Florida Keys

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

While the FDA has released a preliminary finding of no significant impact from a proposed test of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, many in the neighborhood where the test would take place are opposed to the plan.

Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified version of aedes aegypti, is holding two public meetings in Key West this week to answer questions from the public, especially those in Key Haven. That neighborhood, a peninsula about five miles from Key West, is the proposed testing site.

C-SPAN.org

 
Oxitec

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the public comment period to May 13 on a proposed field trial in the Florida Keys. The trial involves the release of a thousand genetically modified mosquitoes.

It would be the first such trial in the U.S. by Oxitec, a British company that genetically alters the males in the Aedes aegypti species. The modification causes the offspring of these males to die quickly.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  In the Florida Keys, unexpected traffic tie-ups along the Overseas Highway are a regular fact of life. But there's one time of year when it's a deliberate event.

The annual Seven Mile Bridge Run closes the span that links the Middle and Lower Keys for 2 1/2 hours, starting around 6:45 a.m. Saturday. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office warns travelers to be across the bridge by 6:30 a.m.

The bridge re-opens at 9 a.m., but it usually takes more than an hour for traffic flow to get back to normal.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

Ten miles off South Dixie Highway on Card Sound Road, tourists in shiny red convertibles pass commuters in silver and black pickup trucks.

Some are heading to the biker bar Alabama Jack’s — where they serve deep fried conch fritters and cocktails in plastic cups. Other are making their way to the Ocean Reef Club, a beachfront community where golf carts glide past the pastel homes and pristine lawns.

Mark Hedden / For WLRN

  When six yellow-and-blue FA-18 Hornets flew over Duval Street in formation Thursday morning, islanders knew what it meant.

The Blue Angels had arrived.

The U.S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron flew from its home base in Pensacola to Naval Air Station Key West to serve as the star attraction at this weekend's Southernmost Air Spectacular. The show, which will be held  Saturday and Sunday, features an array of military and civilian aircraft performing aerobatic maneuvers and stunts.

Monroe County Public Library

  The Schooner Western Union was built in Key West in the late 1930s as a cable tender — a repair ship for telegraph lines.

Now the 92-foot wooden boat is owned by a nonprofit. Most recently, it's been used for sunset sails and wedding charters.

But it needs repair. And the state of Florida just agreed to spend $500,000 to fix it up.

  The Western Union is the official flagship of the state of Florida (and the city of Key West).

Florida's Coral Getting Help From Hundreds Of Miles Away

Mar 4, 2016
James St. John / Wikimedia Commons

Some coral in the Florida Keys are breeding with coral 1,000 miles away more than they are with coral on the very same reef, according to a new study from the University of Miami.

Keys InfoNet

  

The former CEO of a Keys-based vacation rental investment company has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on bank fraud and obstruction charges.

Fred Davis Clark Jr., known as "Dave," 57, was convicted in December of bank fraud, making a false statement to a financial institution  and obstruction of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We have reason to believe that it was one of the largest frauds in the history of Monroe County," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.

Mac Stone Photography

  Roseate spoonbills may not appear in plastic as lawn ornaments — but they are up there with flamingos as one of Florida's iconic birds. They're the other pink birds.

  Scientists from the National Audubon Society and Audubon Florida have been studying the spoonbill population of Florida Bay since 1939. First it was to determine whether the birds could come back from plume hunting in the late 19th century.

Netflix

  The Netflix TV series "Bloodline" has added millions of dollars to the local economy and employed hundreds of people in the Florida Keys. But a study commissioned by the region's tourism agency says the bigger benefit is in tourism.

Lt. David Carey / Monroe County Sheriff's Office

An Islamorada homeowner woke up Thursday morning to find an uninvited guest in the pool — an American crocodile.

The Lower Matecumbe resident called the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Deputies called in the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. Together, the law enforcement officers removed the croc, estimated to be about 8 feet long, and returned it to its natural habitat: saltwater.

Photo courtesy of REX

None of the 200 million gallons of oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident washed ashore in the Florida Keys.

But because it has shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County is still getting a share of the hundreds of millions of dollars  in settlements and penalties from the disaster.  

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

  The week between Christmas and New Year's is traditionally the beginning of the busiest part of the tourist season. And despite warm temperatures up north, this year looks like no exception, according to Jodi Weinhofer, president of the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West.

Florida Keys Outreach Coalition

  This year, 78 people will be memorialized at two services marking Homeless Persons' Memorial Day in the Florida Keys.

That's up from 54 last year. Stephanie Kaple, chief operating officer of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, said many factors contribute to the increase.

"I think that what this shows is probably our economic recovery is not as strong as we think it is," she said.

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