The Navy League, Key West Commissioning Committee provided an unforgettable Key West-style commissioning for the crew of the USS Lenah Sutcliffe HIGBEE (DDG 123), on 13 May 2023, at the outer Mole Pier, Key West, FL.
The small group of Commissioning Committee members worked tirelessly for over a year, raising funds, getting the word out, and pulling the community together, to pull off an amazing week of events that showcased our city and our remarkable local sponsors. “I am amazed at the generosity and love of the military displayed by all of our sponsors”, remarked PAO Cindy McCausland. “From the National sponsors like Waypoint LLC, Lockheed Martin, and Ingalls to our local community like the City of Key West, Monroe County Tourist Development Council, and the Marriott Beachside, we were absolutely overwhelmed.” The Committee and the Key West Art and Historic Society hosted a Kick Off event in November and continued hosting events throughout the year: a “Color
the USS Higbee” Coloring Contest with the School District, Girl’s Night Out at the Hemingway Rum Company, a booth at the Air Show and Artisan Market, and lots more.
When the HIGBEE finally arrived on 5 May, the Navy League Commissioning Committee and the Truman Little White House hosted a Welcome Reception for the ship and events for the 280 crew members continued every day till they departed on 13 May. Crew Activities Coordinators, Abe Conn and Cathy Crane kept the crew busy and really showed them the best of Key West. Abe Conn added, “The crew became family after day two. They said they all had such an incredible time, and were so grateful to the Key West Navy League.” All the local museums were free for the crew and families and offered VIP tours and receptions: Hemingway House, Key West Woman’s Club, Art and Historic Society, Historic Tours of America, Truman Little White House, and more. There was a barbecue at Rick’s Bar, an incredible Party at Irish Kevin’s, Fury Sunset Sails, and an unforgettable concert at the Amphitheater featuring a free buffet by Catered Affairs and local celebrities Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24 Band, Cliff Cody, and Kristin McNamara. All the local media, including US1 Radio, Keys Weekly, the Citizen, and Konk Life advertised our events free of charge and really boosted participation.
The highlight of the Commissioning Week was the Chairmans Reception, sponsored by Marriott Beach Side, who also hosted the Platform Briefing Breakfast and the amazing
Key West style Post Commissioning Reception with Cuban sandwiches and key lime pie for all. Distinguished speakers at The Chairman’s Reception included the Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro; Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operation; Rear Adm. Cynthia Kuehner, Director of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps; the Honorable Donald Norcross, U.S. Representative, New Jersey’s 1st District and member of the House Armed Services Committee; and the Honorable Teri Johnston, Mayor of Key West. Emcee Captain Marty Jenkins, (USN Ret) Navy League, Key West Commissioning Committee Chairman, thanked all of our many sponsors and the hard-working Commissioning Committee. "I could not be prouder of our commissioning committee. We not only crushed our goals but made a Commissioning ceremony into a week-long event that the city and ship's crew won't forget." He presented an amazing ceremonial cake and oil painting of the HIGBEE by local artist Ric McCausland to the ship from the Commissioning Committee. He added, “One of our key goals for this event was to enhance community involvement with the commissioning and, via this event, with the Navy. We're very pleased with the donations and participation from the people of Key West as well as the industry donors. Fits perfectly with our charter: To Advocate for, Educate about and Support the Sea Services.”
The HIGBEE was named for Navy Nurse pioneer, Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee. Nurse Higbee was the first woman to receive the Navy Cross for her exemplary work as Superintendent of the newly formed U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.
Because of this, the commissioning was held on 13 May, the birthday of the Navy Nurse Corps and the guest speaker was Rear Adm. Cynthia Kuehner, Commander, Naval
Medical Forces Support Command and Director of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She wished the Corps happy 115th birthday and reflected on its being one of the “greatest enhancements to the fighting strength of our Navy over the past 247 years of its rich history and celebrating the legacy of Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee.”
Over 2,000 local community members were excited to attend the Commissioning and the tours of the ship. This was an amazing event for the Conch Republic, as promised by Eddie Kertis, Key West Navy League Commissioning Committee Finance Chair.
