Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Fingerless Key West banana man loses his trees
Key West Citizen and Bait Wrapper ^ | May 14, 2012 | JOHN DeSANTIS

Posted on 05/14/2012 3:47:48 PM PDT by Elle Bee

To Key West Housing Authority officials it was seen as a necessary task, the chopping down of banana trees Richard "Diver" Overman nurtured daily with his fingerless hands, outside the windows of his public housing apartment on Amelia Street.

To Overman it was a massacre.

"They were just nubs when I planted them," the 67-year-old retired lobster diver said. "Now I am so disappointed. That was my pastime -- the only pastime I've got. Now they took them away and I feel like nothin'."

Housing Authority Director Manuel Castillo said he and his staff tried to work with Overman, but that a line eventually had to be drawn.

"We told him the trees can't stay," Castillo said. "We said if you want to put them in pots, or take them somewhere else. But the long and the short of it is he didn't cooperate, the complaints became more and more, and so I sent a staff member there to cut down the trees."

Overman's three-room apartment is one of 28 in the Jack Murray housing complex in Bahama Village, subsidized housing for seniors, whose porches and walkways contain ample evidence of residents' creativity, especially when it comes to plants and flowers.

From Overman's point of view, planting the banana trees in the Housing Authority's dirt once they outgrew their pots was a no-brainer.

They gave him privacy in front of his windows and had an added benefit. When the fruit was big enough to pick he would bring the small bananas to the senior center, sharing them with other people there.

"They were excellent, so fresh," said Edy Moritz, who had interrupted her bridge game Thursday at the senior center to speak briefly with Overman, who told her there would be no more bananas.

The trees had become a pet project for Overman. He was born in Iowa, where his mother abandoned him because he was born with just stumps for fingers, though he has a whole thumb on each hand. Home for his entire childhood and teen years was a Davenport orphanage, where he was deemed unadoptable. They let him stay an extra year, he said, until he was 19 years old.

Then he entered the world looking for work, traveling around the country some, finally finding the Keys and falling in love with them because of the weather and the beauty.

"I always did have a green thumb," said Overman, who settled in Marathon, where he would dive for lobsters, timing his swims with the tides in such a way as to allow their aid for both getting away from shore and returning.

In 2008 high rental prices caught up with Overman, who moved to Key West and the apartment on Amelia Street.

He has a penchant for collecting lots of things, and some of the neighbors accused him of being a hoarder. Castillo and his staff investigated, determining that no violations existed in the apartment. But the trees, which Overman had transplanted from pots to solid earth, were another matter.

Overman was told to cut them down but never did.

"We told him we understand it is a nice therapeutic thing," Castillo said. "But we also said, 'Mr. Overman, you can't create a nuisance for your neighbors.' We want to encourage people to do things that promote ownership. But there is a very fine line on how much latitude we can give. It is against the lease to plant anything in the common areas. Pots we allow."

When no further action was taken against the trees Overman regarded it as license to continue tending his trees as they grew.

New life emerged from the trees, new nubs that were placed lovingly in pots, as Overman's hands nurtured them. The trees in the dirt he tended as well, he said, keeping them clean and free of debris.

But there were other problems, according to the Housing Authority.

One neighbor complained that the trees darkened the area he had to walk through to get to his apartment.

A security camera, Castillo said, had its view obstructed. Although Overman kept his trees as clean as he could -- and there were no actual reports of vermin due to them -- the risk of rats was still high, according to Castillo.

Now, with the banana trees down, Overman realizes he has no legal recourse.

But Castillo maintains that there is one option. The Housing Authority has already supplied the banana man with pots big enough to hold his newer, smaller trees. There is not a problem, Castillo said, so long as they are kept on concrete areas, and once they outgrow the pots are moved to dirt somewhere other than on the Housing Authority property.

Overman has already advertised his small trees, for sale to the highest bidder, however.

"I don't want to get in any trouble," he said.

.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: bureaucrats; central; florida; keywest; planning
another victim of the tyranny of central planning's petty bureaucrats

.

1 posted on 05/14/2012 3:47:56 PM PDT by Elle Bee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

Daylight’s come and me wanna go home.


2 posted on 05/14/2012 3:51:00 PM PDT by mkmensinger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mkmensinger
daaaaaay-oooh

.

3 posted on 05/14/2012 3:53:58 PM PDT by Elle Bee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

Keywest Diver Overman and His Fabulous Fingerless Banana Men.
Now available for: weddings, bar mitzvahs and public hangings.


4 posted on 05/14/2012 3:55:28 PM PDT by tumblindice (Our new, happy lives.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

Every time I hear that song I think of Beetlejuice.


