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Florida Keys Free Press

Center consoles community, resolves for better union

TAVERNIER — Upper Keys residents poured into the Keys Jewish Community Center for a memorial service last Wednesday night for the 11 victims gunned down at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. KJCC Resident Scholar and Rabbi Richard Agler said the recent tragic event, which is the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in[…]

Crash victim: Helmet, vest no help ‘against a drunk’

KEY LARGO — “Basically, it crushed my face,” Philip Weydener describes the Oct. 15 motorcycle crash in Key Largo that nearly took his life. “My life now consists of doctors’ appointments. I’ve got facial scarring, cranial scarring, broken teeth and a lot of road rash,” said Weydener, 54, of Key Largo. “I’m lucky to be[…]

State finds fire dept. deficiencies

KEY LARGO — The state has ordered the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department to develop an employee safety plan to help avoid a repeat of an incident that could have claimed the life of a firefighter in early 2017. The department, and its affiliated Key Largo Ambulance Corps, are contractors for the Key Largo Fire-Rescue[…]

Plaque recalls Cold War past

NORTH KEY LARGO — During and after the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, military bases in the Florida Keys served as “both the front line and the last-ditch line,” Ted Swanson of Key Largo recalls. “Cuba’s only 90 miles away,” said Swanson, a radar maintenance and crew chief at Air Defense Artillery’s A Battery[…]

Longtime KL firefighter Beal passes

KEY LARGO — Longtime firefighter Capt. Dwight “Ike” Beal, who served Monroe County Fire Rescue, the Key Largo Volunteer Fire-Rescue Department and the Key Largo Volunteer Ambulance Corps for more than 30 years, died on Oct. 28 after a six-year battle with stomach cancer. He was of 73. Beal was heavily involved in the Upper[…]

Planners seek input on flood-prone areas

ISLAMORADA — Some areas in the Florida Keys will feel the soggy result of sea-level rise, say state and local planners. “We want to plan and think ahead before problems potentially get worse,” said Craig Southern, a senior planner with the village of Islamorada. At 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, South Florida Regional Planning Council[…]

Music students upbeat about Navy band visit

ISLAMORADA — The U.S. Navy Band Commodores jazz ensemble is coming to Coral Shores High School next week as part of a 19-city tour. In anticipation of the visiting musicians, Coral Shores band teacher Suzanne Gagliardini has been prepping her students by introducing them to the music of big jazz musicians. She cited Herbie Hancock[…]

Free minibus trial run planned in Islamorada after Thanksgiving

ISLAMORADA — The village will launch its experiment with the Freebee on-demand transportation service soon after Thanksgiving. The service, free to passengers who call for service by smartphone app or regular phone, will operate two electric minibuses from Thursday through Sunday on Upper Matecumbe Key during a six-month trial period. “Everybody is extremely excited,” Freebee[…]

Village to bring house down at Upper Mat preserve

ISLAMORADA — A concrete house at the Green Turtle Hammock property, owned by the village of Islamorada, may have some history but not enough to save it. The Upper Matecumbe Key house, reportedly built by Eddie and Etta Sweeting more than a half-century ago, is scheduled to be demolished in late 2019 or 2020. “It’s[…]

LPA: Changing height measurement could save money

ISLAMORADA — A foot or two could make a big difference in keeping an Islamorada home dry and cheaper to insure, members of the Local Planning Agency agreed. Building rules in the village’s charter set a maximum allowed structural height of 35 feet, which should remain, planning board members said. “Clearly that means we can’t[…]