“If you’ve never seen a ship commissioning, you’re in for a treat. It’s by far one of the military’s most impressive traditions.” The Navy League Key West Commissioning Committee and the Commissioning did not disappoint.
For more information on the HIGBEE commissioning and the Navy League, Key West Council visit www.higbeecommissioning.org or www.navyleaguekeywest.org.
Caption Photo #1 Higbee. “USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)”
Caption Photo #2 welcome ship. “Navy League, Key West Council welcomes the USS HIGBEE to Key West.”
Caption Photo #3 welcome reception “Crew Members pose at the Welcome Reception at the Truman Little White House”.
Caption Photo #4 Oil “Chairman Marty Jenkins presents an oil painting by Ric McCausland to CDR Doug Brayton, CO, USS HIGBEE.” Photo by Cindy McCausland
Caption Photo #5 Bring the ship to life. “USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee’s Commanding
Officer Cmdr. Douglas Brayton, reported the ship ready to Capt. Courtney M. Minetree,
Commodore, Destroyer Squadron 21, and all three sponsors gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is seeking Monroe County artists of all genres (visual, music, dance, literary, etc.) to apply for three grant opportunities. The deadline for Art Builds Community, Artist in Schools and Special Project grants is June 30 at 5pm. Applications are accepted online, and can be found at www.keysarts.com under the grants tab or on the link on the homepage.
Art Builds Community (ABC) grant, is designed to support arts and culture projects that spark conversations, spur social change, generate cultural equity and make our community stronger. Grant funding is offered at $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000 for projects that support, build and broaden access to the arts and specifically address civic challenges and community issues through the arts. Florida Keys artists, arts organizations and civic/community-based organizations are encouraged to form alliances and partnerships to strengthen communities through projects that connect the arts with local issues and opportunities for all people.
Artists in Schools Grant program invites teaching artists in the performing, visual, literary or historical arts into the classroom. Teachers and teaching artists are encouraged to collaborate on creative projects together to enhance the existing curriculum or to teach a new topic integrating the arts. All Monroe County public and private schools, as well as other organizations that serve children ages 5-18, are eligible to be partners for the teaching artist. This application is for the Fall 2023 semester. Artists in Schools grants are up to $2,000 per request.
Special Project Grants are intended for arts organizations or individual artists in Monroe County. The grant is to provide short-term support to vital, creative projects that do not fit into the other grant categories. Special Project funding is limited to once in three years, up to $2,000 per request.
Contact information: Please call the Florida Keys Council of the Arts for suggestions and assistance at 305-295-4369 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is the leading arts and cultural organization in the Florida Keys. As the non-profit local arts agency in Monroe County, it connects audiences from around the world to galleries, theaters, museums, festivals, dance, music and more from Key Largo to Key West. The Council makes grants, supports Art in Public Places, and promotes the destination for its rich and diverse history in art and culture. The Arts Council provides services to visual and performing artists, arts organizations, students and the public, striving to instill a passion for and participation in the arts.
“Motion Pictures at a Great Savings: A History of Florida’s Film and Television Industry” to be next Distinguished Speaker Series Talk featuring Dr. David Morton
May 30, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). On Wednesday, June 7, history and media studies professor Dr. David Morton will give a talk on the history of filmmaking in Florida as part of the Key West Art & Historical Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series. His lecture entitled, “Motion Pictures at a Great Savings! A History of Florida’s Film and Television Industry” takes place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton Street.
Often overlooked in its contribution to film history, Florida has played a key role in creating the modern entertainment industry. Morton’s presentation will discuss how Florida became a “third coast” to the American film and television industries over the past one hundred years. Starting with the first film pioneers in Jacksonville during the 1900s and 1910s to South Florida’s television boom during the 2000s and 2010s, Florida has inspired countless exciting stories captured by the camera.
“The history of filmmaking in Florida offers an alternate universe of sorts, raising the question, what would the American motion picture industry might have looked like if it had not been incumbered by the hegemony of the Hollywood studio system?” says Morton. “Unlike California, where the center of production has consistently been centered around Los Angeles, at different times over the past one hundred years Florida has had several different major production hubs.”
Several films will be highlighted during his presentation including “The Flying Ace,” “The Yearling,” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Of particular interest to attendees will be an emphasis on the motion picture “Carib Gold” that was filmed largely in Key West during the 1950s. Staring Ethel Waters, Coley Wallace, and Cicely Tyson, “Carib Gold” is a maritime-themed B-movie that tells the story of a sailor on a shrimp boat fishing off the Florida Keys who discovers a sunken treasure of gold while diving to repair some nets. Trying to lay claim to the treasure, violence erupts onboard the vessel resulting in the death of the captain. A manhunt ensues through the Keys by the harbor police and in several local seedy bars until the killer is brought to justice.
The presenter, David Morton, received his Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida in 2019, where he also is an instructor in both History and Media Studies. He was a recipient of the 2016-17 Fulbright scholarship and serves as program director for the Flickering Landscapes Conference Series. His forthcoming book, “Motion Pictures at Great Saving: A History of the Florida Film and Television Industry” is expected for publication in 2023 with University Press of Florida.
To reserve tickets for the lecture; visit kwahs.org/dss-morton - $12 for KWAHS members, $15 for non-members. Funding for this program was provided by Florida Humanities and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture. Additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust, Aloys & Carol Metty and The John & Marilyn Rintamaki Family Charitable Fund. For more information, contact Cori Convertito, Ph.D. at 305-295-6616 x507 or email@example.com. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
Key West, FL – May 31, 2023 Yacht Rock WKEY 93.7, owned and operated by Buddy Shula’s Radio One Key West, LLC has announced a unique partnership with Michael Stapleford’s Magnum Broadcasting, Inc. in Key West, which owns and operates Keys Talk WPIK 102.5 and WKEZ 96.9, along with WGAY Party 105.7.
“As a part-time resident of Key West, it is difficult for me to operate with a “boots on the ground” type sales role, so I am thrilled to have tapped Michael to be the official sales arm of WKEY 93.7 effective immediately.” Shula said. “There are few broadcasters that I respect more than Michael Stapleford. Not only does he know all aspects of radio, but he is a stellar person. I could not be happier to be working with and learning from Mike and his decades of radio ownership.” Shula continued.
In his role with Shula, Stapleford will have total control of WKEY-FM sales, in Key West and the lower Florida Keys.
Stapleford says, “My wife Diana, who is our Vice President of Corporate Operations, and me are excited about this opportunity to combine the sales of our two Key West stations, with Buddy’s WKEY-FM. We all share the same passion for radio, and I truly believe this will give Key West radio advertisers a larger choice regarding ideas, demographics, geography and most importantly, results. We look forward to giving our current clients, and new advertisers the options of three great radio stations in Key West.” Stapleford ended.
MONROE COUNTY, FL – Monroe County offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29. On Monday, Monroe County’s Veterans Affairs Department will participate in the Memorial Day wreath service at 10 a.m. at the Key West Veterans Memorial Garden at Bayview Park and is co-hosting with VFW Post 10211 a ceremony at the Murray Nelson Government Center at 11 a.m.
Ceremonies in Monroe County include:
“Memorial Day is the day our nation honors our service members who lost their lives in defense of our freedom,” said Monroe County Veteran Affairs Director Cathy Crane. “These men and women bravely made the ultimate sacrifice, and for that, we as a nation are eternally grateful.“
Memorial Day is traced back to the end of the Civil War and was known as Decoration Day, a day when graves of fallen soldiers were decorated in memory of their service. In 1971, Congress made Memorial Day a national holiday on the last Monday in May to pay tribute to those who died while serving in the military.
For more information on Monroe County Veterans Affairs, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/va, or call 305-453-8777.
