Sep 162016
 
Saying No to Amendment 1 Says Yes to Solar

by Michael Welber……. “Masquerading as a pro-solar energy initiative, this proposed constitutional amendment, supported by some of Florida’s major investor-owned electric utility companies, actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo.” Those are the words of Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente who wrote a strongly worded dissent back in March when Amendment 1 came up for approval by the court. She went on to call the proposal “a masquerade and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Issue #184, Michael Welber 4 Responses »
Sep 162016
 
Mayday!! Fishing Boat Lands on Top of Rock Jetty [video]

The U.S. Coast Guard responded early Tuesday morning to a Mayday call on vhf radio sent by fishing vessel “Little Angenette.” About an hour before sunrise the “Little Angenette” missed the entrance to Key West harbor. The captain initially reported that he’d hit a channel marker and was sinking fast.

Sep 162016
 
New Tool for Battling Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Approved

The EPA has just released a permit for a cutting-edge technology designed to control the disease carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito. The technique, pioneered out of the University of Kentucky, under the leadership of Dr. Scott Dobson and his team, is based on an all-natural solution to mosquito control. Male mosquito eggs are infected/injected, using microscopic needles, with the Wolbachia bacterium. This cutting edge technology, is harmless to humans. When Wolbachia infected male mosquitoes mate with female that are not infected, none of the offspring hatch. [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #184, News 1 Response »
Sep 162016
 
Start the GMO Test

To the Editors, The Mosquito Control Board is “fiddling while Rome burns.”  They should authorize the GMO test immediately. I just returned from Europe where all my friends asked if it was still safe to come to the Keys.  [This week], the Miami Herald documents the economic impact already felt in Miami in just a few weeks. A word about regulators:  In Europe, Naled–used here in Monroe–is banned as too risky.  Monroe’s beekeeper’s would agree.  The impact on humans?  Probably unknowable right now.  Are America’s or Europe’s regulators smarter?  [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Environment, Issue #184, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
Thumbs Up on the Ditching of the Skeeter Taj Mahal

It appears that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board is in the process of regaining it’s sanity In its most recent meeting they ditched the Big Coppit Skeeter Taj Mahal.  The vote was 3-2.  Only two very old line commissioners voted for the Taj Mahal.  Commissioners Shaw and Smith.  Shaw is not seeking reelection.  Smith is!  Remember that he wanted to raise your skeeter taxes by 45%,  that’s what it would have cost to build the Taj Mahal that he and Shaw wanted.  Commissioner Craney-Gage [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #184, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
On Conformity

by Kirby Congdon……. My lover and partner of forty-three  years was different than any of my other friends. I was asked, “How did you handle it between yourselves? What kind of discussions did you have to resolve this distinction that was so public?” My partner and I replied with words to the effect that if your lover had been born with an excess of psoriasis that gave his face a visible proof of acne, was that something we had to resolve to make ourselves, as [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Art, Issue #184, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
Bestselling Author Shares Key West Adventures  & Writing Secrets to Students

Three-Time Newberry Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Holm takes a question from Key West Montessori Charter School student Zoe Barras after a presentation that blended her personal family lore with the rich history of our island.  Holm’s latest novel “Full of Beans” and her multi-award-winning “Turtle in Paradise”  take place during the Great Depression in Key West, making them great educational tools as well as wonderful adventure reads for elementary students. The special event was organized by Books & Books and the charter school’s book fair committee [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:14 am Issue #184, News No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
United Way of the Florida Keys Welcomes New AmeriCorps VISTA Member

United Way of the Florida Keys is proud to announce and welcome new AmeriCorps VISTA Rebecca Medicine Eagle. Rebecca joins UWFK with five years of experience working with AmeriCorps, through both their State and National and their “Volunteers In Service To America” (VISTA) programs. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada, Reno and is a Certified Tribal Emergency Manager as well as a Certified Conflict Resolution Manager. She has volunteered with the American Red Cross for 26 years, is a [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:10 am Issue #184, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
6th Annual Key West Musician's Festival to Benefit Sister Season Fund

