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First today, an announcement Erika Biddle (right in photo, the new “founder” right photo, his mainland musician “partner/backer”, middle photo) put up on Facebook yesterday, to which I added a link for readers who wish to read more about Grimal Grove on Big Pine Key:
Produced: September 2012. To find out how to support the Grimal Grove contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Grimal Estate …
I’ve been to the Grove, it’s something the entire Florida Keys community would do well to get behind and support in any way they can. The now bearded fellow whose inspiration saving and restoring the Grove is (left in photo), is a local school teacher. Imagine the wealth of experience and learning Keys school kids could get pitching in and helping him bring this living Keys treasure back to its full potential. Come to the fund raiser, meet him, learn more.
Next for today, something that sort of reminds me of lower Duval Street in Key West …
|Running Time||2 hr 59 min|
|Cast||Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler|
This is the true story of the outlandish rise and non-stop pleasure-hunting descent of Jordan Belfort, the New York stockbroker who, along with his merry band of brokers, makes a gargantuan fortune by defrauding … more »
Showtimes inKey West, FL change location
I finally caved in and went to Tropic Cinema yesterday and watched “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Mostly, I had stayed away because the movie is nearly 3 hours long. I figured, though, I needed to see it, since it is being touted as the best movie of the year. Probably is, if you are talking about best movie of the year on American money, drug, sex, power, me-first addiction. Check it out, see for yourself :-).
On another joyful noise American front yesterday, from Nashville J:
Two former officers found not guilty in death of Kelly Thomas
Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the 2011 beating death of transient Kelly Thomas.
Ex-cops acquitted in beating death of homeless man
Former Officers Not Guilty in Kelly Thomas’ Death
Kelly Thomas’ Parents React To Not Guilty Verdict For 2 Ex-Fullerton Police Officers
2 Ex-Fullerton Officers Acquitted Of All Charges In Connection With Kelly Thomas’…
Two former Fullerton police officers were found not guilty on all charges Monday afternoon in the death of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic man they beat into unconsciousness as he cried out for help on a summer night more than two years ago.
The Orange County jury’s swift verdict came after just two days of deliberations, ending a case that generated national debate about how police deal with the mentally ill and homeless.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas staked his name on the prosecution, arguing the case himself in court. Rackauckas said the trial was fair.
“I would do the same thing again,” he said. “I think it’s a matter that a jury had to see.”
Thomas’ family quietly sobbed as the verdict was read. His mother emerged from the courtroom with red-rimmed eyes. “They murdered my son and they got away with it,” she said.
Video of the clash at a busy bus depot ignited public outrage. But during the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys offered wholly different interpretations of the video. Rackauckas said the officers beat a helpless man, while the officers’ attorneys said the lawmen were just doing their job.
The jury acquitted Manuel Ramos of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Jay Cicinelli of excessive force and involuntary manslaughter.
As the foreman read the verdict, Cicinelli hugged his attorney, who slammed his hand on the defense table and exulted, “Thank God!”
The case was the first in the county’s history in which an officer faced murder charges for actions taken on duty. But jurors agreed with defense attorneys that the officers were trying to subdue an unruly suspect, not beat him to death.
“They did what they were trained to do,” said John Barnett, Ramos’ attorney.
Jurors were quickly escorted from the courtroom by bailiffs and left the courthouse without commenting on the widely watched case.
Ron Thomas, Kelly’s father and a former deputy himself, said he hoped that the U.S. Justice Department would file federal charges against the officers. The FBI had been investigating and monitoring the case.
“I’ve never seen something so bad happen to a human being, and have it done by on-duty police officers,” Thomas said. “And they can walk away scot-free.”
Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said the agency opened a civil rights investigation into the case in 2011. Now that the state court trial has concluded, she said, “investigators will examine the evidence and testimony to determine if further investigation is warranted at the federal level.”
Veteran attorneys said murder cases against police officers are inherently difficult because the law allows them to use deadly force as part of the job. Prosecutors had to prove the officers had the intent to harm Thomas above and beyond responding to his actions.
“Police officers have the privilege, the right to use force to overcome resistance,” said Ira Salzman, a defense attorney who often represents police officers. “When you have the law allowing use of force, that is a tremendous protection.”
Michael Rains, who represented Bay Area transit officer Johannes Mehserle in his homicide trial for shooting an unarmed man at an Oakland train station, said courts have decided that officers need to be given “a certain amount of deference” for having to make use-of-force decisions in tense, rapidly unfolding situations.
“The courts recognize that on occasion, when officers are trying to do the right thing, there will be death,” said Rains, whose firm was involved in Cicinelli’s defense.
The verdict came after nearly three weeks of testimony from 25 witnesses in a often-packed Santa Ana courtroom. At the heart of the trial was the 33-minute surveillance video, synced with audio from recorders worn by officers. Without it, Rackauckas said he probably would not have filed charges.
He argued it was an obvious depiction of excessive force and told jurors they were watching a homicide.
I wrote back to J:
I had not heard of this case before now. I can’t see in the video, or in the article, how the officers injured the homeless man so badly that he died. It appears they were trying to subdue him and he was resisting, although not in a way threatening to the officers. If the dead homeless man was living in that area, he probably was known to the cops on that beat. I wonder why they didn’t just tase him? That would have subdued him, yes?
