The College of the Florida Keys continues its 2022 VIP Series with “Pandemics Beyond People: Diseases of Lobsters and Corals.” The presentation, led by Dr. Abigail Clark, CFK Marine Science Faculty, is on Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the Key West Campus. In its eighth season, the College’s VIP Series invites the community to learn from the Visions, Ideas, and Perspectives of speakers of local, regional, and national prominence. The 2022 season, sponsored by Centennial Bank, includes presentations that focus on timely and relevant topics.
Approximately 97% of all animal species are invertebrates (lack a backbone) and it is estimated that several million additional invertebrate species are yet to be described. Similarly, the diversity of diseases of marine invertebrates is vast and growing. Dr. Abigail Clark will present her recent research on the ecology of lobster and coral diseases in the Caribbean region.
Tickets for CFK’s VIP Series events are $5 at the door. Admission is free for students at CFK and Monroe County schools. For more information, call CFK at 305-296-9081 or visit the College’s website at CFK.edu/VIP.
The expert panel at USA Today selected Mallory Square as a contender for Best Public Square. The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-square-2022/. A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest.
Voting ends Monday, April 11th and the winners will be announced on 10Best on Friday, April 22nd at 12:00pm EDT. You can read the official rules here. Please note that the rules do not allow offering prizes or other inducements to members of the public in exchange for votes during the voting period.
Key West Code Compliance caught up with an unlicensed company paving a private roadway without a permit this week.
Bjorklund Paving was immediately issued a stop work order, and the property owner of Luani Plaza was cited for conducting work without a permit. He was also instructed to obtain an after the fact permit for the work that had already been completed. The paving company had paved over an existing roadway behind the plaza.
Code officers have been responding to other complaints around the island regarding this company.
“If a contractor calls you and offers a job substantially cheaper than competitors in the area,” said Code Compliance Director Jim Young, “it’s a good idea to ask for their license. And it’s just as important to get the proper permits before conducting work on your property.”
Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission took the opportunity this week to recognize Harry Bethel for 50 years of public service.
Bethel served on the City Commission from 1991 until 2007. Thirteen of those years he served as vice mayor, earning him the honorary title of Vice Mayor Emeritus.
“Harry is the face of what public service is all about,” said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, noting that much of Bethel’s service over the years was “pro bono.”
“Harry Livingston Bethel has served the citizens of Key West and the Florida Keys for more than half a century,” reads the proclamation, “through a long and historic series of elected and appointed public offices, and as a public utility employee.”
In addition to his many years on the City Commission, Bethel has served on a plethora of board, from the Key West Bight Management Board to the Monroe County Housing Authority Board. He was elected several times to the Key West Civil Service Board and has been a member of many social organizations, including the Key West Jaycees, Key West Noon Rotary Club, Elk’s Club, Moose Lodge and the Military Affairs Committee. He has enjoyed several gubernatorial appointments.
During the first eight years of his service on the City Commission, he championed construction of the Skate Park on Flagler Avenue through private donations, and through his efforts, the Key West Annual Christmas Tree Lighting continues to feature trees provided by a private donor.
Bethel is an 8th generation Conch, and the commission chambers were filled with family and friends.
“I had the honor of serving my city and my people, my neighbors and my friends,” he said, accepting the honor. “I only hope I did well by you.”
The proclamation ended with Bethel’s mantra, “Always be fair and you will always be right,” as well as with his slogan, “I did it my way.”
The College of the Florida Keys will host it’s 1st VIP Series Event in the New Upper Keys Center. “The Discovery, Early Mapping, and Charting of the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream.” The presentation, led by local author and map researcher Brian Schmitt, is on Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the new Upper Keys Center. In its eighth season, the College’s VIP Series invites the community to learn from the Visions, Ideas, and Perspectives of speakers of local, regional, and national prominence. The 2022 season, sponsored by Centennial Bank, includes presentations that focus on timely and relevant topics.
In his presentation, Schmitt will lead the audience on a revelation of historical discoveries through maps of Florida and the Florida Keys dating back to the 16th century. His analysis of early maps and charts of Florida, as well as of the immensely important seaway of the Gulf Stream, tells the story of how geography, exploration, politics, and industry converged to shape the future of the island chain.
