News and Happenings
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Mr. Peter Frezza who is the Village of Islamorada’s Environmental Resource Manager gave the Board a very informative presentation on the ongoing canal restoration projects.
As the Village is in a designated area of critical concern and is in a National Marine Sanctuary, the quality of the waters is closely monitored. He noted that the reduced level of oxygen in the canals was having a detremental impact on the local offshore and bay waters of the Keys. Irma was a real setback to these efforts from which the waters of the Keys have not yet fully recovered.
Mr. Frezza described five different technologies for accomplishing this remediation:
- Organic Removal
- Installing a weed gate
- Injections Wells and
The Village has 63 canals/canal systems within its boundaries. Ours is one. Fortunately our canal is in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, the cost associated with fixing what is broken with it is fairly high with the proposed solutions being both installing culverts to improve water flow and to backfill the deeper area of the canals. The culverts will be the first phase, and we are likely a couple of years away from seeing work beginning on those. Three questions asked after the briefing:
- Is the flow sufficient to prevent silting and blockage of these tunnels? If not, how will they be kept clear? The flow does a pretty good job at preventing siltation but over time the culverts likely will begin to accumulate sediment within them. This we have learned from experience with the few culverts we do have within the village. The sediment can be blown out easily with high-pressure water jets/pumps.
- In the event of a Wilma or Irma, what would the impact of the Gulf/Atlantic culvert be on erosion? Somehow, I envision the appearance of a “Channel 1” in addition to the existing channels 2 and 5. I can’t say for sure what the effects would be but it would be my opinion that there would be no negative effects of this culvert from a hurricane event. It might even help alleviate flooding/ storm surge due to increased flow.
- On slides 8 and 9 you listed “backfill.” Can’t tell you how much I like this idea as I know first hand that the visibility in the canals goes to zero below about 8 feet. Is there an inkling as to when or even if this might happen? Yes, the Village definitely plans to perform some backfill canal restoration projects. We have it in our upcoming FY 21-22 budget to begin the first one. This likely will be on Plantation Key.
To see Mr. Frezza’s slides click on the image above, or here.
Carlos and Olga Bengochea recently saw an unexpected visitor cruising the canal. The ripple in the picture is an american crocodile. While not generally aggressive toward people, as an “apex” predator, anything in the water is potential prey. One benefit is that the crocodiles hunt sharks, being especially fond of lemon sharks. As a result, sharks tend to avoid areas inhabited by crocodiles.
These, like manatees which we also have in our canals, are a protected species. Please keep your speed down in the canals. And, keep an eye out for children and pets that may wander too close to the water’s edge in your stepdown.
If you have a croc in your yard that is a bother, call 1-866-FWC-GATOR (1-866-392-4286).
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.
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!
Swim Zone in Place
Mayor Buddy Pinder, Councilman David Webb, and President Oscar were on-site observing the installation.
The safety and security of our members is paramount and is embraced by the majority who have seen or experienced the events which led to this solution.
Thank you, Oscar Callejas, for the picture!
|Guard||$ 540.00||$ 445.44|
|$ 540.00||$ 645.44|
This assumes a 12 hour day, with fixed costs of a head for $50 and a tent for $150
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, recently worked on getting a contract for a one (1) year pilot program to do that. Unfortunately, the proposal he received did not meet the needs of the PAPOA.
The contract would have been “sole source.” In other words, there was only a single vendor who was willing to provide the service. The rates quoted to the members who initially suggested this option were for business hours. Since the Association needs the service on weekends and holidays, overtime rates applied. When this was taken in account with a requirement for the PAPOA to provide shade (a canopy) and head facilities, along with a release from any liability that may be incurred by the guard, it was clear that the current Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) off-duty deputies is a better option.
The Guard would be required to remain at his/her post to ensure the security of the gate. Should an issue arise they are not able to handle, they would call the MCSO.
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)
A new federal law went into effect on April 1st, no foolin’. Basically, the operator of any boat less than 26 feet long must use the installed engine cut-off switch while operating their boat. This means clipping the end of the lanyard to the operators “person.” There are certain exceptions, like when operating at idle or if the boat was manufactured before January 2020 and does not have a switch installed. If there is a working switch, the operator MUST use it.
Correspondence from PAPOA
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.
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.
Be Sure They Can Get to You
If you see someone blocking the gate, PLEASE ask them to move! And, golf carts are not allowed to park there either!
Golf Carts & The Village & Port Antigua
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??