Nov 272015
Superintendent Porter Explains His Handling of Unaccounted for $20,000 in HOB Daycare Program Funds

Mark Porter’s Public Statement, in full: November 27, 2015 “Recently there have been several news stories regarding the HOB daycare program that was initiated in 2014-2015. I would like to offer the following points of factual clarification and personal responsibility for this unfortunate situation. This is intended as a public communication and can/should be used [more…]

Nov 272015
An Eclectic Potpourri of History at the Little Library on Fleming Street

  by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Back in another life, one of the things I did to make a couple of bucks was to write history books for companies and organizations. All that was required was that they actually had histories (usually a couple of file drawers of old photos and documents)– and money to pay [more…]

Nov 272015
How Influential Was the City Attorney in Canvassing Board's Bob Dean Decision?

HERE’S WHAT THE BLUE PAPER ASKED THE CITY ATTORNEY ABOUT THE CANVASSING BOARD’S DECISION SHAWN: I am drafting a potential opinion piece concerning the concept that the City Attorney is the most powerful person in city government. Before you read the rest of this email, know that I consider you one of the best city attorneys [more…]

Nov 202015
State:  What the Hell is Going on in the Keys? Must be "Other Forces at Work"

  by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The State’s Variance Review Committee blasted the local Health Department, questioning officals’ apathy in letting the Boondocks Grill, Draft House and Miniature Golf on Ramrod Key expand and operate, for years, without requiring a proper sewage disposal system. The landmark restaurant had a septic tank/leach field system permitted for 65 [more…]

Nov 202015

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Last July, the City Commission amended Chap. 42 of the City’s Code of Ordinances to give police officers more discretion when busting people caught with very small quantities of marijuana. Rather than arresting and hauling off to jail people found with less than 20 grams (less than an ounce), officers now [more…]

Nov 132015
Stock Island Shootout Revisited:  A Closer Look at Felony Traffic Stops

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Following the shootout that nearly killed a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy on Stock Island on October 24, 2015, Sheriff Rick Ramsey issued an order making it mandatory for all officers to wear their bullet proof vests when in the field.  [Deputy Josh Gordon who had been shot in the chest by a [more…]

Nov 132015
What You Don't Know About the Humble Beginnings of the Sunset Celebration in Key West

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Key West’s daily celebration of sunset is famous around the world. Today, “going to sunset” is a must-do for millions of tourists who visit the Southernmost City every year. Lots of locals, too. And it’s more than just the spectacle of the sun sinking into the Gulf of Mexico, it’s also [more…]

Nov 072015
SHOOTOUT VIDEO RELEASED: Heroic Deputy Shot in Chest / Suspect Shot First

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The Monroe County Sheriff released video of a gun battle that took place weeks ago on Stock Island. [See video below] Dashcam from two deputies’ cruisers show the October 24th high speed chase of Timothy Thomas, who was wanted in connection with an armed robbery in Key West. In the [more…]

Nov 062015
Timothy Thomas Claims 'Deputies Shot First' [Police Shootout Rained Bullets on Stock Island Family]

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. [Note:  This article was written and published prior to the Sheriff’s release of the dashcam video.  You will find an update at the end of the article including both Deputy Gordon and Deputy Lariz’ dashcam video excerpts as posted by the MCSO on youtube this morning.] It was about 9:45 pm [more…]

Nov 062015
City Commissioner Sam Kaufman: Do Good - But Do It Within Budget

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. We here at The Blue Paper wanted to know what kind of city commissioner newly-elected Sam Kaufman is going to be. So, armed with questions ranging from affordable housing and homelessness to marijuana and the opening of Cuba, I made an appointment with Commissioner Kaufman and drove out to his law [more…]

Oct 302015
Oxymoron: Parking in Old Town

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Oxymoron is defined as a figure of speech that is incongruous and seemingly self-contradictory. Thus, I present to you the phrase “parking in Old Town.” The problem here is not that there is no place to park in Old Town. There are lots of places to park. It’s just that there [more…]

Oct 232015
What You May Not Know About the Citizen Review Board

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. The Citizen Review Board (CRB) is a big deal. Now 13 years old, the CRB is an independent city agency with the authority to investigate complaints involving Key West police officers. The reason this is a big deal is that, before 2002, there was no such agency here. Citizen complaints often [more…]

Oct 162015
State Attorney Will Take No Further Action in the Bob Dean Case

STATE ATTORNEY SPOKESMAN: “WE STILL THINK IT’S OBVIOUS THAT ROBERT DEAN LIVES IN KEY HAVEN.” BUT, BY LAW, THAT OPINION IS TRUMPED BY THE CANVASSING BOARD. Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. A couple of weeks ago, Bob Dean– through his attorney, Michael Halpern– virtually slapped State Attorney Catherine Vogel right in the face. Following a [more…]

