Dec 152017

“The Jews of Key West: Smugglers, Cigar Makers, and Revolutionaries (1823-1969),” by author Arlo Haskell. Published November 15, 2017 by Sand Paper Press and distributed by Small Press Distribution. ISBN 978-0-9843312-7-7. Library of Congress Control Number 2017910065. $24.00 | 200 pages | Nonfiction/History/Jewish. “The dramatic story of South Florida’s oldest Jewish community and a major addition to the history of this unique island city.”

Review by Malcolm Robert Willison …….

Arlo Haskell, the annual Key West Literary Seminar’s executive director, has just published a fascinating work of historical reconstruction. His interestingly-organized book, well-designed and -illustrated by David Janik, covers much of the previously by-passed, almost-lost history of Key West’s Jewish population, from the town’s founding through its post-war boom.

Haskell is not a professional historian but an accomplished writer, poet, and administrator. His straightforward prose is highly readable without sacrificing careful and wide-ranging research and 14 pages of careful citation of sources. He was urged to undertake this multi-year project by Susan Ochroch Savitch, another Key Wester, who collected, and provided him with, the vast store of material she had gathered. Continue reading »

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #247, Literature, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017

by Margaret Blank…….

The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) just received a humongous windfall from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) courtesy of the taxpayers.  Since these folks are so eager to dig around in our pockets, I think it’s only fair to dig around in theirs, too.

Courtesy of, here are FKSPCA’s tax returns for 20132014 and 2015.  A while back, I took a look at their 2013 tax return as compared to SHARK and HACC, the two other animal shelter operators in the Keys at the time.  FKSPCA actually compared favorably to the other two, but that’s not saying much. SHARK was a disaster.  After being foisted upon the taxpayers by the BOCC, they collapsed after a couple of years.  The hell of it is that the BOCC bullied a competent, efficient and successful operator (SUFA) out of the way to make room for SHARK.  HACC had an astronomically high kill rate that they couldn’t even begin to get their arms around.  They literally had no idea what to do about it, and adamantly refused to consider strategies that have been used successfully elsewhere.  Sadly, that is still the case today. Continue reading »

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:59 am Issue #247 No Responses »
Dec 152017

Sheriff’s Detective Rosary Ponce is asking for the public’s assistance identifying the suspect in a vehicle burglary which took place in Marathon Tuesday night.

Deputies working night shift spotted a man riding his bike with no lights near 47th Street at 1:30 a.m. They attempted to stop him, but he dropped the bike and fled on foot. He left behind a sweatshirt. In the pockets of the sweatshirt deputies found a camera, company gas card, keys and a vehicle registration which came back to a Ford truck belonging to Keys Air Conditioning. Continue reading »

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Here Comes the Next "Defense" Shakedown

by Thomas L. Knapp……. “Today with the signing of this defense bill,” US president Donald Trump said as he affixed his signature to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on December 12, “we accelerate the process of fully restoring America’s military might.” Is Trump truly under the mistaken impression that US military might is ailing? Or is he mindlessly aping Ronald Reagan and hoping it brings in the re-election votes? Or perhaps something else entirely?

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:58 am Issue #247, Thomas L. Knapp No Responses »
Dec 152017
Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

by Thomas L. Knapp……. On December 1, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with  Sergey I. Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the United States. The charges, and Flynn’s plea, were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of “Russian meddling” in the 2016 US presidential election. Finally! Hard evidence! The Trump campaign really did work with the Russians to fix the election and deprive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton of her pre-ordained [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #247, Thomas L. Knapp 2 Responses »
Dec 152017
Getting a Head of Ourselves

by Kim Pederson……. In his story “Second Person, Present Tense” (published in the November Clarkesworld), Daryl Gregory starts with two quotations. One of these is from standup comic Emo Phillips: “I used to think the brain was the most important organ in the body, until I realized who was telling me that.” Its presence there becomes clear as you read on in the text. Briefly, narrator Terry was a girl named Therese who overdosed on Zen, a drug described as “a kind of arty, designer escape [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #247, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Dec 152017
Monroe County Emergency Management to Host A Series of Public Meetings Regarding Hurricane Irma

MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County Emergency Management will be hosting a series of six public meetings at the start of 2018 regarding Hurricane Irma. These meetings are designed to hear from you, the community. We want your feedback in what went right and what went wrong before, during and after Hurricane Irma. We also want to hear from you about what can be done better for future storms. All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Here is the schedule: Monday, Jan. 8: Murray Nelson Government [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Yard Waste

by Kirby Congdon……. Raking up the past in dead piles of withered leaves, we dance around the little sins we missed as that song of grief we sing becomes a pagan howl of rectitude to redeem whatever victories we did not win. So losers begin their lives again and watch the trash bags almost burst their straining seams as perfection’s world unfolds in listless imitations of those dust-laden dreams which younger men in their routine on garbage trucks lift on up with weightless ease.

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am ~ Column ~, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Dec 152017

Monroe County’s oldest Trauma Star – of its three-helicopter ambulance fleet – was en route to Coral Shores High School for a trauma transport when it caught fire during landing at about 7 a.m. Friday. There were no injuries. The patient on board was transported by ground ambulance to nearby Mariners Hospital, which is about a mile away. The patient was air lifted from there by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and transported to a mainland hospital. The fire caused substantial damage to the 35-year-old aircraft, which had just [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #247, News No Responses »
Dec 152017
Pruitt Refuses to Reveal His Climate Science

His Lawyers Call Lawsuit for Studies Discounting Human Role “a Trap”     Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to even search for, let alone produce, records Administrator Scott Pruitt relied upon in claiming that human activity is not a “primary contributor” to climate change, according to legal filings in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  U.S. Justice Department lawyers representing EPA contend the PEER suit is “a trap” and would require “an endless [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice 1 Response »
Dec 152017
Highlights from this Week's Monroe County Board of County Commissioners Meeting in Key Largo

KEY LARGO, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met Wednesday at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo for their last monthly meeting of 2017. Here are some of the highlights: Approved Post-Irma Workforce Housing Plan: The BOCC voted 5-0 to approve a post-Irma workforce housing plan that requests funding and support from the State of Florida. The goal is to secure land, funding and regulatory incentives to develop 300 to 400 new units of affordable and workforce housing for [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Longest Night Homeless Memorial Service

Key West Mayor Craig Cates and City Commissioners Jimmy Weekley and Sam Kaufman proclaimed Dec. 21st National Homeless Persons Memorial Day during the December City Commission meeting. For the past 18 years, the community has gathered to remember those men, women and children who have died homeless in Monroe County with this proclamation designating the longest night of the year in their honor. At 3 p.m. on December 21st, the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and Monroe County social services will coordinate a prayer service at the Key West [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:45 am Issue #247, News, Special Event No Responses »
Dec 152017
Monroe County Debris Removal Update

MONROE COUNTY HURRICANE DEBRIS CONTRACTOR BEGINS FINAL PASS ON DUCK KEY AND CONTINUES TO AGGRESSIVELY COLLECT ON COUNTY ROADS BETWEEN MM 16 and 40 MONROE COUNTY, FL – Today, Monroe County’s hurricane debris contractor DRC Environmental Services began the final pass for Duck Key, Conch Key and the City of Layton. Crews are staring on Duck Key and moving to the other areas. The delay in the final pass in these areas was due to the difficulty of securing a nearby temporary debris management site. The [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Sheriff’s Office Remembers Deputy Robin Tanner, Killed December 13, 2007

This week, the Sheriff’s Office is remembering Deputy Robin Tanner who was killed in the line of duty on December 13th, 2007. Deputy Tanner was killed at 7 a.m. in a single vehicle automobile accident as she was on her way to a medical call. She was responding to a report of a woman not breathing in the vicinity of 119th Street in Marathon. The accident took place near 90th Street. Deputy Tanner was assigned to the Marathon area as a patrol officer. She was 47 years [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Issue #247, News, Special Event No Responses »
Dec 152017
Elevating Your Home: What You Need to Know and Do

If you are a Florida homeowner rebuilding after Hurricane Irma you may have to elevate your home to meet community floodplain management regulations. Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) require all homes being substantially improved, or homes that have sustained substantial damage, to be built or elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Substantial Improvement is a term used by NFIP and refers to the reconstruction or improvement of a structure that has been substantially damaged. Substantial damage is also a term [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:35 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Those Receiving FEMA housing Assistance Must Show Long-Term Housing Plan Progress

If you are a Hurricane Irma survivor who has been placed in a FEMA-provided housing unit, you will need to show progress toward your long-term housing plan in order to maintain eligibility. To continue receiving assistance, you are required to search for long-term housing options. You can show long-term housing plan progress if you: Decide whether to repair or rebuild your pre-disaster home, find and purchase a new residence, or find and lease an available rental unit; Provide evidence of progress—such as invoices for repairs, [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Monroe County Fire Rescue Receives New Crash Truck at Key West International Airport

