PYTHONS RULE THE ROOST

More than 1 million pythons call the Everglades home. Prior to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the number was minimal.

Andrew hit Homestead as a Category 5. Totally wiped out Homestead. I was there 3 weeks after Andrew. The community flat. Nothing left standing except an occasional wall.

Pythons were home pets. Scattered by Andrew. Eventually made their home in the Everglades.

Pythons are sexual creatures. Active. Gestation period 60-90 days. Twelve to 36 eggs normally laid. Can be up to 100.

The pythons took over the Everglades. They have devoured 80 percent of animal and bird life.

The warning signs were there. The State of Florida did nothing. About 10 years ago, Florida became concerned. It was too late. State officials are quick to admit the error of their ways. Also that the best that can be done is to “control” python growth. “Eradication” impossible.

Florida has done a poor job of controlling. Probably never will be able to control. Several methods attempted to control. All a failure.

One was to have an annual hunt and award money prizes for the most captured. The program still ongoing. Called the Florida Python Challenge.

The winner of the 2022 Challenge is 19 year old Matthew Concepcion from Palmetto Bay. He captured 28 pythons.

Note, not an easy task. Some run 15-18 feet long.

Concepcion hunted for 10 days. At night. He claims it is the best time. Especially around 4 in the morning. Similar to the big fish that come up around 4 in the afternoon. Only the time difference involved.

At 4 am Concepcion says the pythons are stretched out relaxing. He grabs them. The “best way to get them,” he says.

He has been a python hunter 5 years. Bitten 5 times: “Their teeth retract backward so you have to let them bite us, and you either pour alcohol in their mouth or pray it lets you go.”

Concepcion’s victory significant. More than 1,000 python hunters from all over the world participated.

Concepcion’s prize was $10,000.

Inflation. Gas and groceries, yes. Mortgages, also.

South Florida has seen mortgage payments increase 95 percent. Interest rates have skyrocketed. Doubled since the beginning of the year.

John Fetterman and Dr. Oz debated last night in the Pennsylvania Senate race. I watched portions. Can only describe Fetterman’s performance as “painful.” I felt sorry for him. He is recovering from a stroke.

His first answer last night: “Hi! Goodnight, everybody!”

It was downhill from there.

Fetterman is still recovering. At some point, he will be normal. Will folks understand and give him a chance?

Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are signing up as poll workers and drop-box watchers.

A ground up, localized effort to control elections.

Pennsylvania an example of what is happening. In 50 of 67 counties, election chiefs have left because of threats, harassments and intimidation against them and their families.

Gunfight at OK Corral. So many movies!

It was on this day in 1881 that the famous shootout occurred in Tombstone, Arizona. The good guys led by Wyatt Earp.

On this day in 1825, the Erie Canal opened in New York State. It connected the Hudson River and Lake Erie.

My home town is Utica. Right in the middle of the State and middle of the Canal. The Canal made Utica a political and commercial giant for almost a century. Two U.S. Senators, Governors, a Presidential candidate, and a U.S. Vice President. Served as an overnight stop on the Canal. Hotel and retail businesses thrived. Manufacturing, also. Cotton goods.

All because of the Canal. No more, however.

Utica had a population of 150,000 when I was in high school. Today, 65,000. It has been reduced to the 10th largest city in the State. The cotton mills long gone. They moved south in the 1950’s where labor was cheaper, not unionized.

Today, the home of several colleges. New businesses come in. Some stay, some leave. Its claim to fame is it is a good place to live and raise a family.

The Canal’s impact obviously long gone.

Enjoy your day!

 

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