Florida Keys

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the Florida Keys, the challenges of finding an affordable place to live were made much worse after Hurricane Irma destroyed or severely damaged thousands of homes in September 2017.

A number of nonprofits and faith groups came in to help after the storm. One church in Marathon was already there — and is taking a big step in providing housing for people in the Keys who lost their homes.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Miami Blue is the Rasputin of butterflies.

But biologists are hoping for a happier ending for the Miami Blue than the early 20th Century Russian mystic who survived one assassination attempt after another … before he was eventually killed.

Miami Blue butterflies were once common throughout coastal South Florida. But by the early 1990s, you could only find them on Key Biscayne. Then Hurricane Andrew came through in 1992 and that colony disappeared. People thought they were extinct.

Courtesy Andrew Bruckner / NOAA

After stony coral tissue loss disease reached the Lower Keys last spring, the disease seemed to stall. Reef scientists were hoping that meant it might peter out.

But it didn't.

FKAA

As the federal government shutdown passes the one-month mark, many furloughed workers are having trouble paying the bills. One South Florida utility is giving them a break.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The city of Key West took the first step Tuesday toward becoming the first place on the mainland U.S. to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain certain chemicals, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which some studies have shown can harm corals. 

Monroe County

When Hurricane Irma slammed across the Lower Keys as a Category 4 storm last year, it hammered what passes for affordable housing — mobile homes and older structures that weren't elevated.

For people who are left with a piece of land but not a lot of money to rebuild, Monroe County plans to commission four tiny homes as a pilot project.

Off Cedar Key on Florida's west coast, the water is some of the most pristine in the Gulf. The estuary there has long supported a thriving seafood industry.

Sue Colson, a city commissioner in Cedar Key, says one of the best places to harvest oysters used to be the Lone Cabbage oyster reef, about a mile offshore. When the tide was really low, she says there were so many oysters that she and her husband could walk along the reef picking them up.

The Ocean Agency

Time is running out to save the world’s coral reefs from irreversible damage, according to numerous studies

Stephanie Russo / Monroe County

Flooding is a fact of life in the low-lying Florida Keys. And it's projected to get worse. According to Monroe County, this is the third most vulnerable county in the country to tidal flooding.

Gwen Filosa / flkeysnews.com

A Keys man who was held at the Monroe County jail on a federal immigration detainer — even though he's a U.S. citizen — is now suing Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay in federal court.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County has recently had some of Florida's highest rates of suicide. With the numbers increasing nationally and locally, people in the Keys are stepping up to prevent more deaths.

Creative Commons

People who live in the Florida Keys have been waiting for years to find out whether the island chain will be the first place in the U.S. to try genetically modified mosquitoes as a method of controlling the pests.

They're going to have to wait awhile longer.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The utility that provides power for Key West and the Lower Keys usually only gets public attention when the power goes out. That has changed recently with the creation of a new high-paying position — and the choice of who will fill it.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West elected a new mayor Tuesday for the first time in nine years. And Teri Johnston's victory was historic: she's the first openly lesbian woman to win election as a mayor in Florida, according to the LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida

Johnston has lived in Key West for 20 years. She works as a local contractor. And she served as a city commissioner for eight years.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

In Florida's high profile, tightly contested governor's race, the focus is squarely on South Florida. On Thursday, one candidate went as far south as he could go.

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