by Naja Girard……. The cloud over the new Oceanside Marina hotel is getting darker. For months questions have been lingering about the appearance of a luxury 175-room hotel on Stock Island when only 17 hotel building rights (called “transient rogos”) were on file for the project (instead of 175). Well, things just got worse. There is good reason, this week, to question whether 12 of those lone 17 transient Rogos even existed or whether they were created out of thin air using false documents. It is [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s Detective Rosa DiGiovanni is looking for help from the public to identify two female suspects in a credit card fraud case she is investigating. The victim reported the theft of her credit card on December 22nd. It had been taken from her purse, where she kept it behind the counter at the store where she works in Marathon. The card was subsequently used to make six different purchases for a total of $2,055 before the fraud was spotted and the card was cancelled.
Feeding the Cats by Malcolm Robert Willison –again! I fed them an hour ago at 3 a.m. And why not now? They like to think they’re special and that we love them. They complain to us midnight and midday just I suppose to have something to say: the little one at 5 a.m. twittering in his throat or running across our sleeping faces. Then the big one comes and chews on my poems –flung pillows make not much difference to him or the poems. But [continue reading…]
Editorial by Naja Girard……. For the past 2 weeks The Blue Paper has been reporting on the controversial new hotel that just opened at Oceanside Marina on Stock Island. “Have you seen this article?” asked Commissioner Heather Carruthers in an email to the Planning Director, Mayte Santamaria, “Are the premises correct? Have we been hoodwinked? Or do they not have all the information? I think this warrants a response.” This week Ms. Santamaria, produced a 22-page document. It provides little direct analysis but is, rather, [continue reading…]
Lower Florida Keys Hospital District Board Chairman, James Padget, has shared the response to his December 15th letter to Community Health Systems Chief Executive Officer Wayne Smith. In his letter, Padget asked whether CHS would consider amending its agreement to allow the District more control over operations or possibly breaking its 30-year lease early. Extending the contract period was also mentioned in the Chairman’s letter.
The second major head-on collision in two days at the 16 mile mark on Highway U.S. One involved a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy who, after crawling out of his overturned patrol car, without missing a beat, ran over to assist passengers in the two other vehicles involved. Deputy Daniel Hill reported that he was northbound at 12:30 a.m., returning to his Marathon duty post after transporting a prisoner from Marathon to the Stock Island Detention Center. He said he saw an oncoming vehicle pull into his [continue reading…]
by Naja Girard……. Circuit Judge Bonnie Helms disqualified herself last Friday, without explanation, from a case she had ordered dismissed just 2 days earlier. The case, a petition for declaratory judgment, was brought by Louise Delaney and Gail Kulikowsky, two Big Pine Key area property owners who are challenging Monroe County and FKAA over the agencies’ insistence that they sign over an easement for a portion of their yards and provide an expensive high-powered electrical connection so an onsite grinder sewage pump system can be installed [continue reading…]
CISRERP Releases Biennial Review on Progress of Everglades Restoration Palmetto Bay, Fla. – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP), a non-governmental body charged with providing Congress with independent and objective scientific information, this week released its sixth biennial review on the progress of Everglades restoration. The 2016 findings underscored declarations by more than 200 scientists that critical water storage outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is falling far behind what is [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s Detective Leon Bourcier is asking for the public’s help identifying a suspect who stole a Honda motorcycle from a Marathon residence. The 2013 Honda 250 CRF was taken from a home on Sombrero Boulevard just after midnight on November 28th. The owner told Deputy Matthew Cory he went to bed on the 27th, there were two matching motorcycles parked next to each other in the driveway. When he woke the next morning, one was gone. A neighbor was able to produce surveillance video of [continue reading…]
On World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, at 4:30 PM please join the Friends of the AIDS Memorial, city and county officials and Key West residents and friends in front of the New City Hall (formerly the Glynn Archer School) on White Street. There will be a short candlelight march to the only official AIDS Memorial in the United States at the Edward B. Knight Pier. The World AIDS Day theme this year is: “Leadership, Commitment, Impact.” Backed by the United Nations the campaign runs [continue reading…]
On Saturday, November 19 from 7 am to 1 pm, volunteers will organize to help clean and spruce the streets and shorelines of Stock Island. This is a joint effort between I Love Stock Island, Inc, a new non-profit initiative, and the County, City, Waste Management and local businesses, neighborhoods and area civic and church groups. Volunteers will meet at 7 am for check-in and instructions at either the Key West Botanical Gardens for land based or Hurricane Hole Marina for shoreline. Volunteers will be [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s detectives say they need help from the public identifying the suspect in an attempted robbery at the Dion’s convenience store on Big Coppitt Key this afternoon. At about 5 p.m. today the young man entered Dion’s and demanded the clerk give him money from the store register. She said he reached toward the waistband of his shorts as if he had a weapon. The clerk was assisting a customer at the time and told the young man to wait while she finished giving the [continue reading…]
SWC, a local engineering, planning and environmental science firm, has created an official dive program that has received certification by the American Association of Underwater Scientists (AAUS). “This has been a long-term commitment of SWC, to develop a program that addresses diver safety during work activities that meets federal OSHA standards and addresses requirements of many federal and State agencies,” said Sandy Walters, SWC president. “We worked together with Florida Keys Community College to certify our Dive Safety Officer Shawn Martin as an AAUS [continue reading…]
