FREE: 2022 Fantasy Fest Parade Float Entry
You bring the ART to the Party in the Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade! Enter a float, walking group, or Art bike brigade! Monroe County Residence – your entry is FREE before August 15th or discounted through September 23rd !
Cult Classics and Cartoon Chaos is this year's theme and $15,000 in CASH prizes are awarded to those who stand out!
Applications are available at fantasyfest.com/parade
Parade applications must be turned in by October 14th - so get your group together and get animated!
2022 Fantasy Fest Parade Ambassador - now Recruiting
Fantasy Fest is seeking responsible and fun-loving volunteers to help make sure everyone has an exciting and safe time at this year's Bud Light Fantasy Fest Parade. Sign up to be a Parade Ambassador and you get to step behind the scenes and help us escort and pace the Fantasy Fest Parade as it makes its way down Duval Street! Ambassador Applications and details are available at fantasyfest.com/parade
As tens of thousands of visitors and locals descend on downtown Key West for one of the largest, most-spectacular parties in the nation, our amazing volunteers help control the chaos and make sure everyone has a safe, fun time.
When you volunteer with Fantasy Fest, you'll get a front-row view of all the action plus exclusive t-shirts and gear that set you apart from everyone else. You'll also create memories that will last a lifetime!
More than 150 Parade Ambassadors are stationed along the nearly-two-mile parade route. They help keep the parade moving and keep revelers out of harm's way.
You'll receive a specially-designed Ambassador t-shirt and one-of-a-kind souvenir. Because they're entrusted with great responsibility, Ambassadors must remain sober during the parade (but you can celebrate like a rock-star afterward). Ambassadors must attend a pre-parade safety meeting.
You'll also get to party with the Fantasy Fest team at Dante's for the annual Ambassadors' social mixer!
2022 Fantasy Fest Call to Artists – Deadline MONDAY August 15th
Fantasy Fest is Calling all Artists for our annual poster & T-shirt artwork Contest!
Cult Classica & Cartoon chaos is our theme, and your artistic vision could become our official t-shirt or poster for Fantasy Fest 2022!
The artwork must reflect the theme, characteristic and whimsy of Key West! $750 Cash Price, official signing party & recognition!
Deadline for submissions is Monday August 15th – Winners will be announced Friday August 19th
Visit Fantasyfest.com/call-to-artists for more information https://fantasyfest.com/call-to-artists/
This contest is presented by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts!
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and Fantasy Fest requests artists to submit their vision of this year’s theme: “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos”. The winning selections that best represent the 2022 theme will become the official Fantasy Fest poster AND/OR the official T-shirt. Artwork that creatively and graphically reflects the theme, characteristics, flavor and the whimsy of Key West will be reviewed by a selection committee and selected artists will each receive $750, a signing party and recognition as the official Poster/T-shirt for Fantasy Fest 2022! Artists may submit up to three (3) different images for consideration. Posters may be horizontal or vertical, with a preferred finished size of 18" x 24". Artists are asked to include the words “Fantasy Fest” and the 2022 theme words “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos”.
Fantasy Fest is October 21-30, 2022, just 2 months away!
Monroe County Fleet Management found a time capsule in the recently demolished maintenance building on South Roosevelt Drive in Key West. Earlier this year, Fleet Management moved to its new Rockland Key location to prepare for the Key West International Airport remodeling. While removing the original dedication plaque from the 1984 building, the crew found a PVC time capsule in the wall. Monroe County Mayor David Rice said the time capsule is anything but historic given its 40-year milestone next year but said opening it at the ribbon cutting of the new building on Rockland Key in the next year or so would be interesting. No one currently on the commission or staff knew the time capsule existed in the walls of the building or what the contents may contain.
“After opening it, a good plan would be to add a few things to it and place it in the wall at the new building, similar to how this was found, to be forgotten once again for decades to come,” said Rice. In the meantime, Monroe County will keep the unopened capsule in safekeeping.
The dedication plaque lists the 1984 County Commissioners as Ed Swift, Jerry Hernandez, Ken Sorensen, Wilhelmina Harvey, and Alison Ferar. After speaking with Ed Swift, he doesn’t recall placing the time capsule in the wall or what the contents might be but said he looks forward to seeing what is inside.
The new location of the Monroe County Fleet Maintenance facility is 111 Overseas Highway, MM 9, behind Mama’s Garden Center, Rockland Key.
Monroe County Emergency Management Senior Planner Jeff Manning graduated from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, MD. The full curriculum provided strategic training and education in essential skills and tools for emergency management professionals to lead dynamic and resilient programs.
