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Florida Keys Free Press

Trust seeks bids for caboose renovation

ISLAMORADA — The Islamorada caboose arrived in the Florida Keys about a half-century after the 1935 Labor Day hurricane destroyed the Florida East Coast Railway to Key West, yet remains a visible symbol of Monroe County’s railroad history. “It’s an emblem of the 1935 hurricane, really,” said Henry Rosenthal, a former Islamorada Chamber of Commerce[…]

Taylor Swift’s stalker wanted in Upper Keys

PLANTATION KEY — Pop and country superstar Taylor Swift’s alleged stalker faces new charges in the Florida Keys after missing a scheduled court date here. Monroe County Judge Sharon Hamilton last week issued an arrest warrant for Roger Cesar Alvarado Cisneros, 23, of Homestead, who was arrested the previous Thursday on unrelated charges for allegedly[…]

Creative dishes and artistic vision

ISLAMORADA — The 4th Annual Islamorada Seafood Festival & Art Show will feature creative seafood samplings from more than 25 of the Upper Keys’ top restaurant chefs. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 24, on the Old Highway and the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District, mile marker 81.5, oceanside.[…]

Council declines seal, hears hospital update

MARATHON — The Marathon City Council refused last week to canonize an official seal during a second required public vote and heard a report that the community hospital fundraising campaign is progressing apace. The city has no official seal, despite displaying a logo created in 1999 at city hall and on staff shirts. A different[…]

Trump’s budget drains swamp funds

SOUTH FLORIDA — Everglades restoration that affects Florida Bay could be shortchanged by $136 million in the 2020 federal budget submitted by President Donald Trump. “The seriousness of the problem is not yet being felt in Washington,” Eric Eikenberg, chief executive of The Everglades Foundation, wrote March 14. “We have work to do.” President Trump’s[…]

Report: Prices of Keys homes hit 10-year high

MONROE COUNTY — Home prices for the Florida Keys hit a 10-year high in 2018 with an average sales price of $675,303, a new report says. The 2,100 properties sold represent a 7 percent increase over 2017 with a 6 percent higher price, said Jim Larson, a certified residential specialist with Keller Williams Realty in[…]

Fire department smoldering over records requests

KEY LARGO — Public records requests by Key Largo Fire Rescue & Emergency Medical Services Commissioner George Mirabella were characterized as burdensome and inappropriate by representatives of Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department during last week’s district board meeting. Mirabella has frequently been criticized by his colleagues for making demands of the district’s contracted service providers[…]

Board opposes closing park for events

ISLAMORADA — For a village meeting on Founders Park noise, it turned out to be pretty quiet. No changes for Founders Park event rules were proposed during a March 12 special session of Islamorada’s Parks and Recreation Citizens Advisory Committee. A park special-events policy created 11 years ago has “done pretty darn well,” committee chair[…]

Festival strives to give shelter pets new ‘leash’ on life

KEY LARGO — The Upper Keys Humane Society is holding its 2nd Annual Meow-sic Festival Sunday featuring live music and lots of family-fun activities to benefit the historic no-kill shelter funded entirely by donations. Canines are encouraged to walk the catwalk as entrants to the dog competition, where the winner and first runner-up for each[…]

District probes payroll fees

KEY LARGO — The Key Largo Volunteer Ambulance Corps says finding a payroll provider at a lower cost appears doubtful. A request was made by the Key Largo Fire Rescue & Emergency Medical Services board for the contracted EMS service provider and its subsidiary fire department to see if their annual $44,263 payroll and bookkeeping[…]