Monroe County Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners welcomed five new firefighters at a badge pinning and oath presentation at the October meeting. The newest members of Monroe County Fire Rescue are firefighter/EMT Brandon Colina, firefighter/EMT Luis Guardado, firefighter/Paramedic Cesar Lopez, firefighter/Paramedic Kyle Ondarza, and firefighter/EMT Aaron Nieves.
Monroe County Solid Waste Director Cheryl Sullivan presented solid waste management challenges and opportunities in southeast Florida at last Friday’s South Florida Regional Planning Council meeting in Boca Raton. Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties were at the conference. Also in attendance at the conference was Monroe County Commissioner Michelle Lincoln Coldiron. Sullivan discussed the unique challenges of solid waste and recycling collection along the 110-mile linear county that makes up the Florida Keys.
“Since we haul our trash to the mainland, collaboration with our northern neighbors is imperative to us in the Florida Keys,” said Lincoln Coldiron. “These counties face many of our same challenges, and we all work together to educate the public on best practices.”
A new term used at the conference included “wishcycling” – putting a non-recyclable item in the recycling bin, hoping it will be recycled. In Monroe County, items do not need to be separated, and residents and visitors can recycle:
You cannot recycle:
To learn more about recycling and solid waste programs like the Household Hazardous Waste and e-waste collection details, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/solidwaste.
Bus service changes for Fantasy Fest: There will be no bus service west of Simonton Street on Friday and Saturday October 28-29. Riders can catch the bus at Fausto's on Fleming or at United and Simonton. The last Lower Keys Shuttle will leave Fausto's on Fleming Friday and Saturday nights at midnight. There will be a free shuttle both days that runs from Key West High School to the Park N Ride on Grinnell.
Each year Key West guesthouses, businesses and private homes compete for cash prizes in the Fantasy Façade Competition. This year the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce has awarded $2000 in prize dollars to be shared among these 2022 winners:
Grand Prize goes to Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty, located at 1075 Duval Street, Suite 15, for their “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” inspired Fantasy Façade. Sloppy Joe’s, 201 Duval Street, won the best Big Business prize for their kinetic “Sloppy’s Pandemonium” Fantasy Façade. The best Small Business prize goes to Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, 4 Charles Street, for their “Revenge of the Kraken” Fantasy Façade. Jamie Gwidt, 807 Truman Ave., won Best Residence prize for her “Funky Pumpkin Patch.”
2022 Honorable Mentions go to the following participants for all of their spooky Façades creativity for this year’s “Cult Classics & Cartoon Chaos” themed Fantasy Fest: Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company, 1201 White Street; Mickey and Ed Kimiecik, 809 Whitehead Street; Artist House Bed and Breakfast, 534 Eaton Street; WeBeFit Personal Training, 1277 1st Street, Ste.1; Lisa Roper, 813 Whitehead Street; Olivia by Duval, 511 Olivia Street; An Island Oasis, 630 South Street; Wicker Guesthouse, 913 Duval Street; the Lucas family, 635 United Street; Key West Aloe, 416 Greene Street; Misty Weech, 1008 18th Terrace; Lee and Jody Clark, 1406 Olivia Street; Key West Women’s Club, 319 Duval Street; The Duval House, 815 Duval Street; and Duck and Dolphin Antiques, 601 Fleming Street.
Façade viewers are invited to visit all of the locations – especially at night to experience them from the spookiest perspective. To see an interactive map showing locations of all participating entries, visit https://fantasyfest.com/fantasy-façade.
Fantasy Fest 2022 is presented in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For a full calendar of events and schedule updates visit https://fantasyfest.com.
Trash collection is back to normal schedules. All collections are being conducted by Waste Management.. As a reminder of pre-storm rules, Waste Management reminds you:
Residential Garbage Collection: Garbage is collected one day a week for Key West residents and is incorporated in an individual's property annual tax assessment.
The City requires all garbage bags to be in a waste bin. Waste Management provides one bin per household. Additional bins are available for purchase through the local hardware stores if necessary. Not putting garbage bags in a waste bin may result in denial of pickup.
City Code: City of Key West Code of Ordinances Section 58-31 states containers may not be placed in City right-of-way before 4 p.m. the day before collection and must be removed by 8 p.m. the day of collection. It is against City Code to leave containers on the street or sidewalk.
Yard Waste: Once a week, pick up on the same day as all other solid waste from your home. Yard Waste must be in a container, paper bag, or tied in small bundles with twine less than 40 pounds and limited to 10 containers.
Pickup for Large Yard Waste Items: For large amounts of yard waste (for example, cutting down a tree), you can call Waste Management Inc. at 305-296-8297 or any hauler for an estimate for pickup or self-haul it to the City of Key West Solid Waste Transfer Station.
