Civil rights groups warn tourists about Florida in wake of 'hostile' laws
The NAACP over the weekend issued a travel advisory for Florida, joining two other civil rights groups in warning potential tourists that recent laws championed by Gov_ Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.”.
Key West honors Queen Elizabeth at Southernmost Point marker
The Southernmost Point marker in Key West, Florida, a landmark delineating the continental United States’ southernmost spot of land, became a memorial to Queen Elizabeth II when city workers installed a British flag and royal purple banner at the much-photographed site beside the Atlantic Ocean.
Tropical development continues
From the National Hurricane Center: Near the Yucatan Peninsula and Southeastern Gulf of Mexico: A broad area of low pressure located near the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and Yucatan Peninsula. Despite strong upper-level winds, this system is likely to become a tropical depression or tropical storm while it moves slowly northeastward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and southeastern Gulf of Mexico during the next day or two. Interests in western Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the Florida Peninsula should monitor the progress of this system, and tropical storm watches or warnings could be required for some of these areas later today.
Florida jobless claims fell below 17,000 last month
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – First-time unemployment claims in Florida came in under 20,000 for a fourth straight week, as the state’s jobs picture has improved amid the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated Florida posted 16,709 new claims during the week that ended March 13, down from a revised count of 19,281 for the week ending March 6. The Department of Labor estimated 770,000 jobless claims were filed nationally last week, an increase of 45,000 from the week ending March 6. Over the past year, the state Department of Economic Opportunity has paid out $24.25 billion in state and federal relief to 2.3 million claimants. A February unemployment rate will be released March 26.
Hemingway look-alikes urge mask-wearing in Florida Keys
File photo of past winners of the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike contest in Key West. KEY WEST, Fla. – Ernest Hemingway look-alikes are being used by the Florida Keys tourism council to encourage visitors and residents to wear masks to protect against COVID-19. “We look at Key West as being our adopted town,” said longtime contest entrant Dusty Rhodes in the video. The look-alikes wear masks over their signature white beards. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 40th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s last July.
75 pounds of cocaine found floating off Florida Keys
A fisherman found the cocaine bricks about 15 miles south of Sugarloaf Key on Wednesday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. KEY WEST, Fla. – Almost 75 pounds of cocaine were found this week floating off the Florida Keys. A fisherman found the cocaine bricks about 15 miles south of Sugarloaf Key on Wednesday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Drugs floating off the Florida Keys are nothing new, according to the Miami Herald. In July, more than 50 pounds of cocaine washed up near Grassy Key.
Florida turtle hospital takes in 40 cold-stunned turtles Thanksgiving weekend
Dozens of cold-stunned turtles were flown from the cold waters of Cape Cod down to the Florida Keys and brought to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon over Thanksgiving weekend. The 40 rescued turtles were Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, one of the most endangered sea turtle species. LIVE at the Turtle Hospital 40 cold stunned Kemps Ridley sea turtles checked in last night and are warming up in the Florida Keys sunshine! Being “cold stunned” can leave lasting impacts on the turtles and recovery can take anywhere from 30 days to a year. So far, all 40 turtles have passed their swim tests, meaning they have no immediate threats to their health.
$5 million grant will help restore Keys coral reef
KEY WEST, Fla. – A $5 million grant will help restore one of the major coral reefs located in federally protected waters around the Florida Keys. The reef is about seven miles (11 kilometers) southeast of Key West and is part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the $5 million through the National Coastal Resilience Fund. In 2019, NOAA announced Mission: Iconic Reefs, a plan to restore nearly much of the Florida Reef Tract. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 3,800 square miles (6,100 kilometers) of waters surrounding the Florida Keys.
Miami hospital COVID nurses surprised with island vacation
MIAMI – Over a dozen Miami nurses and front line health care workers are finally getting a well-deserved break. The group was scheduled for an upcoming mandatory, aka boring, 48-hour training, but were instead surprised with an island vacation to the Florida Keys. Jackson Health System supervisors were asked to choose staff that went above and beyond during the pandemic. The 50 workers were told they had to attend a mandatory two-day, training, but when they gathered at the hospital Tuesday they were handed gift boxes with gift certificates. Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys donated two-night stays to their island on Duck Key, surrounded by sparkling waters and swaying palm trees as part of its Heroes Salute program.
