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

Self-medicating stations meant to protect the endangered Key deer from screwworm have already been removed and federal wildlife managers plan to stop medicating entirely on April 10 — assuming no new cases of the deadly parasite are found.

Screwworm was first confirmed in the Keys Sept. 30 and killed 135 Key deer, an endangered species that lives nowhere else in the world. Before the outbreak, the population was estimated at 800 to 1,000 animals.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Art in Islamorada tends to focus on the subjects you might expect from a Florida Keys village that bills itself as "the sportfishing capital of the world." Popular subjects include the game fish that people pay thousands to pursue in Florida Bay and the deep Atlantic, as well as the palm trees and subtropical sunsets.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Almost six months after the New World screwworm outbreak was identified in the Florida Keys, the state Department of Agriculture announced the lifting the animal quarantine in Monroe County. The checkpoint in Key Largo for animals leaving the Keys closed as of 7 p.m. Saturday.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Over the last 16 years, the vast majority of community colleges in Florida have expanded to become state colleges. That's so they can offer four-year degrees, not just the two-year associate degrees.

Now Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that limits those expansions. And that move comes just as the smallest college in the state system, Florida Keys Community College, is taking its first steps toward offering four-year degrees.

Mariela Care / Florida Keys News Service

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon released a 330-pound green sea turtle back to the sea off the Keys Friday, just in time for nesting season.

The turtle was found entangled in multiple crab trap lines in February off Marathon. A veterinary team partially amputated her right, rear flipper.

As is the Turtle Hospital's custom, she was nicknamed by her rescuers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers Jeff Carroll and Olly Adams. They named her Jolly.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

For decades, height limits have been a third rail in development discussions in the Florida Keys — nobody wanted to go near them. But more frequent flooding, the prospect of sea level rise and higher insurance rates are all leading to one conclusion in the low-lying island chain — build up.

Key West voters agreed to raise height limits on the island by up to 4 feet back in 2014. Now Monroe County is considering a similar measure. That would apply in unincorporated parts of the county, like Key Largo and the Lower Keys.

Trice Denny / U.S. Navy

The image of the liveaboard life in the Keys is free and easy — toss down an anchor and you're home. But there's one location off Key West where the U.S. Navy wants the boats at anchor to move on. Now.

Fleming Key is a small island off Key West with facilities that the public rarely sees, like the city of Key West's sewage treatment plant. And bunkers where the Navy stores weapons and ammunition.

Those bunkers have "explosive safety arcs," or areas that could be blast zones in the case of an accident. Sailing and especially anchoring within those areas is prohibited.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

While tourism industry groups from around the country are warning of a drop in international visitors because of President Donald Trump's immigration policies and rhetoric, the head of the Keys tourism agency said he's hearing of a different cause.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Florida has not had any locally transmitted cases of Zika so far in 2017. And the number of travel-related cases has fallen drastically in the dry season.

But tests of new mosquito-fighting methods are still moving forward in the Florida Keys.

The first U.S. trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever — is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. That's the island that Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified mosquito, chose for its test site.

Courtesy Kelly Clark / National Park Service

Seventy miles west of Key West, a group of islands forms the Dry Tortugas. Those islands, and the waters surrounding them, are at the center of a national park with spectacular coral reefs. But the park is best known for its biggest structure.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Key West Cemetery dates back to the mid-19th century — and some of the gravestones there have fallen into disrepair.

Monroe County Marine Resources

In the Florida Keys, land is at a premium. But there's plenty of water — which means in recent years the area has seen an increase in the number of floating structures.

That's defined in state law as something that floats but is not a means of transportation, like a boat. Floating structures are used as homes, restaurants — and recently in the Keys, for a playground and an advertisement for helicopter tours.

The Coast Guard Friday brought 15 people — a suspected smuggler and 14 would-be migrants — to Miami for "further investigation and possible prosecution."

The boat was spotted near the Bahamas Tuesday by crew on a U.S. Customs and Border Protection plane. A CPB boat crew intercepted the vessel off Miami, about 12 miles southeast of Government Cut.

The vessel did not stop and the Customs and Border Patrol crew "employed warning shots and disabling fire," according to a Coast Guard press release. All 15 people were taken aboard a Coast Guard cutter.

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A federal jury deliberated for just over an hour Tuesday before convicting a 25-year-old Key West man on two terror-related charges.

Harlem Suarez, 25, was found guilty of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The case started in April 2015 when the FBI received a report about a Facebook user who was attempting to recruit people to join ISIS, the terrorist group. That Facebook user was Suarez, then 23 and living with his parents in their apartment on Stock Island.

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