Florida Keys

Bob Care / Florida Keys News Bureau

The annual Poker Run that sees an estimated 10,000 motorcycles travel down the Keys is officially off.

"There will be NO Poker Game or official stops," according to an announcement on the event's web page, hosted by organizer Peterson's Harley-Davidson. "Sorry for all the confusion, we have not been able to get the support of local Charities and Volunteers this year."

But it appears that the event is not permanently gone.

Monroe County

A new program in the Keys aims to help boaters dispose of "end-of-life" boats — those that are in poor condition but still floating — before they are abandoned and become an expensive problem for the county.

The Vessel Turn-In Program would be the first in Florida, though not the first in the country. The Keys were chosen "because we have so many of them and they cost so much to remove," said Richard Jones, the county's senior resources administrator.

David Goodhue / The Reporter

The United States Department of Labor cited a Michigan underground utility company with 10 violations totaling more than $100,000 in penalties for the deaths of three workers who were killed by noxious fumes 15 feet beneath a Key Largo subdivision street on Jan. 16.

Among the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's chief findings in its July 18 report was that the company, Douglas N. Higgins, Inc., did not ventilate the manhole before its workers entered it and were rapidly overcome by lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide.

FWC

A Texas woman was arrested in Key West Friday, after an officer from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found her with three plastic containers holding 40 queen conch.

The mollusk — the symbol of the Florida Keys — is protected and cannot be taken from the water in Florida.

Most of the animals were still alive and were returned to the water.

Courtesy of Netflix

The new documentary "Chasing Coral" is set to debut on Netflix Friday, July 14.

For those in the Keys who don't have the streaming service — or want to see it on the big screen — the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary along with several marine conservation groups is presenting four free screenings along the island chain Friday evening.

The screenings times and locations are:

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Key West man was arrested early Wednesday after a Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy discovered "a large amount of cocaine hidden in a Cookie Monster doll," according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

Deputy Orey Swilley was parked along the Overseas Highway in Marathon when he saw a black car drive by with the license plate obscured, according to the sheriff's office.

The deputy pulled over the car and when the driver rolled down the window, the deputy could smell marijuana. When he searched the car he found a backpack, with a blue Cookie Monster doll.

Mary Casanova / Literacy Volunteers of America

Art Students League of New York

There are plenty of ways to mark a trip along the Florida Keys. The famous Overseas Highway bridges. An underwater shipwreck trail.

Now a new trail is going up along the island chain — a sculpture trail.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

The last hand-collected toll at Card Sound Bridge will be taken July 31.

The toll gate at the Miami-Dade-Monroe  County line was one of the last human-staffed tolls in South Florida. For decades, the toll has been $1 for most vehicles, with an extra 50 cents for each additional axle.

Construction on the new automated toll system will start Aug. 1. That will include a Sunpass electronic tolling system. While it's under construction, no tolls will be collected. It's scheduled for completion in February of next year, according to a press release from Monroe County.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

They called themselves the "coconut caravan." 

Monroe County Fire-Rescue

The Overseas Highway — the only route connecting the Florida Keys — was closed for about four hours early Monday while firefighters fought a massive fire that engulfed a one-acre lot filled with wooden lobster traps.

No one was injured in the fire. The fire destroyed at least three lobster boats, a house, six propane-powered forklifts, several trap shacks and about 20,000 lobster traps, according to a press release from Monroe County. Damage is likely to be more than $1 million.

FWC

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officers arrested a Stock Island man Wednesday after retrieving the remains of a large tarpon from a transport truck at the dock.

FWC got a call about a large tarpon being harvested at a commercial dock at Fisherman's Fish House on Stock Island, according to a press release from FWC.

They found five fishermen who told them they only had yellowtail snapper on the boat, but the officers also saw several tarpon scales on the vessel, according to the press release.

Tim Chapman / Miami Herald

The Florida Keys are hardly the only place in the U.S. that's vulnerable to hurricanes. That's true along any coastline.

But the thing about the Keys is that, as an island chain, the whole county is a coastline. There is no inland.

"Much of the Florida Keys is only about 5 feet above sea level," said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe County's director of emergency management. The county makes the decisions about when to evacuate the island chain.

Saeed Adyani / Netflix

The Netflix series "Bloodline" recently released its third and final season. The show is set in Islamorada and did a lot of shooting there.

Joe Berg / Way Down Video


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