May 172016

Thursday:  May 19, 2016, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Avenue, Key West The public is invited to a town hall being held by Monroe County Mayor Heather Carruthers. The informal meeting will begin with a 2016 State of the County presentation followed by a Q&A session, with discussions on current topics of interest to the attendees. If more than one member of any local government board – including advisory boards – attends, only one of the members may participate in the [continue reading…]

 May 17, 2016  Posted by at 1:38 pm Public Notice 1 Response »
May 132016
County Mayor Heather Carruthers: On Single Member Districts

The Mayor’s Letter to the Editor: There’s some talk right now about changing to single-member district (SMD) voting for Monroe County Commission seats. From my perspective, SMD elections would diminish voter representation and lead to legislative gridlock. With SMD elections, you vote for one Commissioner every four years. In our current at-large elections, you get to vote for all five Commissioners every four years, and for at least 40% of the Commission every two years. Suppose your SMD-elected Commissioner disagrees with you on a particular [continue reading…]

May 062016
Two More Scams Reported

The Sheriff’s Office had two more different types of scams reported Tuesday and would like to make everyone aware so they do not fall victim to these fraudsters. An Islamorada woman called the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night to report being scammed by someone she believed worked for a legitimate loan company. The 60 year old victim said she was trying to obtain a loan from a company called “Easy Loans”. She said a representative called and agreed to give her a $3,000 loan. He told [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #165, News No Responses »
Apr 012016
Monroe County Officials Meet with Governor and Florida Cabinet to Discuss Work Progress

MONROE COUNTY OFFICIALS MEET WITH GOVERNOR AND FLORIDA CABINET TO DISCUSS WORK PROGRESS IN AREA OF CRITICAL STATE CONCERN PROGRAM Officials from Monroe County and the municipalities in the Florida Keys met Tuesday in Tallahassee with Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet (Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam). The four state officials sit as the Administration Commission that oversee places designated as an Area of Critical State Concern. The Florida Keys and the City of Key West have [continue reading…]

 April 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:02 am Issue #160, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Mar 252016
Monroe County To Process Yard Waste at Future Gasification Plant

MONROE COUNTY ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT WITH ENERGY 3 TO PROCESS COUNTY’S YARD WASTE AT A FUTURE GASIFICATION FACILITY KEY LARGO – The Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 to enter into a “no-risk” agreement on March 23 with Maryland-based Energy 3, LLC to process the County’s yard waste – beginning within the next 30 months – at a future gasification facility that converts organic debris into energy. The agreement came after nearly two years of discussions and negotiations, which continued right up until the final [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #159, Public Notice No Responses »
Mar 252016
Monroe County Hires Martin Senterfitt as Emergency Management Director

KEY LARGO – Monroe County hired the City of Jacksonville’s former Director of Emergency Preparedness and former Director of Fire and Rescue Martin Senterfitt as its new Emergency Management Director. He will replace Irene Toner, who is retiring after 17 years in the position. “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to hire a person with so much professionalism and with so much experience and expertise in emergency management,” County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “Marty has done it all – responding to hurricanes, wildfires, floods, [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:16 am Issue #159, Public Notice No Responses »
Jan 292016
Brownfield Transformation Workshop

February 11, 2016; 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Murray Nelson Government Center 102050 Overseas Highway Key Largo, FL KEY LARGO — Monroe County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are partnering to host a workshop on Brownfield Redevelopment. A brownfield is the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of property, which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. Developers, investors, realtors, governments and other interested members of the community are invited to learn about brownfields, hear success [continue reading…]

 January 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #151, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Jun 262015
Trooper Out of Control

by Naja and Arnaud Girard… OIG Investigation Report just in… In February we reported on the shocking tasing of an older gentleman by a state trooper on US 1 near the 18-mile stretch. Before a bystander’s cell phone video was made public, the trooper, Eloy Arias, had written in his incident report that he had tased the man because he “attempted to run into the oncoming southbound traffic.” The video footage previously published by The Blue Paper [above], however, clearly shows the man,  Mr. Marc [continue reading…]

May 222015
Confusion Over Student Final Grades

The Florida Department of Education announced Monday that the delay caused by the required validation study of the new Florida Standards Assessments end-of-course tests (FSA EOCs) in Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II effectively releases districts from the requirement that these scores constitute 30 percent of the course grade for students in these classes. This announcement grants Florida school districts, including the Monroe County Schools, to locally determine how the results of these state required EOC’s will be used in calculating final grades for students. [continue reading…]

 May 22, 2015  Posted by at 12:17 am Issue #115, Public Notice No Responses »
May 082015
Monroe County School District - Superintendent Suspends District Developed Final Exams

With the support of the School Board and in alignment with the recommendations of the Student Assessment for Learning Taskforce, Superintendent Mark T. Porter is announcing that the Monroe County School District will temporarily suspend plans for the implementation of district created final exams at the middle and high school level and will expand plans to scale back formal testing at the elementary level as well. The statutory requirements for district created assessments eased with the passing of House Bill 7069 which was signed into [continue reading…]

