Jeers: To the ‘Fantasy Fest’ alternative that is being discussed by those planning to come here despite the official event being cancelled. The latest twist is that a non-sanctioned group purporting to be exhibitionists and swingers are planning a ‘flash mob’ type of gathering, which could potentially give new meaning to the term ‘sordid.’ Key West has tried very hard to shed a seamy persona earned over the past several decades from the annual event. The association of extreme craziness, drunkenness and a place where visitors come to do things they wouldn’t consider doing back home, is something we should be moving away from, not abetting.

Cheers: To the four Monroe County students who earned National Merit Scholarship honors this week. These academically talented semifinalists, with at least one from each of our three high schools, have an opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be offered next spring. Cheers to Christina Tong of Key West High School, Katerina Nikiforova of Marathon High School, and Alison Woltanski and Emma Kost of Coral Shores High School.

Cheers: To the new food pantry in Bahama Village, located at the Frederick Douglass Gym complex, 111 Olivia St. Key West Assistant City Manager Patti McLauchlin led the effort to get the pantry up and running. Going forward, the pantry will depend on food and other items donated by city residents.

Jeers: To those who are seeking elected office and find it necessary to have their volunteers and campaign staff send text messages and make calls to residents on their cellphones. We know that the campaign staffers making the calls or texting us did not get these numbers willfully and certainly not for the purpose of being solicited at odd hours.

Cheers: To the nearly $3 million in much-needed funding the Florida Keys has received for coral restoration and research work. These recently released funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration comes nearly a year after NOAA, the Sanctuary, The Nature Conservancy, Mote Marine Laboratory and the Coral Restoration Foundation announced the Mission: Iconic Reefs program, a landmark $97 million plan to restore seven iconic coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

Jeers: To the 10 Key West Police officers, including the chief, two captains and a lieutenant, who received reprimands and, in some cases, suspensions because they helped Chief Sean Brandenburg move into his new home while on duty last year. These officers who participated that day were not only logged in ‘on duty,’ but were also in uniform and driving city-owned vehicles. Someone must have and should have known this in no way followed protocol.

Cheers: To the fearless snake hunters who work for the state’s python elimination program. This week two hunters captured a potentially record-breaking female Burmese python in the Everglades (the record is 18.8 feet) with their bare hands!

— The Citizen

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