Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Florida Keys' Watercolor Kapers By Bob Kranich

Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers
by Bob Kranich

The Cayman Turtle Schooner, (Part 7, Excerpt 72)

This is a story, titled The Cayman Turtle Schooner. This story will tell about the forming and history of the Cayman Islands, the green sea turtle’s habits and life style, the building of a dugout canoe, and then a schooner, and lastly about the historic two-masted turtle schooner, A. M. Adams. Our two main characters Grandpa and Parker have just finished building their dugout canoe and are going to start building a turtle crawl for Sebastian.

The Cayman Turtle Schooner

They waved as John and Dynamite headed back up the sand trail.

“John’s missus sure does cook good! That was a good lunch!”

“Careful, Parker, not so loud. Remember Grandma’s cooking is the best.”

“Oh that’s right, I almost forgot.”

They slipped the sail loops over the mast. Then they tied a loop of rope to the top of the mast to run the rope through and pull the sail up.

“Now, Parker, help me lift this mast over the board. There, drop it through the hole in the board.”

Grandpa then pinned the mast to the bottom of the canoe. Next the spar hooked to the bottom of the mast just above the sides of the canoe. They did this just after they ran it through the loops on the bottom of the sail.

“Now just pull that rope, Parker.”

As he pulled the sail, it ran up the mast. They then tied it to the board. The wind caught the sail, filled it, and billowed out.

“Parker, in the morning we’re going back to the careening place and bring back that outrigger pole.

“There she is, Parker. Ready to go!”

“Looks good, Grandpa.”
“Well, just what are we waiting for? You place these poles in front of the dugout. We’ll roll it down into the water. It’s good that we have a gradual slope down towards the water.”

Grandpa used a long pole as a lever, and the canoe moved slightly and then started a slow descent to the water. The front hit a wave coming in which floated the front half of the canoe. The second wave followed right behind, floating the entire vessel.

“Jump in, Parker!”

Grandpa did a belly-flop over the canoe’s side and flipped over sprawling out on the bottom. When Grandpa looked up, Parker was seated and holding one of the paddles they had carved out of a light but strong wood they had found growing up on the bluff on the higher part of the island.

“You beat me to a seat, Parker. I’ll have to be faster next time. Tell you what, you sit up front, and I’ll man the back. Now let’s paddle out.”

It didn’t take them long to paddle out from the surf. There the water was a deep blue, and the waves were passing under them with gentle swells.

“Up with the sail, Parker.”

“Yes, Sir! Captain Grandpa.”

He pulled on the rope, and the sail climbed the mast.

“Tie it right there on the board. Let me show you this one time. He moved forward in the canoe and tied the rope to the board holding the mast.

“See how steady she is. That outrigger is balancing us.”

The sail caught a breeze and filled.

“I’d better get to the back. We steer this sail outrigger canoe with this larger paddle off the stern, like this. I use it just like a rudder.”

“What is a rudder, Grandpa?”

“Parker, it steers the boat, like this. See if I put it out to the right the boat turns to the right, and if I put it out to the left the boat turns to the left.”

“How do you know all that, Grandpa?”

“Well round-about 1820, before you were born in 1846, I worked on a turtle schooner. We worked around Cuba, Nicaragua, and even on the other side of Cuba to Key West in the USA.

“Wow, Grandpa, I’d like to go to all of those places!”

“Some day you can. Now let’s take this dugout canoe down to John’s.”

They washed right up on the beach.

“Drop the sail, Parker. Look, someone’s waving from John’s house. Why it’s John. He must have seen us.”

“It looks mighty good,” John exclaimed, “I wondered who that was, and then I recognized my sail!”

“We thank you kindly, John. We won’t be bothering you very long, but we just had to try her out.”

Back at Grandpa and Parker’s house. Grandma said, “How you sailors do’n? I saw you sail away. Didn’t know if I’d ever see you again. Figured you two would just drop off the face of the earth!”

“Oh, Grandma, you're just joking!”

“Now you both get washed up. How’d you two know it was time for supper?”

“Parker, I promised you we would build a turtle crawl. Today is the day. Remember all those sticks we brought from the mahogany tree? We’ll need the ax for me and a hatchet for you. We’ll grab a few sticks and walk over to the lagoon.”
“Will this be a good place, Grandpa?”

“Yep, because it’s not very far from our house. Let’s get our shoes off. First we’ll sharpen these stakes. Then we will start right here where the water is knee deep.”

He pounded a stake in, leaving it to stick up a couple of feet.

“Now, we’ll go out to where it is waist deep and pounded in another stake. Next, we will put in the other two corners. Now, Parker, what we have here is a square about fifteen by fifteen feet. Next we’ll put the gate we can access by foot here in the middle of the shore side.”

On the deeper side he put in two additional stakes.

“What are those two stakes for, Grandpa?”

“This will be for a gate so we can bring the dugout canoe in. If we get some turtles that we want to save until we take them to market, we can bring them in and out through this gate.”

“Next we need to put additional stakes in between each corner. They will have to be about six inches apart and three feet above the high tide water. We’ll then tie them together with rope, and put a cross-piece over each gate.”

“Wow, Grandpa, I just figured it up. Fifteen feet times four equals sixty times two per foot equals one hundred and twenty stakes. We’ve got a lot of work to do!”

“That’s correct, Parker, and two lashed-together gates. See those mangroves over there. We’re going to use a lot of those long saplings after we run out of the mahogany lumber. It’s going to take us the rest of the week to build this turtle crawl.”

“Well Sonny, we’re going to get Sebastian, and see if he likes his turtle crawl home.”

About the Author:

My second full-length book , Florida Keys’ Watercolor Kapers is composed of 336 pages. There are 12 stories running from 6 pages to as many as 72 pages. It is fully illustrated with 88 watercolors and sketches. The watercolors I made roaming around Key West after I finished my 750 mile hike from Georgia to Key West. (See book or Don Browne’s SouthWest Florida Online News records, A Walk Across Florida.) As you read these stories you will experience Key West, the Keys, and the Caribbean. These stories span the time of the early 1800’s to 1969.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

13% Of April Atlanta CDC Conference Attendees Get COVID

ATLANTA, GA -- CDC’s 2023 Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference brought together approximately 1,800 in-person and 400 virtual attendees during April 24–27, 2023, in a hotel conference facility in Atlanta, Georgia. 

On Thursday, April 27, several in-person attendees notified conference organizers that they had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. That same day, EIS leaders made an announcement at the conference about potential cases and took action to reduce further spread connected with the conference and related events. 

After the conference ended, CDC received additional reports of attendees testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and worked with the Georgia Department of Public Health to initiate a rapid assessment. The goals were to learn more about transmission that occurred and add to our understanding as we transition to the next phase of COVID-19 surveillance and response.

The rapid assessment team surveyed in-person attendees from May 5–12 about their COVID-19 testing results and healthcare-seeking behavior. Among 1,443 survey respondents (over 80% of the in-person attendees):

-181 (13%) respondents reported testing positive for SARS-CoV-2
-Of those who reported testing positive, 52% reported no known prior COVID-19 infection
-1,435 (99.4%) of respondents reported at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose
-49 (27%) of the respondents who tested positive received antiviral medications
-70% of respondents reported not wearing a mask
None were hospitalized

Based on the CDC’s survey of attendees, only 30% of attendees reported wearing a mask at the conference, despite presumed high levels of education and interest in public health among attendees.

Nearly every respondent reported receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and none of the 181 people who reported testing positive were hospitalized.

Not surprisingly, there was an increased chance of infection the longer participants attended the conference and the more events they participated in. Specifically, respondents who tested positive reported attending the conference on average for all four days, and the risk of infection was 70% greater among those who attended for three or more days versus those who attended for two or fewer days.

Monday, May 29, 2023

New Play At Firehouse Theatre July 7

LABELLE, FL. -- The Firehouse Community Theatre Inc. is proud to present their summer play for children of all ages: "Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye", July 7, 8, & 9.

Rumpelstiltskin is hired, along with his sidekick Ugly Duckling, to solve a recent rash of crimes in Fairytale Land. The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and more all appear in this spoof of a fairytale. The crimes all appear to be unrelated, and only Rumpelstiltskin has a chance at solving them.

This play is sure to make you chuckle with its snappy one-liners, so get your tickets early and support our young actors!

This play will show for only 3 days: July 7-8-9 (Friday, July 7th at 7pm, Saturday, July 8th at 7pm and Sunday, July 9th at 2pm.)

Call the ticket hotline at 863-675- 3066, leave a message and someone will call you back to confirm your seats!!

Sunday, May 28, 2023

LaBelle Pre-Cast Concrete Plant Sold To Reinforced Earth Co.

LABELLE, FL. -- The Reinforced Earth Company has acquired the assets of two precast facilities located in Florida and Indiana.

The 48-acre, multi building site in Labelle, Florida (formerly Henkay Precast) has a production capacity of 200,000 tons of concrete per year. The plant on SR80 west of LaBelle has had pre-cast concrete manufactured there, and then stored on dozens of acres at the site for many years.

Henkay Precast, started in business 10 years ago, is owned by Richard and Susan Shinn.

The LaBelle property was sold in January by Henkay Precast to Ashgrove Real Estate Holdings LLC for $4,424,000.

“We welcome our new staff in Labelle and Winamac as an important part of our group of engineers, manufacturers, project managers, and team players,” said Stephen Fancher, President & CEO.
In Winamac, Indiana (formerly S&S Precast), the 20-acre site has a production capacity of 100,000 tons of concrete per year.

The two locations are strategically located to expand RECo’s capacity to deliver geo-structural and precast concrete solutions, including Reinforced Earth® MSE retaining walls, T-WALL®, TechSpan® arches, and sound walls.

The Reinforced Earth Company is based in Stanton, Va.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Health Alerts For Algal Toxin In Caloosahatchee River

Moore Haven, FL -- The Florida Department of Health in Glades has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in the Caloosahatchee River. This is in response to a water sample taken on May 22, 2023. The public should exercise caution in and around the Ortona Lock and Dam area of the Caloosahatchee River.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

 Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.

 Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.

Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals.

Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.

Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.

Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.