News and Happenings
(Click on the topic to scroll to the item)
Grates, Grills Galore … and More
Sign of the Times
Crocs, Carcasses, & Canals
Be Sure They Can Get to You
Scams, Fraud and Phishing
Renting Your House?
The Fills and Holidays
Golf Carts & The Village & P A
December Security Update
Notes from the Security Chief
Building Tiki’s on the Beach
Beach Battle Heating Up
Lower Matecumbe Key Assn Disbanding?
Stone Crab Rules Change
Beware of Scams
Not Our Canal!!!
Beach Survey Results
One Man’s Trash…
Recent Board Action
Deputies Make a Difference!
Not a Washout for Labor Day
Thefts, Fires, and Unpleasantness
The grills at the Beach have been replaced in time for Spring Break. After an extensive search, Bill and Caren were able to find commercial-duty picnic grills that are slightly sturdier and a little less expensive than those they replaced. Bill got several estimates and had them installed in February. The new signs on the beach look great, too.
Filipe, Dave and Oscar at a new grill
After a couple of years (think Irma) of PAPOA asking the Village to replace the signpost that blew away, one mysteriously appeared! It was quickly “populated” with three very appropriate signs. Obviously, we do have cameras in the neighborhood, but the recent croc sightings in White Marlin and up by Robbies of a 13 footer, and the dumping of several large wahoo carcasses in the canal made the additional signage very appropriate. Thanks go to A.J. and his staff at the Village for making this happen!
Be Sure They Can Get to You (or Us)
The reason for the emergency gate to the Beach was made abundantly clear recently. In less than two weeks, emergency personnel had to gain access to our beach. In the first incident, FWC cut the lock to gain access while responding to the tragic boating death up at Bowlegs Cut. In the second, a person on the beach went into anaphylactic shock and had to be treated and later taken to the hospital by EMT.
If you see someone blocking the gate, PLEASE ask them to move!
Lower Mat Key Association Disbanding?
In 1986, a group of residents and property owners on Lower Matecumbe decided to band together to enhance and preserve their island. In the subsequent 35 years, the Lower Matecumbe Key Association has a long list of accomplishments, ranging from the removal of an unsightly billboard on sea oats beach, to the establishment of a park on Anne’s Beach, to getting the Village to locate a Fire Station on the island, to more recently prodding the Village into taking action on the Fills.
Meeting during the winter months, they often have interesting and educational speakers at the meetings. There will be meeting on March 2 for a more somber discussion: the potential disbanding of the Association. Like any volunteer organization, it depends on the generosity of its members in the form of their time for its existence and to accomplish its goals.
A driving forces behind the LMKA, Sue Miller is the long-time editor of the newsletter. See her email for additional information and visit the LMKA website.
Come to the March 2nd meeting, 6:30pm at Sea Base.
SCAMS, FRAUD AND PHISHING
The Monroe County Sheriff Office has been busy over the past few weeks. There have been eight cases reported to them, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. These can be prevented if people are careful with their personal information. Don’t fall for the “Microsoft is corrupted, you will lose all of your data unless you click here,” the “Your grandson has been arrested,” or one of the many other schemes designed to separate you from your money. And don’t say it can’t happen to you – it can. Remember, legitimate government agencies like the IRS, the Social Security Office, and the police will never call and ask you to send them a gift card. Hang up if over the phone or back out of the site if on your computer. Don’t be a victim.
For the latest from the MCSO, see Oscar’s summary.
Renting Your House? Be AWARE!
A recent article in the Free Press, January 1, 2020, highlighted an issue that may affect some of the homeowners in Port Antigua. The article detailed the arrest of a Pennsylvania couple that owned and rented a condominium in Key Largo. The couple are facing felony and misdemeanor charges of theft and failure to obtain required certificates of registration.
Monroe County requires owners of rentals of six months or less to open a tourist development tax account with the Tax Collectors Office and remit a 5% tax on those rentals. The State of Florida also requires the remittance of 7.5% on the rentals as well and owners of rental property must claim the proceeds on their Federal Income Tax.
Contrary to urban legend, renting for less than 28 days, which requires a separate permit from the Village of Islamorada, does not exempt owners of rental properties from the above requirements.
The FILLS – and Holidays
After the Labor Day weekend, enforcement activity by the Village at the Fills has been limited, and while the “porta-potties” have disappeared, the unsightly orange and white barricades and no parking signs remain. The portable sign that says the boat ramp lot is restricted to vehicles with trailers is still there. However according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, when the boat ramp area is not full of boats and trailers, the deputies do not take enforcement action as there is plenty of room. They do enforce the NO PARKING areas along the Fills to help stop erosion.
