Police Point Gun At Six-Year-Old Boy — and More…

Zantaveous

It’s 6:27 p.m. — Sheila Carey and her two children are riding in a rented limo, a special treat to celebrate their outstanding report cards.  They’ve just dropped off their friend, eleven-year-old Shanyia Winn, who is now home alone taking a shower. A few minutes later, at 6:29 p.m. — the limo is stopped at gunpoint and surrounded by Key West police officers.  The mother is thrown to the sidewalk and handcuffed.  Her six-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter are seized by the officers, guns pointed at their faces. Continue reading

THE BLUE PAPER AND BILL O’REILLY

Dennis Reeves Cooper with Bill O'Reilly in 2001

Dennis Reeves Cooper with Bill O’Reilly in 2001

Since I have been writing a weekly column for the new Blue Paper online, the editors have periodically accompanied my column with a photo of me appearing with Bill O’Reilly on his show on the Fox News Channel. A number of readers have asked me when and why I was invited to appear on the O’Reilly Factor– the highest rated cable news program. Longtime readers know the story, but new readers may not. So here it is again. Longtime readers please pardon– but we have a lot of new readers.

When I ran Key West The Newspaper, I often pushed the envelope when it came to controversy– as the new editors still do. Back in 2001, one of our prime targets was an out-of-control police department. Needless to say, this pissed off then-Police Chief Buz Dillon. And on June 22 of that year, he used an obscure state law to have me arrested and jailed for writing about an on-going internal investigation. Now while I was confident that those charges would never stand up, the immediate fact was that I was facing criminal charges and that I was going to have to find the money to hire a lawyer and defend myself in court. Beyond that, I was concerned about my reputation and the reputation of my newspaper. Rightly or wrongly, many people assume that anybody arrested and charged is probably guilty. Continue reading

THE EIMERS CASE: Witness Claims Police Intimidation Tactics Will Not Deter Him

Intimidation2

toy cop

“To be honest with you, I am really nervous about the whole thing.  I think they’re going to bother him or something,” says L, whose friend P was subpoenaed to testify before the Grand Jury in the Charles Eimers case last Wednesday.

While P was testifying, two squad cars were parked in front of his house, one blocking his driveway.  His friend, concerned about the strange coincidence, texted him a photo of the police cars.

On a recent occasion, officer Gary Lee Lovette, who was one of the officers who arrested Eimers last Thanksgiving, reportedly pushed P’s shopping cart violently out of his way at a Publix grocery store.

P had spoken with the Blue Paper after Eimers’ death revealing certain behavior and incriminating admissions by Key West police officer Lovette.  After P was finally interviewed by FDLE, he says Lovette’s attitude became threatening. Continue reading

Reenactment Points To Asphyxiation

“Your safe word is “no” and if you can’t talk, move your arms.” The woman lies down on the beach resting on her stomach, hands behind her back.  To be clear, we’re not shooting a bondage movie.  This is South Beach, at the end of Duval Street, where 61-year-old Charles Eimers died last Thanksgiving Day while being arrested by Key West police officers. The woman on the sand is Naja Girard of The Blue Paper.  We were trying to understand, through a reenactment, the most troubling part of the tragedy:  the cause of death itself.

Medical Examiner E. Hunt Scheuerman’s autopsy report shows no physical evidence that can directly establish the cause of Eimers’ death. However, circumstantial evidence led him to rule out asphyxiation.

This is what he wrote:

“FDLE’s investigation concluded that his face was not forced into the sand, but rather, as he struggled, his face moved back and forth across the sand. Audio recordings from the event revealed that Mr. Eimers repeatedly said “No.” Such verbalization would not have been possible if he had been smothering in the sand.” Continue reading

Good Morning Florida Keys With Jenna Stauffer / Interview With Ms. Grace McKinnon

Grace Mckinnon

Grace McKinnon is interning with the Florida Keys Outreach Coaliton [FKOC] this summer as an AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteer through the National Coalition for the Homeless.  Formerly homeless herself, Grace is from Maryland and now a college student with double majors in social work and psychology.  She is serving at Peacock Supportive Living, an FKOC program providing housing and supportive services to 38-individuals living with serious mental illness. We’re sure you will enjoy meeting this remarkable young woman! Enjoy!

Click here for more WEYW 19′s Good Morning Florida Keys With Jenna Stauffer Continue reading

Last Day At Chapman’s House

chap tricycle

chap tricycle

Whether ‘Old Man Chapman’ will finally be swindled out of his house is no longer up for debate.  Last Monday a red 8” X 6” legal notice was taped to his door at 221 Petronia Street.  It read:  “Final Notice of Eviction” and directed the Monroe County Sheriff to remove any person from the premises on Tuesday.

“It’s tomorrow. Tuesday is tomorrow,” said Chapman on the phone,  “Where am I going to put my things?  My clothes?  My wife’s clothes?  Our grandson’s clothes?  What am I going to do?”  It was 9:30 am.  The beginning of a long day – which was going to involve Sheriff’s deputies, pro bono attorneys, a Judge, New York bankers, someone known as “Coconut Man,” and Mr. James Matthew Chapman.  Mr. Chapman, the one-man-lighted-parade, who has been photographed thousands of times by tourists as he rides his Christmas-tree-like tricycle, blasting soul music, up and down Duval Street. Continue reading

Not All Festivals Are Created Equal

Last Tuesday, in an apparent disparate treatment of its constituency, the City Commission decided to allot Super Boat International race organizers approximately $ 25,000/year in free services (in addition to nominal rent and    $ 100,000 in Tourist Development Council [TDC] tax funding it receives) but refused to restore the Goombay Festival to a coalition of Bahama Village non-profit organizations because three years ago some festival organizers from the Village had been short by $ 2,500 on a payment for police protection. Continue reading

LOVE LANE GANG! THEY’RE JUST PLAIN FUN!

Photo: Sheelman Photography

Photo: Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang will be taking a summer break after this weekend, so come out and see them while you have the chance! In case you didn’t know, they are a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear and appeal to music lovers of all ages. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

They will be plating their regular gigs at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Friday at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sunday at 5:30 PM. They will also play at Blue Heaven on Saturday for brunch and dinner, 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM.

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

Peter Pan

canstockphoto19842166

canstockphoto19842166

I have a personal policy of avoiding main stream corporate news outlets like I avoid The Weather Channel. I don’t need to know about hurricane Gertrude from the minute it forms off the coast of Africa. It might be weeks before it crosses the Atlantic and actually becomes a problem. When it gets close, IF it gets close, then I will hear about it at Five Brothers over café con leche. That way I avoid those weeks of needless anxiety and nail biting. The same goes for watching, listening and/or reading corporate sponsored propaganda, aka the news. Continue reading

Fouling Our Nest Part 1: Mosquito Control and the Ecology of the Keys

Mosquito

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.32.57 PM I woke up this afternoon

I saw both cars were gone

I felt so low down deep inside

I threw my drink across the lawn

 – Martin Mull, Shaker Heights Blues

I read in the Keynoter that the president of the gated and very wealthy Ocean Reef Club in North Key Largo pleaded for an aerial spraying before last Friday because of an invasion of salt marsh mosquitoes.

“Most of our nearly 2,000 or so members and guests will have had their Fourth of July ruined,” Ocean Reef President Paul Astbury wrote to Mosquito Control.

Tragic.
Continue reading

Who Owns Wisteria Island? Hearing Held On Fate Of Last Desert Island In Key West Harbor

Issue 4 Wisteria Cartoon cropped

Roger Bernstein had his chance last Tuesday to convince a federal judge that his company, FEB Corporation, not the US Government, owns Wisteria Island.

“Well, I remember when, as a young man in the Navy stationed in Key West,” said Judge Jose Martinez, “our guys used to go swim out by Wisteria Island. I thought it was ours.” That remark probably caused some serious stomach rumbling in Bernstein’s group of white-haired lawyers.

At stake is the fate of the last desert island in Key West harbor.  For more than 40 years Bernstein’s family has claimed to be the owner, even paying County property taxes. But three years ago, when they tried to develop it into a luxury resort, the Federal Government threw a wrench into those plans by claiming the United States owned the island, not the Bernsteins.

Bernstein hired well-known attorney Barry Richard [George Bush’s attorney in the tussle with Al Gore over the Presidency] and filed suit in federal court under the Quiet Title Act [QTA]. Continue reading

LOVE LANE GANG! THEY’RE JUST PLAIN FUN!

Photo: Sheelman Photography

Photo: Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear and appeal to music lovers of all ages. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present. They will be taking a summer break in mid-July, so come out and see them while you have the chance!
The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.
Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.
But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!
Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM.
Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

TRUMAN WATERFRONT: Commission Approves Five-Year Lease For Superboat Championship Races

Park boat parking plan

Last Tuesday evening the Key West City Commission approved a five-year lease on a significant portion of the Truman Waterfront to Super Boat International Productions (SBI).  SBI is a privately-owned, for-profit corporation based in Key West.