Oct 092015

  Video by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Suppose that you are inclined to tell people that you own the Cow Key Channel Bridge and, furthermore, that you are willing to sell it for a reasonable price. And suppose that you hear that there are three Key West residents who might [more…]

Oct 092015
FKAA Chairman Dean Plays Cat and Mouse

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The documents often begin with: “I, J. Robert Dean do solemnly swear” and thereafter the facts seem to change and contradict each other depending on what Dean needs to do to stay in power. On Wednesday Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA] Board Chairman Bob Dean provided Supervisor of Elections, Joyce [more…]

Oct 092015

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. If you are a longtime Key Wester and a longtime reader of The Blue Paper, you know that when I ran the paper from 1994 until 2012, Code Enforcement (or Code Compliance, as the department is now known) was in the news a lot. And why not. Allegations of corruption were [more…]

Oct 022015

Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Several years ago, I moved from one apartment to another here in Key West. At that time, I still owned Key West The Newspaper– The Blue Paper– and I was, therefore, a little more concerned about “appearances” than I am now, as an old retired guy. I knew that when one [more…]

Sep 252015
Tour Companies and City Spar Over Sightseeing Franchise Agreements

Naja and Arnaud Girard……. As the “Conch Train” slows down at the corner of Eaton and Elizabeth, the conductor blows the whistle. The train’s blaring PA system floods the street: “That’s right folks, you just made it to the top. Key West’s highest point, Solaris Hill! 18 Feet above sea level! That’s where you would [more…]

Sep 182015
State Attorney Challenges FKAA Chairman's Right To Vote In Key West Elections

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Is the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority taking on water? Two weeks ago an FKAA board member, Melva Wagner, was forced to resign. She had continued receiving benefits and payments as a board member even though she had moved away from her district almost a year ago. This week it’s FKAA’s [more…]

Sep 182015
The Best Paid Teachers in the State

  by Dr. Larry Murray……. There has been a lot of interest lately in government and quasi-government entities and the number of employees paid six figure salaries. FKAA has aroused particular attention for the number of employees paid over $100,000. Amidst all of this, no one has mentioned the School District. I suspect that MCSD [more…]

Sep 112015
FKAA Board Chairman Under Criminal Investigation

by Naja and Arnaud Girard**……. UPDATE:  9/18/2015 Click here for updated article: State Attorney Challenges FKAA Chairman’s Right To Vote In Key West Elections As of Thursday afternoon, the office of the Monroe County State Attorney has begun investigating the Chairman of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA] Board of Directors. J Robert Dean (aka Bob Dean), [more…]

Aug 282015

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. FDLE reprimanded Special Agent Kathy Smith with a 5-day suspension. Agent Smith was accused of having intentionally signed a false affidavit in order to secure a $461,000 bank loan. Agent Smith became engulfed in controversy in 2014 while leading the investigation of the in-custody-death of 61-year old tourist, Charles Eimers. [more…]

Aug 282015
Mystery Writers, Street Crime, and Mosquitos: Framing Crime--A Three-Part Series

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D. ……. Some Mysteries of Murder Mysteries Now that Key West’s “Mystery Writers Fest” has ended I want to talk about mystery novels, “street” crime, and its oft-ignored cousin, ‘white-collar’ corporate and government crime. As a mystery novel junkie, I was shaped in my teens by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock [more…]

Aug 212015
Ex-FBI Agent Says: Audit FKAA Billing Practices

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The Blue Paper received a report, claiming “manipulation and interference with data” at FKAA, that raises legitimate questions about millions of dollars worth of water bills sent to FKAA customers throughout the Keys. Jon Lipsky wrote: “Because the database is used to generate bills for consumers and because the Aqueduct Authority is [more…]

Aug 142015
DOH Orders Boondocks Restaurant to Reduce Seating by Two-Thirds Due to Environmental Violations

by Naja and Arnaud Girard….. “I am sitting under the huge tiki hut roof and all I can think of is: Am I going to do it or not?” All around him people, hundreds of them, are having dinner, drinking, listening to the band of young local musicians, having a great time. Only the owners [more…]

Jul 312015
Water Quality Disaster: Whistleblower Accuses Department of Health

by Bud Meaker and Arnaud Girard……. A whistleblower claims the Department of Health (DOH) has turned a blind eye for years on thousands of gallons of sewage that has been seeping into Florida Keys waters. “It’s their duty, their legal obligation under Florida Statutes to monitor the performance of all on-site sewer systems in the Keys, [more…]