Apr 082016
 
Affordable Rental Nightmare

by Cindy Cody……. I have just realized that I never need to go to Disneyland ever again. If you want the wildest ride in your life do what I just did. I listed a nice clean 2-bedroom mobile home with a big yard cheap on Craig’s List. That’s when it started. I am looking for a long-term renter that takes care of the yard and let’s me know if something needs fixing. It’s 24 hours later and I am tearing out my hair on the [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
 
An Important Note Re: Fantasy Fest 2016

Mr. Robbins, Mayor and Commissioners, My name is Brian Kelly. I have lived in Key West full-time since late 2003. I would like to throw my two cents in on this subject. Every few years, I attend the Fantasy Fest parade, culminating the end of the largest invasion of my town. I am not offended by the raucous parties nor the varying degrees of dress, or more appropriately, undress. I am grossed out, however, by the grandmas and grandpas that manage to lose their inhibitions, [continue reading…]

 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 8:12 am Island Voices, Issue #161, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Apr 012016
 
Key West’s 1985 “Bubba Bust” / The Back Story: So Much Worse Than You Think

by Frank Brownell……. Every time I read a story that references the “Bubba Bust” trial of Deputy Police Chief Raymond Casamayor and his fellow defendants, I boil over with outrage. I was the reporter for the Key West Citizen who covered both of the trials in U.S. District Court in 1985 that resulted from the federal indictment handed down in 1984. The reason why I get so worked up about this is because I sat through four months of testimony listening to how the federal [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices, Issue #160 2 Responses »
Apr 012016
 
GUEST EDITORIAL: Let’s Keep the Park a Park and Not Build a Big Development Project

by Ben Volpian……. As an Advisory Board member of the Truman Waterfront Park, but commenting here strictly as a private citizen, I would like to make a comparison between my Park Plan and two other plans – the Truman Waterfront Master Plan and a Conceptual Plan that was recently released to the public. First, my Park Plan: I have preserved a great deal of open space while still taking under consideration the need and/or the stated REQUIREMENT of having revenue producing features. Two open spaces [continue reading…]

Apr 012016
 
Homeless Medical Log Date, 1 April 2016 (I wish This Were an April Fools Joke, But it’s Not)

FIRST DO NO HARM by Sloan Bashinsky……. Sitting in the waiting room shortly before my homeless lady Kari’s surgery yesterday morning, at Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island, I closed my eyes like I might journey in other realms, and immediately was overwhelmed with huge emotion, love and silent love tears, filling the entire hospital, it felt like to me – how I feel about Kari. Then, she was wheeled out of the surgery prep room on a gurney. I leaned down and kissed [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:32 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices 1 Response »
Mar 182016
 
Dummies Guide to Vacation Rentals – by ‘B. Vigilant’

‘How to convert a marina into a vacation rental resort in 7 easy steps’ Step 1 – Find a full service marina that for over three decades has provided local fisherman and visitors with services such as: A tackle shop with tackle and fishing gear, bait, food and drinks, A docking station with diesel, and non-ethanol fuel, A boat launching ramp and storage area for vehicles and trailers, Forklift services and dry rack storage for boats (optional), Inboard diesel and outboard engine mechanic shops on [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am * Featured Story *, Island Voices, Issue #158 3 Responses »
Mar 182016
 
Harry Bethel Puts Local Hospital on the Hot Seat...

An Open Letter to the Lower Keys Hospital District Board and To all Elected State, County, City and Public Agency Officials. Dear Mr. Levin and District Board Members, I am a Conch and a resident of Key West. I have served on the boards of many Keys Institutions and have served as a Key West City Commissioner. There are 4 generations of Bethels living in Key West as I write this letter. By virtue of my standing in the community I come into contact with [continue reading…]

Mar 182016
 
When Cowardice is Courage

by Ray Jason……. Some fictional philosophy… Dearest Sister, It happened on the fifth midnight raid. It was on that mission that I “snapped.” But that is definitely the wrong word. Because what truly happened is that I finally “saw.” My vision came into focus so suddenly and shockingly that it reminded me of lightning at night – instantly the flash reveals a startling landscape that only moments before had been stormy darkness. But what suddenly came into view with brilliant luminosity was not “things” but [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Island Voices, Issue #158 No Responses »
Mar 182016
 
Volunteers Needed for Taste of Key West 2016

The April 18th ‘Taste of Key West 2016’, to benefit AIDS Help, is seeking volunteers for a variety of positions, according to Executive Director Scott Pridgen. “Staging ‘Taste of Key West’ would be unthinkable without our corps of volunteers, who man sales and information booths, direct a seamless flow of hungry, thirsty patrons and even drop by food booths to see if they need anything,” says Pridgen. “In a town where second jobs are common and free time precious, the greatest gift you can offer [continue reading…]

