An 18 year old Homestead girl was arrested, charged with stealing over $4,000 from her employer, the Winn Dixie grocery store in Tavernier. The manager of the store met with Deputy Ben Elmore Saturday at 5 p.m. He told the deputy he had completed an internal theft investigation. The suspect, Alyssa Beeler, was there as well. The manager said his investigation showed Beeler worked in customer service and was issuing refunds with no customer involved, pocketing the money herself. On several occasions she also allegedly [continue reading…]
Deputy Shannon Jones says she wants the public’s assistance identifying suspects in a theft case. The theft took place May 13th at a business called Cool Guys Stuff, LLC on 23rd Street in Marathon. Employees called the Sheriff’s Office after they noticed items missing from the store. Before calling, the employees reviewed video from the store’s surveillance cameras. They found two suspects who were seen taking the items from the store. The video shows a young man and a young woman walking into the store [continue reading…]
Warrant Issued For Video Voyeur Who Put Coat Hook Cameras In Women’s Bathrooms UPDATE: On May 18th, the man wanted on multiple counts of video voyeurism for putting coat hook cameras in women’s restrooms in the Florida Keys was arrested. Charles Michael Schmidt was arrested in Washington State on a traffic stop. He was booked into the Stevens County Jail and is being held on our charges of video voyeurism. He will be returned to Monroe County to face the charges. Original report: In a [continue reading…]
SAY YES TO SECOND CHANCES: CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE FELON VOTER RIGHTS COMES TO KEY WEST Florida Voting-Rights Activist to Speak at Coral City Elks Lodge Florida is the largest of only three states that permanently bars citizens with felony convictions from voting in all cases except with approval through the clemency process. Mr. Desmond Meade, an attorney and president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, will be speaking at the Coral City Elks Lodge, 1107 Whitehead St., on Saturday, May 27, at 4 p.m. The [continue reading…]
Key West City Commissioners have been receiving a significant number of e-mails from community members concerning the proposals to build parking garages in Old Town Key West. Community meeting on June 1, 2017 at 5:30 P.M. at the Waterfront Brewery. Hosted by Commissioner Sam Kaufman, District II. See the details on the Facebook event page. JOIN OTHER MEMBERS OF THE KEY WEST COMMUNITY TO SHARE VIEWS AND LISTEN TO OTHERS ABOUT THE PARKING GARAGE PROPOSALS. SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Should the City build a parking [continue reading…]
Warrants Issued for illegal dumping in state park / one arrest made Sgt. Joel Slough would like the public’s assistance locating two suspects in an illegal dumping case. On May 2nd just before noon, Sgt. Slough was at Curry Hammock State Park checking on a report of an illegal campsite set up on park property. He located the campsite along with its two occupants, 46 year old Tillman Erwin and 42 year old Candice Lee. They were warned they were trespassing on park property. Sgt. Slough [continue reading…]
MONROE COUNTY BOCC APPROVES STEPS TO MORE AGGRESSIVELY ENFORCE VACATION RENTAL ORDINANCE, A MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR GULF SEAFOOD PROPERTY AND TERMINATION OF ENERGY 3 YARD WASTE CONTRACT The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners held its monthly meeting Wednesday at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. Here are some highlights: Commission takes several steps to more aggressively enforce the County’s vacation rental ordinance. The Commission directed County staff to begin filing complaints with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation against real estate [continue reading…]
A recent study by the City of Key West with a grant made possible by the U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Division of Forestry identified government facilities within the city of Key West as having only 19 percent tree canopy coverage. The island overall has almost twice as much shady space. Now the City and civilian volunteers are helping the Navy raise the bar by planting trees on Navy property.
