Keys

Is Key West's Fantasy Fest Too Raunchy?

Oct 22, 2014
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.

Key West Food Trucks Get New Rules Proposal

Oct 16, 2014
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.

Key West Seeks Site For Homeless Shelter

Oct 9, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why Lionfish Are Targeted Underwater And Online

Sep 2, 2014
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.

Cates Wins Fourth Term As Key West Mayor

Aug 26, 2014
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."

New Coast Guard Ship Honors WWII Hero In Key West

Aug 26, 2014
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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