Oct 242014

Issue #85 — Friday, October 24, 2014

Scott Fraser, Key West FEMA Coordinator Talks About Key West’s Height Referendum

Three feet is just a little more than the height of a fire hydrant, but in the world of flood insurance, three feet can make the difference between a $ 6,000 and a $ 800 homeowner’s premium.

According to Scott Fraser, Key West’s FEMA Coordinator, in some cases, raising a home up to an additional four feet above FEMA requirements could result in even greater savings on a homeowner’s annual insurance premium; as much as 94%.

The City Commission is asking voters to consider passing a referendum which would allow homeowners to break through the building height barriers found in the municipal code for the dual purpose of protecting homes from flood damage and drastically reducing insurance costs.

Some residents have expressed concerns about a secret “developers’ agenda” or unintended consequences that might result if the referendum is passed.  In Key West restrictions on building height were put in place as a result of strong demand by residents and they were aggressively safeguarded when a charter amendment was enacted that would require voters to approve any changes – so it’s no wonder that people are paying strict attention to this paticular referendum question.

In the video above The Blue Paper asks Scott Fraser to help residents understand how things would work if the referendum on height were to pass.

Here is the text of the referendum:

To protect property against flooding and reduce flood insurance costs for taxpayers citywide, should the City permit an exception to building height regulations when buildings are voluntarily raised off the ground, up to four feet above FEMA established flood levels, yet no more than 40 feet in height?

The video below explains the potential insurance cost savings when homes are elevated above FEMA flood levels:


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heather carruthersThis month, I attended the Gulf Coast Caucus meeting of the National Association of Counties where we discussed how to grapple with the consequences of revisions to the National Flood Insurance Program. I also attended a regional climate change meeting and learned more about the impacts we are likely to see from rising sea levels.  My long-time involvement with the County and FIRM on these issues leads me to support the City’s referendum on making a limited exception to the height limit to allow homeowners to protect themselves from flood damage and exorbitant  flood insurance costs. It’s an important and prudent approach to flood plain management.

I’ve been disappointed to hear and read speculative and uninformed remarks in opposition to the referendum and would like to address some specific issues.

  1. There has been no substantiation of the cost of elevating a structure other than some speculation at an August City Commission meeting. In fact, I personally know of one property owner who has received a quote of approximately $ 50,000 to elevate a large home in the Meadows, and have heard of another who paid around $ 30,000 to elevate a small home in Bahama Village. (City staff is investigating prices.) Further, it is likely that these costs will come down as technology improves and there is demand for the service. (more…)

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A Note From Phil Goodman, Incumbent Candidate for District 2 Commissioner Florida Keys Mosquito Control


I am Phil Goodman, the current District 2 Commissioner on The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Board.  I am running on my record as a fiscal conservative and placing the needs of the taxpayers of Monroe County as a top priority.  I am a 15 year resident of Cudjoe Key and live there with my wife of 43 years, Debby, and our daughter Carey.  I am a graduate chemist from North Carolina State University with an MBA degree from the University of North Carolina.  I am a Registered Parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians, a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, the USCG Auxiliary, the Advisory Board of Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Key West Military Affairs Committee.  During my three years on the Mosquito Control Board I have been pro-active in informing Monroe County citizens about the role of mosquito control in the Keys by giving presentations to various organizations throughout our County.  (more…)

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Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D

Dennis Reeves Cooper

EARLY VOTING. One more time: If you want to consider yourself a good citizen, you need to register to vote and then vote in every election. There is almost no good reason not to do this. Election day this year is November 4– but Early Voting started last Monday. The Key West location for Early Voting is the Supervisor of Elections Office on Whitehead at Southard. The office is open for Early Voting Monday- Saturday, 8;30am- 5pm. Last day to vote early is Saturday, November 1. On the ballot, voters will see choices for governor, U.S. House of Representatives, several other statewide offices, a County Commission seat, two Mosquito Control seats, a circuit judge runoff, as well as several state constitutional amendments and local referenda. For an advance look at the ballot, log onto the Supervisor of Elections website: keyselections.org

IS LEGALIZED MARIJUANA COMING TO TOWN? Maybe, When you go to vote, you will see a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. If approved by a majority of voters, will we soon see a prescription-only pot store on Duval Street? (more…)

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Balancing Acts: Restrained Ferocity While Changing the World

feather stones balance

How pissed off should we investigative journalists sound when our discoveries make us angry and frustrated with violations of justice? I have just had run-ins with the gracious School Board member Andy Griffiths and an anonymous internet poster that have made me reconsider the tone of voice I take in my writing.

