May 272016
 
FIGHTING FIRE IN KEY WEST

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Today, if you dial 911 to report a fire, the Key West Fire Department will typically be at the scene of the fire within five minutes. When I was researching this story and former Fire Chief Eddie Castro gave me that information, I asked the question again. “Come on, Chief, five minutes from the time the call comes into the fire station to fighting the fire does not seem credible.” “Well, actually,” he said– lecturing me like one of my old [continue reading…]

May 272016
 
School Board's Discussion on Henriquez Rehiring: "[silence]"

FRONT PAGE COMMENTARY by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. NOT TO SPEAK IS TO SPEAK, NOT TO ACT IS TO ACT We wondered this week just how the Monroe County School Board was going to justify the rehiring of a disgraced employee, twice embroiled in school district financial scandals. While the board did approve the $105,000 a year salary for Mike Henriquez in his new, specially tailored, Director’s job, they simply made sure, during the public meeting, to never once utter his name. This is how the board, in [continue reading…]

May 272016
 
Hialeah Man Charged with Multiple Counts Credit Card Fraud

CRIME REPORT: An alert merchant in Key Largo quickly called the Sheriff’s Office after a Hialeah man attempted to use multiple fraudulent credit cards in his store to purchase high end merchandise. That call led to the arrest of the man who is now in jail on 60 felony counts related to the fraud. The manager of West Marine in Key Largo said 41 year old Rogelio Rodriguez walked into the store at about noon and asked to see one of the most expensive models [continue reading…]

 May 27, 2016  Posted by at 12:55 am News No Responses »
May 242016
 
Man Arrested for Violent Upper Keys Rape

  A local man, 53-year old Johnny Hayes was arrested for violently raping and beating a Tavernier woman on March 13th. He is accused of grabbing her as she walked on a street near her home, dragging her into the bushes, beating her with some type of blunt object, threatening to kill her and then raping her. The attack allegedly took place just after 9 p.m. on the southbound side of highway U.S. One, east of the Tavernier Creek Bridge. The victim stated she was [continue reading…]

 May 24, 2016  Posted by at 7:08 pm News 1 Response »
May 202016
 
Peary Court: Affordable Housing Deal Goes Through / 92% of Units Can Legally Rent For $2709/Month

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…… This must be an all time record for how fast a small City like Key West can vet, vote, and authorize payment on a 12.5 million dollar deal. In just 2 weeks time the City dispatched 12.5 million dollars to a private company that will provide affordable housing [for up to $2709/month] for rent-burdened Key West workers. The last leg of this race to closing played out this week: the County’s Land Authority pledged the entire City reserve plus $300,000 [continue reading…]

May 202016
 
Truman Waterfront Advisory Board Member, Ben Volpian, Wants Fresh Talks About Park Plans

Truman Waterfront Advisory Board Member, Ben Volpian, has asked for the group’s May 23, 2016 board meeting to include a frank discussion on future park plans. Volpian says there are three Plans: 1. The Truman Waterfront Park Master Plan, 2. Conceptual Plan as presented by Planning Director, Thaddeus Cohen, and 3. Truman Waterfront Plan as presented by Ben Volpian. His aim is to begin a group discussion that would compare the 3 Plans using the City of Key West’s Mission’s and Duties of the Truman [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 1:05 am Issue #167, Public Notice 8 Responses »
May 132016
 
Medical Examiner Buys Himself Video Games, Gun Supplies and a Truck With County Money

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. It all started with a dead body being hauled down US 1 on the back of an open-bed pickup truck. That was the unceremonious business practice of the new Monroe County Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Beaver. Families complained. Then employees at the Medical Examiner’s office began leaving. The first one to leave, Ryan Moe, claimed he was subjected to abusive treatment. He told the Keynoter last May that Beaver would leave him alone to conduct critical autopsy procedures, “He’d have [continue reading…]

May 062016
 
Two More Scams Reported

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…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #165, News No Responses »
May 062016
 
SISTER SEASON SURVIVORS PARTY, MONDAY MAY 30TH!

The Sister Season Fund needs volunteers to help with the 39th Annual Survivors Party – Family Fun Fair on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th from 4pm – 8pm at the Bottlecap.  This promises to be a family friendly event, full of good old fashioned fun, featuring food, entertainment, and games.  If you can help with set up, selling raffles, taking admission, or with one of our Family Fun Fair games please call John at 305-434-5538.  All funds raised will be used to provide assistance to locals [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:17 am Issue #165, Special Event, What To Do No Responses »
May 062016
 
Books & Books Supports Public School with Community Book Fair Celebration

  Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West, the island’s new independent book store at 533 Eaton Street, will host a celebration of books and community on Sunday, May 15 from 10am-6pm, with supporting entertainment and opportunities presented by Key West Montessori Charter School. “Books & Books is happy to offer this day to the community and to the Montessori charter school to help encourage enthusiasm for books and reading,” says store manager Mia Clement. “We look forward to supporting an appreciation of [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:16 am Issue #165 No Responses »
May 042016
 