 March 18, 2016  Posted by at 12:17 am Dining, Island Voices, Issue #158, What To Do No Responses »
Mar 112016
 
Commissioner Romero Shares More Information about Peary Court Property

by City Commissioner Margaret Romero……. This note is to update you on recent information I obtained after meetings with Management teams at Keys Energy and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority regarding Peary Court and the City’s possible exposures and unknown costs. KEYS ENERGY Easement for transmission poles along Palm Ave which sit inside the Peary Court perimeter have yet to be transferred from the current owners to Keys Energy. o   KEYS has an agreement for the owners to do this – but the owners have yet [continue reading…]

 March 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:39 am Island Voices, Issue #157 2 Responses »
Mar 112016
 
PEARY COURT: It's Just Another Development

by Harry Powell, It’s just another development for Pete’s sake, so nothing special or what we really need. It’s not a “good deal. ” Commissioner Romero is correct. The resolution earmarking “profits to an affordable housing trust fund” is clearly a marketing ploy to convince the voters that “this is a good deal.” Some City officials are asking us to worship this sacred cow of Peary Court “in the name of affordable housing.” It’s not what we need to buy. There is likely going to [continue reading…]

Mar 112016
 

In 1946 the historic building first served as the winter White House of President Harry S. Truman and a site for the Cold War response by later presidents. Today, the Truman Little White House is a public, living, Key West museum as well as a retreat and place of government business by our nation’s leaders.

 March 11, 2016  Posted by at 12:22 am Island Voices, Issue #157 No Responses »
Mar 042016
 
TAXPAYERS NOT ON THE HOOK!

by City Commissioner Richard Payne…….. In the last few weeks leading up to the March 15th Referendum election I have been frequently asked whether the City taxpayers would be in any way responsible for payment of the bonds/mortgage should the City find that the rents from the residences at Peary Court are insufficient to repay the loan? The answer to this question is an emphatic unequivocal No. I insisted that the referendum language be added to assure all citizens voting that the indebtedness will be [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:51 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices, Issue #156 22 Responses »
Mar 042016
 
OPINION: Vote "No" on Peary Court Purchase

by Diane Beruldsen……. I attended recent  affordable housing workshops and felt there were many people who were not getting listened to. The meetings scaled over concerns that the group being protected (those who can afford to pay $2400/month in rent) were the wrong group to protect. For this reason, I wanted to hear the opinions of people in the streets of City of Key West. I set out Sunday, February 28th on bicycle, into Key West and approached anyone I came across to ask if they had an [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am ~ Opinion ~, Island Voices, Issue #156 21 Responses »
Mar 042016
 
Homeless Log Date: 3 March 2016, Key West Asteroid

by Sloan Bashinsky……. During this past Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, City Attorney Shawn Smith advised the mayor and city commissioners that the U.S. Department of Justice had determined there was no prosecutable offense in the Charles Eimers death in police custody case, which the blue paper broke and continued vigorously investigating and reporting through and past the city settling, on advice of defense counsel, with Eimer’s estate for $900,000, which was $100,000 under the city’s insurance policy limits. Arnaud Girard’s first of many “cartoons” [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices, Issue #156 1 Response »
Mar 042016
 
THE SEA GYPSY TRIBE IDEALS

by Ray Jason……. “Sailing away from it all” remains one of the most alluring fantasies in our modern world. The idea of abandoning the misnamed “real world” and escaping to the South Seas on a sailing boat still intoxicates millions of people. But it is not the fantasy of the sea gypsy life that entices me. It is the reality of it. Far out on the Wide Waters, it is imperative to recognize things as they are rather than as you might wish them to [continue reading…]

 March 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:45 am Island Voices No Responses »
Feb 262016
 
Where Better to Spend Ten Million Tourist Tax Dollars?

by Maureen Bramlage…….. Where should $10 million in tourist tax dollars  be spent now,  if not at Peary Court?  A public-private partnership can build, at little or no cost to the City, the 70 units the  Planning Dept. has recommended for Bahama Village;  likewise 65 new units at the old Mosquito Control site. The 100 additional units at Poinciana must be done piecemeal to avoid displacing current residents, and can use the remaining $2.5 million in tourist tax dollars,  plus an additional $2 million per year [continue reading…]

 February 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:59 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices, Issue #155 8 Responses »
Feb 262016
 
About 100 Years Ago, It Was Being Said that Florida was Uninhabitable. Then Somebody Invented Mosquito Control

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Before the Florida Keys meant sun, sea and Jimmy Buffet, they were famous for mosquitoes– dense, black clouds of them that hummed and bit without pause, spread malaria, dengue and yellow fever, and drove visitors temporarily insane with irritation. At the beginning of the 20th Century, many thought that Florida was virtually uninhabitable and could never be developed. By 1922, however, Dr. J.Y. Porter was on the job as the Florida’s first health officer and was proposing procedures to help control [continue reading…]

