Florida Keys

Mark Hedden

Cletus the crocodile may be lonely no more.

The American crocodile that showed up at the Dry Tortugas in 2003 was captured and loaded onto a seaplane over the weekend, then released in the Everglades.

Amber Ernst-Leonard / Florida Keys Community College

The graduation ceremony for Florida Keys Community College's Corrections Basic Recruit Academy this week led to more celebration than expected.

Graduate Juan Valdes, Jr., proposed to his girlfriend, Jacqueline Collins. (She said 'Yes.')

In all 10 students completed the 420-hour training program to become Florida corrections officers. All 10 have jobs lined up at one of the three jails in the Keys.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Beaver will be out of a job at the end of June. The state Medical Examiners Commission Wednesday unanimously voted against sending his name to Gov. Rick Scott for re-appointment.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A horse that arrived in South Florida emaciated and covered in sores five months ago is now enjoying retirement in Key West.

Trigger was confiscated from his owner in November in Miami. The owner reportedly rode him 700 miles from South Carolina with no money to feed the horse or himself, according to a press release from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Mark Hedden / WLRN

The end of the wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allowed Cuban refugees who made it to U.S. soil to stay in the country, also means the end of another phenomenon in the Florida Keys: refugee boats that were abandoned in remote islands.

Endangered deer in the Florida Keys are no longer receiving anti-parasite medication to protect against flesh-eating screwworms.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Key deer no longer need oral medications because it's been over three months since the last confirmed screwworm infection in the National Key Deer Refuge.

Monroe County

To improve water quality near shore, the Florida Keys has spent hundreds of millions over the last 20 years upgrading wastewater treatment systems and improving how stormwater is handled.

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.

Florida Keys Brewing Company

Florida Keys Brewing Company fans, don't fret. You can still order the local brewer's popular Hogfish Amber. But because of threatened legal action by a well-known Delaware brewer, ask for a Spearfish Amber instead.

Local owners Craig and Cheryl McBay said they received an email late last year from the owners of Dogfish Head Brewery that threatened legal action if the name of the Keys Brewing beer wasn't changed.

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.

Wildlife Officials: Screwworm Infestation Declining In Keys

Mar 7, 2017

Wildlife officials say a screwworm infestation in the Florida Keys seems to be declining, which is good news for a unique deer herd threatened by the flesh-eating parasites.


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