U.S. Customs and Border Protection approved Key West International Airport’s request to support increased scheduled air service between Key West and Havana, Cuba, a route applied for by Silver Airlines. In a letter dated June 21, 2016 the CBP approved up to 20 passengers per flight, doubling the previous capacity that has been allowed since 2011. “We are hopeful that Silver Airlines will be granted the Key West to Havana route and we made this request in preparation for that possibility,” said Donald DeGraw, Director [continue reading…]
Hotter-than-normal ocean temperatures continue for 3rd consecutive year A new NOAA outlook shows that many coral reefs across around the world will likely be exposed to higher-than-normal sea temperatures for an unprecedented third year in a row, leading to increased bleaching – and with no signs of stopping. While the bleaching event is global, it will hit the U.S. hard, especially in Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida Keys, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The deeper reefs in the Flower [continue reading…]
New Report Shows 750,000 People with Disabilities Behind Bars; Offers Specific Recommendations to Include Disability Lens in Justice Reform Process Washington, – As the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consider criminal justice reform, a new white paper, “Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success” was released today by the nonprofit disability organization, RespectAbility. The report uses public data previously available but never before assembled and analyzed. It makes a series of recommendations to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline for people [continue reading…]
The community is invited to join in commemorating local philanthropist Edward B. Knight with a ceremony renaming the White Street Pier. The dedication ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29th at the base of the pier henceforth known as the Edward B. Knight Pier. During his 75 on the island, Mr. Knight has been known as a visionary and a man open to new ideas. He has made tremendous contributions to our City by way of real estate development, historical preservation and overall [continue reading…]
Free App Provides Potentially Lifesaving Information Designed to Help Families Before, During, and After Disasters Washington, D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging residents across the nation to download and use the FEMA smartphone app. The app is designed to help families prepare for a wide array of natural and man-made disasters, and can help affected Americans recover, should disaster strike. FEMA officials will be available for interviews to discuss the importance of residents preparing for severe weather, and specific features contained [continue reading…]
Martinez, CA: Early this morning, more than six people have occupied the main entrance to the Shell Oil refinery on Pacheco Boulevard in Martinez, CA today to protect and defend the land, air, water and soil from pollutants and to protest the company’s environmental and human rights record. Gathering with several dozen other community members, the group intentionally walked onto Shell’s property with the intention of stopping entry into the refinery. Today’s action at Shell is in response to the Indigenous Women of the Americas [continue reading…]
(Washington, D.C.,) A new eagle-management plan proposed by the federal government would give wind energy developers 30-year permits to “take” or incidentally kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles, without requiring the industry to share mortality data with the public or take into consideration such critical factors as proper siting. The so-called Eagle Take Rule, proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, puts many thousands of the nation’s protected Bald and Golden Eagles at unacceptable risk. American Bird Conservancy successfully sued the government over a [continue reading…]
PEACE THROUGH EDUCATION Cuba will soon welcome three Key West preschool teachers as part of a Teacher Training for Innovative Learning Program planned and hosted by Fundación Amistad, a not-for- profit organization whose mission is to foster good relations between the US and Cuba. Teachers Karina Bowders, Marjorie Calderon and Director, Amy O’Connor of The Children’s School will be headed to Havana, Cuba on June 27th to bring their knowledge of “Positive Discipline” a child- centered Montessori curriculum as well as classroom materials to share [continue reading…]
A group of 75 Monroe County kids are learning about law enforcement this week during the Keys annual Florida Sheriff’s Association Summer Camp. The camp is being held at Gerald Adams Elementary School on Stock Island all week. Kids have had the opportunity to learn about all aspects of law enforcement, including Special Weapons and Tactics, Traffic Enforcement, and a visit to the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm.
