Oct 132017
 
Four County Commissioners Fined for Sixteen Ethics Violations

by Rick Boettger……. All four admitted violating their sworn financial reporting requirements for the years 2012-2015. David Rice was fined $1,500 for each year; Heather Carruthers and Danny Kolhage, $1,250; and Sylvia Murphy, $1,000 for a total of $19,000 in fines, levied by the Florida Commission on Ethics. In addition, all hired lawyers to meet with the Commission’s investigator and, as I will discuss next week, help them prepare their amended Form 6X’s for all four years, 2012—2015. That was likely more expensive than the [continue reading…]

Sep 012017
 
Survey: Military Families Report Alarming Health Issues in "Sick Houses" on Sigsbee Island

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Constant allergies requiring weekly injections, repeated pneumonia, bloody noses, frequent severe headaches, skin rashes, swollen eyes and breathing issues are a few of the symptoms described by Sigsbee residents who responded to a survey conducted by The Blue Paper. Following reports of “sick house” symptoms on Sigsbee island, we asked military families to describe any health-related issues they’ve experienced while living on the island. Over 66% of those who responded reported having developed some form of allergy. Almost all say [continue reading…]

Sep 012017
 
Small Dog Park at Higgs Beach to Be Moved Outside the Area of Nationally Recognized Historic African Cemetery

by Naja Girard……. The “small dog park” at Monroe County’s Higgs Beach is being relocated into a fenced-off section of the “big dog” park after The Blue Paper published a documentary last Friday entitled, “Do All Graves Matter?“ In 2010, during the master planning process to redevelop Higgs Beach, the County had ground-penetrating radar mapping conducted to search for the graves of Cuba-bound African captives that had been rescued from three slave ships by the US Navy. Records show that in 1860, 1432 African refugees [continue reading…]

 September 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am * Featured Story *, News 6 Responses »
Aug 252017
 
DO ALL GRAVES MATTER?

See comments from Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers about the issues brought up in this documentary by clicking here. [Commissioner Carruthers was traveling and unable to participate in a video interview.] See the acceptance letter and application for the inclusion of the African Cemetery at Higgs Beach [including the area of the Little Dog Park] in the National Register of Historic Places by clicking here. See the Higgs Beach Park Master Redevelopment Plan by clicking here.     Below is a follow-up comment from Corey [continue reading…]

Jul 282017
 
Pritam Singh's 175-Room "Ocean's Edge Hotel" Sells For $175 Million

by Naja Girard……. Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. announced this Wednesday that it has purchased “the 175-room Oceans Edge Hotel & Marina on Stock Island for $175 million.” Ocean’s Edge Hotel has been an object of controversy in the Keys from the onset. It was pushed through as an upscale community consisting of “79 single family homes” and a small 17 room hotel. “It’s what we all want,” said developer Pritam Singh to the County’s Planning Commission, “to put our house by the water.” Each homeowner [continue reading…]

 July 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am * Featured Story *, News 9 Responses »
Jul 282017
 
Immigrant's Unlawful Detention: Who's at Fault?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. What everyone knew was that Osman Torres Huete was going to be deported. His family had posted the $1000 cash bail for his release, but at any time during the next two days Border Patrol was going to pluck Osman out of the county jail on Stock Island and send him back to Honduras. However, when, against all odds, Mr. Torres Huete’s immigration lawyer, Reggie Smith, arrived at the jail on July 8th to challenge her client’s “unlawful detention” an embarrassing situation [continue reading…]

Jul 212017
 
The Wedding Boom: County Sees No Evil

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. She’s an amazing photographer: photos of endangered birds standing on the flats, manatees drifting over the seagrass beds. I point to an extraordinary shot of the sunset. “Well, the place is called Sunset Cove,” observes Louise with a smile. Along with her husband, Louise Lindsay has lived within that secret corner of Key Largo for the past 30 years. But like many others in the Keys, she now fears that the quiet peaceful days are over. Business, you see, has discovered their [continue reading…]

Jul 072017
 
Key West Neighborhood Boy Makes Good -- Real Good!

by Arida Wright……. The intro on Corneil McIntosh’s Facebook page reads: “creator.innovator.believer.” His Facebook followers total 2,758. He has 12.1k followers on his personal Instagram page. An article written by “Bruce A.” of richcelebs.com describes him as, “an American entrepreneur, actor, director, producer, film maker and the founder of one of the most popular urban musical companies in the world.”