 May 8, 2015  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #113, Public Notice No Responses »
May 012015
What Does Climate Change Have To Do With CSA? What is CSA?

by Vicki Boguszewski… I love my CSA! A CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture program. My CSA supports organic farming in the Redlands Historic Agriculture District of Homestead, Florida. It is called the Bee Heaven Farm CSA. What does it have to do with climate change? Climate Change is the acceleration of the natural processes of the Earth by human activity and impacts the human family in both direct and indirect ways. One of the activities which most strongly influences the rate and subsequent acceleration [continue reading…]

 May 1, 2015  Posted by at 12:20 am Issue #112, Public Notice 1 Response »
Apr 172015
Cudjoe Deep Injection Well Funded But Shallow Well Battle Continues

by JD Adler… March 5, 2015: A team of environmental scientists led by Dr. Briceno of the Florida International University have gathered under blue skies on Cudjoe Key. Their mission: to determine whether the shallow injection wells installed for use in the Cudjoe regional wastewater treatment plant will successfully contain wastewater or whether the ground will prove too porous allowing partially treated sewage to migrate to nearby national marine sanctuary surface waters. By March 19th they would have already found the answer, as described in the report released April 11. “We [continue reading…]

 April 17, 2015  Posted by at 3:50 am * Featured Story *, Issue #110, JD Adler, Water World 6 Responses »
Apr 172015
Dump the Pumps Announces Intent to Sue Federal Agencies

by JD Adler… The law firm of Reiner and Reiner, on behalf of Dump the Pumps, has made a public announcement of intent to sue over lack of environmental impact assessment for Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. 60-DAY NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE VIOLATIONS OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT; THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT; THE MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT; THE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES ACT; COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT; THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE CLEAN AIR ACT; REGARDING MONROE COUNTY AND THE FLORIDA KEYS AQUEDUCT [continue reading…]

 April 17, 2015  Posted by at 2:40 am Issue #110, JD Adler, Water World No Responses »
Apr 032015
22 Monroe County Students to meet with Nobel Peace Laureate

Historic Tours of America is the lead corporate sponsor for Keys to Be the Change and their PeaceJam trip which will be on April 10 – 13. Twenty-two students from Monroe County will be traveling to Florida State University to attend the annual Leadership Conference. Students will meet and work with a Nobel Peace Laureate  during the weekend conference. Historic Tours of America donated funds to help with scholarships that provide this opportunity to youth who otherwise would not be able to afford this trip. [continue reading…]

 April 3, 2015  Posted by at 3:15 am Issue #108, Public Notice, Special Event 2 Responses »
Mar 272015
FKAA Reverses Position on Deep Injection Well

by JD Adler… In a press release dated March 25th, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) announced their decision to request funding from the Monroe County Commission to build a deep injection well at the Cudjoe regional wastewater treatment plant. Their decision was based on a preliminary report from Dr. Briceno of Florida International University who was conducting tests on the shallow wells for FKAA. According to the report, “a connection between injection depth and surface waters may exist at the injection site” (more detail below). [continue reading…]

 March 27, 2015  Posted by at 4:00 am * Featured Story *, Issue #107, JD Adler, Water World 6 Responses »
Mar 202015
Cudjoe Shallow Wells Need Deeper Look

by JD Adler… Environmental attorneys Caron Balkany and Christopher Byrd have issued a 60 day notice of intent to sue the government on behalf of local fisherman Mike Laudicina, due to failure to acquire proper review for the shallow well injection of municipal sewage in the Cudjoe Key area. They have issued a press release stating that Monroe County and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) have utilized a “fake” environmental assessment report to support their contention that this method is safe. Their concerns spring from [continue reading…]

 March 20, 2015  Posted by at 4:00 am * Featured Story *, Issue #106, JD Adler, Water World 2 Responses »
Mar 202015
Crab Molesters Face up to 10 Years

On Wednesday, May 18, 2015, a Key West jury took less than two hours to find both Romualdo Ricardo Salado and Christopher J. Payne guilty of one count of Molestation of Another’s Stone Crab Trap by a Commercial Harvester.   Mr. Salado and Mr. Payne were found not guilty of a second count involving the same allegation.    Prior to the jury being selected, both Mr. Salado and Mr. Payne had entered an open plea to one count of Possession of Undersized Stone Crab.  The sentencing for [continue reading…]

 March 20, 2015  Posted by at 2:30 am Issue #106, Public Notice, Water World No Responses »
Mar 132015
Inept Justices Rule Against Monroe

by Rick Boettger… The Third Court of Appeals has ruled that private corpations owning rental housing located on federally owned land associated with a military base do NOT have to pay local real estate taxes. This costs us here in Monroe almost $8 million/year in educational costs for those children, costs the rest of us shoulder, to say nothing about police, fire, roads, etc. The reasons the court gave were simply wrong. They say the Navy retains control over the property. But the point of [continue reading…]

 March 13, 2015  Posted by at 3:10 am Editorial, Issue #105, Rick Boettger 5 Responses »
Mar 132015
Monroe County Familiarization Program, March 19