High winds and showers to end our Monday
Shower activity will continue to move northwest tonight as tropical moisture moves through. This pattern continues with deep tropical moisture will remaining across the area. Tonight: A few clouds with off and on showers, lows in the mid to low 70s, and breezy winds out of the east 15-20 mph. Wake up temperatures in the 70s across southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. Looking ahead: Tropical moisture continues this week.
Already flooded, South Florida braces for Eta's wrath
A couple walks along the beach during a downpour, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, on Miami Beach, Florida's famed South Beach. A strengthening Tropical Storm Eta cut across Cuba on Sunday, and forecasters say it's likely to be a hurricane before hitting the Florida Keys Sunday night or Monday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Tropical Storm Eta dumps rain on already flooded South Florida
Elsewhere, forecasters announced that Subtropical Storm Theta, a record-breaking 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, had formed far out in the northeast Atlantic by late Monday night. Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys and posed a serious threat across South Florida, which was already drenched from more than 14 inches (35 centimeters) of rain last month. “Never seen this, never, not this deep,” said Anthony Lyas, who has lived in his now-waterlogged Fort Lauderdale neighborhood since 1996. It was the 28th named storm of a busy Atlantic hurricane season, tying the 2005 record for named storms. ___Associated Press writers Cody Jackson in Fort Lauderdale, Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, and Haleluya Hadero in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Eta soaks South Florida, weakens as it moves away from Keys
Tropical Storm Eta caused severe flooding in South Florida in areas already saturated from previous downpours. The system made landfall in the Florida Keys and posed a serious threat across South Florida, which was already drenched from more than 14 inches of rain last month. The Hurricane Warning for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay have been replaced with a Tropical Storm Warning. The Tropical Storm Watch has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning for the Florida west coast from Englewood to Anna Maria Island. On the forecast track, the center of Eta will gradually pull away from the Florida Keys and south Florida today and be over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico tonight through Wednesday.
Nor’easter starts off the week and ends with tropical rain
Tropical Storm Eta moves across the Florida Keys late tonight and into the eastern Gulf tomorrow. It will be wetter Monday with increasing showers as tropical moisture moves in with the potential for some locally heavy rainfall around the coastal areas. We keep rain around Tuesday and possibly into Veterans Day as rounds of showers pass quickly in the moist flow. Winds will decrease Tuesday and Wednesday as high pressure moves to the east and guides Tropical storm Eta through the Keys and into the Gulf where it wanders next week off the west Florida coast. Rain totalsIf this track plays out, the wettest day would be Thursday evening and Friday morning with 1-2 inches of rain.
Eta strikes Florida Keys; expected to become hurricane
A strengthening Tropical Storm Eta cut across Cuba on Sunday, and forecasters say it's likely to be a hurricane before hitting the Florida Keys Sunday night or Monday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami declared hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay. Several shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low lying areas. On Sunday night, authorities in Lauderhill, Florida, responded to a report of a car that had driven into a canal. South Florida started emptying ports and a small number of shelters opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low-lying areas.
Eta strengthens back to a Tropical Storm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tropical Storm Eta became a tropical storm again Saturday morning south of Cuba. Maximum sustained winds are now near 40 mph Eta is near the Cayman Islands with 35 mph winds. A tropical Storm Watch covers south Florida and up the east coast stopping at Volusia county. A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect along the Florida east coast north of Sebastien Inlet to the Brevard/Volusia county line. A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect for the Florida west coast north of Bonita Beach to Englewood.
Guatemala searches, Eta regains storm status, heads to Cuba
Members of search and recovery teams search for survivors in the debris of a massive, rain-fueled landslide in the village of Queja, in Guatemala, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta. The storm was expected to hit Cuba by early Sunday, and approach the Florida Keys and south Florida late Sunday or Monday. Tropical storm warnings were issued for central Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys. South Florida started emptying ports and a small number of shelters opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low lying areas. The storms’ threat comes as many streets across South Florida have been inundated by heavy rains and unusual King Tides.