FLORIDA KEYS – If your child was choking, would you know what to do? If your baby stopped breathing, do you know how to respond? The Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition invites all parents and caregivers to attend a CPR class in Key Largo or Key West to learn invaluable life-saving skills. The class will cover infant/child CPR, choking prevention, poison control, shaken baby prevention, and basic first aid. Participants will Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference to take home. To keep costs affordable, it is [continue reading…]
A stellar group of Realtors® pitched in to help paint the parsonage of Bethel AME Church for the Annual Key West Association of Realtors® Volunteer Day with Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Florida Keys last week. Leigh Ann Roach with Preferred Properties even brought husband Tom along to help out. Leigh Ann said “Working with Habitat for Humanity just makes a person feel good about the community we all share. It’s definitely time well spent.” In addition to building affordable homes, Habitat assists [continue reading…]
MONROE COUNTY – The Florida Keys National Weather Service forecasts the Upper Keys likely will have tropical storm force winds (sustained winds of 39 mph or greater) on Thursday. The highest winds are expected between noon and 6 p.m. There also could be some coastal and local flooding, as well as heavy rainfall. To ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and the public, Monroe County is taking these protective actions for Thursday:
by Kirby Congdon……. My lover and partner of forty-three years was different than any of my other friends. I was asked, “How did you handle it between yourselves? What kind of discussions did you have to resolve this distinction that was so public?” My partner and I replied with words to the effect that if your lover had been born with an excess of psoriasis that gave his face a visible proof of acne, was that something we had to resolve to make ourselves, as [continue reading…]
A Sheriff’s detective is asking for the public’s help identifying two young burglary suspects from an incident in August. The suspects stole two cases of beer and a pack of cigarettes from a home on Kingbird Lane, Big Coppitt Key. The homeowner contacted the Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of August 15th. He told Deputy Shawn Steele he had captured the burglary on video. He said he reviewed his surveillance video after discovering an 18 pack of bottled Budweiser Select 55 beer, a 24 pack [continue reading…]
A Louisiana man died while diving in the Dry Tortugas Saturday. 67 year old Paul Wimberly of Natchitoches, Louisiana was in the Dry Tortugas snorkeling from the commercial vessel Playmate, operated by Sea-Clusive Charters. Wimberly’s dive partner said it appeared Wimberly panicked while underwater. She said he grabbed her and pulled her to the bottom with him. She was able to shed her dive equipment and do an emergency ascension to the surface.
With the recent rainfall on Big Pine Key, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prepared to apply prescribed fire in three locations within the National Key Deer Refuge at the end of this week or this weekend (September 1-3, 2016). When weather conditions are within the fire plan know as a “prescription”, crews are able to safely and effectively apply prescribed fire in the Refuge. The interagency team is closely monitoring weather conditions at this time, preparing for the appropriate window for fire [continue reading…]
United Airlines will begin seasonal service at Key West International Airport, with flights to and from the airline’s gateway hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Beginning Dec. 16, 2016 and running through May 4, 2017, United will be the only carrier to offer daily nonstop service between the New York area and Key West. United’s Newark (EWR) is its largest hub operation in the New York City area and offers customers convenient connections throughout the Northeast and Midwest. From [continue reading…]
Are your closets overflowing with unused children’s clothes and other items? Now is the time to clean out your closets and make some extra cash, or donate your items to support a local non-profit! The Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition is holding their annual Tot Swap Consignment Sale, to be held in Key West September 13-18. The sale will be held next to the Key West K-mart and is open to the public. Everyone is welcome to shop. Accepted consignment sale items include new or [continue reading…]
Dear Editor: This is in regards to the toxic sludge that’s heading our way. Many on the west coast are determined to send it south but that’s not the answer. The Everglades is choked out due to development and can’t handle it and the way they rerouted the flow of water doesn’t allow it like it did in the past. So what to do? After contacting the Corps of Engineers at each lock thru the water ways that come from Lake O to Ft Myers I learned [continue reading…]
The Monroe County Marathon Courthouse is a little more colorful with the recent installation of an eye-catching turquoise bench and sky blue loveseat created by California artist Colin Selig. He makes them from an unlikely source: salvage propane tanks once used to heat homes. His functional sculptures are part of the County’s 1% Art in Public Places program. “These benches create a lovely, quiet space for people who visit and work at the Courthouse,” said Elizabeth Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s detectives are hoping to help locate a Marathon man whose family and friends say they have not seen nor heard from him since June 16th. 48 year old Paul Thomas Murray, who lives on a boat in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, told family members he was going to help a friend move a sailboat from Robbie’s Marina on Stock Island to Boot Key Harbor on June 16th. A short time after that, the sailboat he was supposed to help move, called the “Hornet” [continue reading…]
#1 Relay for Life Team Castaways Against Cancer Set Off on 17th Annual Kayaking Trip with the Support of U.S. Century The Castaways Against Cancer, a Relay for Life team ranked 1st in Florida, launched on their 17h Annual kayaking journey, dubbed the “Proof of Life” tour from Virginia Key in Miami, FL on Saturday, June 11. Paddling the equivalent of a marathon a day, the Castaways will paddle a total of 160 miles as a fundraiser supporting the American Cancer Society (ASC) and are [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office began using body worn cameras on Monday. Most uniformed deputies will be required to wear the cameras as a routine part of their uniform. All members who will be using the cameras completed their training last week. The Sheriff’s policy requires they be worn by road patrol deputies and sergeants, school resource deputies, civil deputies, traffic deputies, airport deputies and sergeants and detectives when they are in uniform. Detectives may also wear them when in plain clothes.
