Past Articles from the News Page
Looking for an “older” article on the Swim Zone?
You may have recently seen Port Antigua Kids In Action at the beach or cul-de-sacs picking up litter and helping spiff up the community. Created by Cristy Lopez to keep the kids busy doing something positive in Port Antigua, the group has already had several outings. Developing a sense of responsibility and encouraging kids to give back to the community are some of the goals that Christy hopes to achieve. Her vision is to expand efforts with the Village of Islamorada and assist in organized environmental clean ups. Keep an eye out for these growing number of kids making a positive contribution, all thanks to a Port Antigua mom with a vision. Participants so far have included Chase Sherman, Ricky Lopez, Audley Bosch, Riley Lopez, Emma Lopez, and Alessandra Lopez.
If your young-uns want to join in the fun, Cristy is looking for youths 10 years old and up to help out. Please send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many owners were attracted to this community by its family-friendly beach with plenty of shade and spectacular sunsets. The waves that constant lap on its shoreline, while usually peaceful and beautiful, do take a toll. The white sand that feels so good underfoot and looks so nice is constantly being swept out to sea where it migrates further offshore or to other areas of the coast. To counter this, we periodically replenish the sand that has washed away. Over the years, this sand has been purchased from Rock and Dirt. This year, PAPOA Member Ricky Lopez, owner and operator of Rock and Dirt, donated several trucks of sand to replenish the Beach as well as a load of rocks to cover the beach parking lot. His workers spread the sand and rocks all day on Saturday, August 14th. It made a huge difference in the general appearance and beauty of our beach.
Thank you, Ricky, for your generous contribution.
Memorial Day Weekend on the Beach
Over the Memorial Day weekend, the PAPOA hired off-duty Monroe County Sheriff Office (MCSO) deputies to ensure a safe and orderly weekend and to keep trespassers off the beach. As promised by Mayor Pinder, the Village provided off shore enforcement of the swim zone by assigning an on-duty MCSO Marine Patrol Unit, a.k.a. a deputy in a boat, for a good portion of the weekend. The PAPOA was not required to reimbuse the cost of this asset.
As reported in the “Swim Zone and Memorial Day Weekend” article below, there was an issue that required law enforcement presence. A private guard would have had to call the MCSO to handle a drunk and disorderly situation which would have taken time and possibly allowed the problem to escalate. Having the deputy already on site resulted in the situation quickly and efficently being controled. We received a complaint that someone was using a key card to let unauthorized people on the beach Sunday morning, before the security was in place, and that people had reserved tiki’s by placing their stuff on the tables long before they showed up. People need to be considerate and use the tikis for dining and not as a staging area for the day’s activities. On the positive side, the deputies quickly put a stop to a group trying to access the beach through a vacant lot as well as some underage partiers who were consuming alcohol.
All in all, it was a very safe and pleasant weekend.
MCSO Deputies O’Neil (l) and Kilmurray (r) keep and eye on the beach
Thank you, Oscar Callejas, for the picture!
If you go to some places elsewhere in the Keys or Miami, be aware that the water covering the streets may be saltwater that you don’t want to drive through.
Deputies Chris Kilmurray and Jason Rivas worked Easter Weekend Security at Port Antigua Beach.
On a regular week, while “on-duty” and not part of the PAPOA security program, Deputy Kilmurray often patrols our Beach and ejects trespassers, watches for beached boats and brings a perception that the police are always watching. We are very fortunate to have the MCSO deputies do their paperwork at the beach parking lot, patrol the beach and our community.
Dep. Rivas (L) and Dep. Kilmurray IR)
Thank you, Oscar Callejas, for the picture!
The returns are in, and a hearty congratulations to Dave Webb, Martin Pico, Oscar Callejas, Otto Ortega! And a sincere thank you to all who volunteered to serve on the Board and our community by submitting their names for the ballot.
The votes were counted by Judy Winstel, Michelle Bianchi, Adele West and Hermine Zavar. Moe Zavar generously offered to participate in the count but was let off the hook as our by-laws require only four committee members. Thank you to everyone for your time and effort.
You can see the vote count here (two pages).
