The City of Key West Building Official Raj Ramsingh is working with the Engineering Department to carefully assess the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center to ensure complete public safety.
In recent months, parts of the facility – especially the entry and changing rooms – have shown signs of deterioration.
“We’re doing a structural analysis to make sure the facility is safe,” said City Manager Patti McLauchlin.
The community center and pool were renovated in 2011 and its roof was renovated in 2018. The facility, located at 300 Catherine Street, was built in the 1950s.
The initial safety assessment should be finished with the next two weeks, says Engineering Director Gary Volenec. At that point, the City will decide whether to close it until the deterioration is shored up, or whether it’s safe to continue public access while addressing the problem areas.
The City of Key West wants to hear ideas from the community regarding renovations to Bayview Park, and we’re convening another public workshop. Everyone is invited to the workshop on Wednesday, December 7th from 3 to 5 p.m. The workshop will be convened in the commission chambers at City Hall, 1300 White Street.
The historic park is home to several war and veterans memorials, tennis and basketball courts, a ball field, a bandstand, and the Boys and Girls Club. This workshop will help the City with feedback from the community on the best ways to give the park a facelift.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission, during the recent commission meeting, declared the week of December 5th as Irreverent Warriors Key West Silkies Hike Week.
The Irreverent Warriors organization is a force that unites the veteran community and drives healthy culture within its members. Through creative engagements, events, and strong veteran-based support networks they are known as the catalyst for improving the veteran outlook.
The organization’s mission is to bring veterans together using humor and camaraderie to improve mental health and prevent veteran suicide.
During Silkies Hike Week you will see veterans dressed in the tiniest of shorts (aka silkies), and on Saturday, December 10th hundreds of veterans will hike throughout Key West helping veterans connect with the aim of eliminating the 22 veteran’s suicides a day.
The proclamation was accepted by Rodney Martin, Petty Officer Second Class, United States Navy and local coordinator.
“On my last ship,” he said, “we lost three sailors to suicide and one of them was close to me. Twenty-two a day is a very high number. This organization gives veterans a chance to come out of isolation for a good day of positive vibes, good times, and laughter and just to let them know they’re not alone.”
Petty Officer Martin accepted the recognition wearing his sillkies, the military workout garb.
“Don’t be shocked or alarmed,” he said, “when you see 100 veterans dressed exactly like this because it’s for a good cause!”
The City of Key West offices will be closed Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 28th.
There will be no bus service on Thursday, November 24th. This long-standing tradition allows our drivers to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Normal bus service will resume on Friday, November 26th.
The official Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 28th at 6 p.m. at Bayview Park. Santa will be on hand for his first appearance on the island!
The Key West World AIDS Day Service will be held at the AIDS Memorial, at the foot of White Street and the Edward B. Knight Pier, on December 1st at 5 p.m.
The service begins with a candlelight Memorial March from the Key West City Hall down White Street to the Memorial. Marchers will assemble at 4:30 p.m.
The traditional reading of the names of all of those previously remembered on the AIDS Memorial will be done by a roster of community leaders. Thirteen new names will be added to the memorial this year. Candles will be given out.
The Lighting of the Menorah will at 5 p.m. on December 18th, also at Bayview Park.
This year’s Holiday Parade is going to be fantastic, judging from the entries. Due to the community’s enthusiasm, all the slots are now filled. The City is happy that so many people want to participate, but we are no longer accepting application.
But you can still participate by coming out on Saturday, December 4th beginning at 7 p.m. to enjoy the family event.
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, honored Community Services’ Juana Centeno Hernandez as the City’s Employee of the Quarter.
Nominated by Police Chief Sean Brandenburg, Juana is in charge of cleaning the police department and Fire Station #1.
“Juana literally never stops working,” said Brandenburg. “She is an excellent example of a workaholic and a true asset that we appreciate very much.”