Lease terms were negotiated between former City Manager Bob Vitas and Charles Carbonell, president of SBI.  The lease allows SBI to make use of a portion of the Truman Waterfront property for up to three weeks each year.  A race village will occupy that land for about week, with a week on ether side for preparation and clean-up.  Continue reading

Florida Couples and Equality Florida Institute Urge Court to Strike Down State’s Ban on Marriage Equality

Last Wednesday, a state trial court in Miami heard oral argument on a motion filed in May by six same-sex couples and Equality Florida Institute challenging Florida laws barring same-sex couples from marriage. The couples asked the court to strike down Florida’s marriage ban and order the state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The couples argue that Florida’s ban on marriage equality cannot stand in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2013 that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” violates the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Continue reading

RECYCLING RATES IN FLORIDA CONTINUE TO CLIMB ~State recycling rate takes modest steps toward the 75 percent goal by 2020~

MONROE COUNTY MAKES THE LIST OF TOP 10 COUNTIES FOR BEST RECYCLING RATES

[10TH OUT OF 10 WITH 55% RECYCLING RATE]

TALLAHASSEE – New 2013 recycling data released by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows Florida’s official recycling rate is now 49 percent, up one percent from last year. This represents a substantial increase in the amount of solid waste recycled — from 9.7 million tons in 2012 to 11.8 million tons in 2013.

The total recycling rate represents a combination of traditional recycling practices and renewable energy credits, which are calculated based on the amount of renewable energy produced using solid waste as a fuel. Per Florida Statutes, each megawatt-hour of electricity produced by waste equals one ton of recycling. For 2013, there were 3.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity produced from both waste-to-energy facilities and the use of landfill gas. Florida law pertaining to the recycling rate was amended by the legislature in 2012 to promote the production of renewable energy from solid waste. Continue reading

Капитализм (Capitalism)

canstockphoto8613371

canstockphoto8613371

Somewhere Karl Marx is shaking his shaggy head and smiling. When a bastion of the capitalist right, Time Magazine, publishes an article validating ANYTHING Karl Marx said can Armageddon be far behind? I am most definitely not an economist. Show me a budget report or some financial spread sheet and my eyes glaze over in stupor, but lately I have been reading with some fascination many unflattering reports on the sacred free market. The imaginary capitalist guiding hand of self-regulation and its sister, the imaginary self-leveling playing field are, all of a sudden, being called into question. What is going on?! Continue reading

Let ‘em fry!

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test, [the poor] fail, and for this they are despised.

– George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London, 1933

Apparently it never rains in the Keys. And the hot sun doesn’t beat down mercilessly.

That must be the thinking of the local gendarmerie and town fathers in Marathon. While moving a commuter bus stop from a site in front of a local liquor store and bar might make sense, designing a new stop with no benches and no cover certainly doesn’t. But that’s what is going to happen in the Middle Keys as a result of a June 24 city council decision.

The bus stop in question serves two round-trip routes. One provides transportation to Key West while the other does the same between the Keys and Florida City. The people who use the latter are primarily service workers who travel two hours to slightly better paying low-end jobs at places such as Kmart, Winn-Dixie and Publix. Continue reading

KEY WEST ARTIST IN SOLO ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST SHOW / Rosanne Potter Shares New Works With Hometown

Textures,blendedfaces

“Textures, Blended Faces”, showing at the Armory, June 19-July 11, 2014

The recent work of well-known Key West artist, Rosanne Potter, will be on display in Westfield, New Jersey, through the end of July. The one-woman show in the Internet Lounge of the Westfield Memorial Library includes new works (acrylics, oils, and pastels on canvas and oil pastels on paper) created in the past winter season in Key West, as well as two of the artist’s paintings familiar to Keys collectors.

Ms. Potter grew up in Westfield and attended Rosemont College.  During the spring of 1962, she participated in a semester abroad at the Institute of European Studies in Vienna, Austria. This formative experience brought her in contact with the great art museums across Europe and, significantly, with the director of the Vienna program, American Abstract Expressionist painter, Clarence Giese. Continue reading

Zecca Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison

BREAKING NEWS LOGO

A clearly frustrated U.S. federal Judge Jose E. Martinez imposed the maximum allowable ten-year sentence on admitted murder-for-hire perpetrator Dennis Zecca in a sentencing hearing at the Federal Court Building in Key West today. Zecca has been convicted of hiring someone to kill Marathon realtor Bruce Schmitt for reasons still unknown. Martinez wondered aloud what everyone else has been wondering, why. His sentence came after an emotional 15-minute statement by Schmitt to the court.

Check out Friday’s Blue Paper for the full story about what happened inside the courtroom.

STONE SOUP PARTY AND BIKE PARADE, Sunday August 17th

chapman

A Stone Soup party and bike parade to support our friend and neighbor, Mr. Chapman will be held on Sunday, August 17th.

The event will begin with a bike parade starting at Eaton Bikes on Simonton St. and ending at Cowboy Bills and Seadog Tavern. The Bike Parade will be open to anyone who wishes to participate and decorations are encouraged. Entry fee for the parade is $ 10 and all proceeds go to Mr. Chapman.

The Stone Soup Party will start at 3:00 and run until 8:30 at both Cowboy Bill’s and Seadog Tavern on Duval and Angela Streets. The event will include concerts on two stages, a pool tournament, bull riding, a giant  silent auction; raffles, and much more. To top off the day an incredible  “Stone Soup” dish prepared by Jenny Robinson of Seadog Tavern and consisting of delectable ingredients donated by our favorite restaurants will be served to all.

For more information or to donate silent auction items call Jeff Salzman at 305-896-0961 or Stacy Thomason at 305-433-1283.

If you can’t make it you can still help out by donating to ‘Light the Way for Mr. Chapman’:  GoFundMe

STONE SOUP PARTY AND BIKE PARADE, Sunday August 17th

chapman

A Stone Soup party and bike parade to support our friend and neighbor, Mr. Chapman will be held on Sunday, August 17th.

The event will begin with a bike parade starting at Eaton Bikes on Simonton St. and ending at Cowboy Bills and Seadog Tavern. The Bike Parade will be open to anyone who wishes to participate and decorations are encouraged. Entry fee for the parade is $ 10 and all proceeds go to Mr. Chapman.

The Stone Soup Party will start at 3:00 and run until 8:30 at both Cowboy Bill’s and Seadog Tavern on Duval and Angela Streets. The event will include concerts on two stages, a pool tournament, bull riding, a giant  silent auction; raffles, and much more. To top off the day an incredible  “Stone Soup” dish prepared by Jenny Robinson of Seadog Tavern and consisting of delectable ingredients donated by our favorite restaurants will be served to all.

For more information or to donate silent auction items call Jeff Salzman at 305-896-0961 or Stacy Thomason at 305-433-1283.

If you can’t make it you can still help out by donating to ‘Light the Way for Mr. Chapman’:  GoFundMe

Ten Questions About The Charles Eimers Autopsy Report

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all believe that Charles Eimers’ death was just an accident – somehow the 61-year-old tourist was simply a ‘walking heart attack’ and when police tried to arrest him he stressed out and his heart gave up.

We have a few questions about the final autopsy report:

1.  What About The Civilian Witnesses?

Eimers’ “face was not forced into the sand,” wrote former Monroe County Medical Examiner, E. Hunt Sheuerman, “but, rather, as he struggled, his face moved back and forth across the sand.”

We know the Medical Examiners’ Report was signed on April 26th.  Of the many civilian witnesses we spoke to, only two were ever interviewed by FDLE and those two interviews took place in mid May, several weeks after the Medical Examiner had already signed his report. Continue reading

LOVE LANE GANG! THEY’RE JUST PLAIN FUN!

Photo: Sheelman Photography

Photo: Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Blue Heaven this Saturday during brunch and dinner.Come out and see them before they take a summer break in mid-July!

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

DO YOU THINK WE MIGHT HAVE A HOUSING CRISIS?

Affordable Housing Crises

942765_444707312315462_900435827_nIt is becoming very alarming how few rental properties there are, and how high priced they are. Landlords are becoming very unreliable, houses are going into foreclosure in high amounts. I know my landlord defaulted on 10 in the last two months. I know of at least 3-4 more that friends live in houses facing foreclosure. Now banks own a ton of properties. Then banks sell them to people, and those people tend to turn them into vacation rentals. Florida Keys have a housing CRISIS on their hands. What is going to happen when more Key West residents move out for lack of housing? Or way to expensive housing? People can barely live down here unless they have many roommates. I’m a mother, so I really can’t have roommates. Who can really afford to live here without roomates? People who own their house, military workers, those in low income housing where the state pays their bills and rent, people on vacation, and people who really don’t need to work. Key west needs people to work, not moving out because they can’t afford the first, last, and security totaling $ 6,000 -$ 10,000 just to move in and rent a place. At least most tourist destinations have worker housing that is truly affordable. Without workers, you have no tourist destination … Also speaking of tourist destinations, I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice, the economy is not the same as it was in 2005-2007. The money is slowing down quite a bit. Tourists are spending a lot more for rooms in hotels, and vacation houses like Truman Annex and such. They’re  staying and relaxing in their hotels more, spending less money on Duval St. and other fun activities. People are starting to take their vacations to other cheaper places. I hear it all the time. Last year’s Fantasy Fest had to be the worst ever. Just like Bike Week and this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. Key west is not getting what it used to in tourism. So if our wages are not as good as they used to be, and rent is getting higher, what is next? Exactly, people are leaving… What is Key West going to do?? Huge Crisis. I have put this on Facebook and have had a huge amount of responses.