During our program at the meeting, Sheriff Ramsey introduced Islamorada’s new Captain, Derek Paul, who has deep roots in the Keys, as well as Sergeant Johnson who is a frequent and welcome visitor to the Port Antigua neighborhood. Sheriff Ramsey spoke about a wide range of interesting topics, from Trauma Star, to crime in the neighborhood (or the lack thereof), to the benefits of community policing. We are fortunate to have Sheriff Ramsey, Captain Paul, Sergeant Johnson and the rest of the MCSO. They truly “have our backs.”
In the Board of Directors Organizational meeting, President Oscar will be serving another term, as will Vice President Otto and Secretary Caren. Rita will become the chair of the Finance Committee and Esther will take over the job of Treasurer. Leo Cornide will be taking over the Maintenance Chair from Bill Hardy, and a sincere thank you goes to Bill for the work he has done in that job.
Thank you to all the Board Members and the other volunteers who serve. It is you who make Port Antigua a great place to live, work and play.
A few attendee at the Annual Meeting
(l to r) Mari, Rita, and Esther (seated)
Martin, Caren, Rod, Otto, Ray, Oscar, Captain Paul,
Sgt Johnson, and Sheriff Ramsey (standing)
With the pending installation of the Village’s Swim Only/Vessel Exclusion Zone off our beach, the PAPOA is looking for ways to increase access to the property. One idea is in the process of being implemented: reclaiming for our use a portion of the parking lot that has been taken over by the invasive scaevola taccada.
The Association has recently put out a request for bids to trim back and remove all but a three (3) foot buffer along the west lot line of the parking lot. This, along with a different traffic pattern in the lot may free up some spots for those busy summer days.
We have had some complaints and confusion about emails that members have received from an address that has “portantguahomeowners” in it. Some thought it was official email from the Association. It was not.
You can tell it is our email by the domain from which it was sent: “portantigua.net.” For example, you will get email from “email@example.com” which is our official, doing business with you email. Other addresses you may or may not see are “firstname.lastname@example.org,” “email@example.com,” “firstname.lastname@example.org,” and so on. Of course, you have received email from “email@example.com” which I use to send you newsletters and other (hopefully useful) information.
Some Board Members insist on using their personal emails for Assocation business – and since we are a volunteer organization, that cannot be helped. If you get an email and have any questions of its authenticity, please email us! You can use firstname.lastname@example.org (or one of the other emails above). A list of our emails is on the About Page of this website.
Changes are coming to security at the Beach!
One suggestion that several members made for taking back control of our Beach was hiring private security guards. President Oscar, also the Chair of the Security Committee, has been working diligently to secure a contract for a one (1) year pilot program to do that. The agreement is currently under review by legal and will be voted on by the Board of Directors at a future meeting.
The terms of the agreement call for Redland Security Investigations to station a uniformed security officer at the Beach entrance on Saturdays and Sundays with the intent of keeping trespassers from gaining entrance. On the busier weekends, an additional guard will look for fence jumpers. They will be unarmed, prohibited from getting into physical confrontations with trespassers, and call the MCSO to eject or arrest uncooperative or belligerent people. This contract will supplement our MCSO deputies on the busiest holidays.
As you can imagine, this contract is expensive. Oscar checked with several vendors and determined that Redland will give us the best return for the price. They intend to use local residents for their work to keep the travel costs down as well as to reduce potential absenteeism due to busy weekend traffic patterns here in the Keys.
Since the “Swim Zone” off the Beach is a Village project over which the PAPOA has no control, this will have no impact on that initiative. We expect to see the zone in place some time this summer. We hope to have our new security contractor on board by then as well.
The PAPOA annual meeting and elections will be held in April. There are four (4) seats up for election, three, three year seats and one, two year seat. Those up for re-election are Pres. Oscar Callejas, VP Otto Ortega, and Dave Webb. The two year seat is held by Martin Pico who was appointed to the Board last year.
All four incumbents have indicated a desire to stand for re-election. In addition, the following members have requested their names be placed on the ballot:
|Richard Hoskins||Juan Carlos Pernas|
|Lee Ramirez||Jay Cannon|
|John Feist||Leo Cornide|
Be sure to return your ballot quickly as the mails are slow. In order for your vote to count, you must have paid your dues. You may include your payment in the return envelope, but DO NOT put it in the envelope marked “Ballot Envelope.”