5 posted on 05/14/2012 3:59:41 PM PDT by mkmensinger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

Sorry, but the bottom line is that it isn’t his land.


6 posted on 05/14/2012 4:01:32 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Elle Bee.
"They were just nubs when I planted them," the 67-year-old retired lobster diver said. "Now I am so disappointed. That was my pastime -- the only pastime I've got. Now they took them away and I feel like nothin'."

7 posted on 05/14/2012 4:04:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
read some of the comments at the source

if the rules which are made up as they go along were applied evenly I could see your point. but here down island they make up rules and laws so they can be enforced selectively

.

8 posted on 05/14/2012 4:21:00 PM PDT by Elle Bee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee
... Housing Authority ...

The function of government is to govern. They will take what we will relinquish.

9 posted on 05/14/2012 4:21:12 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (The instinct toward liberalism is located in the part of the brain called the rectal lobe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

“They were just nubs when I planted them,” the 67-year-old retired lobster diver said”

The banana trees or his fingers?


10 posted on 05/14/2012 4:24:07 PM PDT by Rebelbase
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

You have to cut them down every year anyway.


11 posted on 05/14/2012 4:37:45 PM PDT by Domangart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rebelbase

Yea, what does the state of his hands have to do with the story? Just gratuitous attempt to turn the paper into a freak show as far as I can tell.


12 posted on 05/14/2012 4:37:54 PM PDT by DManA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: DManA
it IS the Key West Citizen & Bait Wrapper

.

13 posted on 05/14/2012 4:43:57 PM PDT by Elle Bee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

I went to Key West once a couple years ago, there were free range roosters walking around on Duval Street in the center of the tourist district.

But, I guess a banana tree would be over the top. /sarc


14 posted on 05/14/2012 5:01:45 PM PDT by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee
“they make up rules and laws so they can be enforced selectively”

Exactly!

Alles In Ordnung!

I found the rationalization about the rat harborage too funny for words. The AgencyPerson feared rats in the banana plants when planted in soil. But AgencyMan offered large pots for the same banana plants.

KEWL! AgencyMan knows something about rat behavior previously unknown to science.

All Hail AgencyMan - the rat scientist extraordinaire.

15 posted on 05/14/2012 5:17:05 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon freedom, it is necessary to examine principles."...the public interest)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

I live in FL and I have had banana trees for 30+ years.. The Banana trees will come back.. They will not get any fruit this year but they should all bloom and bear fruit.. Banana’s take 2 years....


16 posted on 05/14/2012 5:29:09 PM PDT by satan69 (garden)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GladesGuru

The Spiders that live in the FL Banana Trees would will a rat.. These suckers are 5” across and have been known to catch small birds... When you get near the banana and wolf spiders they jump at you to scare you away... Works great on me!


17 posted on 05/14/2012 5:33:28 PM PDT by satan69 (garden)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: GladesGuru

The Spiders that live in the FL Banana Trees would kill a rat.. These suckers are 5” across and have been known to catch small birds... When you get near the banana and wolf spiders they jump at you to scare you away... Works great on me!


18 posted on 05/14/2012 5:33:40 PM PDT by satan69 (garden)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

er...you do comprehend that the man lives in a Public Housing complex, right?


19 posted on 05/14/2012 5:34:33 PM PDT by sarasmom ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xZsFe6dM3EY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mkmensinger

I was having a good day until you reminded me of Harry Belafonte!


20 posted on 05/14/2012 5:38:57 PM PDT by mulebones
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

This is in a town overrun with wild chickens. I’ve been past that housing project many a time and the last thing they need to worry about there is a few banana trees.


21 posted on 05/14/2012 5:46:15 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee; TigersEye; mojitojoe; stephenjohnbanker

What is the past tense of “banana?”

BENINHER


22 posted on 05/14/2012 5:48:28 PM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascist info....http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Click

23 posted on 05/14/2012 5:52:09 PM PDT by RedMDer (https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/default.aspx?tsid=93)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: DManA

I think the state of his hands are to give him the right to do as he pleases. You have a right to a risk free life, with 100% self esteem, and to do whatever makes you feel good. If not, call a lawyer and sue.


24 posted on 05/14/2012 5:54:42 PM PDT by wrencher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: wrencher

I know I won’t feel safe here in Virginia until those banana trees are gone.


25 posted on 05/14/2012 6:24:09 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: AppyPappy

You should sue someone for sure.


26 posted on 05/14/2012 6:43:10 PM PDT by wrencher
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee
"...he would bring the small bananas to the senior center, sharing them with other people there."

