Florida Keys

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

One little cottage of less than 800 square feet got a lot of attention - and even a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The home, in the Avenues neighborhood of Big Pine Key, was the first Keys Cottage to be completed by the Florida Keys Community Land Trust.

Cammy Clark / Monroe County

With lots of rain and high humidity over the summer, Big Pine Key has not seen a repeat of last spring's wildfire that consumed dozens of acres. And the state forest service is trying to keep it that way.

The fire last April consumed dozens of acres and destroyed one structure. It was fueled by the dead vegetation left behind by Hurricane Irma, which crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 hurricane in September of 2017.

Islamorada Backs Off From Ban On Plastic Straws

Aug 10, 2018
plastic straws
Fairywren/Flickr Creative Commons

The Village of Islamorada for now will not join a growing list of municipalities, including Miami Beach, that have limited the use and sale of plastic straws.

Just as they prepare for a crucial harvest in the wake of Hurricane Irma, lobster fisherman in the Florida Keys fear a trade war with China could undermine storm recovery in the island chain.

BENBILL / FLICKR

Living in the Florida Keys is life in paradise, but it comes at a cost. 

Day-to-day life in the Keys can be a struggle despite the natural beauty of the archipelago. Still, the affordability challenges, threast from hurrianes and risk of higher seas can't dilute the Conch spirit of independence, self-resilency and individualism. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County already had one of the highest suicide rates in the state of Florida.

Then came Hurricane Irma. And although most of the debris has been removed from land - and lots of repairs are underway — the storm continues to impact the Keys, almost a year later.

The captain of a charter boat carrying government scientists on an environmental research cruise near the Keys has been cited for violating environmental regulations.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon releases 50 to 60 sea turtles back to the ocean every year. On Friday two unusually large turtles returned to the sea — with new souvenirs from their time on land.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Getting rid of Hurricane Irma debris from the Florida Keys took months and cost tens of millions of dollars. And now the saga has entered the political realm.

Shortly after his mother died in 1987, Brian Gordon Sinclair stumbled upon a copy of “A Farewell To Arms,” Ernest Hemingway's famous novel set during World War I. Sinclair fell in love with the writing and knew he wanted to learn more about the author.

Peter Maczek

First Irma, now a trade war.

Less than a year after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys, lobster fishermen are facing another hit from the trade war with China.

Tariffs set to take effect Friday threaten to bump up prices by 25 percent — an increase that could cool demand in the lucrative Chinese market, say experts.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Sean Callahan didn't think twice about driving to Key Largo to get fireworks. He had to. The warehouse there carries hundreds of multi-shot fireworks — some that can't be found in Miami-Dade County.

After weaving in and out of rows of sparklers, Roman candles and artillary shells, a smiling Callahan rolled his $800 cartload of rockets and mortar shells into his car.

“I’m really just a big kid – they’re all for me,” he said proudly.  

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN News

Key West is known for sunsets, nightlife and cats with six toes. Now, some of its residents say it should be known for its trees. Especially royal poincianas.

When the royal poinciana trees are in bloom - like they are now - just about everybody notices and admires the bright orange-red blooms.

But some of Key West's residents - like Karen Ludwig O'Leary - say the island is losing too many of the trees. Ludwig O'Leary and others have been protesting the removal of the trees and their replacement with different species.

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