Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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Mile Markers

FLORIDA KEYS

'Fat Albert' reportedly coming down

The tethered Air Force blimp known locally as "Fat Albert" that has hovered over Cudjoe Key since 1980 could be coming down for good, according to reports.

The Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) in military parlance is set to be decommissioned in the next two months, Coast Guard Keys commander Capt. Al Young said on U.S. 1 Radio Monday morning.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard used the 250,000-cubic-foot blimps in counter-drug trafficking operations in the 1980s.

There are actually two TARS blimps and both are a low-level surveillance systems. One is used by the State Department, which transmits TV Marti, an American television signal into Cuba for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. The other blimp is used in counter drug operations and by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), according to the Air Force.

KEY WEST

Art auction set for February

The Anne McKee Artists Fund fine art auction will start at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at The Oldest House, 322 Duval St., Key West.

It's an annual event that raises money for project-based grants to Keys visual, literary and performing artists.

Under the guidance of New Hampshire auctioneer Charlie Bailey-Gates, attendees can bid on original paintings, sculpture, photography, fiber art, ceramics, mixed media, jewelry and more.

A free Art Preview Party open to the public will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Key West Woman's Club, 319 Duval St.

Items to be auctioned can be seen before that from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 7-9, also at the Woman's Club.

Tickets are $30 per person at the door; or buy advance tickets at www.KeysTix.org.

KEY WEST

Training for nonprofit boards

The Community Foundation of the Florida Keys (CFFK) is accepting applications for its sixth annual Leadership Success Academy program.

The academy has trained more than 260 board members from 83 nonprofits, organizers say.

The times and dates of this year's program are: 9 to 5 p.m. Feb. 21; 1 to 5 p.m. March 7; 1 to 5 p.m. March 21; 1 to 5 p.m. April 4; 1 to 5 p.m. April 11. All sessions are held at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West.

The LSA program is offered through the Community Foundation's Center for Nonprofit Excellence and is underwritten by a grant from the Marion Stevens Fund.

Application forms are available at www.cffk.org.