*DEVELOPING STORY* Commercial Vessel Discharging Gunfire at Another Vessel West of Key West

Wednesday May 4, 2016: Commercial vessel allegedly discharging gunfire at another vessel 40 miles west of Key West, Florida. Reporting vessel is running for safety at top speed. Coast Guard orders all unnecessary personnel on reporting vessel below deck… The incident reportedly began when a recreational dive boat drove through a commercial fisherman’s chum slick while southwest of the Marquesas Keys. Update [from U.S. Coast Guard Miami]: The Coast Guard responded to a report of the discharge of a firearm southwest of Marquesas Key, Florida, on [continue reading…]

 May 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:09 pm ** BREAKING NEWS **, Water World No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
Peary Court: Plan B

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. After 58% of voters rejected the purchase of Peary Court six weeks ago, some City Commissioners have a new plan: give the City’s affordable housing funds to a private company that wants to buy the entire former Navy housing complex on White Street for 60 million dollars. The City would pay the buyer 12.5 million. In exchange, the buyer would deed restrict the 157 existing units and any other units constructed on the 24 plus acre property for use as [continue reading…]

Apr 292016
 
Warning! Kidnapping Scam

A Key Largo man was scammed out of $2,500 because he believed his wife was kidnapped. The 30 year old man told Deputy Gil Gonzalez he received a call Friday at 10 a.m. from a man – “Mike” –  who claimed to have his wife; Mike said the victim’s wife was involved in a car crash and had killed Mike’s son in the crash. Mike said after the crash he kidnapped her. He claimed to be a drug dealer and said he did not want [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 1:30 am Issue #164, News No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
“The Voice From the Other Side of the Band Room Controversy”   

Dear Editor: On January 20, 2016, the six (6) members of the City Commissioners voted to approve funding for the “White Boxing” of the Douglass School Band Room & Shop Building and held their vote on whether the building should house the Roosevelt Sands Health Clinic.  The members of the Frederick Douglass School Black Educators Memorial Project (FDSBEMP) had asked for consideration to be given to the fact that Commissioner Clayton Lopez had met with and promised their group over a 5 year period that [continue reading…]

Apr 292016
 
The Problem with Donald Trump's Version of "America First"

by Thomas L. Knapp……. In March, an open letter from 121 Republican “national security leaders” characterized GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s foreign policy vision as “wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle,” swinging “from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.” While it’s always wise to take proclamations from the people who brought us the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with a grain of salt, in this case they were right — and Trump himself proved it with his speech before the Center [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:35 am News No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
Blues Hall of Famer Australian artist Michael Charles to Appear for 2 weeks in Key West!

On June 17th – June 29th eight times Grammy elected and recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee, Australian blues artist Michael Charles will claim the stage at Chicagos and embrace you with an elevated level of energy and a guitar driven journey through thirty one years and thirty two releases of his original music. Leading off with an explosive blues number, the audience is soon captivated by well-rehearsed precision experiencing MC’s original blues, blues based rock, inspiring ballads, as well as some well-known covers.   As [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:16 am ~ Artists ~, Issue #164, Music No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
FIRM Charity Golf Tournament, Save the Date

The Marathon and Lower Keys Association of Realtors will be hosting the 2016 FIRM Charity Golf Tournament. Isaksen Insurance is continuing their tradition as the lead sponsor for this event. The tournament will be held at the Key West Golf Club on June 19, (Father’s Day). Sign in and registration begins at 7:00am and tee off will be at 7:30am. The $100.00, registration for this fun filled golf tournament includes a cart, mulligan, red tees, Bloody Marys, beer, a continental breakfast and lunch. Raffle prizes [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:09 am News No Responses »
Apr 222016
 
Peary Court Sunshine Law Violations?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Taking a look behind the scenes at the ill-fated 55 million dollar Peary Court purchase proposal has opened a door into the shadowy marshland of Key West politics. An investigation by The Blue Paper reveals possible Sunshine Law violations, officials concealing information from the public, and a blurry line between public office and the interests of private organizations.

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:23 am * Featured Story *, Issue #163 11 Responses »
Apr 222016
 
Guest Editorial: The Don Quixote of Mosquito Control

  by Ralph De Palma……. During 2009-2010 mosquito seasons over 100 cases of Dengue Fever were confirmed in mostly Old Town Key West, more cases probably went unconfirmed. The previous Florida Keys Mosquito Control (FKMCD) director Ed Fussell had managed mosquito control for the US Navy for decades. He later managed mosquito control for the entire State of Florida before coming to FKMCD. He has been the past President of the Florida Mosquito Control Association as well as the nationwide American Mosquito Control Association. He reviewed [continue reading…]

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:22 am * Featured Story *, Editorial, Island Voices, Issue #163, News 1 Response »
Apr 152016
 
Bouncers Out of Control?

