or the 21st century, the operators at the airport in Key West, Fla., thought it was about time their employees had radar.

Until now, binoculars were used to track and guide planes during inclement weather for the final three miles of their descent.

Some federal and state funds were finally loosened, enabling Key West to hook up with the radar at the Naval Air Station in nearby Boca Chica.

Thus, Key West Airport controllers now can view the same screen that their naval counterparts can view.

But there is still more progress to report.

Key West Airport is finally using radar to track aircraft landings. No more looking into the famous Key West sunsets, like this one. Key West has not had jet service since the days of Eastern Airlines, which has thwarted convention and general tourist traffic because of the required change of plane, usually in Miami.

The Eastern jets were never replaced by other carriers because of noise problems.

Now, according to published reports, Comair, starting next spring, plans to upgrade its turboprop planes and replace them with larger, quieter Stage 3 regional jets.

DiMaggio days

Apparently, Bob Crandall, the retired chairman of American Airlines, has made it into a book about Joe DiMaggio.

Seems Crandall got mad at DiMaggio and decided that the baseball great, after about a 15-year run playing in the American Airlines golf tournament, would no longer be invited to play.

The book is "Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life," by Richard Ben Cramer, due out this year.

According to the author, the "hero" liked to play in celeb golf tournaments and especially liked to use each as an occasion to collect a free set of golf clubs and shoes.

When the AA tourneys rolled around, Cramer said, each year, DiMaggio would call the carrier and say his clubs were not in town for one reason or another so he needed a set, with shoes.

But that was not what made the then-president of American angry.

According to the book, if DiMaggio did not win the golf competition, and so wasn't going to get a check, he would not hang around for the big players' dinner that followed the event.

That did make Crandall angry.

Cooper's legacy

Speaking of celebrity types, Insider spotted a Hollywood heir at the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The grandson of Gary Cooper was married there Oct. 21.

A private reception for 38 guests followed at the hotel's restaurant, Pitahayas, overlooking the glorious Sea of Cortes.

What they said

Quotable quotes from the Caribbean's Small Hotels Retreat held recently in St. Lucia:

The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar performs weddings either in its chapel or at an outdoor gazebo overlooking the ocean.

  • Ralph Taylor, Caribbean Hotel Association president, moderated a panel on challenges facing small hotels.
  • To save time after the panel spoke,Taylor asked the audience to write out questions and hand them in rather than ask questions from the floor.

    "In my experience, people don't stand up and ask a question. They stand up and give a speech."

  • In a discussion on the merits of press releases for media coverage, one overly confident hotelier proclaimed, "If you write it, someone somewhere will print it."
  • Linda Oldman, with British Airways Holidays in the U.K., outlined her strategy for hotel site inspections.
  • "The first thing I do is strip the beds in the guest rooms to check the sheets. I don't book that hotel if the sheets aren't perfect."

  • David Stuart, vice president, marketing for LIAT, arrived late at a session on the intra-Caribbean market.
  • "When one works for LIAT and walks in late, it's not a good sign," Stuart said.

    "I'm here to tell you, however, that LIAT no longer stands for Leave Islands Any Time. LIAT now stands for Leaders in Air Transport."

  • Allen Chastenet, Air Jamaica's vice president of marketing and sales, talked up the benefits of competition.
  • "Worrying about competition is like sitting in a rocking chair. It keeps you busy and gets you nowhere."

    Ode to Fran

    A spokesman for a major franchise group was answering Insider's question about a competitor.

    "It's ironic that you called," the spokesman said. "I'm leaving to catch a plane to Washington in a few minutes to attend the memorial service for [Travel Weekly Washington bureau chief] Fran Durbin."

    "She was one of the most amazing reporters I ever met," he added.

    "Fran would call me up, and I'd find out stuff about ASTA or something else that I should have known."

    Our hero

    A friend took Insider to Hero's Welcome, a general store in North Hero, Vt., where we found signage that bore out the vaunted straightforwardness of Vermonters.

    Outside the entrance was a sign telling visitors exactly where to get their buns.

    Inside, it was a nifty little shop where Osprey Vineyards chardonnay and "I brake for moose" bumper stickers were tucked among hunks of cheddar and jugs of maple syrup.

    And up on the wall was a row of clocks set to "important international times."

    At first, we were thinking New York, Paris, Tokyo, Montreal. But not in this neck of the woods.

    Here, you'll find the times for Isle la Motte, North Hero, Grand Isle and South Hero, where moose sightings are common and locals refer to themselves as "the frozen chosen."

    JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI