Letters to the Editor

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By The Staff

Two Grateful Fishermen

Dear Editor,

What began as an evening fish in Waccasassa bay could have turned into a tragic end. We were heading for the channel for Waccasassa River when we were cut off by a big storm. As a result, we got pushed way off course. Dark fell as the wind and seas begin to pick up. I was able to navigate my 17’ deck boat to the North Channel and made our way safely into Cedar Key Marina. Prior to arriving I contacted 911 (Bronson) who then provided the Coast Guard out of Yankeetown with our coordinates. The Coast Guard stayed in contact with us while at sea. They notified the Cedar Key Police department of our impending arrival. Upon arrival we were met by a C.K.P.D. officer who assisted us in finding lodging (we pulled in about 03:30-3:30 am).

We wish to thank the following people for taking in two weary fishermen early in the morning: Linda, the manager/owner of the motel that’s located one block from marina (don’t worry we won’t say how much we paid for the room). Chuck, the Harbor Master. He was super. Since we came in low on fuel, he was kind enough to assist us by providing us fuel and the use of his personal vehicle to retrieve more fuel.

As a result of this incident I learned several valuable lessons: be better prepared when heading for open waters and Cedar Key has some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.

Best Regards,

Barry Pope

St. Petersburg, FL

Mike Mahaffey

Tampa, FL

Missing Joel & Dick

Dear Editor,

When Friday afternoons signaled the end of the workweek, we’d start thinking about going to the Island Hotel to enjoy the improvisational piano of Joel Benefiel accompanied by Dick Frost on his drums. If we got there early enough, we’d find a quiet table in the hotel’s dark back room, order a drink, a blue cheese burger, then relax for a few hours of smooth jazz classics that Joel improvised on his Yamaha piano while Dick maintained a quiet back beat with his snare, bass and high hat. Occasionally, other musicians would join them, and it could be magic.

Each weekend, regular as the tide, Joel arrived a little before six o’clock, said hello and shook his fans’ hands, maybe shared a beer with a friend, then dimmed the lights, turned and nodded to Dick, and delivered a musical treat. Unfortunately, Joel has been ill, so our favorite duo hasn’t played together for many months. On behalf of his friends and fans, we wish Joel all the best and send him good wishes for a speedy recovery. A Friday night without Joel’s music is a sad way to end the week. Get well soon, old friend. We miss you.

Jeff Dwyer & Elizabeth O’Grady