Do you think Monica hit a chord?  Well, she sure did.  Have a look at the flood of Facebook responses (get comfy): Continue reading

New Mel Fisher Days Events Offer Fun, Romance and Adventure for a Great Cause

The Spam Allstars will headline a free concert July 12 at the Mel Fisher Days Sizzlin’ Street Fair on Duval

The Spam Allstars will headline a free concert July 12 at the Mel Fisher Days Sizzlin’ Street Fair on Duval

Every summer a multi-day celebration is held in honor of Mel Fisher, a man who pursued his dreams and discovered a fortune in treasure in the seas off Key West, inspiring millions to follow their own dreams and earning him the title of The World’s Greatest Treasure Hunter. This summer’s Mel Fisher Days are set for July 10-13 and will feature a treasure-trove of events ranging from the educational to the adventurous.

Festivities kick off Thursday, July 10, 11-1 pm, with a “meet the crew” Diver Reunion dock party and book signing. For the first time since the 1980’s the 100’ salvage vessel JB Magruder will dock at the Historic Seaport, just behind Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William Street. Visitors are invited to meet current crew and alumni divers. Evening brings a swashbuckling great time with a PirateCon Pub Crawl and Pirate Ball. Continue reading

MEDICAL EXAMINER RULES DEATH OF CHARLES EIMERS ACCIDENTAL [In Case You Missed The Breaking News Release]]

“Mr. Eimers was at risk of a sudden death, at any time, due to either a chaotic cardiac rhythm or worsening of his congestive heart failure,” wrote the E. Hunt Scheuerman, M.D., the Monroe County Medical Examiner.

Charles Eimers, 61, a Michigan native, died after losing consciousness while being restrained face down in the sand by Key West police officers last Thanksgiving Day. Numerous eyewitnesses came forward accusing the police of excessive force, of holding Eimers head down in the sand, putting the weight of up to four officers on his back, and shocking him with a Taser stungun.

The Medical Examiner, however, in his final autopsy report, states that “the FDLE investigation concluded that his face Continue reading

Recovery

Recovery

canstockphoto14059400

I just finished reading an enlightening article on “Reparations” in the June 2014 issue of, The Atlantic. The piece was titled “The Case For Reparations” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic. Reparations, in this context, is referring to amends for past treatment of African slaves and their descendants. The reaction to the word reparations has a predictable knee-jerk effect on most Americans of European descent. “Who is going to pay and who is going to be paid and how much are WE expected to come up with”, are the usual defensive and dismissive questions.

This article attempts to address those questions, but is more focused on the necessity for an open rational dialogue on the subject. As the copy on the cover of the magazine states in bold print: “250 years of slavery. 90 years of Jim Crow. 60 years of separate but equal. 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining. Until we reckon with the compounding moral debts of our ancestors, America will never be whole.” Recovery begins with an admission that there is a problem. Continue reading

MEDICAL EXAMINER RULES DEATH OF CHARLES EIMERS ACCIDENTAL

BREAKING NEWS CHARLES EIMERS

BREAKING NEWS CHARLES EIMERS

“Mr. Eimers was at risk of a sudden death, at any time, due to either a chaotic cardiac rhythm or worsening of his congestive heart failure,” wrote the E. Hunt Scheuerman, M.D., the Monroe County Medical Examiner.

Charles Eimers, 61, a Michigan native, died after losing consciousness while being restrained face down in the sand by Key West police officers last Thanksgiving Day. Numerous eyewitnesses came forward accusing the police of excessive force, of holding Eimers head down in the sand, putting the weight of up to four officers on his back, and shocking him with a Taser stungun.

The Medical Examiner, however, in his final autopsy report, states that “the FDLE investigation concluded that his face was not forced into the sand, but rather, as he struggled, his face moved back and forth across the sand. Audio recordings from the event revealed that Eimers repeatedly said “No.”  Such verbalization would not have been possible if he had been smothering in the sand.”  The Medical Examiner acknowledged, however, that his face appeared coated in sand in photographs taken at the hospital, but that “No sand was found in his airways.” Continue reading

SAVING THE WORLD: Where Do We Draw The Line?

canstockphoto14913127

canstockphoto14913127

Should Americans continue to try to save the world? If so, it seems pretty obvious that we can’t save it all. And if that is true, how do we pick and choose? Where do we draw the line? And the big question: Is the life of one American soldier worth the lives of the entire population of any Stone Age country? In the wake of the apparent meltdown of government military forces in Iraq, these questions seem appropriate and timely. Since we invaded that country in 2003 to save the people from an evil regime (and to search for non-existent weapons of mass destruction), more than 4000 American soldiers have been killed and thousands more injured, many with pieces of their bodies blown off. The financial investment so far has been estimated at more than $ 1 trillion. Continue reading

Hepatitis C: Older Americans Are At Risk

HepC-Infographic2013FullRes

Hepatitis C is a disease that is caused by a virus that affects the liver. Even though the disease often doesn’t produce symptoms, it can seriously damage the liver and can be fatal. An estimated 3.2 million Americans have Hepatitis C.

Older people are more likely to have been exposed to Hepatitis C, but many older Americans are not aware that they need to be tested for it. A December 2013 report found that Hepatitis C infections are concentrated in the Baby Boomers generation. In one major study of people with the virus, 75 percent of the patients were born between 1945 and 1964. Continue reading

Love Lane Gang! They’re Just Plain Fun!

Photo by Sheelman Photography

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Ocean Key House Saturday at 6 PM

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

Go Native In Your Garden: Learn How With Susie Reutling at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Lucy Carleton lends her support to the Botanical Garden by learning the importance of native before purchasing under the direction of Susie Reutling, Nursery Team Leader at the Native Plant Sale.
Lucy Carleton lends her support to the Botanical Garden by learning the importance of native before purchasing under the direction of Susie Reutling, Nursery Team Leader at the Native Plant Sale.

Lucy Carleton lends her support to the Botanical Garden by learning the importance of native before purchasing under the direction of Susie Reutling, Nursery Team Leader at the Native Plant Sale.

“GO NATIVE IN YOUR GARDEN” – Having problems gardening our thin, alkaline, rocky soil?  Feel guilty about wasting water on irrigation?  Are your plants attracting more pests than butterflies and birds?  Find out how to select & grow attractive and healthy native plants.  Saturday, June 21st, 1:00-3:00 pm at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden Nature Chapel, Susie Reutling, Nursery Coordinator, Master Gardener will share her practical experience in landscaping with native plants and cultivating rare specimens. Members & students FREE; others $ 5.00.

Earlier that day, from 9-noon, the nursery at the KWTF&BG will be open for a plant sale. For more, visit www.KWBGS.org or call 305-296-1504.

New Witness Comes Forward: “The Police Just Killed A Man”

ISSUE 67 CBS EIMERS for web
Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers
Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

“I saw an officer kneeling in front of the man with a knee on his back and he was holding the man’s head down in the sand. The man had a reflex lift of legs once head pushed down.  One of the officers had placed a small black device on the man’s back after the lift of legs […] The female officer then started walking away from the scene, shaking her head.”  [See bystander video here.]

This statement was given this week by a tourist from Maryland [We’ll call her “M”] who was having breakfast at the Southernmost Beach Café last Thanksgiving Day.  The man she describes was Charles Eimers, who would soon die in police custody.  Continue reading

Disposable People

canstockphoto19604766

canstockphoto19604766

Apropos of last week’s heartbreaking article in The Blue Paper by Naja and Arnaud Girard on the personal stories of three local homeless, two families and one single person, I came across a story making its way around the web. It’s the miraculous human-interest/feel-good story of Rashema Melson, an eighteen year old homeless young African-American woman who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian of her class at Anacostia High School in Washington DC. Ms. Melson will be attending Georgetown University in the fall with a full scholarship. She accomplished this miracle in spite of living in a homeless shelter with her mother and siblings for the last two years after a tumultuous existence of moving from place to place previous to landing in the shelter. She is an attractive and poised young woman and will no doubt go on to greatness and I salute her.

