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…]
Efforts to protect Key deer from a recent New World screwworm outbreak reached an important milestone this week, surpassing 90 days without a confirmed screwworm-infested animal. The milestone represents a significant reduction in the risk of additional reinfestation of the screwworm, which threatened not just Key deer, listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but people, wildlife, domesticated animals and livestock. The administration of oral doses to Key deer of anti-parasitic medicine has been stopped following this week’s milestone.
The American alligator is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million and consists of alligators of every size. They are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem, but should be regarded with caution and respect. During spring when temperatures rise, alligators become more active. Although alligator incidents are rare, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water. Alligators inhabit all 67 counties in Florida [continue reading…]
First published on Feb 4, 2017 An Islamorada woman was arrested today for kidnapping her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. During the attack, she threatened the woman with a knife, gagging her and tying a rope around her neck. The incident took place January 27th. 51 year old Laura Bauler reportedly entered the victim’s residence on Parker Drive without permission. The victim was in bed at 11:45 p.m. when Bauler allegedly forced her out of bed at knifepoint. The victim states Bauler then tied a kitchen towel [continue reading…]
by Naja Girard……. Oceanside Marina has now officially opened its 175-room “Ocean’s Edge” resort to tourists from all over the world. But there’s still no satisfactory determination as to the legal status of the operation. Is it a “175-room hotel” created without the 175 transient building allocations (ROGOS) required by law or is it a collection of “attached” condos prohibited from engaging in vacation rentals in that particular zoning district (Mixed Use – MU)?
Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of three men underground in a neighborhood of Key Largo. The three men worked for Douglas N. Higgins, a construction company contracted to do the work by Monroe County. They were in an underground drainage pipe this morning when they collapsed.
A Sheriff’s deputy investigating a credit card fraud case is asking for the public’s help to identify three suspects. The victim called to report his credit card number was being used fraudulently on December 6th. He said the suspects had used his credit card number at the Walgreen’s pharmacy in Marathon on 109th Street just before 10 p.m.
The caregiver for an elderly woman was arrested Saturday morning, charged with abusing her. Deputies responded to the Sugarloaf Key residence at 1:30 a.m. after the 72 year old victim’s son called for a welfare check on his mother. He said his 21 year old girlfriend Megan Fedock had been acting as caregiver for his mother. He said Fedock came to his place of work on Friday and told him his mother was now “sleeping on the floor like a dog and got what she [continue reading…]
Key West Man Wanted in Connection with Stolen Truck, Cement Pumping Machine A Key West man is wanted on outstanding warrants accusing him of stealing a work truck and a cement pumping machine from a construction company on Big Coppitt Key. On October 15th, Detective David Cruz responded to Bella Construction on Big Coppitt Key. The owner wanted to report a work truck stolen from the property. Attached to the hitch of the truck was a cement pumping machine. The truck had been recovered earlier in [continue reading…]
MARATHON – Monroe County’s newly acquired Trauma Star helicopter, a 2002 Sikorsky S-76 C+, received its final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and went into service Monday morning, Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief James Callahan said. “Fire Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office have been working together for more than a month to get through the FAA inspections and make sure the helicopter is up and ready to fly,” Callahan said. “Our flight crews and medical personnel are all trained and we are excited about [continue reading…]
SWC, a local engineering, planning and environmental science firm, has created an official dive program that has received certification by the American Association of Underwater Scientists (AAUS). “This has been a long-term commitment of SWC, to develop a program that addresses diver safety during work activities that meets federal OSHA standards and addresses requirements of many federal and State agencies,” said Sandy Walters, SWC president. “We worked together with Florida Keys Community College to certify our Dive Safety Officer Shawn Martin as an AAUS [continue reading…]
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of New World screwworms in Monroe County on October 3, 2016. Florida’s endangered Key deer population on Big Pine and No Name keys have already suffered losses due to this infestation. A few pets in the local area exhibited potentially similar infestations over the past two months, though no larvae were collected and tested in those cases. Rapid and thorough response efforts are imperative to save this endangered species and prevent the spread to people and other [continue reading…]
