Key West Zonta Club Seeks Radio Day Participants Opportunity for Local Businesses and Individuals to Support Lower Keys Women and Girls

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Zonta Club of Key West is an international service organization of executive women in business and the professions working to improve the status of women. Their programs include Heart Health and Skin Cancer screenings for under- and uninsured women in the Lower Florida Keys. Zonta supports the girls at Keys Center Academy through a one-to-one Mentorship program and monthly Speaker Series in the classroom. Zonta also funds and administers five scholarships – four for young women at Key West High School in their senior year who are headed to college, and one for women’s career advancement. They are:

 ·         The Merili McCoy Leadership Scholarship named for previous Zonta president and long-time member, who served as a City Commissioner, to encourage young women to follow in her footsteps

·         The Math and Science Scholarship to improve women’s status and gender equality by supporting studies that will advance economic development and scientific discovery

·         The Z Club Scholarship, which honors a local member of Zonta International’s young women’s organization who has achieved excellence in Community, School, and International projects

·         The Young Women in Public Affairs Scholarship given to encourage greater  participation in public and political life by recognizing volunteer leadership achievements and a dedication to the advancement of the status of women, and

·         The Marina Thurmond Scholarship awarded to women reentering the workforce or changing a profession.

Visit www.zontakeywest.com/radioday for more information.

Congressman Garcia’s Statement On Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan

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Today [April 10, 2014], the House of Representatives voted on the budget introduced by Republican Paul Ryan last week. The budget makes drastic and unreasonable cuts to education, Medicare, and many other critical programs so many of our nation’s citizens depend on.

“Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is a reckless and irresponsible vision that fails our citizens. It places priorities in all the wrong places, making cuts to programs like Medicare, for example, completely disregarding the needs of our nation. The proposed budget would cut billions out of Medicare, re-open the prescription drug donut hole and turn Medicare into a voucher program. Instead of supporting and protecting our nation’s elders, the Ryan budget chooses to implement policies that place severe financial burdens on seniors by shifting costs onto them, eliminating critical care programs, and making affordable health care a thing of the past. I oppose this budget and will continue to fight its irresponsible cuts to Medicare. ”

During today’s vote, Congressman Garcia voted against the Ryan budget plan.

Community Craft & Yard Sale on Saturday, April 12 at Montessori Children’s School

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Montessori Children’s School of Key West will host a Community Craft and Yard Sale on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its campus located at 1221 Varela St. in Key West.

Local vendors will be set up to sell beautiful art, handmade crafts and yard sale items. Fun activities on our playground such as face painting, games and crafts will be available to keep the children busy while you shop. Bring the whole family!

Booth space to sell your own items is available for $ 30. For more information, call 305-294-5302.

Proceeds benefit Montessori Children’s School of Key West, a local non-profit school serving children from 18 months through kindergarten.

About Montessori Children’s School of Key West

Montessori Children’s School of Key West, founded in 1972, is a non-profit, parent-based corporation serving children ages 18 months through kindergarten located at 1221 Varela Street in Key West. LIC# C16MO0028

Tedesco, DePiero and Newhagen to Debut “After Life” on Saturday April 12th

After Life Cover

Join the authors of After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery for a book launch and signing, Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm at Salute on the Beach in Key West.

Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm Carol Tedesco, Roberta DePiero and Jane Newhagen will present their new release, After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery at a book launch and signing event at Salute on the Beach in Key West. Published by The New Atlantian Library, with photography by Tedesco and DePiero and prose by Newhagen, After Life captures the island’s final resting place in all its poignance, unique character and eccentricity.

After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery was funded in part by an Anne McKee Artists Fund grant to Tedesco, a Key West based photographer, publicist and historic shipwreck professional with a penchant for photographing cemeteries.

Project collaborator DePiero specializes in local theatre photography and is a Findagrave.com volunteer photographer. As co-owner of Cocograms Enterprises, she is also the organizing force behind many Key West fundraising events. Continue reading

ACLU hosts April 15 Banned Books Forum

A Banned Books Forum on Tuesday, April 15 at the Harvey Government Center from 7 until 9 p.m. was announced this week by the Florida Keys chapter of the Florida American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The forum is free and open to the public.

“Do you read banned books?” asked chapter President Kimberly Sloan rhetorically. “Chances are you do. For example, did you know that local Judy Blume, whose young adult fiction has been internationally acclaimed, is said to be the most banned author in American history?”

Blume will be part of the evening’s panel discussion, along with Kerri McLean, an English teacher at Key West High School and ReLeah Lent, chair of the National Council of Teachers of English Anti-Censorship committee. The topic is “Current Trends in Censorship.” Anne Rice, Monroe County Library administrator, will serve as moderator.

Lent was an English and journalism teacher before becoming a founding member of a statewide literacy project at the University of Central Florida. She is now an international consultant, writing and speaking about adolescent literacy, school leadership, and censorship. As chair of the National Council of Teachers of English’s Committee against Censorship, she continues to advocate for intellectual freedom for both teachers and students. For additional details, please visit www.releahlent.com.

The Harvey Government Center at the Old Truman School is located at 1200 Truman in Key West and is totally accessible.

For additional information, please phone Sloan at 352.870.8809.

Hometown! PAC Announces Call for Candidates Event

Salute Forum 2009

Salute Forum 2009

Key West, 21 April 2014:  Hometown! ‘s “Call for Candidates” Event at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach at 5 p.m.

Dear Members, Prospective Members of Hometown PAC, and all Candidates, Prospective Candidates and Those Merely Testing the Waters:

Please join us on Monday, April 21, 2014, when Key West’s Hometown! will present declared and potential candidates for the upcoming elections. The event will be held at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach, starting with a social portion at 5:00 p.m. Candidates, declared or potential, will introduce themselves and make short presentations, beginning at 5:30 pm. All candidates are encouraged to come early and bring with them petitions for voters to sign, campaign literature, buttons, T-shirts and other items relating to their campaign. Please bring your own tables for your campaign items.

For those who cannot attend the Call for Candidates, FloridaKeys.com will be streaming the event live as well as recording the event for later viewing.   You can watch the live event by going to www.hometownkeywest.com.  After the event, the recorded video will be posted to the Hometown Key West YouTube channel and will remain available on the same YouTube channel throughout the campaign” season. Continue reading

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE PEACE CORPS?

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Have you ever thought about joining the Peace Corps– not only to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but also to help others in need in less-developed countries? Well, if you have, you have a unique opportunity to get inside information about service in the Peace Corps at a special event scheduled here next Thursday afternoon, April 17, 1-2pm, at the Key West Public Library at 700 Fleming Street. Steve Hunsicker, the Peace Corps recruiter for South Florida, will host the event. Steve served as a Peace Corp volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga for two years 2007-09. He will talk about some of his experiences as a volunteer in Tonga, as well as answer questions about serving in the Peace Corps and the application process.

Since the Peace Corps was created, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Thirty-six of those volunteers have been from Key West, including Richard Hatch, owner of the popular Blue Heaven Restaurant here. He served in Gabon, in central Africa, 1983-85, teaching math and English– in French. Key Wester Kate Ahern is a brand new Peace Corps volunteer. Within a few months, she will be leaving to serve in Panama.

Actually, I can tell you something about the application process. I have applied to serve and I am well into the year-long application process. Yeah, yeah, if you know me, I know what you must be thinking. Continue reading

Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here ** FREE FORUMS ** April 16th Key Largo and April 22nd Key West

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Everyone acknowledges that the interaction between water quality and coral reefs, seagrasses, and marine creatures in the Florida Keys is a complicated issue. Climate-change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, and overfishing all contribute to the health of local waters.

Recognizing the importance of water quality, Last Stand and Everglades Law Center are scheduling free forums in April, bringing together a panel of water quality, hydrology, and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys.

The Upper Keys forum, on Wednesday, April 16 in Key Largo, features the director of South Florida Natural Resources Center for Everglades National Park, Bob Johnson, and the director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation, Tom Van Lent, Ph.D.

Also on the program are Andrew Baker, Ph.D., associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Jerry Lorenz, director of research for Audubon Florida, and Billy Causey, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

“We know how critically important water quality is to the Keys,” said Last Stand president Naja Girard. “That’s why we’re having two sessions. The people we’ve invited to speak are all renowned experts on the issue of Everglades’ water flow and near- and off-shore water quality.”

The April 16 forum will be held at the Key Largo Public Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy. in Key Largo, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The informational session is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

A second session takes place in Key West on Tuesday, April 22, also from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Eco-Discovery Center. 

For more information, contact Julie Dick at 312-399-4057.

sonsored by

Tax Freedom Day Arrives in Florida on April 15 … 24th state to reach Tax Freedom Day

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Washington, DC (Apr 7, 2014)—Florida’s Tax Freedom Day, the day on which Floridians have collectively earned enough income to pay off their total federal, state, and local tax bill, will arrive on April 15 to reach Tax Freedom Day. According to the annual report released this morning by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, national Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21, three days later than last year.

The states with the earliest Tax Freedom Days are Louisiana (Mar 30), Mississippi (Apr 2), and South Dakota (Apr 4). The latest dates fall in New Jersey (May 9), Connecticut (May 9), and New York (May 4).

The study’s key findings include:

The national Tax Freedom Day is three days later than last year due mainly to the continuing economic recovery, which will boost federal tax revenue collected through the corporate, payroll, and individual income tax. Continue reading

Second in Series of Pop Up Art Shows Hosted By Paradise Tattoo

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Paradise Tattoo Pop Up Art Show: Steve Martin Jr. edition will be held Saturday April 26th, from 6pm-10pm at Paradise Tattoo, Located at 627 Duval St. This Year Paradise Tattoo is ushering in a new era, full of art shows, community events, specials, raffles and much more! This year, we want to connect more with our clients, and with our community. The Pop Up Art Show Series will be a quarterly event; the next show in the series will take place Saturday August 30th.

Continue reading

AIDS Help and Wesley House Collaborate Successfully

Wesley House Family Services and AIDS Help have successfully combined key positions to decrease costs, eliminate duplication of services among agencies, and provide more opportunities for our community.