The program included four resident courses with multiple long-distance learning sessions in the Advanced Academy, including Application of Advanced Individual Concepts in Emergency Management, Assessment of Teams in Professional Emergency Management, Contemporary Issues in the Emergency Management Organization, and Advanced Concepts and Policy in the Emergency Management Profession.
“This is an incredible achievement,” said Monroe County Emergency Management Director Shannon Weiner. “Monroe County will benefit greatly from the knowledge Jeff gained from his experience at the academy.”
KEY WEST VETERAN ALVIN ALCE ISSUED A PURPLE HEART FOR WOUNDS INCURRED WHILE SERVING IN VIETNAM 53 YEARS AGO
Today, with the help of Monroe County Veterans Affairs, Key West resident and Army Veteran Alvin Alce was formally issued a Purple Heart for wounds incurred as a direct result of enemy action while serving in Vietnam 53 years ago. Alce was one of 372 Americans wounded in the Battle For Hamburger Hill when he was hit several times by enemy small arms fire. He was joined by high-ranking military officials, county officials, and many of his family and friends at a packed house at Harvey Government Center in Key West.
In December 2019, Monroe County Veterans Affairs discovered Alce was never formally issued the Purple Heart for the wounds he suffered during combat in Vietnam. Monroe County Veterans Affairs petitioned the Department of the Army to formally correct his official military personnel record, which is now complete.
The Purple Heart is one of the most recognizable awards for military merit and wounds received in action. It is an award for those who bravely pay the high price of sacrifice for the freedom of Americans.
ALVIN ALCE’S BIO
Alce was born Dec. 17, 1949, in Key West and was drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1968. He was honorably discharged on Aug. 1, 1970. His decorations include the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, and now a Purple Heart for his dedicated service to the United States. He served in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, Americal Division, and the 101st Airborne Division.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released updated Medicare overall hospital quality star ratings on its Care Compare website, and Lower Keys Medical Center has improved to a 4 Star Rating. Of 213 hospitals in the State of Florida, only 55 have earned a rating of 4 or 5 stars.
"We continue to focus on quality improvement and patient safety," said David Clay, CEO. "That is how we have been able to consistently improve our CMS Star rating over the past several years. It takes a dedicated team to move from a 3 Star to a 4 star and I am so proud of my colleagues at Lower Keys Medical Center. We have implemented multiple quality initiatives and measurements to guide us on our continuous quality improvement journey."
Lower Keys Medical Center performed well in the areas of Timely and Effective Care, Complications and Deaths, Unplanned Hospital Visits and Payment and Value of Care.
The overall rating shows how well an individual hospital is performing compared to other hospitals in the US, on average. CMS uses more than 100 quality measures to determine a hospital's star rating. The ratings are designed to help individuals compare facilities and understand quality metrics.
Lower Keys Medical Center has focused on several initiatives including establishment of an internal patient experience committee and an external Patient Family Advisory Council; daily reporting and discussion on patient experience surveys; executive and nurse leader rounding; hourly nursing patient rounding; enhanced bedside shift reporting; daily interdisciplinary team meeting addressing patient discharge needs and post-discharge follow up care; streamlined registration process; multidisciplinary approach to medication education for patients throughout their admission; enhanced infection prevention programs; and daily examination of readmissions with a focus on prevention.
About: Lower Keys Medical Center's accreditations include: The Joint Commission Acute Care Hospital Program (re-accredited February 2022); American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center; The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center; The Joint Commission, for Laboratory Services; The American College of Radiology for Mammography; and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for Transthoracic Echocardiography (TEE). The hospital is also recognized by the American Heart Association's "Gold Plus "Get With the Guidelines" Stroke quality achievement award.
Professionals from charitable organizations across the Keys will convene on Tuesday, September 13, for Florida Keys Nonprofit Day. The event, to be held from 1-5 p.m. at the Marathon Community Theatre, is free to paid staff and volunteers of nonprofit organizations, students, and community members interested in nonprofit service.
Free registration for the September 13 event is available at cffk.org/nonprofitday.
The afternoon will include an education session presented by Naples-based John Riley, CFRE, vice president of philanthropy at United Way of Collier and the Keys, who will share “10 tips for donor relationships.” Professional development expert Dr. Janelle Abela, traveling from Canada to address the group, will explain how our local nonprofits can maximize success using inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. A networking reception is sponsored by First State Bank of the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys Nonprofit Day is presented by the Florida Keys Funders Alliance, led by the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, Ocean Reef Community Foundation and United Way of Collier and the Keys.
A limited number of Monroe County nonprofit professionals will have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive online learning experience with Dr. Abela, organized by Reef Environmental Educational Foundation and funded by the Michael Dively Social Justice and Diversity Endowment at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. Participants in the IDEA Learning Group will work as a cohort devoting six hours per month from October 2022 to March 2023. Information is available at reef.org/idea.
