KEY WEST, FL - MARCH 30, 2023 - In recognition of National Doctors' Day, Lower Keys Medical Center recognized the dedication of its medical staff. "On Doctors' Day, and every day, I am thankful to work with our skilled and compassionate providers," said David Clay, CEO.
Since 2017, the hospital has been honoring the medical staff on Doctors' Day by making donations to community organizations, chosen by the providers, in lieu of gifts. This year's recipients were MARC House, Samuel's House, and Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Keys.
Photo: left to right: Stanley Santiago, MD; Diana Flenard, Executive Director, MARC House; Aydin Atilla, MD; Kristina Wellburn, Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Keys; David Clay, LKMC CEO; Christina Wright, LKMC CFO.
March 30, 2023 - It’s trench time for the Key West Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team. This week the first responders are out near the Hawk Missile Site learning how to safely extricate an accident victim from a deep trench.
“This vital training for our department,” said Fire Chief Alan Averette, “but this also served double duty for Community Services. Their crews came out and dug these trenches. So both departments are benefiting.”
The USAR team is equipped and ready for just about anything imaginable -- and sometimes the unimaginable. The USAR team is an advanced rescue team trained and equipped to respond countywide to structural collapses, incidents in which victims are trapped, or in which there is a threat to the safety of first responders.
This week’s training session is USAR-certifying new firefighters and paramedics for the team. The training is being conducted by National Rescue Consultants.
The USAR team has rescued people trapped in buildings after hurricanes. They retrieved two victims in a construction collapse several years ago at Key West International Airport. They saved a man who was crushed under tons of concrete when a cistern cover collapsed.
The team is often called upon to remove medical patients who cannot be transported by normal means, whether it's because they're in a loft or just too large to be carried through a small doorway. The special equipment and expertise are sometimes called upon to enhance vehicle extractions after an accident.
March 30, 2023 - The first of the month is a time when many households move. The City of Key West wants to remind the community about the dos and don’ts of bulky waste disposal.
Dumping is illegal. However, residents can dispose of this bulky waste free of charge. But you must do it legally. Before you put anything at the curb, call Waste Management at 305-296-8297 to schedule a pickup date. You may put the trash out the day before your scheduled pick up.
Waste Management will also explain that you cannot pile furniture and appliances in one huge heap. Each type of waste material requires a different method of pickup.
It’s up to all of us to keep Key West beautiful. And illegal dumping makes the dumper subject to citation.
KEY WEST, FL, March 29, 2023—The College of the Florida Keys invites employers and job seekers to join CFK students and alumni at their annual Job Fair on Wednesday, April 12 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the Key West Campus.
Job seekers are encouraged to come prepared with resumes and “dressed to impress” the wide range of local employers that are looking for qualified candidates to join their organizations.
Employers may sign up on the College’s website at https://www.cfk.edu/studentlife/career-planning/. Space is limited. For more information, contact CFK Advising Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-809-3196.
BIG PINE KEY, FL - The Monroe County Public Library Big Pine Key branch will close temporarily starting Monday, April 10, for repairs and refurbishment, with plans to reopen tentatively the week of May 22. The 213 Key Deer Blvd. branch in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Plaza will get new floors, paint, shelving, and furnishings. The work was scheduled between Easter and the start of summer break to have the least impact on the community.
“We regret that we have to close the branch temporarily; however, once completed, the community will have a beautiful and updated facility,” said Kimberly Matthews, Monroe County Public Library director.
The Monroe County permitting office that was operating from the library branch will also close and will reopen next to the UPS Store and new senior center, with a tentative May timeframe. Until the new permitting office is open, offices are available in Marathon or Stock Island, or visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/permitting for online permitting.
All Monroe County Public Library patrons can use any branch, including those in Marathon and Key West, as well as the Lending Machine and pick-up locker at Bernstein Park on Stock Island. In addition, cardholders can get eBooks, eAudiobooks, and streaming films via the library website at any time. Materials checked out from the Big Pine branch will have the due dates moved to after the library reopens — and the Monroe County Public Library does not charge overdue fines. Book drops are open at other branches for those leaving for the season who want to return library materials. Patrons can also return materials at the Lending Machine at Bernstein Park on Stock Island. Books and DVDs from the Big Pine Key branch will not be available for request until the branch reopens.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to spruce up our library,” said Monroe County Commissioner Michelle Lincoln, whose district office is in the same complex as the Big Pine Key branch. “This will greatly benefit everyone who likes to come in there, whether it’s children and families or our seniors.”
For more information on Monroe County Public Library services, visit www.keyslibraries.org or email email@example.com. For updates on the reopening, follow the Big Pine Key Public Library Branch on Facebook.
March 28, 2023
It's time again for one of the more spectacular natural events in the Keys -- turtle nesting season.
The City of Key West wants to remind residents and visitors to keep the lights out near the beaches so that turtles can lay their eggs in peace and the hatchlings can find their way safely to the water.
Hatchlings naturally run toward light, so we're asking that anyone living near the beach turn off the outdoor lighting and close your shades or curtains if at all possible. If the lights cannot be completely doused, try shielding them so that they don't shine toward the beach. Baby turtles are drawn to light after they hatch from their sandy nests. Porch lights can be fatal to these hatchlings.