The IT department of Wesley House, staff of two, and the IT department of AIDS Help, staff of one, combined successfully months ago to create one IT and Graphics Design department, led by Scott Shores. AIDS Help was searching for someone to help with its growing computer and phone system; Wesley House was beginning to look for someone to help do graphic designs for events, posters and logos. “It just makes since”, says Bryan Green, Board Chair of both Wesley House and AIDS Help, “this collaboration is a win/win for both agencies; increased services with decreased costs”. Continue reading

Community Craft & Yard Sale on Saturday, April 12 at Montessori Children’s School

MCS

Montessori Children’s School of Key West will host a Community Craft and Yard Sale on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its campus located at 1221 Varela St. in Key West.

Local vendors will be set up to sell beautiful art, handmade crafts and yard sale items. Fun activities on our playground such as face painting, games and crafts will be available to keep the children busy while you shop. Bring the whole family!

Booth space to sell your own items is available for $ 30. For more information, call 305-294-5302.

Proceeds benefit Montessori Children’s School of Key West, a local non-profit school serving children from 18 months through kindergarten.

About Montessori Children’s School of Key West

Montessori Children’s School of Key West, founded in 1972, is a non-profit, parent-based corporation serving children ages 18 months through kindergarten located at 1221 Varela Street in Key West. LIC# C16MO0028

SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 21, 2014: Hometown!’s “Call for Candidates” Event at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach at 5 p.m.

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Photo: Hometown PAC event Salute 2010

Hometown! PAC Announces Call for Candidates Event

Dear Members, Prospective Members of Hometown PAC, and all Candidates, Prospective Candidates and Those Merely Testing the Waters:

Please join us on Monday, April 21, 2014, when Key West’s Hometown! will present declared and potential candidates for the upcoming elections. The event will be held at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach, starting with a social portion at 5:00 p.m. Candidates, declared or potential, will introduce themselves and make short presentations, beginning at 5:30 pm. All candidates are encouraged to come early and bring with them petitions for voters to sign, campaign literature, buttons, T-shirts and other items relating to their campaign. Please bring your own tables for your campaign items. Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity of Key West & Lower Florida Keys Loves Alternative Spring Break Volunteers!

Students from Yale, March 20, 2014

Students from Yale, March 20, 2014

Habitat for Humanity of Key West & Lower Florida Keys is hosting volunteer teams from colleges all over the United States during their spring and winter breaks: Austin Peay State University (TN ), University Minnesota, Regis University (CO) University North Carolina, Avon Old Farms (CT), University of South Florida, Yale and University of Illinois.  Through Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness Program, these motivated volunteers make repairs on homes of elder, income- qualified homeowners who struggle with exterior maintenance, allowing the homeowners to reclaim and remain in their homes with pride and dignity. Some of the teams have worked on the continuing renovations of Habitat’s affordable rental apartments located on Eisenhower Drive in Key West.  The volunteers also work a day during their week’s visit at Habitat’s ReStore in Big Pine Key sorting through merchandise, re-arranging the sales floor and sorting through tools to be sold at an upcoming sale. Over 70 students are participating in this year’s alternative break program, Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge. Continue reading

FOL Book Sale Saturday April 5th

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Friends of the Key West Library will hold this season’s last book sale on Saturday, April 5, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, in the Palm Garden next to the library, 700 Fleming Street.

It is the last chance to grab this summer’s reading at a mere $1.00 per book.  There are loads of fiction, mysteries, biographies, children’s books and DVD TV series ($ 1.00 per disk)—plus excellent buys in numerous other categories.  And as in past years, this last sale of the season will conclude with a special books-by-the-bag sale.

Proceeds go to the library’s programs, books and equipment.  To become a Friends of the Library volunteer, visit http://friendsofthekeywestlibrary.org/volunteer.cfm.

$11.3 Million in Property Taxes? Not Yet!

moneyThe long awaited ruling on Balfour Beatty’s $ 11.3 Million property tax suit is finally in.  Judge Audlin ruled in favor of the giant British conglomerate’s subsidiary, Southeast Housing LLC.  The company has not paid any property taxes on hundreds of units of privatized military housing it has owned in Key West since 2007. The ruling grants the company a full and retroactive property tax exemption.  The Order was immediately appealed by Monroe County’s property appraiser Scott Russel.

In sum, Audlin’s ruling states that:

  1. Back taxes are not permitted where the property appraiser had changed his mind after informally granting an opinion on future exemption status in 2007.
  2. Federal and State law prohibit taxation of US government owned property.
  3. Even if Southeast Housing LLC is the titled owner of some 890 units of housing in Key West, the true owner for tax purposes is the US government, which is tax exempt.

The Judge concludes that the county and city must reimburse Southeast Housing for taxes previously paid “under protest” for the Peary Court property last year just prior to its sale and that the company should enjoy a full tax exemption going forward. Continue reading

Congressman Joe Garcia Joins Fellow House Members Urging Administration to Protect Medicare Advantage for Seniors

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Washington, DC – As part of his efforts to protect Medicare, Congressman Joe Garcia spoke on the House floor yesterday afternoon in strong opposition to the administration’s proposed cuts to Medicare. On April 7th, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is scheduled to release their final rule on payment rates for Medicare Advantage. Over the past few weeks Rep. Garcia has spoken with the President personally to communicate his strong support for the program, as well as his strong opposition to any proposed cuts by CMS.  Earlier in the week, Congressman Garcia also met with top level officials expressing his concerns over the cuts to these vital services, urging them to find alternative solutions in an effort to protect our seniors.

Additionally, Garcia has worked with Colleagues on both sides of the aisle, issuing a letter (text below) to the administration, urging the same.

“For half a century, Medicare has lifted millions of seniors out of poverty and provided them with the health care they need and deserve,” expressed Garcia. “It is our responsibility to strengthen and modernize Medicare to ensure that it continues to provide our nation’s seniors – who have rightfully earned their benefits – the high quality care they depend on.” Continue reading

Tedesco, DePiero and Newhagen to Debut “After Life” on Saturday April 12th

After Life Cover

Join the authors of After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery for a book launch and signing, Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm at Salute on the Beach in Key West.

Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm Carol Tedesco, Roberta DePiero and Jane Newhagen will present their new release, After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery at a book launch and signing event at Salute on the Beach in Key West. Published by The New Atlantian Library, with photography by Tedesco and DePiero and prose by Newhagen, After Life captures the island’s final resting place in all its poignance, unique character and eccentricity.

After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery was funded in part by an Anne McKee Artists Fund grant to Tedesco, a Key West based photographer, publicist and historic shipwreck professional with a penchant for photographing cemeteries.

Project collaborator DePiero specializes in local theatre photography and is a Findagrave.com volunteer photographer. As co-owner of Cocograms Enterprises, she is also the organizing force behind many Key West fundraising events. Continue reading

PEACE CORPS RECRUITER COMING TO KEY WEST

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The Peace Corps is actively recruiting Key West residents for overseas assignments. An information session has been scheduled at the Monroe County Library, 700 Fleming Street, on Thursday afternoon, April 17, 1- 2pm. The event will be hosted by Steve Hunsicker, the Peace Corps recruiter for South Florida. Hunsicker will be in town to meet with potential volunteers, discuss opportunities and to answer questions.

“Key Westers have a history of serving in the Peace Corps,” Hunsicker said. “Since the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961, 36 volunteers have come from Key West, and residents continue to show strong interest in serving. This meeting is open to potential volunteers as well as anyone interested in learning more about the Peace Corps.”

Volunteer opportunities fall into six work areas: Education, Health, Business Development and ICT, Agriculture, Environment and Youth and Community Development. While most Peace Corps assignments require a college degree, there are some positions available for applicants with 3-5 years of relevant work or life experience and a demonstrated interest in public service. Language, cross-cultural and technical training is provided before arriving in country of service. While Peace Corps volunteers should not expect to get rich during their assignments, there are significant perks in serving. For example, all basic expenses are paid, including travel to and from country of service, a monthly living and housing allowance, full dental and medical coverage, 48 paid vacation days and emergency leave for family emergencies. Some categories of student loans may be eligible for deferment or partial cancellation. Upon completion of service, volunteers receive a $ 7,425 “readjustment” allowance (pre-tax). Also, transition and job support services are available, which include advantages in federal employment. Peace Corps service also opens up a number of unique graduate school opportunities.

President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more about the Peace Corps.

SAVE THE DATE! Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here

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Everyone acknowledges that the interaction between water quality and coral reefs, seagrasses, and marine creatures in the Florida Keys is a complicated issue. Climate-change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, and overfishing all contribute to the health of local waters.

Recognizing the importance of water quality, Last Stand and Everglades Law Center are scheduling free forums in April, bringing together a panel of water quality, hydrology, and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys.

The Upper Keys forum, on Wednesday, April 16 in Key Largo, features the director of South Florida Natural Resources Center for Everglades National Park, Bob Johnson, and the director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation, Tom Van Lent, Ph.D.

Also on the program are Andrew Baker, Ph.D., associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Jerry Lorenz, director of research for Audubon Florida, and Billy Causey, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

“We know how critically important water quality is to the Keys,” said Last Stand president Naja Girard. “That’s why we’re having two sessions. The people we’ve invited to speak are all renowned experts on the issue of Everglades’ water flow and near- and off-shore water quality.”

The April 16 forum will be held at the Key Largo Public Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy. in Key Largo, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The informational session is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

A second session takes place in Key West on Tuesday, April 22, also from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Eco-Discovery Center. 

For more information, contact Julie Dick at 312-399-4057.

sonsored by

Breast Cancer Rates Increasing Among Younger Women In Florida; National Breast Cancer Prevention Project Relocates to Key West

More Florida women, under 50 years old, are being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year.  In 1984 only 53 out of 100,000 women in the state were diagnosed; by 2008 that number had jumped to 74 out of 100,000; a 1.7 percent annual increase, according to the Florida Statewide Cancer Registry.

Florida women are not alone. In 2007, 83 out of 100,000 Massachusetts women under 50 were diagnosed with the invasive disease, while in Colorado in 2007, that number was 70/100,000.   Since the mid 80’s, younger women under 50, in all three states, have faced annual increases of 0.9 to 2.3 percent.