My career was made by dry technical research I got published in academic journals. I know how to write that way. By earning me tenure, it made me well-off. But almost nobody reads such work unless they are sifting it for their own publications. For my popular econ book, talk radio show, and the investigative and opinion pieces I have been writing locally since 2006, I have written in a style I hope people read.

Few read dry, dispassionate analyses of even hot topics. More read and listen to feelings around the facts. People are interested in conflicts, of ideas as well as people. For this writing, I dismiss the dry academic Professor and channel Nasty Little Ricky, the skinny 14-year-old nerd who got beat up until he learned to use his voice as a weapon. Verbally, I am a Shaquille O’Neal, and that is the voice I have brought to my commentaries. (more…)

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black and white childrenIs the United States of America a society in regression? With each rationalized and exonerated killing of young black men by cop and vigilante, are other regressive malcontents emboldened? Rather than ushering in a new era of racial harmony, the election of a black man to the highest office in the land has brought out the worst sort of hatred imaginable. Vile and treasonous epithets never before uttered publicly against a sitting president are posted daily on social media. The loony fringe has oozed out of the woodwork and taken up residence in main stream US society. Law makers and TV pundits have incrementally introduced racism as legitimate political dialogue. Code words that are palatable but are still racially derisive are used liberally in that dialogue. Civility and self control are non-existent. Who could forget South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous outburst, “You lie!” directed at president Obama at his 2009 State of the Union Address? (more…)

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Googol Announces Latest Addition to Wearables, Googol Guns

Now that Googol has mastered hands-free driving they have announced their latest project, Googol Guns. As we drive, hands free, along the Googol Express Lane of the Los Angeles Freeway, Googol project manager Arney Eckley gesticulates with both hands as he explains the latest addition to Googol Wearables, Googol Guns. “Driverless cars have become so ubiquitous that we see the potential in many other areas where people habitually kill each other. Driverless cars may prevent up to 34,000 needless automobile-related deaths a year,” stated Eckley. After a brief interruption while the car ticketed itself for speeding, pled guilty and paid the fine using Googol Wallet, Eckley continued, “The only device besides the car that kills nearly as many people annually in the U.S. is the gun. Once these technologies are adopted the only challenge left for us will be to cure cancer and heart disease.” Eckely is particularly optimistic about the Googol Gun. “With guns, it is a lot more straightforward than cars,” asserts Eckely. “We simply program the Second Amendment, all pertinent Federal, State, and local laws, including “Stand Your Ground” laws into the cloud-based software and the gun knows what it can do. Updates will be available for free download as Appeals Court rulings and statutory and Constitutional changes naturally occur. Each software version will be named after a historic figure. Version 1.01.03 is tentatively designated as “Colt”. With existing face, voice and other recognition techniques as well as highly sophisticated threat-evaluation algorithms, the gun will know who to shoot and who not to shoot with much greater reliability than even the most highly trained gun owners. It will make a huge difference immediately. After all, most gun injuries and deaths are either self-inflicted or to immediate family members and friends. That’s where we have the greatest potential,” said Eckley. (more…)

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New Modern Dance Classes at CoffeeMill Dance Studio Led By Cricket Desmarais
Cricket DeMarias

Cricket Desmarais

Starting November 4th on Tuesdays and Thursdays, CoffeeMill Dance Studio will offer Modern Dance for adults from 10:30am-12pm.

The six week program will be led by Cricket Desmarais, who also teaches yoga and is keenly interested in helping students experience movement in a way that aligns with their own particular bodies and impulses.

“While I think it’s important for students to learn technique, I think it’s equally important that they feel good while doing so,” says Desmarais. “We all have our own ways of experiencing time and space through movement.  I hope this class will be a way for students to explore that.” (more…)

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Text Campaign Supports Arts and History Education Programs For Key West

little girl painting

The Key West Art and Historical Society is asking the community to take a minute to text VOTE4 to 22333 and help promote and preserve our rich arts, historical and cultural heritage. Voting will remain open through 11:59 p.m. Monday Nov. 17. Winners will be announced December 2.

Ongoing since Monday [October 20], those with a cell phone can help bolster the future of arts and history for children of Key West– by submitting a single text. (more…)

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Back in 1521 , Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Island of Key West.  The island had been used as a communal graveyard by the Calusa Indians so he named the island Cayo Hueso (Island of Bones). Since that time this tiny island has produced so many interesting and crazy stories. This story is about Key West back in the 1970’s and 80’s, when smuggling was at it’s peak. The characters in (Island of Bones) are strictly fictional and do not represent any citizens of Key West !

