Cheers: To Kristina Neihouse, who won the 2020 Key West Writers Guild award as announced by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, in conjunction with the Key West Writers Guild. Neihouse earned this year’s writing award for her manuscript, “For James.” And as this year marks the 17th annual cash prize award, supported by an endowment under the administration of the Arts Council, we can easily see literary recognition is alive in well in our community.

Jeers: To the prospects of post-election litigation if the three cruise ship referenda pass on Nov. 3. There’s a good chance the contentious fight will continue well beyond Election Day, which only prolongs the pain we are all experiencing this election season. We are craving an end, but we likely won’t get it because there are plenty of entities on both sides of this debate that are ‘all-in’ to seeing this through to the divisive, litigated bitter end.

Cheers: To Aztec Air, which recently announced non-stop air taxi service to Key West from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport starting on Oct. 29. This is a small operation and you don’t even need to clear airport security. Those who fear more tourist access need not worry. This is merely another option with limited seats to keep us connected with another key city on the mainland and can be perfect for those of us who cannot tolerate the three- to four-hour drive.

Cheers: To the idea offered by Bahama Village resident Veronica Stafford for a quarterly two-day “family event” to be named Key West Welcome Fest, focusing on the music, dance, food and culture of the Caribbean Islands. While the proposal is noble and likely has merit, it needs to be sustainable and must not count on taxpayer subsidies for viability. We have seen a sharp, steady decline in the community’s receptiveness to the Goombay Festival, and this concept may have difficulty making money.

Cheers: To “The Community Wins” initiative, which was the brainchild of Fantasy Fest organizer Nadene Grossman. It was established to raise money for local charities working on housing, in lieu of the annual Fantasy Fest event, which was canceled due to the pandemic. This fundraiser ended up securing just over $165,000 for this important need in our community. Bravo!

Jeers: To Monroe County for not taking adequate action on the ongoing flooding at Stillwright Point in Key Largo. On Day 34 of king tide flooding last week, county officials unfurled several 50-foot sections of orange, water-filled tubes as a temporary water dam to hold back rising bay water that’s only worsened in recent years. But Florida Bay has breached the barriers once again and filled the streets. Residents there have had to endure weeks of flooding, which is harmful to vehicles and quality of life. They need real help, not innertubes.

— The Citizen

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