Schmitt is a co-author of “The Florida Keys: A History Through Maps.” He wrote the book in 2020 along with Todd Turrell and Robert Carr, a South Florida archaeologist. While Schmitt is better known throughout the Keys for his real estate business, Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company, he has dedicated many years to researching Florida’s past through his large collection of historic maps.
Tickets for CFK’s VIP Series events are $5 at the door (cash only). Admission is free for students at CFK and Monroe County schools. For more information, call CFK at 305-296-9081 or visit the College’s website at CFK.edu/VIP. Advanced tickets are available at Keystix.com
Grantees from Upper, Middle and Lower Keys Include New Recipients
The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys is awarding grants totaling $307,570 to 48 Keys nonprofits for collaborative projects that will directly benefit our residents, communities and environment.
“The Foundation is increasing our impact by increasing the dollars we grant out to the community,” said Jennifer McComb, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. This year’s awards are nearly $100,000 more the $215,266 granted to 35 organizations in 2021. The Community Foundation has more than doubled the $144,500 it granted to 27 organizations in 2020 through the annual competitive process.
The Community Foundation grants over $1.5 million a year in total but most of the funding is restricted to specific nonprofits, per the wishes of individual donors, McComb said.
Its Grants Committee, comprised of board and community members, scored the 2022 “Collaborating in Paradise for Good” requests from 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits and school programs and selected the proposals for funding. Eligible applications were required to include a collaboration with another nonprofit or service-based organization.
This year’s annual competitive grants were funded by generous donors representing the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Fund, the Ron and Joyce Burd Fund, the Michael Dively Social Justice and Diversity Fund, the Driftwood Fund, the Beverly and Bill Goldner Charitable Fund, the Brian and Maureen Harrison Fund, the Landau Family Fund of the Upper Keys, the William Monroe Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and the Jack M. Paul Fund. Permanent legacy funds that contribute to the grants program every year are the Emily Boyd Lowe Music Fund, the Jack Baron Visual Grant Fund, the Florence Fox-Loeb Key West Music and Theatre Arts Endowment and the William C. Euler Jr. and Andrew F. Oates Jr. Fund.
The 2022 grantees are:
Autism Society of the Keys, $10,000, to provide sensory boxes to families and first responders, in collaboration with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Key West Police Department.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, $10,000, to provide rental assistance to prevent homelessness of our growing immigrant population, in collaboration with The Salvation Army.
Florida Keys Council of the Arts, $3,000, to provide tickets for arts opportunities for working families, in collaboration with United Way of Collier & the Keys.
Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition, $10,000, to fund its labor doula program for pregnant families, in collaboration with Community Health of South Florida.
International Woman's Flag Football Association, $5,000, to purchase equipment for teams countywide, in collaboration with the Monroe County School District.
Key West Art and Historical Society, $7,000, to repurpose a Key West history documentary for classroom use, in collaboration with the Monroe County Education Foundation.
Kids Come First In the Florida Keys, $7,500 to provide clothing, shoes, and personal hygiene items to at-risk children, in collaboration with Samuel’s House.
Literacy Volunteers of America, $10,000, to provide training and resources to help students integrate into our Keys community and environment, in conjunction with multiple nonprofits.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation, $9,500, to provide Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility trainings for leaders from multiple nonprofits.
Special Olympics Florida Monroe County, $10,000, to launch a school-based Bocce Ball program for youth with and without disabilities, in collaboration with the Monroe County School District.
Star of the Sea Foundation, $10,000, to provide 16 weeks of nutrition education to 200 fifth grade students, in collaboration with the Monroe County School District.
Active Disabled Americans, $2,500, to provide outings to those that would otherwise be excluded due to disability and financial hardship, in collaboration with Ocean Dreams Cancer Healing Center.
First Key in Paradise, $5,000, to help repair and refurbish the 40-foot Key Largo holiday community tree, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Key Largo and Rotary Club Key Largo Sunset.
