Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The School Board is still scrambling to unravel the mystery of $20,000 in day-care funds that went missing over a year ago. Let’s put this amount into perspective. The annual 2015/2016 budget for the Monroe County School District is $163.7 Million. This amount includes 95.1 Million for operations and 26.8 Million for capital improvements. How seriously is the School District guarding that money? Meet Joseph Clements.
by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Anyone who might want to make a list of the most famous people who have ever lived in Key West would have to include treasure salvor Mel Fisher fairly high on the list. Even I had heard of him when I sailed into Key West on my sailboat for the first time in 1979. Although he had not yet found the mother lode of the treasure known to be aboard the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha which sank off the [continue reading…]
UPDATE January 29 4:56 pm: Two more counterfeit bills reported Two more Key Largo salons have reported receiving counterfeit $100 bills under similar circumstances, bringing the total so far to four of the fake bills passed in the Key Largo area this week. In all four cases a man fitting a similar description has entered hair or nail salons and has purchased gift certificates for $40 – $50 using a fake $100 bill and receiving cash for the balance. The most recent two cases to [continue reading…]
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…]
by Thomas L. Knapp……. “They shot him right there, he was just walking — I saw it,” says Victoria Sharp . “I swear to God, he was just walking with his hands in the air.” She’s describing the January 26 killing of LaVoy Finicum by FBI agents and an Oregon State Police SWAT team. Sharp’s account doesn’t go uncontested. Mark McConnell, described as a “witness” even though he was a mile away at the time of the shooting and was just “told” what happened, describes [continue reading…]
District V Commissioner Margaret Romero is convening a community meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3rd. The meeting will be held at the Casa Marina Resort on Reynolds St. Topics on the agenda include an update on the new City Hall, as well as a discussion of the upcoming referendum on the Peary Court and the Truman Waterfront. “Bring your suggestions, ideas, comments and questions,” said Romero. “I encourage you to be involved in making our City better. Persons of all Key West districts [continue reading…]
Elizabeth Campbell, Mangrove Classroom Toddler Montessori Guide, has been nominated by her peers as teacher of the year. Elizabeth is originally from New Jersey but has called Key West her second home her whole life as a grandchild to Edward and Shirley Block. Elizabeth received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Boston University and her AMS Infant and Toddler Montessori teaching credentials from Village Training Center in Miami. Ms. Liz, as she is referred to at school, prides herself in providing a welcoming and [continue reading…]
On January 21, 2016, the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit conducted an operation checking businesses that sell alcohol in the Lower Keys. Eight businesses were checked including restaurants, convenience stores and bars. Five of the businesses served alcohol to a minor during our investigation. The clerks who sold the alcohol were issued a Notice to Appear in Court. The following Businesses and attendant’s sold the alcohol: 1. Tom Thumb, 5690 Maloney Avenue, Stock Island, FL. Attendant: Angie Matril, 26 years of age. Notice to appear issued [continue reading…]
Two new trees now grace Bayview Park in honor of Sgt. Eric Biskup, who succumbed to cancer this month at the age of 49. In an effort spearheaded by City Commissioner Sam Kaufman, the City’s Community Services Department planted a rare cinnamon bark tree and a jatropha tree. A new bench was installed between the trees. Rob Crider, owner of Just Keys Trees, Inc. generously donated the cinnamon bark tree. “It’s appropriate that it’s right across from the police department,” said Chief Donie Lee. “It’s [continue reading…]
by John Donnelly……. Dr. Kelly McGonigal is an award-winning health psychologist teaching at Stanford University. Dr. McGonigal states: “It took evolution millions of years to deliver a prefrontal cortex capable of everything we humans need.” However, once born, is our value, worth and promise enduringly set in stone; before we even get out the gate and have a chance to live our lives? Is the ‘biological brain organ’ a fixed innate structure, rigidly wired and immutably developed into its full potential at birth? Are we [continue reading…]
by Kirby Congdon……. After the natives had built the stone walls for us to designate the legalities of the disorganized map of nature, the gravel tills, the knolls, and the ledges that the glacier had left in the debris of the land with its hills and gullies which the melt-down of centuries had left, we ignored any stone interruptions in the pastures and the farmland we needed. Those were only fun for children to climb or for hanging a swing or on a walk to [continue reading…]
by Kim Pederson……. Many Americans may still operate under the mistaken impression that we elect our presidents. We do not. The US Electoral College does. I was reminded of this while reading Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States, which describes how our president and vice president are to be elected. According to our Constitution, Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives [continue reading…]
FLORIDA KEYS ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP BILL MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER TO PASSAGE IN STATE LEGISLATURE The Florida Keys Environmental Stewardship Bill – designed to protect and preserve the island chain and ensure it continues to be an economic driver for the state – is one step closer to passage. The Florida House budget subcommittee this week included $25 million to fully fund the bill in its budget recommendations. “The funding is not included on the Senate side, but this is an expected part of the rough-and-tumble, [continue reading…]
Dear Friends of Hometown, Hometown! received this email from the Supervisor of Elections–we trust that it will be helpful to all Monroe County voters: County Early Voting sites will be open 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Early voting will begin Monday February 29th and ends Saturday March 12th Early Voting Sites for County Elections: Supervisor of Elections Offices: 530 Whitehead St #101, Key West 10015 Overseas Hwy, Marathon 102050 Overseas Hwy #137, Key Largo Other Locations: Big Pine Key Community Park, End of Sands Road, [continue reading…]
Cadets and Explorers throughout the county learned the ins and outs of traffic stops during their weekly training last week. The Sheriff’s Office Explorer program teaches kids about various aspects of law enforcement under the watchful and helpful eyes of Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers, who act as advisors for the Lower, Middle and Upper Keys Explorer posts.
Force Protection Exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield 2016 The force protection and anti-terrorism exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2016 (SC-CS 16) will begin Feb. 1 and last through Feb. 12. Personnel can expect an increased security posture at Naval Air Station Key West for the duration of the exercise. SC-CS 16 is a force protection exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) on all Navy installations in the continental U.S. to allow Navy security personnel to hone skills and [continue reading…]
Commissioners Billy Wardlow named former City Commissioner Tony Yaniz as an ambassador to Cuba during last week’s City Commission meeting. “For over 40 years I’ve had a dream of rebuilding the cultural and historical ties between these islands,” Yaniz said. “I am honored and humbled and also proud. This is the culmination of 45 years of work.” He told the commission that he plans on putting together a committee of residents and business owners to work toward opening the ties between Key West and Cuba.
February 11, 2016; 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Murray Nelson Government Center 102050 Overseas Highway Key Largo, FL KEY LARGO — Monroe County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are partnering to host a workshop on Brownfield Redevelopment. A brownfield is the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of property, which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Developers, investors, realtors, governments and other interested members of the community are invited to learn about brownfields, hear success [continue reading…]
Long time Reserve Lieutenant Bob Smith was recognized for his thousands of hours of volunteer service as he retires from the ranks of Sheriff’s Office reserve force. Lt. Smith began working as a Sheriff’s Office reserve in January of 1989 and has worked continuously since then. Reserves donate their time to the office, and Bob was very active in many areas, particularly as part of the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team. His dedicated and selfless service will certainly be missed.
The Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit is celebrating the playwright’s March birthday by providing a series of cultural events to be held throughout the month. Artist and writers are invited to participate in three contests being offered as part of the celebration: Short Story Writing, Poetry and Plein Air Painting. Registration and submission deadline for the writing contest is March 5. Professor Susanne Woods is coordinating the contest and will join other published writers in selecting the winners. Registration and submission for the poetry contest [continue reading…]
THURSDAY, JANUARY 28 thru WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3 Visit keysarts.com, Cultural Calendar for more listings and events throughout the Keys. Key West Happenings ARTISTS RECEPTIONS/EXHIBITIONS Sunday Anne McKee Fine Art Gala and Auction, 7 PM The work of 60 Florida Keys artists ranging from renowned masters to emerging talents. Attendees can bid on original paintings, sculptures photography, fiber art, ceramics, mixed media, jewelry and more. Doors open at 6 p.m. Fort East Martello, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. mckeefund.org FESTIVALS and FUNDRAISERS Thru Sunday, January 31 Key [continue reading…]
4th Annual Arts Event Starts in Key Largo February 2nd The Florida Keys Council of the Arts works to support all the arts, in all the Keys, all the time. The local arts agency is launching its fourth annual Connections Project road show with a grand opening reception at the Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center in Key Largo on Tuesday, February 2nd from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm featuring a vibrant 24-foot mosaic mural created by local artists and art lovers. The reception with [continue reading…]
Local photographer Larry Blackburn will show his photographic works on Friday, February 5th in conjunction with the First Friday Upper Duval Art Stroll. The showing, entitled “Scene in Key West”, will feature photographs of many familiar sights around Key West that Larry feels fortunate to experience on a daily basis. The photographs will be printed on several different media types including canvas, metal and metallic paper. The show will take place inside Duval Square at 1075 Duval Street in Key West from 6:00 p.m. to [continue reading…]
As the next author to speak during its 2016 speaker series, long-time winter resident Ann Beattie will take the podium for the Friends of the Key West Library on Monday, Feb. 8 at 6:00 p.m. The series takes place at the Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St. Admission is free. Doors open at 5:30. Ann Beattie published her first short story in the New Yorker in 1974 and has been chronicling the lives of her generation ever since. She told an interviewer for the Paris [continue reading…]
Watercolor artist Sean P. Callahan, a past Anne McKee Artist Fund board member, will be giving a watercolor demonstration at Dog Tired Studio, 1011 Whitehead Street, this Saturday, Jan. 30 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Sean has been painting strictly in watercolor for the past 26 years. On Saturday, he will work on a painting and discuss his process, taking questions as he goes along. This is an amazing opportunity to see Sean work his magic in watercolor and watch a portrait come to life [continue reading…]
Key West author Reef Perkins shares more of his hilarious book, Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins ***Fork Q*** (Click here for previous chapter) Granny “Floy” Fracas lived on the Fork-Q ranch out east of Pinhole near the end of Old Boheel Road. Granny was eighty-two and had spent her entire life on the Fork-Q. She inherited the spread when her dad died. Granny remembered a hard life, full of hard hardships and harder hard hardships. When she was young her dad made her [continue reading…]
Anyone interested in honing their photography skills now has a chance to do so with one of the world’s greatest living photographers. Allen Rokach—hailed by the New York Academy of Sciences as “one of the world’s preeminent flower and garden photographers”— will lead a weekend workshop and lecture March 4th, 5th, and 6th as offered by the Key West Art & Historical Society’s adolescent and adult education program, “Outside The Lines.” Throw any big name publication on the table and chances are Rokach has had [continue reading…]
One of the Keys’ largest and most anticipated craft shows is right around the corner. The 30thannual Key West Craft Show runs Saturday, January 30th and Sunday, January 31st from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. Nearly 100 artisans will be on hand for the show at Caroline and Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West. Sponsored by the Key West Art Center, the show features an array of wares and crafts from all over the United States. Many of the community’s favorites will [continue reading…]
PETER MAX – A RETROSPECTIVE – 1960-2015 AN EXHIBITION OF WORKS FROM AMERICA’S ICONIC ARTIST Journey through the career of a Pop Culture Icon: Peter Max to Exhibit in Key West An Artistic Diversity that has Defined American Art: Captured by the Artist Who Began a New Visual Culture A newly-curated collection by artist legend, Peter Max’s exquisite paintings will be on exhibition and available for acquisition in a presentation at Key West Gallery, Key West’s premier fine art destination. Included in the Collection are [continue reading…]