Bios from the candidates have been posted on the Property Owner’s page.
Change often brings more change. And with the recent buy out of Advanced Disposal by Waste Management, we can expect some differences in service.
One of our residents was surprised the other day when he saw the Waste Management crew remove a plastic bag full of recyclable things from his recycle bin and place it on his driveway. When he asked about it, he was told that they do not accept any plastic bags, even if they contain otherwise acceptable items. They also gave him a complementary copy of a “Contamination Notice” tag. The part that caught my attention was where it said they may charge additional fees.
Please be sure you follow the recycling, yard waste, and household trash rules to avoid fines. See the Waste Management website for more information. And remember, the Village also has rules on when you may move your trash containers out to the street (as well as when you have to get them back to the house).
Putting a swim zone off the beach at Port Antigua is still in the permitting stage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requested that PAPOA send them a letter in which the Association consented to placing the zone off the Beach. After consulting with its attorney, the PAPOA sent the letter to the FDEP, a copy of which can be seen here.
With a bit of help from the Islamorada Fire Rescue Team, Santa visited Port Antigua Sunday. The caravan, led by fire engines with flashing lights and decorated with colorful holiday lights, went down Gulfview, Ponce, part of Biscayne, and Buena Vista before heading down the road to visit more of Islamorada.
The Monroe County Sheriff Office (MCSO) has stepped up golf cart enforcement efforts due to a rising number of complaints regarding reckless driving, running stop signs and underage golf cart operation, some resulting in carts landing sideways nearly resulting in serious injuries. These efforts are during the day and night.
At least two carts were stopped on December 5th for going beyond the Port Antigua boudaries as set by the Village of Islamorada.
An observation: The operation of Golf Carts at night – even with lights – is illegal in Islamorada. This includes Port Antigua!
Let’s get the word out, it may avert tragedy.
Thank you to Pres. Oscar for the info and photo
A second cart stopped for going a street too far!
Lots of things wash up on Port Antigua’s beach – driftwood, crab and lobster buoys, lots of seaweed, and a on December 4th, a boat.
Fortunately, we were able to find the owner and the boat was recovered with little damage.
Thank you, Pres. Oscar, for the photo and story.
Your assessment money continues to be used to improve and maintain your properties. In the latest, several of the crumbling picnic table benches were replaced with new ones.
Thank you, again to the Maintenance Committee for keeping Port Antigua safe and beautiful!
After several phone calls and emails to the Village staff, a crew was busy Tuesday replacing and repairing the traffic and informational signs in the neighborhood.
High winds had taken a toll on the signs and many were leaning and appeared to be in danger of falling over. A member of the Maintenance Committee identified the worst signs and sent an email, with photos, to the Village along with a copy to Council members.
A thank you to the Village for keeping Port Antigua “tidy.”
Have you seen ribbons on some of the plants in our cul-de-sacs and on the beach? These aren’t early Christmas decorations. Maintenance Committee member Caren has noticed that there are native plants emerging, a few of which like this palm tree are getting big. To keep the Maintenace Contractor from whacking them down, she has been working with them to identify and protect them.
On another note, in an effort to save the PAPOA some money, she has been sucessful in having FKEC remove (at no cost to the PAPOA) seven trees which had become too large and were hazards.
Thank you to Caren and the rest of the Maintenance Committee for keeping Port Antigua beautiful!
On November 21st, the Maintenence Committee met at the beach. Attending were Caren, Esther, Bill (Chair), Prez Oscar, Leo (who are pictured) and Bert.
They talked about numerous things ranging from trimming the invasive and fast growing scaevola taccada at the parking lot so we have more space, to sign replacement, to picnic tables, to cul-de-sac mainenance.
We have plenty of room for more volunteers (and ideas) on this or on one of the other committees. The goal is to make our community even better than it already is. Drop Mari an email to let her know you are interested.
At the November Board meeting, President Oscar and Dave provided updates to the progress of the Swim Zone the Village recently implemented for the waters off Port Antigua.
As reported in the Fall issue of ‘Tigua Tails, permitting is underway and FWC has already issued one. The USCG has indicated they have no jurisdictional interest and the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to sign off when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) issues a permit. Then the area will have to be surveyed and buoys set.
