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Florida Keys Free Press

Fire dept. gains more autonomy

KEY LARGO — The Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, a subsidiary of the Key Largo Volunteer Ambulance Corps, took steps last week to become a separate entity, though it will remain under the leadership of the chief of both departments. The Key Largo Fire Rescue & Emergency Medical Services District[…]

Home decor chain shuttering Tavernier store

TAVERNIER — The Pier 1 Imports store in Tavernier Towne will not survive the company’s latest cost-cutting move. “Store Closing” signs were posted last week as the mile marker 91.2 location started its going-out-of-business sale with 30% markdowns on all items. Nationally, Pier 1 “intends to reduce its store footprint[…]

Former diner rebranded, hours expanded

KEY LARGO — More than new, upscale decor greets diners at The High Tide Restaurant, in a longtime eatery now under local ownership at mile marker 99.4. The High Tide has expanded hours with a full dinner menu, in addition to revamped breakfast and lunch offerings in the former DJ’s[…]

Village eyes church as meeting space

ISLAMORADA — Not long after a standing-room-only crowd packed the Islamorada Village Council session Jan. 9, thoughts surfaced on the need for a meeting space larger than the Founders Park Community Center. The Island Community Church at 83250 Overseas Highway is up for sale and the three council members attending[…]

Council interested in artificial reef

ISLAMORADA — A new artificial reef could provide benefits to tourism and relief for the beleaguered Florida Keys reef, Islamorada Village Council members agreed Jan. 9. “It’s a proven fact that it’s working throughout the Keys,” Councilman Jim Mooney said of a proposal for a future sinking of a large[…]

County still at odds with wedding vacation rental

KEY LARGO — The Monroe County Circuit Court is taking the county’s code violation case against Thurmond Street Partners, a vacation rental enterprise that hosts weddings, under advisement at this time. Judge Timothy Koenig reheard the case last Thursday and had not filed a decision as of press time. Monroe[…]

Financial scams on rise in Keys

FLORIDA KEYS — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is seeing an increase of a variety of financial scams, from Craigslist rental posts to a telephone IRS/Social Security scam. Nine scams have been reported to the sheriff’s office since Jan. 1 dealing with financial fraud totaling tens of thousands of dollars,[…]

Council seeks candidates for Meads’ seat

ISLAMORADA — A replacement to serve out Cheryl Meads’ term on the Islamorada Village Council likely will be selected by council members at the board’s Jan. 23 meeting. “This is not the first time this has happened and probably will not be the last,” Mayor Mike Forster said Jan. 9.[…]

State updating Lignumvitae preserve area plan

ISLAMORADA — Concerns and ideas for waters surrounding Lignumvitae Key and Shell Key will be welcome at a 6 p.m. Jan. 16 meeting at the Founders Park Community Center. For an update to the management plan for the Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve, staff with the state Department of the Environmental[…]

Holiday ‘Hell Week’ is heaven-sent for local businesses

FLORIDA KEYS — Local business leaders confirmed that the so-called “Hell Week,” a period from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day, was a boon to the local economy. Hell Week is typically the Keys’ busiest time of the year for merchants with a major influx of tourists. This year, the[…]