Key West

Marriage Equality
12:51 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Despite Key West's Gay-Friendly History, Gay Marriage Took This Long

John Huntsman, left, William Lee Jones, center, celebrate at a party in Key West. Doug Mayberry, right, was one of the organizers.
Credit Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  It only took a few hours for the state Attorney General’s office to appeal Thursday’s Monroe County ruling declaring Florida’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. The appeal means any marriage licenses for gay couples are put on hold.

But Key Westers have been celebrating the decision anyway, calling it a milestone for the island city.

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News
1:22 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Attorney General Files Notice Of Appeal In Monroe County Gay Marriage Approval

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones at home with their dogs Riddick and Kira.
Credit Kenne Tucker / Facebook

Monroe Circuit Judge Luis Garcia declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Thursday afternoon. He ruled in favor of Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, a same-sex couple seeking to marry -- but they will only be allowed to do so after Tuesday, July 22.

Later on Thursday afternoon, the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal against Judge Garcia's decision.

The judge compared the gay-marriage ban to earlier laws that prevented women from voting, banned interracial marriages and imprisoned Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Southernmost Housing
5:32 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Some Homes May Be Too Old For Key West's Old Town

This home at 904 Emma St. is owned by the Key West Housing Authority.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

You can’t just tear down a house in Key West’s Historic District. Even if it’s in pretty bad shape. That’s why people were so surprised when the city -- which normally enforces the preservation rules -- came up with a list of five houses in Old Town that could be torn down.

One of those houses “looks like it’s sitting on limestone piers which are not anchored on anything , so the building’s sitting here unsecured,” says Ron Wampler, the city’s chief building official.

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LGBT Rights
5:31 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Monroe County Court Hears Arguments In Gay Marriage Case

William Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman, right, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit and are seeking to marry in Florida. They are both bartenders in Key West and have been together for 11 years.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. In recent months, gay couples wishing to marry have challenged that provision in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Today on Plantation Key, a Monroe Circuit judge heard arguments in a case brought by two Key West men. Aaron Huntsman and William Jones have been together for 11 years and had a commitment ceremony 10 years ago. But Huntsman said they want to make it official.

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Books
9:46 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

David Kaufelt, Founder Of Key West Literary Seminar, Dies At 74

(Note: Mark Hedden's wife is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar.)

David Kaufelt died Saturday at home in Key West.

He and his wife Lynn arrived from New York four decades ago. David was a writer and wanted to be surrounded by more writers. Several others already made the island their home, but Kaufelt had an idea to make Key West into a true literary destination, not just for people interested in the legacies of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, but for living, breathing writers too. 

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Arts
6:38 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Key West Reconnects With Its Cuban Roots Via Art Exchange

Credit Christine Armario / AP

Sandra Ramos has never wanted to emigrate from Cuba, but in her more than four decades on the island, she has seen many people leave.

Their absence resonates throughout her work. The image of her as a 10-year-old is plastered behind a wall of palm trees, trapped on the island. In another piece, her school girl's body lies across a gaping space in the middle of a bridge, trying to connect two separate lands.

"It's a perspective on immigration from those who stay," Ramos said.

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If I Were Mayor
3:23 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Key West Mayor Craig Cates Responds To Your Ideas

Credit Courtesy of Craig Cates

Our final If I Were Mayor interview was with Key West Mayor Craig Cates.

Mayor Cates is a 4th generation Key West resident and has been the mayor of Key West since 2009. Though he got his second term with 70 percent of the vote, in 2013 he garnered only 54 percent, a difference he attributes to his approval of a controversial dredging study and his support for a 24/7 homeless shelter

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And Crime Writers Weigh In
1:00 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

In Key West, Graveyard Thief Flouts Police, Becomes Celebrity

An image capture from security footage of the Key West Graveyard Thief.
Credit John Martini

Over the last year, the small, two-house compound in Old Town Key West where John Martini lives has been robbed at least four times.

“We've kind of lost count, as a matter of fact,” he said. “The first time or two, maybe he hit us and we didn't even know ... because he only stole cash, and he stole it out of our wallets and put our wallets back in the same place.”

Once Martini realized they were being robbed, he installed locks on his doors, something he hadn't done since he moved in in 1978. When the compound was robbed again, they installed a security-camera system.

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Mid-day Links
7:33 am
Tue November 12, 2013

WLRN's Five Most Popular Stories For Nov. 4-8

Here's a shot from the Key West Zombie Bike Ride.
Credit Mark Hedden / WLRN

You might not have time to sift through a week's worth of public-radio color in the form of feature stories and curated audience commentary. So we've rounded up the best of WLRN's content this week in an easily digestible feed, all for your viewing convenience.

Click on the stories to read their full versions, or plug in your headphones and listen in right from this page.

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Elevation Zero
3:06 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Key West Awash With Plans For Rising Sea Level

A cyclist rides past buckled asphalt in Key West, Fla., after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Key West experienced widespread flooding with the storm surge.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:00 pm

Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.

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Culture
2:43 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Undead Cyclists Storm Key West for the Zombie Bike Ride

Key West Zombie Bike Ride
Mark Hedden WLRN

An estimated 8,000 zombies invaded Key West the night of Oct. 20, pedaling on bicycles across the Cow Key Bridge and muttering about brains. But the takeover was not unexpected and had a police escort.

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History
2:29 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

10 Amazing Photos From Key West's Tourist-Free Past

Postcard view looking northwest from the Key West Lighthouse, ca. 1870.
Credit DeWolfe Collection / Monroe County Public Library

The Monroe County Public Library recently received a donation of more than 15,000 photographs from the early days of Key West. The remarkable gift includes documents and memorabilia illustrating the island’s history with images few had seen before.

Keep reading for a look into Key West before the Parrotheads took over.

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If I Were Mayor
6:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

If I Were Mayor: In Key West, Naps And Better Bocce Courts

What would you do if you were mayor of Key West?
Credit Kwong Yee Cheng / Creative Commons/Flickr

For our If I Were Mayor project, we spoke to Key West residents about what they would do if they were in charge of their town.

Key West is holding its mayoral election today. Incumbent Craig Cates is running for his second consecutive term against repeat challenger Margaret Romero.

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Sports
11:11 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Slideshow: Swimmer Diana Nyad Finally Makes It From Havana to Key West, Sets World Record

Key West resident Tom Theisen points to Diana Nyad's flotilla, still a few miles offshore Monday morning.
Tom Theisen

"She freaking made it." That's what the note posted at 3:14 p.m. to the Google map on her website, where Diana Nyad's journey had been tracked in yellow dots and time stamps, said. Thirty-five years after her first attempt, Nyad did it -- she reached the shores of Smathers Beach in Key West Monday, after pushing off from Havana on Saturday. This was her fifth try, and her fourth in three years.

The 64-year-old swam 111 miles and now holds the world record for swimming the farthest without a shark cage. 

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Recreation
8:00 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Key West Lobsterfest Is More Than Just Stuffing Your Face

Key West’s 18th Annual Lobsterfest wasn't just about stuffing your face with lobster tail.

Lobster newcomers and lobster veterans paraded down Duval Street at the lobster street fair, some wearing lobster hats collected over years.

Among the 200 booths, there were several lobster gear vendors.

Don Burge owns Mullet Wear Outfitters, which he describes as “a spoof and a goof on all the big fishing outfits.” He sells his wears at seafood festivals throughout Florida.

At Lobsterfest, he presented his new lobster design:

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