Oscar shared pictures of the proposed buoys and a depiction of the area. He was also asked to submit a letter to the FDEP concerning the swim zone. The Board is reviewing the letter prior to returning it to FDEP.
Dave estimated that the zone might be in place in 6 to 8 months.
For past articles that have appeared here on the Beach, click here.
An October visitor to one of our Port Antigua properties caused a bit of a stir. Several workers noticed the American Crocodile sunning itself on a neighboring step-down.
These animals are protected, and a FWC officer who stopped by to look at it, said it was 5 to 6 footer.
Fortunately they are not particularly aggressive toward adults, but people should watch children and pets closely, even if you don’t see one of these close by. And these guys just love the discards from your catch of the day. Be sure to bag, freeze, and throw those carcasses in the trash – NOT the canal.
For more information, see an article in the Keys Weekly.
The Labor Day weekend was a relatively quiet one in Port Antigua. The weather was great and the people were taking advantage of the sun and water.
There were about 300 boats offshore on Saturday and 200 on Sunday. The Security Detail reported that they stopped some 40 trespassers, made 14 vessel stops resulting in 6 summons and 4 warnings. They also stopped 5 people who tried to use our boat ramp.
As they have in the past, the Deputies used an unmarked boat to patrol the offshore waters.
Deputies Kilmurray and O’Neal at the Beach Entrance
The long postponed 2020 Annual Meeting was finally held via ZOOM technology on October 18th. The meeting and subsequent organizational board of directors meeting lasted over five hours which resulted in the rescheduling of the ACC meeting.
At the meeting, Caren Brinson, Bill Hardy, and Ray Bana were re-elected, but at the subsequent board meeting, Martin Pico was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Bill Hardy earlier this year. Oscar Callejas was elected president; Otto Ortega, vice-president; Rita Klopf, treasuer; and Caren Brinson, secretary. The board also welcomed Bill Hardy’s return to chair the maintenance committee and Vivian Williams to chair the financial review committee. All the committee chairs are listed on the “About” page.
MANY THANKS to the Members who volunteered to count the 2020 Board Election Ballots at the October 16 meeting. They braved threatening skies and COVID-19 to meet with CAM Mari and Secretary Caren at the Methodist Church in Islamorada to open and count the proxies and ballots.
Thank you (left to right in the picture) Martin Pico, Adele West, Jim and Judy Winstel for your work!
There are two places people need to be careful about parking at the beach. First – in front of the emergency entrance gate to the beach, and second – trailer parking in the beach lot. While trailers are allowed to be left in the small ramp lot for not more than 30 minutes, they are not to be left in the main lot. People who violate these restrictions may have their vehicles towed – and getting the car/truck/golf cart/trailer back isn’t cheap.
There are good reasons for these rules. Parking is limited and trailers take up lots of space. More importantly, the emergency entrance is used by paramedics to get to people who need help. There are two signs on the gate clearly stating that it is a tow away zone. PLEASE DON’T park there!
What’s wrong with this picture??
On occasion, you may notice a vehicle blocking the gate, like the black pickup truck that was there on the labor day weekend. A board member checked and found that the vehicle was an unmarked MCSO truck whose owner was very, very close by. He had parked there so as not to take up a valuable parking space. Had that not been the case, this vehicle would have been towed. And as an aside, PAPOA DOES NOT receive any money when a vehicle is towed.
Busted – Again – And Fixed two months later
The Boat Ramp gate did not fare too well over the August 22nd weekend as it was heavily damaged and is now inoperative. A report was filed with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office. The vendors had it working again October 17th..
The damage was done by a person who is not a PAPOA member but someone who had borrowed the card with permission. The member whose card was used when the gate was damaged has been identified, contacted, and notified that they will be responsible for the repair.
The PAPOA Board reminds everyone that the Key Cards are the property of PAPOA and are not to be loaned, rented or sold! They are for the sole use of the member, their “live-in” family/guests, or legitimate renters. Loaning the key can be very expensive as this member found out.
The Port Antigua Property Owners’ Association adopted a rule designed to prevent the use of the unsightly and unregulated above ground swimming pools. Some of the Members complained that the old rule was too restrictive going so far as to prohibit even small wading pools popular among the youngsters. A committee consisting of Rod Fletcher, Otto Ortega and Richard Wielandt examined the issue and made their recommendations to the Board. The new rule was adopted at the August 17th meeting.
