tidal shifts and Acts of God in the garden of good and evil: Heisman Trophy voting, Florida Keys Cudjoe regional sewer district, 500 polluted canals in the Florida Keys

Michael slays Satan
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There is a different post today at www.goodmorningkeywest.com, which you should be able to see by clicking on that link today, and by clicking on thls link at anytime:

I found this online after dreaming of Alabama’s superstar quarterback A.J. McCarron early this morning.

AJ McCarron
In an anticlimax of a ceremony Saturday night, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston became the 79th winner of the Heisman Trophy.
In real terms, Winston claimed the most coveted individual award in sports nine days earlier. That’s when Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs announced that his office would not file charges against Winston after he was accused of a 2012 sexual assault. That decision removed the only major impediment between the quarterback and the Heisman.
Winston won the award in a landslide – receiving 668 first-place votes to end up with 2,205 points total – despite being left off 115 of the 900 ballots that were returned. It was the fifth-largest margin of victory in the modern history of the award. At 19 years old, he’s also the youngest player to ever win the Heisman.
The only real drama Saturday night was seeing who would finish second in the balloting. That honor went to AJ McCarron of Alabama, who ended up with 704 points.
For me, the first real drama was Winston was not even on 115 of the ballots, which I imagine had to do with those voters sentiments about the rape allegation. 
The second real drama was Winston led FSU to a perfect season, which may or may not remain perfect, depending on how FSU does against Auburn in the BSC championship game.
Meanwhile, A.J. McCarron led Alabama to two BSC championships in  a row, despite one loss in each season, and he led Alabama to an 11-1 record this year, ending in a game God threw to Auburn because Alabama officials, and perhaps AJ himself, did not timely announce that Alabama should not play FSU in the BSC championship if the rape allegations were still hanging unresolved. 
As the then No. 1 ranked team, it was incumbent on Alabama, and perhaps its quarterback McCarron, to speak for all of college football about how that situation should be handled.
Stars fell on the Auburn Tigers and not on the Alabama Crimson Tide this year.
Iron Bowl finale
Iron Bowl end
Now remains, will God’s default candidate for the BSC championship beat the Devil’s team, is how I see it? But then, I now wonder if Auburn now is on the hot seat; if now it’s up to Auburn to say it will not play FSU? The things the angels get me into, they have no mercy.
Seven Mile Bridge
Not to fear, God and the Devil are not ignoring the Florida Keys. This beauty below from Banks Prevatt sailed into my email account yesterday. I added the pics this morning:
From: Bgprevatt@________
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:36:50 -0500
Subject: Fwd: this came to me from an anonymous resident
To: boccdis1@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis2@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis3@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis4@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis5@monroecounty-fl.gov

Notice: Approximately 70 email addresses are blind copied.
To the County Commissioners,
I am only the messenger here.
banks prevatt

From: gettheleadout@______________
To: Bgprevatt@_____________
Sent: 12/15/2013 10:20:32 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: this came to me from an anonymous resident


Banks, I was sent this letter from a Big Pine resident who wants to remain anonymous. I was asked if I would forward it to you. 

Because of my job and approaching retirement, I want to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. I was hoping you can forward my sentiments below (without my e-mail address attached)  to the entire mailing list, including all 5 commissioners and the news media. 
The tremendous work by Walter Drabinski and his newtoncoaltion.com site alerted residents to the terribly misguided FKKA plans for Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Project. As we now know, the information provided on that website was so damning that major changes were made to the CRWP for several neighborhoods, resulting in abolishment of grinder pumps. Unfortunately, that was not the case for all neighborhoods.
The attached letter (see Link 1) by concerned citizens in Sarasota, FL — where a Dump the Pumps campaign led enlightened, farsighted Sarasota commissioners to alter plans to install grinder pumps (see Link 2) — sums up many of my concerns about grinder pumps in my neighborhood.  Their letter addressed 9 points of concern (clearly there are additional issues), including the following — the bold text is part of the original letter:
“4. We are advised by realtors that having a grinder pump system, which is different than the “norm”, would necessitate a disclosure to any prospective buyer of the property. Only negative features require disclosure statements.  If a buyer were to read up on grinder pumps why would they opt to buy a home with a serious problem waiting to happen?” 
I’m over 60 years old (still working) and been a Big Pine resident for nearly 30 years. I’ve been barely making it financially due to increased costs of flood and wind insurance. Recently, my house, like all ground-level houses built before 1975,  has already been greatly devalued because of astronomical insurance increases for any new buyer. Now it will be further devalued and even harder to sell because of a grinder pump.  I learned yesterday from an electrician that my circuit breaker box is already maxed out — no room for anything, much less a 220 W grinder pump connection. He noted the hookup will not be cheap. 
A commissioner with empathy would recognize that besides all the clear negatives of grinder pumps, that there are long-time residents who are getting hammered financially because they live in a ground level home built prior to 1975. If these devices from Hades (grinder pumps) are forced upon residents, at the very least, any fees or expenses associated with them should be waived entirely, especially for senior citizens with mortgages living in devalued ground level houses built before 1975. 
Those of us slated for grinder pumps are victims through no fault of our own. Our lives are being turned upside down with worry over a blatantly flawed sewering plan and yet we are given flippant, disingenuous answers that dodge the immutable information presented in newtoncoaltion.com. Any citizen deserves better. I respect our commissioners — especially Commissioner Kohlage — and hope they will give the matter the attention it deserves. 
Link 1: Letter by concerned Sarasota residents to commissioners:
Link 2: Sarasota commissioners alter plans for installation of grinder pumps:  


I replied, I added the pics this morning:
From: keysmyhome@hotmail.com
To: bgprevatt@____________; boccdis1@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis2@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis3@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis4@monroecounty-fl.gov; boccdis5@monroecounty-fl.gov
Subject: RE: this came to me from an anonymous resident
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 22:12:42 -0500

This part of the senior citizen’s plea especially bothers me:

“The tremendous work by Walter Drabinski and his newtoncoaltion.com site alerted residents to the terribly misguided FKKA plans for Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Project. As we now know, the information provided on that website was so damning that major changes were made to the CRWP for several neighborhoods, resulting in abolishment of grinder pumps. Unfortunately, that was not the case for all neighborhoods.”
It especially bothers me because Drabinski’s intervention was a screaming wake up call, which the county commissioners seem to have ignored elsewhere in Cudjoe regional, which causes me to wonder if the county commissioners are ignoring emails such as this forward of the senior citizen’s email? I hope not, but after the recent rounds with Commissioner Neugent,
George Neugent
who came across to me as knowing everything, and then the round with Commissioner Rice,
David Rice
who seemed to make Brian La Pointe out to be an idiot, which has not been my experience with Brian, I wonder if the county commissioners have circled the wagons so tight that it will take an Act of God to get through to them?
But then, perhaps Link 1 in the senior citizen’s email Bank forwarded to the county commissioners and to others, which link I opened and copied and pasted below, is an Act of God.

County Commissioners Vote to “Dump the Pumps”!

A letter from our N3 Committee Chairman:

At the regular Sarasota County Commission meeting of Dec. 11, the commissioners unanimously voted to direct the county staff to begin designing a “hybrid gravity sewer system” for our N-3 Area.

This vote means that the grinder pump proposal is dead. You may now feel free to take down your “Dump the Pumps” sign (if you still have one).

Wednesday’s vote was the culmination of more than a year of work by your neighborhood committee to get the county to reconsider its original plan to install grinder pumps at each of our homes. In the end, we are getting a system that is not only superior to the grinder pumps, but may well be better even than the vacuum system that originally seemed like the preferable alternative.

By going back to the drawing board, the county utilities staff and consulting engineers determined that the “hybrid gravity system” would answer many of our complaints about the grinder pumps and be cost-effective in our neighborhood. As we have outlined previously, under this proposal there will be 6 to 10 mini lift stations in manholes in the public right-of-way throughout the neighborhood.

The adoption of this proposal was a case study in citizen involvement and government responsiveness. The committee diligently gathered information and mobilized the neighborhood; the commissioners welcomed us and listened to our concerns; and finally the county staff went the extra mile to come up with a much improved plan.

The committee wishes to thank the county commissioners and the utilities staff for heeding our objections and taking the time to develop an alternative proposal. And you, our neighbors, deserve thanks for following this issue, placing signs in your yards, attending the public meetings at the community center, and most importantly, attending the County Commission meeting in February carrying signs.

The county utilities staff deserves particular praise for subjecting themselves to repeated grillings by the N-3 Committee, never losing their cool, and then coming up with an innovative plan that exceeded our expectations. We are fortunate in Sarasota County to have such dedicated and professional civil servants. We look forward to working with them through the planning and construction phases.

