BIG COPPITT KEY, FL – A new four-way stop was installed on Tuesday on Big Coppitt Key at the 4th Street and Avenue F intersection. The intersection was previously a two-way stop in a residential neighborhood with a county park nearby. Monroe County received a request from a resident to evaluate the intersection. The County’s traffic engineering consultant performed a traffic study that indicated the curved geometry of Avenue F and the parked vehicles, vegetation, and utility poles restrict sight distance at the intersection, which warrants a four-way stop at that intersection.
MARATHON, FL – On Tuesday, AJAX celebrated the “topping off” of the new Monroe County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Marathon. The topping off is the completion of the highest point of the building. Monroe County Mayor Pro Tem Holly Merrill Raschein and Commissioners David Rice, Michelle Lincoln, and Jim Scholl toured the building with County Administrator Roman Gastesi, County Attorney Bob Shillinger, and other key staff who will call the new EOC home. Once finished, the category 5 rated EOC will house Monroe County Emergency Management, Monroe County Fire Rescue administration, and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 call center. The EOC is expected to be completed in spring 2024.
Highlights of the building include:
Commissioners Lissette Carey and Jimmy Weekley, Tree Commission Chairman Misha McRAE, Tree Commission Board member Ed Cunningham, Coastlove’s Alicia Manfroy, Mayor Teri Johnston, Urban Forester Karen DeMaria, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow. Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover is in attendance on the dais.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission, during last week’s meeting, proclaimed April 29th as Arbor Day. The day will be celebrated with a much-needed cleanup and tree planting.
Arbor Day is observed nationally to celebrate the role of trees in our lives and promote tree planting and care. The City of Key West has long recognized the importance of its trees and its environment and has been a member of Tree City USA for 11 years.
This year, said the City’s Urban Forester Karen DeMaria, the community is teaming up with Coastlove for a cleanup and planting at the Key West Nature Preserve on Atlantic Blvd.
The not-for-profit organization Coastlove’s mission is to end ocean plastic and coastal degradation through action and education while empowering coastal communities to create change.
Hurricane Ian, which struck the island in September of last year, heavily damaged the nature area.
“This family-friendly public cleaning and planting event,” said DeMaria, will be held on April 29th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the western access area to the preserve to celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day.”
The City of Key West’s City Manager’s Office and Code Compliance Department are convening three community meetings for the amending of the Sound Control Ordinance.
The dates and locations are as follows:
Wednesday, May 3rd at 2 p.m.
City Hall Commission Chambers
1300 White Street, Key West, Florida, 33040
Monday, May 15th at 10 a.m.
City Hall Commission Chambers
1300 White Street, Key West, Florida, 33040
Wednesday, May 24th at 5:00 p.m.
City Hall, Commission Chambers
1300 White Street, Key West, Florida, 33040
The May 3rd meeting will be focused on residents’ concerns and discussions. The May 15th meeting will focus on businesses’ concerns and discussions. The May 24th meeting will be focused on both residents’ and businesses’ concerns and discussions.
Members of the Key West City Commission and other Board members may be in attendance at these community meetings.
Dry Tortugas National Park has limited options for vessels landing on Garden Key during grouper season
Closures will last until repairs are completed in 2024
KEY WEST, Fla. – Dry Tortugas National Park announced limited options and closures for private vessels landing on Garden Key. The park typically experiences increased use by boaters fishing during grouper season, which begins in May. The finger piers and main dinghy beach sustained damage from Hurricane Ian in 2022 and remain closed until repairs can be made.
Beginning May 1, the small dinghy beach between the main dock and the seaplane beach will be open from sunrise until 10 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to sunset. The beach will be closed to all landings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow for safe maneuvering of the ferry and seaplane access. Vessels are prohibited from using the seaplane beach.
The adjacent Bush Key is also closed for sea turtles and nesting birds at this time of year. No landing or anchoring is permitted within 100 feet of the shoreline of Bush Key.
Private vessels may use the main dock when available but will be limited by available space. The east end of the main dock is reserved for the Yankee Freedom III between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Vessels may use the west end of the dock when available, but dock space is limited to approximately three boats tied to the dock and no more than two boats deep (hip to hip). Total allowable dock usage for one day is two hours (cumulative) per vessel and no overnight docking is permitted.
