Nancy Klingener


Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.

She is a Spring 2014 graduate of the Transom Story Workshop. She is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar and reviews books for the Miami Herald. 

A U.S. Navy jet crashed on approach to the Naval Air Station Key West airfield at Boca Chica Key Wednesday afternoon, killing both aviators.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet was on final approach to the runway at the airfield. The crew, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, was in Key West on a training mission.

Rescue crews found the pilot and weapons system officer in the water about a mile east of the runway and took them to Lower Keys Medical Center. They were both declared dead, according to a statement from the Navy.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West voters Tuesday approved raising the height limit from 25 to 40 feet of habitable space on a 2.62-acre parcel of city-owned property.

The goal is to provide 104 units of affordable workforce housing.

The land is on Stock Island, the island just east of Key West, but is within the incorporated city limits. The land was formerly used by an Easter Seals therapy center and includes the Lower Keys offices of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is moving out.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

When Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys six months ago, the Upper Keys village of Islamorada was 50 miles from the eye, which held the storm's strongest winds.

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

Flamingo iconography is everywhere in the state: decorating front lawns, swizzling cocktails, lighting up motel signs.

The long-legged pink birds were once common in Florida. But their striking feathers were prized decorations for ladies' hats, and they were hunted out of existence for the plume trade in the 1800s.

At least, scientists thought the flamingos had been wiped out.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Last year, a school resource officer at a Key West middle school investigated several incidents involving guns.

Now the Key West Police Department is taking action, based on an internal investigation.

Police Chief Donie Lee has proposed firing Officer David Hall. The officer has requested a pre-determination hearing, which has not been scheduled. He is currently suspended with pay.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The Florida Keys have been in an affordable housing crisis for years. It’s a simple matter of limited supply and very high demand. Then, in September, Hurricane Irma destroyed or caused major damage to thousands of homes — more than 7 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed or suffered major damage.

Mark Hedden /

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

Real, live Flamingos occasionally show up in the Everglades. A couple years ago a big flock showed up in a Palm Beach County stormwater treatment area. But the official story is that these birds don't belong here. That Florida's flamingos were all hunted out of existence back in the 19th century.

Yesterday's Florida Keys / The Ketch & Yawl Press

When you’re talking about the protection of birds, in the U.S. and especially in South Florida, there’s one man who had an outsize impact — even if his name is barely remembered now.

That man is Robert Porter Allen.

Allen was the researcher from the National Audubon Society who established Audubon’s Tavernier Science Center in 1939. (It's now Audubon of Florida's Everglades Science Center.)

Cammy Clark / Monroe County

More than five months after Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys, clean-up began of the canals that cut through much of the island chain.

Many canals, especially in the Lower Keys where the storm’s eye crossed, were full of debris including RVs, appliances and structural materials ripped from homes.

The county estimates that Irma left 100,000 cubic yards of debris in Keys canals and that removing it will cost between $15 million and $30 million.


Federal elected officials who represent the area where 17 people died Wednesday said they are committed to trying to prevent another mass shooting — but differ on where the focus of public attention should be.

Larry Blackburn

The story of Elena Hoyos and the man who called himself Count Carl von Cosel is a Key West legend.

It's a true story if unbelievable in its macabre details. And it's been retold in histories, websites — and on stage. A new version of a musical about the story, Undying Love, is opening in Key West. On Valentine's Day.

Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Keys are famous as a place to party. That's how they got the nickname "Margaritaville."

But the hard-drinking lifestyle is taking a toll on the residents.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In a lot of ways life has returned to normal in most of the Florida Keys. But one major institution – a hospital – is still operating out of temporary quarters after Hurricane Irma. 

Gwen Filosa / Keynoter

The only organization providing hospice care in the Lower Keys is closing.

WLRN’s daily news and cultural affairs show Sundial features news, politics, music, sports, arts and food — all with a local twist. It airs at 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Here's what the people behind the show are reading.

Luis Hernandez, host