Mar 242017
 
Message to the Future: Remember Cudjoe Regional Shallow Wells May Only Be Used for Back-up

by Naja Girard…. Dear Future Florida Keys Residents, In 2015, a small group of caring community members made a big difference. They fought to protect the beautiful Florida Keys offshore environment.  They were able to convince Monroe County to install and use a deep injection well instead of the shallow wells already approved for the disposal of wastewater effluent at the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.  This was no easy task, it took strong voices, thick skin, hours upon hours of research, not to mention some of their hard-earned [continue reading…]

 March 24, 2017  Posted by at 1:02 am Environment, Issue #211 1 Response »
Mar 032017
 
Guest Column: Key Haven Failures and New Development

by Margaret Blank……. Update: I emailed county staff asking about this one. I copied members of the Keys media, too. That’s my new thing. If I hear anything (doubtful!) I’ll let you know. I was perusing Monroe County’s Comprehensive Plan Update the other day and I saw something very interesting. Objective 901.1 Monroe County shall ensure that, at the time a certificate of occupancy, or its functional equivalent is issued, adequate sanitary wastewater treatment and disposal facilities, including wastewater treatment facilities and onsite sewage treatment [continue reading…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:10 am Issue #208, Margaret Blank 5 Responses »
Feb 032017
 
Anti-Grinder Pumps Face More Legal Hurdles

by Rick Boettger……. Judge Koenig Supports Self-Recused Judge Helms, Requiring a 3rd Amendment of Plaintiffs’ Case The installation of grinder pumps up the Keys in many homes that should have gravity systems has gotten a dedicated group of citizens to the barricades. In my mind, there is no doubt this was a foolish and illegal decision made by FKAA and the County. The Dump the Pumps group simply wants a judge to look at the same statutes that I’m looking at and agree that gravity, [continue reading…]

 February 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:10 am Issue #204, Rick Boettger 5 Responses »
Jan 202017
 
Another Welch by Zuelch, Claims New Shallow Sewage Well Lawsuit

by Dump The Pumps……. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority is in violation of a settlement agreement it signed last year to end litigation requiring a deep well for Cudjoe Regional and restricting use of the shallow wells only for backup, according to new litigation filed last Monday. Don DeMaria and Mike Laudicina, the two commercial fishermen who sued FKAA in 2015 to require the deep well, now allege that FKAA and the Department of Environmental Protection are intentionally violating the settlement agreement. “It’s another welch by Zeulch,” said DeMaria. [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #202, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Dec 302016
 
GUEST COMMENTARY: PEER Follows Up on FKAA's Fake Environmental Assessment

by Margaret Blank……. Keys media generally serves to downplay the failings of FKAA officials. FKAA documents reveal that Toppino has done over $20 million with the FKAA in the last ten years – $12.4 million of that on the Cudjoe Regional project alone, despite public reports of only $1,000,000 in FKAA contracts. Not only that, Toppino benefited heavily from questionable bid shuffling on the now-failing Big Coppitt project, the details of the bidding process closely guarded from the public. If you want to know how [continue reading…]

 December 30, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #199, Margaret Blank 4 Responses »
Oct 142016
 
Falsehood

by John Prosser……. In the last few weeks, I have read several newspaper articles that included quotes, and heard a radio interview with FKAA’s Executive Director that were fraught with misinformation. FKAA appears to be intentionally misleading public opinion concerning the recent lawsuit against coerced placement of sewage pump stations on private property. Zuelch claimed that the DOAH already heard a similar complaint: “we have been here before.” He claimed the grinders were judged fine. That is untrue. The Dump the Pumps complaint protested construction permits [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #188, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Jul 292016
 
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: FKAA $3 Million Contract for Toppino

by Margaret Blank……. Posted this week on www.bigpinekey.com: The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board is getting ready to award a $3 million contract to one of their own, Richard Toppino. Toppino is a FKAA board member with a high potential for conflicts of interest. His family business, Charley Toppino & Sons, has done millions of dollars worth of business with the FKAA over the years – a fact that the FKAA has repeatedly tried to hide. Toppino was appointed to the FKAA board in December 2015. [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #177 7 Responses »
Jun 242016
 
We Have Met the Enemy And He Is Us

Dear Editor, How did the sanitary sewer project go so wrong? It all goes back to the one cent sales tax extension that was used to pay for the sewer system. This is an unconventional way to finance a local sewer system, but it eliminated the need for an environmental assessment plan that would have been carefully reviewed by the Corps of Engineers. There was widespread public support for the sales tax extension. It looked like the ballot would easily pass, since it was sold [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #172, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Big Coppitt – More Missing Documents?