Florida Keys Children's Shelter, $10,000, to fund recreational outings for at-risk youth participating in summer camp, in collaboration with MarineLab.
Good Health Clinic, $8,400, to help pay for a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the office one day a week, in collaboration with Womankind and the Florida Keys Area Health Education Center.
Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys, $10,000, to fund materials and labor for a nine-unit housing project, collaborating with Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys.
History of Diving Museum, $5,000, to create a series of cultural programs offered with its limited-time Sponge Hunters exhibit, collaborating with REEF and the Morada Way Arts & Culture District.
I.CARE, $3,000, to support volunteer divers’ expenses so they can help transplant and monitor coral fragments, in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory.
Key Largo School, $10,000, to establish a theater program and drama club, in collaboration with The Key Players.
Kids 4 Kids USA, $8,000, to train and certify local instructors in adaptive swim education, in collaboration with iCan Shine.
MarineLab, $5,000, to provide a mangrove ecology field trip for Upper Keys fifth graders, in collaboration with Monroe County School District.
MarrVelous Pet Rescues, $5,000, to help cover expenses for a Spay and No Balls Clinic to spay and neuter of feral cats, in collaboration with Whiskers and Paws Forever of Monroe County.
Ocean Dreams Cancer Healing Center, $2,500, to host educational classes about cancer prevention and caregiver development, in collaboration with multiple nonprofit organizations.
Plantation Key School, $4,800, to provide authentic artist instruction by linking art to curriculum, in collaboration with Our Place in Paradise.
Treasure Village Montessori School, $4,000, to enlarge its vertical rooftop garden, and to construct a solar-powered hydroponic system, in collaboration with First Baptist Church of Islamorada.
Habitat for Humanity of the Middle Keys, $10,000, to help fund building costs of "Bell Haven" (formerly known as 79th Street Homes for Hope), in collaboration with the Zonta Club of Marathon.
Marathon Garden Club, $1,000, to replace broken ceiling lights with more efficient lights, in collaboration with multiple nonprofits that use the facility.
Marathon Wild Bird Center, $4,000, to purchase pelican education signs and mount them at fishing cleaning stations, in collaboration with Crane Point Hammock.
Presents in Paradise, $5,000, to purchase clothing, shoes, and bedding available at “Rick’s Closet” for children in need throughout the year, in collaboration with multiple nonprofit organizations.
KEY WEST AND THE LOWER KEYS
A Positive Step, $10,000, to fund a part-time career coach and summer jobs for at-risk Key West High School students, in collaboration with the City of Key West.
AH of Monroe County, $10,000, to help pay for an architectural blueprint for an affordable housing project on Duck Avenue, in collaboration with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.
Bahama Village Music Program, $10,000, to fund sets, costume design, personnel, and supplies for the Keys Kids Junior theatrical production, in collaboration with Horace O’Bryant School.
The Basilica School, $5,000, to provide counseling services for new mothers, before and after birth at Lower Keys Medical Center, in collaboration with the Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition.
Florida Keys SPCA, $10,000, to care for animals of people experiencing violence, illness, and homelessness, many clients of the Domestic Abuse Shelter or Cornerstone Resource Alliance.
Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys, $5,000, to purchase materials for minor home repairs for people in need, some referred by the Star of the Sea Foundation.
Key West Botanical Garden Society, $2,500, to purchase plants and supplies to create a new K-8th grade Living Lab program, in collaboration with the Lower Keys Zebra Longwing Project.
Key West Community Sailing Center, $6,000, to provide boating and picnic experiences for clients from the Monroe Association for Remarcable Citizens.
Key West Impromptu Classical Concerts, $3,870, to provide music education seminars for the Key West High School Band and students enrolled in the Bahama Village Music Program.
May Sands Montessori School, $5,000, to pay for staff, materials and supplies for a “History Comes Alive” program, in collaboration with the Key West Art & Historical Society.
Old Island Restoration Foundation, $2,000, to provide complimentary admission for low-income residents to learn about classic conch recipes, in collaboration with Williams Hall.
