The Key West City Commission and Mayor Teri Johnston unanimously passed a resolution asking the Florida Department of Transportation to rename the bridge at the entrance to the island in honor of the late Cheryl H. Cates.
If approved by FDOT, the Cow Key Channel Bridge would become the Cheryl H. Cates Memorial Bridge. Cates was the long-time wife of Key West Mayor Emeritus and current County Commissioner Craig Cates.
Local businessmen Jim Gilleran and Peter Batty formed a committee to petition for the change.
“Among numerous philanthropic activities Cheryl served on the board for Wesley House, Samuels House and Kids Come First,” they wrote in a letter requesting the change. “On September 11, 1971 she married the love of her life Craig Cates. An inseparable team, the Cates have made countless positive impacts upon their community.”
Cheryl Cates died on December 2nd, 2020.
“It’s a great honor for Cheryl and the family,” Craig Cates said at the City Commission meeting. “She always used to say that she’d connect the dots between people who needed help and those who could help.”
“The City Commission finds it would be fitting to name the Cow Key Bridge in honor of Cheryl H. Cates,” reads the resolution, “to recognize the many contributions that she, and the Cates family, have made toward improving Key West and Monroe County.”
“This particular bridge and its geographical location that spans both Key West and Monroe County is a fitting tribute,” Batty and Gilleran wrote in the petition, “to not only Cheryl's abundant love and contributions to our community but also in a small way recognizes the entire Cates family and their selfless dedication to improving our diverse community.”
The Monroe County Commission also unanimously approved a similar resolution, which will now be passed on to FDOT.
In the photo: Members of the Cates family and friends joined the City Commission at the podium during the recent City Commission meeting.
The City of Key West Transit Department is pleased to announce that it was recently awarded over $1 million to pay for operating costs spanning the next two fiscal years.
A grant of $485,692 for the current fiscal year was awarded from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The award of $564,943 was awarded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The second grant will be available to the City on July 1, 2022.
“The Transit Department is dedicated to providing quality transit services,” said Transit Director Rod Delostrinos. “We continually seek grant funding to pay for operating costs.”
These grants are particularly crucial right now, says Delostrinos. Ridership is down significantly since Covid, but transit is vital to keep the workforce that supports Key West’s economy flowing.
He notes, too, that these funds do not require a match by the City, a big benefit.
“Typically,” said Delostrinos, “transit operations are subsidized at only 50 percent reimbursement. These grants are at 100 percent reimbursement. These grants will help us continue service even though box fares are down.”
The City of Key West continues to actively seek state and federal grant funding to enhance the community.
Community Foundation Offers MacDougall Match Half a Million Dollars Available for Florida Keys Organizations
The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys is excited to announce a new initiative to support the financial sustainability of our Monroe County nonprofits.
Local agencies are eligible to receive $10,000 to $20,000 each from the Peter MacDougall Match for Agency Endowments. This can be a match to create a new endowment with the Community Foundation or add to an existing endowment.
“The Community Foundation wants to do all we can to support the long-term viability of the nonprofit organizations in Monroe County, and the MacDougall Match is a wonderful way to strengthen or start the endowments that do just that,” said Dr. Susanne Woods, board chair of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys.
This opportunity is first come, first serve. The campaign will end when $500,000 in matches are made, to match $500,000 in dollars received from the estate gift of seasonal Key West resident Peter MacDougall, who passed away on October 27, 2021.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-809-4991.
Your Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, In Paradise for Good, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Since 1996, the Community Foundation has made over $32 million in grants to benefit every resident from Key Largo to Key West, supporting arts and culture, beautification and preservation of the Keys, health and human services, disaster relief, scholarships, and youth programs. The Community Foundation helps individuals and families leave a legacy in the Keys by inspiring giving and by connecting people, resources and needs through philanthropy, The Foundation is well-known for its signature “Unsung Heroes” event which honors nonprofit volunteers. For more information, call 305-292-1502 or visit cffk.org.
