Commemoration of the 400-year anniversary of the sinking of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, along with several other 1622 Fleet ships, is to be the centerpiece of this year’s Mel Fisher Days celebrations, recognized from September 2 to September 6 with a series of fun, fascinating, and educational events held at multiple island locations. Anyone enthralled with sunken shipwrecks, lost treasures, FINDING lost treasures, marine archaeology, recovered artifacts, and the unique camaraderie forged in the 16-year quest led by famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher will find events and activities to immerse in.
Links to tickets and reservations, the event schedule and the 2022 online charity auction benefiting Wesley House Family Services of Monroe County and the Michael Abt. Jr. Have A Heart Foundation can be found at www.melfisherdays.com.
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners welcomed three new Firefighter/EMTs to Monroe County Fire Rescue at today’s regularly scheduled meeting. Family and friends joined the commissioners and fire rescue staff at a badge pinning and oath presentation.
“The hard work they put in makes my job easier,” said Monroe County Training Battalion Chief Charlie Mather. He said to the new hires, “The challenges placed before you to get into fire service were small; never lose sight of the passion you had to get here nor let go of the compassion and empathy you need for the lives you will impact.”
The three new hires include:
The City of Key West and the U.S. Coast Guard cordially invite the community to the ceremony designating Key West as a Coast Guard City. The ceremony will be held on August 4, 2022 at the Truman Waterfront Park inner mole near the USCG Cutter Ingham Museum. The ceremony commences at 10 a.m. and coincides with the Coast Guard’s 237th anniversary.
The recognition as a Coast Guard City is a rare and great honor. It is bestowed to communities for their outstanding support of the U.S. Coast Guard.
USCG Commandant Admiral Linda L. Fagan will preside over the event. Also on the dais will be USCG District 7 Commander Rear Admiral Brendan C. McPherson, Commander of the USCG Sector Key West Captain Jason Ingram, Key West Mayor Teri Johnston, and Key West City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
“We are humbled by this recognition,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin. “Our community has a long history of supporting the military. The Coast Guard plays an important role here. But more than that, its members are part of the fabric of Key West. Being named a Coast Guard City is truly an honor.”
This designation makes Key West just the 22nd city in the nation recognized as a Coast Guard City.
The Coast Guard in Key West was established in 1915. After nearly a century of service, Sector Key West was stood up in 2004. It is a unified command consisting of six fast response cutters, three small boat stations, an Aids to Navigation Team and a number of staff departments. The Sector Commander performs the duties of search and rescue, mission coordination, Captain of the Port and much more. Sector Key West has a unique area of responsibility: 55,000 square miles bordering the territorial seas of Cuba and the Bahamas.
COMMISSIONERS DISCUSS FISCAL YEAR 2023 AT BUDGET WORKSHOP; APPROVE FY23 PROPOSED DECREASED MILLAGE RATE
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met today to discuss the proposed $512 million Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget. The budget includes the Board of County Commissioners, the constitutional officers, like the Sheriff's Office, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, and Clerk of Court, and other appropriations for the Tourist Development Council, capital projects, and reserves.
Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi and Budget and Finance Director Tina Boan presented the tentative budget with FY23 estimates of residential real estate trends, taxable property values, sales taxes, and state shared revenues, along with fund balance, reserves, and general fund.
With the proposed budget and countywide average property values, a homesteaded residential property owner with an average appraised assessed taxable value of $469,161 in 2022 will see a $0.66 monthly decrease in their property tax for the FY23 year with the tentative budget. The taxable value is different from the market value.
Some of the FY23 budget highlights:
FY23 Budget Timeline:
The Monroe County Office of Budget and Finance provides coordination and development of the budget. The award-winning office continues to work with inflation issues, Hurricane Irma, and COVID-19 impacts while providing for the department's daily operations, program enhancements, capital projects, and infrastructure improvements.
For more information about the budgeting process, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/budgetandfinance.
Key West Police Officer Randy Perez responded to a unique call Monday night: a baby turtle rescue.
The tiny turtles hatched on the beach at the Pier House. But instead of heading to the water, they began trekking across the wooden decking of the closed restaurant.
With the help and direction of Samantha from the Key West Wildlife Rescue Center, the turtles were safely redirected back to the ocean and a life ahead.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts, in conjunction with the Key West Writers Guild, is pleased to announce that Janette Stone has garnered this year's writing award for her manuscript, “Prairie Lotus Flower”. Janette, a native Australian, is living her dream of teaching around the world, while being based in Key West.
This year marks the nineteenth annual award which is supported by an endowment under the administration of the Arts Council. Past winners include: C.J. Geotis, Kristina Neihouse, Dale Dapkins, Lisa Mahoney, Joanna Brady Schmida, Richard DeGrasse, Harry Schroeder, the late Elizabeth Warner, Eddie Goldstein and Rusty Hodgdon. Ms. Stone has a diploma in Teaching from Alexander Mackie College, Sydney, Australia, and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Music and a Master of Education in Elementary Curriculum from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. She founded and directed award winning choirs in Australia and Canada and has performed in plays, musicals, television, and film. Other book titles include Gifts from Time and Place, a collection of short stories portraying the resilience of the human spirit, and Alexis’ Island, a co-authored book for children about a ten-year-old boy living on a sailboat in Key West.
The manuscript was anonymously reviewed in a competitive field of submittals and selected by three distinguished judges: Bonnie Greenberg of Conch Key, has 30 years of grant writing and business management experience and holds a BFA in professional writing from Emerson College. Stephen Kitsakos is an opera librettist, stage director and art maker. A graduate of New York University and the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, he was also a member of the Theatre Arts Faculty at SUNY New Paltz in New York’s Hudson Valley. Lois Wolfe Markham worked as an Associate Professor of English at Florida Keys Community College, and prior to that was a Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at University of Miami, Florida International University, and Miami Dade College. Lois received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University and her PhD in Comparative Studies: Literature and Linguistics from Florida Atlantic University.
Local writers with works in progress are encouraged to apply for the 2023 award of $2000. To qualify, one must be a resident of Monroe County, a member of the Key West Writers Guild, and working on either a novel or a work of non-fiction. Applicants must read from their work at two meetings of the Key West Writers Guild. Membership is paid annually, and meetings are held at 9:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. For more information – please visit the Arts Council website www.keysarts.com
Image attached: Janette Stone, Winner Key West Writer’s Guild Award 2022
The College of the Florida Keys will hold “Fast Track to Fall” events the last week of July to help prospective students quickly get on a pathway toward their academic and career training goals this fall semester. There will be events at the Key West Campus on Tuesday, July 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and at the Upper Keys Center in Key Largo on Monday, July 25 and Tuesday, July 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
New student applications are due August 7 and classes begin August 19. New students who participate in a Fast Track to Fall session will have their application fee waived, a savings of $30, receive a $100 Kick-Starter Scholarship, and be entered in a gas card raffle.
Fast Track to Fall activities will connect future students and their families directly with knowledgeable CFK staff. Attendees will receive essential information about degree and certificate options as well as scholarships, financial aid, and payment plans, and personalized guidance through the application process.
Prospective students are encouraged to bring the following items, if readily available, to expedite the admissions process:
The playground at the Truman Waterfront Park has been completely resurfaced and it looks like a brand new park. The City of Key West’s Community Services Department stripped away the old surface, replacing it with a layer of Flexi-Pave, a soft, safe, porous material.
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