U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Florida
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 06-05-2014, 10:34 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354

Advertisements

I posted this somewhere else in general Florida, but this video does show a good representation of what it's like to live in the Florida Keys. It's not paradise, and it's not hell either. It can be noisy to live in, and have a lot of crazy neighbors. It's somewhere in between. I found the video on one of our local news sites, the Keynoter - which is another source of everything good and bad about living in the Keys.

I welcome other true stories of what Florida Keys living is really like by those who experienced it, now or in the past! Key Largo, Tavernier, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, Key West... all have a story, and their own local culture that is not really like the tourist experience.

Difference Makers - Doug Varrieur - The Colbert Report - Video Clip | Comedy Central


I myself am living the dream in a house with waterfront on a canal with a very private feel. BUT, neighbors dumped raw sewage from their boat into the neighborhood canal, and since it doesn't get much circulation it's been a biohazard for more than a month now... not even something you want to stand near, much less boat or god forbid swim in.

So life here is unique and wonderful, but it's not all fairytales and rainbows!
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-05-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,646 posts, read 6,928,612 times
Reputation: 13911
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishKey View Post
I posted this somewhere else in general Florida, but this video does show a good representation of what it's like to live in the Florida Keys. It's not paradise, and it's not hell either. It can be noisy to live in, and have a lot of crazy neighbors. It's somewhere in between. I found the video on one of our local news sites, the Keynoter - which is another source of everything good and bad about living in the Keys.

I welcome other true stories of what Florida Keys living is really like by those who experienced it, now or in the past! Key Largo, Tavernier, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine, Key West... all have a story, and their own local culture that is not really like the tourist experience.

Difference Makers - Doug Varrieur - The Colbert Report - Video Clip | Comedy Central


I myself am living the dream in a house with waterfront on a canal with a very private feel. BUT, neighbors dumped raw sewage from their boat into the neighborhood canal, and since it doesn't get much circulation it's been a biohazard for more than a month now... not even something you want to stand near, much less boat or god forbid swim in.

So life here is unique and wonderful, but it's not all fairytales and rainbows!
I remember when you mentioned some time ago your neighbors dumping their boat sewage right into the canal- have they done it again, or is the same "stuff" still evident? Did you see them doing this? If so, I'd report the incident to the health department, ( or the police- they could tell you where else to report it). And if you see such an incident, maybe you could take pics so it's not just your word against theirs that they did such a thing. Because you know that they'll do it all over again, every time they have a sh**!load to unload.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2014, 11:37 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354
Unfortunately, while many of the neighbors have noticed the problem (hard to miss!), no one knows for sure who did it. It could also have been a tourist or visitor borrowing a neighbor's boat, for all we know (many people illegally rent out their houses for vacationers).

It also hard to say if this is the same issue, or multiples - it has been one long situation of smell, then obvious stuff floating, then the floating gone but the smell still there... For all we know if could have happened 2 months ago and only recently washed in to our area. It must have happened neaby, but there is no way to know whether a few houses away, or 200 houses away.

For those interested in moving to the Keys or who have done so who want to know what to do about this problem, the recommended way is to report it to the Code Violations Dept. in the county govt. They keep the complaint anonymous but will send out someone on a boat from an Environmental dept. within the next 48 hours. If the boat officials see evidence that concerns them, they will take water samples. If they see any reason to suspect a particular boat, they have the right to contact the owners of that boat and board it to check their suspicions, and can issue tickets at will from there if appropriate. I did call for this, and they told me to call again any time it seems to happen again, or if I find out who did it. They want to stop it because it is a danger to both the human population and the local (legally protected and endangered) environment, not just to harass people. They also said that while it is hard to prove, it is pretty easy to figure out - any boat with suddenly all this waste surrounding it and nowhere else is a good target for illegal dumping.

So I don't know if anyone was caught, or if the water was tested. But if it happens again, I, and also my neighbors, will report again. Nobody is very happy with the situation, but certainly people will be keeping an eye out for repeat offenses now. Imagine people trying to sell their houses with this! Having waterfront at all is 50% the value of the home, so if someone sees sewage in your waterfront, there goes 50% of your house value, and good luck selling! People are especially annoyed because about half of the residents in the neighborhood just bought their homes in the last 2 years during the recession, so they paid all that money for the water, and it's less pleasant than living in a home that costs half the amount that at least doesn't have the smell of sewage every time you're in your yard.

So yeah, neighbors can be a problem in the Keys - many are super nice, but the county also attracts a lot of very selfish and thoughtless folk.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-05-2014, 12:45 PM
 
1,750 posts, read 1,614,563 times
Reputation: 1067
People are simply irresponsible. The impact from that is not just when you try to sell houses; all that crap eventually finds its way to the outer reefs. Some people have been trying to restore corals down in the Keys for years, then other idiots dump raw sewage into the waterways and canals. Gotta love the human race.

