Key West

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

A Key West man charged with attempting to use a backpack bomb and trying to help ISIS went on trial in U.S. District Court Monday.

"This is a case of a man who believed in the ideals of ISIS, or ISIL," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton in opening arguments, calling Harlem Suarez, 25, "an individual who was obsessed with ISIS and set on violence."

Suarez's attorney said his client's Facebook posts were "just talk and no action" and that he only took any steps toward action after "persistent pressure and intimidation" from undercover federal operatives.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN


  Hasan Elahi is an interdisciplinary media artist. Sometimes he’s called a photographer and sometimes a privacy artist. Privacy is the subject of a lot of his art — he's best known for his project called Tracking Transience, where he posts images of his locations online. The project started after he began reporting his own whereabouts to the FBI.

 

The Key West City Commission plans to vote on a proposal to make conversion therapy a crime.


Nancy Klingener / WLRN

This story originally aired July 19, 2016. 

When Patty Tiffany leads tours of the Key West Cemetery for the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, there's one gravestone that gets a lot more attention than the elaborate grave sites and mausoleums at the cemetery, which dates back to the middle of the 19th century.

That would be the grave of B.P. "Pearl" Roberts. It's a simple stone with a famous inscription: "I Told You I Was Sick."

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

As a new federal administration takes over in Washington D.C. — after an election in which immigration issues were prominent — one South Florida city may take a stand on the issue.

Key West City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said he wants his hometown to become a sanctuary city, adopting an official policy toward undocumented immigrants similar to the military's old "don't ask, don't tell" policy on sexual orientation.

Monroe County Public Library

Key West residents are following William Hackley's every move - even though he has been dead for 150 years. 

Courtesy Key West PD

A group of random, lucky Key Westers had a bad day turned very good Wednesday when they were pulled over by Key West police officers — but instead of getting a ticket, each received a $100 bill.

The holiday largesse came courtesy of an anonymous donor who gave the Key West Police Department $5,000 for a "community give-back program." Police Chief Donie Lee and Capt. J.R. Torres led officers on their Secret Santa mission, approaching random citizens and giving them cards with the money and a message from the donor.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West is known for celebrating its history. But until recently, the graves of two of the island's most influential African-American citizens were unmarked.

Now that's been rectified by the efforts of the city — which runs the cemetery — and the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for restoration from cemetery tours.

Monroe County Public Library

While the election of Donald Trump and the death of Fidel Castro have brought new uncertainty to U.S.-Cuba relations, the city that's closest to Cuba is still aiming for closer ties.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the Florida Keys, where ties to Cuba date back more than a century, news of Fidel Castro's death met a more muted response than on the mainland.

There were no spontaneous celebrations on the streets or even at Cuban restaurants. But of course the news was on everyone's minds Saturday morning.

Sonya Leto is a fifth-generation Conch, or Keys native. She was getting her Cuban coffee fix at El Mocho café on Stock Island. She said the news made her think of her late great-grandmother, who came from Cuba after Castro took power.

Flickr

Every year, tens of thousands of people from the mainland come to Key West for Fantasy Fest.

And lots of them are wearing very little – if anything.

Because some of those visitors may be infected with the Zika virus, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has taken extra steps to wipe out Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the area.

The district brought in inspectors from other parts of the Keys and went to every property on the route of Friday’s masquerade march and in what’s called “fantasy zones.”

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The plays of Tennessee Williams are usually set in the steamy, hot American South. Laurie Sansom is a theater director from chilly, gray Britain. But he’s come to love the works of one of America’s greatest playwrights. And because Key West is where Tennessee Williams lived for decades, that’s where Sansom came to work on a new project.

Scott Fraser / City of Key West

When it comes to sea level rise, Key West is pretty much as vulnerable as it gets. The island's average elevation is less than five feet above sea level. A tide gauge at Key West Harbor tracks the steady rise of the sea over the last century.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  The lack of new film incentives in Florida hasn't stopped one movie production from shooting some of its scenes in the state.

"The Leisure Seeker," starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, is set to shoot for several days in the keys later this month.

On Thursday, a casting call for extras drew Key Westers needed to play medical personnel, a wedding party and tourists.

There was no call for a parrot, but Mango was there anyway with her owners, Thane and Tami Gilliam.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Key West has a great restaurant scene — but people who live on the island know that to get true local delicacies you have to get inside someone's kitchen. Preferably someone who was born in the Keys, or a Conch in local parlance.

Someone like Martin Liz. He was born and raised on the island and he knows how to handle a conch filet.

Pages