Feb 052016
Key West: Your Landlord May Owe You For Overcharging For Rent

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Donald Roberts lives in Peary Court with his mom Ruby.   They rent one of the 48 deed restricted “affordable” units. Their situation is puzzling. With a combined annual income of under $55,850, they qualify for “low-income affordable workforce housing.” Their rent should be $1,571/month, yet they pay around $2,400/month. At [more…]

Feb 052016
Who Owns Peary Court?

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…….. A burning question was finally asked on Wednesday (2/3/2016) in a Key West Citizen Editorial—“Who is White Street Partners?” Well, that’s the wrong question if you’re after Peary Court’s current owners. Peary Court Holdings, LP (a Delaware limited partnership)– registered in Florida as a “foreign partnership”– is Peary Court’s owner [more…]

Feb 022016
Possible Old Military Device Found Near Knight’s Key

  Something which appears to be an old a military device of some sort was located on Knight’s Key in Marathon today. A man called the Sheriff’s Office at 9:45 a.m. to report finding something he said looked like a “torpedo” in shallow water offshore of Knight’s Key. Sheriff’s deputies evacuated campsites around the location [more…]

Jan 292016
PEARY COURT PURCHASE / Banks: Thanks, But No Thanks…

BANKING INDUSTRY: ‘THANKS, BUT NO THANKS…’ In preparation for the March 15th referendum on the purchase of Peary Court, the City sent out requests for bids to various banks. The City retained PFM, Inc [Public Financial Management] to help collect those proposals that would provide information on how the City would finance the 55 Million dollar purchase. However, [more…]

Jan 292016
The Bookie, The School District, and The Green Parrot

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 [more…]

Jan 292016
“Capitalist Animal Farm: Beware, Technocrats!”

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 [more…]

Jan 292016
Florida Keys Council of the Arts Cultural Calendar

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 [more…]

Jan 152016
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Key West’s City Commissioners are considering the purchase of the old Navy housing at Peary Court. According to Commissioner Weekley, the real estate deal will relieve some of the effects of the dire housing crisis that bleeds the island of its workforce. Yet The Blue Paper discovered this week, [more…]

Jan 152016

Music Video by local artist Miguel Perez, “90 Miles”, miguelperezmusic.com by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Last week, I was doing some research, looking through some of the early issues of The Blue Paper when I ran across a little article headlined “U.S. Could Authorize Travel to Cuba.” According to that article, which was published in our April [more…]

Jan 152016
Last Stand Annual Meeting Features Photographer Mac Stone

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 [more…]

Jan 032016
Peary Court Deal Already Raising Eyebrows...

  Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. **UPDATE Jan 5, 2015 6:15 pm**  City Manager pulled the item from the agenda… ~~~~~~~ Surveyors hired by the City want $29,116 for travel, meals, and hotel expenses to inspect the housing units at Peary Court.  The survey is part of the due diligence process associated with the [more…]

Jan 012016
Impromptu Classical Concerts 44th Season Opens with Pianist Thomas Pandolfi

  “There are many humorous things which tend to happen while one is on the road”, asserts Pianist Thomas Pandolfi who opens Impromptu Classical Concerts 44th season on Sunday January 10th at St. Pauls Church at 4:00 pm. Pandolfi continues: “One that springs to mind is coming out on stage to perform the Liszt Piano [more…]

Dec 252015

In September 1897, one of the most famous exchanges of letters between a newspaper reader and a newspaper editor in the history of journalism was published in the New York Sun. For years, it has been traditional here at The Blue Paper to re-publish this exchange every Christmas. Here it is again. Dear Editor– I [more…]

Dec 182015
Open Letter to the Monroe County School Board

Gentlemen: With the singular and notable exception of Board Chairman Griffiths, you set a new high (or is it low?) for posturing at [Tuesday’s] Board meeting regarding the HOB daycare financial fiasco. One definition of posturing is “to pretend to have or affect a particular attitude” and I thought that you did that exceptionally well. [more…]

Dec 142015

UPDATE 12/17/2015:  The Monroe County Sheriff reports there may be an arrest soon in the case of false bomb threats called into two Keys’ High Schools on Monday morning.   According to investigators, it appears an out of town suspect made the calls in order to help a friend get out of going to classes at Marathon High. [more…]

Dec 122015
Open Letter To The School Board - Reprimand the School Suprintendent

  Gentlemen: I understand that Board Chairman Andy Griffiths will propose at Tuesday’s meeting that the Board reprimand the Superintendent for his mishandling of the HOB daycare center financial fiasco, particularly his failure to notify the Board for almost a year. I strongly urge you to support Chairman Griffiths proposed reprimand. The evidence clearly calls [more…]

Dec 112015

  by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. I sat down this week with City Manager Jim Scholl to talk about the state of the city, problems, accomplishments, politics and a variety of other topics. To say the least, Scholl is “special” in terms of city history. Over the past 25 years, he is the only city manager [more…]

Dec 112015
Fascism or Populism?

by Alex Symington……. Last week I voiced my suspicions that deceitful and misleading pronouncements are being passed off as gospel by the right wing POTUS candidates and the political right wing in general. The reason being is they can, because the corporate sponsored press will not confront these shameless fabulists, they simply repeat all of [more…]

Dec 082015

Monroe County Sheriff’s Department reports a bicyclist was airlifted to a Miami hospital after a hit and run crash involving a Hummer on Stock Island. Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez were at Bernstein Park at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday when a citizen told them about the crash between a yellow Hummer and a bicyclist on [more…]

Dec 062015
Inmate Attacks Cellmate Over Loud Snoring...

