Sunday, January 19, 2014
Mile Markers


Fire burns restaurant, damages marina

A fire burned Salty's Bar and Grill in Marathon and destroyed two boats at the Seven Mile Marina early Saturday.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office dispatchers fielded numerous calls at 3 a.m. from people reporting the fire. When deputies arrived, they found the restaurant fully engulfed. As fire units began arriving on scene, deputies stopped traffic north and southbound.

According to reports, firefighters and equipment from four stations in the Marathon area responded; as many as seven trucks were putting water on the fire as it was burning.

By 4 a.m., firefighters reported they'd knocked down the fire. At the same time, deputies and firefighters had to keep a close eye in the area of 11th Street as a heavy rain of embers was reportedly falling in that area.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission representatives were on hand in the waters offshore of the marina as they kept an eye on boats which had broken free of their moorings. Two boats were destroyed in the fire. A car in the parking lot of the restaurant also burned.

During the course of the fire, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority assisted with water pressure so fire trucks would have enough water to fight the fire; Florida Keys Electric Co-op responded to cut electricity to the property; Amerigas also responded to assist with large propane tanks on the property.

At 5:30 a.m., deputies began to let traffic flow one lane at a time. Fortunately, there was very little traffic on the roadway at that time of the morning so few cars were backed up. The road was completely opened at 5:45 a.m.

County and state fire marshals responded and will be investigating the cause of the fire.


Keys ads send warm messages to commuters

Warm-weather Florida Keys scenes are saturating commuters' senses in frigid Toronto during January and a similar tourism campaign is set for cold Chicago in February thanks to a $465,000 marketing commitment by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

The two transit station campaigns evolved out of a similar train station domination promotion staged during the winters of 2012 and 2013 in New York City's Penn Station.

"We were so successful with the transit campaign in New York, we decided to expand it to other cold-weather markets," TDC Director Harold Wheeler said Friday. "For this fiscal year, we've increased efforts in Toronto with both advertising and public relations, so the campaign there is especially beneficial."

In Toronto's Union Station, the region's primary rail and intercity transportation hub, there are more than 100 different creative executions including floor graphics, door decals, column wraps, wall murals and video walls.

Some messaging is specifically targeted to the market with ad headlines such as "More fights than a Maple Leafs-Canadiens (hockey) game" at the top of a photograph showing an angler casting in the Keys backcountry. Or "It's 25 degrees warmer and 180 degrees cooler" on a large floor graphic showing a woman paddleboarder.

"Commuters are tired of the cold and are ready for a unique Florida Keys vacation," said John Underwood, chief marketing officer at Tinsley Advertising, the TDC's longtime advertising agency that created the campaign. "We know we have a captive audience that craves the beauty and warmth of our destination, especially during chilly winter months."

Underwood said the campaigns are expected to reach more than 5 million people in Toronto and about 3.3 million people in Chicago's Citigroup/Ogilvie station that connects commuters from the north, west and northwest suburbs to the downtown business district. Chicago's campaign is to have target-market messaging spread among some 100 dioramas, hanging banners, wall presentations and floor graphics.

Transit station marketing efforts augment heavy print, broadcast and digital advertising efforts in both markets.