly briefing - 11 July 2023

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What's wrong with people? Mandy Miles' column in Keys Weekly asked the question we've all asked recently after receiving a letter from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. They offered her a replacement license plate following a complaint that the configuration of letters and numbers on hers could be considered “offensive."

Permitless concealed carry took effect on 1 July, one of over 200 bills passed easily under one-party control of Florida's legislature and Governorship. 
  • Keys Weekly reported that those carrying a concealed gun do not need a permit, but that they must have valid identification on them at all times in the event a law enforcement officer requests it. Whew, that's a relief. 
  • Immigration. Keys Weekly also reported that private employers with 25 or more workers must verify that their new, permanent employees are authorized to work in the U.S. through the E-Verify system. Exposure to fines for failure to comply began July 1, 2024 at $1,000 per day. 
Sargassum playing possum? The New York Times reported 'good news' the blob, known as the great Atlantic Sargassum belt, shrank in the Gulf of Mexico by 75 percent last month, according to scientists.

Dust. We have extreme heat, thunderstorms, and soon, we’ll have dust. Florida Keys News reported that a layer of Saharan dust headed to Florida, with another plume expected later in the week. And that could affect our weather.

City Commission. The City of Key West posted the dense agenda for its new format commission meeting to be held Thursday 13 July. Under the new format, meetings are monthly, and split between mid-day and evening sessions on the same day. Public comments are accepted at both sessions. 
  • FKAA update. Greg Veliz, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority will present an update on FKAA's ongoing projects in the morning session. The posted presentation offered no insights about recent failures of the water main and subsequent boil orders and pressure reduction. 
  • Derelict vessels. At the invitation of City Manager Albert Childress, Captain David Dipre of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will present an update on the presence and removal of derelict vessels during the morning session. No presentation has yet been posted.
  • New mooring field. Steve McAlearney, Port & Marine Services Director, City of Key West. will present the status of the new Wisteria Mooring Field Project during the morning session.
Artificial reef proposal. The Citizen reported that Monroe County government officials are considering a proposal to scuttle 37 old Florida Keys Electric Cooperative cement power poles as an artificial reef off the Florida Keys. The 55 feet tall poles are being removed and stored at a marina in Marathon.

Farewell Leigha and Bernadette
  • Popular US1 Radio's mid-day voice Leigha Fox announced her departure from the Keys for Tulsa, Oklahoma on Facebook and elsewhere, and updated her fans with her progress enroute. She'll continue to host a weekly show on Saturday afternoons. 
  • Attorney, realtor, community activist and 2018 Fantasy Fest Queen Bernadette Restivo announced her departure from the Keys for California on Facebook and elsewhere, and was feted repeatedly by her friends. 
200 years. Monroe County celebrated the 200th anniversary of its founding on July 2, 1823 along with Independence Day. 
Mark's tern. Mark Hedden took a 'tern' for the north to seek out and land a hail Mary at Ave Maria in his Keys Weekly column.  

Our Eyes

Alyson Crean

Previously in Key West Voices

Florida's hurricane evacuation model pitted developers against residents. Hurricane evacuation modeling is based on population data from the U.S. Census and simulates how efficiently the current population can evacuate the area before a disaster events. The model was used to justify more growth in 2012, and is expected to do so again. Some residents say no. 
Home rule eroded. The power of people across the country determine the destiny of their own communities is all too often preempted by lobbyist influenced state legislatures. 
Mooring field expansion. The Monroe County Commission has moved forward this month on plans to expand the City of Key West mooring field and develop its own mooring field in Boca Chica Basin. (Citizen, $)

Boat races, dead grass and city neglect. Ray Warren decried the City's neglect of the portion of Truman Waterfront torn up by the boat racers. "Race World Offshore (RWO), the organizer of the event under current city contracts, is supposed to repair any damage to the park. This is not happening." (Key West Progress) 

Collision. A car and a scooter collided Saturday 24 June at Fleming and Duval streets, sending two victims to Lower Keys Medical Center, and one later sent to Miami aboard Trauma Star. (Citizen, $)

Awaiting agenda. The agenda for the next City Commission meeting on 13 July should be posted later this week. Highlights and details in next week's Voices. 

Great bicycling city. Chris Hamilton reported that Key West was 20th among 946 small cities in the annual U.S. bicycling industry’s trade association PeopleForBikes ranking of U.S. cities. Provincetown was first. (Friends of Car-Free Key West) 

Observations from Fort Zach. Linda Cunningham warned of sunburn and even sharks this summer. (Key West Island News)

Monroe County at 200 years. Activities were planned to commemorate the establishment of Monroe County on 3 July 1823. (Citizen, $)

Bite me? A North Carolina man was arrested early Monday, June 26, for felony battery after biting a bouncer at Sloppy Joe’s in the face. (Citizen, $)

Don't be a jerk. Mandy Miles said we have to stop pissing each other off by doing stupid stuff. (Keys Weekly)

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