In contrast, British women under 50 are at 1970 U.S. levels with only 42/100,000 women under 50 being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2010.  Why this great disparity between the two countries? Continue reading

Key West High School Live Reporting Team Placed First In Nation!

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L-R: Riley Schill, Morgan Denhart, Austin Svedjan and KWHS teacher Ed Smith

Last week in Orlando, three Key West High School students from the Conch 5 Studios National Team placed first in the nation in the Team Live Reporting category at the Student Television Network Convention.

Morgan Denhart, Austin Svedjan, and Riley Schill collaborated on the winning effort. All three are students in Ed Smith’s television production class. [See their winning video below] Continue reading

EPA Proposes Biggest Step for Clean Water in a Decade

Today, in the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave nearly 30% of Florida’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.

“With the drinking water for close to 2 million Floridians at risk, we’re thrilled to see the EPA moving forward to protect our waterways,” said Jennifer Rubiello, field associate with Environment Florida, which has worked for more than a decade to restore Clean Water Act protections. “Today’s action is about securing that all our water is safe and healthy. Whether we’re kayaking on the Hillsborough River, fishing in our favorite stream, or just drinking the water that comes from our tap, we need Florida’s waterways to be clean and protected.” Continue reading

Continuing Through The End of the March: Fausto’s ‘Rounds It Up’ for VNA/Hospice

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

For the entire month of March, both Fausto’s Food Palace locations (1105 White St. and 522 Fleming St.) are participating in a community support promotion to benefit the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys.

Dubbed “Round It UP!”, the program enables customers of the locally owned and operated gourmet grocery and food specialty stores to recognize and contribute to VNA/Hospice, the only local not-for-profit home health care and hospice provider in Monroe County. Continue reading

Monthly Artisan Market Celebrates Ocean Awareness

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The Key West Artisan Market: Ocean Awareness Edition will be held Sunday, March 30 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Restaurant Store parking lot in support the Mote Marine’s Oceanfest Key West on Saturday. The Market is a new monthly attraction with only one more date set for April 27 in conjunction with Conch Republic Days.

The event gives residents and visitors alike a chance to shop fresh and local. The parking lot at 1111 Eaton is transformed into a showcase of art, photography and unique local handicrafts made exclusively in the Keys in one convenient location. There will be entertainment, chef demonstrations, and kid’s activities. Marianne van den Broek from Sandisle will be demonstrating sand carving and Durf Durffee will be using various magnifying glasses to burn images on to wood. Continue reading

FLORIDA STANDARDS COMING TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU ~ State Farm contributes $100,000 to promote Florida Standards ~

 

Videos starring the Florida Standards are in the works to spread the word about how best to teach the concepts to students. State Farm is partnering with the Florida Education Foundation and the Florida Department of Education to help bring the project to life. State Farm contributed $ 100,000 to make the project possible.

“Great teachers make great schools,” said State Farm Senior Vice President Jim Thompson. “This commitment will help provide vivid examples of the Florida Standards to teachers across the state, allowing them to push students to achieve more.”

The video series is titled, “We Can Do This, Florida!” and will focus on kindergarten through fifth grade mathematics standards. They are being created as a resource for teachers, parents and postsecondary students in teacher education programs. The short videos will feature top teachers across the state in a classroom setting giving tips on teaching the Florida Standards.

“These more rigorous Florida Standards are already pushing our students to reach their full potentials today by helping prepare them for the colleges and workplaces of tomorrow,” said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. “I want to thank State Farm for this contribution that I know will be a great asset to Florida teachers and students.

The series is expected to be released and distributed in the fall of 2014.

SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 21, 2014: Hometown!’s “Call for Candidates” Event at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach at 5 p.m.

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Photo: Hometown PAC event Salute 2010

Hometown! PAC Announces Call for Candidates Event

Dear Members, Prospective Members of Hometown PAC, and all Candidates, Prospective Candidates and Those Merely Testing the Waters:

Please join us on Monday, April 21, 2014, when Key West’s Hometown! will present declared and potential candidates for the upcoming elections. The event will be held at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach, starting with a social portion at 5:00 p.m. Candidates, declared or potential, will introduce themselves and make short presentations, beginning at 5:30 pm. All candidates are encouraged to come early and bring with them petitions for voters to sign, campaign literature, buttons, T-shirts and other items relating to their campaign. Please bring your own tables for your campaign items. Continue reading

SAVE THE DATE! Saturday April 12th / Salute on the Beach to Present After Life Book Signing Event

After Life Cover

Join the authors of After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery for a book launch and signing, Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm at Salute on the Beach in Key West.

Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm, at Salute on the Beach in Key West, Carol Tedesco, Roberta DePiero and Jane Newhagen will present  After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery at a public book launch and signing event. Published by the New Atlantian Library,with photography by Tedesco and DePiero and prose by Newhagen, After Life captures the island’s final resting place in all its poignance, unique character and eccentricity.

Join friends, enjoy half-price specials on well drinks, house wine, Budweiser, Bud Lite, and Miller light, and be among the first to explore After Life.

After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery was funded in part by a grant to Carol Tedesco from the Anne McKee Artists Fund of the Florida Keys.

For more information, visit KeyWestAuthors.com.

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(Left to right) Jane Newhagen, Carol Tedesco and Roberta DePiero will present After Life – Images from the Key West Cemetery at a book launch and signing event Saturday, April 12, 4-6 pm at Salute on the Beach, 1000 Atlantic Blvd, Key West. Photo by Quincy Perkins

Celebration Set for Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit, Wednesday March 26th

In support of the 103rd anniversary celebration of the birth of Key West’s most famous playwright, Tennessee Williams, Mayor Sylvia Murphy and the Board of Monroe County Commissioners recently presented Producer Dennis Beaver with a proclamation declaring the writer’s March 26 birthday as Tennessee Williams Day in Monroe County.

A reception honoring the occasion, and his life in Key West, will be held at the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit, 513 Truman Ave. just off Duval St. on Wednesday, March 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The entire month of March has been a celebration of Williams’ life and work in Key West. Born in Columbus, Mississippi on March 26, 1911, he maintained a local residence from the 1940s until his death in 1982. The celebration has included screenings of classic films based on William’s award-winning plays and local competitions in both poetry and painting, arts in which the playwright was also accomplished. The Key West Art and Historical Society has featured an exhibit of his paintings throughout the month. Also on display are copies of his published work, including books of poetry, and a video of him reading his poetry.

Wednesday’s celebration will offer, in addition to the awards presentations, a birthday cake, wine and other light refreshments. A suggested donation of $10 from attendees will be appreciated, organizers said.

For additional information phone Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit at (305) 842-1666 or visit twkw.org.

SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 21, 2014: Hometown!’s “Call for Candidates” Event at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach at 5 p.m

photo_salute2010

Photo: Hometown PAC event Salute 2010

Hometown! PAC Announces Call for Candidates Event

Dear Members, Prospective Members of Hometown PAC, and all Candidates, Prospective Candidates and Those Merely Testing the Waters:

Please join us on Monday, April 21, 2014, when Key West’s Hometown! will present declared and potential candidates for the upcoming elections. The event will be held at Salute Restaurant, Higgs Beach, starting with a social portion at 5:00 p.m. Candidates, declared or potential, will introduce themselves and make short presentations, beginning at 5:30 pm. All candidates are encouraged to come early and bring with them petitions for voters to sign, campaign literature, buttons, T-shirts and other items relating to their campaign. Please bring your own tables for your campaign items. Continue reading

Pier House Resort & Spa Supports Wesley House

(left to right) Joe Dantoni, Pier House General Manager, and Bryan Green, Wesley House Board Chairman

(left to right) Joe Dantoni, Pier House General Manager, and Bryan Green, Wesley House Board Chairman

Wesley House Family Services recently received a $ 2,000 donation from the Pier House Resort & Spa.

The monies from the donation – a result of Pier House GM Joe Dantoni being named “Resort Manager of the Year” by Remington Hotels – will be used to purchase items for foster children that are not covered by state funding.  These items enable foster children to better cope during what is a difficult transition time in their lives.

“The Pier House has been a long-time supporter of Wesley House, our programs and our families,” stated Wesley House Board Chairman Bryan Green.  “It is with continued gratitude that we accept this generous donation.”

Aside from the donation, the Pier House consistently “adopts” a family during Christmas time, as well throughout the year, to assist them with the expenses of raising a child.

 About Wesley House Family Services:

Wesley House Family Services is a nationally accredited, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and nurturing children and strengthening families with services spanning Monroe County, Florida.  For more information, please call 305-809-5000 or visit www.wesleyhouse.org.

FLOOD INSURANCE FORUM: Options and Solutions, Saturday March 22nd

firm logo

A forum on Flood Insurance: Options and Solutions, organized by the Lower Keys League of Women Voters, will be held on Saturday, March 22 from 10 a.m. until noon at Harvey Government Center at the Old Truman School.

“Quickly rising flood insurance rates affect everyone in the Keys,” said  LWV chapter President Joan Wallin. “Whether you are a property owner, potential buyer, or renter working in the service sector, the cost of flood insurance threatens to make living in the Florida Keys cost prohibitive.  We will hear about current law, possible legislative solutions, efforts by Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) to solve the problem and the impact on local real estate transactions and the economy,” she said.

Participants in the forum will be: US Congressman Joe Garcia; Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, who is FIRM president and co-founder: FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner; and Michael Larson, past president of the Key West Realtors Association. League Vice President Linda Grist Cunningham will moderate.

The forum is free and open to the public. For additional information about the program or the organization, please contact League Treasurer Sandra Bergin at (305) 872-0365.

Continuing Through The End of the March: Fausto’s ‘Rounds It Up’ for VNA/Hospice

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

For the entire month of March, both Fausto’s Food Palace locations (1105 White St. and 522 Fleming St.) are participating in a community support promotion to benefit the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys.