Red Barn Theatre, $3,000, to provide free show tickets to residents in financial need, collaborating with referrals from multiple human service partners.
Samuel's House, $10,000, to construct a covered outdoor rejuvenation area at its shelter with benches, tables and plantings, in collaboration with Kids Come First.
Sister Season Fund, $10,000, to fund rent and utilities for hospitality and tourism employees, who have become temporarily out of work, in collaboration with The Key West Business Guild.
The Studios of Key West, $10,000, to retain the non-profit InHEIRitance Project to develop a new piece of theater written to address issues related to the sustainability of our island community.
Tropic Cinema, $5,000, to pay for film rights and help cover costs to offer the theater free of charge for local students to see film adaptations of books, in collaboration with Somerset Island Prep.
Unity of the Keys Spiritual Center, $1,000, to purchase clothing vouchers for people in need to shop at St. Peter's Thrift Store.
University of Florida Endowment Corporation, $3,000, to help families learn to grow their own food by providing demonstrations, fact sheets and container gardens at Grimal Grove.
Zonta Club of Key West Foundation, $1,000, to provide scholarships for Samuel’s House clients to participate in GED and certificate programs to expand career opportunities.
The annual competitive grants program is the only opportunity for any 501(c)(3) nonprofit, faith-based organization or school in Monroe County to submit an application for consideration. The 2023 grant application will be available next year at cffk.org/grants.
Your Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, In Paradise for Good, has granted over $32 million 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 Fire Department’s medics had the opportunity to take a refresher course with a very special patient last week. Bill McGrath and Richard Gonzalez, of the Southeaster Medical Academy and affiliated with Braxton College, arrived with a patient simulator.
This high-tech training manikin does most things a living person would. Its eyes open and close and the pupils dilate and respond to light. It breathes. It has a pulse. It groans with pain and can even go into a full seizure.
All of the symptoms are controlled by the trainer via a nearby computer pad.
The training actually allowed the medics to work through a variety of scenarios and see immediate and realistic results.
KWFD’s Medical Director Antonio Gandia worked closely with the medics, talking through their responses and the different symptoms that might clue them in on what’s happening with an unconscious patient.
“We were really excited to have our hands on that kind of training equipment,” said Emergency Medical Services Chief Keith Hernandez. “The mannequin simulator is about as real as it can get for our medic students to apply their knowledge and skills they have learned thus far.”
According to instructor Gonzalez, the academy also has a preemie baby, a toddler and a child as well as a pregnant woman simulation. All of these will allow the medics to apply what they know in different scenarios, including a woman giving birth.
The trainers also brought along a virtual reality simulator that allowed the medics to explore various scenarios.
“We are thrilled to have access to this kind of training,” said Fire Chief Alan Averette. “We want to do everything we can to be sure that the Key West Fire Department provides the best care possible to our community."
SBA Deadline is Approaching for Florida Businesses Affected by the 2021 Surfside Building Collapse to Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding businesses in Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Monroe counties in Florida that March 29 is the applications deadline for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations affected by the Surfside Building Collapse on June 24, 2021.
“Businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster and want to apply for low-interest loans from the SBA are urged to do so before the March 29 deadline,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA Field Operations Center East.
Working capital loans up to $2 million are available at 2.88 percent for small businesses and 2 percent for private nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. The loans are intended to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. To be considered for this assistance, eligible entities need to apply by the deadline.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration # 17006, not for the COVID-19 incident.
Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services), or emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications may be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to return economic injury loan applications is March 29, 2022.
Monroe County high school students can earn FREE college credit
The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) will hold a virtual event for Monroe County high school students and their parents/ guardians to learn more about its Dual Enrollment (DE) opportunities on Thursday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m. Through DE, high school students can simultaneously earn college and high school credits at no cost to the student. The program provides a head start to college for students while potentially saving families thousands of dollars. At the virtual event, CFK will discuss the benefits of taking DE classes, requirements to participate, and the application process.
Interested students and parents can sign up for the event and learn more about the DE program by visiting the College’s website at CFK.edu/DE. For more information DE, contact Nicole Gerrard, CFK Director of Academic Advising, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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