Key West

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.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Two candidates are vying to be the next Miami-Dade County District 5 Commissioner. Former commissioner Bruno Barreiro resigned the seat in March to run for Congress, leading to a special election last month.

Progressive Eileen Higgins took 35 percent of the May 22 primary, and Zoreida Barreiro, the wife of current commissioner Bruno Barreiro, was close behind with 33 percent. Higgins sat down with Sundial to discuss how she will tackle transit, sea level rise and affordable housing issues in Miami-Dade.

Michael Seeley / Courtesy

Flanked by sea turtle nests, the vandalized Key West "ghost ship" that mysteriously washed ashore in Melbourne after Hurricane Irma will likely remain beached until at least November.

Because endangered turtles recently laid eggs there, officials in Brevard, on Florida's Atlantic coast, say they'll leave the boat alone for now.

Cuki, the beached 45-foot sailboat won't be removed until nesting season ends on Oct. 31 — at the earliest.

For decades, one of the most popular exhibits at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West was "lift a gold bar." Until eight years ago — when two men lifted it. As in stole it.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

The Key West case of the stolen gold bar has ended with two convictions but with only a sliver of the treasure recovered.

Jarred Goldman acted as the lookout while his cohort stole a 16th century gold bar from its case at a Key West museum in 2010, a federal jury decided Wednesday evening.

He is due in court for sentencing July 23 when he faces up to 15 years in prison for the heist that stunned the Southernmost City and robbed a museum of a treasure valued at $550,000.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Eight years after it was stolen from a Key West treasure museum — and almost 400 years after it sank to the bottom of the ocean — a gold bar is at the center of a federal trial that began Tuesday in Key West.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

There’s been a lot of interest and attention on national politics since the 2016 presidential election. But in the Florida Keys, politics has always served as a form of entertainment.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, a couple dozen people gathered in a place you’d normally want to spend as little time as possible.

Locals call it the Triangle — a piece of median where U.S. 1 connects with Key West.

They were celebrating the return of the iconic “Welcome” sign that was dislodged by Hurricane Irma — then stolen in the days after the storm.

Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum

A California man has admitted to stealing a 17th century gold bar worth $550,000 from a Key West museum eight years ago.

Richard Steven Johnson, 41, of Rio Linda, pleaded guilty on Friday at U.S. District Court in Key West to two felony counts related to the theft. His plea was in exchange for a lighter sentence, which wasn't defined.

Johnson agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as they pursue a second suspect, Jarred Goldman, who awaits trial. His sentencing date hasn't been set.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Every spring in Key West is the same in some ways. After Easter, traffic gets a little lighter. The weather gets a little warmer.

But some years, a lot of the city’s attention turns away from Duval Street, away from the waterfront. It turns to Rex Weech Field, home of the Key West Conchs baseball team.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

For the first time in more than 50 years, a sitting U.S. president visited Key West.

Monroe County Public Library

President Donald Trump's scheduled trip to Key West on Thursday will be the first visit to the Southernmost City by a sitting U.S. president in more than 55 years. The last was when John F. Kennedy stopped by to inspect Key West's defenses — and provide some positive publicity for South Florida — in November 1962, following the Cuban missile crisis.

David Salay / Bender & Associates Architects

Key West city officials say that part of one of Florida's oldest power plants is unsafe and should be demolished. But some on the island are fighting to keep the old buildings standing.

Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

The first of more than 800 March For Our Lives events in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and around the world took place early on Saturday on the island of Pohnpei in the Pacific nation of Micronesia.

Here in South Florida, things kicked off, fittingly, in Parkland - which was the site of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people and ignited the student-led #NeverAgain movement for stricter gun control and school safety. Marches were also held in Miami Beach, Boca Raton and Key West.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West voters Tuesday approved raising the height limit from 25 to 40 feet of habitable space on a 2.62-acre parcel of city-owned property.

The goal is to provide 104 units of affordable workforce housing.

The land is on Stock Island, the island just east of Key West, but is within the incorporated city limits. The land was formerly used by an Easter Seals therapy center and includes the Lower Keys offices of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is moving out.

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