Coral Restoration Foundation

https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/south.../diseases.html
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2014, 11:54 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354
Yes, I am very familiar with Coral Restoration. I explained all this issue in another thread, but as I said, it certainly does harm the environment and the many endangered species of plant and animal here. This is one thing to consider for the many people who want to move down to the Keys - it is beautiful here, but many other people who move down are not considerate of their neighbors, or of keeping it as beautiful as when they arrived, because they're too busy partying.
--

I hate to make this all negative, but I happened to come across what I thought was a really interesting article last night. When I lived in Miami, it was very apparent that all of SFL has a very serious feral cat problem. However, the Keys have a different problem - rats. They have gotten into my attic, and I saw one running the phone lines from property to property around the neighborhood last night, so I was looking something up and happened to come across this. Even I was shocked by the description of the condo owner coming back to rats having decimated his condo! You'll notice after the article, which was from 2011, is another one following from very recently about our additional problem with infestation of cat-sized rats from yet ANOTHER exotic pet invasive species nightmare. If you want to move down the Monroe County, FL, do consider that you may need to deal with these issues, in addition to things like termites which are also very common.

Note one thing the article does not mention but should have - you can use many different methods, including safe and organic ones, to try to run rats off the property, including using plant scents that rats hate but humans enjoy. However, trying to poison rats is a very bad idea, because they will tend to crawl up into your attic or air ducts and die there, making an expensive, diseased, and horrific-smelling mess you will have to cut your house apart to find and remove. Here's the article from the Florida Keys News/Free Press:
------
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Health official: Reports of rats on the rise

BY STEVE GIBBS
KEY LARGO -- Two Port Largo neighbors recently trapped 26 black rats outside their homes within 48 hours.
About the same time, a health department employee was alerted to an unusual stench coming from a Riviera Village residence. Upon inspection he found decomposing rats floating in the abandoned home's hot tub.
A few days later the same health inspector was called to Stillwright Point where neighbors complained of an unusual number of rats running along fences near the community's tennis court.
The sudden spike in complaints about black rats has caught the attention of Bill Brookman, environmental health supervisor of the Monroe County Health Department.
"This is becoming a public health hazard," he told the Free Press last week. "Rats carry disease. The most common is rat bite fever, which can be fatal."
Though it is uncommon for rats to bite people unless cornered, Brookman says he worries about "the potential for interaction" between rats and children who might not be aware of the dangers the rodents can pose.
A number of factors may be contributing to a growing number of reports of rats.
Charter Pest Control owner Chris Sante says increasing calls for rat extermination are cyclical.
"Rats are the pest of the month," he said. "When we are under drought conditions, rats come indoors looking for water. Now we are in the rainy season and they are in the yard. They are just like us. To survive all they need is food, water and shelter."
Rats can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter to get inside a home. That might explain how a condominium owner who left the Florida Keys for the summer found his Key Largo apartment infested with rats when he returned.
"The guy was a fisherman and had bought a 30- to 40-pound bag of oats that he sealed and stored in a closet before he left for the summer," said Sante, whose service was called to exterminate the perpetrators. "Rats had gotten into his apartment and into the oats."
Dennis Bass, a Port Largo resident who trapped a dozen rats in his yard and on his roof, blamed neglected rental units.
"The problem seems to be with nearby homes that are rented where yard waste piles up and old furniture is left on the curb," he said. "After several years of trying to handle this in a diplomatic way I got fed up and [Monroe County Commissioner] Sylvia Murphy suggested I go to my homeowners association. We ultimately went to the Monroe County Health Department."
Brookman said his office can cite homeowners for sanitary nuisances.
"The fine is $500 a day," he said. "We have never collected a fine in the 12 years I have been here. Everyone has complied. People have property rights but if they thwart our efforts we would pursue legal action."
Brookman says black rats are excellent climbers and nocturnal feeders.
"They forage for pet food left out on the porch, garbage that is not contained in vermin-proof cans, bird seed and fruit such as papaya, mango and citrus on trees," he said. "Foreclosed homes, abandoned homes, people gone for the summer provide shelter. Full bird baths provide water as well."
Marsha Garrettson, director of the Key Largo Animal Shelter, said rats are especially drawn to outdoor caged birds.
"People who keep exotic birds provide a food source for rats. They are attracted to the droppings and the overflow of bird seed," she said.
Rats can breed about every 25 days and a mating pair can have about 60 young per year. Rats become sexually mature at about three months. They have a handful of predators in the Keys besides man.
"Snakes eat them, especially rat snakes and black racers," said Sante. "Despite the fact that they are known to be herbivores, iguanas eat baby rats. Opossums and raccoons also eat them."
Local birds of prey, such as screech owls, also prey on rats.
Brookman noted that cats are also an obvious predator.
Brookman mentioned steps homeowners can take to keep rats away.
"First, make sure there is no food, water or shelter outside," he said. "They like to hide under sheds and in palm trees.
"Second, make sure your house is rat-proof. If you hear scratching in your attic or crawl space, inspect to make sure rats are not nesting in your air conditioning ducts.
"Finally, if you have rats and need to exterminate them, you can buy snap rat traps at local hardware stores. If you poison I would suggest calling a professional exterminator. You can also use humane traps," he said.
Garrettson said rat infestations are "a people problem" because homeowners fail to remove food sources. She objects to the use of snap traps, which commonly crush the skulls or necks of rats.
"Check out humane rat traps at Home Depot. Bring [captured rats] to the animal shelter to be humanely euthanized. Please don't leave poison out. Rat poisoning is a painful death for rats or any animal," she said.
Brookman says he will be attending local homeowner association meetings to provide information on rat control. To report a rat infestation, call Brookman at 453-8752.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2014, 11:56 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354
Here's the other article:
-----
Massive Gambian rats reappear on Grassy Key, trapping to resume

