U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced new agency-wide guidance about the use of Red Notices and Wanted Person Diffusions, as part of its commitment to comply with the requirements of INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules on the Processing of Data. ICE Directive 15006.1 codifies and strengthens the agency’s best practices and supports the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) broader efforts to combat transnational repression by helping ensure Red Notices and Wanted Person Diffusions are issued for legitimate law enforcement purposes and comply with governing rules.
Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action. Wanted Person Diffusions serve a similar purpose but are circulated directly by an INTERPOL member country to one, some, or all other INTERPOL member countries.
Generally, ICE Directive 15006.1 prohibits ICE personnel from relying exclusively on a Red Notice or Wanted Person Diffusion to justify law enforcement actions or during immigration proceedings. If ICE personnel intend to rely on a Red Notice or Wanted Person Diffusion to help inform whether an enforcement action should be taken or during immigration proceedings, they should do so sparingly and only after certain threshold criteria have been met, as outlined in the directive.
ICE Directive 15006.1 instructs personnel to:
ICE officers make case-by-case determinations under federal immigration law to determine if individuals are removable noncitizens. In some instances, the interest of another law enforcement agency – either here in the United States or abroad – may inform the analysis of whether an individual is a noncitizen, is removable under the immigration laws, or qualifies for immigration relief or release from custody.
Everglades National Park and Everglades Guest Services to unveil the only hotel in Everglades National Park, new restaurant, and redesigned visitor center
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Everglades National Park and its authorized concessioner, Everglades Guest Services, will hold a grand opening event on Oct. 27 for the reconstructed and renamed Guy Bradley Visitor Center and the new Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant. The daytime celebration and ribbon cutting is open to the public, and a full event schedule can be found on the park’s website. The former lodge and visitor center building were damaged by hurricanes in 2005 and 2017. Located along the coast of Florida Bay, Flamingo is a premier destination in Everglades National Park at the southernmost tip of the Florida peninsula.
“We are excited to see these projects come to fruition after years of planning and hard work,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks. “We are grateful for the incredible public and private partnerships that have enabled us to once again make Flamingo a world-class destination for our park visitors.”
The Guy Bradley Visitor Center opened its doors in July. The former Flamingo Visitor Center was renamed for the first Audubon game warden, who was killed in the line of duty protecting wading birds during the plume hunting era of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The National Park Foundation, with generous support from the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the Alliance for Florida’s National Parks and the Florida National Parks Association contributed to the visitor center exhibits, landscaping and design, as well as other projects in the Flamingo area. The exhibits provide countless opportunities for visitors to learn more about the coastal ecosystem and its inhabitants, including cultural stories from the people who made homes in the challenging environment.
The recent renovations incorporate energy efficient features while meeting Florida building code for coastal high hazard zones. The park placed special emphasis on preserving the unique features of the Mission 66 architecture with its distinctive pink color and Miami Modern elements. The National Park Service's (NPS) Mission 66 campaign in the mid-1900s expanded visitor services and modernized park facilities leading up to the agency’s 50th anniversary. The lodge and restaurant also draw inspiration from this historic project.
The original Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant was a popular visitor spot for nearly 40 years. Following its destruction by hurricanes, the NPS conducted extensive feasibility studies and began planning for the new lodge in 2018. Considerations for resiliency and storm protection in the face of sea level rise from climate change were integrated in the design and building of the lodge, restaurant and visitor center.
Jointly funded by the NPS and Everglades Guest Services, LLC, an authorized concessioner of the NPS, Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant stands as a testament to infrastructure built with care in a delicate ecosystem.
“It is an honor to partner with the National Park Service to open the Flamingo Lodge and Restaurant,” shared Nico Foris, chief executive officer of Everglades Guest Services. “We are thrilled to continue our tradition of excellence in hospitality, offering another option at Flamingo in addition to our campsites, eco-tents and houseboats. We look forward to welcoming more park visitors this season and beyond.”
The lodge features a total of 24 rooms, constructed from durable shipping containers and raised off the ground by stairs. This includes eight two-bedroom suites that can accommodate up to six guests, twelve one-bedroom suites suitable for up to four guests and four studios designed for two guests. Additionally, four of the 24 rooms are ADA accessible and can be accessed by an elevator and walkway. The interiors blend industrial chic with subtropical influences, from palm tree-themed window shades to calming blue and green tones. Every room boasts an eastward-facing balcony, offering breathtaking sunrise and sunset views over Florida Bay.
Adjacent to the lodge, Flamingo Restaurant invites guests to indulge in traditional South Florida fare while enjoying views of nearby Florida Bay. Like the lodge, the restaurant is made from durable shipping containers. The restaurant offers meal service for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a full-service bar.
Lodge reservations are accepted now for stays starting Nov. 1. Nightly rates start at $159 for June through October and $259 from November through May, plus tax. There is a 14-day maximum limit on stays. A park entrance fee or pass is required to enter Everglades National Park to access Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant, both for vehicles and vessels. Gasoline and boat slips are also available at the Flamingo Marina and Store for visitors arriving by boat.
Located just two hours from downtown Miami, Flamingo provides visitors the opportunity to explore the nation’s largest subtropical wilderness through popular recreational activities such as fishing, boating, paddling, hiking, birding and wilderness camping. Abundant wildlife viewing opportunities await, from manatees to crocodiles and alligators.
For more information on overnight accommodations and other guest services, please visit https://flamingoeverglades.com/flamingo-lodge-restaurant/ or call 855-708-2207.
Learn more about Everglades National Park at nps.gov/ever or follow the park on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Guy Bradley Visitor Center | Flickr (Photo credit: National Park Service)
Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant | Flickr (Photo credit: Flamingo Everglades Adventures)
KEY WEST, Florida, September 28, 2023 - The Board of Directors announced Kerry Baker as the new Executive Director of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce. Baker has been with the Chamber for over 30 years. Her years of experience with the organization, her past performance as a staff member, and her community dedication made her the clear choice.
Baker has served as the organization’s Associate Executive Vice President for the last four years. She was raised in Key West and serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club. She has also started attending the Institute for Organizational Management with the US Chamber of Commerce.
Robert Goltz will be stepping down from his position as Executive Vice President and will be consulting for the Chamber through December. The Board wishes him the best in his future endeavors.
About The Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce:
Founded in 1922, the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce works as a catalyst for business success, a convener of leaders, and a champion for a sustainable thriving community. The Chamber represents businesses of all sizes from small family businesses to large corporations serving Key West and the surrounding communities. For more information on the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce, visit www.KeyWestChamber.org.
The Key West Museum of Art & History to Open Exhibition Exploring the Sculptural Artwork of Elizabeth Devries
September 28, 2023 – (KEY WEST, FL). The Key West Art & Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of its forthcoming exhibition “Key West Shutter Stories: The Artwork of Elizabeth Devries.” Known locally as Lizzie the Shutter Lady, this exhibition will showcase her sculptural vignettes assembled from historic window shutters salvaged from Key West homes. More than 40 pieces will be presented offering a compelling view of how the artist recreates everyday scenes from reclaimed material. The Society welcomes the public to a special reception on October 12 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front Street, to mark the exhibit opening.
Devries has been a craftsman in the Florida Keys for over thirty-four years, integrating historic pieces of old Key West into her three-dimensional works. She arrived in Key West in 1980 having no woodworking experience or knowledge of power tools. That quickly changed when she spotted a piece of wood that resembled a book. She set to work acquiring old house shutters – red from Tennessee Williams’ house, olive green from the Hemingway House and purple from the Artist House – in order to fabricate books and shelves to fashion an intricate library scene. Since then, Devries has crafted more than 100 diorama scenes, recreating familiar sights such as Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the Southernmost Point, Blue Heaven, Fuzzy’s Shoe Repair, and the Mariel Boatlift.
