It was August 22, 1992. Hurricane Andrew blowing over the Bahamas as a #4. Two days later, it would be over South Florida. Florida City, Homestead and Kendall. Still a #4. some say a #5. Winds reported at 140 miles per hour.
Ninety percent of the communities were destroyed. A U.S. Air Base wiped out.
On my way to Key West three weeks later, drove through Homestead. I had never seen devastation like this. As far as the eye could see in any direction, not a building left standing. Occasionally, one wall.
The scene reminded me of Berlin at the end of World War II.
Hurricanes are part of life in the Keys. I have experienced several. More will come. May we never experience one as bad as Andrew.
Yesterday was column writing time. Every Sunday. Took the afternoon. Researching done the day before.
Title: Teach To The Test Fails. Bush 2’s No child Left Behind Act causing significant problems. Questionable if anything positive resulted therefrom. Examples of the down side will shock you.
The column publishes wednesday.
Last night at the Chart Room was the most valuable I have ever experienced. I learned a lot.
Met Devin. A farmer from Illinois. He owns two properties in Key West. An upscale condominium and a rental property.
Devin and his brother own and operate the farm. Their father before them. Before their father, their grandfather.
I got into Monsanto with him. I have always been under the impression that it was difficult to survive with Monsanto in the picture. He showed me at length how wrong I was. He is happy operating with Monsanto involved.
One of Devin’s crops is soybeans. Soybeans and other things grown find their way to the Far East for ultimate sale.
I live and learn. Forget sometimes there are two sides to a story.
Larry Smith tonight at the Little Room Jazz Club.
The Key West City Commission is seriously considering acquiring the old electric property in Bahama village. Whether to do so is on the ballot for a recommendation vote in November.
Three buildings. Abandoned for 50 years. There are environmental problems. Some resolved, others not. The nots generally not known nor discovered at this time.
Keys Energy will give the property to Key west for nothing. A kicker. Key West has to agree to relieve Keys Energy from any future environmental cleanup. Present numbers set the cleanup of problems known at around $2 million on the high side.
The property is adjacent to Truman Waterfront.
Why Key West is even going to the trouble of a referendum, I do not understand. The building and land are contaminated. As soon as remodeling work begins, further environmental problems will be discovered. Under federal law, the City as owner at the time of cleanup will be responsible. Guaranteed there will be additional environmental problems and they will be in the mullions. It’s the nature of the beast. A former electric company.
The contamination underground could run to the Truman waterfront property.
Nothing for nothing is the saying. The City will be accepting a pig in the poke if it takes title. Beware of those bearing gifts. All that glitters is not gold.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has provided a letter saying no further cleanup required. The City should not buy it. Once a new problem is discovered, cleanup becomes the order of the day.
Only in Key West. A Sheriff’s deputy who works as a correction officer at the county jail has been arrested.
An inmate has been incarcerated since 2013 on cocaine related charges. The deputy offered to help him escape for $400,000. The deal was made. $150,000 to be paid up front. The balance when the guy was out of jail.
The inmate and his lawyer told the authorities. The deputy was set up. When he was paid the $150,000 in the CVS parking lot in Big Pine, he was arrested. Undercover police officers paid him the money.
Enjoy the day!