Key West Politics: Spring Breakers Just Have Unbreakable Spirits

Key West Politics: Spring Breakers Just Have Unbreakable Spirits

This story stems out of Old City Hall. Long time Grinnell Street resident Christine Russell addressed the dais about her doubts of catering to the college crowd. She was awakened this week by the sounds of a boy beating on a car window on her usually, quiet street. A co-ed was cuddled up on the backseat, apparently sleeping.

“It woke me up!” she attested.

Christine passed her college days in Columbus, Ohio. A student at Ohio State University, she made her annual spring break trek to Daytona with her friends where she wore the scarlet and gray. Though she understands the scene, she confessed that she exercised more control during her Spring Break.

“I drank. But I did it in my hotel room,” Russell shared. “You know, had one or two cocktails. I don’t want to outlaw alcohol. Everyone should be able to drink, and I don’t have the solutions. I admire Mayor Cates for putting together a homeless committee and maybe something similar should be done (for the Spring Break crowd).”

Mayor Cates told The Key West Weekly he hasn’t had a single complaint about the college kids come across his desk at city hall or via email. He said Key West is especially inundated with Spring Breakers this year – citing the cold weather in the panhandle – but that there has only been one incident of a “wrong decision.”

According to a Key West Police Department Incident Report on March 11, Daniel Hoppe, a 25-year old from Land O’ Lakes was found lying in between two buildings at the Days Inn Motel on North Roosevelt Boulevard.

When asked what happened, the man, after having a Superman moment, admitted to officers, “I did something really stupid, I was trying to jump from roof top to roof top, and lost my footing when I landed on the other side”.

He was life-flighted to Miami for medical care and has since been released.

“Out of all the thousands of kids that are here, one made a mistake,” Mayor Cate pointed out. “So, to condemn all of them because of that…that’s not a good comparison.”

“Au contraire!” said Vinnie Cefall, food service worker at Shorty’s Market in the 200 block of Duval.

“They need shock collars,” Cefall was initially serious, then laughed. “Most of them… not all of them!”

Shorty’s Market is open until 4 am, and Cefall gets to see the after-hours action in full swing. From what he has witnessed, some spring breakers are outright disrespectful, a behavior he attributes to alcohol. Still, he had to kick a kid out for eating a bag of chips for which he refused to pay. The “chip clepto” and four of his buddies wanted to rumble with Cefall after his shift was over.

There’s the problem with underage drinkers.

“We had a kid run off with a bottle of wine,” Cefall shared the tale, “and the cops had to wrestle with him.”

Stealing liquor is another scene Russell said she’s witnessed.

This week she was eating at DJ’s Clam Shack on the other end of Duval and some spring breakers were carrying a bottle of tequila – with the shot pourer still attached!

“I think he probably ripped it off a bar somewhere,” she recalled. “I’ve had tequila out of the bottle, but it didn’t have a pourer on it!”

The party all spills onto Smathers Beach.

“There are laws to be enforced,” Russell reminded the dais. “Those kids are blatantly out at Smathers Beach carrying 18 packs of beer around right under the nose of everyone out there.”

“The police department’s gotten a lot more strict out there,” Cates responded. “When they hear a complaint they address it. We’re a tourist town. While the spring breakers might be a little bit louder and party a little bit more, they’re still tourists.”

Russel, forever a Buckeye who likes to party with the best of them, said she just wants to see laws enforced.

“I went to Daytona. I’m not an old prude! I can keep up with’em, but I don’t want to. I certainly wasn’t jumping from rooftop to rooftop.”

Editor’s note: We here at The Weekly Newspapers love tourists and Spring Breakers. So much in fact, we’re going to fill an entire issue next week with cool stuff all about you and the sweet, sweet island action you don’t want to miss while you’re visiting! Thanks for picking us as your destination. Panama City sucks!


Christine Russell
Old Town resident, Ohio State Buckeye, and community activist Christine Russell, still likes to hit the town, but with some control, as she did in college.



Vinnie Cefall is a food service worker at Shorty’s Market at 215 Duval Street. The store is open until 4 am, so he sees it all. “Some of them are just irresponsible. There isn’t anything the city can do about it. Kids are going to be kids.”



Spring breakers
Ok, so Christine wasn’t exaggerating. The backside of our cover models and just two of their 40-some cases of Busch Light! The Key West Weekly asked, “Where are you going tonight? Reply: Rick’s Definitely Rick’s. We hit Guy Harvey’s during the day!”



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