by Margaret Blank……. Update: The FKAA responded right quick this time. I sent an email Sunday, got a response on Monday. This is new and different. Here’s a link to the agenda back up for the approval of award to Gianetti. A couple of things prompted me to take a look back at the Big Coppitt project. The Big Coppitt wastewater treatment facility experienced difficulties meeting effluent quality requirements for about a year. I discovered this completely by accident. It’s never been reported in the [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #170 4 Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Gentle Rebuttal

Dear Editor, A recent press release from FKAA and the County very unjustly and incorrectly attacks two homeowners for filing a lawsuit May 9 that seeks to get those two mega-powers to follow their own rules. The lawsuit simply requests the Court to confirm that the law specifically requires that a gravity connection for people’s sewers be placed in the right of way, not in the yard. So why all the hostility and chest thumping by FKAA and the County? It’s their own rules these [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #170, Letter to the Editor 6 Responses »
May 062016
 
Commissioner Murphy Addresses Senate Committees Regarding Cooling Canals at Turkey Point

MONROE COUNTY COMMISSIONER SYLVIA MURPHY TELLS SENATE COMMITTEES FPL NEEDS TO CLEAN UP HYPERSALINE PLUMES CAUSED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT HOMESTEAD – The state’s Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee and the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee held a joint workshop April 29 in Homestead to learn more about hypersaline water – created by Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant – that has moved outside the utility’s cooling canal system and is threatening Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne aquifer. For [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #165, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Apr 222016
 
The Best Thing the Governor Can Do For the Keys

by Margaret Blank……. Good news! Gov. Scott signs Florida Keys Stewardship Act into Law The Florida Keys Stewardship Act is now officially law. It’s a blessing but a mixed one. As always, it is subject to interference and manipulation by the usual suspects. The Keys didn’t get everything they asked for but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – the situation being what it is. As beneficial as the Florida Keys Stewardship Act may be, there is one thing the Governor could do that would have [continue reading…]

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #163 2 Responses »
Mar 252016
 
Taxing the Citizens for Nothing

Dear Editor, I contacted the sewer adviser at FKAA and asked about my new impending utility bill. How is the Sewage portion of my bill calculated? He answered Everything that goes through the water meter is billed as Sewage. I asked what about the 7000 gallons used to top off my pool-Sewage. What about the water I use to irrigate my fruit crops-Sewage. What about the water I use to water my grass-Sewage. How can this be?? Why is FKAA taxing me for something that [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #159, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Jan 222016
 
Guest Column: The $9.5 Million Toppino Contracts FKAA Lied About

by Margaret Blank……. Getting information from the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) is like pulling teeth sometimes. Good thing I don’t mind pulling teeth. A while back, I asked the FKAA to provide a list of subcontractors on all it’s current projects. It is standard practice to require a contractor to provide a list of subcontractors. I got back this response saying that their contract documents include no such requirement. That is so bizarre, I felt compelled to dig deeper. I read through the contract documents [continue reading…]

 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:08 am * Featured Story *, Editorial, Issue #150 15 Responses »
Dec 112015
 
Guest Column: Richard Toppino for FKAA Board, "An Interesting Choice"

by Margaret Blank……. Richard Toppino of Charley Toppino & Sons has recently been appointed to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board. He will replace Melva Wagner who resigned in September after it became publicly known that she no longer lived in the Keys and was attending meetings by phone. Mr. Toppino was chosen from among eleven applicants for the position. It was a very interesting choice for two reasons: On his application Mr. Toppino names himself as an officer for Charley Toppino & Sons, a [continue reading…]

 December 11, 2015  Posted by at 1:16 am * Featured Story *, Island Voices, Issue #144 11 Responses »
Oct 302015
 
Just Say No!

Dear Editor, Regarding FKAA’s most recent threats to folks who do not connect to the sewer system within 30 days of a notice to connect or who refuse FKAA demands to “grant” an easement: Just say no. No easement ever, hook up in about a year. We’ve checked with local legal counsel who say that despite FKAA’s written and verbal threats, FKAA has no legal authority to require the easements or to penalize people who refuse to grant them. Counsel gave the following opinions: 1. [continue reading…]

 October 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:17 am Issue #138, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Oct 232015
 
POAs Settle with FKAA and County Over CRWS Shallow Wells

The legal challenge brought by Cudjoe Gardens and Sugarloaf Shores property owners associations over the use of shallow injection wells at the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System treatment plant resulted in a guarantee for the expeditious completion of a deep injection well, a generator dedicated to that well, monthly water quality monitoring, and restricted flow as shallow wells are utilized during deep well construction. Approval of the settlement today by county commissioners averted an Oct. 26 hearing before a state administrative judge. “We were pleased when [continue reading…]

 October 23, 2015  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #137, Public Notice No Responses »
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 voting fraud investigation last month, Vogel concluded that Dean may have been voting illegally in Key West for years– because, she said, he doesn’t live in Key West. He lives [continue reading…]