Dubbed “Round It UP!”, the program enables customers of the locally owned and operated gourmet grocery and food specialty stores to recognize and contribute to VNA/Hospice, the only local not-for-profit home health care and hospice provider in Monroe County. Continue reading

EQUALITY FLORIDA TO HONOR CONNIE GILBERT AT ANNUAL KEY WEST GALA: MARCH 29

Connie Gilbert-1

On Saturday, March 29, Equality Florida Institute will present the Voice for Equality Award to Constance (Connie) Gilbert, a resident of Key West who has been a steadfast advocate for LGBT equality.  The award will be presented at the Equality Florida Key West Gala at the beautiful Gardens Hotel, 526 Angela Street in Key West.

In a year that has seen many landmark milestones and victories, the Key West gala has garnered unprecedented support by elected officials and community leaders.  This “must attend” event brings together more than 350 of Key West and Monroe County residents, providing the LGBT community and its allies a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the momentum that is building throughout the state and throughout the nation.

“Key West has always provided Equality Florida with enormous support, and Connie’s activism within the community is legendary,” said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida.  “Connie is not only the longest-serving member of the event’s Host Committee, but she has also given tirelessly of her time and of herself as a champion for women’s and LGBT rights.” Continue reading

FLOOD INSURANCE FORUM: Options and Solutions next Saturday

firm logo

A forum on Flood Insurance: Options and Solutions, organized by the Lower Keys League of Women Voters, will be held on Saturday, March 22 from 10 a.m. until noon at Harvey Government Center at the Old Truman School.

“Quickly rising flood insurance rates affect everyone in the Keys,” said  LWV chapter President Joan Wallin. “Whether you are a property owner, potential buyer, or renter working in the service sector, the cost of flood insurance threatens to make living in the Florida Keys cost prohibitive.  We will hear about current law, possible legislative solutions, efforts by Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) to solve the problem and the impact on local real estate transactions and the economy,” she said.

Participants in the forum will be: US Congressman Joe Garcia; Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, who is FIRM president and co-founder: FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner; and Michael Larson, past president of the Key West Realtors Association. League Vice President Linda Grist Cunningham will moderate.

The forum is free and open to the public. For additional information about the program or the organization, please contact League Treasurer Sandra Bergin at (305) 872-0365.

Impromptu Classical Concerts Welcomes Cellist Gabriel Cabezas

Unknown-3The sixth and final Impromptu Classical Concerts subscription presentation will be a Rising Star performance by gifted 21 year old cellist Gabriel Cabezas at Saint Paul’s Church, 4:00 pm, Sunday, March 16th. He will be accompanied on piano by Andrew Tyson, a recipient of an Avery Fisher Grant. The Rising Star Concert Series, in honor of arts patron Gail Williams Munder, spotlights the talents of a new generation of classical musicians.

Unknown-4Mr. Cabezas has performed with the New York Philharmonic, The Chicago Symphony, The New World Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra. His television appearances include performances with Yo-Yo Ma on “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Good Morning America”, and with Béla Fleck in “From The Top – Carnegie Hall.” This is a young man who is clearly well on his way.

UnknownWhile Mr. Cabezas’ concert is the last of the season’s subscription series, Impromptu Classical Concerts will present a special, non-subscription performance by the acclaimed Chamber Orchestra Kremlin at Tennessee Williams Fine Art Center, on Sunday March 30, 4:00 pm. The special concert is in commemoration of the 100th birthday of well-loved arts patron Florence Fox-Loeb, and is sure to be a highlight of the 2014 season.

Tickets for Gabriel Cabezas Concert are $ 20 at the door one hour before the performance, by calling: 305.743.2283, or online: Keystix.com. All students free.

Bicycle Master Plan Talk, Wednesday March 19th

 bikes

March is Transportation Month in Key West; what better time to share ideas for an island-wide bicycle master plan?

Anthony-Garcia1On Wednesday, March 19th, the Key West Green Drinks meeting will feature Anthony Garcia, the chairman of South Florida’s Green Mobility Network. Garcia is heavily involved with the Bicycle Master Plans in City of Miami, Coral Gables and Miami Beach.  He is the principal of the Street Plans Collaborative, specializing in urban design, smart growth, and active transport planning. Garcia received his B.A. in urban planning and architecture studies from New York University and his Masters from the University of Miami School of Architecture. He is vice-president of the Urban Environment League and a member of the Dade Heritage Trust and of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Key West Green Drinks is a monthly gathering where locals and visitors can learn more about the green goings on in our community. The meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs Muse Bar at Kelly’s Caribbean Grill & Brewery at 301 Whitehead St. and they’re open to everyone.

These community gatherings collaborate with the City of Key West’s Preserve Island Life program, exploring a new green topic each month.

Congressman Garcia’s Statement On Senate Passage of the Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act

press release garcia

Last night, the Senate passed the House version of the flood bill, the Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act, by an overwhelming majority in a 72-22 vote.

“I commend my colleagues in the Senate for stepping up in the name of struggling, middle-class homeowners. The Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act represents the first meaningful step forward in National Flood Insurance Program reform. Although I believe that further reform and stronger protections are needed, today we have reason to celebrate.”

Fausto’s ‘Rounds It Up’ for VNA/Hospice

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

Pictured – Jimmy Weekley and Fausto’s Fleming Street crew

For the entire month of March, both Fausto’s Food Palace locations (1105 White St. and 522 Fleming St.) are participating in a community support promotion to benefit the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys.

Dubbed “Round It UP!”, the program enables customers of the locally owned and operated gourmet grocery and food specialty stores to recognize and contribute to VNA/Hospice, the only local not-for-profit home health care and hospice provider in Monroe County. Continue reading

Lou Harris at Last FOL Lecture, Monday

Lou Harris (2)

Political analyst Lou Harris is the last presenter in this year’s Friends of the Key West Library lecture series—Monday, March 17, 6:00 p.m., Studios of Key West, 600 White Street.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Known as the Dean of American Pollsters, Harris will probe the problem: “Whatever Happened to the Pursuit of Excellence?”  For more than half a century Harris ran one of the best-known polling organizations of his time.  He was also chief polling analyst for CBS News, and later ABC News, as well as columnist for the Washington Post, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News.  His highly respected studies have influenced elections, public policy, and social issues, thus shaping America as we know it today.  His books include The Anguish of Change (1973) and Inside America (1987).  At age 93, he is presently writing his memoir.

The Friends of the Key West Library weekly lecture series is free and open to the public.  Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.  Visit FOL’s newsletter, etc., at http://friendsofthekeywestlibrary.org.  Visit FOL’s indoor book sale at the Key West Library, 700 Fleming Street.

Old Island Restoration Foundation House Tour / Friday and Saturday, 10am – 4pm

712 Eaton Street

712 Eaton Street   Photo by P.D. Cummings

THE OLD FAMILY HOME – Life and Work in Key West

Houses, small and large, sheltered generations of those carving out a life on this rock island.  They also were places of business or investments…not unlike today.  Into the five old abodes in the Historic District, extensive renovations breathed new life, allowing them to continue useful existence for current and future residents.

The tour is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, from 10 am  to 4 pm.  Tickets are $ 30 and are available in advance.  For credit card purchase, buy tickets online at www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501.  Tickets are also available for purchase by check or cash at:  Capital Bank, (Old Town & North Roosevelt Branches in Key West; MM30.4, Big Pine; 2348 Overseas Highway, Marathon); and Royal Furniture (3326 N. Roosevelt Blvd.).  During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses – cash or check, please.

Featured Houses: Continue reading

Grant Supported FREE Events at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden

Photo by Alexis Girard d'Albissin

Photo by Alexis Girard d’Albissin

Did you know March is Archeology Month? To help celebrate, the Key West Botanical Garden Society received a grant from the Florida Humanities Council – the first awarded to a botanical garden, according to Constance Miller, docent at the Forest and a retired herbalist.

‘NATIVE PEOPLE/NATIVE PLANTS’

SATURDAY, MARCH 15

“Prehistoric Plant Pharmacy Tour of the Botanical Garden”

Constance N. Miller, Retired Clinical Herbalist

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 10:00 am at Key West Botanical Garden – Free Tour

A hands-on walking tour will link present-day uses to the ancient practices of Florida’s earliest inhabitants.

For more information on these presentations, visit www.kwbgs.org or call 305-296-1504.

Key West Botanical Garden Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit  maintaining the botanical garden for the City of Key West.

Montessori Children’s School Open House Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

MCS

Montessori Children’s School of Key West will hold its annual Open House for prospective new students on Saturday, March 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on its campus at 1221 Varela Street in Key West. Interested families can learn about the school, tour the classrooms and meet the staff to gain appreciation for Montessori materials and the hands-on learning environment. Teachers, staff and current families will be available to answer questions. Enrollment information for the fall semester for children ages 18 months through kindergarten will be available. Families who enroll during the event will receive half off the application fee. The playground will be open for children to enjoy.

For more information, contact Heather Barnes, Head of School, at 305-294-5302 or hos@montessorikeywest.com.

About Montessori Children’s School of Key West

Montessori Children’s School of Key West, founded in 1972, is a non-profit, parent-based corporation serving children ages 18 months through kindergarten located at 1221 Varela Street in Key West. LIC# C16MO0028

EPA Extends Public Comment Period After Hundreds Gathered To Fight Drilling and Acid Fracking in Everglades

fracking two

Naples, FL — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency extended the public comment period to March 31st after over 300 Floridians turned out to a public hearing at the Golden Gate Community Center in Naples, Florida last Tuesday to voice their concern for drilling and acid fracking in Big Cypress Swamp watershed and near Everglades National Park. Almost all urged the EPA to reject a permit for injecting toxic waste underground, which they argued could set the stage for fracking and threaten water quality and panther habitat.

“Floridians want clean drinking water that doesn’t threaten their health or their environment, and today they made their voices heard loud and clear,” said Jennifer Rubiello with Environment Florida, “For too long, oil companies in Florida and across the country have been allowed to recklessly dispose of unchecked drilling waste. Why should we risk contaminating drinking water supplies for the entire county and future generations?” Continue reading

VNA/Hospice Celebrates 30 Years Serving the Keys

Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys is celebrating 30 years of service as the only not-for-profit home health and hospice agency in Monroe County.