Continue reading

Monroe County Top School District for Studying Abroad

Student Travelers

Twenty-one students from Monroe County High Schools (Key West, Key West Collegiate, Marathon and Coral Shores high schools) are preparing to participate in The Experiment in International Living’s cross cultural programs within 14 different countries. The Experiment in International Living offers immersive summer programs for high school students in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

“Monroe County, Florida, sends more participants every summer to The Experiment than any other school district in America outside of New York City,” according to Executive Director Dr. Aaron Morehouse.  “Since 2006, 125 Monroe County students have participated in The Experiment’s innovative cross cultural programs.”

All Monroe students will leave the U.S. in small groups at the end of June, Continue reading

More Bull from Marathon City Council

Lego Lighthouse

 Lego Lighthouse

The Marathon City Council on Tuesday agreed to spend as much as $ 9,250 to investigate the true cost associated with moving a historic Fresnel lighthouse lens back to Marathon.

Florida Keys Keynoter

This is not a joke. Well, not an actual meant-to-be-funny-joke anyway. It might be Vice Mayor Chris Bull’s idea of a joke, but it’s hard to imagine that most of the taxpayers in Marathon would get the punch line.

That’s $ 9,250 in taxpayer’s money. That’s $ 9,250 that could have been spent on making the new city hall more energy efficient. Or the city itself. It might even pay for making a replica of the lens out Legos.

A little background. Sombrero Reef lies about eight miles off Marathon’s shores and is a much sought after spot for divers and snorkelers. The lighthouse on the reef was put in service in 1858, automated in 1960, and is still in operation. The upper platform, 40 feet above the water, held staff quarters but now the light is automated. The original lens, what’s known as a first order Fresnel lens, is on display in the Key West Lighthouse Museum. Continue reading

Hometown! PAC’s MEET THE CANDIDATES RALLY

38
Date and Time:  Friday, June 20, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Studios of Key West (TSKW)
Dear Voters and Declared Candidates:
Please join us on Friday, June 20, 2014, when Hometown! presents its second event of the 2014 election cycle: the Meet the Candidates Rally!
This will be a timely event, since all candidates must qualify not later than noon June 20th.  Hometown! will present declared candidates for the upcoming primary and general elections.  The event will be held at The Studios of Key West, located at the corner of White Street and Southard. The social portion of the event begins at 5:30 pm.  Voters will have time to meet and greet declared candidates. Continue reading

Homeless in Key West: Old Man Chapman, Captain Tilly, and Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

This is the first in a series of articles on affordable housing and homelessness in Key West and the Florida Keys.  We will try to look past the anti-homeless rhetoric burning through local media and show you what is really happening on the Keys housing front.

In future articles we will bring you points of view and solutions proposed by some of the most knowledgeable people on the Island. Continue reading

Carol Munder Retrospective at Studios of Key West Through June 13

Carol Munder's photogravure "Beaumont Still Life."

Carol Munder’s photogravure
“Beaumont Still Life.”

Carol Munder’s photogravure retrospective is upstairs at The Studios of Key West through June 13.

Photogravure, an intaglio printmaking process in which a copper plate is coated with light-sensitive tissue and then etched, has been described as the most beautiful, challenging and labor-intensive of traditional photographic processes.

Evocative, haunting and masterful scarcely describe the exhibits depth, which might be compared to catching glimpses “through a glass darkly” into stories that have just begun to be imagined or perhaps were imagined long ago and now only shadowy vapors remain. Munder exhibits widely, both nationally and internationally, and is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium prize. For more information, visit tskw.org.

Mike DADDY BONES Tolbert’s Has A Great Idea! [Oh boy!]

How many think this is great IDEA! Gov’t thinks tasers are an awesome tool! Commissioner Yaniz thinks we need more fields for kids soccer. Everybody agrees boys and girls club needs new building! SO I suggest we auction off a chance to TASE Mayor Cates and Tony Yaniz! With all money going to project for the Kids! Daddy Bones will donate pork sandwiches.  Sure music will not  be  a  problem!   Hell,  I  will  personally  bid    $ 100 right now! Write the mayor and fats if you agree this is great idea.  We can sell tickets for people to watch. Kids make out big time!

Mike DADDY BONES Tolbert

Guest Column: Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System, a Solution?

For almost a year and a half, I have been arguing that the planned, pressurized wastewater system, using grinder pumps, that is proposed for the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) is uneconomic, unreliable, a burden on homeowners, and a potential environmental nightmare.  Now we learn that the shallow injection well design (120’ deep well) at the treatment plant may be an environmental disaster as well and is probably illegal, if the DEP actually enforces its own regulations.  How did we get to the point; where we are willing to install a system in the fragile environment of the Florida Keys, which may be worse than the septic systems we have now?  The answer is MONEY!!   In the 2006-11 timeframe, when the County and FKAA were being forced by the State and the EPA  to move forward with a sewer system, there were no State funds, the 1% infrastructure tax was to expire in 2018, and estimates for a system serving about 9,000 homes was well over $ 200 million. Continue reading

PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS A Guide to Flood Insurance, Flood Mitigation and Wind Mitigation Programs

firm logo

Monroe County and the Florida Association of Counties are offering a FREE Wind and Flood Mitigation Workshop on Thursday, June 12th in Key West and Friday, June 13th in Key Largo. The workshops have been designed for homeowners, utilities, governments, developers and contractors, realtors, insurance agents, businesses, and homeowner & condo associations.

The workshop includes how recent changes to the National Flood Insurance Program will affect flood insurance rates in our cities and County, steps to lower flood insurance rates as well as wind and flood grant programs for residents, governments, commercial properties and homeowner developments. Continue reading

Artists Call for Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Calling musicians, actors, painters, card-readers, filmmakers, poets, dancers, storytellers, jugglers, fire-breathers, clowns and fairies, nymphs and satyrs to take the stage and celebrate the arts in our community, Saturday, June 21, at the 8th Annual Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

Co-produced by Michael Shields’ Java Studios to benefit The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle celebrates the creative Keys community, and gives artists a voice and platform to share the power of their dreams. To participate as an artist or an event sponsor contact Michael Shields at 305-394-3804 / javastudios@gmail.com. More information at keywestupdates.com.

Global Warming Is a Hoax, Wall Street Hedge Fund Managers Have Souls and Jenny McCarthy Is a Scientist

Jenny M

There is a fascinating trend in seemingly well educated liberal America that has common roots in less educated conservative America. That trend is mistrust and denial of science. The folks that feel faith based solutions are the answer to just about any problem facing our society have an unlikely ally in the upper middle class suburban crowd. Many of the latter have, in spite of overwhelming scientific data to the contrary, decided that vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella and polio is the cause of afflictions such as Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder. Thanks to the likes of the pulchritudinous (love that word) Jenny McCarthy and Michele “Jesus Wrote the Constitution” Bachmann, the anti-science, anti-vaccination crowd have a national voice. Add the interweb and it’s an ignorance fest extraordinaire. Continue reading

Love Lane Gang! They’re Just Plain Fun!

Photo by Sheelman Photography

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Blue Heaven for brunch on Saturday,at 10:30 AM. And they will be at The Pier House Saturday evening for the Womankind Benefit from 7 – 10 PM.

Scheduled Appearances:

Continue reading

HURRICANE SEASON: BOGUS FORECASTS AND PREPARING FOR THE “AFTER”

Hurricane

Hurricane

Last week marked the beginning of the 2014 Hurricane Season and this year, the so-called hurricane experts are predicting a fewer than average number of storms. Of course, they are just guessing. But they have been humiliated over the past couple of years by predicting busy hurricane seasons only to see almost nothing happen. Two of the most famous “experts” are those two guys from Colorado State University– Phil Klotzbach and William Gray. They are famous because, every year, editors across the country pick up and publish the press releases that Klotzbach and Gray send out– without a thought of whether or not their forecasts are anywhere close to accurate. For example, their press release is usually included in the hurricane guides the non-weekly papers here publish every year. But the truth is that those annual forecasts are almost never accurate and absolutely never specific. They predict number of hurricanes– but they don’t even pretend that they know when or where the storms might hit or how powerful they might be. Continue reading

Ambush Poetry: Conduct Unbecoming

Sloan and balloons

Sunday before last, I wondered off and on during the day if a new poem would come to me for the Key West Poetry Guild’s first Sunday meeting in the upstairs room of Blue Heaven Restaurant in Bahama Village?

As the day passed, nothing seemed to come, and around 5 p.m. I pedaled my bicycle to Jack Flats on Duval Street to watch the end of that week’s professional golf tournament, which was played at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial County Club in Ohio. En route to Jack Flats, “conduct unbecoming” came to me, and I felt that might be the poem’s theme, if not also its title. I had my writing notebook with me, just in case. Continue reading

Betrayed!

pipes

pipes

At any other time, it would probably have slipped quietly past us all.  But timing and circumstances were such that members and sympathizers of the grassroots organization Dump the Pumps, Inc. (DTPI) were on high alert, watching for still more sneaky and generally dishonorable Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) activity.