Priority use of the main dock is given in this order: emergencies, government vessels, vessels under contract (such as the Yankee Freedom III), and the public.
The National Park Service has secured funding for repairs to the finger piers and dinghy beach, but repairs are not expected to be completed until sometime in 2024.
As a reminder, all private boats recreating or stopping in Dry Tortugas National Park must obtain a boat permit at the Garden Key dock house before recreating within the park.
Visitors should also be aware of temporary closures to sections of the moat wall for snorkeling and walking while coral relocation work is taking place from April through June.
For more information about boating in the park, visit the boating page on the park’s website at: https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/boating.htm.
For more information about Dry Tortugas National Park, visit nps.gov/drto or follow the park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Sail into Historic Exploration with Key West Art & Historical Society, SV Argo Navis and Keys Historian Cori Convertito
Florida Keys historian and curator Dr. Cori Convertito will discuss Key West’s Historic Working Waterfront and its various industries during Key West Art & Historical Society’s upcoming Historic Seaport Sail onboard the luxury yacht Argo Navis on May 6. (Photo Credit: Key West Art & Historical Society)
April 24, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). On Saturday, April 6, launching at 9:00 a.m., noted Florida Keys historian and curator Dr. Cori Convertito will lead the last in a series of monthly historically informative two-hour seafaring excursions presented by Key West Art & Historical Society in partnership with S/V Argo Navis.
Passengers aboard the luxury catamaran Argo Navis will enjoy bloody marys, mimosas or non-alcoholic beverages and light breakfast fare while Convertito shares the illuminating back-story and personal insights on the day’s topic, “Our Historic Working Waterfront.” During her talk, she will explore the diversity of work along Key West’s waterfront and will reveal the complex interconnections of waterfront employment during the island’s history. Diverse forms of work ranged from shipbuilding, wrecking, sponging, turtling, shrimping, and fishing. The talk will also consider how the waterfront and Key West’s Historic Bight has changed over time, the reasons for these changes and implications for the future.
Historic Seaport Sails are limited to 50 attendees; reserve your spot now at kwahs.org/upcoming-events - $75 for KWAHS members, $90 for non-members. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust and S/V Argo Navis.
For more information, contact Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x112 or email@example.com. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
The Key West Art & Historical Society Welcomes Families to Fort East Martello Museum on Community Day
The Key West Museum of Art & History is hosting its monthly Family Museum Day program on Sunday, May 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monroe County families can visit the Fort East Martello Museum free of charge to enjoy a self-guided tour and create a Jack Baron-inspired art project. (Photo credit: Key West Art & Historical Society)
April 24, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). On Sunday, May 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., join the staff of the Fort East Martello Museum, located at 3501 South Roosevelt Boulevard, to explore one of the island’s Civil War-era forts and its exhibits which encompass our rich and diverse history. Dubbed “Family Museum Day,” the program is designed to coincide with the Society’s wildly popular Community Day, a day offering free museum admission for Monroe County residents the first Sunday of each month.
While on the property, families are invited to take a self-guided tour of the fort and citadel, explore the outdoor sculpture garden and view artwork created by celebrated Keys folk artist Stanley Papio. Another free component of Family Museum Day is that children and adults are encouraged to create art that is inspired by late Key West resident Jack Baron that they can take away as a souvenir of their visit.
“Jack Baron moved to Key West in the late 1970s and began depicting everything from Key West residents to magnificent angels. His vivid use of color in both tapestries and paintings combined with his use of pointillism generated works of art that are truly unique and inspiring,” says Education Specialist Kassandra Collett. “Baron’s work is a favorite among students. Creating their own version of his Key West chickens on Family Museum Day is a great way for students to connect the island’s past with the present.”
The Family Museum Day program is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, and all supplies will be provided by the Key West Art & Historical Society. For additional information about the program, visit kwahs.org/upcoming-events. You can also contact Collett at 305-295-6616 x504 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
Key West Chamber President Diane Schmidt was honored at the 2023 Key West President Club Dinner hosted by Key West Presidents Club founders Patricia Neyra and Diane Eliopoulos at the Hellings Curry Museum; home of the Key West Woman’s Club.
