In a recent awards ceremony hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg recognized Officers Andrea Bernatova and Thomas Haynie with the Lifesaving Award.
On February 23rd, Officers Bernatova and Haynie responded to a call for an elderly man having a heart attack at the Casa Marina. Both officers rushed to the suite and found the man on the floor unresponsive and with no pulse.
They immediately began resuscitation efforts, continuing until Key West Rescue arrived on scene and took over the patient’s care. The man was transported to the hospital where he regained a pulse. He was subsequently airlifted.
“The quick response and outstanding ability to work together likely saved the life of this man,” said Chief Brandenburg. “Officers Bernatova and Haynie have rightly earned the Lifesaving Award.”
Over the course of a year, Lower Keys Medical Center makes a meaningful impact in the community, as the skilled and compassionate hands of physicians, nurses and other team members deliver safe, quality care around the clock every day. Beyond clinical care, the hospital is a major employer and regularly invests resources to expand and enhance the services available locally. The overall community benefit each year is significant and totaled more than $87 million in 2021.
Last year, the hospital and Keys Medical Group providers delivered care during more than 128,000 patient visits as the pandemic heightened the need for medical attention. The hospital has supported more than 400 COVID inpatients since March 2020 while sustaining all of its other medical services. To help protect the community from the COVID-19 virus, more than 350 outpatients were treated with monoclonal antibodies, helping them avoid serious symptoms and hospitalization.
“While our team at Lower Keys Medical Center cared for patients with COVID-19, we continued to provide emergency and routine care and treatment for patients with a variety of conditions,” said David Clay, chief executive officer for Lower Keys Medical Center. “I am so honored to work with this resilient and committed family of clinicians and caregivers who make a difference for so many patients each day.”
Employees and medical staff brought their skills and compassion to support more than 23,000 emergency department visits, more than 3,000 inpatients and perform more than 3,000 surgeries. Over 99,000 patients received care across our imaging centers, laboratory, physical, occupational and speech therapy clinics and the Keys Medical Group physician clinics. We also delivered joy to local families as more than 400 babies were born.
Lower Keys Medical Center continues to grow and evolve as resources are directed toward increased medical services, facility improvements and technologies that are important to patients. These include the addition of four new Keys Medical Group providers in orthopedics, obstetrics and psychiatry, implementation of a Cardiac Catheterization call team, upgraded robotic surgery equipment, purchase of a Cardiac MRI, replacement of flooring throughout the main campus, and the start of patient room renovations.
As Lower Keys Medical Center works to continuously meet patients’ needs, it also gives back to the Lower Keys region. The hospital provided over $21 million in charity and uncompensated care for the community’s most vulnerable. And the $3 million paid in property, sales and GRT taxes helps support civic resources and services.
Lower Keys Medical Center also works with local charitable and community organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of the Keys, Habitat for Humanity of Key West and Lower Keys, and the Key West Police Love Fund, who received donations in honor of the medical staff on Doctors’ Day last year.
The hospital’s payroll of more than $47.9 million ripples across the local economy as employees buy goods and services. The hospital also made capital improvements totaling more than $2.4 million.
“We are part of this community and are committed to doing all we can to provide quality healthcare services to help our residents live healthier lives,” Clay added.
Working with The College of the Florida Keys, Lower Keys Medical Center is helping to develop the next generation of clinicians. A new scholarship fund will also help local students discover their passion for healthcare.
To enhance the health of the community, Lower Keys Medical Center last year launched a free e-newsletter with a monthly dose of health and wellness inspiration. Individuals can sign up at LKMC.com/enewsletter-sign-up.
About: Lower Keys Medical Center accreditations include The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Acute Care Hospitals, The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center and for Laboratory Services, The American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center, The American College of Radiology for Mammography and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for Echocardiography Services. The hospital has also been recognized with the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines”: Stroke Silver Plus Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.
Key West City staffers, elected officials and the dedicated volunteer Ploggers gathered nearly 200 pounds of trash on Earth Day, despite a variable deluge. They gathered at the Peace Covenant Church on Flagler and spread out from there. In two hours – mostly in pouring rain -- they had collected 191 pounds of trash, another 67 pounds of recycling and four gallons of cigarette butts.
The group of 30 included Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Gregory Davila, three Key West Ambassadors and 12 City employees.
The following day, the Key West Sea Turtle Club descended on the nature beach off Atlantic Blvd. That group collected 290 pounds of trash off the beach and out of the mangroves.
“It’s wonderful to see our community pull together to keep Key West beautiful,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
These efforts are part of a push to involve the community to keep Key West beautiful. In addition to the Early Bird cleanups, the City has kicked off an Adopt-A-Spot program and Mayor Teri Johnston has reconvened the Beautification Committee.
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.
One of the newer threats to fire safety are e-bike and other lithium-ion batteries. The Fire Department has responded to two separate fires related to e-bike batteries in less than two weeks.
Fire Marshal Capt. Jason Barroso wants to remind e-bike owners to always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions for charging and storing them. These batteries can overheat, catch fire or even explode, causing the possibility of injuries, fires and deaths.
“With the increased uptick in fires,” said Capt. Barroso, “it’s a good time to remind the community to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are safe and in working condition.”
The Fire Department receives annual donation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and any Key West resident who needs help with this can contact the Fire Department at 305-809-3933 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more vital safety tips, go to www.nfpa.org.
In an awards ceremony Friday, hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg named Officer Santiago Perez Officer of the Year 2021 and Denise Richardson Civilian Employee of the Year 2021.
These honors are sponsored by Keys Federal Credit Union and Mary Lou Carn was on hand to present each recipient with a $500 check.
Officer Perez began his career with the Key West Police Department in 2017, having completed the Law Enforcement Academy at the College of the Florida Keys.
“Officer Perez genuinely cares about the community he serves,” said Chief Brandenburg. “He can always be relied upon to go the extra mile whether it's providing food and water to migrants or going out of his way to help someone in crisis.”
Denise Richardson has been with the department since 2010. During that time she has proven to be a dedicated professional who regularly comes in on her own time during the weekends to ensure payroll is completed and correct.
“Denise has gone above and beyond this year,” said Chief Brandenburg, “stepping up to fill some extra vital roles when staff left. Without any hesitation or complaint, Denise has worked three jobs in one without falling behind on any tasks. Her dedication ensured that the department continued to function at its very highest level.”
The Key West Art & Historical Society announced today the donation of six 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 Charles and Barbara Martin, winter residents of Key West for several decades, the six woodcarvings were purchased directly from the artist by the Martins in the 1960s and were proudly displayed in Michigan until early 2022 when they returned to Key West.
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 substantial gift to the Society,” says Cori Convertito, curator. “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.”
In addition to the works, a series of letters exchanged between the Martins and Sanchez accompany the gift affording information on artwork purchase dates, insurance values and backgrounds on the various individuals that appear in the carvings.
“The handwritten letters form an integral part of the donation,” says Convertito. “Having contextual information such as this allows the museum to tell a more complete story of who Mario was as an artist and about the recurring characters he deftly included in his intaglios.”
The woodcarvings have been digitized and are available for viewing on the Society’s website, www.kwahs.org/collections. For more information about the donation, or to discuss possible donations to the Society, contact Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x112 or email@example.com.
Each year, the Tennessee Williams Museum, in partnership with the Key West Art & Historical Society, hosts its annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration throughout the month of March. Activities include a series of literary-based programs, contests and fundraisers celebrating the renowned American playwright Tennessee Williams, a 34-year resident of the island.
As a component of Williams’ birthday festival, the museum organized poetry and short story contests. It would like to recognize all the 2022 winners.
First place in the poetry contest was awarded to Paul Milenski of Massachusetts for “I Knew You as Thomas Lanier Williams at Iowa,” while second place went to Joseph Stanton of Hawaii for “Paper Lanterns.” In the short story component of the contest, Annette Holmstrom of Washington state was awarded first place for “Good Night Irene,” while second place went to Mary Lou Condike of Big Pine Key for “The Yellow Poster.” The winners of the contest were awarded certificates and a monetary prize sponsored by Laurie McChesney of Preferred Properties.
To read the prize-winning writing submissions, visit https://www.kwahs.org/museums/tennessee-williams/twfestival. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.
Lower Keys Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Acute Care Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.
Lower Keys Medical Center underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review February 16 – 18, 2022. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with Acute Care Hospital Accreditation standards spanning several areas including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, medication management, and rights and responsibilities of the individual.
The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.
“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Lower Keys Medical Center for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”
"I'm so proud of our team at Lower Keys Medical Center. Joint Commission Accreditation surveys occur every three years, unannounced, but our employees believe in being ‘survey-ready’ every day. We know that the practices that are measured by The Joint Commission are, in fact, the best practices for us to follow daily for patient safety and optimal outcomes. We are pleased to be able to maintain this Gold Seal of Approval® and to continue to provide quality, compassionate care to our community," said David Clay, CEO of Lower Keys Medical Center.
Lower Keys Medical Center is also accredited by The Joint Commission for Laboratory Services and as a Primary Stroke Center. Other accreditations include the American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center, the American College of Radiology for Mammography, and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for Echocardiography Services. The hospital has also been recognized with the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines”: Stoke Silver Plus Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.
Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens
Deadline: Tue, May 3, 2022
In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, and Robert Frost (1874-1963), The Studios of Key West is delighted to host the Annual Children and Teen Poetry Contest each year. Following spring break, the contest will be open to all Monroe County children & teens.
Monroe county students are encouraged to submit poetry entries to the Robert Frost Poetry Contest for Children and Teens by May 3. Children aged 6-12 and teens aged 13-18 are encouraged to mail or drop their poems off at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton Street. Students may also submit written works by emailing poems to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students should include their name, parent or guardian’s name, phone number and age with submissions. Poetry can be any length, based on any subject, and be rhymed or unrhymed. Teachers may also submit the work of their students.
Cash prizes are as follows: $150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place, in each age category.
National Poetry Month is a worldwide celebration that highlights poetry’s vital place in our culture. The Florida Keys have a special connection with Robert Frost, who won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry, and wintered many years at the garden cottage of the Heritage House in Key West. Through funds established by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, the contest for children and teenagers was created in his honor, and nurtures and develops the interest of budding poets, and their vital connection to the Keys’ creative spirit.
Winners will be announced online and recognized at an awards reception and public reading to be held at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street, on May 21, 2022. Made possible by the Jeane and Jessie Porter Memorial Fund
Contact: Michelle Boscamp, Marketing and Development Coordinator 305-296-0458 / email@example.com
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 and 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.
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