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Florida Keys Free Press

Irma relief food, clothes, mattresses offered to Upper Keys

UPPER KEYS — The Star of the Sea Mission will be distributing fresh produce, twin- and full-sized mattresses and new clothing at its St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church distribution location on Saturday, Feb. 17. Most of the clothing will be children’s, according to Tom Callahan, SOS executive director. “We already have 23 people signed[…]

District zeroes in on reservoir design

SOUTH FLORIDA — The South Florida Water Management District has determined that the fate of the Everglades and estuaries further north, in part, rests on a 240,000 acre-foot reservoir that will be 23 feet deep and cost an estimated $1.34 billion. Stormwater treatment areas, which will filter and clean Lake Okeechobee overflow before sending the water[…]

Solar co-op: Time to shine in Upper Keys

KEY LARGO — The Upper Keys Solar Co-op is seeking homeowners to join together to more affordably harness the sun’s power to provide their homes with electricity. To form a cooperative, only 30 homeowners are needed, but organizers are hopeful to attract more. Uniting as a group gives members bulk purchasing power for discounted pricing[…]

Tough calls for council on homeowner petitions

ISLAMORADA — Most of last Thursday’s regular meeting of the Village Council was spent deliberating appeals by Islamorada homeowners over permitting issues regarding the number of units in one home and the expansion of another. Robert Jones and Kim Corsini appeared at the meeting to appeal a decision by the village planning staff that their[…]

Convicted Tavernier Towne rapist gets two life sentences

PLANTATION KEY — Circuit Judge Luis Garcia handed down two consecutive life sentences to 55-year-old Johnny Lee Hayes last week after a jury convicted him of savagely raping a woman he ambushed and dragged into a wooded area off of U.S. 1. The State Attorney’s Office also requested a life sentence for the aggravated assault count because[…]

Big Pine Key getting damage assessments

BIG PINE KEY —  Monroe County has begun issuing damage assessments to Big Pine Key homeowners with either substantially damaged or completely destroyed homes as many continue to struggle with short- and long-term housing and try to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Irma blasted the Lower Keys last September. Those assessments, done by county inspectors[…]

Daily fines stack up for inherited tiki hut

KEY LARGO — Although a Hammer Point mobile home was purchased for a nominal fee of $10 in 2008, the tiki hut behind it could end up costing the homeowner about $300,000. Alex Diaz, who had been accumulating county code compliance fines of $150 a day for nearly six years for a tiki hut with electricity[…]

Water district board to consider final reservoir plan this week

SOUTH FLORIDA — The clock is ticking for the South Florida Water Management District to choose between one of five reservoir options to satisfy the intent of Senate Bill 10, passed last year to expedite the design and construction of a reservoir system purposed to store and clean overflow from Lake Okeechobee then send the[…]

Alien invasion radio broadcast inspires play

KEY LARGO — The Key Players, a Key Largo-based community theater troupe that has entertained audiences for 40 years, is putting on a show based on the infamous “War of the Worlds” radio performance by Hollywood legend Orson Welles 80 years ago. The broadcast lives in the cultural memory due to newspaper reports of widespread[…]

Islamorada council to consider Founders Park issues

ISLAMORADA — The Village Council is meeting for the second time in two weeks on Thursday, Feb. 1, in the community center at Founders Park, and a big focus of the light agenda is the restoration of the park’s athletic fields and possible action on waiving fees for some visitors. Councilman Mike Forster led the[…]