School District keeps A rating
The Monroe County School District received an A rating from the state and a score that ranked the Florida Keys ninth out of the state's 67 counties.
A year ago, Monroe County tied with Brevard County for the eighth spot in the state.
"We are very proud of the outstanding achievements of our students throughout the Florida Keys," Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement. The county has been an A-rated school district for the past seven years, and held onto its top grade through big changes this year, including tougher grading standards and rule changes.
Most Florida school districts fell this year, the state announced, with 39 dropping one letter grade.
Coast Guard returns 20 Cubans
The Coast Guard cutter Nantucket returned 20 Cubans to their island nation last week after stopping them at sea days earlier.
On Independence Day, July 4, eight people on a 15-foot rustic vessel were stopped south of Key West. Cutter Pea Island handed out life jackets and took them aboard.
Twelve Cubans on another such home-made boat were stopped on July 3. Cutter Ocracoke picked them up.
Once aboard a cutter, all migrants are provided with food, water, shelter and basic medical attention, the agency says.
The cutters Nantucket and Pea Island are based in Key West. Ocracoke's home port is St. Petersburg.
Free plant clinics offered
For those having difficulty with plants, trees or shrubs, including identifying insects attacking the flora, the Monroe County Extension Service offers free plant clinics with master gardeners throughout the Florida Keys.
Upcoming clinics will be in:
• Key West, 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at the Extension Office in the Gato Building, 1100 Simonton St., Suite 2-260, on the second floor; and
• Key Largo, 9 a.m. to noon at the Extension Office in the Murray E. Nelson Government & Cultural Center, 102050 Overseas Highway, Suite 244, on the second floor.
For details, call 305-292-4501 or visit http://monroe.ifas.ufl.edu.