An inmate at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island was charged with aggravated battery on his cellmate on Saturday afternoon. The corrections deputy working in the cell block told Deputy Seth Hopp he heard cries for help coming from one of the cells at about 3 p.m. Saturday. The Sheriff’s Department reports that [more…]

Dec 042015
Housing Hocus-Pocus? Is the City Losing the Workforce Housing Battle One House at a Time?

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. It was not the Sistine Chapel, but the ceilings were painted with beautiful scenes of Florida Keys’ waters, with schooners and fishermen. The artists had been Cuban refugees who long ago paid for their stay at “The Kerr House” by redecorating the inside of the old conch house. When we [more…]

Dec 042015
*UPDATE* Second Suspect Apprehended...  for Robbery, Kidnapping, Battery, Home Invasion and Grand Theft

Dec 4, 2015 3:12 pm: **UPDATE**    Key West Police Detectives have arrested the second suspect — John Paul Walker, Jr. — in this case. Both suspects are charged with robbery, kidnapping, felony battery, home invasion robbery and grand theft. Dec 4, 2015 11:53 pm:  Key West Police Detectives on Thursday arrested one man and [more…]

Dec 042015
Eimers Death In Custody. Could It Happen Again?

Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Two years ago, on Thanksgiving morning, paramedics were called to assist an old man on South Beach. KWPD officers on scene told them that the man had been running away from police on the beach and had suddenly collapsed in the sand and when they got to him he [more…]

Dec 042015
HOB Daycare Scandal:  Prominent Audit and Finance Committee Member, Bill Anderson, Resigns in Frustration!

“Public Embarrassment II,”  that’s how William (Bill) Anderson, Chairman of the Monroe County School District’s Audit and Finance Committee, referred to the latest School District financial scandal in his letter of resignation.   The AFC grew out of the Acevedo scandal to serve as an independent watchdog committee. Anderson has been on the Committee since its inception. [more…]

Dec 012015
Sheriff’s Office Employee Arrested, Terminated

  Key West Police Detectives arrested an employee of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department today.  21 year old Deonte Stemage was arrested while working as a Records Assistant at the Monroe County Detention Center. He was booked into that same Detention Center on felony charges. Stemage was arrested for lewd and lascivious battery on a minor. Stemage [more…]

Nov 302015
Superintendent Releases Finance Department's Review of Missing $20,000 in HOB Daycare Program Funds

Commentary by Dr. Larry Murray……. I have read what is purportedly the Finance Department’s review of the HOB Daycare Program. I say “purportedly” because the document is untitled, undated and incomplete. As best I can tell, the document was drafted sometime after February 25, 2015, although the date August, 2015 does appear in the document. [more…]

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
Marathon: Man Airlifted After Fight; Others Attack Responding Deputies

One man was airlifted to a Miami hospital for injuries he sustained in an altercation on 15th Street in Marathon just before midnight Wednesday. Several men were arrested after they attacked deputies attempting to investigate the circumstances of his injuries. Deputies responded to reports of a fight and found the victim, 48 year old Ignacio [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 182015
Local Carpet Cleaner Arrested For Trafficking Drugs While Working

A local business man was arrested Tuesday for selling more than services from his mobile business. A joint investigation by the Key West Police Special Investigations Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Customs and Border Patrol discovered that Jerry Phelps, 54, was trafficking cocaine while he was cleaning carpets.

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 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…]

Oct 302015

  by Ray Jason……. As the years thunder by, I pleasantly discover that my needs and desires keep decreasing. Health, Happiness, Friendship and Freedom are now the cardinal points on the compass of my life’s voyage.   Because today is my birthday, it is natural to ponder whether my Ship of Self is sailing smoothly; or [more…]

Oct 092015

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-BxnL_COmE&feature=youtu.be 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 092015
Screwed, Blu'd and Tattooed by Reef Perkins...continues...

Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins ***Ingrown Heirs*** A Compact History Blu’s Yunger’s far-flung uncle, Ferling Bagwidth, once described as a “hermit crab without the personality,” owned a home and clock repair shop half way down Dung Beetle Lane in Old Town, Key West. Ferling was a Conch. A Conch (pronounced Konk) is someone [more…]

Oct 022015

[responsive_youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_P_wOXDfQ8] 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 [more…]

Oct 022015
Screwed, Blu'd and Tattooed by Reef Perkins... continued

Screwed, Blu’d and Tattooed by Reef Perkins ***Present*** Later that night, after counting his four-hundred dollar jackpot for the eighth time, Blu stole a license plate off an old Yugo parked ass-in near a Guzzle gas station in South Miami. He tweaked the stolen plate onto the Ford then reclined, thumbed through his wad for [more…]