The Monroe County Commission could take its first steps Thursday in moving Atlantic Boulevard at Higgs Beach, and will also vote on approving several upgrades to the popular beach park in Key West.
The commission will discuss the “implementation of the design and construction” of the “relocation of the road,” the county’s meeting agenda states.
“This would start the design process for the road,” said County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, who represents Key West and has been active in the Higgs Beach redevelopment effort.
The county has been discussing the idea of moving the road so the beach and bathrooms would be on the same side of the road as Astro Park, a popular children’s park.
The commission is scheduled to discuss moving Atlantic Boulevard and other upgrades at 10 a.m. Thursday when the board meets at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave., Key West.
The commission will also vote on placing new shade structures at the Higgs Beach beachfront children’s park. The county recently had to remove a dozen Australian pine trees because they were dying and the big, heavy limbs have begun to fall from the trees.
The commission will also discuss requiring visitors to reserve and rent the two bandshells at the beach park.
It is not uncommon to see families using the bandshells for birthday parties and other occasions. However, there have been complaints of homeless and drunk people squatting inside the bandshells, which in turn scares away children and families.
The price to rent a bandshell would “cheap,” and visitors would not have to rent them if they used them briefly, or had their pictures taken inside them, Carruthers said.
The county has been working on a master plan for Higgs Beach for several years. Plans call for multiuse fields, a bike and pedestrian trail, exercise course, and upgrades to the children’s parks. The commission has set aside $1 million in sales tax money for Higgs Beach. The county has also secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state transportation grants and county Tourist Development Council funding for Higgs Beach upgrades.
I was on Heather Carruthers’
original Higgs Beach Committee. It’s sole purpose then, and I don’t see anything changed, was to redo Higgs Beach so it would be impossible for homeless people to hang out there. I told the county commissioners that at a commission meeting two or so years ago. They looked back at me like I was talking to petrified coral. The county commissioners would have been far better advised to stay out of Key West and Heather’s crusade to rid Key West of what Heather seemed to love to call homeless people, “vagrants”. Being a vagrant myself, I took high offense at the use of that term in her committee meetings, and let them know they were starting to remind me of Nazi Germany. The county commissioners and the Tourist Development Council would have been far better advised to spend the Higgs Beach redo money on sewering the lower Keys correctly. Higgs Beach has been notorious for water unsafe flags flying due to fecal bacteria in the water. The sea is Key West and the Florida Keys’ only real asset. You’d think the city and the county governments would put CLEAN WATER ahead of EVERY THING ELSE. You’d think WRONG. They put clean water LAST, and only because the state government came down on them did they start PRETENDING to put the sea FIRST. In their own ways, they remind me of the “Wolf of Wallstreet” – priorities all askew.
Sliding up the Keys a little ways,
I’ve been seeing email reports that nice patriotic Keys vermin are stealing Dump the Pumps signs which had been put out by Banks Prevatt and his camp in their attempt to prevent a sewer disaster in the lower Keys. Way I see it, the nice patriotic Keys vermin stealing the signs are the best evidence that they are vermin and Banks’ camp is right.
Received two forwards from Banks yesterday.
Sent: 1/13/2014 10:20:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Re: Something Stinks, Channel 7 Investigations
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 15:14:50 -0500
Subject: Sewer System Lower Floirda Keys
CC: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
To the Honorable Governor Scott:
Several members of this community have written to you regarding the subject. The canned response from your staff has been that these matters are best resolved at the local level.
The local authority that is non-responsive to local citizens is the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA). The board of directors for this agency is appointed by your office. We have no power to resolve issues with these good people. These folks are not elected; they are your appointees. Additionally, your office has approved $100,000,000 in funds that will be spent under the supervision of this board. You are involved at the local level whether you like it or not.
The FKAA has a strong and good history of water production, distribution and quality control. It has virtually no experience in sewer construction. Many are concerned that the decision making and supervisory role of the FKAA, in this matter, are flawed. The concern is that the long term goal of placing a sewer system in the Florida Keys is being diluted by providing a hybrid system that is not ecologically sound for the Keys.
Publically and privately, the board of directors and staff of the FKAA tell us, “We prefer gravity, it has no moving parts.” This is the most environmentally friendly and logical system to install in the Florida Keys where the whole matter began as a water quality issue 20 years ago. Why are we not doing gravity?
The original design was a gravity system. Somewhere along the road the design changed to a hybrid of gravity and grinder pumps. Multiple grinder pumps in the yards of homeowners will prove less ecologically friendly with time than the septic and aerobic systems they replace. As grinder pumps and their transmission lines leak in time to come, and they will, raw sewage will be discharged undetected at ground level. At least septic systems provide some level of filtration.
Cape Coral, in recent years, did an extensive engineering study concerning the use of Grinder Pump technology and rejected it. If anyone on your staff would like the report, I will send it.
On behalf of concerned citizens through a grass roots organization, we ask for your review and possible intervention.
Banks Prevatt, Pres.
Dump the Pumps, Inc.
Governor Scott (photo) often has let it be known how Christian right (direction and correct) he is; he ought to understand, therefore, how the homeless man Jesus in the Gospels spoke of stewardship and the consequences of not being a good steward.