For years, FKAA had residents of the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) region believing the agency’s project to connect their homes to a centralized sewage treatment plant would consist primarily of a gravity fed system with only a minor amount of outliers, out of necessity and due to their remote location, slated to be connected via less reliable low-pressure grinder pump [LPS] systems. Continue reading

PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS A Guide to Flood Insurance, Flood Mitigation and Wind Mitigation Programs

firm logo

Monroe County and the Florida Association of Counties are offering a FREE Wind and Flood Mitigation Workshop on Thursday, June 12th in Key West and Friday, June 13th in Key Largo. The workshops have been designed for homeowners, utilities, governments, developers and contractors, realtors, insurance agents, businesses, and homeowner & condo associations.

The workshop includes how recent changes to the National Flood Insurance Program will affect flood insurance rates in our cities and County, steps to lower flood insurance rates as well as wind and flood grant programs for residents, governments, commercial properties and homeowner developments. Continue reading

Monroe County Top School District for Studying Abroad

Student Travelers


Twenty-one students from Monroe County High Schools (Key West, Key West Collegiate, Marathon and Coral Shores high schools) are preparing to participate in The Experiment in International Living’s cross cultural programs within 14 different countries. The Experiment in International Living offers immersive summer programs for high school students in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

“Monroe County, Florida, sends more participants every summer to The Experiment than any other school district in America outside of New York City,” according to Executive Director Dr. Aaron Morehouse.  “Since 2006, 125 Monroe County students have participated in The Experiment’s innovative cross cultural programs.”  Continue reading

Love Lane Gang! They’re Just Plain Fun!

Photo by Sheelman Photography

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Duval Street Pub on Saturday,at 8 PM.

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

Artists Call for Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Calling musicians, actors, painters, card-readers, filmmakers, poets, dancers, storytellers, jugglers, fire-breathers, clowns and fairies, nymphs and satyrs to take the stage and celebrate the arts in our community, Saturday, June 21, at the 8th Annual Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

Co-produced by Michael Shields’ Java Studios to benefit The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle celebrates the creative Keys community, and gives artists a voice and platform to share the power of their dreams. To participate as an artist or an event sponsor contact Michael Shields at 305-394-3804 / javastudios@gmail.com. More information at keywestupdates.com.

Carol Munder Retrospective at Studios of Key West Through June 13

Carol Munder's photogravure "Beaumont Still Life."

Carol Munder’s photogravure
“Beaumont Still Life.”

Carol Munder’s photogravure retrospective is upstairs at The Studios of Key West through June 13.

Photogravure, an intaglio printmaking process in which a copper plate is coated with light-sensitive tissue and then etched, has been described as the most beautiful, challenging and labor-intensive of traditional photographic processes.

Evocative, haunting and masterful scarcely describe the exhibits depth, which might be compared to catching glimpses “through a glass darkly” into stories that have just begun to be imagined or perhaps were imagined long ago and now only shadowy vapors remain. Munder exhibits widely, both nationally and internationally, and is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium prize. For more information, visit tskw.org.

THE PRISONER EXCHANGE: He Did What?!

Prisoner Exchange

Longtime readers know that, of all the adventures I have had in my life, I rank my three years of military service at near the top, especially my time as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne. That time changed my life. I was discharged back into the real world, still young, but way more mature and responsible than before the Army. My brief time in the service does not make me a military expert, but I do have my opinions. Case in point: The prisoner exchange this week that resulted in Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from captivity as the only American prisoner of war in Afghanistan.

I remember what I thought when I heard the national news about Bergdahl’s capture back in 2009. How could that happen? What could the situation have been that would have given the enemy an opportunity to capture an American soldier? Well, subsequent news reports provided that answer– Bergdahl was a deserter! He simply left his post and walked off of his base. But regardless, our military has a tradition that we do not leave soldiers on the battlefield. So, during the five years that Bergdahl was in captivity, his fellow soldiers continued to look for him with the goal of freeing him from captivity. And six of them died in that effort. Continue reading

Citizen Review Board May Investigate Use of Police Taser on Matthew Shaun Murphy Three Years Ago

It was early morning July 6, 2000.  In a dark alley in Key West, Officer Michael Beerbower had Daniel Holte Stambaugh, 22, handcuffed in the back of his police cruiser. Beerbower was on top of Stambaugh’s co-defendant Jessie Gene Gregory, 19, also handcuffed.  Other officers were standing watch.  When they yelled, “Clear!” (it meant that there were no witnesses) Beerbower would allegedly then go on, alternately punching Gregory and then Stambaugh in the face.

But that “private” police matter would come out in The Blue Paper and later in the New York Times. In spite of public indignation, the police department appeared unwilling to fire or even discipline any of the officers involved.   Public discontent grew into a grass roots movement to create an independent board overseeing the Key West Police Department.  A referendum passed with 60% in favor on November 2, 2002.   The CRB (Citizen Review Board) was born.

Today, over 10 years later, in the midst of another KWPD scandal (again getting national attention) some CRB members have begun to question whether the Board should wait any longer to start tackling the issues. Continue reading

‘It Started With a Drill’

 canstockphoto8781035

I learned early on what little is accomplished waiting for someone to do something for you, or even to help you. Consider this one of the gleaming pros to not having your parents around, and I do stress one. Now that I’m a mother myself, I can’t imagine my children grocery shopping for the family or taking taxis by themselves when they were nine years old. Not only did I do these things, but I also created my own income because my mother’s money never seemed to make it down to me.

This lifestyle brought forth my signature feistiness which kept me afloat throughout my youth. Even heavy decisions, such as taking a Greyhound bus from Florida to Indiana to attend college, weren’t an issue for me. Although my best childhood friend and I planned on attending the same school, she decided that she wanted to move to Florida at the last minute. I still went because, like her, I needed a change. Continue reading

THE VA HOSPITAL SCANDAL

canstockphoto8698787

canstockphoto8698787

The developing scandal at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospitals makes another strong statement about the sustainability of government-run health care. The problem here–the scandal– is not the quality of health care provided to our vets at the VA hospitals; the problem is access. And the problem of access is the result of sheer government incompetence. Here is a summary of the situation.

For the men and women who commit to serve our country in the military services, one of the commitments our government makes to them in return is to provide health care for life. This commitment is especially critical for veterans of this country’s various wars. That is one hell of a commitment– a commitment that requires professional and creative management to achieve. The problem is that, apparently, professional and creative management seem to be foreign concepts in government.

Recently, we have been hearing a lot about veterans having to wait months to get care at some VA Hospitals. By law, veterans should be able to see a doctor within 30 days after making an appointment. But at some hospitals, veterans have been forced to wait months for care– and some have died while waiting. This alone is scandalous enough. But to hide the fact that these hospitals have not been meeting the 30-day standard required by law, hospital staff has been falsifying appointment records. Now we are moving out of the realm of simple incompetence into the realm of criminal activity. Continue reading

Congressman Garcia on Sec. Johnson Testifying before Judiciary Committee

Congressman Garcia press release

Earlier today [May 29, 2014], Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. At the hearing, Congressman Garcia questioned Secretary Johnson regarding the implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and his ongoing review of immigration policies, specifically with regards to the controversial Secure Communities program. Following the hearing, Garcia released this statement –

“With the second anniversary of DACA approaching, we are reminded, yet again, of the grave need to pass comprehensive immigration reform. As the Secretary stated, the program is working smoothly and has provided relief for hundreds of thousands of young people.  I also noted, and he agreed, that there remain those who fall short of qualifying for DACA but clearly fit the spirit of the program.  It simply shouldn’t be our country’s policy to abandon those people who have worked hard, served their communities, and are American in every way but on paper. This administration has chosen to allow more time before presenting their review of our nation’s deportation policies.  It is my sincere hope that come August, we are not met with yet another set of excuses and empty promises from Republican leadership in the House.  I was encouraged by Secretary Johnson’s candor and commitment to addressing the challenges facing our immigration system, but there is still much left to do.”

Welber on Welber: Special Interest Trumps Climate Action

welber interviews welber

welber interviews welber

“I’m very proud of that,” Monroe County Commissioner George Neugent said after looking through the climate assessment last week. “I’m very proud to be part of an initiation in a region that contains millions of people.”

– Neugent commenting on praise for four-county compact that produced the Southeast Regional Action Plan

Blue Paper

We want to welcome back environmentalist Michael Welber for another in-depth interview.

Welber

More like survivalist.

Blue Paper

Oh? And why is that?

Welber

You’ve probably been snoozing this month, which would actually be a good thing given the continuing inexplicable actions of some of our fine county commissioners.

Blue Paper

What is it this time? Did they buy another restaurant? Continue reading

Love Lane Gang Playing All Sides of Town

Love Lane Gang Shoot 02+

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike. They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Blue Heaven on Saturday, for brunch and dinner.