Diane was joined by Lodging Association Chair Johan Amneus, Key West Business Guild President Alan Beaubien, Key West Woman’s Club President Susan Mitchell & Key West Attractions President Andrew Morawski. The community leaders were united in appreciation of their volunteer service and the event serves to bond the Presidents in a manner that collectively harnesses their strength which can be called upon under special circumstances that requires the full attention of our community leaders. The key role of the host is to reach out and bring together these find community leaders and assist in forging strong relationships that will have a long-lasting positive effect on our island home.
Celebration of the Sea Foundation Launches International Interactive Educational & Conservation Exchange Program in the U.S. & Mexico in Collaboration with Monroe County Schools
International Sister Cities Exchange Program features leading scientists, teachers, students and conservation organizations in announcement April 23 – 26
WHO: The Celebration of the Sea Foundation, its board, Monroe County government officials and a wide variety of leading education, conservation and research organizations along with Ten Mexican Ocean Heroes Ambassadors from the “Sister City” of Cancún, Mexico
WHAT: Officially announce the launch of the “Ocean Heroes” international interactive educational and conservation exchange program which features a unique global public-private partnership between leading scientific, educational and conservation organizations
WHEN: 2 p.m.
Monday, April 24
WHERE: Murray Nelson Government Center
102050 Overseas Hwy. in Key Largo
SCHOOLS: The initial schools that have been selected to pilot the program are
Treasure Village Montessori School in Islamorada and Sugarloaf School in Summerland Key in Florida. The Leonardo Da Vinci Schools in Cancún, Mexico, which are officially certified as Cambridge International Bilingual educational institutions, have been selected as the initial international “Sister City” educational locations.
On Tuesday April 25, divers and Monroe County public school students will participate in a coral restoration project. Divers will depart from the Mote Marine Lab Islamorada Coral Nursery at Bud N’ Mary’s Marina and led by I.CARE About Corals with the Ocean Heroes partnering U.S. and Mexican scientific, educational and conservation organizations.
A major focus of the education program is on highlighting extraordinary ocean conservation role models and respective jobs and career paths for students in STREAM (Science, Technology, Resiliency, Engineering, Arts & Math), eco-tourism, fisheries, hospitality and the marine industries. An additional key goal of each program is to bring public attention to critically important environmental issues, while engaging, educating and inspiring children and their families to help protect and ensure the sustained well-being of marine animals and their respective habitats.
The Ocean Heroes program features in-school enrichment programs and state-of-the-art, live-streamed interactive broadcasts. Both will be complemented by pre-recorded video content, produced by the Celebration of the Sea Foundation, in collaboration with select U.S. and Mexican based educational, conservation and research organizations.
The Ocean Heroes program provides direct access to a broad range of international thought leaders who serve as extraordinary role models for students and teachers in a wide variety of key subject areas. These include marine plastics and their direct impact on marine ecosystems, marine animal rescue and protection, fish species identification and population studies, endangered and invasive species, civic leadership and governance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Ocean Heroes program will continue to showcase critically important habitat conservation and restoration efforts that are currently underway including coral reefs and mangroves while highlighting their direct interconnectedness with Everglades National Park, the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and Cenotes in Mexico.
For more information about how your school can participate in the Celebration of the Sea Foundation’s Ocean Heroes program or to become an official corporate or philanthropic sponsor to support our amazing students and teachers please contact Info@CelebrationOfTheSea.org.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County Mayor Craig Cates and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month, recognizing that Equal Housing Opportunity is guaranteed to all Americans under Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Law. Monroe County Land Authority Executive Director Christine Hurley accepted the proclamation at Wednesday's regularly scheduled meeting.
"Monroe County is pleased to join in that designation since it provides an opportunity for all Americans to rededicate themselves to the principles of freedom of housing choice and to reacquaint themselves with the rights and responsibilities that are theirs under the law," said Cates in the resolution. "Fair housing is consistent with the principle of equality and justice for all – principles upon which our nation was founded – we all need to share in the fight to ensure fair housing is a reality for all residents."
The Monroe County Land Authority supports fair housing by buying land and partnering with affordable housing developers and can contribute funding to affordable housing construction with a federal partner to provide housing opportunities for all community members. The Land Authority also has a program that can buy out hurricane-damaged properties from willing sellers. The Monroe County Housing Authority, a separate entity, provides fair housing education and outreach services in the Florida Keys.
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