Concerned about a decreasing harvest in the commercial stone crab fishery, the FWC has implemented several new rules which will be effective in October 2020. The changes will apply to both commercial and recreational stone crabbers. The two rules that will affect most of us will be increasing the claw size to 2 7/8 and closing the season two weeks earlier so it will be closed on May 2, 2021. The other rule goes into effect for the 2021-2022 season and requires an escape ring in each trap. See the FWC press release for more details.
A Busy Fourth
Great weather, people escaping COVID-19, and the “usual” holiday weekend crowds meant for a very busy and sometimes hectic Fourth of July weekend.
The Tikis were fully utilized and the boat traffic off the Beach was heavy. Unfortunately, the aftermath was left for a few volunteers to clean up, and thank you to Esther, Bernie, and Caren for picking up litter and bagging trash.
Fireworks on the Beach… While fireworks for the 4th of July were legal statewide, the law does NOT apply to Homeowners’ Association or to privately owned property. Fireworks on the Port Antigua beach are not allowed for a several reasons: safety (they really are dangerous), the fire hazard they pose to the flammable tikis the Association just had rethatched at considerable expense, the litter they cause, and the liability which may be incurred by PAPOA should something bad happen. Despite this, one resident set up a substantial display in a vacant lot adjacent to the beach, aiming his pyrotechnics over the beach and the tikis. Deputy Johnson approached the resident who told him he had permission from the lot owner. A phone call revealed otherwise, and the resident was escorted off the private property.
Even though there were numerous signs prohibiting fireworks posted on the Beach, another resident was caught with fireworks on the Beach by Deputy Johnson. That resident claimed he hadn’t seen any of the 25 signs that had been posted. He, too, was escorted off the Beach.
Deputy Johnson and some fireworks
Close Call at the Ramp
One of our residents went for an unexpected and very scary swim recently when the truck he was backing down the boat ramp didn’t stop. The truck, putting a trailer in for a haul out, ended up almost fully submerged in the canal. Fortunately, the driver was pulled to safety through the passenger’s window by a passing bicyclist. There were no injuries other than to the truck which was a total loss.
Village “Re-starts” Parking Limits on the Fills
After numerous complaints at the June 18th Council Meeting, the Village re-implemented some of last year’s restrictions on the use of the popular day-trip vacation spot called “The Fills.”
Parking for picnicking and swimming will be allowed only in four designated areas. The Indian Key Fill boat ramp area will be limited to cars/trucks with trailers.
They will also be adding barricades and porta-potties. For more information, see the Village news release.
Photo Courtesy of Sue Miller
At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved implementation of the new State Reef Fish Survey. This program expands the already successful Gulf Reef Fish Survey statewide to the Atlantic coast and Monroe County.
The program will improve recreational data collection on some of Florida’s most socially and economically important reef fish, such as snapper, grouper, amberjack, gray triggerfish and hogfish.
“The FWC is so thankful to be able to expand this already successful program. The State Reef Fish Survey provides a great opportunity for FWC to work with recreational fishers to improve data for reef fish statewide,” said FWC Chairman Robert Spottswood. “Accurate recreational fisheries data provides part of the foundation needed for realistic stock assessments and well-informed fisheries management decisions that promote conservation while meeting the needs of anglers.”
Starting July 1, 2020, if you are fishing for or harvesting popular reef fish, such as red snapper, on a private recreational vessel anywhere in Florida, you will be required to get the State Reef Fish Angler designation. This includes anglers who are 65 and older. Each month, a group of State Reef Fish Anglers will be mailed a short survey about their fishing trips.
If you already have the Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation, you do not need to sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler until your Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation expires, even if you are fishing off the Atlantic coast.
For a full list of species included in the State Reef Fish Survey, information on how to sign up and much more, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” then “State Reef Fish Survey” under the “Reef Fish” tab.
Along with Annual Meeting notice and ballot, you received a letter from the Association which reviewed the expected costs of running the Association for the next 10 years. It is obvious that the income from the existing assessment ($500/year) will not be enough to cover the anticipated expenses. Indeed, there will be a $20K shortfall this year which will be covered by a surplus that we had for the past two years.
