Nancy Klingener

Reporter

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. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West is known for celebrating its history. But until recently, the graves of two of the island's most influential African-American citizens were unmarked. Now that's been rectified by the efforts of the city — which runs the cemetery — and the Historic Florida Keys Foundation , a nonprofit that raises money for restoration from cemetery tours. On Wednesday, Father John Baker from St. Mary Star of the Sea Basilica blessed the new gravestones for Nelson English and Ellen Welters Sanchez....

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Florida Keys Community College established a mariculture program six years ago, after the movie "Finding Nemo" created a craze for clownfish like the title character. But it wasn't until Mick Walsh arrived three years ago to head up the college's marine environmental technology department that the program took off. "When I got here, we had eight pairs of parent fish and that was it," Walsh said. "And now we have eight pairs of parent fish and hundreds, hundreds of baby clownfish and many more...

Monroe County Public Library

While the election of Donald Trump and the death of Fidel Castro have brought new uncertainty to U.S.-Cuba relations, the city that's closest to Cuba is still aiming for closer ties.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the Florida Keys, where ties to Cuba date back more than a century, news of Fidel Castro's death met a more muted response than on the mainland. There were no spontaneous celebrations on the streets or even at Cuban restaurants. But of course the news was on everyone's minds Saturday morning. Sonya Leto is a fifth-generation Conch, or Keys native. She was getting her Cuban coffee fix at El Mocho café on Stock Island. She said the news made her think of her late great-grandmother, who came...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most voters in the Florida Keys said in a Nov. 8 referendum that they were in favor of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Keys. But groups opposed to the release have not given up and are turning toward the courts. A coalition of groups, including the Center for Food Safety and the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The groups allege the FDA's finding of no significant impact failed to take...

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A backhoe joyride on the Seven Mile Bridge last winter that tied up traffic in the Florida Keys and caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage has ended in state prison. Carl Blahnik, 60, was sentenced this week to 30 months in state prison. He also has to pay more than $43,000 in restitution for damage to the bridge and the backhoe. On Feb. 16, Blahnik took a backhoe off a construction lot in Marathon and drove to the Seven Mile Bridge, the span that connects the Middle and Lower Keys. He...

People in the Keys have been living alongside Key deer for a long time. And for ages, wildlife officials have implored people: Don't feed the deer.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

People in the Keys have been living alongside Key deer for a long time. And for ages, wildlife officials have implored people: Don't feed the deer. But now the deer are in trouble, and breaking the old rules is part of the solution.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

An argument that has been taking place in Mosquito Control board meetings, hotel conference rooms and Facebook comment strings finally moved to the ballot box on Tuesday. With most of the vote in (32 of 33 precincts) the GMO mosquito question had split results. In Key Haven where the test would take place, it's a resounding no - 65 to 35 percent. But the rest of the county said yes - 58 to 42 percent. The vote was nonbinding. The actual decision is still up to the Florida Keys Mosquito...

Sue Schaf / Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Sea turtle nesting season wrapped up at the end of October. The data is still being compiled , but initial reports indicate it was a particularly good year for one species. "It was a great year for loggerheads this year, even with the storms," said Sue Schaf, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Last year was especially good for green sea turtles. Schaf said this year's loggerhead numbers were up throughout the Keys. Islamorada beach monitors reported the most nests...

Mark Hedden

It's easy to spot birders. They probably have binoculars and a field guide handy. And there’s a good chance they keep a list of which birds they’ve seen, when and where. But there’s a rare subspecies of birder you can see in South Florida every fall at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch . Those are counters.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Federal authorities hope sterile screwworm fly releases and treating the Key deer will save the endangered species, which lives only on a few islands of the Lower Keys.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Since a screwworm infestation was identified in the Lower Keys, more than 10 million sterile screwworm flies have been released on eight islands. Sterile flies are the proven technology to eradicate screwworms. The flies are zapped with gamma radiation, making them sterile. Then those sterile flies are released to breed with wild flies. That stops reproduction, preventing more fly larvae. Those larvae are the problem. Screwworm flies lay their eggs in open wounds. When the larvae hatch —...

Flickr

Every year, tens of thousands of people from the mainland come to Key West for Fantasy Fest. And lots of them are wearing very little – if anything. Because some of those visitors may be infected with the Zika virus, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has taken extra steps to wipe out Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area. The district brought in inspectors from other parts of the Keys and went to every property on the route of Friday’s masquerade march and in what’s called “fantasy...

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is known for helping people fix up their property. But one South Florida branch is now facing its own problems with a fixer-upper. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Big Pine Key is a 6,000-foot showroom with everything from sofas to chandeliers – at very reasonable prices. "It’s mostly household goods, so furniture, artwork, decorative items," said Tom Greenwood, the store's manager. "Collectible things – we get the whole gamut like you would probably...

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