Saturday, August 31, 2013
Mile Markers

FLORIDA KEYS

Strong bookings for weekend

Florida Keys tourism officials on Thursday reported that few rooms were still available for Labor Day weekend.

The three-day holiday caps a strong summer of tourism, according to Smith Travel Research.

Keys lodgings topped the research company's statewide occupancy rate data chart in July for the sixth month straight. The 85.8 percent number in the Keys was more than nine points ahead of second-place Orlando.

Also in July, the Keys again led the state with the highest daily room rate, $219; 13 percent higher than July 2012.

The Keys have held the top spot in average daily rates among Florida destinations for almost five years, according to Jessica Bennett, research director for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

KEY WEST

Man tries to steal puppy

A 25-year-old woman in Bahama Village this week was beaten when she refused to hand over her $300 pit bull puppy to a would-be robber, police reported.

"Give me your [expletive] dog!" the man said, grabbing at the leash on Fort Street, where the road bends into Geraldine Street, police reported.

He punched her in the face when she yanked the leash out of his hand, an incident report said.

Andrea Dean grabbed up 17-week-old Ares, a blue-nosed pit, and managed to escape. Officers noted she had a bruise on her cheek and a swollen, bruised eye.

She couldn't describe the man, police said. Police had no suspects Friday.

MONROE COUNTY

Warnings issued for beaches

The Monroe County Health Department's latest water-quality tests showed high levels of fecal bacteria at the beaches of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo and Harry Harris County Park in Tavernier.

The tests measure counts of enteric bacteria, normally found in the intestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. The Health Department says high levels may come from runoff or sewage from pets, wild animals or humans. It can cause disease, infections or rashes. Don't swim in the water if an advisory is issued.

For more information, visit http://www.doh.state.fl.us, click on A-Z Topics, choose Beach Water Quality, and click on the Beaches tab to the right of Monroe County, or call 305-293-1653.