So I guess he has to tell them...'Yes, we have no bananaaaas...'

*chortle* *snort*

27 posted on 05/14/2012 6:49:41 PM PDT by IYellAtMyTV (Je t'aime, faire du bruit comme le cochon.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

Housing Authority Director Manuel Castillo .....
Govt Thug.

Vote this used plastic trash bag out of office.


28 posted on 05/14/2012 7:00:25 PM PDT by LtKerst
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LtKerst
all appointed for life ... it's called the bubba system

.

29 posted on 05/14/2012 8:02:22 PM PDT by Elle Bee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
...you do comprehend that the man lives in a Public Housing complex, right?

Yep. I do. The clear message is that one neighbor is afraid of the dark, and one tree obscured a security camera, or at least those were the big excuses.

Can't grow food on public dirt, unless you are an approved person who is a member of an approved group in an approved inner city or something, and someone is milking the grant money.

If the guy had been selling the bananas....but no, he gave them away.

That affects international commerce and probably violated a treaty somewhere.

He's lucky they cut down the trees before the State Department nailed him.

(Sweet Jesus, when will the stupidity end?)

30 posted on 05/15/2012 10:23:02 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Smokin' Joe
Let me bottom line this for you.

The man lives in a taxpayer funded public housing apartment.
He does not get to “live free” and also make his own rules on his own property, when he is “living” on other peoples taxes, and does not own, nor can he even be said to be renting, the property in question.

Sweet Jesus does indeed weep, but perhaps not for the reasons you “feel” he should.

31 posted on 05/15/2012 8:27:07 PM PDT by sarasmom ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xZsFe6dM3EY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
You know, I'm a taxpayer, too. I really don't have a problem with someone growing food on taxpayer funded land to consume or give to other people.

Now, I understand that rules are rules and if there is to be any foliage around such publicly funded warehouses of not yet dead humanity, it must be of the useless ornamental variety, barren and devoid of any nutritional value, eye candy for the lords of those fiefs, if not the sterility of parched earth and pavement.

After all, taxpayers are paying for it!

Now, I'm going to ask you: What is the harm in allowing this man to grow bananas? He isn't doing so for profit, it lets him feel he is doing something useful. He gives them away.

Establish limits, OK. All or nothing? Scorched earth? Every day there are thousands of pages of new rules, rules devoid of any compassion or common sense, but in the name of law and order, this man's banana trees must be cut down

While those in Washington D.C. steal trillions of dollars, and our nations' future.

But hey, everyone has their part to play!

Walk a mile in his shoes and imagine your life with thumbs and stubs. Have something you CAN do. And then watch it cut away for 'the rules'.

I guess it isn't enough that the government wants to slaughter babies in the womb with our tax dollars, they want to slaughter the human spirit, too.

32 posted on 05/16/2012 1:20:18 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Elle Bee

33 posted on 05/16/2012 1:33:47 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Smokin' Joe

I refer you back to the article.

“They” tried to work with him.
It seems he was the one guilty of demanding the “all or nothing” approach.
Banana trees in a crowded complex would more correctly be called nuisance plants, rather than desirable or beneficial.

Aside from the problem of large fronds breaking off and being blown around, I wonder what kind of insects and pesky critters are attracted to banana trees. I imagine spiders, roaches, and rats are a given...can you see the harm yet?

Some rules are stupid. Some are very sensible.


34 posted on 05/16/2012 5:04:12 PM PDT by sarasmom ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xZsFe6dM3EY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
Aside from the problem of large fronds breaking off and being blown around, I wonder what kind of insects and pesky critters are attracted to banana trees. I imagine spiders, roaches, and rats are a given...can you see the harm yet?

Just regular palm trees have all these. And there are bazillions of them around. As far as rats living on bananas, there are citrus rats also and no one is talking about getting rid of all the citrus trees.
35 posted on 05/16/2012 5:08:14 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: aruanan
LOL!

So lets just make it harder than it has to be for the mans neighbors and the maintenance men, so this one man can plant a non-native mini jungle outside of his window in a public housing unit!

It has to be banana trees, right?
Can't expect the man to plant herbs or peppers in pots or anything, can we?

36 posted on 05/16/2012 5:20:29 PM PDT by sarasmom ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xZsFe6dM3EY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: sarasmom
Darned nasty foliage, anyway. Fronds, leaves, fruit, and those pesky critters (Which are attracted to garbage and quiet corners anywhere in an urban environment). Spiders, roaches, and rats are famous urban denizens--with or without banana trees.

What's done is done. We disagree about it.

37 posted on 05/17/2012 12:19:11 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson