Key West

Carol Tedesco / Florida Keys News Service

At 12:18 a.m. Tuesday, the two men who won the first ruling overturning Florida's ban on gay marriage became the first gay couple to get married in Monroe County.

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones exchanged vows in front of 500 people — including close friends, attorneys, total strangers, TV crews and a few tourists.

The Rev. Steve Torrance, a chaplain with the Key West Police Department and minister with the Metropolitan Community Church declared them legally married, and the couple was greeted with cheers, applause and the sound of a conch shell.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

William Jones was about to head to work at the 801 Bourbon Bar on New Year's Day in Key West when he heard the news: A federal judge had clarified his order, clearing the way for Florida to start issuing marriage licenses to to gay couples.

Key West Police: Don't Share This Ride

Dec 31, 2014
Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

Key West police detectives recently conducted an undercover sting operation they called "Operation Safe Hire" targeting Uber drivers. Two drivers were cited with violating city ordinances that require drivers of vehicle for hire to have a permit from the city and for the vehicles themselves to have a special license.

The maximum penalty for each violation is a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key Westers and their canine companions, more specifically ones of the short-legged variety, took to the streets Wednesday for the island's 10th annual Dachshund Walk. This year an estimated 175 dachshunds took part, along with 75 dogs of other breeds, including a chihuahua flash mob.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Gay couples who want to marry in Florida were delighted with Friday's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The court left a federal judge's ruling in place, declaring the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. While couples hope they can tie the knot early in the new year, the legal situation remains unclear.

Copyright by Judy Blume and used only with her written permission. Not to be further reproduced or distributed except with her permission.

When I was in elementary school, I wrote an "autobiography" called "I Want to Be Like Judy." It had a pink construction paper cover and came in second in the school library contest. I never imagined that  30-something years later, Judy would say to me, "Let's take a selfie!" (See our virtual tour - link below.) I loved all her books, but "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself" was one of my very favorites. I read it over and over. Ten times? Fifteen?  

Mallory Square Moves Its Act To Before Sunset

Nov 19, 2014
Bob Krist / Florida Keys News Service

If Sunset Celebration takes place all day long, will anybody show up?

That's the question that a group of artists and performers will pose under a new five-year contract that allows them to set up an "artisan fair" at Mallory Square starting at 10 a.m. on days when cruise ships call on Key West.

Mark Hedden

You shouldn’t name a crocodile or ascribe it human emotions. It’s not a pet. It’s a wild and primitive creature with a lot of very sharp teeth and a crazy powerful jaw.

But that didn’t stop anyone from naming the sole crocodile living at Dry Tortugas National Park.

Cletus. That's what most people on the park staff call the croc. A few call him Carlos. No one remembers why.

After The Party's Over, Fantasy Fest Concerns Continue

Nov 12, 2014
Mark Hedden

Weeks after the "Fat Lady Sings" tea dance that marks the official end of Fantasy Fest, Key Westers are meeting to talk about how to change the annual event to limit raunchy behavior and increase creative costuming.

Winning In Keys: School Tax, Building Height Raise

Nov 4, 2014
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Voters in the Florida Keys Tuesday approved extending a half-cent sales tax for schools for another 10 years. The tax, expected to raise $157 million over the decade, will be used to build and refurbish schools and for technology upgrades.

Voter turnout was 56 percent, according to the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Office.