 October 16, 2015  Posted by at 12:52 am * Featured Story *, Issue #136 23 Responses »
Oct 162015
 
WASTEWATER WORRIES: Scientists Say Treatment Plants Are Breeding Grounds For "Super Bugs"

Here in the Keys the debate over what to do with our wastewater often centers around nutrients and their effect on the offshore natural environment.  But, according to scientists that’s just one small part of why this issue is so important. Learn what scientists and engineers already know about wastewater treatment plants and the role they play in the proliferation of life threatening antibiotic resistant ” Super Bugs” and find out about a new project aimed at providing practical solutions to this worldwide problem.  Cleaning [continue reading…]

 October 16, 2015  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #136, Public Notice, Water World No Responses »
Oct 092015
 
***BREAKING*** CANVASSING BOARD RULES THAT BOB DEAN LIVES IN THAT LITTLE APARTMENT ON BAHAMA STREET AND NOT WITH HIS WIFE IN THAT BIG HOUSE IN KEY HAVEN. WE'RE NOT MAKING THIS UP

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 be gullible enough to actually believe that you do own the bridge and who might be willing to make an offer. Who do you think those three people might be? How [continue reading…]

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 Griffin, with a new sworn affidavit. In response to those who accuse Dean of unlawfully sitting on the FKAA Board and of not being a Key West resident, Dean now [continue reading…]

Oct 092015
 
A Golden Opportunity

Dear Editor, It’s really a blessing in disguise that Cudjoe Regional hasn’t started operation yet. One very senior DEP official has called this sewer system “kind of a big experiment.” And it’s already showing problems before it’s even operating. I hear reports from the field people that some of the gravity sewers are so leaky that they can’t keep them emptied. And normally a service tech would turn on lift station pumps and know immediately that they were working because the water level would start [continue reading…]

 October 9, 2015  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #135, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Oct 052015
 
DEAN VOTED!

Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin, confirms that FKAA Board Chairman Bob Dean voted in the City election during the early voting period that ended Saturday. Dean was given a “provisional ballot” in light of the “Voter Challenge” filed by State Attorney Catherine Vogel last month. This means that his vote will not be counted unless the City of Key West Canvassing Board decides to accept Dean’s proof of residency in Key West. A State Attorney investigation concluded last month that Mr. Dean resided in Key Haven [continue reading…]

Oct 022015
 
WILL KEY HAVEN RESIDENT BOB DEAN REALLY VOTE IN THE KEY WEST ELECTIONS NEXT WEEK? HIS LAWYER SAYS HE WILL. THE STATE ATTORNEY SAYS HE SHOULDN'T

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 moves, there are laws that have to be considered concerning updating home addresses on drivers licenses, voting registrations, etc.– and although I didn’t really know the details about what legal [continue reading…]

Oct 022015
 
Cudjoe Regional: Is the BOCC Uninterested in Inconvenient Facts?

by John Prosser……. Before the June 10, 2015 BOCC meeting, I delivered two letters to the BOCC at the Marathon Government Center building in envelopes marked “Agenda Item J1 & Agenda Item J2, Public Comment.” Working people have no opportunity to speak when Board meetings are in the middle of the week and the middle of the day. That is why many town councils meet at night. I asked a County employee to please deliver the envelopes to someone who would hand them to the commissioners before [continue reading…]

 October 2, 2015  Posted by at 12:52 am Island Voices, Issue #134 3 Responses »
Sep 262015
 
SHOWDOWN AT FKAA [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Board member Cara Higgins challenges Chairman Dean’s eligibility to represent District 3 (Key West) on FKAA board…  Watch The Blue Paper exclusive video… Special thanks to Colby Fisher for all his great work in un-covering this story! DID YOU LIKE THIS STORY?  SUPPORT THE BLUE PAPER Help us continue to bring you local investigative journalism…  Click on the image to make a donation [NOT tax deductible].

Sep 252015
 
Crooked Atty General Bondi Gives Up Whistle Blower

Dear Editor, It was reported to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that Monroe County through it’s Running Dog Lackey Robert “Bob”Dean, Kurt Zeulch, & the FKAA were actively Extorting 3000+Lower Keys Taxpayers & Property Owners to Give up Property Rights for installation of Monroe County’s Turd Grinders AND SUPPLY Electric to run them. I was Personally told by an Asst. County Atty. that if I didn’t give up and unwillingly surrender my property rights, I would Be BYPASSED and my homestead would be CONDEMNED. I [continue reading…]

 September 25, 2015  Posted by at 12:21 am Issue #133, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
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 Chairman, J Robert Dean, who seems to be walking the plank. “I have reason to believe,” wrote State Attorney Catherine Vogel, after concluding her criminal investigation, “that James Robert Dean is attempting [continue reading…]

 September 18, 2015  Posted by at 12:54 am * Featured Story *, Naja and Arnaud Girard 26 Responses »