Its hospice program was founded in 1984 to answer a call for end-of-life services in the community, with home health by the VNA following in 1988. VNA/Hospice maintains its dedication to the ever-changing health and support needs of the residents and visitors of the Florida Keys.

“We are so honored and fortunate to serve this unique and wonderful community for the past 30 years,” stated VNA/Hospice President & CEO Jody Gross.  “Through the generosity of donors, businesses and fundraising event attendees, we have been able to constantly evolve our services and provide care for all of those that need us.  We are looking forward to the next 30 years of serving our island communities throughout all of Monroe County.”

To learn more about how you can help support VNA/Hospice, please call us at 305-294-8812 or visit us online at www.vnahospicekeys.org.

About Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Florida Keys, Inc.

Continue reading

FIRM ANNUAL MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC, Next Meeting This Tuesday in Key West

firm logoFair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) invites the public to their Key West Annual Meeting at the Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Ave., 2nd Fl,  in Key West on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  FIRM President and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers and FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner will provide an update on FIRM’s recent successes and activities, 2014 legislative priorities for ensuring fair flood and windstorm insurance rates for property owners in the Keys, and how each policyholder can actively help reduce insurance rates.

Highlighted will be the status on the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act and FIRM’s independent Windstorm Risk Remodeling and Analysis Initiative – a step towards a truly accurate wind risk profile which is essential to helping Keys’ policyholders identify possible alternatives to Citizens.  Additionally, FIRM will provide suggestions on how premiums may be lowered, what homeowner mitigation measures make sense and how policyholders can help FIRM achieve fair insurance rates in Monroe.

For more information call FIRM at (305) 294-3476

Old Island Restoration Awards Grants For Architectural and Cultural Projects

The Old Island Restoration Foundation has awarded 5 grants for projects that assist in preserving the architectural and/or cultural history of Key West.

The announcement ceremony was part of the Sunday, March 2nd, “Thank You” brunch for OIRF volunteers who assist at The Oldest House Museum and the annual House Tours. It is only with the help of over 200 volunteers and the homeowners willing to open their private property to hundreds of ticket-holding visitors that the Foundation is able to raise enough funds to maintain The Oldest House with a portion left over for these grants.

This year’s recipients are:

First Congregational Church of Key West – $ 7,500.00.  This 122 year old historic structure is in need of substantial roof repair. Without OIRF assistance the risk of damage to the structure is significant.

Kevin May and Bob Green, Trustees Continue reading

WISTERIA ISLAND FOR SALE?

IMG_9270-400x300

A HOAX

Turns out the mysterious “For Sale” sign that appeared last week on the beach of Wisteria Island was a hoax.   The Blue Paper spoke with Bob Cardenas, General Manager of Sunset Key Development Corporation.  ”We had thrown a pile of old signs away in a dumpster.  When we heard about the sign we went out and took it down immediately.  We had absolutely nothing to do with it.  Someone must have taken it out of our dumpster and put it there as a joke.”

Old Island Restoration Foundation House Tour MARCH 14th & 15th, 2014, 10am – 4pm

712 Eaton Street

712 Eaton Street   Photo by P.D. Cummings

THE OLD FAMILY HOME – Life and Work in Key West

Houses, small and large, sheltered generations of those carving out a life on this rock island.  They also were places of business or investments…not unlike today.  Into the five old abodes in the Historic District, extensive renovations breathed new life, allowing them to continue useful existence for current and future residents.

The tour is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, from 10 am  to 4 pm.  Tickets are $ 30 and are available in advance.  For credit card purchase, buy tickets online at www.oirf.org or call 305-294-9501.  Tickets are also available for purchase by check or cash at:  Capital Bank, (Old Town & North Roosevelt Branches in Key West; MM30.4, Big Pine; 2348 Overseas Highway, Marathon); and Royal Furniture (3326 N. Roosevelt Blvd.).  During tour hours, tickets will be sold at the featured houses – cash or check, please.

Featured Houses: Continue reading

Hy Conrad at Next FOL Lecture, Monday

Hy Conrad photo

TV and fiction writer Hy Conrad is next presenter at the Friends of the Key West Library lecture series—Monday, March 10, 6:00 p.m., Studios of Key West, 600 White Street.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Conrad is best known as one of the original scriptwriters for the quirky ground-breaking TV detective series, Monk.  He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. The show received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best TV Series.”  But his creativity goes far beyond Monk, including ten books of short puzzle-mysteries (translated into fourteen languages), the comedy/mystery stage drama Home Exchange  (performed two years ago in Key West), a humorous guide for dog-owners (Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know), and continuing film and TV production (Little Monk and White Collar).  Now he has begun a series of novels, beginning with Mr. Monk Helps Himself (2013) and Mr. Monk Gets on Board (2014).  Appropriately, Conrad’s lecture topic is “Transferring a Beloved TV Character into Books”.

The Friends of the Key West Library weekly lecture series is free and open to the public.  Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.  Last lecturer of this season is the dean of public opinion polls, Lou Harris, March 17.  FOL’s newsletter is located at http://friendsofthekeywestlibrary.org.

Citizen Review Board Concerned About Eimers In-Custody Death

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

“I am deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the in-custody death of Charles Eimers,” CRB [Citizen Review Board] member Tom Milone said Wednesday.

The controversy about the Thanksgiving morning death on South Beach of 61-year old Charles Eimers continues to grow.  Thousands of people have reviewed the video of Charles Eimer’s arrest published by The Blue Paper and have been disturbed by the irreconcilable differences between the events shown in the video and the account initially proffered by the police department.

“There is particular concern over the use of prone restraint,” says Tom Milone,  “We’re considering reviewing the procedures in light of the incident with Charles Eimers and the growing concern about the risk of using that method in the sand.”  The CRB has asked the police department to explain the existing polices at their next scheduled meeting.

The question, says David Paul Horan, attorney for the Eimers’ family, “is where do you use the prone restraint method?  Would you use it in the water?  Should you use it in the sand?” Continue reading

“Conch Honk” at the Oldest House in Key West! March 1st

CHgroup

Is the “Oldest House” haunted?

It may be midday instead of midnight, but the spirits of the Key West wreckers will be strong among the living at the 52th Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest, sponsored by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, at NOON on Saturday, March 1 in the garden of the Oldest House Museum, 322 Duval St. in Key West.  The event is FREE for competitors and spectators alike.

This party celebrates the very real historic role of the conch in the Florida Keys.  Far-reaching sounds from these large shells were used by the Calusa Indians for communication and by early Key Westers to signal that a sinking ship was spotted offshore in need of rescue … and carrying potentially lucrative salvage.

During the “Conch Honk” you will hear unusual musical (and decidedly un-musical) expressions performed by enthusiastic children and adults who will pucker up and demonstrate their shell-blowing talents before a panel of local “judges”.  No previous experience required!  Leave your inhibitions behind and toot your own shell horn!

Prizes will be awarded in several age and style of expression categories. Contestants may register for the event at the Oldest House Museum, 322 Duval St., from 11am to NOON on March 1.  For more information visit oirf.org  or call 305-294-9501.  Refreshments and conch shells available for purchase at the party.

National Flight Academy’s “Explore AMBITION Program” Open To Monroe County Students Grades 7 – 12

The National Flight Academy’s “Explore AMBITION Program” is an in-residence world class S.T.E.M. aviation inspired program that incorporates students’ passion for gaming and technology into learning.

The National Flight Academy’s goal is to transform American education so that students can be ready to compete globally using aviation as a basis for learning, thus contributing to a highly skilled workforce. Continue reading

Exercise Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield 2014 / February 18 – 28

Photo contributed by Trice Denny US Navy

Naval Air Station Key West Security personnel participate in an active shooter training exercise during last year’s Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael McNabb/Released)

Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014 will be conducted at Naval Air Station Key West and naval bases and installations throughout the continental U.S. Feb. 18 – 28.

This annual exercise is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units. Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly-scheduled exercise.

Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base and station operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases. Truman Annex, in particular, will see increased security activities to include activation of the loudspeaker system used in emergencies, which may be heard by nearby residents. The exercise may also cause delays in base access at all gates.

“When you access the base during this time, remember, you must always have your proper ID and vehicle documents with you,” said Naval Air Station Key West Commanding Officer Capt. Steve McAlearney. “Be patient, plan ahead if you need access to the base, and most of all, follow all the orders of our security forces.”

For more information about Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014, contact Naval Air Station Key West Public Affairs at (305) 293-2027.

NOW meets Friday at Shanna Key

The Key West Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) will hold its regular monthly meeting on Friday, Feb. 21 from 5 till 6 p.m. at Shanna Key. On the agenda will be the two major feminist holidays in March: the Great Suffrage March on Washington on March 3, 1913 and International Women’s Day, celebrated for over 100 years on March 8. March is also Women’s HIstory Month. Shanna Key is located at the intersection of Flagler and Bertha and all supporters of equality are welcome. Info: (305) 393-7844

Sugarloaf School Teacher Selected as Monroe County School District’s 2014 Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Monroe County Teacher of the Year, Karen McKenzie, pictured above with Superintendent Porter and her students.

Congratulations to Monroe County Teacher of the Year, Karen McKenzie, pictured above with Superintendent Porter and her students.

Ms. McKenzie utilizes differentiated instruction in her classroom, incorporates AVID strategies, utilizes a variety of venues for free reading to promote reading with her students and creates connections between language arts and other core subject areas. The enthusiasm she has for learning is shared beyond her classroom in establishing activities such as the Zombie Walk-a-Thon to earn money for class projects, providing extended learning opportunities in Marine Biology and helping to create a Rigorous Readers Program for 6th and 7th graders. Her leadership is evidenced by her work as a member of the school planning team, participation with the School Advisory Council and her active role in the school’s Positive Behavior Support System.