The Village is currently working out a schedule for upcoming holidays and plans to have staff on hand to control access at the boat ramp during peak times. They will limit the parking in that lot to vehicles with trailers.
Golf Carts & The Village & Port Antigua
Please be sure you are familiar with and obey the Village requirements for the use of golf carts on our streets. They may be found in the Frequently Asked Questions on the “About PAPOA” page. For your convenience, you may see a summary here.
December Security Update
See the Security Flyer for more information on the incidents below!
Wind Surfer Accident. There was a tragic, fatal accident off the Beach this month when a wind surfer lost control of his kite and was carried into one of the condominum buildings on the beach.
Porch Pirates in Port Antigua? It is possible. A group of people was seen acting suspiciously in the neighborhood over Thanksgiving week.
Selling on line? Be safe and go to the Sheriff’s office to complete the transaction.
Be Smart About Smart TV’s. They can do more than entertain you – and some of what they can do is not good.
Got a Game App to Pass the Holiday Time? Know what you have.
To check out a charity, there are several sites on the web that do the heavy lifting for you. One you might (or might not) find useful is the Charity Navigator. (PAPOA in no way endorses or recommends this or any other linked site.)
Notes from the Security Chief:
Recently residents in nearby communities have had endorsed checks stolen from their mailbox. In each separate instance the stolen checks were whited out and another name added. The checks also had the dollar amount changed to a larger amount than the victim wrote. Subjects are still at large.
The Sheriff’s Office urges residents to take their paid bills/checks to the U.S. Post Office and mail them there.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Det. Spencer Curry at; 305-292-7060 or Crime Stoppers at; 1-866-471-8477
Mail and doorstep delivery thefts will increase during the upcoming holiday season. U.S. Postal Inspectors and the MCSO are working diligently to arrest the offenders.
Golf Carts GONE…
MCSO deputies have made one arrest so far in a series of small electric vehicle and golf cart thefts in the Key Largo area. The offender, Sean Richardson, 26 from Tavernier, was already locked up on an unrelated warrant from Miami-Dade County.
According to another inmate questioned by MCSO, who is jailed on unrelated charges, there are several people involved in stealing small electric vehicles and golf carts. The investigation is ongoing.
A reminder – keep your carts locked up and preferably out of sight. They are attractive targets not just for people who want to turn them into cash, but for kids (or others) who want to see how fast they can go on Port Antigua streets!
In the November 6th edition of the Free Press there is an article concerning Village canal restoration efforts. The article, quoting Dr. Henry Briceno, makes reference to canal 152 being “a hotspot deserving special attention”. The article mistakenly identifies canal 152 as being in Port Antigua. The actual location of canal 152 is the White Marlin subdivision adjacent to Lakeview Drive and White Marlin Boulevard.
— Dave Webb
Building Tikis at the Beach
The results of the “Beach Survey” have been compiled and are available on the Property Owner’s page of the website. Login and scroll down to the Heading “Surveys.”
Thefts, Scams, Fires
and Other Unpleasantness
By Oscar Callejas
Beware of scam calls. If you receive a call/text/email from someone saying they’re law enforcement or some other legal professional claiming one of your family member has been arrested, hang up immediately and call that person to verify the claim. Odds are you’re being scammed!
The latest scam involves callers saying your Social Security Number will be suspended due to unpaid taxes. Your SSN is NEVER suspended. See the SSA Inspector General’s website for more into.
The FBI reports that every year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to financial fraud through a variety of methods including charity/lottery/ sweepstakes scams, grandparents scams, romance scams, and more. Protect yourself or your loved one from elder fraud by never giving or sending personally identifiable information or money to unknown people or businesses. Report suspicious calls, emails, and letters to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. http://ow.ly/mM9m50wiGsN
MCSO presence has increased in our community thanks to their commitment in making Port Antigua safe and enjoyable for all.
However, MCSO Detectives advise residents to lock their vehicles due to recent car burglaries in the neighboring City of Layton. Detectives are concerned that thieves may be targeting residents personal identification information. Keep all valuables, including wallets, checkbooks etc. at home and not your vehicle.
Angelo Marks, 45, was charged with arson and remains at large. Anyone with information should contact MCSO at 305-853-2311 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-866-471-8477 tips submitted online at; www.floridakeyscrimestoppers.com
A Vivid Reminder that Fiberglass Burns
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced a new awareness campaign aimed at addressing school threats made by students in Florida.
