Key West

Ida Woodward Barron Collection / Monroe County Public Library

  In Key West, stories about carousing in bars can be legendary. Now they will be preserved as history.

The Key West Art & Historical Society is planning an exhibit to open Nov. 20 called Bars, Brews & Blues: A History of Carousing in Key West

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The annual Zombie Bike Ride took over Key West Sunday afternoon, with thousands of the undead riding the island's Atlantic shore at sunset.  

The ride started with a few hundred people in 2009; it has grown each year and now thousands take part.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  When Richard Payne was campaigning for the Key West City Commission over the last few months, he kept hearing about one issue: affordable housing. It didn't surprise him.

"I have four kids. Three of them don't live here, and that's because they couldn't afford to buy a home here and raise their family here. So basically, they've moved away," said Payne, who won a commission seat earlier this month.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Voters in Key West chose three new city commissioners this week, rejecting one incumbent and choosing two newcomers for open seats.

Richard Payne, a retired Monroe County circuit judge, defeated Tony Yaniz by an almost 2-1 margin. Yaniz had served one four-year term on the City Commission.

Payne said he would focus on keeping down property taxes and oppose paying for consultants and surveys to find out what citizens want.  

Jeffrey Cardenas/Yanela Piñeiro

  The photo exhibit "Cómo lo vemos a Usted (y cómo nos ven)" was already under way when Cuba and the United States announced last December that the two countries would resume diplomatic relations.

The show -- in English, "How We See You (And How You See Us)"  — opened nine days after that historic announcement, showing at National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana. On Thursday, Oct. 1, it opens for its first showing in the U.S., at The Studios of Key West.

Arthur Rothstein / Arthur Rothstein Archive

Arthur Rothstein was a young man in the 1930s. He originally wanted to be a doctor. But it was the Depression and he went to work for the Farm Security Administration, documenting American workers and the conditions they faced.

In 1938, that assignment took him to Key West. The city suffered more than most in the Depression, declaring bankruptcy and essentially handing itself over to the state. The state, in turn, brought in a New Deal administrator who decided the island should remake itself as a tourist mecca.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

Update: 4:05 p.m. Sept. 2

The Key West City Commission deadlocked 3-3 at its Tuesday evening meeting on the question of whether to recommend that local trick-or-treaters wait till Nov. 1. So local parents and kids are free to go ahead with their traditional walks for candy, even as the partying carries on downtown.

 

Trick-or-treating or partying? It's a tough choice for Key West. 

That's especially true this year, when the city's biggest annual party, Fantasy Fest, lands on Halloween. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Since the shootings that killed nine people in Charleston, S.C., symbols of the Confederacy have been disappearing throughout the American South.

But the nation's southernmost city is restoring its memorials — to both sides of the Civil War.

That includes a white pavilion in Key West, which has stood in Bayview Park since the United Daughters of the Confederacy put it up in 1924. Many longtime residents, like Tom Theisen, never even noticed who had built it.

"I probably had seen it before, but it never crossed my mind until all the flag stuff," Theisen says.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

The financial news service Bloomberg created a list of the 50 wealthiest small towns in America and only one is in Florida: Key West.

The southernmost city ranked 13th on the list. The index was created by measuring median income, percentage of households with income of more than $200,000, median home value and percentage of homes valued at more than $1 million.

Bob Krist / Florida Keys News Service

  Stretching just over a mile from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Key West's Duval Street has something for everyone. It's got high-end restaurants and rowdy bars, tasteful boutiques and tacky T-shirt shops. And it's home to some of the island's iconic establishments, like Hemingway hangout Sloppy Joe's and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

Facebook

A Key West man was arrested this week on a federal charge after planning to bury a backpack timer bomb on the beach and set it off remotely with a cell phone, according to a charging document unsealed Tuesday. 

According to the affidavit, Harlem Suarez, 23, listed his "likes" on a Facebook account under his real name as "Jihadist," "Extraordinary Prayer for ISIS" and "Prayers for ISIS: Weapons of our Warfare." 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

On Monday, the Key West Police Department will join the growing ranks of South Florida law enforcers wearing body cameras.

The department has been working on training and coming up with a policy for body cameras since February. That's when the Monroe County Sheriff's Office gave the police 100 cameras. The money came from fees that the Sheriff's Office receives to administer grants under the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program.

Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Key West was home to many famous American writers, but the most well known is Ernest Hemingway.

More than 50 years after his death, hundreds flock to the writer's old hometown near the end of July for the annual Hemingway Days festival. It begins Tuesday, July 21, on the 116th anniversary of his birthday.

Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

Two weeks ago, the city of Key West police department announced that it would start arresting drivers for app-based ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

Now it's followed through. On Friday evening, according to the police department, an undercover officer arranged for a ride from the airport to a local hotel.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The land along Key West's western shore was one of the first areas of the island to be developed, when the U.S. Navy established a base there in the 1820s. It eventually became known as Truman Annex, after the president who liked to vacation in Key West. Now it's called the Truman Waterfront, and it's set to become a new park for the city.

Key West Mayor Craig Cates says it's always been an important part of the city.

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