Jun 052015
 
Fracking? In Florida?

by Michael Welber……. Anyone who has followed this issue of hydraulic fracturing or fracking might be more than a little surprised to discover that companies want to frack right here in the Sunshine State. Most people consider it something that happens elsewhere. Like Canada. Or New York. It turns out that as recently as December [more…]

May 222015
 
March Against Monsanto Without Leaving Your House

By Michael Welber… A large number of people all over the country will take to the streets on Saturday to express their displeasure about what the mega-corporation Monsanto is doing to farms, consumers, and, quite literally, the world. Whether Monsanto gives a rat’s rectum about these marches is open to question but they certainly didn’t [more…]

Over-Development, Cronyism, and Corruption in the Middle Keys

 
Over-Development, Cronyism, and Corruption in the Middle Keys

Cities and towns love development. The more the better. More money – for rich people – more tourists, and more – low paying – jobs. That’s partly why the Marathon City Council rubberstamped a proposal to redevelop the Sombrero Country Club into what will become Florida Keys Resort. The newly approved development may also endanger [more…]

It’s The Law, Man

 
It’s The Law, Man

Wasting police time; wasting taxpayer dollars There aren’t many issues that Americans agree on in this era of divisive politics. The country has been fractured by innumerable partisan confrontations from foreign wars to immigration to birth control. And yet a clear majority of people in the United States do consistently agree on one issue: legalization [more…]

Fouling Our Nest Part II: Let Us Spray

 
Fouling Our Nest Part II: Let Us Spray

Anyone who has lived in the Keys for any length of time knows that the ground we live on is very porous. Made up of either coral or limestone rock, the surface of these islands resembles flat colanders, allowing everything that falls on it to eventually pass directly through the ground to the salt water [more…]

Zecca Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison

 
Zecca Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison

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 [more…]

BOOK REVIEW: Sustainable [R]evolution [North Atlantic Books]

 
BOOK REVIEW: Sustainable [R]evolution  [North Atlantic Books]

Reading Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox’s new book is both exhilarating and depressing. Exhilarating because the volume describes in varying detail more than 62 ecovillages, urban farms, and communities from all over the world working toward sustainability. But the paperback is also a downer because it highlights what can be accomplished but isn’t in almost [more…]

More Bull from Marathon City Council

 
More Bull from Marathon City Council

  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 [more…]

Welber on Welber: Special Interest Trumps Climate Action

 
Welber on Welber: Special Interest Trumps Climate Action

“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 [more…]

Sacred Cows and Hypocrisy at City Hall

 
Sacred Cows and Hypocrisy at City Hall

When Key West city commissioners voted to override staff recommendations and choose a higher bid for trash pickup, people in the audience were stunned. But no one was more stunned than Jody Smith Williams. Smith Williams played a central role in getting the city to hire Kessler Consulting. Their job was to study how trash [more…]

City Council Debates Color of Deck Chairs On Titanic

 
City Council Debates Color of Deck Chairs On Titanic

Members of the Marathon city council recently debated whether there would be a cultural center or banquet hall in the planned $ 5 million (plus or minus) city hall. The new building will replace the current trailers that house city functions. And then, on Tuesday, Councilman Chris Bull moved that the city bring the old [more…]

Marathon Council Suffers From Short-term Memory Loss

 
Marathon Council Suffers From Short-term Memory Loss

Anyone who has spent any time watching the Marathon city council in action will end up citing the now well over-used cliché, kicking the can down the road. While deferring action when it comes to pig ownership or dog parks or invocations may not matter all that much, the council’s lack of movement on selecting [more…]

Dearth Day: How Even Environmentalists Are Accepting The Inevitable

 
Dearth Day: How Even Environmentalists Are Accepting The Inevitable

When sorrow draws near, The gardens of the soul will lie desolate, Wilting; joy and song will die. Dark is life, dark is death.   Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) — Gustav Mahler It was Earth Day this week. Companies peddling environmentally sound products flooded in-boxes with promos for Earth [more…]

The Dumbshine State

 
The Dumbshine State

A rally last week in Tallahassee was staged to encourage solar energy development in Florida. Fortunately it became political because otherwise the mainstream media might not have covered it. Organizers used the event to accuse Gov. Rick Scott of blocking solar energy initiatives in the state at the behest of the big power companies. Because [more…]

Crane Point Points Fingers

 
Crane Point Points Fingers

When the Department of Economic Opportunity, source of a $ 727,000 Community Development Block Grant to Marathon for the construction of a zip-line course at the Crane Point Nature Center, asked for justification for Crane Point’s delinquency in submitting two required and very late documents, board chair Jeff Smith wrote, “The delays are attributed to [more…]

Mano a Mano: Yard Waste Redux

 
Mano a Mano: Yard Waste Redux

In the following interview, Blue Paper columnist Michael Welber interviews former environmental activist Michael Welber. This Welber launched the city of Marathon Green Team in 2007, was a member of what was then called Monroe County’s Green Initiative Task Force, and has written extensively about environmental issues. He wrote recently (http://thebluepaper.com/article/debate-about-yard-waste-incineration-flares-up/) about the county’s plans [more…]

Marathon Diary: Sliding into Chaos

 
Marathon Diary: Sliding into Chaos

Exhibit A: Democracy takes a back seat in the Middle Keys The Marathon City Council, after some promises about making careful considerations, wasted no time in appointing former councilman John Bartus to the seat recently and abruptly vacated by Ginger Snead. Snead, to the shock of many, had suddenly resigned citing “rumors.” It’s never been [more…]

Debate About Yard Waste Incineration Flares Up

 
Debate About Yard Waste Incineration Flares Up

“No, no, no this is a terrible idea!” Laura Haight, New York Public Interest Research Group For reasons that remain as cloudy as the smoke from a wood fire, Monroe County seems determined to pursue a plan to incinerate yard waste. At the same time, the commissioners may be ignoring a comparably priced plan to [more…]

Deja Vu

 
Deja Vu

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana The city of Marathon is suffering from mass amnesia. In a totally expected and even foretold move, the city council appointed Mike Puto, known by many as Mr. Marathon, as interim city manager at a salary of $ 10,000 a month. [more…]

Feds Lambaste Zip-Line Plan at Crane Point

 
Feds Lambaste Zip-Line Plan at Crane Point

The city of Marathon might be having second thoughts about partnering with the Crane Point Nature Center to construct a zip-line attraction in the Hammock. The U.S. government in the form of a letter from the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of Interior delivered a staggering blow to the project in a [more…]

Year-end Review: One Story Dominates All

 
Year-end Review: One Story Dominates All

At this time of year, publications run their year-end reviews ad nauseum. I use that word advisedly because what news writers and editors do is regurgitate the highlights and lowlights of the previous year. They do it primarily because it’s easy; trust me. I know because when I was an editor, I did it too. [more…]

The Greenwashing of 'America Recycles'

 
The Greenwashing of 'America Recycles'

Today is America Recycles Day. Brought to you by Pepsico, Nestle Water, Johnson & Johnson, Glad plastic bags, Rubbermaid, and Waste Management. Do you see a pattern? These are the same corporations that contribute to the problem of the large volume of trash that Americans generate every day. The ones that want to head off [more…]

The Greenwashing of ‘America Recycles’

 
The Greenwashing of 'America Recycles'

Today is America Recycles Day. Brought to you by Pepsico, Nestle Water, Johnson & Johnson, Glad plastic bags, Rubbermaid, and Waste Management. Do you see a pattern? These are the same corporations that contribute to the problem of the large volume of trash that Americans generate every day. The ones that want to head off [more…]