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching and is one of the busiest weekends of the year for traffic in the Florida Keys. For those of you who plan to be in the Keys over the weekend, plan extra time if you plan to drive anywhere and please be patient and practice safe driving habits over the busy holiday weekend. The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit wants to remind everyone they will be out in force over the holiday weekend to make sure people are driving [continue reading…]
Mike Pettit of Gulf Breeze, Florida, has been named First Place winner in an international competition to claim the 2017 Mystery Writers Whodunit Award, to be presented at the 4th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 16-18 in Key West, Florida. Supported by the Marion Stevens Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys and sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks, Pettit’s winning entry “Key West Flashpoint” wins him a Whodunit Award trophy, book-publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, complimentary Mystery Fest Key [continue reading…]
Monroe Special Olympics Athletes, Partners and Coaches to participate in Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games 42 athletes, coaches and volunteers from Monroe County will travel to Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando May 18-22, 2017. Over 2000 athletes, State Wide will be competing in Soccer, Cycling, Bocce, Track and Field, Tennis and Volleyball. Athletes will compete in Bocce, Cycling and Soccer in traditional and Unified Events. A total of 30 athletes, with coaches and volunteers will [continue reading…]
Key West Mayor Craig Cates has proclaimed this week Key West Police Week, and Friday May 19th as Law Enforcement Memorial Day. On Friday, May 19th the community will have the opportunity to pay tribute to those brave men and women who have fallen in the line of duty. The annual Law Enforcement Day Memorial Service begins at 5:30 p.m. at Bayview Park in Key West. Hosted by the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the ceremony includes a traditional laying [continue reading…]
In recognition of the vital role that our merchants and seamen play in Key West’s history, culture and economy, Mayor Craig Cates proclaimed May 22nd Maritime Day during this week’s City Commission meeting. In times of war and peace, the American Merchant Marine has been dedicated to the orderly flow of goods and materials to and from the shores of our nation. May 22nd marks the anniversary of the day the SS Savannah sailed from U.S. shores in 1819 to Liverpool on the first successful [continue reading…]
Key West Mayor Craig Cates on Tuesday proclaimed the coming week Safe Boating Week. The Key West Sail and Power Squadron is kicking off Safe Boating Week on Saturday, May 20th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The proclamation was accepted by Squadron Commander Dick Shewe and Executive Officer Drew Dzykewicz. According to Dzykewicz, Representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be on hand to discuss hurricane preparedness. The community, he said, is invited to learn about safe boating and to enjoy vessel [continue reading…]
MARATHON, FL – At Monroe County’s first public budget meeting for Fiscal Year 2018 on Wednesday, the Board of County Commissioners was presented with a very preliminary proposed budget that funds the rising costs to maintain the County’s upgraded community parks and facilities, and day-to-day operations – and also provides enhanced County services and more resources to stop illegal vacation rentals. The proposed budget, which would levy $87.9 million in ad valorem (property) taxes, is only a modest increase over last year – about $16 [continue reading…]
MARATHON, FL – A single-engine aircraft’s nose gear collapsed at 1:10 p.m. Thursday while landing on runway 7 at Florida Keys Marathon International Airport. Two people, pilot, Steven Toffler, 53, and passenger Diane Toffler, 49, were aboard the Cirrus SR22 with tail number N941CS. Both people were uninjured, according to Marathon Airport director T. J. Henderson. Crews took only 50 minutes to clear the runway and reopen it. During this time, four international arrivals circled the airport, waiting to land.
Woman charged with aggravated child abuse A 43 year old Key Largo woman was arrested Friday, charged with aggravated child abuse. The four year old female victim showed up at her Upper Keys school with injuries on both her arms. She told school officials 43 year old Melodie Starr had caused the marks to her arms “because she had been bad”. The marks were highly visible red diagonal marks and bruises up and down her right arm and on the back of the girl’s left [continue reading…]
People all over the nation sleep a little easier at night knowing that law enforcement officers are out there keeping them safe. These officers dedicate their lives protecting and serving their communities so that residents lives are safe and peaceful. Yet, every year some of them make the ultimate sacrifice for the ease and the security the rest of us enjoy. On Friday, May 19th the community will have the opportunity to pay tribute to those brave men and women who have fallen in the [continue reading…]
Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys presented a check for $11,000 to the Russel F. Sullivan Scholarship Fund. The scholarship enables members of the law enforcement community to further their education. Crime Stoppers board members Steve Torrence and Stanley Rzad presented the check to Scholarship Fund Chairwoman Nancy Bunch.
by Kirby Congdon……. Raking up the past in dead piles of withered leaves, we dance around the little things we missed as that song of grief we sing becomes a pagan howl of rectitude to redeem whatever victories we did not win. So losers begin their lives again and watch the trash bags almost burst their straining seams as perfection’s world unfolds in listless imitations of those dust-laden dreams that younger men in their routine on garbage trucks lift on up with weightless ease.
Many members of Key West’s Haitian community got up to receive a proclamation by Mayor Craig Cates and Commissioner Sam Kaufman recognizing Haitian Flag Day and Haitian Heritage Month. The proclamation notes that “the growth and prosperity of the City of Key West is due in part to an ethnic diversity that includes a substantial and rapidly increasing Haitian population.” Haitian President Dumarsais Estimé started the Flag Day celebration with parades, cultural and athletic events in many cities in Haiti in the 1930s, when he [continue reading…]
The Board of Directors of Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) is now accepting nominations of individuals interested in serving on their Board of Directors. FIRM, a grassroots organization formed in February 2006 is composed of homeowners and residents united to fight against excessive, discriminatory and unaffordable residential, condominium and commercial property insurance rates. Additional information on FIRM membership and activities can be found at www.firmkeys.org. This is a very dynamic Board with active committees such as legislative, communications, and fundraising. Responsibilities include monthly Board [continue reading…]
Key West National Organization for Women will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19. This meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting gender equality issues. A social hour follows the meeting. KWNOW gathers on the third Friday of every month in the back dining room of Shanna Key Irish Pub, 1900 Flagler Ave., Key West. For more information or to join, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key West Art & Historical Society’s Second Annual Papio Kinetic Sculpture & Art Bike Parade rolled through downtown Key West on Saturday, featuring some two dozen Kinetic Sculpture Floats and Art Bike entries crafted by people of all ages. Co-produced by Wonderdog Studios, the annual rolling cavalcade is held in honor of the late Key Largo folk artist Stanley Papio, a rebellious welder-turned-artist who explored recycled materials long before it was hip to be rusty. An exhibit of more than 100 of Papio’s sculptural objects [continue reading…]
At an employee awards ceremony held on Friday, Sheriff Rick Ramsay presented a special award to Veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader. “Dr. Doug” as he is affectionately known, is co-owner of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital and is a world renowned Veterinarian. Sheriff Ramsay thanked him for his 20 years of service to the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm, where he cares for all of the farm animals, giving them regular checkups and treating injuries and illnesses. “We are extremely grateful for the services he provides to our [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Athletic League and the Key West Police Department is urging the community to participate in Saturday’s Cops N Kids 5K walk/run starting at 8 a.m. at Horace O Bryant School. Participants can sign up on line at www.themeruns.com or sign up the morning of the event. PAL’s programs are designed to get children involved in sports and in educational programs. It provides a safe place where kids can go after school and on weekends. It encourages teamwork and strong self-esteem. Members [continue reading…]
On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office held its quarterly Employee Awards ceremony in Marathon. Employees were recognized for their 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service to the agency. Sheriff Ramsay also recognized his Employees of the First Quarter, 2017. These employees received this award for exemplary and outstanding service to the agency and to the citizens of Monroe County.