Key West's beaches are closed to the public each night at 11 p.m., and this time of year it's vital that people heed the law. April 15th through October 31st is turtle nesting season -- that time of year when these magnificent creatures crawl up out of the sea to deposit their eggs in the sand.
The organization Save-A-Turtle has, in past years, seen evidence that females have crawled up on the beach and returned to the water without laying any eggs. Turtle watchers suspect these "false crawls" may be the result of human interference.
Although it's tempting to try and witness this rare and wonderful aspect of our ocean environment, it's not worth the consequences. Nesting beaches have diminished as development has increased over the past several decades. It's crucial that we do all we can to ensure safe nesting beaches in Key West.
March 27, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). The Key West Art & Historical Society announced today the donation of two woodcarvings created by distinguished Cuban American folk artist Mario Sanchez. Joining another 200 Sanchez works already part of its permanent collection, the Society holds the largest assemblage of the artist’s works ranging from paper bag sketches to handcrafted paper kites and intricate woodcarvings.
A gift from the estate of Jean B. Stearns, a resident of Key West for several decades, the two woodcarvings were most likely purchased directly from the artist by Stearns in the late 1960s and were displayed in her Key West home. Her husband, Marshall Stearns, was a renowned American jazz critic and musicologist who once accompanied the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra when they toured the Far East on the behest of the U.S. State Department. As such, both donated Sanchez woodcarvings showcase Key West’s music heritage—one depicts comparsa dancers on Front Street while the other illustrates a Black funeral procession passing the Key West Lighthouse.
Sanchez, a Key West native, is among this country’s finest and most recognized folk artists. The self-taught artist was born in Key West in 1908, the grandson of Cuban immigrants. In the 1940s, at the urging of his mother-in-law, he began creating intricate carvings depicting life in Key West as he remembered from his childhood. Of his work, Sanchez adopted as his motto: “Se que mi modesto arte no es bueno, pero gusta,” or “I know my modest art isn’t good, but it pleases.”
“This is a meaningful gift to the Society,” says curator Dr. Cori Convertito. “With the addition of these works, the Society will be able to offer a much richer representation of the art and history of the island, one that includes enhanced perspectives of our past and skillfully embodies our diverse culture and heritage.”
Following the donation made in mid-2022, the intaglios were sent to ArtCare Conservation in Miami for surface cleaning and reinforcement of the wood panels. The works have also been digitized and are available for viewing on the Society’s website, www.kwahs.org/collections. For more information about the Stearns donation, or to discuss possible artwork donations to the Society’s permanent collection, contact Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 27, 2023 - Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman presented author and Key West resident Judy Blume – along with the cast of the new film “Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret” -- with the Key to the City during its world premiere Friday at the Tropic Cinema.
The film is based on Blume’s classic book, and stars Rachel McAdams, Amy Brooks, Julie Ansell, Abby Ryder Fortson, and Kelly Fremont Craig. The film was produced by James L. Brooks. The event was a fundraiser for the Tropic Cinema.
“It was an absolute pleasure to present the Key to the City to the cast and crew of this fantastic movie,” said Kaufman. “It was a special opportunity to recognize Judy Blume and the young actress Abby Ryder Fortson who portrayed Margaret.
“I was able to convey to our honored guests that Judy Blume is recognized nation-wide, but she is our hometown icon and hero!” he said. “It was so fitting to have this premier in Key West since the movie and the book are representative of the spirit of our One Human Family philosophy.”
March 27, 2023 - The annual Hemingway Days Caribbean Street Fair, presented by Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) - Monroe County, Inc,. will take place on Key West’s Duval Street from 10:00 AM until 10 PM Saturday, July 22nd -- with the famed avenue closed to vehicular traffic and open to fun.
Street Fair sponsors and vendors for food, drink, arts and crafts are encouraged to make application for this event which transforms Duval Street into a lively open-air marketplace for pedestrians.
Each year over 15,000 locals and visitors traditionally assemble to peruse several blocks of booths displaying original arts and crafts. Local and regional vendors show and sell items from jewelry to clothing to gifts to paintings. In addition, fair attendees’ taste buds are tempted by the aromas of delicious island and ethnic dishes prepared onsite, while beverages are available to slake their thirst
The popular street fair benefits Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) - Monroe County, Inc., founded in 1984. LVA provides free, confidential, one-to-one and small group literacy tutoring for Monroe County adults and families who read and write at a fifth grade level. For information call or text Mary at 305–304-0578.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County Administrative Director of Building and Permitting Ed Koconis provided an update on the all-online electronic permitting system implemented in October 2022 at Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting. Koconis says the system has dramatically increased review times, and the department is meeting target timelines 95 percent of the time.
Today, the review process takes about five business days for smaller permits, like fencing, and about 12 business days for all other permit types, if changes are not needed, because departments can review plans simultaneously. Previously, the review time could take 40-plus business days with paper plans for the permits to go through each department’s process.
The department has also received more than 900 public records requests, often requiring scanning permits and plans to meet the requests. With electronic permitting, the timeline to respond to public records requests is significantly shortened due to plans and permits after October 2022 already being in the system.
“Of course, we have had some hiccups, but overall it continues to be a success,” said Koconis. “We have a hands-on working relationship with the program developers, which makes it quicker and easier to tailor the system to the public’s needs.”
For additional information on the online permitting system, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/permitting.
Submit Your Stories
Chamber members send us your press releases on your organizations accomplishments, staff awards and/or major happenings. We will post them for free.