Key West, FL…On March 19, the Key West Association of Realtors is presenting “Get to Know Monroe,” a county-wide program intended to help educate realtors and residents about Monroe County’s departments and services. Beginning at 1 p.m. department heads from permitting, planning, code enforcement, HARC, Mosquito Control and more will brief the public on department how-to’s and other basics. To accommodate the expected crowd, the familiarization program will take place at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Avenue. Because informational handouts and other brochures will [continue reading…]

 March 13, 2015  Posted by at 1:55 am Issue #105, Public Notice, Special Event No Responses »
Feb 132015
Monroe County School District Awards

Coral Shores High School Teacher selected as Monroe County School District’s 2015 Teacher of the Year Mr. Wellington “Todd”Gideon, Science Teacher at Coral Shores High School was chosen as Monroe County School District’s 2015 Teacher of the Year for his immeasurable contributions to the lives of hundreds of students and families. A former student wrote “… Simply put, once upon a time you (Mr. Gideon) took the effort to try to inspire a below average student, and it has made all the difference, for that I am eternally grateful.” [continue reading…]

 February 13, 2015  Posted by at 12:06 am Issue #101, Public Notice No Responses »
Jan 302015

by Catherine Vogel, State Attorney… The legalization of medical marijuana in Florida seems inevitable. Last year the ballot initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to allow medical marijuana failed by a slim margin. Any amendment to the Florida Constitution requires passage by 60%. The initiative garnered 57.6% of the vote. Here in Monroe County, the vote was 70% in favor of the amendment. Those in favor of the amendment have vowed to raise the signatures to put it back on the ballot again in 2016. [continue reading…]

 January 30, 2015  Posted by at 1:53 am Issue #99 No Responses »
Jan 302015
An Open Letter to US Fish & Wildlife Services Regarding Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant

January 23, 2015 To: Cynthia Dohner, Regional Director, US Fish and Wildlife Services, CC: Ashleigh Blackford, Branch Lead, Planning and Resource Conservation –East,; Nancy Finley, Refuge Manager,; Brian Powell, USFW Biologist,; Larry Williams, State Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office, From: Caron Balkany, Re: Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant – shallow sewage wells Director Dohner: Undersigned counsel represents several residents in the Lower Florida Keys who are concerned about the environmental impacts from the proposed shallow sewage well injection for Cudjoe [continue reading…]

 January 30, 2015  Posted by at 1:20 am Issue #99, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Jan 302015

Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers (District 3) will be holding a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, February 5, 2015. The public is invited to attend. The meeting will begin with a 2015 State of the County discussion and will be followed by a Question and Answer format, leading to discussions on current topics of interest to the attendees. The meeting will be at the Harvey Government Center located in the Historic Truman School at 1200 Truman Avenue, Key West in the Board of County Commission [continue reading…]

 January 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:55 am Issue #99 No Responses »
Jan 302015
Congratulations to State Attorney's Office Employee of the Quarter: Anna Hubicki

On behalf of the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office, State Attorney Catherine Vogel presented Anna Hubicki with the designation of “Employee of the Quarter” for her outstanding work in the Misdemeanor Divisions. Anna is an Assistant State Attorney at the State Attorney’s Office in Key West. This award is certainly well deserved; Anna was victorious in a jury trial that was held in Marathon when a jury pool was not available in Key West. “She is most deserving of this honor,” said State Attorney Catherine [continue reading…]

 January 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:35 am Issue #99, News No Responses »
Jan 162015
Last Minute Moratorium Saves Offshore Islands From Deregulation

by Naja and Arnaud Girard The elephant was back in the room during last Wednesday’s County Commission meeting. Its name is Wisteria Island, but everyone pretended they were innocently debating the issue of restrictive development on offshore islands without ever mentioning the $100 Million + aspirations that Roger Bernstein has for the famous desert island in Key West harbor. What had occurred was a remarkable exercise in special interest maneuvering followed closely by counter measures made by opponents. Let us explain. The County has spent over [continue reading…]

Dec 122014
Inside Sector Key West

USCG Sector Key West On a 70 degree, blue sky, December day in Key West, I found myself on the west end of the island, outside the guarded, metal gates of the United States Coast Guard Group, Sector Key West. A young, round male in wrinkled blues, held the gate house secure against the food delivery guy and me. On the nose of 1 PM, my escort arrived. Lt. j.g. Peter Bermont, the USCG’s spokesperson in Key West, and my affable government handler for this [continue reading…]

 December 12, 2014  Posted by at 12:57 am Issue #92, Water World No Responses »
Dec 122014
Guest Editorial: Cudjoe Regional Sewer Design / A Look Behind The Curtain

CUDJOE REGIONAL WASTEWATER SYSTEM, WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON? Here is another piece of the puzzle on how the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) came to be so very badly designed that those of us who are paying attention actually consider it to be an endangerment to our National Marine Sanctuary, and far from an improvement to existing treatment and disposal. The information herein was not easily obtained.

 December 12, 2014  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #92, Uncategorized 7 Responses »