Tallahassee, Fla.—The Florida Department of Health’s statewide cancer registry has been recognized as a Registry of Excellence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR). This achievement highlights the department’s ongoing commitment to high quality data collection, analysis and reporting. “The department is dedicated to producing the highest quality data to inform state leaders, stakeholders and citizens,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “We are proud our state cancer registry is now recognized [continue reading…]
The City Commission and City Manager Jim Scholl last night commended retiring Pearline Lewis for her 30 years of service to the City. For the past 13 years, Mrs. Lewis has served as the City’s Worker’s Compensation Specialist. She started with the City in the finance department in 1986, and has worked in human resources as well. “Mrs. Lewis has always served the public in a professional and courteous manner,” said Scholl. “She has been open to innovative ideas, always worked as a team player, [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Key West Police Special Response Team recently gave a presentation at the Key West Mystery Writer’s Festival. They spoke about the role of SWAT and SRT teams in law enforcement and gave a presentation with some of the equipment they use on their operations. SWAT Leader Sgt. Joel Slough and SWAT member Sgt. David Smith participated in the presentation along with KWPD SRT Member Officer Michael Pettee. In the photos, left to right, Sgt.s Slough [continue reading…]
June 27 marks the 21th annual observance of National HIV Testing Day. This observance promotes the importance of HIV testing and education to help stop the spread of HIV. One of the most important steps in preventing HIV is to get tested and know your status, as well as the status of your partner. Florida has been heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The state continues to rank third in the nation in the cumulative number of AIDS cases (126,581 in 2012) and second in [continue reading…]
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ADOPTS RESOLUTION TO TARGET GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS REDUCTION OF AN ADDITIONAL 40 % BY 2030 KEY LARGO – With Monroe County achieving its first greenhouse gases reduction goal of 20 percent by 2020 several years early, the Board of County Commissioners just adopted a new climate action goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both county operations and community wide by an additional 40% by 2030. “Here in the Florida Keys, we already are feeling the effects of greenhouse gas emissions [continue reading…]
NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary recently welcomed Boy Scouts of America-National High Adventure Sea Base of Islamorada, Fla. as the newest participant in the sanctuary’s Blue Star education and conservation program. Launched in 2009, Blue Star recognizes dive and snorkel operators working to protect the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem by promoting responsible diving and snorkeling practices and educating the public about the impact human interactions can have on the marine environment. Unlike some of the causes of reef decline, such as climate change, [continue reading…]
Keys temperatures are great for the pool and the beach, but they’re not so good for the inside of cars, where the interior can rise to deadly temperatures in a very short period of time. Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars. According to the Children’s Safety Network, “Vehicles heat up very quickly, and that heat can be fatal to young children. Children are at a higher risk than adults of dying from heatstroke in a vehicle because [continue reading…]
At the Florida Wildlife Federation’s 79th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet to be held June 25, 2016, at the Courtyard Marriott Riverfront Hotel in Bradenton, ten outstanding Florida conservationists will be recognized for their conservation achievements. Conservation award winners are chosen from nominations made to the Federation’s board of directors based on their accomplishments on behalf of Florida’s fish, wildlife and native habitats. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson will be inducted into the Florida Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame. A fifth generation Floridian, U.S. Senator Bill [continue reading…]
The Sheriff’s Office Lower Keys district held a cleanup of the area around Loop Road on Sugarloaf Key recently. The bridge and its surroundings are a popular hangout spot and vandals frequently paint graffiti on the bridge. Deputies and detectives collected trash and painted out the graffiti along with members of the public who turned out to help.
This industrious and hard working group cleaned up the area behind Waldorf Plaza at the 99.5 mile marker of the highway recently. They removed 15 large bags full of trash, and returned 15 shopping carts from various businesses. They also painted out graffiti on the back of the plaza. Helping out was: Sgt. Sydney Whitehouse, Deputies Brian Cross, Jean Gonzalez, Matt Koval, Dave Campbell, Detective Barney Sajdak, Juvenile Programs Counselor Natalka Whitehouse and County Employee Eddie Cabote.
The newly appointed Fire Chief Michael Davila is pleased to announce several promotions and changes within the Key West Fire Department. Danny Blanco has assumed the duties of Division Chief of Operations. Alan Averette has been named the Division Chief of Fire Prevention or Fire Marshal. Kenny Wardlow has been promoted to Division Chief of Emergency Management and Training. Jason Barroso has been promoted to Captain in the Fire Prevention Bureau. Wesley Jones was promoted to Lieutenant in the Fire Prevention Bureau. Eddie Perez will [continue reading…]
KEY LARGO – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, at its Wednesday meeting at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo, dealt with items regarding Airbnb vacation rentals, “Granny Flats” and the historic Tavernier Hurricane/Refuge School, which was constructed as part of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Here’s the issues and what happened: AIRBNB VACATION RENTALS: In February, Airbnb presented the Monroe County Tax Collector with a proposed voluntary collection agreement regarding the collection of [continue reading…]
Two Keys boards endorse Amendment Four In a unanimous vote, the Marathon City Council and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners endorsed the passage of Amendment 4, scheduled to be voted on when voters go to the polls for the August 30 primary. Amendment 4 will amend Florida’s Constitution to exempt the value of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment from both the tangible personal property tax and the real property tax for a period of 20 years. To become law, it must [continue reading…]
