Arnaud and Naja Girard, owners and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.

arnaud and naja

Arnaud and Naja Girard

You may contact The Blue Paper at: or call (305) 304-6882

The Blue Paper is proud to have teamed-up with:

Dennis Reeves Cooper with Bill O'Reilly in 2001

Dennis Reeves Cooper with Bill O’Reilly in 2001

Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D: IN THE PHOTO: DENNIS REEVES COOPER PH.D AND BILL O’REILLY. Dr. Cooper founded Key West The Newspaper in 1994 and published the paper for 18 years, until he retired in 2012. In 2001, Key West Police Chief Buz Dillon had Cooper arrested and jailed, alleging that Cooper had violated an obscure state gag law when writing about a police investigation. The journalist-arrested story hit the national news and Bill O’reilly called and invited Cooper to appear on his show on Fox News. Dillon was also invited to appear, but refused the invitation. O’Reilly suggested that Dillon was “hiding under his desk.” The ACLU also called and offered to sue the City of Key West on Cooper’s behalf. Subsequently, the gag law was declared unconstitutional and the City settled out of court for $240,000. Also, the arrest was a factor in the creation of an independent police oversight board– the Citizen Review Board (CRB)– by Key West voters in November 2002. By that time, Buz Dillon had been unceremoniously fired.

Dr. Huggins

Dr. Martha K. Huggins

Tulane Professor Emerita and scholar of Brazil, Martha Huggins has researched police violations of human rights in Brazil for 40 years. Huggins is now transforming that work to the US, where she is studying municipal government and the insurance industries’ direct complicity in promoting, covering up, and hence rewarding police violence.

margaret blank headshot

Margaret Blank is the former General Manager of the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District. Read more about Margaret, her experience, her research, her opinions on sewering the Keys and more in her blog: therealpoop.

Dr. Larry Murray

Dr. Larry Murray

A former 60’s hippie with a strong belief in capitalism, Dr. Larry Murray obtained his Ph.D. in American History in 1970 and went on to, in his own words, ‘publish and perish,’ teaching at colleges and universities while publishing in professional journals. Now Dr. Murray is a tireless community activist, focusing primarily on the administration of the public schools in Monroe County. Hands down, Larry has made more public records requests to the school district than anyone else – ever – something he describes as “the equivalent of pulling teeth” or, as some have put it, “herding cats”. Pushing for the best schools possible, he pokes and prods, urging the School District, as often as not, to simply follow its own rules and regulations, not do something unique and different.

Kim Pederson

Kim Pederson has been a freelance writer and editor since 1996. Prior to that, he was Senior Editor with Charles River Associates, an international economics consulting firm. Kim earned a B.A. in English (Honors) from the University of Montana and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. His plays have won awards and been produced in Seattle and other locations; his screenplays have won awards and been optioned, and he has done work-for-hire scripts for film production companies. Kim lives in Key West with his wife Kalo and two Maine coon cats, VeuDeu and Pazuzu.

First Key West Poet Laureate Kirby Congdon

First Key West Poet Laureate Kirby Congdon

Kirby Congdon found his calling in the time of the Beat Movement, his poems being published by the New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor as well as countless small-press outlets. While influenced by the assertive stance of a new generation in literature, he preferred to set aside the spontaneous approach of his friends and use his work as an exploratory tool in establishing the new identity of his times as well as that of his own maturation. This search was incorporated in 300 works which were compiled in a bibliography by a Dean of the English Department at Long Island University in his retirement and made available in hard-back with an extensive addenda by the literary activists of Presa Press through their skills achieved from the University of Michigan and their own experience which commands a movement in itself of contemporary literary action. Congdon’s work in poetry covers innumerable treatments of countless subjects in single poems, long treatments on a subject, and many collections of both serious thought and imagination through not only the poetry but through essays, plays and ruminations. Named the first poet laureate of Key West, he received a standing ovation for his reading honoring this position and was the featured poet in a festival celebrating Frank O’Hara in the New York region. He was also asked to read his work as well as give a talk on the country’s national poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, at a seminar honoring that man. Currently, Congdon is working on an autobiography and a collection of complete poems.

Alex Symington

Alex Symington

Alex lives with his wife, Anna in Key West, Florida. He enjoys writing poetry and prose and making the complacent uncomfortable.

Jerome Grapel

Jerome Grapel

“I was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1945 and raised in the New York City area in what could be called a vintage middle class upbringing. I attended Temple University in Philadelphia where I played baseball and graduated with a B.A. in history in 1967. With a noticeable lack of vocation for anything, and not knowing what else to do, I continued at Temple Law School, graduating in 1970.