Connoisseurs of the cocktail will be intoxicated (figuratively, of course!) by the upcoming presentation at the Key West Art & Historical Society. On Thursday, February 11, from 6:00pm-7:00pm, the Society welcomes the public to the Helmerich Research & Learning Center at the Custom House for “Hemingway’s Favorite Drinks: His Days in the Gulf Stream,” a presentation by Philip Greene, attorney, writer, cocktail historian, and co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail. An authority on the drinks of Ernest Hemingway, Greene has presented on this [continue reading…]
Southernmost Magnolia, the Key West version of the renowned New England band Magnolia, plays a unique blend of Cajun, country, and bluegrass music. Led by singer and guitarist Maggie Moniz, with local fixtures Steve Gibson on mandolin and Cindy Jefferson on bass, and world-famous Chuck Sherman on pedal steel, they play good time music sure to get your head boppin’, your toes tappin’, and your feet movin’. They will be making sure everyone can let the good times roll at B.O.’s Fish Wagon every Thursday [continue reading…]
The Key West Artisan Market: Culinary and Wine Edition will be held Sunday, January 31st from 10 am to 2 pm at the Restaurant Store parking lot, 1111 Eaton St. Local artisans include culinary, textile, jewelry, wood, artists & crafters, curiosities, the KONK Key West Writer’s Guild Local Author’s Nook, the X live variety show, beer, wine and food. In addition, several wine distributors will have great deals on wines by the case. Guests are encouraged to ride bikes or the bus which conveniently stops [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office held a ceremony January 15th to honor its employees of the quarter for the fourth quarter of 2015. These employees were recognized for exemplary performance above and beyond the normal course of their regular assigned duties during the time period of October 1, 2015 – December 31st, 2015. In the photo, left to right: Explorer Mako Geide, School Resource Deputy Derick Velez, Detention Deputy William Brown, Reserve Deputy Harrold Knowles, Farmer Jeanne Selander with Sheriff Rick Ramsay.
Sheriff Rick Ramsay awarded Deputies Josh Gordon and David Lariz with the Sheriff’s Medal for their involvement in an armed confrontation on Stock Island. Deputy Gordon was shot in the chest. The bullet was stopped by his bullet proof vest. Deputy Lariz backed up Deputy Gordon and returned fire after Deputy Gordon was hit.
Friends of the Key West Library will sponsor their monthly book sale on Saturday, February 6, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Palm Garden next to the library, 700 Fleming St. On offer are books in many popular categories. Art, biography, food, history, hobbies/pets, nature/geography, and plenty of fiction. Children’s and coffee-table books are at low prices. Lots of DVDs and CDs are available. Baked goods provided by the Key West Montessori School will also be on sale. Proceeds go to the library’s programs, [continue reading…]
Students and mentors were on hand last week when Mayor Craig Cates, vice Mayor Clayton Lopez and Commissioner Sam Kaufman gave a huge thank you to Take Stock in Children in light of National Mentoring Month. First established in 1995 in Monroe County, Take Stock provides at-risk and low-income students extensive support, motivation and accountability to ensure they graduate from high school and pursue their postsecondary education goals. In exchange for the students’ hard work, they receive a full four-year Florida pre-paid scholarship. The work [continue reading…]
After three decades of illness and devastating loss to the Florida Keys, the 30th anniversary of AIDS Help is not one Executive Director Scott Pridgen takes lightly. “As we prepare to recognize our 30 years at the Harry S. Truman Little White House on February 19th, we are very cognizant that there’s still no cure…there’s still no vaccine…and new incidents of HIV infection, as well as various sexually-transmitted illnesses, are on the uptick. Our work as an Agency isn’t done and in many ways, has [continue reading…]
As the U.S. and Cuba break new ground in post-Cold-War relations, the catamaran, Impossible Dream is charting new territory in promoting universal design to improve accessibility for wheel-chair users. The 58-foot sailing vessel embarks on a nine-day voyage this weekend to compete in the Conch Republic Cup from Key West to Cuba, a popular sailboat race suspended in 2003, when relations between the neighboring nations were less cordial. A six-person crew, three of whom are disabled sailors, will man the fully accessible sailboat. They will [continue reading…]
Before and after photos of large piles of tires dumped on a dirt road off of State Road 905 in Key Largo. The cleanup effort was handled jointly by Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Kiffney, Deputy David Minor, Monroe County Public Works and Florida Keys Electric Coop. Anyone who has information about who might have dumped these tires should contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys at 1-800-346-TIPS.