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. From power trip to assault of patrons, some Duval Street bouncers seem poorly trained or out of control. The Blue Paper sampled this week’s bar brawls to report on the issue. Robert Lee Klieves can’t remember why he was put into a helicopter with a brain bleed and flown to Kendall Regional Trauma Center in Miami last Saturday night. He is 60 years old, from Hudson, Florida. He came to Key West for his “first real vacation in 20 years” to [continue reading…]

 April 15, 2016  Posted by at 8:59 am Issue #162, Naja and Arnaud Girard, News 13 Responses »
Apr 152016
 
A Little Hope for the Young and the Lost

by Ray Jason…….      Perhaps you awaken in the midnight stillness and find yourself lost in the labyrinth of an elusive but disturbing dream. As consciousness returns, you realize that it is not a dream that is troubling you – it is the reality of your life.   You suddenly realize that the modern world is not providing you with joyous possibilities. Instead, it is ensnaring you in a digital desert. You recognize that your 1,243 Facebook friends are actually 1,243 Falsebook strangers. And you [continue reading…]

 April 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:45 am ~ Column ~, Island Voices No Responses »
Apr 102016
 

KEY WEST – American Airlines flight 4680 returned safely to Key West International Airport on Sunday afternoon after a bird strike led to a problem with the left engine. The Embraer 175 jet, which was operated by Republic Airways and destined for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, was carrying 67 people. All were uninjured. “The flight crew did a great job of flying the aircraft safely back to the airport,” said Donald DeGraw, Director of Key West International Airport. “The airport’s fire department and mutual [continue reading…]

 April 10, 2016  Posted by at 5:29 pm News No Responses »
Apr 082016
 
Key West’s Black Community Fighting for Survival

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Even though the debate at City Hall this week was not officially about race, it shed an unflattering light on Key West’s cultural divide in ways that no journalist could express better than the passionate speakers did on Tuesday night. You’re just going to have to listen for yourself and be amazed. But before you click on the video, we need to make you privy to a few basic facts and to the one little secret that no one “in the know” that night had [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
 
Affordable Rental Nightmare

by Cindy Cody……. I have just realized that I never need to go to Disneyland ever again. If you want the wildest ride in your life do what I just did. I listed a nice clean 2-bedroom mobile home with a big yard cheap on Craig’s List. That’s when it started. I am looking for a long-term renter that takes care of the yard and let’s me know if something needs fixing. It’s 24 hours later and I am tearing out my hair on the [continue reading…]

Apr 082016
 
With a Rebel Yell: Remembering Artist Stanley Papio

There’s a kinetic parade coming to town on May 14th that celebrates creativity, innovation, and a Florida Keys man well ahead of his time: Stanley Papio, a folk artist with a clever sense of satire and a tenacity that continues to reverberate 34 years after his passing. “Barefoot” Stanley Papio arrived in Key Largo in 1949, when the upper Keys were little more than an isolated stretch of highway on U.S. 1. He contentedly lived at Mile Marker 101 for many years, using his welding [continue reading…]

 April 8, 2016  Posted by at 7:48 am Art, Issue #161, What To Do No Responses »
Apr 062016
 
KEY WEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REOPENS AFTER MINOR CRASH

ALL 11 ABOARD SEAPLANE WERE UNINJURED Key West International Airport reopened at 7:33 p.m. Wednesday after temporarily being closed for about 90 minutes due to a seaplane that became disabled on runway 9 after its right float broke apart during landing. All 11 people on board (a pilot and 10 passengers) walked away, all declining medical treatment. “It’s the best thing we could hope for, no injuries,” said T.J. Henderson, Assistant Director of Airports.

 April 6, 2016  Posted by at 7:37 pm News 3 Responses »
Apr 012016
 
Detective Seeks Identity of Burglary Suspects

  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 [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:49 pm News 1 Response »
Apr 012016
 
Bernstein Loses Wisteria Island on a Technicality

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. This week FEB Corporation and Roger Bernstein, the wannabe owners/developers of Wisteria Island, have lost their case before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. When most local politicians seemed all too ready to allow real estate moguls to build their posh hotel resort, who would have thought that an old Navy letter penned almost a century ago was going to place the federal government in front of the bulldozer and save the last desert island in Key West harbor? The [continue reading…]

Apr 012016
 
Key West and Brazil: Democracy and Police Accountability

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……… Living and conducting research in Brazil over a number of years during its 21-year military dictatorship taught me the importance of police accountability. Sometimes when police showed up at a residence they were following government orders; sometimes they were acting alone. In either case their objective was to scare people into submission, by merely paying an unannounced visit, or by trashing a family’s possessions, or through violence against them. The victims of such police over-reach had absolutely no recourse: very [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Martha Huggins 12 Responses »