A Big Pine Key woman was charged with stealing a large amount of jewelry and other property from her roommate and using her debit card without her permission while the roommate was in the hospital. The crimes took place in September of 2015. The victim had been in the hospital for a period of time. While she was there, her roommate 31 year old, Belen Araque, allegedly took a total of $29,000 worth of items from her home including jewelry, rods and reels, clothing, custom made [continue reading…]
NORTH KEY LARGO – The sunken derelict vessels, unpermitted structures and tons of trash and debris that accumulated for decades on a private 22-acre property along Card Sound Road in North Key Largo are now gone. Monroe County Code Compliance oversaw the massive cleanup of the land and waterway that once was part of the “Historic Fishing Village of Card Sound” but had become an environmental mess and safety hazard. “It definitely was not the usual code enforcement case,” said Lisette Cutie, Monroe County’s Code [continue reading…]
by Margaret Blank….. I’ve had some heartburn over the Florida Keys Stewardship Act (FKSA) for some time now. I want to be supportive. I want to be comfortable. I want to like it. But somehow I just can’t quite get there. The more I read about it, the more uncomfortable I am. I’ve written about it here and here and a few other places. The Act was supposed to increase the amount of money available for water quality projects and ensure a predictable flow of money for that purpose. It did [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office began using body worn cameras on Monday. Most uniformed deputies will be required to wear the cameras as a routine part of their uniform. All members who will be using the cameras completed their training last week. The Sheriff’s policy requires they be worn by road patrol deputies and sergeants, school resource deputies, civil deputies, traffic deputies, airport deputies and sergeants and detectives when they are in uniform. Detectives may also wear them when in plain clothes.
Detectives in the Upper Keys are investigating three reports involving hidden cameras found in women’s restrooms. In all three incidents, miniature cameras hidden in coat hooks were found mounted on the walls in the women’s restrooms. They were found at Anne’s Beach on May 26th, the Circle K Store at the 99.8 mile marker of Highway U.S. One on May 28th and in the women’s bathroom at Harry Harris Park in Tavernier today [May 31st].
The Mayor’s Letter to the Editor: There’s some talk right now about changing to single-member district (SMD) voting for Monroe County Commission seats. From my perspective, SMD elections would diminish voter representation and lead to legislative gridlock. With SMD elections, you vote for one Commissioner every four years. In our current at-large elections, you get to vote for all five Commissioners every four years, and for at least 40% of the Commission every two years. Suppose your SMD-elected Commissioner disagrees with you on a particular [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office had two more different types of scams reported Tuesday and would like to make everyone aware so they do not fall victim to these fraudsters. An Islamorada woman called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night to report being scammed by someone she believed worked for a legitimate loan company. The 60 year old victim said she was trying to obtain a loan from a company called “Easy Loans”. She said a representative called and agreed to give her a $3,000 loan. He told [continue reading…]
by John Donnelly……. Recent cries by some to expedite the killing of cats, illustrates a callousness and depravity not often found in a civilized society. The justification proffered for slaughtering these sentimental creatures is riddled with flaws and inaccuracies. These animals are not responsible for any of the complications attributed to their species. They are not, nor have they ever been ‘the problem’. Citizens abandoning and discarding their pets as garbage into the wild are the problem. Rather than emphasizing an ‘accelerated killing program’ [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s Detective David Brummer needs help identifying two suspects captured on video committing a business burglary on Big Pine Key Tuesday evening. Surveillance cameras at M & M Automotive on Avenue A, Big Pine Key shows the two men just after 7 p.m. walking around outside the business near vending machines and near some tires stored outside. They removed a key from a scooter stored at the business. They appear to be looking at tires perhaps to find a specific size. The business reported the [continue reading…]
A Sugarloaf man was arrested Wednesday evening after he pointed a gun at a Big Pine couple on a motorcycle. The incident began at about 6:15 p.m. when 75 year old Matthew Ferro, in his cream colored Cadillac pickup truck, reportedly passed Christy and Robert Velasquez who were traveling southbound on a motorcycle on the Seven Mile Bridge. When the two vehicles reached the Bahia Honda Bridge, the motorcycle reportedly passed the truck followed by the truck passing the motorcycle. Rude gestures were exchanged. The [continue reading…]
by Captain Ed Davidson……. There are a number of highly significant, precedent-setting, and historically impactful policy-level issues arising from the HOB daycare mis-funding/cover-up scandal that the School Board should discuss forthrightly after having had the time to carefully review the results of the thorough composite investigations that have now occurred — discussions that were not possible at the last meeting when the ink was still wet on investigative reports that had been delivered to the Board (and the public) at literally the last minute.
