Feb 042018
Animal Control: Corruption or Stupidity?

by Margaret Blank……. The image above is a screen shot from the Florida Inspectors General website.  Is the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) over-charging the taxpayers to run the Marathon shelter?  Sure looks that way. Are county officials benefiting somehow?  There’s no smoking gun, but documents that would shed light on how much it cost the previous operators to run the shelter are mysteriously unavailable.  And the state attorneys office has made it abundantly clear they cannot be bothered to properly look [continue reading…]

 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:55 am * Featured Story *, Issue #254, Margaret Blank 1 Response »
Jan 202018

BIG PINE KEY, FL – Was your home destroyed or badly damaged by Hurricane Irma and you need help navigating the rebuilding and repair process in Monroe County? Monroe County will host a public meeting to explain County processes, provide information and answer your individual questions.

 January 20, 2018  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #252, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Dec 152017

Monroe County’s oldest Trauma Star – of its three-helicopter ambulance fleet – was en route to Coral Shores High School for a trauma transport when it caught fire during landing at about 7 a.m. Friday. There were no injuries. The patient on board was transported by ground ambulance to nearby Mariners Hospital, which is about a mile away. The patient was air lifted from there by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and transported to a mainland hospital. The fire caused substantial damage to the 35-year-old aircraft, which had just [continue reading…]

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #247, News 4 Responses »
Nov 242017
ETHICS VIOLATIONS / “It's all Danny's fault if we lose.”

They lost. And he was off by over $2 million plus 333 other errors. by Rick Boettger……. Commissioner Danny Kolhage’s share of the $15+ million in reporting errors made by the most recently cited four county commissioners rung up with $20,000 in fines by the Florida Commission on Ethics was “only” $2,254,648, putting him a distant third to Heather Carruthers’ $7.4 million and David Rice’s $4.5 million.  But Kolhage was easily in 1st Place in errors of form, omitting 24 addresses and 309 entries on [continue reading…]

Nov 032017
Don’t Miss Out on Important Disaster Recovery Assistance Deadlines

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reaching out to remind you of important dates and deadlines as you proceed with your recovery from Hurricane Irma. Do not miss out on assistance that may be available to you because of a missed deadline. Some deadlines may be extended, but do not wait. The following information is current as of Nov. 2.   Request for Public Assistance (RPA): Sunday, Nov. 5

 November 3, 2017  Posted by at 1:44 am Issue #241, News No Responses »
Oct 272017
County Commissioners' Ethical Problems Get Worse

Taxpayers to Pay Up to $50k to Help Them Fill Out Simple Form by Rick Boettger……. News break—I just received a copy of Mark Herron’s contract from an attorney in County Attorney Bob Schillinger’s office.  Herron will get $300/hour plus expenses to vet not only the Commissioners’ but their “employees,” whoever that includes, but “. . .do not exceed $49,999.99.”  They say this is authorized by Section 2-58(b)(3) of the county code.  I, and if necessary my Harvard lawyer, will take a close look at [continue reading…]

Aug 112017
Largest Turnout in Monroe History for the "Big Latch On"

~~~ The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County’s WIC program, in partnership with Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition and volunteers – Jessica Laino and Kimmie Matlock, participated in the Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event.  The events took place on August 4 in Marathon and August 5 in Key West and Key Largo.  Twenty eight babies successfully latched on at the same time along with 17,790 other babies around the world, breaking the worldwide breastfeeding record.  Last year there were nine latched on babies [continue reading…]

 August 11, 2017  Posted by at 12:29 am Issue #231, Special Events No Responses »
Oct 052016
Some Monroe County Schools Will be Closed on Thursday

Monroe County School District announces closing of some Florida Keys schools. Based on the latest weather briefing from the National Weather Service for Hurricane Matthew, due to the forecasted Tropical Storm force winds in the middle and upper keys the following schools will be closed on Thursday, October 6th.  Staff at these schools will not be required to report.  All schools will reopen on Friday October 7th unless there are significant changes in the weather conditions as forecast.

 October 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 pm News No Responses »
Aug 192016
Monroe County Launches New Website ZapZika.net

At its Wednesday meeting, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with the Monroe County Mosquito Control District to provide County employees to supplement the District’s workforce on a temporary, as needed basis, in the event that the Zika virus becomes a problem in the county. Presently, the Florida Keys continues to have no confirmed cases of locally acquired Zika and only one confirmed travel-related case, in which the person contracted it outside of Florida. But to help keep Zika from [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #180, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Jul 152016

  The Monroe County Marathon Courthouse is a little more colorful with the recent installation of an eye-catching turquoise bench and sky blue loveseat created by California artist Colin Selig. He makes them from an unlikely source: salvage propane tanks once used to heat homes. His functional sculptures are part of the County’s 1% Art in Public Places program. “These benches create a lovely, quiet space for people who visit and work at the Courthouse,” said Elizabeth Young, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Council [continue reading…]

 July 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:18 am Art, Issue #175 No Responses »
Jun 172016
Plans Unveiled for New Marathon Library and Adult Education Center

KEY LARGO – Plans for the new energy efficient Marathon Library and Adult Education Center were unveiled Wednesday at the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Key Largo. “We are trying to build a facility that meets the community’s needs,” Monroe County Projects Management and Facilities Director Doug Sposito said. Artist renditions and floor plans of the 14,861 square-foot facility were shown. They include 12,322 square feet of dedicated library space (about double the space of the existing library), 2,539 square feet for [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #171, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Jun 172016
Monroe County Completes Dock at Harry Harris Park

TAVERNIER – On Thursday, Monroe County completed a $33,828 project to repair the dock next to the boat ramp at Harry Harris Park, 107 E. Beach Road, in Tavernier. The dock was stripped down to the pylons. The old decking was removed and the support structure was repaired. A new structural plastic decking, which is slip resistant and low maintenance, was installed. “It’s a cedar color and looks beautiful,” Monroe County project manager Cary Knight said. The project went quicker than expected, lasting just two [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:12 am Issue #171, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Jun 172016
Household Hazardous Waste Cleanout in Time for Hurricane Season

MONROE COUNTY CLEANS OUT STORAGE SHED OF HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE; SENDING IT TO GAINESVILLE FOR PROPER DISPOSAL – JUST IN TIME FOR HURRICANE SEASON LONG KEY – In preparation for hurricane season, Monroe County just completed an annual cleanout of its household hazardous waste storage shed. All the corrosive, flammable, reactive and toxic household waste that was collected throughout the year at the County’s transfer stations were put into 103 55-gallon drums, weighing 25,900 pounds. These drums were transported to the Perma-Fix of Florida Environmental [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:04 am Issue #171, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Jun 102016
Monroe County Completes Six Canal Restoration Demonstration Projects

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED ON SIX CANAL RESTORATION DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS; MONITORING UNDERWAY WITH EARLY RESULTS SHOWING IMPROVED WATER QUALITY Monroe County just completed an air curtain installation that blocks weeds from entering Big Pine Key’s Canal #287, one of the Keys’ 131 poor-rated canals. This marks the end of the construction phase of the County’s original $5-million investment in demonstration projects that implemented four different restoration methods – air curtain weed gate installation, organic muck removal, culvert installation and backfilling– to restore six of the worst water [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #170, News, Public Notice No Responses »
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 »