The “It’s No Joke” campaign aims to dissuade youth from making school threats, because doing so can lead to being arrested and charged with a felony.
Finally, if you “see something, say something”. Don’t forget to snap a picture or record the incident, since evidence will make your case more compelling! Remember, it’s your word against theirs, and video captures the truth.
“One man’s trash is
another man’s treasure…”
Not a Washout for Labor Day
The Labor Day Weekend was overshadowed by hurricane Dorian which kept owners busy preparing for the worst case scenario. However, once news that the Florida Keys were out of danger, many owners decided to follow their original plans to spend Labor Day Weekend in Port Antigua, more so with school cancelled in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday.
The MCSO made it possible for residents to have a safe and enjoyable time at the beach. There were no incidents reported. Fiesta Key remained closed so most of the boaters anchored off the beach were either from Port Antigua or White Marlin. The weather declined on Monday making boating and the beach undesirable. MCSO’s Deputies weren’t scheduled to work off duty on Monday. However, they did show up on duty to find the beach empty because of the weather condition.
– Oscar Callejas
Saturday – Boats at the Beach
… Sunday at the Beach vs Monday at the Beach…
Keeping a Watchful Eye
Recent Board Actions
At its August meeting, the PAPOA Board temporarily suspended the existing Beach Function Policy and adopted a new Key Card Replacement Policy.
Beach Policy: Due to some recent incidents, the Board determined that the existing policy covering private functions at the PAPOA Beach was inadequate. Therefore, the Board voted to suspend the policy while a new one was being developed. If you are planning a function, please contact us to check on the status of the policy update. If you have comments on what you think a new policy should or should not include, your input is more than welcome. Please send an email.
Key Cards: Documentation from the surveillance cameras and key card data base substantiate that some Port Antigua residents are either loaning or selling proprietary Port Antigua key cards allowing access to the common areas to non-property owners. This intentional misuse of the key cards is a violation of the community documents which restrict the use of the common areas to property owners. Additionally, use of the common areas by additional numbers of unauthorized individuals increases the maintenance costs for all property owners. The Fee Schedule, the Key Card Replacement Form and the Key Card Policy are available on this website.
ACC Issues: Finally the Board would like to remind everyone that the front setback requirements outlined in the covenants include canopies/awnings and any other structure between the dripline of the home and the street. If in doubt, please send us an email.
Non-Residents Enjoying Your Ramp
Thanks for letting us know, Esther!
Oscar has the numbers from Sheriff Enforcement activities on the Memorial Day weekend. As expected, the increase in patrols did increase the number of violations. (See the table below.)
We ask all residents to video incidents and not get into a confrontation with trespassers or any others who are involved with annoying incidents. If you see something, nicely say something, and/or contact the Sheriff. Do not take matters into your own hands (even if your in a group). Keeping the peace and enforcing the law is why we have the MCSO for holiday weekends.
Violations On Memorial Day Weekend.
14 Beach Property Trespassers,
19 Boat trespassers.
TOTAL TRESPASSERS: 33
Boat Stops: 18
Boat Citations: 10
Arrest: 1 Reckless boating
Traffic Stops: 20
Golf Cart Stops (Juveniles) 10
Violations On Fourth of July Week
TOTAL TRESPASSERS: 13
Boat stops: 6
Boat Citations: 3
Boat Warnings: 3
Medical Emergencies: 2
Vehicle Tows: 2
Fireworks shut down: 2
Please join us in keeping Port Antigua a safe place for our families and visitors!
Sheriff Deputies Make a Difference!
The Memorial Day Weekend saw enhanced law enforcement in Port Antigua to prevent trespassing violations, traffic regulation infractions, and unruly behavior.
While the focus was on safety, the Deputies were mindful of the desires of the residents to enjoy themselves but not at the expense of their neighbors and fellow Association Members.
Unfortunately, there were several arrests (not Association Members), summons issued and more than one trespasser escorted off the property.
On Friday, a group of juveniles was seen passing a picnic table over the beach fence on one of the adjacent vacant lots. When the Deputies confronted them, they admitted to not being residents and said they were from Key Largo. They were escorted off the beach and advised not to return.
Sgt Johnson Watches for Trespassers
Trespassers lift a table over the fence
In another incident after a Member opened the gate, she stopped a young adult from entering the Beach. The would be intruder angrily stated that they had “lived here my whole life….” But they could not even provide a local address!