The most remarkable trait that Mrs. McKenzie possesses is her sincere and heartfelt commitment to her students and their learning. Karen has been on the faculty of Sugarloaf School since 2005. During her tenure at Sugarloaf, she has taught Marine Biology and has also taught 4th grade. Prior to coming to Monroe County, Mrs. McKenzie taught 7th grade Science and 12th grade Marine Biology in Dade County. Continue reading

League of Women Voters Annual Meeting Saturday Feb 22 / New Members Welcome

league of women voters

Photo contributed by Connie Gilbert

Lower Keys League of Women Voters President Joan Wallin, at left, thanks Womankind Executive Director Kim Romano, certified ACA application counselor aka “navigator” Carlos Guttierrez and Herman Koch, senior educator with Florida Blue for participating in the LWV’s recent forum, “Affordable Care Act: Just the Facts.” The chapter’s annual membership meeting is set for Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. at the Pasta Garden in Duval Square; new members are welcome. Also, a forum on the flood insurance dilemma in the Keys is planned for the Spring. For additional information about LKLWV activities, phone Wallin at (305) 304-9530 or email lowerkeyslwv@gmail.com.

Lecture on “Aquaponics” Wednesday, Febuary 26 at Tennessee Williams Theatre

Dr. Bill Irwin, photo courtesy FKCC

Dr. Bill Irwin (photo courtesy FKCC, Amber L. Ernst-Leonard)

Florida Keys Community College invites the community to the final session of its V.I.P. Lecture Series, “Aquaponics: Sustainable Agriculture Begins at Home” led by FKCC Biology Professor Dr. Bill Irwin on Wednesday, February 26 at 6:30p.m. in the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the Key West Campus. The free event, sponsored by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, closes the 2014 season of FKCC’s new series. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a cash bar.

Dr. Irwin will trace the history of global food production, discuss changes in economic and nutritional values of our food, and examine the sustainability of our current agriculture methods in light of growing world population and increasing demands. Then, using an actual functional aquaponic system along with images and descriptions of a wide range of successful designs (and samples from his own gardens!), he will demonstrate how nearly anyone can produce a significant amount of healthy, organic vegetables and fish with very little effort or expense in an eco-friendly, sustainable and enjoyable way here in the Florida Keys. Continue reading

Monroe County Education Foundation Board Names Steve Pribramsky New President / John Padget Elevated to President Emeritus

L-R (Steve Pribramsky, John Padget)

L-R (Steve Pribramsky, John Padget)

 

The Monroe Country Education Foundation (MCEF) Board of Directors unanimously elected Steve Pribramsky as its new president, effective immediately.  

Long-standing president, John Padget, will serve as President Emeritus, an honor which ensures his continued counsel.

Take Stock in Children is the flagship program of the MCEF which also sponsors enrichment programs for all Monroe County students, including the Experiment in International Living (EIL) and the leadership program called LEAP (Leadership, Excellence, Accelerating Potential).

Steve Pribramsky is the owner of Pribramsky & Company, CPA’s, with offices in Islamorada and Key West.  He is the father of six children, former elected member of the Monroe County School Board, and president of the Key West Montessori Charter School.   Over the past several years, Steve has served as fund-raising chair, treasurer, and vice-president of the MCEF.   Steve holds degrees from Marquette and Stetson Universities. Continue reading

FIRM ANNUAL MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC, Next Meeting This Tuesday in Key Largo

firm logoFair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) invites the public to their Middle Keys Annual Meeting at the Marathon Government Center in Marathon on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  FIRM President and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers and FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner will provide an update on FIRM’s recent successes and activities, 2014 legislative priorities for ensuring fair flood and windstorm insurance rates for property owners in the Keys, and how each policyholder can actively help reduce insurance rates.

Highlighted will be the status on the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act and FIRM’s independent Windstorm Risk Remodeling and Analysis Initiative – a step towards a truly accurate wind risk profile which is essential to helping Keys’ policyholders identify possible alternatives to Citizens.  Additionally, FIRM will provide suggestions on how premiums may be lowered, what homeowner mitigation measures make sense and how policyholders can help FIRM achieve fair insurance rates in Monroe.

The next and final Annual Meeting is on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (5:30 pm – 6:30 pm) at the Harvey Government Center in Key West.  For more information call FIRM at (305) 294-3476.

“Conch Honk” at the Oldest House in Key West! March 1st

CHgroup

Is the “Oldest House” haunted?

It may be midday instead of midnight, but the spirits of the Key West wreckers will be strong among the living at the 52th Annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest, sponsored by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, at NOON on Saturday, March 1 in the garden of the Oldest House Museum, 322 Duval St. in Key West.  The event is FREE for competitors and spectators alike.

This party celebrates the very real historic role of the conch in the Florida Keys.  Far-reaching sounds from these large shells were used by the Calusa Indians for communication and by early Key Westers to signal that a sinking ship was spotted offshore in need of rescue … and carrying potentially lucrative salvage.

During the “Conch Honk” you will hear unusual musical (and decidedly un-musical) expressions performed by enthusiastic children and adults who will pucker up and demonstrate their shell-blowing talents before a panel of local “judges”.  No previous experience required!  Leave your inhibitions behind and toot your own shell horn!

Prizes will be awarded in several age and style of expression categories. Contestants may register for the event at the Oldest House Museum, 322 Duval St., from 11am to NOON on March 1.  For more information visit oirf.org  or call 305-294-9501.  Refreshments and conch shells available for purchase at the party.

Commercial Flights From Key West To Havana Beginning Friday February 28th!

Air Marbrisa and Mambi International Group Inc are pleased to announce that the first weekly commercial flight from Key West to Havana will start on Friday February 28, 2014 from Key West International Airport. Flights will take place on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.

We will be conducting an opening ceremony to celebrate this historical event on February 28th, 2014 at 2:00pm.

Our companies Air Marbrisa (CSP) (DOT 380 PC 14-019) and Mambi International Group Inc (TSP) have come together on this project to provide you with an excellent air travel service.

Congressman Joe Garcia Hosts Tele-Town Hall to Discuss Flood Insurance Crisis

press release garciaWASHINGTON, DC — Last Tuesday, Congressman Joe Garcia hosted a Tele Town Hall to discuss national flood insurance reform. The hour long live event attracted over 3,900 callers from Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties concerned about their rising insurance rates and desperate for relief.

“Why doesn’t anyone care about what is happening to us?” asked one caller as she desperately questioned her steep and unsustainable rate increases.

“I care. I care deeply and I’m very concerned”, Congressman Garcia responded. “That is why I called tonight’s Tele Town Hall. We are facing a crisis here in South Florida, and across the country, and it is well beyond time we found a fix”.

Last month, Congressman Garcia introduced the HOME ACT of 2014 – bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the harmful effects of Biggert-Waters by delaying skyrocketing flood insurance rates, demanding FEMA conduct an affordability study, and creating a long-term solution by emphasizing the importance of mitigation. Continue reading

Exercise Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield 2014 / February 18 – 28

Photo contributed by Trice Denny US Navy

Naval Air Station Key West Security personnel participate in an active shooter training exercise during last year’s Solid Curtain – Citadel Shield exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael McNabb/Released)

Exercise Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014 will be conducted at Naval Air Station Key West and naval bases and installations throughout the continental U.S. Feb. 18 – 28.

This annual exercise is designed to enhance the training and readiness of Navy Security Forces to respond to threats to installations and units. Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014 is not in response to any specific threat, but is a regularly-scheduled exercise.

Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base and station operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases. Truman Annex, in particular, will see increased security activities to include activation of the loudspeaker system used in emergencies, which may be heard by nearby residents. The exercise may also cause delays in base access at all gates.

“When you access the base during this time, remember, you must always have your proper ID and vehicle documents with you,” said Naval Air Station Key West Commanding Officer Capt. Steve McAlearney. “Be patient, plan ahead if you need access to the base, and most of all, follow all the orders of our security forces.”

For more information about Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield 2014, contact Naval Air Station Key West Public Affairs at (305) 293-2027.

Charles Eimers Preliminary Autopsy Report Released

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Monroe County Medical Examiner E. Hunt Scheuerman, MD on Thursday released his preliminary objective report following the autopsy of Charles Eimers.

Charles Eimers, 61, tourist for a day in our island Paradise, died on Thanksgiving day while in the hands of Key West police officers.   The arrest took place on South Beach in front of multiple witnesses who reported a scene of violence:  tasers being used repeatedly on a man handcuffed facedown in the sand and tackled by 5 or 6 police officers. Eyes bloodshot, face blue, nose and mouth caked up with sand, Eimers stopped breathing and became limp before dying a week later at Lower Keys Medical Center after being taken off life support.

Initial police department communications indicated that Eimers had suddenly collapsed and had doubtless died due to a pre-existing heart condition, which somehow led a doctor at the hospital to declare Eimers’ passing a death from “natural causes”.

This initial explanation is now clearly contradicted by the preliminary autopsy report.  Ten ribs were fractured, the neurons in his brain had turned red from lack of oxygen, his trachea showed abnormal reddening.  The report also reveals that the airways within the lungs exhibited “linings of tan exudate”.   Exudate is a liquid produced by the body in response to tissue damage.  Many have speculated that Eimers suffocated in the sand.  Could sand have caused tissue damage in his lungs, which would be one more piece of evidence pointing to asphyxiation? Continue reading

League of Women Voters Celebrate Successful Forum / More To Come

league of women voters

Photo contributed by Connie Gilbert

Lower Keys League of Women Voters President Joan Wallin, at left, thanks Womankind Executive Director Kim Romano, certified ACA application counselor aka “navigator” Carlos Guttierrez and Herman Koch, senior educator with Florida Blue for participating in the LWV’s recent forum, “Affordable Care Act: Just the Facts.” The chapter’s annual membership meeting is set for Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. at the Pasta Garden in Duval Square; new members are welcome. Also, a forum on the flood insurance dilemma in the Keys is planned for the Spring. For additional information about LKLWV activities, phone Wallin at (305) 304-9530 or email lowerkeyslwv@gmail.com.

MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING Republicans and Democrats Agree on Several Climate and Energy Policies

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A national survey conducted in the final months of 2013 finds that most Americans support national action on global warming:

Most Americans (83%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.

Majorities of Americans say that corporations and industry (65%), citizens themselves (61%), and the U.S. Congress (52%) should be doing more to address global warming.

