First published on May 19, 2017 CORRECTION: The original headline for this article stated, “Immigrant Bicyclist Hit by Car and Handed Over to ICE on the Spot”. That was incorrect. The immigrant was arrested by Border Patrol, a division of Customs and Border Protection. Click here to see the incident report.
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Get out of the tent! Joe Sanders had just woken up to deputies yelling orders. As he peers through the slit in his tent his eye suddenly focuses on the barrel of a deputy’s gun 6 inches away and pointed straight at him. Now, according to the federal government, Joe had pitched his tent on public land.
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. By the time tragedy struck last year Depoo Hospital’s mental health staff had sent many distress signals. The Blue Paper has collected reports about staff being attacked by patients, disagreements with the police about carrying guns, understaffing, a security guard having a heart attack trying to protect staff. Finally, a patient committed suicide on camera.
Two weeks ago we featured a story, Is Key West Military Housing Making People Sick? [March 31, 2017] This week we share information provided by Trice Denny, Public Affairs Officer, Naval Air Station Key West, in response to our questions about whether Sigsbee housing is causing health issues for local military families.
by Rick Boettger……. The County will vote April 12th to give the SPCA an extra $150,000 a year “effective immediately” to operate the Marathon animal shelter. This further compounds, until the end of time, the already-$1,000,000 taxpayer loss I have described previously due to the County’s illegal demolition of Stand Up For Animals (SUFA) in 2010 and its replacement by a group of Commissioner George Neugent’s friends, SHARK, who ran it into the ground. Shortly after the County extended SHARK’s’ contract for the Middle Keys shelter [continue reading…]
March 31, 2017 by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. [Story summary below, please see video above] For over a month we’ve been following the stories of military families who claim that living on base on Sigsbee Island is making them sick. They say something in those houses is causing an alarming number of health issues and their children are the main victims.
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. If you’re like us, you probably think, what in the world is a Sanctuary City or County? Some sort of governmental civil disobedience? This week we followed the case of an immigration “hold” detainee at the county jail where we learned of the Monroe County Sheriff’s position on the subject. In the following order: Monroe County is not a sanctuary county, then it is, and then it is not.
Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The plane that carried Jean Dervil back to Haiti landed late Thursday in Port-au-Prince. With him were 250 more deportees from the United States. To put it mildly, it has been puzzling for our readers to watch our documentary about a beloved, hard-working Haitian man, married to an American citizen, and to come to the realization that it may now be the policy of the federal government to deport people with valid work permits.
[Note from the editor: Our documentary last week about the unannounced detention, by ICE agents, of two Key West restaurant workers created quite a fire storm on our Facebook page. The comment below from one viewer, Bill Carson, was so well written, helpful, and enlightening [in terms of understanding what’s fueling the sometimes harsh and critical reactions of our more conservative readers] that I asked if I could share it. Thank you, Mr. Carson, for taking the time to comment and for being willing to share it [continue reading…]
by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…… Westport, Connecticut. My husband’s Democratic brother-in-law was the press secretary to New York City Republican Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973). When he, a White US citizen, moved his family to Westport, Connecticut, the first thing he did was to join the city’s “no-population growth” movement. Illegal Immigrants: A February 2017 Fox News [i] headline read: “WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. – A southern Illinois community that solidly backed President Donald Trump has rallied behind a Mexican restaurant manager who doesn’t have legal permission to [continue reading…]
by Naja Girard……. Did a county planning manager, developer Pritam Singh, and a Hawk’s Cay HOA manager lie under oath to the Monroe County Planning Commissioners in 2014? They all swore that county records showed there were 12 unbuilt “leftover” hotel units at the Hawks Cay resort on Duck Key. “They are vested rights,” claimed Mr. Singh, who convinced the board to approve a transfer of those 12 hotel units to his new project at Oceanside marina. However, when The Blue Paper discovered that there were over 60 [continue reading…]
Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…… I was deeply moved and angered by the violence against two gay men in Key West in the early hours of Wednesday, February 23, 2017. Biking home after dinner, an unknown man on a moped verbally threatened Key West’s Kevin Seymour and Kevin Paul Taylor and then physically assaulted Mr. Seymour by using his motor scooter as a lethal weapon. The incident report taken at the scene by KWPD officer, Brett T. Dehanas, at 12:58 am states that the offense perpetrated against [continue reading…]
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. A Blue Paper report about the rough arrest of Kristopher Knight in front of Key West’s Publix grocery store last month created quite a stir among our readers. The initial bystander video showed Mr. Knight screaming in pain while Key West police officers were handling him. His hands were already cuffed and his legs had been tied with some sort of leash [a hobble strap]. It was not clear what kind of resistance the short 25-year-old would still have been able to [continue reading…]
Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…….. Policing democracy is tough. Tasked to ‘protect and serve,’ police carry out their work within a political system that often makes them an instrument of competing political and economic interests. Far too commonly, police take the fall for the irregular, shifting, and highly political expectations of government officials. Case in point ‘management’ of the homeless. “Economic development,” which of course includes building and protecting tourism, has a very specific aesthetic: There should be no visibly homeless people in Key West’s “One [continue reading…]
by Rick Boettger……. I went to the County Commission meeting when it came to my neighborhood on Feb 15th in order to object to George Neugent, as the Commission’s honorary Mayor, giving ceremonial recognition to a local nonprofit that teaches leadership. My objection was threefold: First, they voted George in as Mayor within a month of his getting public censure and reprimand by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Second, the Commission sued the innocent members of a nonprofit board for two years, until it was [continue reading…]
