City Manager Patti McLauchlin was recently awarded The Zonta Club of Key West’s Community Service Award.
“Zonta is a service organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women through service and advocacy,” said outgoing Zonta President Amber Shaffer.
“This year’s selection for Zonta's Community Service award holds the top executive position in the City,” she said as she presented the award. “She works every day to improve our City and the lives of our residents.”
The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, DC-based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers, recently released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. Lower Keys Medical Center has maintained a “B” Grade.
“Last fall, Lower Keys Medical Center improved from a C Grade to a B Grade in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades,” said David Clay, CEO of Lower Keys Medical Center. “We continue to strive for greater excellence in patient safety and pledge to honor the trust of our patients by being transparent about our progress while working toward the highest possible standards of safety and quality.”
Developed under the guidance of an expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assigns grades to approximately 2,600 US hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
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 offices will be closed on Monday, May 30th in honor of Memorial Day. During the day, there will be several services honoring the men and women who have died serving our country in the U.S. military.
The Navy League will host a ceremony at 9 a.m. at the Key West Cemetery.
At 10 a.m. a ceremonial laying of the wreaths will be held at the Veterans Memorial at Bayview Park.
At 11 a.m., there will be a ceremony at the Big Coppitt Cemetery.
Sunday marked the final day in a 27-year career for Key West Police Capt. JR Torres.
At last week’s City Commission meeting, Chief Sean Brandenburg, City Manager Patti McLauchlin and the entire City Commission gave thanks to Capt. Torres for his dedicated years of service, noting that, prior to his tenure with the police he served the community as a paramedic for ten years. In total, Capt. Torres has served the Key West community for 37 years.
Chief Brandenburg, in recognition of his outstanding service to the community, bestowed the honorary rank of Deputy Chief.
During his nearly three decades with the police, Capt. Torres has earned many honors, including the Medal of Valor, the Life Saving Award, and several Chief’s Commendations.
He served as a narcotics detective, K9 handler and patrol officer. Ten years ago, he was promoted to Captain and served as Patrol Captain until his retirement.
“This has been the most rewarding and honorable thing I’ve done in my life,” said Capt. Torres. “In my mind there’s nothing more rewarding that a person can do as a human being. That feeling you get when you put your head down at night knowing you have done right for others is priceless.”
Chief Brandenburg recapped Capt. Torres’s remarkable career and, in a long-standing joke around the station, noted that he was, indeed, the Chief’s favorite Captain.
“Congratulations, JR, on an amazing career,” he said.
At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, City Manager Patti McLauchlin presented Capt. Torres with a plaque honoring his service.
“We’ve worked together for 27 years,” she said, “Through thick and thin. I’m very proud of the service you’ve given to the community.”
For the month of June, SALT Gallery (830 Fleming St., www.saltislandprovisions.com) will feature “Imbue,” a collection of works by visionary Key West artist Emma Starr. To celebrate, SALT will host an opening reception at the gallery on Friday, June 10 from 6-8 p.m.
Starr, who signs her work, “emjay”, is a magician of sorts. She creates ineffable images from the Zen power of empty landscape, an enzo of all and nothing, when this becomes that…like magic.
Often the figure is landscape, and the landscape is figurative, but there is a quality to her point and shoot plastic camera images so direct, it stirs. Perhaps because the images are not photoshopped but made from film, even expired film, that the ghostly images emerge. They are haunting.
We are accustomed to seeing Emma’s Polaroids, but this new body of work is apart from that.
“The beautiful imperfections of expired film and lo-fi cameras create an unadulterated impression of nature’s harmonious shapes,” Starr says. “The intermittent presence of semi-submerged human form represents the vacancy of busyness…something we often forget to make time for as we reside on this island rock we call home. Grain, blur, and desaturated colors are the essence of the final image.”
Starr’s work will be on display at the gallery from June 1-30. SALT Gallery features an eclectic collection of local art, local sea salts, jewelry, pottery, wine and Florida Keys honey. Gallery owners Maria Sharpe and Laura Richardson, aided by expert Gallery Director Sarah Plaia Davidson, feature a new artist each month at SALT. For more information, call 305-517-6088 or visit www.saltislandprovisions.com.
The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer
The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is a 2022 Blue Star Museum! It will join museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2022 program will begin on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 21, 2022, and end on Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2022.
Blue Star Museums is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Blue Star Families, in collaboration with the Department of Defense and museums across America. Blue Star Families is the nation’s largest grass-roots military family support organization, with a mission to support military families to improve military readiness.
“Museums educate and inspire, cause us to wonder and imagine, dream and remember,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Blue Star Museums include children’s museums, art, science, and history museums, zoos, gardens, lighthouses.