Eta Becomes An Extratropical Low
Location 85 miles SE of Wilmington North Carolina Wind 45 mph Heading ENE at 21 mph Pressure 29.65 Coordinates 76.8W, 33.3NDiscussionAt 400 AM EST (0900 UTC), the center of Post-Tropical Cyclone Eta was located near latitude 33.3 North, longitude 76.8 West. The post-tropical cyclone is moving toward the east-northeast near 21 mph (33 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue with an increase in forward speed through Saturday. On the forecast track, Eta is expected to gradually pull away from the southeast U.S. Coast today. Eta could intensify a little as an non-tropical cyclone during the next day or so before it becomes absorbed by a larger non-tropical cyclone on Saturday or Saturday night. Tropics Models at 3:34 Friday Night, November 13thLand HazardsSURF: Swells generated by Eta will affect portions of the southeastern United States coast today.
Florida Keys to release modified mosquitoes to fight illness
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Sometime next year, genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in an effort to combat persistent insect-borne diseases such as Dengue fever and the Zika virus. The plan approved this week by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District calls for a pilot project in 2021 involving the striped-legged Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is not native to Florida. At a meeting Tuesday of the Florida Keys mosquito control board, several people questioned the wisdom of the project. You have no idea what that will do, Barry Wray, director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, told the board. Whether or not the modified mosquitoes can efficiently crash the population of these mosquitoes in Florida remains an open question, some experts say.
2 rescued sea turtles released in Florida after recovery
(Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)ISLAMORADA, Fla. Two rehabilitated sea turtles, rescued at different times and locations by the U.S. Coast Guard, have been released off the Florida Keys. Emma, a 150-pound (68-kilogram) female loggerhead sea turtle, was recovered in June after she was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean off Islamorada. Bubbles, a 225-pound (100-kilogram) adult female green sea turtle, was found entangled in an abandoned fishing trap line by recreational boaters in mid-June off Long Key. Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Lees described the rescue and Thursday's release of the sea turtles as a rare treat. Its fulfilling to see the final result of a turtle rescue, Lees said.
Florida couple jailed for refusing to quarantine, police say
MIAMI Two residents of the Florida Keys have been jailed for failing to quarantine after testing positive for the new coronavirus. Jose Interian, 24, and Yohana Gonzalez, 26, are facing charges of violating isolation rules for a quarantine and violating emergency management disaster preparedness rules, according to jail records. They were arrested Wednesday in Key West, officials said. The Miami Herald reports Interian and Gonzalez had been ordered by the health department to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, but neighbors said they were ignoring the order. Someone videotaped the couple and gave it to Key West police, according to Greg Veliz, Key West's city manager.
11th case of dengue fever confirmed in Florida Keys
KEY LARGO, Fla. An 11th case of the mosquito-borned dengue fever has been confirmed in the Florida Keys, health officials said. So far, all 11 cases have been in Key Largo, including 8 cases the last week of June, the Florida Department of Health officials said Tuesday. Officials are currently conducting epidemiological studies to determine the origin and extent of these infections, Florida Keys spokeswoman Alison Kerr told the Miami Herald. One case of dengue fever has been confirmed Miami-Dade County, according to health department spokeswoman Olga Connor. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District said helicopters and trucks are targeting the adult mosquitoes and larvae, said Chad Huff.
Rare sea turtle released off Florida Keys
MARATHON, Fla. A rare hybrid hawksbill-green sea turtle, rehabilitated at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital, will participate in a long-distance online race that follows the migration of sea turtles over three months. The Tour de Turtles, an annual educational project organized by the Sea Turtle Conservancy, is intended to raise awareness about sea turtles and threats to their survival. Maisy was rescued almost a year ago off the Lower Keys suffering from fibropapillomatosis, a herpes-like virus affecting sea turtles around the world. The others will be released off Florida by the end of July, according to Dan Evans, a senior research biologist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Maisys the first hybrid sea turtle weve ever tracked."
