Dec 012017
 
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Nation’s Only Underwater Hotel, Reopens in Key Largo

KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Jules’ Undersea Lodge, the United States’ only submerged recreational hotel, is to reopen to overnight divers Friday, Dec. 1. The famed lodge, located at Key Largo Undersea Park, sustained no damage when Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys Sept. 10. At the park, however, the Category 4 storm damaged a property generator, gift shop, office and above-ground rooms, temporarily discolored its Emerald Lagoon and scattered debris from downed tree limbs and foliage. The lagoon reopened to divers and snorkelers in early November after [continue reading…]

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:27 am Issue #245, Water World, What To Do No Responses »
Nov 242017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / “It's all Danny's fault if we lose.”

They lost. And he was off by over $2 million plus 333 other errors. by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Danny Kolhage’s share of the $15+ million in reporting errors made by the most recently cited four county commissioners rung up with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics was “only” $2,254,648, putting him a distant third to Heather Carruthers’ $7.4 million and David Rice’s $4.5 million.  But Kolhage was easily in 1st Place in errors of form, omitting 24 addresses and 309 entries on [continue reading…]

Nov 242017
 
Davidson: "A joint meeting of the affordable/workforce housing committee and the school board should be convened immediately."

by Captain Ed Davidson……. Some elements in the Schools Administration are unenthusiastic about providing Affordable Workforce Housing directly, and are broadly unknowledgeable of the issues as well — and were starting off half-cocked with practically no awareness of the vast amount of professional-grade work the county-wide Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (on which I had served for more than a year as the School Board designee) had already accomplished. So I decided to pay them a visit Tuesday afternoon [November 14th] when housing issues were workshopped: “For the [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:38 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #244, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Nov 242017
 
Today is the Last Day to Register for FEMA Assistance After Hurricane Irma in Florida  

You have until 11:59 tonight, Friday, Nov. 24 to register with FEMA if you have damage caused by Hurricane Irma—in Florida—between Sept. 4 and Oct. 18, 2017.   How to register: Online at DisasterAssistance.gov. Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS). If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. Help is available in many languages. Helpline numbers are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Information is available in ASL at: fema.gov/medialibrary/assets/videos/111546. Download [continue reading…]

 November 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #244, News No Responses »
Nov 102017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / Commissioner Carruthers: "Flabbergasted!"

“….a hundred thousand dollars does sound like a lot of money to a lot of people . . .” by Rick Boettger……. County Commissioner Heather Carruthers had the grossest amount of financial misreporting, at $7,427,421, and an additional 138 errors of form between 2012—2015. But before we get into the continuing grim recitation of the details of our county commissioners’ 700+ form errors plus over $15 million dollars in misreported financials, something was brought to my attention that offers a rare splash of humor.

Nov 032017
 
ETHICS VIOLATIONS: A Closer Look at Commissioner David Rice's Financial Reporting...

by Rick Boettger……. The big picture last week was that, of the four Monroe County Commissioners who got $20,000 in fines for 16 ethics charges, David Rice made $4,561,558 in self-admitted financial errors, and by my count 228 errors of form on his four Form 6’s from 2012–2015.  The biggest chunk of that was under-reporting the value of his real estate and his brokerage accounts by around $850k each, and his car and boat to the tune of over $400k (around $100k each year for [continue reading…]

Nov 032017
 
Don’t Miss Out on Important Disaster Recovery Assistance Deadlines

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reaching out to remind you of important dates and deadlines as you proceed with your recovery from Hurricane Irma. Do not miss out on assistance that may be available to you because of a missed deadline. Some deadlines may be extended, but do not wait. The following information is current as of Nov. 2.   Request for Public Assistance (RPA): Sunday, Nov. 5

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:44 am Issue #241, News No Responses »
Oct 272017
 
County Commissioners' Ethical Problems Get Worse

Taxpayers to Pay Up to $50k to Help Them Fill Out Simple Form by Rick Boettger……. News break—I just received a copy of Mark Herron’s contract from an attorney in County Attorney Bob Schillinger’s office.  Herron will get $300/hour plus expenses to vet not only the Commissioners’ but their “employees,” whoever that includes, but “. . .do not exceed $49,999.99.”  They say this is authorized by Section 2-58(b)(3) of the county code.  I, and if necessary my Harvard lawyer, will take a close look at [continue reading…]

Sep 202017
 
Community Assistance Opportunity to Help Florida Keys Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) completed surveys of areas known to provide fresh water to wildlife in the National Key Deer Refuge (No Name and Big Pine Keys west to Sugarloaf Key) following Hurricane Irma.  Due to the storm surge from Hurricane Irma, salinity levels in fresh water wetlands are on average higher than acceptable levels for most wildlife species, including the endangered Key deer, resident and migratory birds, rabbits, butterflies, and other species. There are areas on Cudjoe Key that have fresher [continue reading…]