Jul 032017
 
KEY DEER RESCUE: 3 Key Deer Found Hog Tied/Bleeding During Traffic Stop

A routine traffic stop for a broken tail light turned into an unusual Key Deer rescue operation early Sunday morning. The stop occurred in the southbound lane on US 1 and Barry Ave on Little Torch Key. When Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Austin Hopp approached the Black Hyundai Sonata at about 1:20 a.m. he noticed two Key Deer bound in the back seat.  The two deer were reportedly “hog tied” with twine. Each had wounds all over its body and head and was struggling to [continue reading…]

 July 3, 2017  Posted by at 2:34 pm * Featured Story *, crime, News 1 Response »
Jun 302017
 
Key West Africana Festival: Inspiring

by Arida Wright……. Celebrity in Town Actor Malik Yoba served as the 2017 Keynote Speaker and Ambassador for the 3rd Biennial Key West Africana Festival (KWAF) held June 22 – 25, 2017. He is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J.C. Williams on the Fox police drama NY Undercover and the cultural classic movie, Cool Runnings. Malik Yoba has a long list of theatre, tv and film credits but what I didn’t know is that he is also a singer and a passionate [continue reading…]

Jun 022017
 
"ARE YOU ILLEGAL?" SHERIFF'S DEPUTY STRIKES AGAIN: TURNS LONGTIME CHEF OF EL SIBONEY OVER TO BORDER PATROL

Of interest from other sources: Below are some FAQ’s from the Immigration Resource Center on the legality of local law enforcement involvement in enforcement of immigration laws. [Slightly outdated in terms of the detainer holds – guidance and form was recently updated – however, there is no substantial material change to the analysis as a result of the new detainer hold policy guidelines.

May 192017
 
'ARE YOU ILLEGAL?" Immigrant Bicyclist HIT BY CAR and Handed Over to Border Patrol on the Spot

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. Of interest from other sources: Click here to see the incident report.

May 052017
 
Wisteria Island: Nature's Champions or Schemers?

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.

Apr 282017
 
Key West: PATIENT COMMITS SUICIDE ON CAMERA

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. 

Apr 142017
 
Navy: Leases Require Balfour Beatty and Military Families to Work Together to Minimize Mold Growth in Sigsbee Housing

  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.

Apr 072017
 
SUFA Aftermath Gets Even Worse

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…]

 April 7, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am * Featured Story *, Issue #213, Rick Boettger 12 Responses »
Mar 312017
 
Is Key West Military Housing Making People Sick?

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.

Mar 242017
 
Is Monroe a “Sanctuary County”?

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.

Mar 172017
 
Deportation of Two Legal Restaurant Workers: The Beginning of the End?

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. 

Mar 172017
 
Two Minutes Inside the Minds of “Anti-Immigrant Racists”

[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…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 1:04 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Issue #210 8 Responses »
Mar 172017
 
What Do Westport, Ct., Illegal Immigration & ‘3.5 Percenters’ Share in Common?  Read Below and Solve the Puzzle

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…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 1:02 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Martha Huggins 1 Response »
Mar 032017
 
OCEANSIDE MARINA: Bathroom-less Vacation Villas? The Hawk's Cay Inquiry Continues...

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…]

Mar 032017
 
Gay Bashing in Key West’s ‘One Human Family’: A United States Problem Likely to Increase

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…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:16 am * Featured Story * 21 Responses »
Mar 032017
 
Officer Reprimanded for "Attitude Arrest " of Homeless Man

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…]

Feb 242017
 
Policing the Homeless:  Following and Ignoring “Threat Matrix” Guidelines

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…]