Keys Medical Group welcomes Jennifer Shue, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC. Shue is a certified family nurse practitioner who obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL. She joins Courtney Bonner, D.O., board-certified internist, in Keys Medical Group - Primary Care at Searstown.
Keys Medical Group - Primary Care at Searstown providers offer general medical care for patients 16 years of age and older, including disease diagnosis and management, preventive medicine, annual wellness visits for men and women, and treatment for hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, and infectious diseases. Shue is passionate about providing care that is accessible, inclusionary, and non-judgmental. "I consider my relationship with a patient to be a 'partnership' because we both have to do our part to have positive outcomes," Shue said.
Appointments, including telehealth, may be requested online at KeysMedicalGroup.com or by calling (305)293-4073. The Primary Care at Searstown office, located at 3224 N. Roosevelt in Key West, is open 7 days a week. New patients are welcome and most major insurance plans are accepted.
About: Keys Medical Group is a multi-specialty practice of board-certified physicians and providers in Primary Care, General and Interventional Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery/Sports Medicine, Psychiatry and Pulmonology.
A structure fire that displaced a family this week is another stark reminder that e-bike batteries can be dangerous if not handled correctly.
Tuesday’s fire on Josephine Street was the result of e-bike batteries being charged indoors, according to Key West Fire Chief Alan Averette.
“E-bike batteries that are charging should never be left unattended,” said Chief Averette. “If you’re leaving the house, unplug it and finish charging it when you return.”
He urges everyone to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and don’t use off-brand or bargain batteries. Finally, never charge them indoors.
These batteries can overheat, catch fire or even explode, causing the possibility of injuries, fires and deaths.
Key West has seen an uptick in the number of fires in 2022. Chief Averette notes that this is a good time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure your family’s safety.
How do you prevent charging incidents like this from happening to your e-bike? Avoid aftermarket and off-brand or bargain batteries for your bike, first of all. Stick to the manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations. Furthermore, e-bike batteries that are charging should never be left unattended. If you’re charging your e-bike in the garage, set a timer to remind yourself to unplug it when it’s done, and if you’re leaving the house, unplug it and finish charging it when you return.
The Key West Fire Department has seen an alarming upward trend in the number of fires on the island. In 2021, there were 20 fires. So far this year, in just four months there have been 17.
For more vital safety tips, go to www.nfpa.org.
The City of Key West was honored to welcome U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Linda L. Fagan as she designated Key West as a Coast Guard City.
The Thursday morning ceremony at the Truman Waterfront Park was set off by two fast response cutters, the USCG Cutter Ingham Museum, several smaller vessels, and a USCG helicopter flyover.
The turnout of people included a huge swath of the community, representatives of other military branches, and several hundred members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Admiral Fagan noted that it was befitting to bestow the honor on the 323rd anniversary of the founding of the Coast Guard.
Mayor Teri Johnston and City Manager Patti McLauchlin accepted the proclamation.
“We are honored – and humbled -- to have such distinguished guests visit our Southernmost City,” said McLauchlin, who was on the dais with Admiral Fagan, Mayor Teri Johnston, District 7 Commander Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, and Sector Key West Commander Capt. Jason Ingram.
“Key West has had close ties to the United States Coast Guard for many years,” said McLauchlin. “Indeed, we can trace our relationship back to 1824 when the schooner Florida sailed into Port Key West and established a permanent station here. Today we are very proud to be a homeport to multiple cutters and boats and important shore-based operations.”
She gave special thanks to the families of the Coast Guard members stationed here.
“Coast Guard members and families are an important part of our Conch Family,” she said. “They play on our sports teams, they volunteer, and they work civilian jobs throughout the city. The Coast Guard and their family members are part of the fabric of our community. We are honored to have you in Key West.”
The Coast Guard has been operating in Key West protecting the nation’s interests since Key West was designated a Port of Entry into the United States in 1823 even prior to the City’s incorporation in January 1828.
In the photo: Rear Admiral Brendan C. McPherson -- Commander of the 7th District, Mayor Teri Johnston, Admiral Linda L. Fagan, City Manager Patti McLauchlin, and Sector Key West Commander Capt. Jason D. Ingram.
Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Steven Hudson completed the professional designation of “Chief Fire Officer” (CFO) through the Commission on Professional Credentialing. As a result, Hudson becomes one of only 1,755 CFOs worldwide.
“This has been a long process,” said Hudson. “Achieving this designation signifies my career commitment to fire and emergency services and Monroe County.”
The peer-reviewed program is voluntary and designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in seven areas: experience, education, professional development, professional contributions, association membership, community involvement, and technical competence. In addition, applicants identify a future professional development plan.
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