Monroe County Fire Rescue welcomed a new addition at its Key West International Airport fire station on Wednesday night: a 2017 Oshkosh Striker crash truck. The new fire truck can hold 1,500 gallons of water and 500 pounds of dry chemical. It is specifically designed to fight aircraft blazes that need dry chemicals to put out metal and petroleum fires. The new truck also meets current Federal Aviation Administration and National Fire Protection Association standards for a crash truck to protect an airport the size of Key [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Save the Date - 2018 McKEE FINE ART AUCTION

The Board of Directors of the Anne McKee Artists Fund, Inc. announces the date of Friday, February 9, 2018 for their annual fine art auction.  The auction will again take place at The Studios of Key West.  Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. and the auction, led by Tom Luna, will begin at 8:00 p.m.  Champagne and desserts will be included in the $25 ticket price and there will also be a cash bar.  VIP seating is available for $50.  The auction preview will be from January 26th until [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:30 am Art, Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Key West Art & Historical Society Hosts Holiday Concert & Bazaar at Custom House Museum

Get into the holiday spirit at Key West Art & Historical Society’s Holiday Concert & Bazaar on Thursday, December 21st from 5PM to 9PM, located on the sweeping historic porch and promenade of the Custom House Museum.  The celebration will feature Key West’s finest artisans, musicians and choirs, along with a spectacular holiday light show presented by Key West High School’s ‘Conch 5 Studios’ students, with proceeds to benefit the Bahama Village Music Program & Society educational programs. Visitors can browse hundreds of unique gift options at this signature [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Master Chefs Classic to Blend Cuisine Competition and Key West Flavor

Awards and prizes await winning Florida Keys culinary artists at the annual Master Chefs Classic, but the real winners are the event attendees who sample and savor the dishes presented for judges’ consideration. A Key West tradition for food fanciers, the 2018 cuisine competition is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, on the harborside pier at the Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, 245 Front St. The elegant feast for the senses typically draws chefs from leading Florida Keys restaurants, who vie for first-, second- [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
PAL Offers Holiday Camp for Your Kids!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the Key West Police Athletic League (PAL) is offering a fun and reliable place to bring your kids during the holiday break. The PAL holiday camp runs from December 26th to the 29th  and January 2nd to the 5th. The cost is $110 per child per week. The kids will participate in games, crafts, fun activities and field trips. Camp runs daily from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. There will be no camp on Christmas and New Year’s Days. [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:24 am Issue #247, News, Special Event No Responses »
Dec 152017
There’s Trouble in Paradise

When a scurrying horde of giant Gambian rats threaten to bring chaos to the easy living, fun-loving Conch nation, who will step forward to save the day? A lightning-zapped veterinarian now trying his hand as a street-fair fortune teller. A Scottish monk whose ambition is to rehab the rats, and ship them off to South America where they can selflessly serve humanity by sniffing out landmines and disease? A pampered runaway Hemingway house cat who teams up with an aspirational Gambian rodent seeking a greater [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:23 am Issue #247, Literature, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Honors Longtime Advisory Council Members

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary honored two longtime members of its Advisory Council at its December meeting. Martin “Skip” Moe, of Islamorada, and David Hawtof, of Key West, served for more than a decade offering advice and recommendations on managing the sanctuary. Superintendent Sarah Fangman and Sanctuary Advisory Council chairman Bruce Popham recognized them with a plaque and a standing ovation. Serving in a voluntary capacity, council members represent a variety of local user groups, as well as the general public. Moe represented education and [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:22 am Issue #247, News, Special Event No Responses »
Dec 152017
Beware of Scammers

The Key West Police Department is warning the community to be wary of a recurring scam in which a caller is identifying himself as a law enforcement officer and directing his victim to pay alleged court costs or fines. On November 30th, the most recent victim was contacted several times by a man identifying himself as a deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The caller told his victim she owed several thousand dollars in court costs, and told her the only way to settle [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:20 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
The Skinnydippers Upcoming Appearances

Key West Bite, 920 Caroline Street, Key West The Skinny Dippers Saturday 12/23   7-9 The Skinny Dippers are a bunch of loons, who believe in the magic of music, who believe that music is meant to be enjoyed for the way it can move the hearts, spirits, and thoughts of those who hear it – not just sell drinks and food. The fun they have performing transfers to the audience, and a good time is had by all. Unusual instrumentation including mandolin, ukulele, and dulcimer, even [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:18 am Issue #247, Music, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Free Parking and Bus during Christmas Holiday

The City of Key West will offer free parking at the Grinnell Street Park N Ride on December 23, 24, and 25th as well as free bus service on December 23rd and 24th. There will be no bus service on Christmas Day to allow our drivers to be home with their families. On December 23rd and 24th, the free Duval Loop will run from the free parking at the Park N Ride so that everyone can access downtown stores and restaurants.

