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County spared major payout in takings lawsuit

The Monroe County government has received a favorable appeals court ruling in a nearly two decades-old takings lawsuit that could save taxpayers between $3 million to $6 million. The Third District Court of Appeals issued a ruling Wednesday supporting the county’s efforts to limit the payout of a takings lawsuit involving the Galleon Bay property[…]

Utility board approves budget

The Key Energy Services board members approved the public utility’s annual operating budget and a five year financial plan Wednesday night but they were silent on the creation of a new $132,000 a year position that was to be offered to the board chair’s son. Keys Energy Services labor attorney is still working on a[…]

Navy welcomes aircraft, vessels ahead of Florence

Just because Hurricane Florence is bearing down rapidly on the East Coast doesn’t mean the Navy has to stop training, and dozens of aircraft have made their way to Naval Air Station Key West to continue preparing for aircraft carrier qualifications. Pilots and crews from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 and Carrier Airborne Early Warning[…]

City commissioners opt to raise parking fees, not taxes

Key West city commissioners on Wednesday passed a $184 million budget without raising property taxes. Instead they’ll raise parking fees at city-owned lots to $4 an hour. Long-term parking rates at the city’s Park ‘n’ Ride garage also will likely increase from $100 to $200 per month. The increase to $4 per hour – at[…]

Spraying Alert

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has scheduled an aerial adulticide mission Thursday, Sept. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., over Plantation Key, Key Largo and Ocean Reef. The airplane mission will be completed, weather permitting, using Naled, a non-persistent insecticide that breaks down rapidly when applied in the manner employed by the district. For[…]

School district manages malware threat

The Monroe County School District was technologically paralyzed early this week when officials detected ransomware software threatening its network. “Ransomware is malware, or malicious software, that encrypts your files and basically holds your data hostage until you pay a ransom to get it back,” Pat Lefere, the district’s executive director of facilities and planning, told[…]

Officers find 99.6 grams of cocaine in hidden compartment

A joint investigation by several agencies led to the arrest of a Stock Island man on Tuesday, after it was discovered he was transporting more than three ounces of cocaine in his vehicle. Alexey Verges, 42, was charged with cocaine trafficking. The operation, part of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task[…]

Bug board increase to finance helicopters

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District board on Tuesday, Sept. 18, will vote to finalize a property tax increase and $14 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. At its final budget hearing in July, the board agreed to raise property taxes by about 3.4 percent above rollback, the tax[…]

Bikers set to roll into Keys on Friday

Motorists in the Florida Keys can expect heavy traffic and congestion on U.S. 1 and possibly in Key West on Friday as an motorcycle poker run returns to the chain of islands. In the past, the event started in Miami and ended in Key West with a weekend full of events, including a bike show[…]

Upper Keys mostly avoided Irma’s destruction

KEY LARGO — The northernmost island of the Florida Keys was largely spared by Hurricane Irma’s wrath, though businesses, lodging and parks were affected in varying degrees. Some hotels and oceanfront restaurants were battered, but most businesses remained intact or bounced back quickly in the weeks following the hurricane. “We were the first key ready[…]