Distinguished Wildlife Artist and Conservationist Guy Harvey to Sign Books and Art Prints at the Key West Museum of Art & History
Internationally renowned marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey will be signing copies of his highly acclaimed illustrated book, “Santiago’s Finest Hour” and his new book “10,000 Chicken Sandwiches – The Story of My Fishing Family, Jamaica 1956-1986” at the Key West Museum of Art and History on June 4, 2023, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Books and art prints will be available for purchase and Harvey will be available for meet-and-greets as well as photo opportunities.
In “Santiago’s Finest Hour” Guy Harvey draws inspiration from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea,” a novel that earned Hemingway the Nobel Prize in Literature. Through his pen-and-ink illustrations, Harvey has captured key moments from the novel about an aging Cuban fisherman named Santiago and his struggle to catch an enormous marlin in the Florida Straits. Fifty-nine of Harvey’s sketches appear with excerpts from Hemingway’s 1952 classic, giving new life to the exhausted old man and his surroundings.
Harvey, who grew up in Jamaica, began drawing Hemingway’s story in 1973 while studying marine biology at Aberdeen University in Scotland. In 1985, he displayed a series of forty-four original pen-and-ink drawings at an exhibit in Jamaica that depicted the famous fishing story. Based on the positive response he received at the exhibition, he began painting full time and by 1988 was providing custom artwork for use on a variety of products.
Harvey began to travel the world to gain more knowledge of the habits and activities of marine wildlife and became an avid scuba diver and skilled underwater photographer. A passion for the beauty and wonder of the underwater world has driven Harvey to be a leading conservationist and advocate for the protection of our environment. The Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University and The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation have taken on a leadership role in providing the scientific information necessary to understand and protect the world’s fish resources and biodiversity from continued decline.
In addition to the book signing, Monroe County families are invited to take a free guided tour of the “Depicting Hemingway” exhibition of Harvey’s original works as part of the museum’s popular Community Day program. They are also encouraged to join the education department on the porch for a free marine art project. Led by educator Kassandra Collett, families will have an opportunity to merge art and science by creating their own Gyotaku prints. Much like Harvey’s paintings of marine life, this form of Japanese printmaking has enabled fishermen to document various species and size of their catch. These records have provided marine scientists with detailed information about conservation efforts that are essential for the future of our oceans.
For more information about the book signing and Dr. Harvey’s visit, contact Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x507 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
Mayor Teri Johnston recently participated in the “Motivating Coastal Communities to Action: Mayors’ Panel” at the 2023 Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Summit at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort.
Mayors of Florida’s coastal communities discussed how they are balancing quality of life priorities, tourism and the challenges of sea level rise and flooding. The panelists shared perspectives on increased risks and programs and investments to be Resilient Ready.
On Friday, May 19th the community paid tribute to those brave men and women in law enforcement who have fallen in the line of duty. The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service was held at Bayview Park in Key West.
Hosted by the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the ceremony included a traditional laying of the wreath, Taps, and a 21-gun salute.
Bishop Derrick Anderson gave the invocation. Key West Vice Mayor Samuel Kaufman read the City of Key West proclamation recognizing both National Police Week, and the Memorial. County Commissioner Jim Scholl read the county’s proclamation. Then, MCSO Capt. David Smith and KWPD Capt. Randy Smith read the names of the officers lost in the line of duty in Monroe County.
Nationally, 246 officers died in the line of duty in 2022. In Florida, seven officers were killed in the line of duty. Monroe County did not lose an officer in the line of duty during 2022.
“Our community has been blessed for another year in not adding names to the national roster of lost lives,” said Key West Police Captain Randy Smith. “And we honor those members of the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office who, in years past, made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be here today.”
The names of Keys officers who have died in the line of duty were read as a special remembrance during the ceremony:
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Capt. David Smith praised the officers who put their lives on the line each and every day.
“We also pay a very special tribute to the surviving family members who are still with us today,” he added. “I want to encourage everyone to keep telling the stories of our fallen heroes so, their light will always shine.”
Key West City offices will be closed on Monday, May 29th 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 the USS Maine Memorial.
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 Southern Keys Cemetery on Big Coppitt Key.
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