U.S. Navy Chaplain Scott P. Mason was the keynote speaker in Key West’s observance of National Day of Prayer at City Hall Thursday. The observance was attended by clergy representing many local places of worship, community members, including Vice Mayor Clayton Lopez and Commissioners Margaret Romero and Sam Kaufman. Reverend and First Lady Magwood of Bethel AME Church took the lead on organizing this gathering sponsored by the Interfaith Ministerial Alliance of the Lower Keys and hosted by the City of Key West.
Each work morning, Monroe County’s supervisor of solid waste and recycling Mike Basham drives along Blimp Road on Cudjoe Key to check for dumped items that need to be collected. At about 7:50 Thursday morning, where the road ends at the boat ramp, he noticed an unusual site: a submerged truck about 100 feet offshore.
FEDERAL FLOOD INSURANCE PREMIUM DISCOUNTS INCREASE TO 25 PERCENT FOR MOST POLICYHOLDERS IN UNINCORPORATED MONROE COUNTY ON OCT. 1, 2017 Due to Monroe County’s efforts this past year in the voluntary Community Rating System (CRS), most of the nearly 15,000 National Flood Insurance Program policyholders in unincorporated Monroe County are expected to receive new premium discounts of 25 percent, beginning Oct. 1, 2017. These new premium discounts will save policyholders in unincorporated Monroe County about $4.6 million a year – an average of $293 per [continue reading…]
On April 21 Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) filed a motion with the First District Court of Appeal to stay windstorm insurance rate increases for Monroe County pending appellate review of the increases. “This motion states that since FIRM filed a timely Petition seeking a formal administrative proceeding on January 31, 2017, that petition renders the OIR’s approval of the February 1, 2017 Citizens Property Insurance rate increase to be non-final,” explained FIRM President Mel Montagne. It is FIRM’s position that rate increases without [continue reading…]
Key West Police have obtained a warrant for a Miami man who went on a tagging rampage in the Keys last weekend. Sunrise resident Tyler Edward Forgatsch, 23, is suspected for spray painting graffiti on several Old Town buildings on April 29th. A couple out walking downtown on April 29th noticed the smell of spray paint in the air. As they came around the corner of Front and Whitehead streets, they saw a man spray painting a wall. The witness quickly took a picture of [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit has arrested a suspected drug dealer who was operating on the 1000 block of Emma Street. Due to numerous complaints in the area, the detectives, with the assistance of the Monroe County Sheriff Office, conducted an undercover operation in the area. The undercover officer made contact with a subject identified as Samuel Farley on the 1000 block of Emma St. near Truman Ave. and purchased crack cocaine from Farley. As the undercover officer walked away, detectives who [continue reading…]
Miami men charged with illegal dumping Two men from Miami were caught in the act of dumping trash on the side of the road on Big Pine Key Friday. An alert citizen called the Sheriff’s Office to report seeing the men dumping trash from a trailer onto the side of the road on Chapman Lane, Big Pine Key at 12:15 p.m. Deputies Ken Fricke and Jon Riggs arrived in time to see the dumping taking place. They required the two men to pick the trash [continue reading…]
Florida Keys Mosquito Control District [FKMCD] received additional funding this week from the Florida Department of Health to assist in Aedes aegypti control efforts. “Initially the District was not included in the Zika funding,” stated Andrea Leal, FKMCD Executive Director. “However, based on Zika risk factors in Monroe County, we have now received funding to be proactive with aegypti control as we approach mosquito season.” The Florida Department of Health will reimburse FKMCD up to $145,724 for Aedes aegypti control measures through June of 2017. Reimbursable [continue reading…]
On Wednesday evening, April 26, 60 ticket holders experienced a four-course culinary adventure at La te da, impeccably served with select wine pairings and followed by a one-man all-live female impersonation show extravaganza presented by Tracey Towers (aka Trey Forsyth). Co-hosted by La te da proprietor Christopher Rounds and local businesswoman Jane Gardner, an estimated $25,000 raised at the event benefits a fund to purchase and donate new equipment for the Key West Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit horses. “The Key West City budget provides [continue reading…]