Scheduled Appearances:

Continue reading

More Open Debate On Free Roaming Cats In Refuge Areas

Free Roaming Cat

Dear John,

Here are my responses to your latest letter. I think there are several issues here we can agree on and find ways to insure that those issues are adequately addressed. I share your concern that all animals, both wild and domestic, be treated humanely. But I reiterate the need for all responsible pet owners to keep their pets, particularly cats, indoors.

John Donnelly wrote on May 24, 2014 at 6:58 am

(1) Michael, thank you for your well-thought out submission. I consider you a dedicated and respected friend. As you know, just because you make statements in your article, it does not make them true or accurate.

I believe my statements to be accurate, and supported both by my own personal experience, and reports from other responsible observers. I invite anyone with evidence to the contrary to present it. I will gladly change any statement to make it more accurate, but I believe what I have presented is supported by the facts.

(2) The government is overreaching in its cat trapping practices. Cat hunters were caught, by several individuals, placing their cages on private property, with the intent to snare family pets that lived there.

“Overreaching” is a vague and undefined term. Particularly when you haven’t spelled out what the Continue reading

A Response to The CBS Report On The In-Custody Death of Charles Eimers

Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

I watched the CBS report from beginning to end. It never made clear what was done to Mr. Eimers. The video which has always been very clear in The Blue Paper was too dark on the CBS report to see Mr. Eimers getting out of his car and getting on his knees with his hands up in surrender.

Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

The report never showed that at that point, he should have been cuffed and placed into the police car, since he was not resisting arrest. The report never clearly showed all the police officers on top of him or told about the sand in his nose and mouth which asphyxiated him. The report was not clear that paramedics were told by police that they, the police, found the patient on the ground in cardiac arrest and gave him CPR, instead of being told the truth that multiple police officers were on top of him grinding him into the sand, causing the cardiac arrest from his being asphyxiated, because he first suffered respiratory arrest from having his two airways, his nose and his mouth blocked with sand from being pounded into the sand by the enormous weight from those multiple officers. If one can’t breathe, one goes into respiratory arrest and if this continues, one’s blood will stop circulating and then one goes into cardiac arrest. The CBS report never interviewed eye witnesses. They never mentioned the female officer yelling to the other officers that they were murdering Mr. Eimers. They never interviewed the medical examiner who performed the autopsy that almost didn’t happen because of the lies told to medical personnel. They only showed the interview with Mr. Eimers’ son and Chief Donie Lee, which would have been fine had they also interviewed eye witnesses and not darkened the video which clearly told the real truth.

When any officer of the law or multiple officers of the law throw a suspect, who has his hands up in surrender, to the ground and jump on him and start beating him and using the taser on him, that should no longer be considered police work; it should be considered assault and battery and assault with a deadly weapon. One does not have to be an attorney of law to know this, yet police officers are getting away with doing it all over the country, with few exceptions. Surrender is surrender and clearly, the video shows Charles Eimers on his knees with his hands up in surrender mode. What happened next should never have happened in the United States of America, and no one, officer of the law or layman, has to wait until the end of an “investigation” to know that.

Peggy Butler

West Palm Beach, FL

Mystery Writers Key West Fest Announces Novel Walk-On Role Winner

Rebecca Swope of Boca Raton has won a cameo walk-on appearance in award-winning author Sandra Balzo’s next Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse novel.

Rebecca Swope of Boca Raton has won a cameo walk-on appearance in award-winning author Sandra Balzo’s next Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse novel.

Rebecca Swope of Boca Raton, Florida, has won a walk-on cameo appearance in award-winning author Sandra Balzo’s next Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse novel, ninth in the mystery series that has just been optioned for possible development as a television series.

The walk-on prize contest was an early registration promotion for the Mystery Writers Key West Fest, which is launching its inaugural event June 13-15. A writer herself, who specializes in romantic suspense, sci-fi/fantasy and Southern memoir stories, Swope commented that she is “looking forward to causing mayhem in Sandra Balzo’s fictional world,” and would prefer the role of a criminal.

Balzo is one of nearly two-dozen premier South Florida based crime-fiction and true crime authors who will appear at the inaugural Mystery Writers Key West Fest. Open to authors, aspiring authors, and non-writing mystery-buffs alike, Fest registration is open until June 6. For further information, visit www.mysterywriterskeywestfest.com.

Another Founding Member of Sustainability Advisory Board Calls it Quits / Letter of Resignation to Mayor Cates

Exit

Dear Mayor Cates,

Please accept my letter of resignation from the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board, effective immediately.

I originally wrote this letter the night the commission voted to return us to twice-weekly trash pickup (2-1-1), but then decided to give myself a cooling-off period to see if it would change my mind. It has not.

Having served Key West as chairman to the Sustainability Advisory Board since its inception in 2009 and as vice chair since 2013, I am proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved. Key West has changed quite a bit during this time.  “Going Green” is now considered a normal part of doing business in most city decision making. I am sorry to be leaving under such circumstances, but feel compelled to do so.

It is hard to convey to you how dispiriting it is that four commissions could so easily overturn the many years of hard work by so many people, and to do so with not one comment from the public requesting a return to 2-1-1 during the discussion period of the meeting. Continue reading

Artists Call for Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Michele Meck and Lydia Firefly dance with fire at a previous Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle.

Calling musicians, actors, painters, card-readers, filmmakers, poets, dancers, storytellers, jugglers, fire-breathers, clowns and fairies, nymphs and satyrs to take the stage and celebrate the arts in our community, Saturday, June 21, at the 8th Annual Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

Co-produced by Michael Shields’ Java Studios to benefit The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle celebrates the creative Keys community, and gives artists a voice and platform to share the power of their dreams. To participate as an artist or an event sponsor contact Michael Shields at 305-394-3804 / javastudios@gmail.com. More information at keywestupdates.com.

Love Lane Gang Playing All Sides of Town

Love Lane Gang Shoot 02+

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at The Green Parrot tonight at 9 PM.

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

Well Done, David Lybrand.

Dear Editor,

We were in attendance at the Key West City Commission meeting at Old City Hall on 5/20, for reasons unrelated to this letter.

We listened as the Commission read a proclamation honoring and celebrating David Lybrand for his dedicatedvolunteer service on the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board.  We all know why Mr. Lybrand resigned recently, after the vote to return to twice a week trash pickup with a new WM contract.  Mr. Lybrand thanked the Commission for it’s commendation by very succinctly saying that reverting to twice a week haulage was a step backwards and wrong headed (or words to that effect) in terms of sustainability of our environment.  Mr. Lybrand deserves our compliments and earned our respect in the way he exited the Council chambers: with integrity and dignity.  The Commission’s hypocrisy was made all more evident on this occasion. Well done, David.

Karl and Susie Reutling

Key West

CBS: “DEATH IN PARADISE”

death in paradise one
death in paradise one

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LINK TO CBS VIDEO AND ARTICLE

The CBS News report on the death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day finally aired last Wednesday morning.  CBS News filmed a portion of their ‘CBS This Morning’ show on South Beach, where the arrest of Eimers by multiple Key West police officers occurred.

But the television report focused less on the arrest itself and the possible use of excessive force leading to Eimers’ death than on what happened after the arrest. They showed excerpts from medical records that show that police apparently claimed Eimers ran away, resisted arrest, and did not have a pulse by the time the police got to him.  An account which was then flatly contradicted by a video shot by a tourist, which shows a radically different version of the facts. Continue reading

Coffee Shops

Coffee Plantation

Why are some coffee shops so successful? Yes, good coffee makes a difference, but there is another element that is often overlooked – they provide an atmosphere that is conducive to reading and comfortable conversation. This concept is particularly notable in Europe where coffee shops are sprinkled throughout cities and villages.

Italy is a notable exception where the coffee “bars” are set up to deliver the quick caffeine pop to be inhaled on one’s way to and from somewhere. In fact, since this ritual is accomplished while standing, there is little emphasis on comfort – the kind that is needed if one were to settle in for an hour or two.

In the USA, much of the success of various franchises is due to their ability to lure people in with comfy chairs and clever allotment of space which is friendly to casual discourse, and other stores, especially independent shops, have followed suit in even comfier fashion. Quite simply, this atmosphere can be an important catalyst for productive thought, friendship and, on occasion, mental therapy. Continue reading

Young Father Tased By Key West Police Officer Remains Hospitalized Three Years Later

Matthew and Kaeden Murphy in 2011
IMG_9607

Photo provided by Meghan Murphy

The only image Kaeden can remember of his Dad is that of a comatose man connected to tubes and wires lying on a hospital bed.  In fact Kaeden was only a few months old when, three years ago, his father, Matthew Shaun Murphy was ‘tased’ by a Key West police officer on Duval Street and fell into a coma.