 February 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Island Voices, Issue #155 No Responses »
Feb 262016
 
Being Homeless in Key West with Life-Threatening Medical Conditions

by Sloan Bashinsky……. Pedaling my bicycle up to the Winn-Dixie the other day, I chatted with a homeless man standing at the intersection of Palm and North Roosevelt Blvds, waiting on the light to change. He said he only arrived here about a week ago, he’d come down with the flu, stayed one night at KOTS, the city’s homeless shelter, it was the dirtiest place he’d ever seen, he was not going back there. On same general theme, excerpts from recent emails written by my [continue reading…]

 February 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #155 1 Response »
Feb 202016
 
Florida Keys Mourn a True Community Advocate

Kay Thacker:   “The Blond Bombshell” – An Inspiration To Us All by Christine Russell……. I will never forget the day I met Kay Thacker. As a Key West activist, many years ago I felt the need to pay more attention to county politics when the “Gang of Three” (long ago former county Commissioners) were at the helm and Tom Willi was County Administrator. I knew only what I read in the papers about how the county was running amuck, spending wildly and foolishly (remember [continue reading…]

 February 20, 2016  Posted by at 2:40 pm * Featured Story *, Island Voices 5 Responses »
Feb 192016
 
Senate Bill 686 and the Cost of Corruption

by Margaret Blank*……. I saw this news item while browsing the web: Almost every top official in Texas city arrested in federal corruption case. It really got me thinking. Here’s a terrific editorial on Florida’s “Corruption Tax”. Monroe County taxpayers have most definitely fallen victim to this. The Acevedo scandal cost us over $400,000 – and that only came to light because of a courageous whistle-blower, who paid a steep price for doing the right thing. Now another $20,000 has gone missing and the school board [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 1:08 am Island Voices, Issue #154 5 Responses »
Feb 192016
 
KEY WEST NUDITY ORDINANCE OUGHT TO BE REPEALED

by John Walsh……. City Commissioners talked a lot about nudity at their workshop on Fantasy Fest, but are afraid to define it or take any action to control it.  Rather they leave it to the Police to make up and enforce their own rules.  The Nudity statute ought to be repealed and here’s why: The City of Key West’s Nudity -Body Painting Statute [Section 42‐9] states that: “Nude or nudity means the exposure of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 1:06 am ~ Column ~, ~ Opinion ~, Island Voices, Issue #154 1 Response »
Feb 192016
 
Goombay & Fantasy Fest: Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater

by Ken Sullivan……. As the lead organizer of the family friendly opening event of this two weeks of fun, frolic and fundraising, I have something to add to the debate about Fantasy Fest. We have endured insults and accusations that questioned the integrity and motives of our worldwide charitable organization that gives tirelessly to the members and community we serve. If you live in Bahama Village, the neighborhood that surrounds the graveyard, low income areas of Stock Island and other depressed regions in lower Monroe [continue reading…]

Feb 192016
 
Continuing the Theme of Being Homeless in Key West ...

by Sloan Bashinsky……. I don’t suppose I’m a typical homeless person, if such even exists … How did I become homeless? I’m sometimes asked. I ran out of money, I say. Oh. Well, why don’t you work and make money and get yourself a place to live? I do work, very hard, but the job doesn’t pay money, and the kind of job you are talking about would not pay the rent in Key West, I say. Nor could I stand up to such a [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am Island Voices, Issue #154 5 Responses »
Feb 192016
 
The Sea Gypsy Concept

by Ray Jason……. A wise ocean sailor “hopes for the best but prepares for the worst.” When far offshore – in what we call the Blue Water – there is no swift assistance readily available. You have to be able to solve your own problems. Spare parts, proper tools and practical skills will either save the day or sink the ship. Weather awareness is also a critical component of success or failure when out on the Wide Waters. In the olden days, a master mariner [continue reading…]

 February 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:49 am Island Voices, Issue #154 No Responses »
Feb 122016
 
Being Homeless in Key West

  by Sloan Bashinsky……. There is a really different kind of homeless man in Key West right now. He has debilitating Raynaud’s disease, which causes a person to feel cold and want to live in a warm climate. This fellow said he took to traveling after his “normal” life stopped working well. On foot he mostly traveled. He told of trekking into San Diego, California with a small backpack and finding himself downtown surrounded by a S.W.A.T. team and snipers – they thought he had [continue reading…]

 February 12, 2016  Posted by at 1:07 am Island Voices, Issue #153 No Responses »
Feb 052016
 