Officials solve 1991 rape, murder of teen in Florida Keys
KEY WEST, Fla. Officials have solved the killing of a teenager in the Florida Keys who was raped and strangled with her bikini top on Valentines Day 1991. Officials used DNA technology to identify both the victim and the suspect. DNA obtained from the 1991 crime scene in the Florida Keys matched DNA from Bradley's own homicide scene in April 1992. The case became known as the Valentine Jane Doe Homicide. Kirkum was seen hitchhiking out of Key West that evening. Sheriffs officials said Kirkum was never reported missing, and both her parents are now dead.
Florida Keys reopen to visitors as Miami-area beaches closed
KEY LARGO, Fla. The Florida Keys reopened for visitors Monday after the tourist-dependent island chain was closed for more than two months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As the Keys took down barriers, Miami-Dade County decided to keep its beaches closed because of protests in South Florida and across the country over the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Since March 22, the Keys have been closed to nonresidents who dont work or own property in the county. Visitors at the Winter Haven, Florida, theme park were being screened for illness, and were encouraged to wear masks and bring credit cards since the theme park had gone cashless. Still, hotels were reopening in the Miami area with restrictions, including a requirement that guests wear masks except inside their rooms.
No more checkpoints; Florida Keys open for visitors
KEY WEST, Fla. Checkpoints leading into the Florida Keys are coming down two months after being set up to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. With four deaths attributed to COVID-19, the Florida Keys has had about 110 coronavirus cases, and more than 20 of those are from a nursing home on Plantation Key, according to the Miami Herald. By contrast, neighboring Miami-Dade County to the north has had almost 18,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 700 deaths. But officials are warning residents to keep up their vigilance as the Florida Keys reopens to visitors. the Key West Police Department tweeted.
Florida prepares for holiday weekend as parts of state still closed
MIAMI The Sunshine State faces an uncertain start to summer with some areas hoping for brisk business over Memorial Day weekend while high-profile South Florida beaches remained closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beaches in Miami-Dade County remain closed, with access points blocked, and officials there aren't expecting crowds. Just north in Broward County, officials are also expecting closed beaches to keep crowds away for the holiday weekend. Most events that draw crowds have also been canceled in the Florida Keys, which has been closed to visitors since March. Outside of South Florida, other parts of the state are somewhat more optimistic about Memorial Day weekend.
Banners honor graduates along Florida Keys Overseas Highway
Published: May 20, 2020, 6:40 am Updated: May 20, 2020, 10:29 amISLAMORADA, Fla. Banners featuring scores of yearbook photos are hanging next to the Florida Keys Overseas Highway to honor graduating seniors who will miss out on traditional ceremonies because of the coronavirus pandemic. Several residents in Islamorada knew that COVID-19 would affect celebrations for the 177 graduating seniors at Coral Shores High School in the Upper Keys. Local businessman Mike Forster helped finance the project to transform yearbook portraits into banners, and Florida Keys Electric Cooperative crews hung them from powerline poles in Islamorada. Bridget Dougherty, 18, who is planning to attend the University of South Florida, said she and her fellow graduates were surprised by the banners. Its connected those who have graduated with those who are graduating now.Dougherty said she was very disappointed with missing out on traditional celebrations.
Florida Keys will reopen to visitors June 1 amid pandemic
KEY WEST, Fla. The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on June 1, more than two months after the island chain closed to visitors to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. The decision to reopen comes amid the low coronavirus infection rate in the Florida Keys, the Miami Herald reported. The move to reopen was the toughest decision Monroe County officials had to make, Monroe County Spokeswoman Kristen Livengood told the Miami Herald. The Florida Keys had been closed off to non-residents since March 22. Checkpoints at U.S. 1 and State Road 905 were set up five days later to bar visitors from coming into Monroe County.
