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Tag: Politics

STATE REP. MOONEY ANNOUNCES STAFF FOR UPCOMING SESSION

State Rep. James Mooney Jr. recently announced his staff for the upcoming legislative session. The office includes the addition of longtime Upper Keys residents Lee Young as his legislative assistant and Nola Ann Acker as district secretary in his Key Largo office at the Murray Nelson Government Center. They join Elsa Rodriguez, who is Mooney’s district secretary in Homestead, located in the office of attorney John Maas. “I’m proud to have a great team who knows the process and is willing to work hard for our district,” Mooney said. CONTRIBUTED The post STATE REP. MOONEY ANNOUNCES STAFF FOR...

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Islamorada council sets ground rules for remote meeting participation

Surging COVID-19 cases and more quarantining measures among those in contact with infected individuals drew council members to adopt new rules on remote meeting attendance.  An outbreak inside Islamorada Village Hall last month affected several employees and council members. It led to a 10-day quarantine for Councilman Henry Rosenthal earlier this month. Mayor Buddy Pinder was absent for the Aug. 19 council meeting after he contracted COVID-19, drawing Vice Mayor Pete Bacheler to lead the dais.  Discussions among village council members in July over remote meeting options were not only for regular...

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CRUISE SHIP OPPONENT SAYS COSTLY LAWSUIT IS ‘EXTREMELY UNLIKELY’

The committee that spearheaded Key West’s cruise ship reductions is downplaying the potential costs of a lawsuit city officials expect from the owners of Pier B if forced to turn away their cruise ship clients.  City attorney Shawn Smith has repeatedly warned the city commissioners to expect a lawsuit from Pier B involving breach-of-contract and interstate commerce claims.  A cruise ship docks, pre-COVID, at the privately owned Pier B located behind Opal Key Resort & Marina in Key West. DAVID MARKS/Pixabay But Arlo Haskell, treasurer and cofounder of the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner...

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OFFICIALS STRIKE TENTATIVE DEAL TO SAVE KEY WEST SENIOR HOUSING CENTER

Key West’s financially strapped assisted-living facility, Poinciana Gardens, got a reprieve this week, when officials from three government agencies agreed to a cost-sharing arrangement. The arrangement must still be approved by the Monroe County commission, the Key West city commission and the Key West Housing Authority board before becoming official.  But Key West city manager Patti McLauchlin on Thursday told the Keys Weekly she was very pleased with the discussion and decision after meeting with county administrator Roman Gastesi and housing authority director Randy Sterling.  “We all agreed...

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LOCAL POLITICS: 4 CANDIDATES DECLARED FOR MARATHON CITY COUNCIL ELECTION

Up until last week, it didn’t look like it was going to be much of a horse race. Only incumbent Mayor Luis Gonzalez and newcomer Lynny Del Gazio (nee Thompson)  had declared their candidacy for a seat on the Marathon City Council for the November election. Then, late last week, Trevor Wofsey and Greg Coldiron filed papers with the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections, too.  Marathon Council elections are at-large, meaning that regardless of the number of candidates, the top vote getters are elected to two open seats in November.   Coldiron said he’s running because he...

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BREAKING NEWS: KEY WEST OFFICIALS CALL COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ‘BULLIES’ DURING BUDGET TALKS ABOUT ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITY

Key West officials had harsh words for their Monroe County counterparts during the city’s budget workshop Thursday, when talk turned to a potential new partnership in Poinciana Gardens assisted-living facility. Monroe County plans to close the 16-bed Bayshore Manor senior living facility on Stock Island and move the 11 current residents to Poinciana Gardens on Duck Avenue in Key West. That closure will save the county $1.2 million per year and will free up the Bayshore property for other county uses. The Key West Housing Authority no longer can afford to operate Poinciana Gardens and has asked...

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ISLAMORADA RESIDENTS CAN ATTEND MEETINGS IN-PERSON

Islamorada Village Council Chambers are open to village residents who wish to attend regularly scheduled and special meetings. Those taking seats inside the chambers at the Founders Park Community Center are strongly encouraged by the village to wear masks, but they’re not required.  Members of the public can still view and listen to meetings from their homes by watching Monroe County’s MCTV channel 77 or logging on via Zoom.  A special meeting called by Mayor Buddy Pinder on May 13 lasted just over an hour, as members discussed the next steps following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ set of executive...

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SWIM ZONE AT POPULAR BEACH EXPECTED BEFORE HOLIDAY WEEKEND

Boats heading to the popular bayside beach in Islamorada will soon need to anchor farther from the shore. Those that don’t could face fines.  Twenty white buoys will soon be placed to create a swim/vessel exclusion zone at Port Antigua and White Marlin Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key. The idea to push boats 300 feet from the mean high water line — and making people swim to the popular area — saw the village council’s unanimous approval last August.  Enacting a boating-restricted, swim-only area off the beach looks to address ongoing safety issues as well as problems from the commotion that’s seen...

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LT GOVERNOR TALKS ELECTIONS BILL, COVID ACTIONS WITH WEEKLY

A 60-day legislative session in Tallahassee brought more than 260 pieces of legislation to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for signature. Last week, the governor signed two bills related to the state’s elections and COVID-19 recovery, which also saw two executive orders.  Joining DeSantis in his signature of election legislation, Senate Bill 90, during a press conference in West Palm Beach last week was the state’s No. 2 in charge, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. The first Hispanic female lieutenant governor, elected in 2018, Nuñez was tuned in to the issues during the session.  With the signing...

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Keys get funding; Key West cruise ship vote overturned

Legislative session in Tallahassee yielded millions of dollars for vital programs and projects in the Florida Keys. It also saw insertion of language to overturn a Key West vote that sought to limit cruise ships coming and going there.  First-year state Rep. Jim Mooney said while he wanted more funding for the College of the Florida Keys, a $20 million appropriation for the Florida Keys Stewardship Act passed through the legislature in a victory for the island chain. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget recommendation included the full funding amount after a $10 million cut last year due to the pandemic. ...

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