A majority of Americans (71%) say global warming should be a “very high”, “high”, or “medium” priority for the president and Congress.

“Global warming may not be at the very top of public priorities, but it is certainly on the national agenda,” said lead researcher Anthony Leiserowitz, PhD, of Yale University, “Large majorities of Americans support action, including policies currently under consideration, like the regulation of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.” Continue reading

Florida Keys Southernmost Car Club (FKSCC) Holds its Monthly SHOW & SHINE this Sunday

Photos Contributed by Dick Moody

Photos Contributed by Dick Moody

The Florida Keys Southernmost Car Club (FKSCC) holds its monthly SHOW & SHINE this Sunday, February 16th. This event is for the lovers of classic, custom, and street rod automobiles of all years and makes. Fords, Chevys, trucks, sports cars, and chrome loaded motorcycles. If it cool and on wheels it will be here.

This fun afternoon event  starts at Noon till 4pm at our great location at the Sugarloaf Lodge, MM17, on Sugarloaf Key. Prizes, 50/50, and cold beverages are available at the Tiki Bar. Bring the kids to enjoy these beautiful relics of the auto world. Vote for the Peoples Choice and that classic will take home a beautiful Plaque! This is a FREE event.

Club members are seeking new members for a full schedule shows events. For more information contact Dick Moody 305-942-1758.

Impromptu Classical Concerts Welcomes Return of Trio Solisti, February 16th

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Photo courtesy of George Fontana

The highly acclaimed Trio Solisti returns Sunday, February 16, 4:00 pm to St. Paul’s Church. The Trio – Maria Bachmann (violin), Alexis Pia Gerlach (cello), Adam Neiman (piano) – eagerly anticipates its visit to Key West. “The members of Trio Solisti are thrilled to be returning to perform once again in Key West for the Impromptu Classical Concert Series! We remember the very friendly and appreciative audience in Key West. And as a side benefit, it’s nice to leave the frigid weather we’ve been having in New York!”

The diverse program features works by Turina, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. “The three pieces are among our favorite works to perform. Each one has it’s own unique flavor and together, they complement each other and will take our listeners on a musical journey. Our program consists of Joaquin Turina Trio No 2 in B minor, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio No 2 in C minor.”

Concert tickets are $ 20 at the door one hour before the performance, by calling: 305.743.2283, or online: Keystix.com. All students free.

Special Forces Underwater Operations School Receives Safety Excellence Award

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales/ Released

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Morales/ Released

Instructors pull Army Staff Sgt. Stephen McNally out of the pool during a casualty simulation at the Army’s Special Forces Underwater Operations School at Fleming Key Wednesday. Commanding General Brig. Gen. David Fox of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School honored the dive school, formally known as Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne),  as Safety Program of the Year for 2013. The casualty simulation was performed for Fox as a demonstration of the school’s safety techniques.

Volunteers Needed to Cleanup the Shores of Key West

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Saturday February 22, 2014   10 am -1 pm

Reef Relief is hosting a shoreline cleanup on Saturday, February 22nd of the lagoon next to Winn-Dixie on N. Roosevelt Blvd. We will be meeting at 10am in the T.G. I. Fridays parking area of the Overseas Market Shopping Center at 2710 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West. Look for the Reef Relief sign. The event will start at 10:00 am and finish up at 1:00pm. Please RSVP to Reef Relief by email at reefrelief@gmail.com.

Key West is just steps away from our ocean. Trash not properly disposed of can quickly make its way to the ocean. Marine debris is not just ugly it is dangerous often mistaken by wildlife for food causing starvation and death. Help make our island a true paradise and do your part.

Reef Relief is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystems. Find out more at http://www.reefrelief.org or call 305-294-3100.

FIRM ANNUAL MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC, Next Meeting This Tuesday in Key Largo

firm logoFair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) invites the public to their Upper Keys Annual Meeting at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  FIRM President and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers and FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner will provide an update on FIRM’s recent successes and activities, 2014 legislative priorities for ensuring fair flood and windstorm insurance rates for property owners in the Keys, and how each policyholder can actively help reduce insurance rates.

Highlighted will be the status on the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act and FIRM’s independent Windstorm Risk Remodeling and Analysis Initiative – a step towards a truly accurate wind risk profile which is essential to helping Keys’ policyholders identify possible alternatives to Citizens.  Additionally, FIRM will provide suggestions on how premiums may be lowered, what homeowner mitigation measures make sense and how policyholders can help FIRM achieve fair insurance rates in Monroe.

Future Keys-wide meetings will follow on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at the Marathon Government Center in Marathon (5:30 – 6:30 pm) and on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (5:30 pm – 6:30 pm) at the Harvey Government Center in Key West.  For more information call FIRM at (305) 294-3476.

Poetry Guild Celebrates Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, the Key West Poetry Guild will host an open reading of the work of famous Black American Poets on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the African cemetery at Higgs Beach.

“I feel very passionate about this particular type of celebration of poetry and was encouraged to share that passion this year,” said Guild Corresponding Secretary Vicky Boguszewski.

As at monthly Guild meetings, participants are invited to participate in “lightening rounds,” reading in turn one poem, at this event by “such wonderful poets as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Ishamael Reed, Rita Dove, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Alice Walker, or whoever inspires you,” said Nance Boylan, event coordinator. The reading will continue until readers have presented all their poems – or until dark. “Community members are welcome and encouraged to join the reading,” she said, and a limited number of chairs will be available for those who need them, adding. “We are looking forward to a good time!”

The Guild has met on the first Sunday of each month for over 40 years. Every meeting includes lightening rounds, and a new tradition of featured poets was introduced several years ago. The next meeting is March 2, but a special reading by Justin Ahern of Martha’s Vineyard and Rome, Italy is scheduled for the evening of Feb. 28 at Blue Heaven.

Impromptu Classical Concerts Welcomes Return of Trio Solisti, February 16th

8beb5b_80fbbf35969e492ebc4c2eff1a08ac40.jpg_srz_371_296_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

Photo courtesy of George Fontana

The highly acclaimed Trio Solisti returns Sunday, February 16, 4:00 pm to St. Paul’s Church. The Trio – Maria Bachmann (violin), Alexis Pia Gerlach (cello), Adam Neiman (piano) – eagerly anticipates its visit to Key West. “The members of Trio Solisti are thrilled to be returning to perform once again in Key West for the Impromptu Classical Concert Series! We remember the very friendly and appreciative audience in Key West. And as a side benefit, it’s nice to leave the frigid weather we’ve been having in New York!”

The diverse program features works by Turina, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. “The three pieces are among our favorite works to perform. Each one has it’s own unique flavor and together, they complement each other and will take our listeners on a musical journey. Our program consists of Joaquin Turina Trio No 2 in B minor, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Trio No 2 in C minor.”

Concert tickets are $ 20 at the door one hour before the performance, by calling: 305.743.2283, or online: Keystix.com. All students free.

FIRM ANNUAL MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC

firm logoFair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) invites the public to their Upper Keys Annual Meeting at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  FIRM President and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers and FIRM Executive Director Chic Wagner will provide an update on FIRM’s recent successes and activities, 2014 legislative priorities for ensuring fair flood and windstorm insurance rates for property owners in the Keys, and how each policyholder can actively help reduce insurance rates.

Highlighted will be the status on the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act and FIRM’s independent Windstorm Risk Remodeling and Analysis Initiative – a step towards a truly accurate wind risk profile which is essential to helping Keys’ policyholders identify possible alternatives to Citizens.  Additionally, FIRM will provide suggestions on how premiums may be lowered, what homeowner mitigation measures make sense and how policyholders can help FIRM achieve fair insurance rates in Monroe.

Future Keys-wide meetings will follow on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at the Marathon Government Center in Marathon (5:30 – 6:30 pm) and on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (5:30 pm – 6:30 pm) at the Harvey Government Center in Key West.  For more information call FIRM at (305) 294-3476.

DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD OF MONROE COUNTY / NOTICE OF BOARD WORKSHOP and SPECIAL MEETING

The School Board of Monroe County will hold a Workshop & Special Meeting beginning at 3:00 PM.  It will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at the Coral Shores High School Media Center, 89901 Overseas Highway, Tavernier. At this meeting, a Closed Attorney/Client Session will be held concerning the Gootee v. MCSB case. In attendance shall be the Superintendent, the Board, Scott Black, Dirk Smits, and Theron Simmons along with a Court Reporter.

If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the Board, with respect to any matter considered at a School Board meeting or hearing, that person may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made.  If signing, special seating or other accommodations are required, please call 293-1400 ext. 53324 (TDD Number 293-1400 ext. 53331) 72 hours prior to the meeting.

Wesley House Family Services Celebrates 31st Annual Valentine’s Gala

Low_Res_Wesley_House_Release

Bidding on silent auction treasures is part of the fun and excitement of the annual Wesley House Valentine’s fundraising gala, set for Friday, February 14 at the historic Curry Mansion Inn.

Wesley House Family Services celebrates its 31st annual Valentine’s Gala, Friday, February 14, 6:30 to 9:30 pm, on the grounds of the historic Curry Mansion Inn in Key West.

Can you be a Gala sponsor, or donate something fun, functional or fabulous for the annual Prudential Knight & Gardner silent auction extravaganza? For sponsorships call 305-809-5000, ext 228. To donate to the silent auction, contact Pat Madiedo at 305-304-4287.

Gala highlights include abundant dining and libations included in the ticket price. VIP admission includes open premium bars, passed hors d’ houvres and full dinner buffet by Hard Rock Café. General Admission tickets include open bars by Sloppy Joe’s and Rick’s/Durty Harry’s and a full Hard Rock Café dinner buffet. In addition to splendiferous feasting comes world-class entertainment – Howard Livingston as Master of Ceremonies, and music and dancing with the band Honey Mouth featuring Bubba Low Notes, Raven Cooper & Friends.

An annual favorite that draws local and visiting revelers by the hundreds, the Gala’s purpose is to raise money for Wesley House programs that provide crucial support to child welfare and family preservation throughout the Florida Keys. 100% of proceeds from the 2014 Gala will aid in providing support for foster families in areas that statutory funding does not, and assist in purchasing playground equipment for the Inez Martin Child Development Center.

