Keys

Locals And Visitors
5:56 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Is Key West's Fantasy Fest Too Raunchy?

Michael Blades and his wife Kathy Kilroy used to work on elaborate floats for Fantasy Fest's big parade. Now they're putting their efforts into newer events that are not part of the official festival roster, like the Zombie Bike Ride.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Fantasy Fest started 35 years ago as a way to bring visitors to Key West during what had been the slowest time of the year. But locals have always been a big part of it -- the 10 days of street fairs and costume parties, and the culminating parade, for which 60,000 crowd the island's downtown.

"I was on a float for, like, 19 straight years," says Key Wester Michael Blades. He and his friends built elaborate parade entries and won the grand prize three times. But they're not entering this year.

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Food
12:17 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Key West Food Trucks Get New Rules Proposal

When White Street Station opened for business the city's code enforcers cited the business -- but the case was dismissed because the city had no rules regulating food trucks.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

When two new eateries on wheels opened in Key West this year, the city's code enforcement officers cited them, saying they had not received approval to operate in the historic district known as Old Town.

But a magistrate dismissed those cases, because the city didn't have any rules that govern food trucks.

That could change soon, as a 16-page proposed ordinance gets its first airing this week in front of the city's Planning Commission. The commission will make a recommendation to the city commission, which must approve any new rules before they take effect.

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News
12:52 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Key West Seeks Site For Homeless Shelter

A relatively new but now leading candidate for the site of a homeless shelter in Key West is the city-owned transit center on Palm Avenue.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

On a three-by-five-mile island, finding a site for a homeless shelter is no easy feat.

Almost 700 people in the Keys are homeless, according to the most recent count. Key West is the island chain's largest city and has the largest homeless population.

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Key West Quail-Dove
6:06 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

A Rare But Iconic Florida Keys Bird Flies In For A Visit

The Key West Quail-Dove, painted by John James Audubon. He named the bird on his 1832 visit to the Keys.

If there is an iconic bird for the Florida Keys, the Key West quail-dove is it. The bird was named, and painted, by John James Audubon during his 1832 visit to the island chain.

"I have taken upon myself to name this species the Key West pigeon, and offer it as a tribute to the generous inhabitants of that island, who favoured me with their friendship," Audubon wrote in his journal.

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Keys Blog
12:45 am
Wed September 24, 2014

For Whom The Air Cools: Ernest Hemingway's Key West Home To Get AC

Soon-to-be-cool cat: The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West has been approved for air conditioning, 163 years after it was built. The museum's famous cats still have to live outside.
Credit Monroe County Tourist Development Council

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is already hugely popular with visitors -- but soon they'll be able to stroll through the writer's Key West home in more comfort, especially during the sweltering subtropical summer.

The house, built in 1851, is now set to have air conditioning installed for the first time. At the moment, stand-up fans offer the only relief.

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Arts
3:22 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Exhibit Celebrates Key West Hand Print Fabrics

Suzie dePoo's colorful fabrics for Key West Hand Print caught the eye of Lilly Pulitzer, whose resort wear was popular with socialites.
Credit Key West Art & Historical Society

In 1961, two New Yorkers who had worked in the theater moved to Key West and opened a screenprint fabric shop.

In short order they met two women who assured their success. One was Lilly Pulitzer, the Palm Beach socialite who had started selling brightly colored garments a few years before. The other was a Key West resident named Agnez Zuzek dePoo, better known as Suzie.

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Privacy
3:35 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Key West Official Worried About Camera Drones During Fantasy Fest

Using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to capture images could soon be regulated in Key West.
Credit Vivid Aerial Media

While the FAA wrestles with regulating the use of camera-equipped drones, Key West City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley says the Southernmost City has a special reason to act fast: Fantasy Fest.

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Lionfish
3:18 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Why Lionfish Are Targeted Underwater And Online

Lionfish are beautiful, but they are becoming a menace along South Florida reefs.
Credit NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

If they weren't such a pest you could almost pity the lionfish.