Many of the Keys best and best loved musicians will let it rip at the 6th Annual Key West Musician’s Festival, which takes the stage Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18, at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, 2 p.m. till 9 p.m. each day. Singing Iguana Productions are presenters of the free music fest and the event is critical annual fundraiser for the local charity, Sister Season Fund, which assists locals in the entertainment and hospitality industries with rent and utilities when they are out [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:04 am Issue #184, Music, Special Event, Special Events No Responses »
Sep 162016
 
VFW Honors Officer Clark

The Veterans of Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday bestowed a certificate of appreciation on Officer Tom Clark in grateful recognition of his maintaining the highest standards of law enforcement to protect and maintain the lawful rights of all citizens. Officer Clark started with the Key West Police Department in April of 2012. He serves as one of four quality of life officers, addressing vagrancy in the city. He was named Officer of the Year of 2015 and received the Gallantry Award for the bravely he [continue reading…]

 September 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 am Issue #184, News No Responses »
Sep 092016
 
Oh, Connie!

by Malcolm Willison….. Oh, Connie!  Can you be gone?  Can you really have taken away your impish face, those penetrating eyes, wry smile, the devastating remark? You would throw out an article or craft a poem that captured us—you could revel in a phrase or reveal a deepest longing.  We so counted on you–your quick wit, your sly remark, your careful edit of your own and others’ exposition and choice of words, your trenchant critique.   Now who will offer us that same left-handed support, the [continue reading…]

Sep 092016
 
Detective Needs Help Identifying Suspects

A Sheriff’s detective is asking for the public’s help identifying two young burglary suspects from an incident in August. The suspects stole two cases of beer and a pack of cigarettes from a home on Kingbird Lane, Big Coppitt Key. The homeowner contacted the Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of August 15th. He told Deputy Shawn Steele he had captured the burglary on video. He said he reviewed his surveillance video after discovering an 18 pack of bottled Budweiser Select 55 beer, a 24 pack [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #183, News No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
A FEW GOOD LIES

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. The U.S. Navy is considering moving some 400 military families to Key West.  They would be supporting the Navy’s new Triton surveillance drone program. According to the Navy, the deployment shouldn’t be a problem, in terms of housing for new personnel, since the preliminary impact study drafted by the US Fleet Force Command shows that the Lower Keys area has a 43% housing vacancy rate. Key West, they claim, is a little bit tighter with only a 34% vacancy rate. The draft [continue reading…]

Sep 022016
 
City Manager Defends Amnesty Program for Hundreds of Illegal Transient Rentals by Claiming it's Not Happening

  Commentary by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. Four thousand dollars a week is not unusual for the rental of a house in Old Town – as long as you can rent to tourists – that is. Last Wednesday on US 1 Radio’s Morning Magazine, City Manager Jim Scholl went on the defensive amidst accusations that the City has been rewarding illegal transient rental operators. In a story published last week in The Blue Paper we revealed that in 2013 the City had changed the grandfathered-in date in [continue reading…]

Sep 022016
 
Mr. Cady

by Kirby Congdon…….. We had a splendid upright piano at home. In the Great Depression I got my first lessons for free by taking a trip with my older sister on the trolley out of town to a teacher working under the Works Progress Administration in West Chester, Pennsylvania. When we moved to Old Mystic, Connecticut, my teacher, Miss  DeeWilliams, came to the house every Saturday and gave me lessons for fifty cents. Mr. Cady tuned the piano for twenty dollars. He pointed out to [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:49 am Issue #182, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Monroe County Partners Go Door-to-Door to Zap Zika

MONROE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County and Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) hosted five door-to-door outreaches on mosquito bite prevention from Key West to Key Largo, including all military bases and housing in Key West. With the direction of Mosquito Control, nearly 150 volunteers went door-to-door, covering most of the Keys’ hotspots for the Aedes aegypti mosquito – the species found around homes and businesses that can carry the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Volunteers spoke face-to-face with [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #182, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Sep 022016
 
The City Hall Carports: An Open Letter to the City Commission

Dear Mayor & Commissioners, Two things I’d like brought to your attention: I now have evidence showing that the solar array structures are, according to the architect himself,  carports – something clearly prohibited by the HARC guidelines.  The letter, below, from the architect to USBGC Florida, states, “Solar arrays were designed as carport structures”. Therefore, they are in direct violation of HARC guidelines which prohibit new carports highly-visible from the right-of-way.  HARC guidelines state, “The construction of new accessory buildings such as garages or carports [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #182, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Sep 022016
 
Senior Associate Attorney Joins Law Offices of Samuel J. Kaufman, P.A.