Statement from Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, in Response to Tragedy Washington, D.C., June 13, 2016 – “We stand together with the LGBTQ community, Latino community, young people, and all of those impacted by [Sunday’s] mass shooting in Florida. Attacking any individual because of their sexual orientation, race or ethnic background is an assault on our collective humanity. And the ease with which the perpetrator of this crime was able to obtain assault weapons, is once again, a dark reminder of the urgent and [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Special Investigations Unit cited four local bar employees for selling alcohol to minors during a two-day alcohol compliance check operation conducted this week. Notices to appear were issued to Keegan Hungerford at Don’s Place Liquor Store, Anthony Niles at Old Town Wine and Spirits (Bare Assets), Michelle Park at Conch Town Liquor, and Renae Francis at Shorty’s Market. Eleven other businesses were found to be in compliance. Detectives conduct these undercover checks periodically to ensure that purveyors of alcohol comply with [continue reading…]
Big Pine man stabbed by man burglarizing his house. A Big Pine man was treated for stab wounds to his leg after he interrupted a burglary of his home Friday night. The 61 year old victim said he went to bed at 9 p.m. Friday at his home on Harbor Lights Road. He said he woke up around 11 p.m. to find a man in his bedroom, near his dresser. He said he jumped on the man’s back and the man fled. Afterward, the victim [continue reading…]
#1 Relay for Life Team Castaways Against Cancer Set Off on 17th Annual Kayaking Trip with the Support of U.S. Century The Castaways Against Cancer, a Relay for Life team ranked 1st in Florida, launched on their 17h Annual kayaking journey, dubbed the “Proof of Life” tour from Virginia Key in Miami, FL on Saturday, June 11. Paddling the equivalent of a marathon a day, the Castaways will paddle a total of 160 miles as a fundraiser supporting the American Cancer Society (ASC) and are [continue reading…]
KEY LARGO – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, at its Wednesday meeting in Key Largo, unanimously approved spending $2.5 million from the voter-supported infrastructure sales tax fund to purchase a 2002 Sikorsky helicopter for its life-saving, Trauma Star air ambulance program. The helicopter is needed to replace the aging 1981 Sikorsky helicopter, which has flown 2,445 people from the Florida Keys to trauma centers and hospitals on the mainland since beginning operations in 2006. The County will keep the 1981 Sikorsky – which [continue reading…]
KEY LARGO – Plans for the new energy efficient Marathon Library and Adult Education Center were unveiled Wednesday at the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Key Largo. “We are trying to build a facility that meets the community’s needs,” Monroe County Projects Management and Facilities Director Doug Sposito said. Artist renditions and floor plans of the 14,861 square-foot facility were shown. They include 12,322 square feet of dedicated library space (about double the space of the existing library), 2,539 square feet for [continue reading…]
Hosted by Special Olympics Florida-Monroe County Fifty athletes from Monroe and Miami-Dade counties will compete in the Special Olympics Florida Area 11 SUP (Stand Up Paddle) Games on June 25 at Paddle the Florida Keys, Marker 88, Islamorada. The athletes will compete in four levels on various water courses officiated by Scott Baste of Paddle the Florida Keys. The opening ceremony is at 9:30 a.m. with races beginning at 10 a.m. The contests will determine the qualifiers from each team for the Special Olympics Florida [continue reading…]
Tuesday, June 14th, UWFK joined with volunteers from the Key West Sunset Rotary to package over 400 books in Summer Literacy Kits for distribution to students throughout Monroe County. Children who are reading below grade level at the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school on time than their reading proficient peers. For children living in poverty, this statistic is almost tripled. Additionally, more than 80 percent of children from economically disadvantaged communities lose reading skills over the summer [continue reading…]
The City of Key West is looking for future community leaders to participate in the upcoming Key West Youth Ambassadors Program. Students entering grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. Seven students will be selected for the Academy, which will be held on Thursdays from 3:30 until 5 p.m. for eight weeks beginning Sept. 15th. Deadline to apply is August 1st. Applications are available on the City’s web site at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov. For more information, [continue reading…]
Green eNewsletter: June #2 Did you know that in a recent survey of 400 locals, 56% reported that they had rewarded companies that were taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products (10% above the national average!)? What’s also interesting is that of those locals who had not rewarded green companies, 81% had said they didn’t know which companies to reward. June is Green Business Month and we want to make sure you knew what businesses in town are walking the walk! There [continue reading…]
TAVERNIER – On Thursday, Monroe County completed a $33,828 project to repair the dock next to the boat ramp at Harry Harris Park, 107 E. Beach Road, in Tavernier. The dock was stripped down to the pylons. The old decking was removed and the support structure was repaired. A new structural plastic decking, which is slip resistant and low maintenance, was installed. “It’s a cedar color and looks beautiful,” Monroe County project manager Cary Knight said. The project went quicker than expected, lasting just two [continue reading…]
MONROE COUNTY CLEANS OUT STORAGE SHED OF HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE; SENDING IT TO GAINESVILLE FOR PROPER DISPOSAL – JUST IN TIME FOR HURRICANE SEASON LONG KEY – In preparation for hurricane season, Monroe County just completed an annual cleanout of its household hazardous waste storage shed. All the corrosive, flammable, reactive and toxic household waste that was collected throughout the year at the County’s transfer stations were put into 103 55-gallon drums, weighing 25,900 pounds. These drums were transported to the Perma-Fix of Florida Environmental [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee recently presented Lt. Alfredo Vazquez a plaque in recognition of his 25 years of service to the Key West Police Department. Lt. Vazquez oversees the Criminal Investigations Unit. During his 25 years of service, Lt Vazquez has served with professionalism dedication and commitment.
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today presented Officer Robert “Bull” Bulnes a plaque in recognition of his 22 years of service to the Key West Police Department. Officer Bulnes is a patrol officer and has served as a school resource officer. Chief Lee thanked him for his dedication to the community.
The Sheriff’s Office began using body worn cameras on Monday. Most uniformed deputies will be required to wear the cameras as a routine part of their uniform. All members who will be using the cameras completed their training last week. The Sheriff’s policy requires they be worn by road patrol deputies and sergeants, school resource deputies, civil deputies, traffic deputies, airport deputies and sergeants and detectives when they are in uniform. Detectives may also wear them when in plain clothes.