A community the importance of Key West needs a daily newspaper. I repeat what I said a few days ago. I miss the Citizen! I miss reading it every day!

I am glad the Citizen has changed its mind and will return to daily publication October 7.

This weekend edition’s front page an excellent representation of problems confronting the lower Keys post Irma.

One involves the sad story of the Venture Out RV and Mobile Home Park. Horrific damage. Six hundred fifty nine units. Many ripped in two or with roofs completely blown off. All units suffering some damage. Seventy uninhabitable.

The Park is still without power. Electric wires down all over the place. Many units will have to be moved in order for work to the power structure to be done.

Day laborers unavailable to help.

Another article indicates that tempers are becoming frayed in some instances.

At the Wednesday meeting of the Monroe County Commission, debris was the major issue. Apparently Governor Scott and the FDOT decided to enter into lucrative contracts with major companies to remove debris. Many who have no experience with debris removal.

A local contractor who has a yearly contract with the County for debris removal is upset. The outside concerns are being paid more. Per his contract with the County, he cannot raise his prices.

He cannot compete with the bigger companies coming in. They pay more so additional workers are unavailable to him. He also cannot acquire additional trucks and other equipment because of cost. The bigger guys are buying/renting them up.

The article notes that debris hauling has become a statewide and national crisis.

Displaced boats a problem. Boats that have sunk totally or to some degree.

Satellite imagery indicates 1,300 displaced boats. They need to be removed. A danger to navigation and pollutants from leaking fuel  tanks.

Three hundred sixty-four have been assessed for removal so far. Only 3 removed.

I wish to compliment the Citizen also on its pictures reflecting damage caused by Irma. Right on. Rob O’Neal responsible for most. Excellent, as usual. His photos clearly and accurately show the damage and destruction.

My day yesterday was spent working on Irma and Me and watching the Syracuse/North Carolina State game. Syracuse lost 33-25.

Syracuse a come back team. They will win one of these close ones soon. Stupid errors were responsible for at least one touchdown and one three point kick. Not the first game the mistakes have occurred. Get rid of the slip ups and Syracuse will begin winning.

First the NFL, now the NBA re the National Anthem.

The NBA has a rule that requires players to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. What will the basketball players do? Interesting.

The issue has affected the NFL’s favorability rating. It was 30 percent 9/21. Seventeen percent 9/28.

Trump has crystallized the situation and made it into a problem. It should not have been one. The issue is freedom of speech/freedom of expression. Nothing else.

Many American banks and bankers are guilty of corrupt practices. They are like a teflon pan. Their wrongdoings slide off them.

My position since 2008 has been we should prosecute some bank CEO’s. Such would correct the problem.

Vietnam did.

Nguyen Xuan Son was the head of a major Vietnamese bank. He was charged with major mishandling of funds. Embezzlement, abuse of power, and economic mismanagement.

His bank lost 1.5 trillion Dong. $65 million American money.

Tried and convicted. He has been sentenced to death.

Enjoy your Sunday!





Irma an experience! No question about it!

Not just the hurricane itself. The peripheral, the tangents. The whole picture.

Dinner the big event of the day for we evacuees at the Thornton home in Birmingham. A lengthy telephone call from a Key West friend this morning and other information I have obtained re Irma.

There is another world besides Irma. Time for me to begin a return to it. Slowly. ergo, I will write about a couple of non Irma items.

The  friend who made it back to Key West telephoned this morning. Key West not yet ready for people to return. Not unless they can do with out electric power, sewers, food, and gasoline. Which means as a practical matter, no air conditioning, toilet flushing, eating, cars to drive, and working generators.

I start with this morning’s phone call.

He and a lady friend ran off to Boston. Made their reservations to return to Fort Lauderdale. Plane reservations honored. $99 deal when made. Airline honored the price, also.

They had a hotel reservation in Lauderdale made a week ago. Honored, no gouging.

People trying to return to the Keys who do not have reservations have difficulty getting a room. The hotel permitted them to sleep in their cars in the hotel garage.

My friend rented a car to drive to Key West. No gouging here either.

Florida City the re-entry point. They attempted re-entry yesterday. His lady friend is a nurse and medical emergency trained. She has an identification card to that effect. She was going down to help. She was a go. My friend had nothing.They let him through because he was driving her.

The roads clear and repaired all the way to Key West. From Florida City to Islamorada, debris stacked on side of road and in the center. Anything that could float or be blown. More refrigerators than anything else. Many boats, also.

From Islamorada to Key West, no debris visible anywhere. The trees were bent from the wind. Items did not fly around. Wind significantly less than elsewhere. A reason why Key West missed the brunt of the storm. Fifteen miles closer and Key West would have been like Cudjoe Key and Big Pine.

In Key West itself, little property damage. Many trees down, however.

My friend owns a home in Key West. Very minimal damage to the outside of his home. None inside, except the house smelled big time. He opened the windows to get the smell out. His pool water was black. Trees in the pool.

Adding to the smell was the fact he did not clean out the refrigerator and freezer before he left.

Few gas stations open. In and on the way to Key West. In Key West, certain gas stations were pumping gasoline from the gas trucks. Not going through the pump.

The two businesses who appeared prepared for Irma were the primary gay bars. Bourbon Street and 801.

He enjoyed the evening with a friend at Bourbon Street. They had air conditioning, alcohol, food and ice. The air probably provided by large generators. The ice delivered.

He told me a large truck showed up in front of Bourbon Street. Dumped bags of ice at the front door. Then went across the street to 801 and did the same thing.

Curfew is from dusk to dawn. Bourbon Street locked its doors at dusk and was not bothered by the authorities.

End of the friend report.

Since the end of the call, I have learned other things which change or may change certain portions of my friend’s report. His report through last night. What follows from this morning.

Two people have died and 10 injured as a result of Irma in Key West.

Gasoline. Continues to be scarce.

Sewer treatment facility functioning. Some house toilets backing up, however. Those that have water or a bucket of water are able to flush toilets. Water still a problem.

Power. Remains a problem. From the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, only 7 percent have electric power. The upper Keys, 30 percent. The power people are giving special attention to Cudjoe and Big Pine which took the worst beating. Overall, there are 300 downed polls which take time to fix.

Airport. Still closed to commercial and general aviation flights. Expected to reopen tuesday for all flights.

Food. Old Publix opened for a few hours yesterday. Other Publix and Winn-Dixie in Key West remain closed. Publix in Big Pine opened only a few hours yesterday.

Evacuees. People like me. Though what I report is not how I feel. there is a rising tension being reported. Evacuees want to return to their Key West homes. In spite of the negatives I have reported. Believe officials too cautious. I do not want to get on the road till I have motel reservations where needed, know I can get gas all the way back. And when I get back, I have power, air conditiong, gasoline, food, etc.

Return date. Just heard US 1 to Key West opens tomorrow. People are being permitted to return even though things still not as they should be.

Some other bits of information.

Key West is located in Monroe County. Monroe County has one of the most stringent building codes in the United States.

Florida’s citrus industry took a beating. The loss statewide is estimated at 50-75 percent.

Re-entry stickers are being forged.

A rumor has spread that a truck was found in the Keys full of dead bodies. Not true.

Now to last night.

Dinner at the Thornton’s again. Two guests. Dan and Paula. Not related or connected in any fashion. Both Birmingham residents.

Dan an IT person for a hospital conglomerate that has hospitals from Birmingham south to Broward County. He visits Key West 1-3 times a year. Is a good friend of Jean and Joe.

Dan provided the meal. Bags of Mexican food. The dining room table could not hold all the food.

Wine consumption remained consistent. Tequila added. I missed the tequila. I was tired and went to bed early.

Paula joined us. A friend of the Thornton’s. Lovely and charming. Never been to Key West.

Dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant. My treat.

I was going to write of other things. The Irma report took too many words. Already over a thousand. I will save the non Irma news for another time.

Enjoy your day!