“That was the last time we talked; the last words we said to each other were said that night before he fell,” says Marie Annulysse, Murphys fiancé and Kaeden’s mother. Continue reading

First Amendment Blues

canstockphoto6563026

You may or may not have heard of the trial of Cecily McMillan in the New York City courts. She was arrested for assaulting a police officer and after a skewed trial that suppressed video of her treatment by the police and suppressed evidence of the “assaulted” officer’s history of violence, was found guilty on May fifth. She and several hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan enjoying St. Patrick’s Day 2012, voicing their first amendment right to peacefully express discontent with Corporate and Wall Street’s ownership of the country.  The NYPD descended on the park and arrested seventy people, including McMillan. When a plain clothes police officer grabbed McMillan from behind grasping her right breast she instinctively elbowed him in the face, not knowing who was grabbing her. She was then taken down and beaten by several police officers. She lost consciousness and went into seizure. Her next sensation was the feel of rubber tread on her face from the floor of the city bus commandeered by the NYPD to transport the arrested, then an oxygen mask over her nose and mouth, finally regaining full consciousness in a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. Continue reading

SUPREME COURT RULES THAT SOME FLOATING HOMES MAY NO LONGER BE REGULATED BY FEDERAL ADMIRALTY LAW

Photo: City of Key West Garrison Bight Marina Facebook Page

Photo: City of Key West Garrison Bight Marina Facebook Page

If you still think that you can’t beat city hall, consider Fane Lozman’s story. It started with a dispute over dockage fees for Lozman’s floating home and ended up in the US Supreme Court– and the results of that case may have ramifications for many houseboat owners in Key West.

In 2006, Lozman’s floating home was docked at a city-owned marina in Riviera Beach. Following a dispute over fees, a county court ruling– citing federal admiralty law– resulted in Lozman being evicted from the marina and the seizure and the ultimate destruction of his home. Lozman sued, claiming that federal admiralty law did not apply because his home was not a “vessel.” We can imagine the Riviera Beach City Attorney laughing his backside off when he heard, not only that this was the defense that Lozman was offering– but, also, that Lozman was going to be representing himself in court! Continue reading

LAW FOR SALE

canstockphoto19097073

Issue 62 Rohe Cartoon Wolf Dreding

There it was, a 100’ long wooden dock, all ready for the sport fishing boats belonging to the owners of the eight new mansions nestled between the palm trees and the tropical flowers. The only problem was, no boats could get to the dock!  There was simply not enough water covering the seagrass bed surrounding Walker’s Island and the necessary dredging operation was strictly prohibited by the Monroe County code.

So, was that the end of it?  Well, not quite.  Beginning in 2010 savvy developers and their lawyers discovered a little-known loophole; a way around Monroe County’s tight environmental regulations. For a $ 5,000 application fee, a developer can write his own version of the law and, after proper lobbying, force the County Commission to vote on whether to reject or adopt his “Comprehensive Plan Text Amendment.”

Several County Commission members, including Commissioner Danny Kolhage and Mayor Sylvia Murphy, have expressed concern over the process and the amount of time expended by County staff on these private legislation projects. Continue reading

Stories of Murder, Sex and Intrigue Brought to Life this Friday Night

Performance artist Heather-May Victoria Potter and author/entrepreneur David Sloan are two of several acclaimed Key West based talents who will present live readings from tales of mystery-suspense and true crime, 6-8 p.m., Friday, May 16 at the Smokin' Tuna Saloon Writers Room.

Performance artist Heather-May Victoria Potter and author/entrepreneur David Sloan are two of several acclaimed Key West based talents who will present live readings from tales of mystery-suspense and true crime, 6-8 p.m., Friday, May 16 at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon Writers Room.

A criminally stellar lineup of Key West-based authors, actors and artists will present short readings from smokin’ hot mystery suspense novels, this Friday, May 16, 6-8:00 pm at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon Writers Room, 4 Charles Street, Old Town, Key West.

The suspense story happy hour caper features performance artist Heather-May Victoria Potter reading from award winning crime fiction author Sandra Balzo’s “Murder on the Orient Espresso;” actor and stage director Richard Grusin interpreting selections from Michael Haskins’ Kindle Top 100 favorite, “To Beat the Devil;” and author, entrepreneur and Ghost Hunt proprietor David Sloan putting his own unique slant on the “quirkily engaging” mystery adventure “Reel Stuff,” by renowned Sarasota-based author Don Bruns. Continue reading

TONIGHT FRIDAY MAY 16TH: Wines of South Africa “From BBQ to Braai” Road Trip Series Comes to Key West!

canstockphoto8597627

Savor the bold flavors of South Africa at the 2014 “From BBQ To Braai” Key West Road Trip Event with Wines of South Africa (WOSA). Enjoy a South African wine tasting complemented by a full Key West inspired Braai menu from Chef Hugo Uys and Master-Class by wine expert Jim Clarke.

Who:  Food lovers, travel junkies, BBQ fanatics and anyone else interested in celebrating traditional South African braai (BBQ) cuisine and live DJ music.

What: Home to world-renowned wines and a unique cooking scene combining cross-currents of European, African and Asian traditions, South Africa is one of the world’s culinary capitals. And now you can taste the best of this exotic destination at the Key West installation of the 2014 “From BBQ to Braai” tour on Friday, May 16 (7-10 pm). Hosted at the Key West Garden Club, join famed South African chef, Hugo Uys, and sponsor, Wines of South Africa, for a culinary collaboration showcasing how traditional braai food compares with America’s own smoke-tinged masterpiece, BBQ. Plus enjoy live DJ music by acclaimed South African multi-media artist, Xander Ferreira – all for only $ 25 per person. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Monroe Association for reMARCable Citizens (MARC House). Continue reading

OM

canstockphoto1206645-150x150

I thought I might take a break this week from chronicling the latest abominations of our pathocratic paradigm and talk about a positive personal experience instead. The abominations will be there when we return.

This past week has been revelatory for me on a couple of levels. This revelation began when I attended a talk by Kadampa Buddhist meditation teacher, Anika Trancik, titled “Seeing Kindness” at the Yoga Sanctuary here in Key West. Anika is a student of Buddhist monk, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and she read from one of his books, “Eight Steps to Happiness”. FYI, Kelsang Gyatso means “Oceans of Good Fortune” and Geshe is an academic title meaning “virtuous friend”, both given to him upon his ordination as a novice monk at age eight. Anika explained the first step of the eight steps in Kelsang Gyatso’s book was the need to see kindness in others. This sounded rather simplistic at first, but Kelsang Gyatso’s interpretation of kindness in this context doesn’t mean “niceness” as in someone being pleasant or generous, but rather the opposite. He advocates being happy when someone is rude or argumentative because we “benefit” from this “kindness” by learning patience and in turn wisdom; happiness, if you will. Continue reading

FLORIDA STUDENT FILES APPEAL SEEKING RECOGNITION OF MARRIAGE TO SAME-SEX PARTNER FOLLOWING REFUSAL OF IN-STATE TUITION BENEFITS

“This is just one of the many ways that our families are harmed by a law that serves no purpose but to discriminate; denying protections that every family deserves.  Court after court across the country has found these marriage bans to be legally indefensible.  It is time for all families in our state to have full equality under the law.”  - Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida Institute

This week, Gildas Dousset, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, filed an appeal in state court seeking recognition of his marriage to his husband. The appeal, filed in the Fourth District Court of Appeals, argues that Florida’s laws barring recognition of valid out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples violate the United States Constitution. Continue reading

Bobbi, (an eulogy)

I drank to me when we first got together.
I drank to us when we got engaged.
I drank to us when we got married.
I drank to us when you told me you were pregnant.
I drank to us when Kirsten was born.
I drank to us when you told me you were pregnant.
I drank to us when Kate was born.
I drank with myself when we separated.
I drank to us when we divorced.
I had a drink when you remarried, revealing the truth.
I drank a lot when you took away my daughters.
I drink to you, and me now, as you have died today.
I drink to celebrate living the wonderful life I do.
To Life.

Love Lane Gang Playing All Sides of Town

Love Lane Gang Shoot 02+

Photo by Sheelman Photography

The Love Lane Gang is a locals band that knocks the socks off tourists and locals alike.They play music that spans generations as well as embodies them. With an age range among the members of over thirty years, they bring a wide variety of experience and musical tastes to bear. They’ve brought back skiffle and updated it for the present.

The emphasis is on ragtime and swing: classics from the 1930s and 1940s, done in a refreshing new style that incorporates the Hot Club approach with island flourishes. Dust Bowl ballads, old school country from Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, rockabilly and surf music classics and little-known gems, tunes from Sixties stars like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, and carefully chosen songs from current artists like Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, and The White Stripes all fit in alongside original songs that sound like they could have come from any of those eras.

Offbeat instrumentation, including mandolin, ukulele, accordion, fiddle, washboard, and a kazoo horn section, added to familiar guitar, bass, and harmonica, creates a broad musical palette which they use to color their performances.

But you needn’t pay too much mind to all that serious musical analysis – they’re just plain fun!

Their regular gigs are at McConnell’s Irish Pub And Grill on Fridays at 8 PM and Saluté On The Beach on Sundays at 5:30 PM. They will also be playing at Blue Heaven Satuday at 10:30 AM.

