Key West

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.

How Well Do You Know Ernest Hemingway?

Jul 20, 2015
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.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

While Americans all over the country were celebrating the Fourth of July with pies, and apple pie is considered a national emblem, Key Westers were devoting themselves to the island chain's signature fruit — the Key lime.

Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

Key West will start arresting drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the city announced Tuesday.

Starting Wednesday, any driver violating the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance will be arrested, said Alyson Crean, the city spokeswoman. The city has 56 licenses, all of them issued to taxi companies.

Monroe County Public Library

Update: June 18, 3:39 p.m.: The Key West City Commission this week approved the $250,000 commitment toward repairs for the Schooner Western Union.

That commitment clears the way for the nonprofit that owns the historic schooner to apply for a state grant that would match the city's money 2-to-1.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a hugely popular way to find someplace to stay on vacation. More than 25 million guests have used the service, according to the website.

But in the Florida Keys, renting your home for less than a month requires a special license. The city of Key West's Code Compliance Board agenda for this week included 14 cases against unlicensed vacation rentals.

Meg Cabot / Macmillan Publishing

Writer Meg Cabot is best known for the Princess Diaries series, made famous by two movies starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. But she quit writing that series in 2009, when Princess Mia graduated from high school.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West is a good place to get around under your own power whether it's by bike or on foot. The island is small, flat and warm year-round. Lots of island residents use bikes as their primary transportation, especially in the historic district.

Old Town was developed in the 18th century before cars. Streets are narrow, and parking is at a premium.

"This is an ideal cycling community," said Tom Theisen, owner of Bike Man Bike Rentals. "To not take advantage of that would be a shame."

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