Have a Safe 4th of July.
The Key West Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind the community to stay safe this 4th of July.
Public fireworks displays are not allowed within the boundaries of the City of Key West unless permitted by the Key West Fire Department.
The City Code of Ordinances stipulates that permitted fireworks shall be handled by a state-licensed pyrotechnician.
Key West has a large number of old wooden structures, and illegal fireworks pose a threat of fire as well as injury.
KWFD Fire Marshal Jason Barroso main concern “is that everyone remains safe while celebrating this year’s 4th of July holiday.”
The Rotary Club of Key West will have its annual approved and permitted fireworks display on the 4th of July at Edward B Knight Pier.
Key West Community Services is pleased to have completed refurbishing the 8th Street Pocket Park.
With his crew of four, Foreman Oscar Ladino took a tired community park and made it lovely. They installed benches, created walkways, and lined them with salvaged bricks.
The result is a delightful retreat for neighbors in the midtown area. The City of Key West features these small retreats in neighbors throughout the island.
The Key West City Commission has declared June 19th as Juneteenth Independence Day.
In 1865, nearly nine decades after our nation’s founding and more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally received a proclamation declaring that they were free from bondage.
“On June 19th, 1866, Black Americans came to commemorate Juneteenth with celebrations across the country, building new lives and a new tradition that we honor today,” reads the proclamation.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act creating a federal holiday.
Utility Board member Mona C. Clark accepted the proclamation.
“Juneteenth has been celebrated year after year after year,” she said. “Fortunately, this year it’s being celebrated as a national holiday. We’re very grateful.”
In recognition of the holiday, City offices will be closed on Monday, June 20th.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, brought back an important honor by naming Jacek Witczak the Employee of the Quarter.
Witczak came to work with the City in 2007 in public works. He was quickly promoted to the Facilities Maintenance Team, where he continues to keep the air conditioners running.
“Everyone who works for the City knows Jacek as the rock star,” said McLauchlin. She noted that he works many extra hours and performs many jobs above and beyond his job description. When the City needed lifeguards, he got certified.
“You’ve done a great job,” she told him. “Thank you for your outstanding dedication, service and commitment to the City of Key West. We appreciate all that you do.”
The City of Key West wants to remind the community what is recyclable and what is not to improve our recycling rate and reduce contamination.
Acceptable recycling items include paper, cardboard, clear, brown, or green glass bottles, plastics number 1 or 2 (Water bottles, soap, and shampoo bottles), clean aluminum foil, ferrous metals, soup cans, juice boxes, and cereal boxes. If you're disposing of cardboard boxes, please break them down. And used pizza boxes must have the greasy bottom torn off and put in with regular trash.
Plastic bags in the recycle bin are the number one contaminant. If you package your recyclables in plastic, it makes them trash and contaminates the entire bin. All of the blue bin contents will be disposed of as trash.
When they reach the sorting plant in Pembroke Pines, plastic bags are like gum in the machines. The plant must close the sorting machines for one or two hours daily to remove all plastic bags caught in the moving parts. The main causes for sorting issues and jams are hoses, electrical cords, and metal hangers, which can cause fires. None of the items that cause machine jams are recyclable.
Other trash in the bin will also contaminate the entire load. If the bin is contaminated with food, Styrofoam, or trash, it has to be picked up by the trash truck and cannot go into the recycling truck. Plastic pump bottles can be recycled but are sure they're clean and disposed of the pump mechanism into the regular trash.
Remembering these simple tips helps the community reach its recycling goals and keeps Key West beautiful.
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.
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.
Got a question or suggestion for the Mayor? Join Mayor Teri Johnston on Tuesday, May 17th at the Green Pineapple, 1130 Duval Street from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a conversation about our community.
Mayor Johnston looks forward to seeing you there!
Key West City staffers, elected officials and the dedicated volunteer Ploggers gathered nearly 200 pounds of trash on Earth Day, despite a variable deluge. They gathered at the Peace Covenant Church on Flagler and spread out from there. In two hours – mostly in pouring rain -- they had collected 191 pounds of trash, another 67 pounds of recycling and four gallons of cigarette butts.
The group of 30 included Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioner Gregory Davila, three Key West Ambassadors and 12 City employees.
The following day, the Key West Sea Turtle Club descended on the nature beach off Atlantic Blvd. That group collected 290 pounds of trash off the beach and out of the mangroves.
“It’s wonderful to see our community pull together to keep Key West beautiful,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
These efforts are part of a push to involve the community to keep Key West beautiful. In addition to the Early Bird cleanups, the City has kicked off an Adopt-A-Spot program and Mayor Teri Johnston has reconvened the Beautification Committee.
It's time again for one of the more spectacular natural events in the Keys -- turtle nesting season.
The City of Key West wants to remind residents and visitors to keep the lights out near the beaches so that turtles can lay their eggs in peace and the hatchlings can find their way safely to the water.
Hatchlings naturally run toward light, so we're asking that anyone living near the beach turn off the outdoor lighting and close your shades or curtains and if at all possible. If the lights cannot be completely doused, try shielding them so that they don't shine toward the beach. Baby turtles are drawn to light after they hatch from their sandy nests. Porch lights can be fatal to these hatchlings.
Key West's beaches are closed to the public each night at 11 p.m., and this time of year it's vital that people heed the law. April 15th through October 31st is turtle nesting season -- that time of year when these magnificent creatures crawl up out of the sea to deposit their eggs in the sand.
The organization Save-A-Turtle has, in past years, seen evidence that females have crawled up on the beach and returned to the water without laying any eggs. Turtle watchers suspect these "false crawls" may be the result of human interference.
Although it's tempting to try and witness this rare and wonderful aspect of our ocean environment, it's not worth the consequences. Nesting beaches have diminished as development has increased over the past several decades. It's crucial that we do all we can to ensure safe nesting beaches in Key West.
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