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Military—Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force, members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), DD Form 1173-1 ID card or the Next Generation Uniformed Services (Real) ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.
In the photo: Commissioners Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley and Mary Lou Hoover, Business Guild Executive Director Kevin Theriault, Guild President Chuck Licis-Masson, Mayor Teri Johnston, Guild Vice President Jacqueline Luhta, Guild employee Fritzie Estimond, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission helped kick off a week of celebration by proclaiming June 1st through the 5th as Key West Pride Week.
Since the late 1970s, the Key West Business Guild has been promoting Key West as a LGBTQ travel destination.
“Key West made history by electing the first openly gay Mayor,” reads the proclamation, “and the first openly lesbian mayor of the State of Florida. Key West presented the world with the Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag and has always been a leader of LGBTQ rights and protections for our nation.”
Key West Business Guild President Chuck Licis-Masson thanked the City for the newly replaced rainbow crosswalks on Duval Street. He also thanked the Key West Police Department for the Pride-wrapped police car, which was sponsored by the Business Guild.
“What’s important to focus on,” he said, “is that differences mean strength. We are empowered by our differences, not weakened.”
The city’s motto “One Human Family” reflects the community’s commitment that no matter what a person’s race, sexual orientation, or gender identity, we all can stand together as one.
“Key West Pride 2022 will serve as a reminder to all of the ongoing struggle for social, political and personal equality for the LGBTQ community across our nation and throughout the world,” continues the proclamation.
Festivities through the week include a street fair, numerous parties as well as several church services. The celebration culminates in the Key West Pride Parade down Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic on Sunday, June 5th beginning at 5 p.m.
Fourteen Key West High School students this week graduated the Key West Fire Department’s Firefighters Academy. Proud families, members of the Key West Fire Department, and City officials were on hand during the ceremony to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of these students who have invested two years of training for their future careers as first responders.
These students earned certifications in Firefighter I, Emergency Medical Responder, and Hazmat Awareness.
Lt Tim Anson, who leads the academy, praised the group for the tenacity it requires to finish the academy, noting that they would do their grueling physical training in the early hours before heading off to a full day of high school.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin thanked the students for their community spirit and presented each graduate with a City challenge coin.
The two-year fire academy trains future firefighters while they’re attending their final two years of high school and provides them, upon completion, the equivalent training of a Certified Firefighter I, which puts them halfway through the training required to become a Key West Firefighter.
The Tennessee Williams Museum, located at 513 Truman Avenue, joins the island of Key West in celebrating its 200th Anniversary. The museum has expanded two of its historical exhibits that provide detailed material about two major gifts given by Tennessee Williams to the City of Key West.
The expanded exhibits showcase information about Williams’ writing, filming, and premiering “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West during the 1950s. Also, in 1981 Williams gifted the use of his name to the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, now called the Tennessee Williams Theatre. These are two of the many cultural and philanthropic contributions made by the playwright during his thirty-four-year residency that helped place Key West on the cultural and literary map.
Both of the museum’s exhibits have been repositioned and enhanced to provide new information about these gifts through the use of original photos by Don Pinder, playbills signed by the playwright, artifacts and stimulating details about the development and dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre.
The Museum is open for self-guided tours from Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30. p.m. An information sheet is available for guests that provides more in-depth details about the exhibits. For those seeking additional knowledge about the filming of “The Rose Tattoo” in Key West and the inclusion of local citizens and island locations in the film, or fascinating details about the dedication of the Tennessee Williams Theatre, Dennis Beaver, the Museum curator offers private day-time tours for four or more guests. Prior arrangements must be made by visiting the museum’s website https://www.kwahs.org/museums/tennessee-williams/visit
The City of Key West’s website is full of fabulous maps that let the community do everything from track transient rental units to see what roadwork is in the pipeline. There is even a map that allows you to research who is buried in a particular plot at the Key West Cemetery.
Just go to www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov and click on the drop down menu of City Departments. There you’ll see a link for the Geographic Information (GIS) Systems.
The latest addition to this valuable site are maps showing the location of legal transient rentals and a map of rental units.
Transient rentals are defined as any unit group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings rented for a period or periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month, or is advertised as a place rented to transients, regardless of the occurrence of an actual rental. Currently there are 850 of these licenses.
Non-transient rentals are defined as any unit, group of units, dwelling, building, or group of buildings within a single complex of buildings that are rented for a period of more than 30 days or one calendar month or is advertised as a place rented for more than 30 days or one calendar month, regardless of the occurrence of an actual rental. There are currently 2,508 of these licenses.
The transient rental map is a good tool for resident who wonder whether a house that seems to be renting for less than a month is a legally licensed transient rental.
If you find that the location is not legal, you are urged to call Code Compliance at 305-809-3737.
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