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:16 am Issue #247, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017
Annual Key West Dachshund Walk is Sunday, December 31

On December 31st Dachshund’s, Dachshund impersonators, and their human companions will parade through downtown streets lined with adoring fans during the annual Key West Dachshund Walk. People and pets are invited to gather Sunday at noon at the corner of Fleming and Whitehead Streets before undertaking a three-block journey which will proceed down Fleming Street to Duval Street to Appelrouth Lane and back to Whitehead Street. Registration is not required. Costumes are encouraged, as are donations of dog and cat food for the Community Pet Pantry. The annual [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:16 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Big Pine & Lower Keys Nautical Expo to Offer Maritime Merchandise Jan. 13-14

BIG PINE KEY, Florida Keys — Attention, water enthusiasts: boats, motors and nautical items galore are to be available at the 14th annual Big Pine & Lower Keys Nautical Expo. A popular annual “pop-up” outfitter of supplies for a wide variety of water activities, the open-air market is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13-14. The bargain-lover’s event typically features merchandise for sailors and boaters, anglers, kayakers, fans of the Florida Keys’ underwater realm and others who enjoy experiencing the island chain’s unique seafaring environment. [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:12 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Key West NOW Events

Key West NOW is holding a #MeToo event on Tuesday, December 19th at at the Elks Club on Whitehead Street at 6pm. #MeTooKeyWest offers women the opportunity to share their stories of sexual harassment  anonymously, without the fear of retaliation, and listen to others’ local experiences as well. Anyone may just show up (participation is free) to contribute or listen. Also, women are invited to send their anonymous sexual harassment stories to Key West NOW will print out the stories, protecting anonymity, and display them for others to read. [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:10 am Issue #247, News, Special Event No Responses »
Dec 152017
“Sugar Rum Cherry: A Burlesque Nutcracker,” Kicks Off at Key West Theater on Thursday, Runs for Three Nights Only

Key West Burlesque performers Scarlett Jai, Ooh La La, Rouge La La and Miss Zurima rehearse a scene on Tuesday night in which they portray a bevy of dazzling Dancing Daiquiris (Waltz of the Flowers in the original Nutcracker) for the production of “Sugar Rum Cherry: A Burlesque Nutcracker” which runs Thursday, December 14 through Saturday, December 16 at Key West Theater. “Sugar Rum Cherry: A Burlesque Nutcracker,” is for adult audiences and is one of many festive and colorful events taking place during the city-wide Key West Holiday Fest [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:08 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
OIRF Home Tour December 27th & 28th

December 27th & 28th, 2017, 3pm – 7pm SURPRISE PACKAGES GREAT AND SMALL Key West houses – from shotguns to mansions – are like holiday gifts:  delights can be found in packages of any size, shape or wrappings.  The Old Island Restoration Foundation presents five homes that are fine examples of surprises inside.  They are offered as the premier for the Home Tours’ 58th season. The tour is scheduled for Wednesday & Thursday, December 27 and 28, from 3pm to 7pm.  Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 on tour days.  For credit [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:06 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Savor Local Seafood and Salute Commercial Fishermen at Key West Festival

Attendees at the 13th annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13-14, can celebrate the region’s world-renowned fresh seafood and the commercial fishermen who devote their careers to harvesting it. Presented by the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, the family-friendly community feast is set for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Key West’s Bayview Park, located at Truman Avenue and Jose Marti Drive. The savory seafood menu features fresh grilled Florida spiny lobster, “pick and peel” Key West pink shrimp, stone crab claws, [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:02 am Issue #247, Special Events, What To Do No Responses »
Dec 152017
Celebrity Artist Adam Scott Rote to Appear at Exhibition

December 21 through December 24, 2017 and Meet the Artist 11am – 2pm and 7pm – 11pm Daily During the Shows Stella Stevens calls him a Pop Culture Icon. Debbie Reynolds says Adam is truly gifted with an eye for composition and imagination. Angie Dickinson called him her “Warhol.” Al Pacino stated, upon signing his Scarface painting, that it was the best he had ever seen. Adam has worked with Academy award winners Martin Landau, Ernest Borgnine, Al Pacino, Joan Fontaine, Patricia Neal, and Goldie Hawn. Along with screen legends Jerry Lewis, [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 am Art, Issue #247, What To Do No Responses »