“44 Islands and 42 Bridges: A Florida Keys Road Trip”

“44 Islands and 42 Bridges: A Florida Keys Road Trip”

Photo: Scott McIntyre, The New York Times

“It’s only 113 miles from Key Largo to Key West, but take it slow and savor the subtropical, sometimes kitschy, flavor, of these fragile isles.

Seagulls and squadrons of brown pelicans flew alongside my rented Hyundai as I drove across the astonishing seven-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 1 that runs across Moser Sound, just south of Marathon, in the Florida Keys. The proximity of birds and water blurred the distinctions between sea and sky, drive and flight.

The string of coral islands that arc from the Florida peninsula south toward Havana has a long history of attracting pirates, profiteers and seekers of a Caribbean lifestyle within the United States. Henry Flagler, an early developer of the Florida Keys, inadvertently gave the country one of its most scenic roadways when his Overseas Railway, running from mainland Florida down to Key West, was destroyed in a 1935 hurricane. That land route eventually became the Overseas Highway, or U.S. 1, vaulting across channels, and linking 44 islands, via 42 bridges…Below is a guide to this classic coastal road trip. You could drive it in a single afternoon, but you won’t want to. Three languid days is more like it.

— Elaine Glusac, The New York Times

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“Madeira Beach to ban flutter signs”

“Madeira Beach to ban flutter signs”

“In what will likely be a major change to the city’s visual landscape, the commission has voted to prohibit flutter signs, so called because they flutter when blown by the wind…
Community Development Director Linda Portal said the city has become very cluttered with signs.

‘A cleanup is overdue, and we’re doing it one issue at a time,’ she said.

Most commission members agreed the flutter signs are, in Commissioner Nancy Oakley’s words, ‘sign pollution.’

‘Each business has a flutter flag,’ said Mayor Maggi Black, ‘and people can’t even see what the store is…’ The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the flutter sign ban. It does permit their use in limited number and duration for new business openings and special events. A six-month grace period at the beginning of 2019 also will be allowed before enforcing the prohibition of flutter signs.”

— Wayne Ayers, Tampa Bay News

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“Florida billboards hacked with satanic Corgi and ‘naughty’ gorilla”

“Florida billboards hacked with satanic Corgi and ‘naughty’ gorilla”

Photo: Markelle Maddock via WTSP Channel 10 News

“The poor dog definitely isn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. [The main character on one of the billboards] Corgi is hungry for some burgers and fries, but be warned in case you join him for dinner: ‘Satan is the one true god.’

Let’s just hope ‘password’ wasn’t the password to gain access to this seemingly hacked billboard posted up on U.S. Route 441 in central Florida.

An eagle-eyed driver and her boyfriend heading home for Christmas spotted the sign and claims to have caught a message that just didn’t seem right: a gorilla saying he’s been a naughty boy (plus a word not appropriate on this family-friendly news site).

Markelle Maddock made a U-turn to try and catch it again…

And another, with maybe a word or two of advice from a Twitter user who knows a thing or two about hacking billboards across the country: “These people think connecting a billboard to the internet is a good idea. These people are wrong.”

‘I understand where people could get offended, especially with the ‘Satan is the one true god,’ but it made for a good laugh and I’ll always remember it,’ Maddock said.

She adds the billboard since has been turned off.”

— Andrew Krietz, WTSP Channel 10 News

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“Smith, board differ on developer’s sign complaint”

“Smith, board differ on developer’s sign complaint”

Photo: Mike Wright, Citrus County Chronicle

“County officials say a wall that separates the Stonegate development from Crystal Oaks [in Lacanto] is not permitted.

County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith went to bat for a Lecanto developer during Tuesday’s board meeting but found no help from other commissioners after they learned the company has a pending code case.

Smith questioned whether the county’s sign ordinance violates free speech after a contractor for the Stonegate at Westchase housing development complained to him about the county removing his ‘feather’ for-sale flags.

Smith said the contractor told him he had no place to advertise the development, which is separate but adjacent to the Crystal Oaks community…

Commissioners weren’t convinced.

‘We’re talking about a developer who bought a section of land in Crystal Oaks,’ Commissioner Scott Carnahan said. ‘He can learn how to advertise without flying signs out front…’

I’m not willing to change our policy,’ Carnahan said. ‘When it comes to he doesn’t know how to advertise, I don’t buy that one.'”

— Mike Wright, Citrus County Chronicle

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