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State sets aside $10M for Keys buyout plans

The State of Florida has allocated $10 million to Monroe County through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery voluntary home buyout program. The voluntary program was created to encourage risk reduction through the purchase of residential property in high flood-risk areas, according to county spokeswoman Kristen Livengood. This program allows[…]

Passenger exemption request denied

FLORIDA KEYS — With new regulations in Florida Bay waters of Everglades National Park, some boaters have started thinking about making other plans. A rule requiring recreational boaters entering park waters north of the Florida Keys to have a park entry pass took effect Jan. 30. And operators of motor-powered[…]

Mainland runoff hurts reef

A study comprising three decades of research confirmed long-standing concerns that runoff from the mainland is having crippling, and in some cases fatal, implications for the Florida Keys reef tract. The study, released this week in the scientific journal Marine Biology, found “increased loadings of nitrogen from fertilizers, top soil,[…]

Harbor safety group holds first meeting

On Monday, more than 30 people attended the first meeting of the Florida Keys Harbor Safety Committee, which is seeking to establish a forum for private, commercial and government entities to work together to address issues such as safety, security and environmental protection. Hosted by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key[…]

FWC no longer tasked with environmental investigations

FLORIDA KEYS — Two state agencies tasked with enforcing Florida Keys environmental laws swapped some roles this month. As directed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will again take the point on environmental crimes, which had been assigned to law officers of the Florida Fish and[…]

Former CFO files suit against Ocean Reef

NORTH KEY LARGO — A former vice president and chief financial officer of Ocean Reef Community Association is suing the company and former manager David Ritz, alleging retaliation for her efforts to end what she describes as a “pervasively misogynistic and hostile work environment” created by Ritz and current public[…]

Fire district mulling tax cap increase

KEY LARGO — The local fire and emergency medical services commission has informally decided to make the “big ask” on next year’s election ballot for voters to raise the current cap on property taxes. A possible 100 percent cap increase was discussed during last week’s strategic planning meeting. The district[…]

Council to mull tax hike; housing, resort projects

ISLAMORADA — Overall real-estate property value in Islamorada gained $32.9 million over the past fiscal year, putting the new value at more than $3.714 billion. That new figure from the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office comes into play July 18 when the Islamorada Village Council will decide where to set[…]

A much-needed shelter after the storm

FLORIDA KEYS — If Stacey, Ann, Kristy and Diane were standing in a lineup, at least one of them has reported being a victim of sexual or physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. That’s one in four women. For men, it’s one in 10, according to a 2015[…]

Suspended license sparks police stop, multiple charges

A Miami man with a driver’s license that was reportedly suspended more than 20 years ago was arrested Saturday after officers pulled him over and discovered crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Manuel D. Milian Barrera, 60, was charged with driving on a permanently revoked driver’s license, possession of cocaine with[…]