A fight between neighbors this morning [Sunday, June 12] led to the arrest of a Key Largo man for aggravated battery and burglary. The victims, two men aged 52 and 20, told Deputy Gil Gonzalez they were hanging out at the home on Oakwood Avenue at 5 a.m. when a woman who lives nearby knocked on the door. They invited her inside. The 20 year old victim told Deputy Gonzalez they knew the woman. He said she had come to the house before when [continue reading…]
The video and photos show a man detectives want to talk to about the theft of a pair of Pelagic brand sunglasses from Bud and Mary’s Outfitters Store in Islamorada on the afternoon of May 31st. The sunglasses are valued at $296. Anyone who recognizes him and can help detectives to identify him should contact Deputy Caridad Bellon at 305-664-6480 or Detective Sgt. Mark Coleman at 305-853-3211.
Detectives in the Upper Keys are investigating three reports involving hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms. In all three incidents, miniature cameras hidden in coat hooks were found mounted on the walls in the women’s restrooms. They were found at Anne’s Beach on May 26th, the Circle K Store at the 99.8 mile marker of Highway U.S. One on May 28th and in the women’s bathroom at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier today [May 31st].
CRIME REPORT: An alert merchant in Key Largo quickly called the Sheriff’s Office after a Hialeah man attempted to use multiple fraudulent credit cards in his store to purchase high end merchandise. That call led to the arrest of the man who is now in jail on 60 felony counts related to the fraud. The manager of West Marine in Key Largo said 41 year old Rogelio Rodriguez walked into the store at about noon and asked to see one of the most expensive models [continue reading…]
KEY LARGO – Rowell’s Waterfront Park – at mile marker 104.5 on the Overseas Highway in Key Largo – opens Saturday morning, becoming the County’s 20th park. The 8-acre, kid- and dog-friendly park along Florida Bay has picnic tables, benches, a place to swim (at your own risk) and a launch for kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards. It will be open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to sunset. Admission is free. The property was purchased in December 2013 for $5 million. Since then, [continue reading…]
After having personally signed off on Monique Acevedo’s purchasing card expenditures [which led to the $413,000 School District embezzlement case in 2009] Mike Henriquez was again at the center of a “where has the money gone” scandal last year for setting up an accounting system for the HOB day care program that was so loose that nearly $22,000 couldn’t be accounted for. SEE RELATED: HOB DAY CARE SCANDAL: The Making of a Thief? A first year employee was fired. But Mike Henriquez was merely reprimanded. His [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office had two more different types of scams reported Tuesday and would like to make everyone aware so they do not fall victim to these fraudsters. An Islamorada woman called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night to report being scammed by someone she believed worked for a legitimate loan company. The 60 year old victim said she was trying to obtain a loan from a company called “Easy Loans”. She said a representative called and agreed to give her a $3,000 loan. He told [continue reading…]
Wednesday May 4, 2016: Commercial vessel allegedly discharging gunfire at another vessel 40 miles west of Key West, Florida. Reporting vessel is running for safety at top speed. Coast Guard orders all unnecessary personnel on reporting vessel below deck… The incident reportedly began when a recreational dive boat drove through a commercial fisherman’s chum slick while southwest of the Marquesas Keys. Update [from U.S. Coast Guard Miami]: The Coast Guard responded to a report of the discharge of a firearm southwest of Marquesas Key, Florida, on [continue reading…]