Sunday, April 02, 2006

Catching up on the News

I've turned into a weekend blogger, which is not at all what I intended when I began, and continue to intend.

Be that as it may, I'm going to make some brief entries here that cover a variety of things that have captured, or continue to engage, my attention.

The Chicken Wars are still in pre-battle mode. The matter of Avian Flu and its potential impacts on human life, health and safety are receiving attention by the Florida Department of Health, most immediately in a meeting being held tomorrow at Hawks Cay resort on Duck Key, near Marathon at Mile Marker 39. Tomorrow's meeting doesn't specifically address the matter of the Key West chickens, but that topic is almost certain to arise. The meeting was originally over-booked. It took action by Commissioner Lopez to gain admittance for his fellow commissioner, Bill Verge and for Katha Sheehan, the Key West Chicken Lady. There'll be a meeting here in Key West at the end of April to address the chickens specifically. It's sure to be contentious. although it need not be.

Can we all get along?

I spent a good deal of time this week at the Captain Outrageous Gallery working on a project that turned out to be even more interesting than usual. The owner the building where the Gallery is located has installed in an upstairs closet a collection of hardware, including products known as Slingboxes, hardware and software that allow a television signal to be "place-shifted" over the internet, meaning that a TV signal being received in one location to be viewed at a remote location on a computer, or on a TV screen connected to that computer. Its application in this case is to allow a bar and restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina to show sports programs originating in the United States.

The Slingbox network, which has been running successfully for nearly a year, suddenly went down last weekend when the person who tended it for the owner and his agent absconded with some of the equipment and a lot of the cabling that tied it together. He had been evicted fronm his room in the house where the equipment was located. On the night of the day that his belongings were moved out, he returned, broke into the room, and made off with most of what was on the Slingbox network and some other things. Replacements were ordered and delivered while I took a crash course on how to set up a Slingbox network. It took several days. With some help from Leo, another tenant of the house, and from Slingbox technical support, we finally got all three boxes set up and operational. Now the good folks in Buenos Aires, especially the American expats who spend time at the It's an interesting technology and it was interesting to me to be able to learn about it.

Affordable housing continues to be a hot issue in Key West and throughout the Keys. Complicating matters, the rates for windstorm insurance are soaring after last year's hurricanes and predictions of more storms this year. People we know are forced to pay upwards of $3,000 a month just for the various insurances on their property. While that might be at the high end of averages, it reflects the cost of owning property here for both residential and commercial property.

The weather here has been just on the high side of fine for the past ten days. Temperatures in the 70s and 80s during the day, and the 60s and 70s at night, coupled with clear skies and tropical breezes enourage walking and bicycling. Meanwhile, as college spring break winds down, the high school breakers are showing up with their families, and we continue to experience a good level of tourism, at least for those dependent on that business. The streets are overloaded with traffic, parking in Old Town is at a premium, and waits at restaurants are common.

Speaking of restaurants, a controversy has arisen over a Key West institution. If you've been here, you almsot certainly know about Blue Heaven Restaurant. It is arguably our favorite of all places to eat on the island. Blue Heaven has been cited by Key West Code enforcement for having installed more than three times as many seats as they are licensed for. The wild success of the restaurant -- waits of over an hour are common at times -- has put a burden on the surrounding neighbors. Noise, parking (Blue Heaven has no parking of its own), and smells are cited as reasons for the complaints. It was a citizen complaint that brought the code enforcement action. A hearing last week by the City's Special Master for Code Enforcement resulted in a decision that would force Blue Heaven to comply with its license and scale back to the sixty-six seats that are legally permitted. The restaurant's owners vow to fight the action by the Special Master. On what grounds remain to be seen.

And so, life goes on. Living here is never dull.

1 comment:

Airborne Ranger said...

I read your blog with great interest. I enjoyed you work and know what you mean about turning into a "weekend blogger" keep up the good work. I will link you blog to my blog
I live in KW and live in a condo. I am turning into a condo natzi but it is all done in the interest of good verses evil.

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