Stay tuned for more information. As the project proceeds, you will continue to receive email from the committee and from the Sarasota N3 Sewers website.

Best regards,

Peter Gentile, Chairman

N3 Neighborhood Committee

And perhaps the senior citizen’s email to Banks, which included the above from Sarasota, is an Act of God.
And perhaps this entire citizen uprising is an Act of God.
It took an Act of God to get me involved.
lightning strike
Not to worry, God and the Devil are finding plenty more to contest in the Asteroid Belt. In today’s Key West Citizen – www.keysnews.com
fishy smell 
$3.3M canal restoration begins in spring
Some dug too deep, 40 feet not 8; rotting leaves cause noxious odors
The Monroe County Commission moved forward with its ambitious plan to restore the water quality in its impaired canals.
The commission agreed last week to begin soliciting bids for the design work out for eight test canal restoration projects, which will total roughly $3.3 million.
The bulk of the projects will occur on Big Pine Key and Key Largo, as the canals in those areas are in the worse shape, county Sustainability Coordinator Rhonda Haag said.
Some of the canals will be fitted with weed barriers and have weeds and organic material removed from them. Others canals will be dredged, as they were dug too deep and there is not enough oxygen at the bottom, Haag said. Many of the canals were dug to depths of about 40 feet with the materials being used for local road and other construction projects. Keys’ canals should not be deeper than 8 feet, she said.
Haag hopes the county will choose a design firm by March and actual work on the projects will occur this coming summer.
“I was thinking late spring, but that maybe too ambitious,” Haag said.
Canal water quality problems are not just about aesthetics and smells, but about public health, too.
Big Pine Key residents have complained about respiratory problems from hydrogen sulfide gases from decaying seawood and leaves accumulating in the canals, said Sanctuary Advisory Council member Chris Bergh, who is also the Keys program manager for The Nature Conservancy.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Florida International University to conduct water quality surveys of the canals after the equipment is installed.
“These projects are extremely important,” said County Commissioner George Neugent, who has pushed for the projects. “We can clean these canals up on our own or kicking and screaming for years like what happened with sewers until the feds and state government mandated us to do.”
In my citizen comments during last Wednesday’s county commission meeting in Marathon, I told the county commissioners that I hoped they used as much diligence in the future as they had used finding a way to restore the part of Old Seven Mile Bridge between Vacca Key (Marathon) and Pigeon Key.
 Old Seven Mile Bridge
I then said, the county has a disaster in progress in the lower Keys sewering project. Commissioner/County Mayor Sylvia Murphy
Sylvia Murphy
interrupted me, said I needed to stick to the topic. I said the same county money (the 1% sales tax) for the county’s part of Old Seven Mile Bridge restoration is being used to sewer the lower Keys. And, there is yet another big project, which is 500, or so, polluted canals in the Keys. I said as the sea and the reef go, the Keys go, and everyone in this room knows that. I stuck to the topic. 
Indeed, sewering the Keys correctly is critical. As is fixing 500 polluted canals. The pilot canal project is a joke, for two reasons: it is way too little, and it is way too late, and this is George Neugent’s 4th term on the county commission, and I don’t recall him hollering about polluted canals when I ran against him in 2006 and again in 2010. Only when the local media broke the news of 500 polluted canals early this year, as I recall the timing, did George start hollering. Surely George knew all along of the polluted canals. Surely the county knew. How could they not know?
What I did not do at Wednesday’s county commission meeting was ask Sylvia if she is dating Kevin Wilson, the county employee in charge of sewering the lower Keys? Perhaps that was a mistake on my part. Perhaps if I had asked that question, Sylvia would have thrown me out of the meeting and that would have answered my question. Or, perhaps Sylvia would have simply said yes, she and Kevin are dating, or no, she and Kevin are not dating. 
Or, perhaps after I called County Attorney Bob Shillinger the day before the commission meeting and told him that I’d been told Sylvia and Kevin are dating, Bob would have taken it from there. As County Attorney, that’s what he should have done, and then tell me what came from his investigation. Bob told me when we talked, if it turned out Sylvia and Kevin are dating, he would advise Sylvia on conflict of interest and not voting on the Cudjoe regional sewer item. No mention of any of that by Bob or Sylvia at the county commission meeting.
Sylvia, you are one of my favorite people in the Florida Keys. Even so, I have to ask: Are you and Kevin Wilson dating? Or, were you and Kevin dating until recently? A simple yes or no answer to both questions is sufficient. Thanks.
Sloan Bashinsky
Sloan at Coco's
About the time I finished putting the above together, before it was published, this link sailed into my email account from someone in the anti-grinder pump camp:

I opened the link, and voila! Another Act of God.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sewer Pipes, Grinder Pumps and Gravity

Things are getting a little odd in the world of Lower Keys sewers, a subject that doesn’t  sound that enticing but that is in fact quite a story.  The story has its origins in the rather lackluster approach to keeping coastal waters clean in Monroe County from  two decades ago. Imagine a time when money flowed like water for public works and there was a plan long ago to get sewers built throughout the Keys to stop the excessive fertilization of coastal waters.  Monied interests have fought the science forever but its clear by now that agricultural runoff into Florida Bay, principally from Big Sugar has brought untold amounts of fertilizer into Monroe County waters and added to this is the fact that almost everyone in the Keys shits into septic tanks that filter the sewage through rock, not at all effectively and thus add human waste to the fertilizer mixture.  The problem with fertilizer in seawater is that it promotes excessive growth of algae which muddy the waters and deny coral the ligfe giving clarity it requires to live. All this fertilizwer is killing off the coral,
In those distant days money was available to do the sewering but county commissioners decided to postpone the work which would have involved bond issues and taxes and all that nasty stuff with the result that the situation went on long enough until the state started imnposing deadlines. Monroe County signally failed to meet those deadlines which didn’t matter one jot as the state has obligingly extedend them anyway.  Nevertheless the work has started, which is a good thing. The City of Key West finished its world class sewer system a decade or more ago but Stock Island, in the county, got it’s sewers about three or four years ago installed in some sort of low bid deal with a private company that made  a horrible mess of the installation, which led to toilets backing up and shit landing on many peoples’ floors. So the latest round of sewer installation between Stock Island and Big Pine is being undertaken by the public utlility, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, which on the face of it makes sense. However…things are looking a little odd.
I recently receiuved a letter from the Aqueduct seeking my signature approving their plan to install an underground pump on my property to macerate and pump away my sewage. The idea is to put the grinder pump underground and have it force the sewage into the main line. More Than You Want To Know About Sewage Pumps.. The immediate question that comes to mind in the flood prone Keys is what happens when another storm pushes enough water on land to flood these pumps? What happens to our sewage lines when  power goes out, sometimes for days at a time, and we still need to go to the loo? And in my own mind, as a former boat owner familiar with pumps used in various onboard applications, pumps fail and designs change. What happens when all these grinder pumps start to fail at once at the end of their designed lifespan? And what about part time residents who won’t use their pumps more than a few weeks a year? Theirs will fail through inactivity. The Aqueduct doesn’t seem to care about these issues at all and they are planning on installing thousands of these pumps throughout the keys. Why?
I had dinner with a friend a while back and he told me a person of influence has been stockpiling these very pumps for years in a warehouse in Marathon, and my dinner companion, a ferret when it comes to public records says that’s the only reason he can figure the Aqueduct is insisting on using these pumps when he believes their widespread use is not only not necessary but also harmful to the effective implementation of sewage system. Apparently the re-shuffle of the leaders of the Aqueduct may have been related to this sewage operation which my friend sdays the old director would never have countenanced. In fact I wondered at the time what the speific reason was that important people at the public utility lost their jobs and friends of Board members took their place. One word: sewage! So now there is a movement across the Lower Keys if my friend is to be believed, of homeowners who are pushing back against these infernal grinder pumps. He also says the county has sought funds promising one system while actually planning to install another and that sort of thing can invalidate the bond issues. How is it possible the county, overseeing the funding, could be so dense? Surely it can’t be true says I.
The per-household charge for the new system is $4500 which can be added to a twenty year mortgage payment to spread the cost and its just over half the amount Islamorada will charge it’s residents according to the newspapers. I have to say the cost bothers me a lot less than the idea that unecessary pumps, likely to fail, may be used where none are needed. My friend who has experience in these matter says a gravity system using fewer and larger pumps will work fine.
How odd it is that I see a popular revolt growing in these islands, not on matters of urgent national debate like abortion, taxes or gun rights, but on the subject of sewage and how to manage it. Local politics, what a scene.
Vacuum Sewage System Benefits [especially joyful, click on link and see for yourself]

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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