Scheduled Appearances: Continue reading

GOING BACK TO TWICE A WEEK TRASH PICK UP IS A BIG MISTAKE

LetterToEditor

I was quoted last Saturday in the Citizen as saying at the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board meeting that “we’re much better off now had we just extended a contract with Waste Management.”  I was referring to the competitive bid process, which gave us best pricing from both companies versus just extending the old contract.  Many believed I was saying I am ok with the new contract.

Let me be clear. I am not ok with the new contract. I do not endorse the vote returning us to twice weekly trash collection (2-1-1). This was a terrible decision made by four commissioners who ignored their own solid waste master plan, which is supposed to take us forward to a Pay-As-You-Throw system. This contract takes us backwards.

This vote was against the advice of our solid waste expert, Kessler, Inc., City staff, the Sustainability Advisory Board, and that of virtually every other global expert in the field of resource recovery and sustainability.

Pay-As-You-Throw is industry best-practice. It is best for our environment and our pocket books.  Pay-As-You-Throw charges more to those that waste and rewards those that conserve. The waste haulers resist it because they make less.

My wife and I put out trash every second or third week. Almost everything goes to recycle or compost. Instead of rewarding our efforts, our rates will increase to subsidize those with no interest, or incentive to reduce waste.

Going to once a week trash pick-up (1-1-1) in our master plan was only a step in the right direction. It was a step towards “best-practices.” Our near sea level city quickly went from 7% to 21% recycling with 1-1-1.  San Francisco recycles 80% with Pay-as-You-Throw.

The new 2-1-1 contract will drag us backwards simply to appease a handful of people who do not know how to dispose of their fish, but mostly to give the contract to a favored bidder.

2-1-1 will reduce our recycling, reduce composting of our yard waste, increase truck traffic on our streets, add more carbon to the atmosphere and significantly increase rate payer costs.

I urge everyone to contact the mayor and commissioners. Request that they find a way to correct this wrong-headed retrograde decision and get us back to a 1-1-1 once-a-week trash pick-up.

Ross Williams, Key West

LetterToEditor

Injuring Innocent Felines

canstockphoto0732318

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Key Largo, has instituted an aggressive domestic cat trapping policy. Cat hunters are baiting traps and snaring these creatures.

FWS staff were directed to “cooperatively interact” with  “affected parties” prior to launching their cat trapping agenda. Furthermore, all decisions reached between FWS and the “affected parties”, must collaboratively reflect the “humane handling and treatment” of these animals.

These directives aren’t being followed. FWS is cherry-picking data provided by bureaucrats dependent upon them for employment, to justify their inhumane conduct. FWS recruits support from organizations that benefit from agreeing with them. Continue reading

Lower Keys LWV Wins State Recognition

LWVBoard toast

Lower Keys LWV board members toast the chapter’s approval by the Florida state organization. From left they are Secretary Diane Johnson, President Joan Wallin, Vice President Linda Grist Cunningham, Voter Services Chair Joy Brown Taylor, Membership Chair Jane Newhagen and Treasurer Sandy Bergin.
Credit/ Constance Gilbert

The Lower Keys League of Women voters has been approved by the Florida League for promotion to full chapter status, President Joan Wallin announced at their Fifth Tuesday social recently. The news vied with but did not overshadow the guest of honor, Monroe County Mayor Sylvia Murphy.

The chapter’s application will now be forwarded to the national organization for formal ratification.

Florida LWV President Deirdre Macnab posted that she was “proud of all of you for starting a new league, building it up and on to full ‘league-dom’ at the national convention!”

“I gathered from Deirdre’s comment on our FB page that our approval at the convention is virtually a foregone conclusion. Cool,” wrote Jane Newhagen, founding board member and membership committee chair. She credited Secretary Diane Johnson as instrumental in compiling the application.

Anyone interested in membership is invited to phone Newhagen at (305) 294-6073.

2014-2015 Season Auditions at Red Barn Theatre / May 17th

Red Barn Theatre is excited to announce two of the productions the Theatre will be producing in the 2014 – 2015 season –its 35th season! The auditions are open and paid and will consist of brief readings from the scripts. Callbacks will be at a yet-to-be-determined time. Email Joy Hawkins at hawkinswells@gmail.com with any questions.

Auditions take place at the Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval Rear, from 3 to 6 pm Saturday, May 17.  There is no parking at the theatre, except for bikes.  Please park elsewhere and walk in.

They are seeking actors for the following shows:

THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO by Alfred Uhry

Production Dates:  December 16 – January 17

Director:  Joy Hawkins

Winner of the 1997 Tony Award, Outer Circle Critics Award and Drama League Award for Best Play

Uhry won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for his play Driving Miss Daisy.

Without ever departing from it’s basic structure as a rich, often hilarious romantic comedy, Ballyhoo plumbs unexplored territory as it progresses.  The time is 1939, when the most important thing in young Lala Levy’s life is the Altanta premiere of Gone With the Wind.  More urgent to her widowed mother, Boo, is the question of who will be Lala’s date for the last night of Ballyhoo, the formal dance that crowns the party season for Altanta’s Jewish Society. Continue reading

Ronnie Johnson & Dale Baker at Hogs Breath Saloon!

rjdale promo-300

Ronnie Johnson & Dale Baker, two of “the locals” (Key West Mafia) favorites will be performing at The Hogs Breath Saloon from 5:30-9:30 beginning Monday, May 12 through Sunday, May 18. Out of Charleston, SC, Ronnie has opened for Tom Jones and performed in NYC for People Magazine alongside Chuck Berry. Dale is a “super picker” and has shared the stage with many national acts. On their last visit here, Jeff Cook, founding member of the legendary group “Alabama” showed up to play with them. These are 2 talented and all-encompassing performers you won’t want to miss..

DanceWorks 12 Featuring Excerpts of “Sleeping Beauty’ May 17 & 18!

Dagny

CoffeeMill Dance Studio celebrates over 30 years of dance and presents DanceWorks 12 featuring excerpts of “Sleeping Beauty” Saturday, May 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 18 at 2:00pm at the Tennessee Williams Theatre.

Jamie Carter

Jamie Carter

This year the CoffeeMill has invited two new guest artists (courtesy of Sarasota Ballet) to join their production. Dagny Hanrahan will be dancing the role of Aurora, and Jamie Carter will be dancing the role of the Prince.

Faculty, students and visiting artists of the CoffeeMill Dance Studio collaborate on an astounding celebration of dance including new works by the Key West Contemporary Dance Company!     [Enjoy KWCDC's latest Youtube video "1969" below.  Visit their website for more.]

Help keep dance alive! Show support and participate in our Fabulous Silent Auction to benefit the CoffeeMill Dance Outreach & Scholarship Fund in the lobby the days of the performances. TWO SHOWS ONLY! Treat your family to some great live dance. Tickets $ 15, $ 20, $ 25 ON SALE NOW at TWT Box Office or keystix.com. Go to coffeemilldance.com for more info.

Dagny

LITERATURE OF A LOW ORDER

Sam

Sam was 23 years old in 1860– but he still didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He had apprenticed as a printer, but he yearned for adventure.

Sam

Sam

He had briefly considered heading off to South America where he thought he could make some money collecting coca leaves. But before he got too serious about that, he landed a job as an apprentice riverboat pilot.

Meanwhile, Sam’s brother, Orion, had been working in Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign in Missouri and, after the election, Lincoln had arranged a political appointment for Orion in the office of the Territorial Governor of Nevada. Sam saw that as a perfect opportunity to experience “The West,” and he cut a deal with his brother to become his paid assistant. So, in July 1861, off they went to Carson City– 19 days by stagecoach from St. Joseph, Missouri. That trip was probably a major adventure all by itself. Continue reading

Wines of South Africa “From BBQ to Braai” Road Trip Series Comes to Key West!

canstockphoto8597627

Savor the bold flavors of South Africa at the 2014 “From BBQ To Braai” Key West Road Trip Event with Wines of South Africa (WOSA). Enjoy a South African wine tasting complemented by a full Key West inspired Braai menu from Chef Hugo Uys and Master-Class by wine expert Jim Clarke.

Who:  Food lovers, travel junkies, BBQ fanatics and anyone else interested in celebrating traditional South African braai (BBQ) cuisine and live DJ music.

What: Home to world-renowned wines and a unique cooking scene combining cross-currents of European, African and Asian traditions, South Africa is one of the world’s culinary capitals. And now you can taste the best of this exotic destination at the Key West installation of the 2014 “From BBQ to Braai” tour on Friday, May 16 (7-10 pm). Hosted at the Key West Garden Club, join famed South African chef, Hugo Uys, and sponsor, Wines of South Africa, for a culinary collaboration showcasing how traditional braai food compares with America’s own smoke-tinged masterpiece, BBQ. Plus enjoy live DJ music by acclaimed South African multi-media artist, Xander Ferreira – all for only $ 25 per person. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Monroe Association for reMARCable Citizens (MARC House). Continue reading