The Key West City Commission and Mayor Teri Johnston, during this week’s meeting, took the opportunity to commend Key West Fire Captain Jason Barroso for heading up the Herculean task of replacing the burned down home of Ms. Alelia Butler.
After the Galveston Lane fire nearly two years ago, Capt. Barroso pulled together a team of off-duty firefighters, businesses, builders, and designers. The entire community pulled together to build Ms. Butler a new home, which she moved into on December 22. The community donated money, manpower, building supplies, and even furniture
Capt. Barroso, with the Key West Fire Department and more than 60 community businesses and individual volunteers presented Ms. Butler with the Certificate of Occupancy for her new home before Christmas. The new home is the result of an extraordinary outpouring of generous donations of time, materials and effort by the entire Key West community, and many agree that it would not have happened without the leadership and pure dedication of Capt. Barroso.
“I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful I am,” said Capt. Barroso. “It was an incredible community and team effort. We’re very blessed to have such a beautiful community on this island.”
“Now, therefore,” reads the commendation, “the City Commission of the City of Key West does hereby recognize Capt. Jason Barroso and the Key West Fire Department for tremendous leadership and commitment to the safety and comfort of the Butler family and the citizens of Key West.”
In the photo: Commissioner Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley, and Mary Lou Hoover, Mayor Teri Johnston, Capt. Jason Barroso, Ms. Alelia Butler, Fire Chief Alan Averette, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, Commissioner Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow.
The City Commission has proclaimed January 20th as Keys to Be the Change Mentoring Day. The commemoration falls in a month set aside nationally to recognize all mentors who work to guide our youth to success.
Keys to Be the Change was established in 2014 and is aimed at helping at-risk students succeed. The program provides education, awareness and opportunities that empower children, youth and adults to improve health, wellness and skills for success in school and in life. “Mentors play a vital role,” said Executive Director Heidi Golightly,” by providing crucial support and guidance to high-risk youth as they grow and develop into our next generation of productive citizens.”
The proclamation notes that Keys to Be the Change collaborates with volunteers from the community as well as the Key West Police Department and the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIAFT) South, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines. “These mentors offer our high-risk youth academic support as well as promoting pro-social behavior,” said Golightly.
Golightly brought with her some of the mentors from JIAFT, noting that their guidance is making a huge difference in children’s lives. “We have -- even with Covid -- a 75 percent success rate of these students passing their classes,” said Golightly. “The kids are eager to come to school and meet with their mentors.”
In the Photo: Mentors from JIAFT South join Keys to Be the Change Executive Director Heidi Golightly and the entire City Commission to receive their recognition.
Artist-designed baseball bats created in celebration of Key West’s 200th anniversary
[Key West, FL.] On the eve of Key West’s 200th anniversary, Play Ball!, a multi-venue exhibition, celebrates two of the ingredients in Key West’s secret sauce: our cultural roots in Cuba, and our love of baseball. A central component of the project is the creation of 200 newly commissioned, artist-designed baseball bats. The Studios of Key West is seeking artists who’d like to design a baseball bat using their favorite materials, turn it into a unique artwork, then submit it for participation.
Artists may pick up a Play Ball! bat from The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street, now through January 29 during regular box office hours (Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm). The Studios will accept completed bats between February 17-19, and the exhibition will be on view March 3-31.
Artists will be paid 65% of the sales proceeds from any Play Ball! bats, with the balance supporting The Studios of Key West and Old Island Restoration Foundation.
For more information about the project, please visit https://tskw.org/call-for-artists-play-ball-artists-baseball-bats/.
Play Ball! is made possible by a partnership between The Studios of Key West, Old Island Restoration Foundation, Florida Keys Council of the Arts, and Gallery on Greene
Image: Artwork by Cuban artist Reynerio Tamayo depicting Bronson Arroyo, Major League Baseball pitcher, who was born and raised in Key West.