By RYAN McCARTHY
rmccarthy@keynoter.comMay 31, 2014





This Gambian giant pouch rat was captured in March 2007 on Grassy Key. State and federal officials are resuming trapping efforts.
FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

Despite what many believed, Gambian giant pouch rats have continued taking a liking to their nonnative home on Grassy Key.
Despite extensive efforts beginning in 2007 to eradicate the invasive exotic species, state and federal officials are still attempting to kill off the last of the rats.
The state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week dropped off fliers at Grassy Key homes asking residents to be on the lookout for the pests and describing what they look like compared to other common species like opossum and raccoons.
The African rat species can grow up to nine pounds and reportedly appeared on Grassy Key sometime between 1999 and 2001, when they were released by a resident who had been breeding them.
"We know that there are still some out there and we've been doing some limited trapping and monitoring,” FWC nonnative-wildlife biologist Jenny Eckles said.
"We're also hiring [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] to come back down and do 10-day trappings. They'll trap four times over the next year for 10 days each," she said.
The federal agency has been involved with the FWC's eradication efforts over the years.
According to the FWC, the rats average three pounds and are usually 20 to 35 inches long. They are gray to brown in color with a pale belly and feet that are off-white. They have a mostly dark gray tail with an off-white tip.
Eckles said the FWC hopes to complete its contract with the U.S.D.A. "by late summer or early fall."
Then "they put out a bunch of live traps, 150 to 200, bait it with cantaloupe or peanut butter and check them every day," she said.
In addition, Eckles said the FWC plans to "do more smaller-scale trapping events in between the large-scale [U.S.D.A.] events." That includes cameras to monitor the island.
"We'll focus on the core areas where we've had the most captures," Eckles said, referring to the area around Tropical and Peachtree avenues near the center of the island.
Eckles said the last confirmed Gambian rat sighting came in December and noted that "it is really hard" to eliminate every rat from the island.
"We're hoping we get help from a lot of different landowners so we can find out where they might be holed up and get permission to trap on their property," she said.
The FWC has a nonnative species hotline dubbed "I've Got 1." The number is (888) 483-4681. Residents can also visit IveGot1.org or download an IveGot1 mobile phone application.

-----




These things are no joke!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2014, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Whispering pines, cutler bay FL.
1,912 posts, read 2,183,126 times
Reputation: 2054
My sister and her Partner live in marathon in similar circumstances and they just bought the house next door at the end of the canal. We love it when we house sit for them when they travel and it is a world of difference from Miami! From the conversations I have had with my sister, most nieghbors on the canals look out for each other, hopefully you have gotten to know them well enough to help each other out.

My Husband might have been the chemist at Derm that would have tested that water sample, but he also works with the Derm environmental crime unit. I will ask him if there is anything else you can do about your situation.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-06-2014, 06:43 PM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubanchic View Post
My sister and her Partner live in marathon in similar circumstances and they just bought the house next door at the end of the canal. We love it when we house sit for them when they travel and it is a world of difference from Miami! From the conversations I have had with my sister, most nieghbors on the canals look out for each other, hopefully you have gotten to know them well enough to help each other out.

My Husband might have been the chemist at Derm that would have tested that water sample, but he also works with the Derm environmental crime unit. I will ask him if there is anything else you can do about your situation.
Thanks!

Yes, by and large my neighbors have been great. It is one of the things that I love about living in the Keys - sure some neighbors are out-there crazy, but it seems like most are exceptionally kind. And some are both crazy, and kind.

And you aren't kidding they are a world away from Miami! I am only some 60 miles from my previous living situation, but it feels like I am in another state, or maybe another planet! They are just almost nothing alike. There were good things about Miami, but overall the Florida Keys is such a better fit for me! I am so grateful to be able to be here all the time as a resident. Rats and all!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-07-2014, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,721,552 times
Reputation: 4898
Amazingly I never had a rat problem, but I think having 18 cats across two acres had something to do with it. There were abandoned boats near my home, and fishing line and garbage floating around the mangroves was not uncommon. My biggest complaint was the lack of fresh water. Never could have a nice yard with a 6-9 month dry season.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-08-2014, 08:17 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,117,568 times
Reputation: 2354
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
Amazingly I never had a rat problem, but I think having 18 cats across two acres had something to do with it. There were abandoned boats near my home, and fishing line and garbage floating around the mangroves was not uncommon. My biggest complaint was the lack of fresh water. Never could have a nice yard with a 6-9 month dry season.
This is a good point, many people may not realize in their desire to move to the Keys that the general rule is that people don't have grass. While a few properties do, there is not enough water during the dry season to support it, and the majority of Keys residents have pea rock gravel covering their yards because what they really want is a low maintenance property, a good half of them or more purely as a vacation home. One has to be mindful that if you want to plant many things, only a small segment of plants can survive the very high PH/alkaline soil with salt in it (plus salty winds), and the alternating droughts and then flooding. Coconut palms do well here, as do mangroves, tamarind trees, bougainvillea, and plumeria. Other things can survive but with a lot of effort. And then of course there are plenty of native plants like gumbo limbo trees, stoppers, willow-bustic, etc. that are made for this environment and help native endangered animals to survive. Don't expect the few local nurseries to tell you what's invasive vs. what's native, they'll sell both to you and don't care what it does to rapidly destroy the local plants and animals as long as they get their profit.

I have mentioned this on another thread, but this one is a perfect place to point out that fresh water is very precious in the Keys. There is no room for a reservoir or anything like that, so all fresh water is brought through pipes from Miami - which in the case of Key West means from some 150 miles away. This leaves us very vulnerable to issues of contamination in the water, or possible burst pipes - especially with the major construction going on all along the Keys to install a sewer system. Yes, you heard that right, the Keys has been using septic tanks all of this time and is only now, island by island and house by house, converting to sewer because the septic tanks were leaking into the environment and ultimately killing the coral reef. There are deadlines for each area to hook up by, and many places have passed the deadline because owners have to pay for their own hookup - and are even allowed to put in the pipes themselves, something large cities would normally never in a million years allow! So, some people can't afford it, some refuse, and many properties are for sale or went into foreclosure and so no one ever made the investment. In Key Largo, the sewer hook-up cost is around $1500, but some places cost much more.

So anyway, all of these water issues mean that fresh water is very expensive in the Keys. Residents are charged a minimum of about $42/month to have running water, before you even use a drop of it! After that, the rate isn't crazy, but they are considering graduated costs so houses that use more than standard amounts may be paying a much higher rate for that choice. So expect a minimum bill of $45-50/month for water.

In the old days, people used rain catchment systems to survive on the Keys. Very few houses have gutters installed, they are just not part of how things are done in FL. They are often insufficient to handle the severe downpours in summer, and can create problems during hurricanes because they may be ripped off and become missiles, and in pulling away also encourage damage and flooding to roofs. However, it is still a good idea to set up rain barrels or other means of catching water. Here is a guide on how to make (and decorate - it's the Keys of course!) one from the FKAA, the local water company: http://www.fkaa.com/buildingrainbarrel.pdf

Keep in kind that you may want to use organic mosquito dunks (made from corn and other non-harmful stuff) to help prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. You can get them on Amazon - another way of life for local Florida Keys residents who don't want to leave "the rock" to go back to the mainland. There is no Lowe's and only 1 Home Depot in the entire 100+mile stretch of the Keys, and there are very few big box stores in general, so either you'll have to drive to Homestead or further up to Miami for most of your gardening or shopping needs, or ship them to your house. Although I am not as familiar with the Key West experience, certainly shopping in the Upper Keys is very limited, with small supply and variety - and in many cases rather high prices. Be prepared to do with less in terms of material things, in favor of more fun outdoors.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Florida
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. | Please obey Forum Rules | Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top