Key West

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has seen a lot of hurricanes over the years — but the island itself hasn't had a direct hit since 1919 (though there were a couple of near misses, with Hurricane Georges moving across the Lower Keys in 1998 and Wilma swamping the island from the west in 2005).

Some islanders attribute that string to the supernatural - the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.

Dedicated in 1922 by the Catholic community in the Keys to honor Sister Louis Gabriel, the grotto is located next to what is now the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County announced this week plans to reconfigure a dog park in Key West believed to be above the graves of Africans who were rescued from the slave trade in 1860.

The dog playground is across the street from an area already recognized as a burial yard.

While slavery was still legal in the U.S. in 1860, importing them was outlawed in 1807.

“But people kept doing it, especially Americans,” said Corey Malcom, director of archaeology for the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West.

You may have heard of feral cats, but have you heard of feral chickens? Feral chickens are now the subject of evolutionary research. And the ones in Tampa's Ybor City and Key West are perfect fodder to study. 


Mark Hedden

Key West's Navy presence is more in the air than on the sea. But the Navy still has a pier on the island's waterfront and Navy ships sometimes pull in there.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

About 20 people gathered on the steps of Key West City Hall Thursday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump's declaration that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Mark Ebenhoch organized the protest. He spent 23 years in the Marines and he said local elected officials should take a public stand.

"You need to speak out and say, 'It's wrong.' Whether or not you voted for Trump makes no difference," Ebenhoch said. "It is wrong, period, and you need to say so. Because silence basically is condonement."

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.

When President Donald Trump came to Little Havana to announce revisions to the United States policy toward Cuba travel, he never mentioned Key West by name. But the Southernmost City was in the speech.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Two body camera videos from the same Monroe County sheriff's sergeant recently garnered national attention. In the Keys, they have ignited a conversation about how undocumented immigrants may face differing approaches to enforcement on the same island.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Commissioners in Miami-Dade County and the city of Key West have voted to endorse  the Paris Climate Accord, despite President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the international agreement to cut carbon emissions earlier this month.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Bureau

Updated June 26: 

At its June 20 meeting, the Key West City Commission voted 5-2 to approve an agreement with Phil Peterson's Key West Poker Run that provides for the city to close off part of Duval Street and the organization to pay for police and fire services during the event.

Every year, an estimated 10,000 motorcycles rumble down the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West during the third weekend of September in the annual Phil Peterson's Poker Run.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Three-quarters of a century ago and half a world away, the U.S. Navy won a decisive battle against Japan at Midway atoll in the northern Pacific. On Monday, Naval Air Station Key West held a ceremony to remember the battle and its legacy for the Navy and the nation.

"This critical U.S. victory stopped the growth of Japan in the Pacific," said Command Master Chief Lee Friedlander. "It put the United States in the position to begin shrinking the Japanese Empire with a yearlong series of island-hopping invasions and several even larger naval battles."

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West's Historic Architectural Review Commission oversees all construction in the city's historic district — and the board can be notoriously finicky with applicants.

But NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. had no problem getting a green light from the board. He and his wife, Amy, won unanimous approval for their plans to restore a two-story house that was originally built around 1885.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has long prided itself on its all-welcome ethos and has an official city motto of "One Human Family."

Tuesday, the City Commission approved a resolution affirming those values and vowing that all city services would remain accessible to all residents "regardless of immigration status." The resolution also stated that the city would not investigate or help investigate immigration status unless it was required to by state or federal law.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN


Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Sports commentator Frank Deford passed away yesterday, May 28 2017. He talked to WLRN's reporter Nancy Klingener a little over a month ago, when he filed his last piece for NPR. Here's what they talked about. 

Frank Deford recorded his final commentary for NPR this week — in Key West, where he spends winters. After that recording, he and WLRN Keys reporter Nancy Klingener talked about why he's chosen the southernmost city as his home.

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