                      Enjoy!   — Big Tuna


PART THIRTEEN of Island of Bones Series…  (more…)

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SIXTH ANNUAL SAFE HALLOWEEN at the Key West Botanical Garden

Key West Botanical Garden 2014

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navy league

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“Trick or Treat?” – Saturday, October 25, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Children under 12 can celebrate a safe and fun Halloween far (enough) from the maddening crowd at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden on College Road.  The 6th Annual ‘Screaming Green Halloween’  features separate costume competitions for ages 6-12 and those under 6, bounce house, games, candy, crafts, food and more  – spiced with a “green” theme.  Admission $ 5 a Child or $ 10 a Family; $ 5 for KWBGS member family. More at www.kwbgs.org; call (305) 296-1504 or email kwbgs@kwbgs.org.

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Love Lane Gang! They’re Just Plain Fun!

Love Lane Gang 20140713-01

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.

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 playing their regular gigs at Saluté On The Beach Sunday at 5:30 PM and Sunset Pier Wednesdays at 5:30 PM.

Scheduled Appearances:


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State Attorney Designates Sheriff Detective Manuel Cuervo Officer of the Quarter


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Monthly Artisan Market Kicks Off New Season

Nov 2 flyer

The much anticipated Key West Artisan Market will kick off a new season on Sunday, November 2nd from 10 am to 2 pm at the Restaurant Store parking lot.

The event gives residents and visitors alike a chance to shop fresh and local. The parking lot at 1111 Eaton is transformed into a showcase of art, photography and unique local handicrafts made exclusively in the Keys in one convenient location. There will be entertainment, demonstrations and sampling. (more…)

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The Beach Boys at The Tennessee Williams Theatre November 7th
Photo Credit: David McClister

Photo Credit: David McClister

As The Beach Boys mark more than a half century of making music, the group continues to ride the crest of a wave unequalled in America’s musical history.  The Beach Boys have become synonymous with the California lifestyle and have become an American icon to fans around the world. The Beach Boys will pull into town to perform on November 7 at The Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, FL.  (more…)

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Participants Sought For Key West Veteran’s Day Parade

Key West’s Veterans Day Parade organizers are looking for military units, veterans’ groups and all other units to march through the streets of Old Town Key West Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 4 p.m. to pay tribute to America’s veterans, past and present, during the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade.

The Veterans Day Parade will travel down Duval Street and everyone is welcome to come cheer on the marching units and pay tribute to service members past and present.

Organizations wishing to participate may register or get more information by contacting Sgt. 1st Class Adam Van Natta, (305) 293-5782, or email adam.n.vannatta.mil@mail.mil.

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Call to Artists for the 3rd Annual Key West Chalk Festival
Sarasota based artist Stig Lindow is shown putting finishing touches on his 2013 Key West Chalk Festival creation, a larger-than-life rendering of Key West Art & Historical Society mascot, Robert the Haunted Doll.  Photo by Carol Tedesco

Sarasota based artist Stig Lindow is shown putting finishing touches on his 2013 Key West Chalk Festival creation, a larger-than-life rendering of Key West Art & Historical Society mascot, Robert the Haunted Doll. Photo by Carol Tedesco

The Key West Art in Public Places Board announces a call to artists for the 3rd Annual Key West Chalk Festival.  November 19-23, local and visiting artists—from novices to world-class artists—will use the promenade alongside the seawall at the Truman Waterfront as their canvas for elaborate and colorful chalk art creations, with prizes awarded in student and adult categories. The AIPP Board is happy to announce that Denise Kowal, Founder and Chair of the Sarasota Chalk Festival is working with AIPP to help make this year’s Festival the best yet. Artists may register using the event submission form available online at artinpublicplaceskw.com. Ongoing information and updates are available on the Key West Chalk Festival Facebook page.

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City of Key West Sightseeing Franchise Input

The Key West City Commission wants to hear your views and ideas regarding the franchise agreements between the city and sightseeing enterprises. These agreements will be reviewed by all commissioners from now until February. The commissioners want to hear from the community. Please click the following link for the online form. Or you can send your comments to 3132 Flagler Ave, Key West, Florida 33040



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 The Blue Paper #85  October 24, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 am # Full Issues #

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