Coronavirus: Florida Keys plan to keep visitors out through May
MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Don’t plan on making a visit to the Florida Keys until at least June. While stay-at-home orders may be loosened soon, Monroe County does not anticipate reopening to visitors in May, county officials said Friday. “The last thing we want to do is open up the doors and then have a resurgence,” County Mayor Heather Carruthers told Local 10 News. The Keys have been discussing relaxing some restrictions for their residents in a “new normal.” They say they will first review the plans for Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. “It’s not going to be a snap your fingers and everything is back to normal by any means,” Carruthers said.
Teen killed in boat crash off Florida Keys
A South Florida teenager died after a boat crash Sunday off the Florida Keys, News4Jax’s sister station, WPLG-TV, reports. The teen was identified by Westminister Christian School as Lucas Alvarez, who was a senior at the private school in Miami-Dade County and was the captain of the lacrosse team. “Lucas was loved by many and was known for being kind to everyone,” reads, in part, a statement on the school’s website. The report shows Alvarez was taken to a hospital, where he died. The school also said there will be a special assembly Wednesday, and therapists will be available for students and staff.
Man could get year in prison, fine for killing endangered sawfish
(CNN) - A man in Florida could face up to a year in federal prison and a $50,000 fine after witnesses said they saw him kill an endangered smalltooth sawfish by removing the long, flat saw that gives the fish its name. Chad Ponce pleaded guilty Friday to killing an endangered species, according to a news release from the US Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. Smalltooth sawfish use that saw to sense and attack prey. The smalltooth sawfish has been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 2003, making it illegal to catch, harm, harass or kill the fish. NOAA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigated Ponce's case, the US attorney's office said.
2,000-pound great white shark swimming off coast of Florida
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(CNN) - A great white shark that weighs over 2,000 pounds and measures 15 feet, 5 inches long has been swimming along the US East Coast. Since then, the shark has moved further south to the Florida Keys, where she showed up on Saturday. OCEARCH, a nonprofit that tracks marine life in collaboration with SeaWorld, said it first tagged Unama'ki near Nova Scotia in September. She is the second biggest white shark the group has tagged in the northwest Atlantic, CNN affiliate WSOC-TV reported. "As a big mature female, Unama'ki has the potential to lead us to the site where she gives birth and exposes a new white shark nursery," OCEARCH said.
Labor Day storm in 1935 hammered Florida
Simply known as the Labor Day Storm, the 1935 hurricane was the strongest Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall and the first designated Category 5 hurricane to ever touch the United States. The storm hit the Florida Keys on September 2KEY WEST, Fla. - We don't know yet what will happen as Hurricane Dorian approaches Florida's east coast this weekend, but its timing coincides with another Labor Day hurricane that rocked south Florida in 1935. Simply known as the Labor Day Storm, the 1935 hurricane was the strongest Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall and the first designated Category 5 hurricane to ever touch the United States. The storm hit the Florida Keys on September 2 with peak winds of 200 mph. Dorian is expected to strengthen to at least a Category 1 storm over Labor Day weekend and could possibly reach Category 3 strength before all is said and done.
Insurance claims: What to do before, after storm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While it might be too late to make changes to your insurance policy ahead of Hurricane Dorian, there are some steps to consider taking after the storm to make the process of reporting damage seamless, should that be necessary. Being ready to make a claim with your insurance as soon as the storm passes is what will make a difference. As soon as a storm passes, damage can be assessed. You will have individuals the day after the storm hits knocking on your door, asking you to sign documents or pleading to have cash to do services. If you have homeowners insurance, make sure they are your first call to make a claim, as you pay them every month in preparation for a disaster.
Jacksonville man accused of threatening Marathon mayor
MARATHON, Fla. - A 63-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested Friday after threatening a Florida Keys mayor, deputies said. Michael Falls is accused of leaving multiple threatening messages directed at Marathon Mayor John Bartus. "The profanity-laced messages suggested Mayor Bartus was responsible for Falls' interaction with law enforcement" or that Bartus "controlled law enforcement in some fashion," sheriff's spokesman Adam Linhardt said. Falls left several threatening messages, Linhardt said, including one in which he told Bartus, "When I'm done, I'm going to show you your grave, sir." In another message, Linhardt said, Falls told Bartus to "run the sheriff out of this (expletive) town.