Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission took the opportunity this week to recognize Harry Bethel for 50 years of public service.
Bethel served on the City Commission from 1991 until 2007. Thirteen of those years he served as vice mayor, earning him the honorary title of Vice Mayor Emeritus.
“Harry is the face of what public service is all about,” said Commissioner Jimmy Weekley, noting that much of Bethel’s service over the years was “pro bono.”
“Harry Livingston Bethel has served the citizens of Key West and the Florida Keys for more than half a century,” reads the proclamation, “through a long and historic series of elected and appointed public offices, and as a public utility employee.”
In addition to his many years on the City Commission, Bethel has served on a plethora of board, from the Key West Bight Management Board to the Monroe County Housing Authority Board. He was elected several times to the Key West Civil Service Board and has been a member of many social organizations, including the Key West Jaycees, Key West Noon Rotary Club, Elk’s Club, Moose Lodge and the Military Affairs Committee. He has enjoyed several gubernatorial appointments.
During the first eight years of his service on the City Commission, he championed construction of the Skate Park on Flagler Avenue through private donations, and through his efforts, the Key West Annual Christmas Tree Lighting continues to feature trees provided by a private donor.
Bethel is an 8th generation Conch, and the commission chambers were filled with family and friends.
“I had the honor of serving my city and my people, my neighbors and my friends,” he said, accepting the honor. “I only hope I did well by you.”
The proclamation ended with Bethel’s mantra, “Always be fair and you will always be right,” as well as with his slogan, “I did it my way.”
The City of Key West is pleased to announce that the newly refurbished George Mira Field on 14th Street is already supporting our youth, and it’s beautiful!
The City Commission approved the renovation of the Rosa Hernandez Girl’s Softball Field, and it was completed in January, just in time for the girls to play their 30th season on a beautiful new surface. The George Mira Field was next as part of the City’s efforts to improve green and recreational spaces.
The City is working to transition to artificial turf for ballfields. They are easier to maintain and provide a better surface for the people using them. This turf is composed of organic material, unlike some types of artificial turf that are made of rubber. That means the fields will be the same temperature as grass ballfields.
The Key West City Commission, on January 7, 2022, enacted City Ordinance Section 2-939(f) allowing café style seating on the City’s right of way.
On March 3, 2022, City management and staff met and are moving forward with the implementation of the new Ordinance starting on March 7, 2022. The plan is to have a 30-day educational/application period, which will be followed by enforcement of the Ordinance. As always, the City’s goal is to achieve voluntary compliance.
Applications are available in person at City Hall, 1300 White Street or on the City’s website, https://www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov Planning Department, Applications & Forms. For details or assistance please call 305-809-3725.
The Key West City Commission has designated Key Lime Pie as the official dessert of the City of Key West.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the commission voted unanimously to make a stand for what has long been the island’s treasures. The recipe was originated in the Florida Keys and was named the Official State Pie in 2006.
Currently, there is a move in Tallahassee to make strawberry shortcake the official state dessert. Key West entrepreneurs David Sloan and Paul Menta have been rallying support to keep Key Lime Pie as the signature sweet of the state. At the meeting, pie chef Kermit Carpenter, in appreciation of the move, presented each of the commissioners with a slice of the unequaled culinary delight.
“Key Lime Pie reminds people of sun, sand, tropical breezes,” reads the resolution. “Designating Key Lime Pie as the official dessert of the City of Key West enhances the welfare of pie lovers in the City of Key West and affirms the cultural and historical significance of this beloved dessert.”
In the photo: Front row – Paul Menta, Kermit Carpenter and David Sloan. Back row – Commissioners Mary Lou Hoover, Gregory Davila and Jimmy Weekley, Mayor Teri Johnston, Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow and Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman.
Mayor Teri Johnston, the Key West City Commission, and the Old Island Restoration Foundation this week presented a commendation to Paul and Evalena Worthington for their dedication in preserving the Historic Key West Bight.
