Florida Keys

Tom Hudson

A month after Hurricane Irma filled his mobile home with 17 inches of flood water, Brian Branigan received a permit from Monroe County to replace his home's drywall and flooring. By early December, the drywall had been replaced and new plywood had been laid. He expects to start putting in the linoleum floor this week with the hopes of moving back into the home before the end of the month.

"My home is modest," he said. "It's just a mobile home, but it's home. It's not a house."

Felipe Rivas

Hollywood has created its share of movies about teachers. And in most of those films, the teaching profession is seen as a noble, almost heroic, position in society. Teachers can be heroic, but it's never the same as in the movies.  


An aging reverse-osmosis plant proved its worth in the wake of Hurricane Irma, says the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s chief executive.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Plenty of people in the Florida Keys have opinions about how Monroe County handled the response to Hurricane Irma.

Starting Jan. 8, residents can deliver those opinions directly in a series of six public meetings along the island chain.

The idea is to hear what went well, what went badly and to get suggestions for the future, said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe’s director of emergency management.

“The community deserves the right to give their input on the quality of service they witnessed,” he said. “We always have to remember at the end of the day who we work for.”

What's In A Name? Not 'Community' College

Jan 3, 2018
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Florida “community colleges” would continue to be a vanishing breed under a proposal that will be considered during the legislative session that starts next week.


It’s easy to see the effects of Hurricane Irma on land in the Florida Keys. But the impacts underwater were also significant — and may last longer.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The winter solstice, Dec. 21, is marked every year as Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. It's the longest night of the year.

Every year Key West holds a ceremony remembering those who died during the year. This year 71 names were read.

They ranged in age from infants to 95.

But only nine of them were homeless. The rest were people still listed on the county forms as "paupers" - those whose remains went unclaimed. So the county takes responsibility for cremation and their remains are placed in the crypt owned by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.

South Florida’s cuisine delights locals and tourists with fan favorites like ham croquetas, Cuban fritas, artisan donuts and freshly caught seafood- which includes stone crab claws.

Fall is the best time to enjoy stone crab claws. However, less than halfway through the season, stone crab numbers are down and prices are going up.

Larry Benvenuti / Florida Keys Keynoter

It's been more than 80 years since a train rolled along the Florida Keys. But this week, one car moved along a small piece of the island chain.

For decades, the red Pullman car has been a familiar sight at the east end of the Seven Mile Bridge.

The train car served as the visitor's center for Pigeon Key. It wasn't actually on Pigeon Key because that island, in the middle of the old Seven Mile Bridge is only accessible by boat.


A resort and a major attraction are reopening about three months after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys.

Tourists can return to Islamorada’s Amara Cay Resort and Marathon’s Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters on Friday.

The Keys reopened to visitors Oct. 1, and most tourism facilities in less-affected Key Largo and Key West quickly recovered. But many properties elsewhere in the Keys were significantly impacted.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

In South Florida, iguanas are everywhere. So now the state agency responsible for protecting wildlife — and dealing with exotic species — is holding workshops to help the public cope with the prolific reptiles.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau

It’s been almost three months since Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys — and the heart of the tourism season is right around the corner. But some parts of the Keys are still cleaning up from the storm and some major resorts are still closed. 

Mark Hedden

People have asked me a lot since Hurricane Irma if it was scary to go through the storm. I was very fortunate to spend the storm in a strong concrete building, on high ground. And Key West was very fortunate, only 20 miles away from where the eye crossed the island chain we were spared the worst of the winds and didn’t see much of a storm surge.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than two million cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma. But many residents of the Lower Keys say they are still waiting and they are tired of living in a trash-lined landscape.

Katie Atkins / Keynoter via Miami Herald

There was not a single property in Marathon left untouched by September’s Category 4 Hurricane Irma.

That’s according to the most recent numbers put together by city staff and engineer James Barton of Delray Beach-based Florida Technical Consultants.

The hardest-hit portion of Marathon was the oceanside stretch between Vaca Cut, mile marker 53, to Sombrero Beach Road, mile marker 50, said Marathon Planning Director George Garrett.