After a short stint at a small law firm, my courtship with the American Dream ended unsuccessfully. In 1972, a friend from college introduced me to Key West, the perfect antidote for cultural misfits like myself. I’ve lived there ever since, working a multitude of inconsequential jobs, none of which had to be taken home with me. For the last 30 years I’ve been driving a taxi, a job which gave me the flexibility to travel extensively. Without a “career” to encumber much of my life, I began writing in my spare time. I found out this is what I want to do.

I’ve been married 2 times but have grown accustomed to living alone over the last 20 years or so. It is also relevant to note that for much of that time I have spent 2 months of the year on the Spanish island of Formentera.”


John Donnelly

John Donnelly, a resident of Key Largo was born, raised and went to high school in the South Bronx. Upon graduation he was awarded several scholarships to college.  He chose to enlist in the United Sates Marine Corps. While serving in Vietnam John was wounded in action. He received two meritorious promotions, one during combat. Upon discharge and return to America, John had a difficult time transitioning back into civilian life. He found himself homeless for the next 4 years. As he worked out some troublesome concerns, he began to yearn to make some sense of his experiences via education. He sought and received his GI Bill benefits. He applied and was admitted to New York University. He later transfered to the University of Miami where he graduated on the President’s Honor Roll. John secured a teaching position at a Maximum Security Prison Facility for criminally insane adolescents. While working there he earned a Master of Science degree from Florida International University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude.

John spent the next 20 years teaching elementary and high school students, while doing some coaching and instructing as an adjunct college professor. John was the recipient of the Mayor Stephen P. Clark award, which recognized him as an “Outstanding Educator”. During this time he continued his work clothing, feeding and counseling the homeless. John has been acknowledged by the Disabled American Veterans, the Miami Vet Center and the Veterans Council of Monroe County for his efforts on behalf of homeless and addicted veterans.

Recently, John was privileged to spearhead the successful release of a wrongfully accused inmate who faced 3 life sentences, without the possibility of parole, for crimes that he did not commit. This young man has since been returned to his twin sons and graduated with honors from one of our nation’s premier vocational colleges. John continues to research and write on issues facing our ‘One Human Family’.

Rick Boettger

Rick Boettger

Rick Boettger had a Top Secret security clearance in the Army and studied nuclear chemistry at MIT and law at Yale before getting a PhD in business at Berkeley. He earned tenure as a business professor at TCU in Fort Worth before going to Moscow as a Fulbright Professor, writing a book on the economy, hosting a semi-national talk radio show, and retiring to Key West in 1996 at the age of 48.  Since then he has worked part-time as a tax and financial advisor, and has been doing investigative journalism since he began at the Blue Paper in 2007. He is very happily married to his superb copy-editor Cynthia Edwards, the former long-time PIO for the Key West Police Department.

MIchael Welber

Michael Welber

Michael Welber  has lived in Marathon for 16 years and has long experience as a writer and media producer. Most recently he helped establish and was the first editor of Keys Sunday, a publication of the Keynoter. He has also been active in environmental issues in the Keys, forming and chairing the City of Marathon Green Team and creating and editing GLEE’s monthly newsletter.

JD Adler

JD Adler

Born in Easton, Pennsylvania, JD Adler has traveled America extensively, visiting and/or living in 38 US states. In between earning degrees in English Literature and Publication Management, he has published five books, written and developed a TV pilot, several short stories and numerous blog fiction serials. As a freelance journalist, JD has covered national politics, green business, and criminal trials.

JD originally visited Key West in the early 90’s, during his first of five cross country trips at the age of 19. Fourteen years after returning home to Pennsylvania in 2000 to earn his graduate degree, he decided he had enough of Northeastern weather and attitude, and set out for the sun, sea and pleasantness he remembered from America’s southern most latitude. As the newest member of the Blue Paper, he looks forward to bringing his various experiences together to tell the stories of this beautiful community.

To view JD’s published books go to Amazon.

To view JD’s personal blog go to

GREEN Reactor

David Lybrand is a Keys regular since the mid-80s, homeowner since the 90s, full-time resident since near the beginning of the century.  David has written for most all of the local papers on any number of topics, but now only speaks GREEN.

His stints on the boards  of Last Stand  and the Bahama Conch Community Land Trust, on Key West’s Sustainability Advisory Board and on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Sustainable Tourism have expanded his perspectives on all sides of local GREEN issues.  Contact him through About.Me/DavidLybrand .

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