The couple has, for many years, operated the Schooner Wharf Bar. Paul recently passed away, and Evalina accepted the honor.
“The Worthingtons have inspired so many through their love of traditional classic boats,” reads the commendation. It notes that, over the years, the couple “never lost sight of the issues that mattered to the people within the local community.”
The “have worked diligently to ensure that the spirit of Key West remains true to its traditional culture; and every man, woman and child, family, pirate, shopkeeper, visitor, Conch, and resident is welcome at the Schooner Wharf Bar.”
“I am so honored,” said Evalina. “We will continue the tradition of keeping the preservation of the Bight and Schooner Wharf Bar. See you there for a drink… or two!”
In the photo: Commissioners Mary Lou Hoover (at the dais) and Gregory Davila, Mayor Teri Johnston, Evalina Worthington, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, and Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow.
The Key West City Commission and Mayor Teri Johnston unanimously passed a resolution asking the Florida Department of Transportation to rename the bridge at the entrance to the island in honor of the late Cheryl H. Cates.
If approved by FDOT, the Cow Key Channel Bridge would become the Cheryl H. Cates Memorial Bridge. Cates was the long-time wife of Key West Mayor Emeritus and current County Commissioner Craig Cates.
Local businessmen Jim Gilleran and Peter Batty formed a committee to petition for the change.
“Among numerous philanthropic activities Cheryl served on the board for Wesley House, Samuels House and Kids Come First,” they wrote in a letter requesting the change. “On September 11, 1971 she married the love of her life Craig Cates. An inseparable team, the Cates have made countless positive impacts upon their community.”
Cheryl Cates died on December 2nd, 2020.
“It’s a great honor for Cheryl and the family,” Craig Cates said at the City Commission meeting. “She always used to say that she’d connect the dots between people who needed help and those who could help.”
“The City Commission finds it would be fitting to name the Cow Key Bridge in honor of Cheryl H. Cates,” reads the resolution, “to recognize the many contributions that she, and the Cates family, have made toward improving Key West and Monroe County.”
“This particular bridge and its geographical location that spans both Key West and Monroe County is a fitting tribute,” Batty and Gilleran wrote in the petition, “to not only Cheryl's abundant love and contributions to our community but also in a small way recognizes the entire Cates family and their selfless dedication to improving our diverse community.”
The Monroe County Commission also unanimously approved a similar resolution, which will now be passed on to FDOT.
In the photo: Members of the Cates family and friends joined the City Commission at the podium during the recent City Commission meeting.
The Key West City Commission and Mayor Teri Johnston, during this week’s meeting, took the opportunity to commend Key West Fire Captain Jason Barroso for heading up the Herculean task of replacing the burned down home of Ms. Alelia Butler.
After the Galveston Lane fire nearly two years ago, Capt. Barroso pulled together a team of off-duty firefighters, businesses, builders, and designers. The entire community pulled together to build Ms. Butler a new home, which she moved into on December 22. The community donated money, manpower, building supplies, and even furniture
Capt. Barroso, with the Key West Fire Department and more than 60 community businesses and individual volunteers presented Ms. Butler with the Certificate of Occupancy for her new home before Christmas. The new home is the result of an extraordinary outpouring of generous donations of time, materials and effort by the entire Key West community, and many agree that it would not have happened without the leadership and pure dedication of Capt. Barroso.
“I can’t tell you how grateful and thankful I am,” said Capt. Barroso. “It was an incredible community and team effort. We’re very blessed to have such a beautiful community on this island.”
“Now, therefore,” reads the commendation, “the City Commission of the City of Key West does hereby recognize Capt. Jason Barroso and the Key West Fire Department for tremendous leadership and commitment to the safety and comfort of the Butler family and the citizens of Key West.”
In the photo: Commissioner Gregory Davila, Jimmy Weekley, and Mary Lou Hoover, Mayor Teri Johnston, Capt. Jason Barroso, Ms. Alelia Butler, Fire Chief Alan Averette, Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman, Commissioner Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow.
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