Fifty years ago the first Impromptu concert was performed by a musician-visitor to represent a “thank you Key West” in return for the kindness and joy of her host’s hospitality.
On the evening of January 6, 1972, the yet relatively unknown Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha performed at The Buttery, a popular eatery whose owner was her host, Richard Lischer. With an audience of about 50, classical-music appreciative attendees gathered to enjoy a dinner and listen to an impromptu performance.
The occasion was serendipitously the beginning of 50 years of consecutive concerts provided by an artist who soon after became recognized as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Richard Lischer continued to host the “Impromptu” performances for nearly twenty years, while the growing audiences required several moves to larger venues, until finally in 1994 they settled in at the present location at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Duval.
It has been 50 years since that auspicious first impromptu concert was performed to represent “a thank you Key West”. Now 50 years later, the Impromptu Classical Concerts continues to be thankful for the generosity and support from the community that enables the providing of classical music performed by world-wide award winning musicians to Key West’s grateful audiences.
Remaining Concerts: Jan 23- Yekwon Sunwoo (pianist), Feb 13- Chooi Brothers (violinists), Feb 27- Michael Brown and Nicholas Canellakis (pianist and cellist), Mar 14- Zlatomir Fung (cellist), and Mar 27- Canadian Brass.
Concerts at 4:00, St. Paul’s Church, $20, students welcomed free
Arts Council Presents the Connections Project 2022 Grand Opening at Baker’s Cay in Key Largo January 31st
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts works invites you to join in celebrating the tenth year of the annual Connections Project with a grand opening reception at Baker’s Cay Resort, 97000 Overseas Hwy in Key Largo on Tuesday, January 31st from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The event features a vibrant 24-foot mosaic mural created by local artists and art lovers. The reception with refreshments is open to the public.
The Connections Project is one of the Arts Council’s innovative activities connecting community members with local arts and cultural initiatives. The Arts Council provides a 6x6 blank canvas to local professional artists and artistic residents who then create a piece of art. “People of all abilities and skill levels are encouraged to participate,” said Florida Keys Arts Council Executive Director Elizabeth Young. “We offer free workshops led by local artists, and, we’re privileged to have more than 300 Keys artists contributing a piece of art to Connections Project 2022.”
Once the completed canvases are collected, the mosaic is assembled by volunteers and taken on the road from Key Largo to Key West for seven art receptions and exhibitions. All receptions run from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Exhibits are open during regular business hours of the Arts Council business partner’s locations. The Connections Project: A Mosaic of the Keys is generously sponsored by Royal Furniture. The mosaic mural will be on exhibit in each location for about two weeks before going on the road to the next venue. The next stop after Baker’s Cay will be Our Place in Paradise gallery, located at 88711 Overseas Hwy in Tavernier, with a reception on Saturday, February 5th.
After connecting with the art, patrons can also collect art by making a $50 donation for one canvas or a $125 donation for three at any reception or online at www.keysarts.com. Once the road show has ended, donors receive a randomly selected piece of the mosaic in the mail. Each work includes an artist statement providing insight into the origin of the work and the artist’s thoughts and inspiration. Proceeds from the Connections Project directly benefit Keys’ artists and arts organizations through Arts Council grants, including Art Builds Community, Artists in Schools, and Special Projects grants.
For more information call the Florida Keys Council of the Arts at 305.295.4369 or visit www.keysarts.com.
The City of Key West invites the community to join in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 17th from noon until 4 p.m. at Nelson English Park at 300 Catherine Street.
The family-oriented celebration will include food, drink, games, and inspiring speeches, all culminating in a march in honor of the civil rights pioneer.
Rev. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work in the civil rights movement. He was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 for his dedication to this cause.
This nation’s elected leaders continue to be challenged to bring forward the realization of Dr. King's dream unveiled 56 years ago, and to demonstrate that these leaders will work toward making the dream a reality by putting the needs of the people first.
City offices will be closed on January 17th in honor of the national day of remembrance for Dr. King.
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