Florida Keys

DAVID SANTIAGO / MIAMI HERALD

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced that Rebuild Florida will launch a workforce housing construction program statewide with $140 million. The Florida Keys will receive $35 million.

Also, state administrators said Monroe County by next week will receive $21 million in FEMA reimbursement for debris removal for Hurricane Irma cleanup. Irma swept through the Keys in September 2017. Debris removal cost the county $30 million.

DeSantis visited Marathon on Thursday to make the announcements. It was his second visit to the Keys in two months.

Monroe County

A new report from a climate change advocacy group estimates the costs of protecting public infrastructure from rising seas. And the Florida Keys are facing one of the biggest bills.

Keys Energy Services

People in South Florida have lots of reasons to resent iguanas. They pillage the garden. They poop in the pool. And in the Keys, they sometimes knock out the power.

Now Keys Energy Services, the utility that provides power from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, is taking steps to prevent that.

Emily Michot Miami Herald

Mosquitoes, it turns out, might be their own worst enemy.

In a six-month field trial launched in South Miami last year, Miami-Dade County teamed up with a Kentucky-based pest control company to release male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia. The bacteria is common in other insects, but when introduced in male Aedes aegypti, it makes them sterile.

Healthy Start of the Florida Keys

If you live in the Florida Keys, there are some real challenges to having a baby. If you want to go to a hospital, you have two options. One is at mile marker 5 in Key West. The other is to go all the way to on the mainland in Homestead. And if you’re a new patient with Medicaid, it gets even harder.

WLRN recently spoke with Arianna Nesbitt, executive director of the Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition. That's the nonprofit that works with pregnant women and families with young children to keep young kids in the Keys healthy and safe.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West built a firehouse in 1908. A few years later, someone planted a mamey tree in the yard alongside it. Now that tree is now getting some special attention.

Alex Vega spent three years early in his career at Key West Firehouse No. 3, the site of that tree. He says the big mamey tree in the yard sometimes produced 30 of the football-shaped fruit and sometimes 300. But it was always shared around.

"Every watch got a bagful — two for you, one for your mother. They would give them out to their family and stuff," he said.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Hurricane Irma was at Category 4 strength when it crossed the Florida Keys in September of 2017. And the Keys are still in the rebuilding process, even as a new hurricane season starts.

Bruce Stevens / Florida Keys Mosquito Control District

Rainy season in South Florida means it's also mosquito season. And now there's a new weapon being added to the arsenal against the insects in the Florida Keys.

Cammy Clark / Monroe County

A $7.9 million project to upgrade a county park on Stock Island was a couple weeks out from completion when Hurricane Irma tore across the Lower Keys in September 2017.

The damage caused by the hurricane extended that work for almost a year, but the project was completed and Monroe County held a ribbon-cutting last August.

Now the Monroe County clerk has issued an audit report on the project. Among the conclusions:

flkeysnews.com

On the Overseas Highway in the Keys, there's only one drawbridge left. And its end may be nearing.

Danny Rivero / WLRN

In the hunt for housing affordability, mobile home parks have been an oasis. But developers are eyeing them, increasing rents and forcing some residents to leave.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Key West city charter says voters have to approve any deal for the city to buy real estate. And Key West voters have a decision to make.

FWC Corals Program

Five years ago, a new coral disease was found right off downtown Miami. It has now spread through the Florida reef tract, from Martin County down past Key West. In response, scientists are taking unprecedented measures to make sure some coral survives, at least in captivity.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Anyone who has ever driven to or from Key West has crossed the Cow Key Bridge. It's the only road on or off of the island.

Now the state says the bridge's decks and beams need to be replaced on the two spans (one outgoing, one incoming) that connect Key West with the rest of the world.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

Hundreds of people enjoyed food, drinks and music from the Florida Keys at the state Capitol on Tuesday evening, the culmination of an annual lobbying trip that Monroe County elected officials and business owners use to share local priorities with state lawmakers.

City mayors, school board members, community college administrators and restauranteurs told legislators throughout the day about their biggest concern: affordable housing.

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