““Key West Shutter Stories” perfectly embodies the vision of the Key West Art & Historical Society, meticulously blending artistic imagination with historic vestiges from homes in Old Town,” says Dr. Cori Convertito, curator and historian for the Key West Museum of Art & History. “Her scenes embody a carefree spirit that is synonymous with the island’s blithe ambiance. Devries’ beautiful and intimate portrayals deliver a unique glimpse of her both as a person and artist.”
“Key West Shutter Stories: The Artwork of Elizabeth Devries” runs until January 1, 2024, in the Bumpus Gallery and is sponsored by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust. For more information, call Cori Convertito at 305-295-6616 x 507 or email@example.com. Your Museums. Your Community. It Takes an Island.
UPPER KEYS, FL – New toll rates on Card Sound Road will be effective on Oct. 1, 2023. The toll adjustment is following the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index.
The toll is completely electronic using Toll-By-Plate, SunPass, or another highway pass like E-Pass or EZ-Pass. No cash is accepted at the toll. The toll helps fund road maintenance costs and future repair and replacement of the five bridges along Card Sound Road.
Two discount programs are available for drivers with a two-axle vehicle and a good-standing SunPass account.
For more information on the toll and discount programs, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/cardsoundtoll.
Monroe County high school students can earn FREE college credit
KEY WEST, FL, September 22, 2023—The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) will hold a virtual event for Monroe County high school students and their parents/ guardians to learn more about its Dual Enrollment opportunities on Thursday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m. Through Dual Enrollment, high school students can simultaneously earn college and high school credits at no cost to the student. The program provides a head start to college for students while potentially saving families thousands of dollars. At the virtual event, CFK will discuss the benefits of taking Dual Enrollment classes, requirements to participate, and the application process.
Interested students and parents can sign up for the event and learn more about the Dual Enrollment program by visiting the College’s website at CFK.edu/DE. For more information, contact Marissa Owens, Director of Recruitment, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beloved County Commissioner to be Remembered During Annual Event October 16-20
Florida Keys – 2022’s inaugural “Be Like Mike” week was a huge success, so there’s no better way to continue Mike’s legacy than to keep it going in 2023. “Mangrove” Mike Forster was a Monroe County Commissioner and restauranteur. He was also a member of the United Way of Collier and the Keys’ Local Advisory Board at the time of his passing in 2021.
“Mike loved our community and lived to serve others,” said Leah Stockton, Keys Area President, United Way of Collier and the Keys. “He’d be so happy to see volunteers committing these small acts of kindness, whether it be donating a canned good or picking up litter.”
There are countless ways to help, but this year, UWCK is partnering with Reef Relief for “Be Kind to our Shoreline,” which provides volunteers different cleanup locations. For the second year, UWCK will partner with Burton Memorial Church in Tavernier, Keys Area Interdenominational Resource in Marathon and Star of the Sea Foundation in Key West for a food drive. The donations made in Mike’s name will honor his biggest contribution to our community: feeding the Keys in times of need.
Be Kind to our Shoreline Feed the Keys
*Volunteers needed for shoreline beach cleanup
OCT 16: Indian Key Fills Cleanup
OCT 20: Burton Memorial Church (Tavernier)
OCT 18: Long Key State Park KAIR (Marathon)
OCT 19: White Street Pier & Higgs Beach Star of the Sea (Key West)
While you’re out spreading good, you are encouraged to use the hashtag #BELIKEMIKE on social media. More details are available at https://uwcollierkeys.org/belikemike/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/belikemike2023
Proposed fee changes at Biscayne National Park to enhance visitor services at Boca Chita and Elliott Keys
Public comment period to run from September 22, 2023 to October 23, 2023.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The National Park Service (NPS) invites public comment on
proposed changes to fees on Boca Chita and Elliott Keys in Biscayne National Park, including the implementation of a docking fee and a flat camping fee. These fees would be utilized to enhance visitor services and better address common issues, such as trash pick-up and disposal, dock repair, resource damage mitigation and facilities repair and maintenance.
Under the park’s proposal, a $45 docking fee would be implemented at both Boca Chita Key and Elliott Key harbors, taking effect January 1, 2024. The second proposed change is the elimination of the current “camping only” fee (camping without docking a boat), leaving a flat camping fee of $35.
“The proposed fees would enable Biscayne National Park to enhance the overall quality of the visitor experience and management of these remote islands,” said Biscayne National Park Acting Superintendent Randalle Burton. “The public’s feedback on this proposal is important to us and will help inform plans to provide the park experience our visitors seek and deserve.”
Boca Chita Docking
Elliott Key Docking
Boca Chita Camping
Elliott Key Camping
$35/night boat docking and camping
$25/night camping only (no boat docking)
$35/night boat docking and camping
$25/night camping only (no boat docking)
Proposed 2024 Rates
Eighty percent of docking fee revenue stays at Biscayne National Park to fund projects related to visitor experiences. Recent examples of fee revenue improvements include improved park signage, updated comfort stations and newly replaced picnic tables and grills. The remaining twenty percent of collected fees is allocated for visitor experience improvements at non-fee parks throughout the NPS.
Comments regarding the park’s proposed docking fee may be submitted electronically on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website through October 23 at 11:59pm at:
Written comments may be mailed to:
National Park Service
Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328 Street
Homestead, FL 33033
About Boca Chita Key and Elliott Key. Boca Chita and Elliott Keys offer unique national park experiences. Accessible only by boat, both locations feature beautiful waterfront views, grassy camping areas, docks, restrooms, picnic tables and grills. Recreational opportunities like these at Biscayne National Park contributed to boosting the local economy with visitors spending $50.9 million on hotels, gas, and restaurants in 2022. These expenditures supported a total of 659 jobs, $25.8 million in labor income, $43.6 million in value added and $74.1 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding Biscayne National Park.
About Biscayne National Park. Within sight of downtown Miami, Biscayne National Park protects a rare combination of subtropical islands, mangrove shoreline, biodiverse coral reefs, and 10,000 years of human history. The park is ninety-five percent water and encompasses the northernmost Florida Keys. Most of the park is only accessible by boat. Home to a vast array of species, visitors to Biscayne might encounter sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and the West Indian manatee. To learn more please visit https://www.nps.gov/bisc/index.htm For regular updates from the park follow us on https://www.facebook.com/BiscayneNPS and https://www.instagram.com/biscaynenps/
MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met today to finalize the proposed $667 million Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) 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 budget with FY24 estimates of residential real estate trends, taxable property values, sales taxes, and state shared revenues, along with fund balance, reserves, and general fund.
“We are a little county with big county problems plus 5 million visitors a year,” said Gastesi. “This budget continues to meet our increased service demands for our residents, sustainability for our future, public safety, and more.”
With the finalized budget and countywide average property values, a homesteaded residential property owner with an average appraised taxable value of $484,735 will see an $11.24 monthly increase in their property tax for the FY24 year with the tentative budget. The taxable value is different from the market value.
FY24 budget key points:
The budget will go into effect Oct. 1, 2023 through Sept. 30, 2024. 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 and Hurricane Irma and Ian 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/budget.
MONROE COUNTY – The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners declared September as National Suicide Prevention and Action Month. The proclamation was created to raise the visibility of mental health and proactive suicide prevention resources in our community.
“We want to start the conversation, destigmatize it, and help connect people with the appropriate support services,” said Mayor Craig Cates in the proclamation. “Monroe County publicly places its full support behind those who work in mental health, education, and law enforcement.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, with more than 48,000 people dying by suicide annually in the United States.
“We encourage all residents to take time to understand mental health through education and recognize that we need to take care of our mental health while we care for each other,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing #988 on any phone. Locally, someone can also call the Guidance/Care Center’s 24-hour hotline for behavioral health crises at 305-434-7660, press 8.
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