 September 20, 2017  Posted by at 4:36 pm News No Responses »
Aug 252017
 
Monroe County's TDC and 11 Other Florida TDC's Accused of Deliberately "Hiding From Transparency"

***BREAKING NEWS*** Tallahassee, FL—Today, Speaker Richard Corcoran sent letters to 12 local tourism development councils who have severed ties with Visit Florida. Corcoran accuses the TDC’s of doing so, “under the false presumption that such an action would shield them from legislative oversight.” Upon sending the letter Speaker Corcoran said, “Let me be painstakingly clear, if you spend one dime of taxpayer money you will do it in a transparent and accountable way. These TDCs are sadly mistaken if they think Florida’s families don’t deserve to [continue reading…]

 August 25, 2017  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #233, News 1 Response »
Aug 112017
 
Largest Turnout in Monroe History for the "Big Latch On"

~~~ The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County’s WIC program, in partnership with Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition and volunteers – Jessica Laino and Kimmie Matlock, participated in the Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event.  The events took place on August 4 in Marathon and August 5 in Key West and Key Largo.  Twenty eight babies successfully latched on at the same time along with 17,790 other babies around the world, breaking the worldwide breastfeeding record.  Last year there were nine latched on babies [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:29 am Issue #231, Special Events No Responses »
Jul 212017
 
Vessel Turn-In Pilot Program Deadline Approaches

Monroe County’s Marine Resources Office, in coordination with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will accept applications July 26 through Aug. 18 for its new Vessel Turn-in Program (VTIP). The federally funded pilot program is for vessel owners who cannot afford to properly dispose of end-of-life boats that are anchored in Florida Keys waters. A VTIP Disposal Event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Key Haven Boat Ramp Facility, mile marker 5 on U.S. 1. The VTIP pilot program provides an opportunity for vessel [continue reading…]

 July 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:04 am Issue #228, Water World 1 Response »
Jul 102017
 
Stolen Car Pulled From Water - Rockland Key

A car, stolen from Stock Island overnight, was pulled from the water near the intersection of Riviera and Puerta Drives on Rockland Key. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 5:30 a.m. from a resident of that area who said he saw two or three young men estimated to be in their 20s run away from the scene after the vehicle went into the water. When deputies arrived, they ascertained there was no one in the car, then called for a tow truck to remove it from the [continue reading…]

 July 10, 2017  Posted by at 1:50 pm News 1 Response »
Jun 162017
 
TPS HAITI: "Know Your Rights" Forum June 23rd - Spread the Word...

A ‘Know your Rights’ informational gathering to provide information on the recent policy changes in the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitians, including the six month extension will take place on Friday, June 23rd at 5:30 pm at The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea in the Klaus Murphy Center, 724 Truman Ave.. In order to provide accurate information from a trusted source, Mr. Peterson St. Philippe, Esq., Managing Attorney from Catholic Legal Services of the Archdiocese of Miami will provide updated information [continue reading…]

 June 16, 2017  Posted by at 12:49 am Issue #223, News, Public Notice 3 Responses »
Jun 022017
 
Searoom, Splendor in My Dark... by Andree Hardy

“What led me to leave shore and become my own island echoed between the new plywood walls of that old 1969 Thunderbird Houseboat … anchored at respectable strokes from shore in Sunset Cove, Key Largo mm99. Searoom, Splendor in My Dark is my true story, a place I ran to after my castle in the sand slipped away, where impending storms waited their turn to switch my mind from despair to delight, under the mostly majestic skies of the Florida Keys…” To learn more about Andree Hardy, her current projects and/or [continue reading…]

 June 2, 2017  Posted by at 12:34 am ~ Artists ~, Issue #221 No Responses »
Apr 212017
 
Emergency Management Director Marty Senterfitt to Appear on WPLG Local 10's Hurricane Season 2017 Special

On Friday morning, Monroe County Emergency Management Director Marty Senterfitt was interviewed by Jeff Tavss, executive producer at WPLG Local 10, for the TV station’s upcoming Hurricane Season 2017 Special. The special features meteorologist Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. It is scheduled to air May 26 at 8 p.m., just days before the June 1 official start to the 2017 hurricane season. Senterfitt spoke about Monroe County’s preparedness for tropical storms. He also explained the challenges emergency management face in the [continue reading…]

 April 21, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 am Issue #215 No Responses »