An Insider's View of Being Homeless in Key West

by Sloan Bashinsky……. When Naja and Arnaud Girard asked me the other day if I was interested in writing articles about homelessness for The Blue Paper, I said I’d be happy to do that. Why not? I was homeless off and on in Key West from late 2000-late 2005, and I’ve been homeless in Key West since March of last year, 2015. I spent a lot of nights at KOTs, the city’s homeless shelter, since last March. I ate a lot of meals in the [continue reading…]

 February 5, 2016  Posted by at 1:18 am ~ Opinion ~, Island Voices, Issue #152 1 Response »
Feb 052016
 
Philosophical Acceptance

  by Ray Jason……. As I sail deeper into my Middle Years, my ship of self seems to be entering the Sea of Paradox. On the one hand, I am comfortable with the inescapable termination of my physical self. But on the other hand, I am troubled by the possibility that my work – my little essays that strive to inform, awaken and inspire – will also vanish. And I do not mean that they will disappear simply because they are not perceptive or poetic [continue reading…]

 February 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Island Voices, Issue #152 1 Response »
Jan 292016
 
Workforce Grocery Stores, Hotels, and Trolleys...

More on Fairy Tale (Peary) Court… by Rick Roberts (aka Raccoon)……. Dear Editor: Once upon a time, in a reality far, far, away sensibility and intelligence somehow escaped Key West. And in that purge the normal folk of Key West that remained were saddled with the self-proclaimed superior genius of a toxic reign of grocery “palace” owners, former schlepping auto parts clerks, pompous gas bag commissioners, and a bevy of their cohorts. This cabal of condescending Kings of Key West collectively believed they should fleece [continue reading…]

 January 29, 2016  Posted by at 10:00 am ~ Opinion ~, Island Voices No Responses »
Jan 292016
 
“Capitalist Animal Farm: Beware, Technocrats!”

by Martha K. Huggins……. Set-Up: Results of Interactive Journalism This play about Stock Island’s landfill and its chemicals springs from last week’s contributions to my, “Let’s Write a Play: Scripting the Economics, Science, and Politics of Death: “Fifteen Shameful Lethal Acts,” in the Blue Paper (1/22/2016). Jerome Grapel, Alex Symington, and John Donnelly pointed out that any discussion of dangerous and polluting chemicals, and how these are handled by government, had to include: (1) The role of capitalism in the economic and political system in [continue reading…]

 January 29, 2016  Posted by at 1:15 am Island Voices, Issue #151, Martha Huggins 17 Responses »
Jan 222016
 
A Most Unusual Ship

by Ray Jason……. Three magnificent Tall Ships sailed into the Archipelago of Bliss yesterday and anchored only 200 yards away from AVENTURA. I consider the sailing ship humanity’s finest blend of form and function – or as I prefer to describe it – beauty and purpose. So, seeing such majestic examples of this artistry had my heart astir. Because the evening light was insufficient for my camera, I decided to row over early this morning to snap some photos. But one ship had left just [continue reading…]

 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Island Voices, Issue #150 1 Response »
Jan 012016
 
A Sea Gypsy Haiku Sampler

by Ray Jason……. It was a most unusual voyage. I was sailing South in search of a world free of screens. Still reeling from a month in El Norte, witnessing the tyranny of technology, I needed serenity. I sought a peaceful lagoon, where people were not submissives – dominated by their TV screens, computer screens and Smart phone screens. When the anchor was down in one of my favorite hideaway coves, it felt like a great emancipation – a return to solitude and stillness. Within [continue reading…]

 January 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am Island Voices, Issue #147 3 Responses »
Jan 012016
 
Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins…continues…

Key West author Reef Perkins shares more of his hilarious book, Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins *** The Small Café*** (Click here for previous chapter) The cafe smelled of coffee and piss, like all the others at this latitude. A dangling fly strip over the bar was full and buzzing. Business was good. Squads of corpulent attorney flies corkscrewed the smoky air, trying to eat each other while consoling the doomed. Beth, a rumpled, now blond-haired woman in khaki shorts, slipped through the [continue reading…]

Dec 252015
 
A Pantheist Looks at Christmas

by Ray Jason……. As soon as I finish this essay and send it out into the world to find its way, I will begin my own private Christmas celebration. I will cast off the dock-lines, hoist the sails and head off to a little cove that will bequeath me the wondrous gift of Solitude. My only companions will be the creatures of the Sea and the Sky and an occasional fisherman drifting by in a cayuco. What I will be seeking in this isolation is [continue reading…]

 December 25, 2015  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #146 12 Responses »
Dec 182015
 
Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins…continues…

Key West author Reef Perkins shares more of his hilarious book, Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins ***Looner Too*** (Click here for previous chapter) During the same period of time that Blu was out of town, Ferling Bagwidth also left Key West and traveled by bus to Washington, DC in an attempt to market the Looner-Too. After three months of face to face, in-office consultations with his local Congressman and not showering or changing his cloths once, the government agent agreed to pay citizen [continue reading…]