The Law Offices of Samuel J. Kaufman, PA is very pleased to announce the addition of Attorney Suzette M. Alfonso. “I take the time to listen and explain your options. Planning becomes a relaxed, informative experience.” Suzette has been practicing law for over 21 years.  The focus of her experience includes Estate Planning, Family Law, Corporate & Business Law as well as Probate and Insurance Defense.  Additionally, she brings many high demand and valuable areas of law to our practice: Medicaid Planning and Elder Law, [continue reading…]

 September 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:27 am Issue #182, Public Notice No Responses »
Aug 262016
 
Crime Pays in Key West, Especially When you Get Caught

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Prominent businessman Ed Swift got caught again illegally renting to tourists. The Conch Train owner and, ironically, advocate for affordable housing, was reported this week by The Keynoter as having been set up, again, by code enforcement officials who went undercover and rented two of his condo units at Key Cove Landing for 6 nights for roughly $600 a night. That was, apparently, the third time in a little over a year.  Swift certainly made a mistake. Or did he? [continue reading…]

Aug 262016
 
Tropical Disturbance Expected to Remain Weak When Reaches the Florida Keys

MARATHON – The tropical disturbance that is now 520 miles east-southeast of Key West remains weak and disorganized. It is not expected to develop into a tropical cyclone by the time it reaches the Keys, according to the National Weather Service in Key West. “This is very good news,” Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt said. Impacts of the tropical disturbance will be felt in the Keys on Sunday and Monday. It is expected to bring periods of heavy rainfall, with the possibility of [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #181 No Responses »
Aug 262016
 
Six Officers Receive Valor Award

Chief Donie Lee last night presented six law enforcement officers with the highest honor bestowed by the Key West Police Department: the Valor Award. Key West Police Officers Alex Gaufillet, Frank Betz, Brian Leahy, Curtiss Richardson and Jessie Hammers and Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy David Lariz all put their lives at risk in order to protect the community during a shooting on Duval Street. A call came in on March 21st that an armed suspect had shot three people on the street. Within minutes, officers [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:12 am Issue #181, News 1 Response »
Aug 262016
 
Chief Presents Lifesaving Awards

This week Key West Police Chief Donie Lee presented Sgt. Jeff Williamson, Detective Stephen Mitchell, and Officers Jesse Young and Michael Chaustit the Lifesaving Award for reviving a man overcome with fumes aboard a stranded boat last week. While conducting training on August 17th, the Key West Police Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT) heard a call come over VHF channel 16 advising there was a vessel with a male having a medical emergency. The U.S. Coast Guard was receiving limited information, but the USRT [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:12 am Issue #181, News No Responses »
Aug 192016
 
Developers to Build on Imaginary Land at Sunset Marina

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…….. To allow an additional 60 plus apartments on his property, a Key West developer nearly doubled the size of his parcel – on paper.  And some of the City Commissioners, who last month signed off on the development agreement, knew all about it. Under Key West zoning density ratios, developer/lawyer Barton Smith needed a minimum of 4.5 acres to build 62 new housing units on his property at Sunset Marina.

Aug 192016
 
Sting Operation: Corrections Deputy Arrested in $150,000 Deal to Help Inmate Escape

A Corrections deputy assigned to the Stock Island detention center was arrested yesterday charged with making a deal with an inmate: cash in exchange for helping him to escape. He was also charged with providing the inmate with contraband in the jail. 50 year old Elizardo Ortueta was reportedly acquainted with the inmate he allegedly made a deal with, 35 year old Albert Vizcaino Gonzalez, prior to his employment with the Sheriff’s Office; Vizcaino is in jail, convicted on drug trafficking charges. He faces a lengthy [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am * Featured Story *, Issue #180 3 Responses »
Aug 122016
 
New Development at Sunset Marina: Commercial Slip Owners Cry Foul

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Liveaboards and low-income renters may not be the only victims of the Sunset Marina development agreement approved last month by the City Commission. Sunset Marina’s $2700/month “affordable housing” project appears to have also cheated small commercial boat owners out of over 100 legally required parking spaces. By the look of things, developers may also be lining things up to cheat the building department on permit fees by an estimated $125,000 [by misrepresenting construction costs by nearly 7 million dollars.]