Ticket prices are: $ 50 advance general admission, $55 general admission at the door; $100 reserved VIP seating. For ticket information and locations visit www.wesleyhouse.org.

Wesley House Family Services is a nationally accredited, county-wide, 501 (c) (3), not-for-profit organization, working with children and families. Throughout the past year, the agency’s services have helped more than 2,600 children and families in Monroe County.

 

2nd Annual Conch Republic Polar Bear Plunge to Benefit Samuel’s House

samual's house

Samuel’s House, Inc. will be having its 2nd Annual Conch Republic Polar Bear Plunge at the crack o’ noon on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at Higgs Beach.

For a $ 25.00 fee, participants will jump into the “bone chilling” to locals low 70’s degree water to benefit Samuel’s House.

Samuel’s House provides housing in a nurturing environment for homeless women, women with children, men with children and intact families, and provides them with care coordination beneficial to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Hal Crowther at Next FOL Lecture, Monday

Hal-Crowther-photo

Hal Crowther, Photo contributed by Sandy Stover

Syndicated columnist and essayist Hal Crowther is the next lecturer in this season’s Friends of the Key West Library lecture series—Monday, February 3, 6:00 p.m., Studios of Key West, 600 White Street.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Crowther will discuss his current project, a book about the famous American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken.  Earlier books by Crowther, which  include Gather at the River: Notes from the Post-Millennial South (2005) and Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South (2000), along with his numerous essays in publications such as Oxford American, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Progressive Populist,have established his reputation as “part curmudgeon, part humorist and all Southerner”—a writer whose “rollicking, raucous essays offer probing insights into the mind and manners of the New South”.  (Publishers Weekly)

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, educated at Williams College and Columbia University, employed in earlier years at Time and Newsweek, married to novelist Lee Smith, Crowther is winner of the H. L. Mencken Award (Baltimore Sun), the Lillian Smith Book Award and the Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction.

The Friends of the Key West Library weekly lecture series is free and open to the public.  Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.  This year’s lectures are every Monday, ending on March 17.  Next lecturer is mystery writer John Leslie, February 10.  FOL’s newsletter, including a list of future lecturers, is located at http://friendsofthekeywestlibrary.org

Southernmost Drinking Liberally Meets In Key West

Inaugural Meeting September 5, 2013 Photo contributed by Vicki Roush

Inaugural Meeting September 5, 2013 Photo contributed by Vicki Roush

Raise a glass with like-minded left-leaning friends at the next meet-up of the Southernmost Drinking Liberally chapter at Finnegan’s Wake, 320 Grinnell St, 5-7pm, on Thursday, February 6.

America’s network of progressive drinking clubs has arrived in Key West. Drinking Liberally is an informal, non-programmatic gathering of like-minded left-leaners, and an opportunity to share your ideas while you share a pitcher. You don’t need to be a seasoned activist or policy wonk to join in meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and enjoying a stiff mix of socializing with a dash of politics.

Drinking Liberally as become a fast-growing phenomenon, now offering social space for progressive pint-pourers, wine-quaffers, and cocktail-embibers in over 214 locations across the country and beyond.

Southernmost Drinking Liberally is hosted by Vicki Roush and Will Thompson. Contact hosts at: livingliberally.org/drinking/chapters/FL/KeyWest, or their FaceBook page: facebook.com/SouthernmostDrinkingLiberallyKeyWest. Continue reading

Alexander String Quartet to Perform at San Carlos

Unknown-2In the third concert of the 2014 season, Impromptu Classical Concerts presents the internationally-acclaimed Alexander String Quartet performing Beethoven’s “String Quartets” at San Carlos Institute on Sunday, February 2, at 4:00 pm. The musicians look forward to their return to our island city: “We haven’t played in Key West in a few years but have fond memories of most enthusiastic audiences in the Keys.”

The Alexander String Quartet has been playing Beethoven quartets since the day it started over 32 years ago. The Quartets of Beethoven are pretty much central to any String Quartet players mindset. Fred Lifstitz, the First Violinist with Alexander String Quartet explains: “They represent, to this day, the ultimate level of achievement in the continuum of the string quartet genre. To many musicians and great thinkers in every field, the String Quartets of Beethoven are esteemed on the level of the great plays of Shakespeare and, some may say, the Bible itself. That’s a rather hefty claim, I know, but for us they are still like the Mount Everest of compositions.” Continue reading

Marathon Council Pulls Plug On Zip-Line…Probably

No zipline

Reacting to a strong letter from U.S. Fish and Wildlife and another from a Florida based ADA advocate, the Marathon city council moved at its January 28 meeting to “step back” from its support of establishing a zip-line attraction at Crane Point Hammock. That support came in the form of a grant application from the city to the Department of Economic Opportunity for $ 727,000.

The five councilors voted unanimously, as Mayor Dick Ramsay put it, “that this council take a backseat until such time as we hear an update on at least a couple of these issues, one of which is obviously what we’ve been talking about—this letter from the advisory committee and secondly, and it keeps bugging me, the ADA.”

Ramsay is primarily referring to a very strong communication from Cindy Fury of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of Interior. Citing potential fatalities of the state-listed threatened White-crowned Pigeon because of likely collisions with zip-line wires or other structures, elimination of a vanishing hardwood hammock in the Keys, and woefully inadequate documentation, Cindy Fury of the agency, noted that potential prosecution could be in the offing if there is a “direct or indirect take (killing or injury).” Continue reading

Environment Florida Releases New Booklet of Personal Stories from Residents on the Frontlines of Fracking as EPA Hearing Nears

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Tampa, FL— As the debate over fracking mounts in Florida, residents on the frontlines of fracking in Pennsylvania today recounted their stories of illness, water contamination, and damage to their livelihoods due to dirty drilling operations. Environment Florida Research & Policy Center released the residents’ Shalefield Stories as the latest evidence for rejecting fracking near the Everglades or anywhere in the Sunshine State.

Last year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection granted close to a dozen permits to oil and gas companies for exploratory oil wells in the panhandle and Collier County, just miles from the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering  the approval of a disposal well near Big Cypress Swamp watershed less than a mile from the Panther Habitat, Corkscrew Swamp, and the future drinking water supplies for Collier County.  The federal agency’s final decision awaits the recently confirmed public hearing near Naples on March 11th.

Given Florida’s limestone geology, environmental groups and local citizens contend this could pave the way for acidizing, or acid fracking, a process involving the injection of toxic chemicals below the aquifer to dissolve and free up dirty fossil fuels.

“Behind the alarming numbers that outline fracking’s environmental impacts, there are real people whose lives have been gravely impacted by these polluting practices,” said Jennifer Rubiello, Field Associate Environment Florida Research & Policy Center. “These are their stories, and it is our responsibility to heed their words of warning on fracking.” Continue reading

Florida Keys SPCA Nets Just Under $2k from Small Dog Electronics’ Holiday Giving Program

SDE_KW_Giving

From L to R: Riane Tyler, Small Dog Sales Associate, Tammy Fox-Royer, Florida Keys SPCA Executive Director, and Mitchell Smith, Florida Keys SPCA Officer and his friend, Hermie, who is available for adoption

KEY WEST, FL — Small Dog Electronics has donated $ 1,815 to the Vermont Foodbank as a result of its holiday giving effort during December. The certified Apple Specialist donated 1% of every purchase to three non-profit organizations – one in each of the states where Small Dog has a retail store, which includes Florida, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

“Small Dog Electronics and its team have made a difference in the lives of the animals we serve,” said Tammy Fox-Royer, executive director of the Florida Keys SPCA. “We are so grateful for Small Dog’s hard work and dedication to our mission.”

The Florida Keys SPCA is an independent non-profit organization based in Munroe County and has been providing animal shelter services in 1999. They maintain high standards of care for their animals, which include veterinary care and spay/neuter. They also provide adoption services, 24-hour animal control, cruelty and neglect investigations and rabies vaccinations plus additional services.

Charitable giving is an integral part of Small Dog’s corporate social mission. “We’re thrilled to have helped the Florida Keys SPCA, the Vermont Foodbank, and the Manchester, NH Animal Shelter,” says Don Mayer, CEO of Small Dog Electronics. “Helping those in need is what the holiday season is really all about.”

About Small Dog Electronics

Continue reading

GARCIA PRAISES PASSAGE OF FLOOD BILL IN SENATE, URGES HOUSE ACTION

press release garcia

WASHINGTON, DC –  Today [January 30. 2014], Congressman Joe Garcia released the following statement on the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, S.1926, in the Senate.

“The Senate’s strongly bipartisan passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act represents an important step forward in easing the onerous flood insurance premium rate increases facing our hardworking homeowners and small businesses. The House of Representatives should take up this issue immediately – it’s simply too important to South Florida and communities throughout the country for the House not to take strong, decisive action” said Rep. Garcia.

Yesterday, members of the Florida Delegation issued a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to take swift action on the flood insurance rate fix.

Just recently, Congressman Garcia introduced the H.O.M.E. Act of 2014. The bill would place a five year delay on rate increases across the board, as well as create long-term solutions to the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) underlying issues by incentivizing mitigation measures.

State Representative Holly Raschein Graduates From Good Government Initiative’s Leaders of Excellence Program

Representative Holly Raschein

Representative Holly Raschein

Coral Gables, FL-  The Good Government Initiative (GGI) congratulates Representative Holly Raschein on her graduation from the third Leaders of Excellence class.  Representative Raschein was among sixteen elected officials from 15 jurisdictions in 3 counties plus two state representatives who participated in this year’s program.

The Leaders of Excellence program is the Good Government Initiative’s cornerstone effort to provide elected officials with educational opportunities that they can then apply towards their public service.  It fills the gap between formal education in academic careers with life experience to create more effective decision-makers.  Additionally, the Leaders of Excellence program creates a network of peers who elected leaders can turn to for shared ideas and support.

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Leaders of Excellence program,” said Raschein.  “It was an amazing experience and I look forward to using what I learned to better serve my constituents.” Continue reading