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More questions for the Town Council Candidates

October 29, 2014
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Here's where I answer some questions from you, provided I get to ask you some in return.

Q. Hey Larry. I work for the town of Fort Myers Beach and I notice that many of our utility vehicles seem to rust away very quickly. I'm a hunter, and I use the same types of vehicles in the woods, including in swampy ground, and they don't rust nearly as quickly. What do you think the difference is? Is the town failing to take care of the vehicles? A concerned citizen.

A. Dear Concerned, the answer is SALT. That's not the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, it's the mineral from the Gulf of Mexico. The town's vehicles are often driven directly on the beach in the salty sand. Salt sticks to the metal parts. Salt is anhydrous, so it absorbs moisture out of the air and holds that moisture against those metal parts. That causes corrosion in the metal. The only prevention is to wash the salt and sand from the vehicles with fresh water after each foray on the beach, which is a time consuming job. I'm sure the crews try their best to do that.

Qx. Now a question for you: I have friends who were not allowed to bring in a generator to save their deep-freezer full of food or to wash out their flooded home after Hurricane Charley, until it was too late. The excuse at the time was that the sewers might back up because the pumps had no power. This summer those same sewers did back up on that very street, with no storm in sight, and no power outage. Are we prepared for the next storm? Will evacuees be kept out again?

Q. Dear Larry. I work for the Supervisor of Elections Office, and I commute daily with my own car. Lately I'm getting pretty good with jumper cables. I have been having to jump-start my car almost every morning, but it starts okay when I make short trips. Does it mean I need a new starter? Julie the Jumpstarter.

A. Dear Julie. Probably not. More likely your battery is dying when the car is turned off. Don't run out to buy a battery yet. Read on. It could be a faulty battery, or it could be that something in your car is draining the battery when it sits parked, and that is not the battery's fault. If you want to check a few things yourself, go out after dark and sneak up on your car. Don't tell it you're coming. Peek in the windows and see if any little light bulb is on. Check the reading lights in the rear and in the front, and the courtesy lights under the dash. Don't unlock or open the door because that will cause the courtesy lights to come on for sure. If none of them are on, open the trunk and quickly reach in and touch the light bulb in there to see if it is hot. If it is hot it has been staying on. If it's cool it's not the culprit. Then open the car and do the same thing to the glove compartment light. If it's also cool, it's okay. If these things check out, there is one more thing you can do. You might try removing the negative cable from the battery when you park it at night. If the next morning, after you reconnect the cable, the car starts right up, it means you do have a drain on the battery and you will need a mechanic who's an electrical specialist to do some testing to locate and repair the problem. If, on the other hand, the car still needs to be jumped after the cable is reconnected, it means your battery is the culprit and now you can go out and buy one.

Qx. My next question for you is: I understand that a photo ID is required to vote. After hundreds of us waited three hours to use the one machine in our precinct the last time, I have decided to use an absentee ballot. When and to whom do I show my photo ID?



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