Feb 10, 2017 Commentary by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Contrary to popular belief, adding one or two “lock-outs” to your home and renting them to tourists without getting any separate building allocations was legal after all! Developer, Pritam Singh, bless his soul, has shown us the way: He took 79 “permanent residential” building rights [called ROGOs] and transferred them to Oceanside Marina and, after adding 79 “lock-outs” and 17 hotel rooms, he’s now renting all 175 “units” to tourists. It could appear unlawful and it has upset a [continue reading…]
Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…… I grew up hearing my grandfather and his son, my maternal uncle, rail against the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.[i] I had no idea what they were talking about, but I knew I should believe that ‘Anti-Trust” actions by government were bad. My grandfather, an independent prospector for metal ores, between 1886 and the early 1900s—broken only by his Spanish-American War (1898) service—increasingly sold his paltry take of gold, silver, or copper ingots to mining syndicate representatives, among them the Anaconda Copper Company. [continue reading…]
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 ROGO’s”) 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 (hotel) ROGO’s even existed or whether they were created out of thin air using false documents. It [continue reading…]
LOCALS TALK ABOUT NEW PRESIDENT FEATURING ED RUSSO, AUTHOR OF “DONALD J. TRUMP: AN ENVIRONMENTAL HERO” by Arnaud Girard……. Donald Trump is now our President. What might be the effect, good or bad, of the new presidency on our lives, the local environment, businesses, our local school system, our relations with Cuba and more? Where local economy and new immigration policy collide Key West’s is booming. Old fish houses and RV parks with handfuls of employees have been replaced by sprawling restaurants and high class hotels. [continue reading…]
by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…….. I never thought that I would quote former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald “Rummy” Rumsfeld. But I have been driven to his epistemology of “know-ability” by my frustrating search for the “Primary Care Clinic” funded to the tune of a half-million dollars annually by the Lower Florida Keys Hospital District (LFKHD). Donald Rumsfeld, the master of using power to deliver ‘strategized confusion,’ explained on February 12, 2002, that US government’s knowledge about Iraq’s passing of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ [continue reading…]
This article was updated on Feb 5, 2017 Editorial by Naja Girard……. For the past several 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. [continue reading…]
Just as we were wondering whether Pritam Singh’s soon to open “175-room Hotel” on Stock Island was legal, The Blue Paper received an interesting tip. Pritam Singh is suing 7 of his neighbors for alleged unlawful vacation rental use of their condos at Oceanside Marina. He wants them to rent long-term. The $100 million question is whether there is in fact any difference between those old condos (2003) and the new ones recently built by Mr. Singh at that very same marina. They look like [continue reading…]
December 30, 2016 by Naja Girard……. He is renowned for his real estate prowess, selling 100-million-dollar hotels in Key West as if they are going out of style: Parrot Key Resort on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2014 sold for $100,000,000 and only 1 year later, in March of 2015, The Marker near Key West Bight sold for $96,250,000). Pritam Singh, dubbed the Donald Trump of the Keys, is now ready to unveil his latest creation: Ocean’s Edge Key West on Stock Island (the old Oceanside Marina). People will say, “It’s [continue reading…]
by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……. Be Compassionate and Giving; Welcome the Stranger. The sacred texts of major world religions—Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—talk of the inherent goodness of the poor and extol followers to welcome the stranger and assist the needy. Capitalism– in most of the modern world–elevated to that of a religion, considers poor people risky, a nuisance, and fiscally dangerous: Mere ‘things’ requiring “risk management.” Contracts are written and legal opinions delivered, to protect corporate wealth and its very well-paid executives [continue reading…]
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. “He put some superglue on the wound, a piece of gauze and taped it,” says Dan Schramm, who went to the ER at Lower Keys Medical Center last year for a deep gash above his eye. “The doctor didn’t even clean up the wound at all and later it got infected.” The whole thing took about “two minutes.” He says the hospital charged him $4,000 for the ER and he was billed another $800 for the doctor. Over the past [continue reading…]
IF PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE TO SURVIVE… Commentary by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Last week’s Blue Paper report on the re-segregation of Key West’s public schools has generated a lot of comments and questions. What makes the new charter schools so appealing to mostly white parents? The video of a recent fight at Key West High speaks for itself. Academics are a great concern for parents and so is safety. We had previously received similar reports of kids ganging up on a lone student: Four kids [continue reading…]
The controversy over Key West’s charter schools rocked the school board during last week’s meeting. “How do we know this is not going to be another white-flight school?” asked longtime school board member Andy Griffiths about a new charter middle school. Some fear an exodus of white students toward charter schools will leave the district run public schools with insufficient resources and failing grades. For others, the specter of re-segregation is simply intolerable. The numbers are telling: Key West’s Horace O’Bryant [HOB], the district run public [continue reading…]
Company to Pay $40 Million and Implement Remedial Measures on All Carnival Companies Visiting U.S. Ports During the campaign leading to the Key West Channel dredging referendum, the question of the efficiency of cruise ship waste water system came to the forefront of the debate. After years of litigation, the image of wastewater tanks regularly overflowing into the bilge of the Caribbean Princess is reaching the public. The Caribbean Princess is one of the cruise ships that visits Key West during the winter season. Here [continue reading…]
The homeless man was found face down on Smather’s Beach with his throat cut. Detectives are investigating. SHAL Raising Funds for Homeless Bus Tickets From SHAL’s Press Release: The Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) is asking for community support for its popular reunification program this holiday season.