The creature, after all, is simply doing what it is biologically programmed to do: eat and reproduce. Unfortunately, it has made its way to the reefs off South Florida where it doesn't have natural predators.

So the lovely lionfish has become a menace.

They eat juvenile saltwater species that are commercially and biologically important, like lobster, crab, snapper and grouper. And they eat herbivores like wrasse that help limit algae growth on reefs.

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Keys Election Results
9:27 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Cates Wins Fourth Term As Key West Mayor

Key West Mayor Craig Cates is congratulated Tuesday night after he won re-election for a fourth term.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West Mayor Craig Cates won a fourth and final term as mayor of the southernmost city Tuesday, defeating Margaret Romero for a third time and taking 53 percent of the votes in the three-person race. Romero won 44 percent while perennial candidate Sloan Bashinsky took just over 2 percent.

"I'm just a happy camper right now," Cates said. "Everybody that came out and supported me, four elections in a row -- it's an overwhelming feeling."

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Key West Cutter
4:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

New Coast Guard Ship Honors WWII Hero In Key West

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans, to be commissioned Sept. 6, is one of six new Sentinel-class cutters that will be homeported in Key West.
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

A World War II hero will be honored when the Coast Guard's newest cutter is commissioned into service in Key West on Sept. 6.

The 154-foot ship is named after Raymond Evans, who received the Navy Cross for rescuing Marines during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.

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Film
3:21 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Marvel Documentary Gets Big-Screen U.S. Premiere In Key West

Marvel Renaissance, a documentary by French filmmakers, will have its U.S. bigscreen premiere Thursday at the Tropic Cinema in Key West.

"Marvel Renaissance: How the Superheroes Conquered Hollywood," a documentary by French filmmakers, will receive its big-screen U.S. premiere Thursday at the Tropic Cinema in Key West.

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Environment
11:47 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Scientists Dive Off Florida Keys To Research Coral Connectivity

A red grouper checks out a diver during the 2013 Pulley Ridge expedition. The fish are curious and often relatively unafraid to approach humans in their midst.
Credit National Undersea Research Center

Marine biologists are diving deep for two weeks in August to examine the deepwater coral reefs of Pulley Ridge in the Gulf of Mexico. The aim is to determine how that area connects with the shallower reefs of the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys.

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Key West
8:03 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

See How Tourism Changed The Florida Keys

The Custom House on Key West Harbor has been a landmark since it was built, as shown by this vintage postcard. Today the Custom House is an art and history museum, and site of an exhibit on the history of tourism.
Credit Monroe County Public Library/Scott DeWolfe collection

A new exhibit explores Key West as South Florida's oldest outpost. 

Florida Keys or Bust! A History of Tourism runs until Oct. 1 at the Custom House Museum.

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Wildlife
9:50 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Lobster Mini-Season Comes With Restrictions In The Keys

The two-day recreational mini-season for spiny lobster is hugely popular in the Keys, despite special restrictions along the island chain.
Credit Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The two-day spiny lobster sport season -- known as the mini-season -- is intended to give recreational lobster hunters a chance to  get their hands on the tasty crustaceans before commercial traps go in the water.

In practice it's become a hugely popular opening rush in the Florida Keys, where lobsters are usually plentiful.

This despite the fact that the Keys carry special restrictions during mini-season.

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South Florida Arts Beat
1:00 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Taste of the Nation, Ballet Hispanico, Annual Hukilau and Florida Keys Calendar

05/30/14 - Friday on South Florida Arts Beat, Chef Allen Susser talks about Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation and their “No Kid Hungry” mission. Choreographer Rosie Herrera speaks with contributor, Judith Bishop, about  Ballet Hispanico’s world premiere coming to the Arsht Center. Contributor, Chris DeAngelis, previews the 13th Annual Hukilau coming to Fort Lauderdale in mid-June. Chef Norman Van Aken stirs up A Word On Food and our Florida Keys calendar features Andy Newman.

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