He noted that she has worked at the department single handedly through many difficult challenges. In addition to keeping everything spotless during the COVID shutdown, accreditation inspections, hurricanes, and events that bring a lot of extra officers into the building, she has overcome the personal adversity of recovering from a severe accident.
“After recovery from surgery, she came back to work with an excellent disposition and giving the best of herself as she has always done,” Brandenburg said.
He noted that, in her dedication, she even returned to work a day early after Hurricane Ian this year, in order to get started right away cleaning up after the storm.
“She always goes beyond her duties when it comes to cleaning, organizing, and helping others,” he said. “She is also an excellent mother and wife, taking care of every single detail for her family. She is very protective of her Key West Police family.”
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission have proclaimed 16 Days of Activism beginning November 25th in honor of an important effort by the Zonta Club of Key West. The effort is aimed at raising awareness about violence against women.
“Violence against women is not a women’s issue,” read the proclamation, “but a societal issue, often rooted in misinterpretations of history, inadequate laws, culture, and religions, traditional ideas of feminine and masculine identities.”
The Zonta Club of Key West, which includes 24 members that are women of professional and executive backgrounds, encourages the community to wear orange, the color designated in the “Zonta says No” campaign.
Zonta has designated the color orange as the symbol of the effort, and the club members who accepted the proclamation at last week’s City Commission meeting wore orange scarves.
The effort is part of a larger movement in which Zonta Clubs all over the world are engaging in an anti-violence campaign in conjunction with the United Nations and Zonta International.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission have proclaimed November 26th as Small Business Saturday to celebrate local small businesses and the contributions them make to the local economy and community.
Small Business Saturday is recognized across the country to encourage citizens to support small local shops and restaurants.
“The City of Key West supports our local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy, and preserve our communities,” reads the proclamation.
Kevin Theriault, Executive Director Key West Business Guild, and Mark Gambuzza of Shop Mom & Pop accepted the proclamation.
Gambuzza said that the small business owners appreciate the City’s efforts to revitalize downtown. He appealed to the commission to take the effort a step further and find ways to work with the Tourist Development Council to promote small businesses as well as festivals.
“I appeal to the business owners to invest in our employees,” he said. “And I appeal to our locals to get around the island, not just downtown and support small businesses.
“These are the people who donate to your kids’ school and step up to the plate when someone needs to get fed. It takes everyone in this village to make this work. We appreciate all the efforts you guys are making.”
Last week Key West City Manager Patti McLauchlin was proud to attend the dedication of the first new Adopt-A-Spot sign. The spot was adopted by the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk.
McLauchlin presented Commander Andrew L. Pate, Commanding Officer of the Mohawk and all of the crew members with Extra Mile Challenge Coins in appreciation of their effort.
The dedication was followed by a cleanup of the spot by 44 members of the Coast Guard and their families.
Mayor Teri Johnston and the City Commission have proclaimed the month of November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, accounting for more deaths than colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined. The 5-year survival rate for localized lung cancer is less than 60 percent, yet only fewer than 24 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed at this stage. Screening for lung cancer for high-risk individuals can lead to the earlier detection and save lives.
Funding for lung cancer research trials falls far behind funding for research of many other cancers, according to the proclamation, and additional research is needed in early diagnosis, screening, and treatment.
Each year more women die from lung cancer than breast cancer and by 2035, more women will die from lung cancer than men. In addition, the proclamation notes, “African Americans have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality of all races, and disparities in lung cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and mortality are characterized among African Americans and other racial minorities.”
Additionally, the proportion of lung cancers diagnosed in people who never smoked is increasing in the US. Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer deaths, and radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among individuals who never smoked.
“Organizations working in Monroe County and Florida, such as the American Lung Cancer Screening Initiative and Women’s Lung Cancer Forum, are committed to educating about lung cancer and lung cancer screening and working to increase lung cancer screening rates in Key West.”
Monroe County Judge Peary Fowler, President of the Lions Club and Mechelle Burgohy, Senior Human Services Program Specialist with the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County accepted the proclamation.
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