Aug 122016
 
Florida Ethics Commission: A Sham Regulator

by Rick Boettger……. You would think I would be a big fan of the Ethics Commission.  After all, I filed three complaints, and two were upheld for a total of three violations. Many people are amazed and impressed that I got any favorable holdings at all, given their own experiences. They told me the Ethics Commission is just like the FDLE and police internal reviews, just white-washing for the guilty. After seeing the details of how my case was handled, I now agree, with a [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am * Featured Story *, Rick Boettger 5 Responses »
Aug 122016
 
FBI Miami and Key West Police Department Host Active Shooter Training

Miami – The FBI and Key West Police Department have been hosting a series of conferences this week of August 8th to address responses to active shooter scenarios. The conferences discuss best practices and lessons learned from various active shooter incident responses. Monday’s class was entitled Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events or CRASE. The course is designed to reinforce the Avoid, Deny and Defend strategy and provides information about surviving an active shooter event. The four hour course is attended by Monroe County School District officials, hospital [continue reading…]

 August 12, 2016  Posted by at 12:34 am Issue #179, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Aug 052016
 
Key West Government and Big $ Developers, A Relationship Riddled with Impropriety

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. How do they do it? In the past few months developers convinced the City of Key West to pay them 12.5 million dollars for the promise not to raise rents beyond $2709 per month.  That was Peary Court, where 83% of the 2-bedroom units can now rent for that “middle-income” affordable level, $2709/month. [Low-income affordable is $1545.] Four weeks ago, it was Sunset Marina LLC [developers Barton Smith and Greg Oropeza] that managed to get around the City’s requirement for 30% [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am * Featured Story *, Issue #178 18 Responses »
Aug 052016
 
"C’mon FKMCB….get to work.  Use all the weapons that you have to protect us from ZIKA."

4:30 PM Monday, August 1: 10 NEW ZIKA CASES IN MIAMI. Miami-Dade asks for help from Monroe County in combating the ZIKA mosquitos. The Bloomberg News headline is “ZIKA NIGHTMARE HITS MIAMI.” The article chronicles the arrival of Florida’s first home grown cases of ZIKA. The YAHOO NEWS head line is “MIAMI BLOOD DONATIONS HALTED OVER ZIKA FEARS.” The article chronicles the fact that Federal authorities have called for a halt to blood donations in Miami as a result of local cases of ZIKA. The [continue reading…]

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #178, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Jul 222016
 
"Devious" Developers Score on Offshore Island Development, 2016

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. Remember, the first time you drove down US 1 all the way to Key West? We would like to take you from that glittering vision of hundreds of little green islands suspended over endless turquoise waters and sit you down in the boardroom of the County Commissioners who are in charge of protecting that whole magical expanse called the Florida Keys. Few issues in Monroe County have stirred as much passion and cloak and dagger plots as the development of those [continue reading…]

Jul 222016
 
Fraternities

by Kirby Congdon…… Having been brought up in a rural, one-horse farm, I was used to being alone and doing without group approval. Unconsciously my stance was that I would be compromising my integrity if I were to accept the standards of a world that had always found me lacking in regard sports and the obligatory skills that went with them, or in regard to school with its competitive approach toward any accomplishment. I was only comfortable when I could be myself without being compared [continue reading…]

 July 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #176, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Jul 152016
 
Pokemon Go! Key West

Video by Sabrina Walsh and Alexis Girard d’Albissin Special thanks to Alexis Girard d’Albissin and Sabrina Walsh [Key West High grads – home from college for the summer – experimenting with video documentary production.]

 July 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #175 No Responses »
Jul 152016
 
Blue/Green Algae

Dear Editor: This is in regards to the toxic sludge that’s heading our way. Many on the west coast are determined to send it south but that’s not the answer. The Everglades is choked out due to development and can’t handle it and the way they rerouted the flow of water doesn’t allow it like it did in the past. So what to do? After contacting the Corps of Engineers at each lock thru the water ways that come from Lake O to Ft Myers I learned [continue reading…]

 July 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #175, Letter to the Editor No Responses »