Saturday, September 25, 2004

Come Saturday Morning...

---The tracking maps for Hurricane Jeanne keep changing. Here is the latest one based on the 5AM forecast. IF this forecast holds up --- and that's a BIG IF --- you've got to feel for those poor folks in Lake Wales. They caught the eye of Charley, they caught the eye of Frances, and now with this forecast they just may catch the eye of Jeanne.

If you've never been to Lake Wales, it's really a wonderful place. It's best known as home to the Historic Bok Sanctuary with it's garden and carrillon tower. Lake Wales has a small but growing antiques/arts district in it's downtown area. And if you've got some real cash burning in your wallet and a real hunger in your belly, there's always Chalet Suzanne Country Inn and Restaurant. Fast food this ain't, and the check will definately reflect that! You've got to wonder if they feel cursed after the past six weeks with another hurricane bearing down.

And for those from the East Coast who may be looking for rooms in Polk County to escape the storm: Check out the Polk County Visitors and Convention Bureau Website for occasional updates on hotel/motel availabilities. Simply click on the "Hurricane Update" link on the top right corner of the page and a press release will come up with the latest information.

---But as of yesterday afternoon, it didn't seem like anyone was really that concerned. I pass by a Home Depot on my way home from my bus stop. It looked like a regular Friday afternoon, no busier than normal. But I did notice the warehouse crew unloading plywood like crazy in the back in preperation for a possible last minute rush. But that just wasn't happening...yet. Even as of late Friday Polk County Schools are scheduled to be open Monday. They've already cut half of the scheduled Christmas/New Year's vacation to make up most of the nine days already missed for hurricanes. Polk students, along with those in Citrus County, have received a special waiver to take the FCAT later than the rest of Florida.

---We will get to see Betty Castor -vs- Mel Martinez in a statewide televised debate, after all. Martinez acquiesed Thursday and agreed to NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and host of Meet The Press Tim Russert to moderate the debate, to be held at WFLA-TV in Tampa on October 18. Martinez rejected another debate closer to the election date which would have aired on public television stations, saying it was too close to the election. He had originally balked at Russert, who is known for his preperation and tough questioning, claiming he preferred a Florida journalist.

It shouldn't matter. Russert has done debates in Florida before, and has always had Sunshine State journalists on the panel. It's a non-issue. Mel has just better start preparing to answer the tough questions that will be asked, just as his opponent Betty Castor will. It won't be an easy night for either candidate, and the Florida electorate will be better informed as a result.

BTW: I didn't realize that Tim Russert also was a Senior VP of NBC News! Not even Brokaw can claim THAT!!! Now if his beloved Buffalo Bills could only play football...

---Speaking of so-called compassionate conservatises...what a laugh! Ralph Reed, the above-mentioned Mel Martinez, and 12th District Congressman/Bush lapdog Adam Putnam were all present and accounted for Friday evening at a Republican rally held at Grove Park Christian Church in Lakeland. All the usual verses were sung, and State Representative John Stargel offered what was described as "a lengthy prayer", by which time I can only guess that even the Hevenely Father was almost snoring.

BTW: Speaking of Putnam, I was watching a story of Jeb! and company in Bartow Friday to announce Federal relief for the citrus/agricultrual industry, at which Putnam was there (his family is heavily into citrus and cattle). In case anyone say, he looked like he had one helluva HICKEY on his neck! Mister Congressman mustva gotten him some kinda BOOTY the night before! (Sorry, just couldn't help that, but from the tape it sure 'nuff looked like one)


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