Monroe County Completes Hurricane Ian Storm Debris Collection; Reminder: Illegal Dumping is a Problem Paid for by Taxpayers
Monroe County completed its Hurricane Ian storm debris collection. In three weeks, Monroe County collected 866 tons, or 1.7 million pounds, including
All residents should return to the regular collection policy for yard waste, white goods, and appliances. As a reminder, yard waste receptacles should not weigh more than 50 pounds and should not be more than 12 inches above the container's rim. For vegetation over 50 pounds or bulk piles, contact your franchise hauler to estimate the cost for pickup/removal. Household items like couches or mattresses also require you to contact your local franchise hauler to arrange for a free pickup.
It is illegal and can be a felony to dump household appliances, construction materials, boats, trailers, RVs, and vegetative debris on County-owned vacant land and County rights-of-way and streets.
When someone illegally dumps, Monroe County taxpayers pay the extra disposal cost. The County is working on curtailing dumping at hotspots by adding surveillance to the areas. Call 9-1-1 for someone ACTIVELY dumping on vacant land or rights-of-way if you see illegal dumping in action. To report dumping that is not actively in progress, call the most appropriate Monroe County Sheriff substation for the area - do not call 9-1-1. Substation phone numbers can be found at www.keysso.net/locations.
"The illegally dumped debris affects our quality of life, wildlife, and marine habitats," said Cheryl Sullivan, Monroe County Director of Solid Waste. "We must discourage this behavior and report it if it is seen in progress."
Local haulers can remove many household bulk items at NO COST to the resident, like appliances and furniture, etc. Please contact your hauler to discuss your needs and schedule a pickup. Construction debris and large vegetative piles can be removed by contacting your local hauler for a fee. Call before you put it out curbside. Local haulers in the Florida Keys include:
Boats, boat trailers, RVs without motors, campers, and other oversized items can be disposed of at one of Monroe County's three transfer stations at a price per ton. To contact a transfer station regarding pricing, call:
For more information about solid waste, call 305-292-4323 or visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/solidwaste.
Holiday Helpers is a massive, Keys-wide toy drive that benefits six nonprofits with a goal of 2500 new toys by December 1st. The toy drive is organized by Wesley House Family Services so that each agency is not doing their own individual toy drive, and to make it cohesive for the public. For 2022, the toys will be shared with Wesley House, Early Learning Coalition, SOS Foundation, Kids Come First, The Guidance Care Center, and Samuel’s House. Every toy adds up! Please visit www.WesleyHouse.org/HolidayHelpers to shop the Amazon List or leave a toy in one of the collection boxes at 40 locations throughout the Keys. For more information contact Grace Epperly at 305.809.5000.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, Fire Chief Alan Averette and the entire City Commission honored Capt. Robert Franco for his 20 years of service to the Key West Fire Department.
He came to the department in 2002 as a certified firefighter and EMT. During his tenure he obtained several additional certifications, including paramedic, fire inspector, hazmat technician, and fire instructor. He has served as a member of the Hazmat Team, The Search and Rescue Team, and the Dive Team.
“Capt. Franco has demonstrated an unwavering dedication and strong work ethic since the day he was hired,” said Chief Averette. “He is a well-respected member of the Key West Fire Department. Congratulations on your 20 years of service.”
McLauchlin presented Capt. Franco with a gold watch and a City challenge coin commemorating his 20 years with the City.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts is proud to announce our 2023 Members Show, “200 Years of Island Life”. The Opening Reception will be held Wednesday, November 2, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the historic Gato Building, 1100 Simonton Street, Key West. The exhibition will remain on display through January 27, 2023.
Our Member Artists share in the spirit of celebrating Monroe County’s Bicentennial through their artwork, inspired by tropical landscapes, our diverse culture, and the unique history of the land and sea which surrounds us. Their artwork reflects our distinctive architecture, and the colorful sights and sounds of the fabulous Florida Keys. We hope you can join us!
The Gato building, which is home to many State and County offices, supports the Art in Public Buildings program which offers an alternate space for artists to display their work. Free parking is available, and the building is ADA accessible. Refreshments will be served.
The Florida Keys Council of the Arts supports visual, literary and performing artists and cultural organizations throughout the Keys with several grant programs and scholarships. We connect artists to each other and to their audiences.
Contact the Arts Council at 305-295-4369 with any questions.
Please join or renew your membership today. Visit keysarts.com or call 305-296-4369.
The City of Key West wants to warn residents to beware of unlicensed contractors. As often is the case following a disaster, people come in offering to do repairs and mold remediation, but they are not licensed contractors. Some may even be using license number that belong to another contractor.
We strongly urge everyone, before you let someone work on your property, call to verify that the individual doing the work is legally licensed. It will protect you from shoddy or uncompleted work. Contractors face a 3rd degree felony for working without a license.
You can easily check on a license by calling the Key West Building Department at 305-809-3956.
Submit Your Stories
Chamber members send us your press releases on your organizations accomplishments, staff awards and/or major happenings. We will post them for free.