The reasons for this shortfall are: Inflation and your PAPOA Board of Directors taking a more aggressive and responsible position on both replacing our assets and providing for an emergency fund. We were fortunate that Hurricane Irma did very little damage to the Beach, cul-de-sacs, and other infrastructure we have. We may not be as lucky in the future.
Please look at the package you received. For your convenience, links to the documents are provided (the buttons). There will be additional information sent out and/or posted on this website as the proposal is fine-tuned. A vote will be held later in the year to implement our solution to this very real problem.
Beach Entrance “Contest”
We are having a CONTEST! (Well, sort of)
The pergola at the entrance to the Beach is weathered, beginning to rot in places needs replacing. It also provides too attractive a structure for people to use as a ladder for getting over the fence. We are looking for ideas. Its replacement should:
- Be inexpensive
- Be durable
- Provide an attractive and inviting entrance to the beach
- Have some shade
- Have benches for people to take off or put on shoes, or just chill
- Be free standing and not be located so close to the gate that it provides an access over the top of the fence
- Not limit accessibility to the Beach — which rules out steps and the like
- Not be constructed in such a manner that people can get injured by it.
- Did I mention “inexpensive?”
Let us know what you would like to see at your Beach! Send your suggestions to us at email@example.com!
PAPOA and COVID-19
Updated 05/01/2020 (Recent changes are in Bold)
We have all been impacted by the pandemic that is affecting the world today. The seriousness of this crisis has recently been underscored by the several deaths due to COVID-19 in Monroe County. The safety of our residents is one of the primary mandates for which the PAPOA exists. To that end, the Association is addressing its upcoming meetings, recommending how people use the Beach, and passing along important guidance from the Village on renting your house. The April yard sale has also been postponed to a later date.
The Annual Meeting has been postponed until at least May 30th. The status of that meeting depends on when the Keys are “reopened” and the restrictions on gatherings eased. There will be an additional notice and agenda mailing notifiying you when it is rescheduled. Click on the “Meetings” button for more information. The April Board of Directors and ACC meetings were be held on the 18th via telephone. The next meeting will be held on May 18th via telephone. See the “Home” page for details.
On April 1, Governor DeSantis issued a stay at home order. This requires all seniors and those with certain medical conditions to stay at home. All people in the State are to limit their movements outside the home to essential activites.
If you should venture out for exercise and the like (yes, fishing is allowed and considered an essential activity), the State and Federal Governments have restrictions on gatherings. To encourage that we abide by these, the Board suggests that members limit the gatherings on the Beach to groups of fewer than 10 as well as take precautions when using the Tikis, grills, etc. The MCSO and FWC will be enforcing the group size and vessel anchoring restrictions. Click on the “Beach” button for more information.
On March 22, 2020, Monroe County closed the hotels, RV parks, vacation rentals, etc. For PAPOA’s position on this and how it relates to us, click on the “Rentals” button.
Local governments have established a task force to develop recommendations for when to ease restrictions and reopen. The Village website has the details. Click on “Village” button to go there and then click on the “Summary of Emergency Measures” link under their Latest News Heading.
The Board has recently been advised that some P.A. homes have renters in them and are in violation of the County mandates. Click on the “Rentals Update” button for more details. On March 24th, Monroe County released an “Enforcement Protocol” outlining penalties and procedures for making people comply with the ban on tourist in the Keys. They are restricting southbound traffic at MM 112.5 (the Monroe County line). Click on the “03/25/20 Update” button for more information.
We will update this website as the situation changes. Please take every precaution to keep you and yours healthy.
Be Sure You Are Getting What You Pay For
Your Board is working hard to keep the carts and cans off the roadside and so much improvement has been made. It was brought to our attention that some property owners may not be aware that the service providers they have hired may not be giving the service that is being paid for. Please take a look at the notice that was emailed or snail-mailed to all members in February. 2020.
For bulk items, please do not use the cul-de-sacs as this can interfere with pickup by the Advanced Disposal trucks. And you do have to call Advanced to schedule a bulk pick up. The number is 305-853-3433.
If you have any questions, send us an email.
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 (a.k.a. Bernie) , 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!
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 twice. 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! And, golf carts are not allowed to park there either!
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.
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!
Building Tikis at the Beach
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.
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…”
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
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!