Mayor Craig Cates and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Sam Kaufman joined the national day of remembrance for victims of the slave trade by proclaiming March 25th International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Corey Malcolm, the Director of Archaeology and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, accepted the proclamation. “We here in Key west are fortunate to have with us today — from shipwrecks to cemeteries — a remarkable array of historical reminders from the transatlantic slave [continue reading…]
A sharp cashier at a Key Largo business helped the Sheriff’s Office catch a couple passing fake $100 bills Thursday. At 3 p.m., Detective Barney Sajdak heard over his police radio a notice to be on the lookout for a vehicle occupied by a couple involved in attempting to pass a fake $100 bill at Mother Ocean Consignment at the 99 mile marker of the highway. The clerk called the Sheriff’s Office after a woman gave her a $100 bill to pay for a purchase; [continue reading…]
Skeletal remains found on Summerland Key in December have been identified as a missing man from Norway. Major Crimes Detective Manny Cuervo says dental records were instrumental in making the positive identification. He says the body of the man found on Summerland Key is that if 56 year old Guiseppe Codiglia. Codiglia was reported missing by his son, Mats Codiglia Weberg in June of 2015. Weberg said his father traveled to the United States in February of 2015 and spent time visiting a friend in [continue reading…]
by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Before the Florida Keys meant sun, sea and Jimmy Buffet, they were famous for mosquitoes– dense, black clouds of them that hummed and bit without pause, spread malaria, dengue and yellow fever, and drove visitors temporarily insane with irritation. At the beginning of the 20th Century, many thought that Florida was virtually uninhabitable and could never be developed. By 1922, however, Dr. J.Y. Porter was on the job as the Florida’s first health officer and was proposing procedures to help control [continue reading…]
Sheriff’s deputies took a Marathon man into custody peacefully Friday after he reportedly pulled a gun on them as they tried to serve an active warrant. Deputies Danielle Malone, William Daniels and Key Colony Beach Officer John Smith went to a home on 4th Avenue Ocean in Marathon just before 10 p.m. Friday. They were there to serve an arrest warrant on 43 year old David Williams.
Kay Thacker: “The Blond Bombshell” – An Inspiration To Us All by Christine Russell……. I will never forget the day I met Kay Thacker. As a Key West activist, many years ago I felt the need to pay more attention to county politics when the “Gang of Three” (long ago former county Commissioners) were at the helm and Tom Willi was County Administrator. I knew only what I read in the papers about how the county was running amuck, spending wildly and foolishly (remember [continue reading…]
A small plane crashed upon trying to land at Tavenero Airport, a small private airport in Tavernier. One person – the pilot – was on board and was not injured. Florida Highway Patrol will be investigating the case. The Federal Aviation Administration has also been notified. When the plane crashed, it hit some phone lines in the area of Plantation Avenue. People who live in that area may experience problems with their service. The phone company has been notified.
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. A one-room efficiency for $1,836/month, a one-bedroom for $2,097, a two-bedroom for $2,358. Those are the “affordable” rates that will prevail for the rental of 70% of the 213 affordable residential units the County Commission has approved for a Big Coppitt Key waterfront development project. Those rents are defined in the code as “moderate-income affordable.”
MARATHON – The Land Authority Governing Board selected Charles Pattison as executive director of the Land Authority during a special meeting Tuesday at the Marathon Government Center.
Last Stand will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, January 21st, at 6:00 pm, at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street in Key West. This year’s program features the award-winning photography of Mac Stone. Now based in Gainesville, Stone grew up in Central Florida and shares his adventures in springs and swamps, glaciers and mountain streams through his photography. His work explores the relationship between mankind and the natural world, and Stone’s talk will feature stunning photos of Everglades landscapes and wildlife. Everglades: [continue reading…]
by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. The Christmas holidays. A wonderful time of the year, wherever you are. But celebrating Christmas in Key West is, well, sort of surreal– even for those who were born here and those of us who have lived here for years. And for those who are visiting here for the holidays, it has to be really strange to be walking around among all the Christmas decorations in the bars and stores and seeing those big candy canes hanging on the lamp posts [continue reading…]
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 seats, but along the years they expanded the restaurant, increasing to 210 seats and paved over the leach field in the process. The Blue Paper obtained the audio recording of the [continue reading…]
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 suspect had been saved by his bulletproof vest that night.] The documentary above takes a closer look at safety concerns for deputies and innocent bystanders during Felony Traffic Stops involving armed and [continue reading…]