From history to the military, the Friends of the Marathon Library have something for everyone in its 2017 speaker series, which starts Thursday.
The free sessions are Thursdays in the parish hall of St. Columba Episcopal Church, 451 52nd St. bayside, behind the Panda House restaurant. Meet-and-greets with the speakers along with light refreshments are at 1:30 p.m. The presentations begin at 2 and last about 45 minutes. A question period follows. The schedule:
▪ Thursday: Islamorada historian Jerry Wilkinson and co-author Laura Albritton have written a book, “Marathon: The Middle Keys.” It contains 195 archival photographs of the Middle Keys from the 1800s through the late 20th century. With images and captions, it tells the story of these islands from the time of the wreckers through the railroad and tourism boom to the growth of Marathon as a year-round community.
▪ Jan. 19: Key West mystery writer Michael Haskins talks about his latest thriller in the Mick Murphy series. “Right As Wrong Can Be,” published in December, recounts a wild tale of what happens when Murphy stops to help a teenage girl on his night ride back to Key West. The good deed costs him most dearly as the teenager is escaping both Russian gangsters and Albanian thugs. Or so it seem.
▪ Jan. 26: Mystery writer Tom Corcoran returns with his eighth novel, “Crime Almost Pays,” introducing two new Key West private eyes. A spin-off from his popular Alex Rutledge mystery series, the novel describes the adventures of Dubbie Tanner, a man of substance who used to live in his car, and Wiley Feck, who once drank and lived in the weeds.
▪ Feb. 2: Khalid Minhas and his writer wife Mansura Bashir Minhas talk bout “Getting to Know the True Islam.” Dr. Minhas is an interventionist cardiologist and the associate medical director of cardiology at Jackson North Medical Center in North Miami Beach. Mansura Bashir Minhas is a freelance writer. They are part of True Islam and the Extremists, a grassroots campaign to provide Americans a clear way to distinguish true Islam from extremism.
▪ Feb. 9: Sgt. Joel Slough and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team will demonstrate some of their equipment and gear and explain some of their tactics. K-9 officer might also attend.
▪ Feb. 16: Jana Vandelaar, a popular columnist for The Reporter and a contributor to unwind magazine, entertains her readers with a perspective on trying to stay married, finding a life purpose other than killing mosquitoes and raising her daughter to be sort of normal, all while living in the Keys. She will have books for purchase.
▪ Feb. 23: John Bartus is a local musician, businessman and politician. He will give his perspective on life in our little slice of paradise.
▪ March 2: Clint Prindle is the chief of response for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West. He is responsible for coordinating all Coast Guard response operations in the Florida Keys and Florida Straits.
▪ March 9: Dick Adler, retired educator and historian, will share historical and contemporary information on the history of Duck Key through an oral and visual presentation. Dick and his wife Judy moved from Long Island, N,Y., to Duck Key in 1998.
▪ March 16: Brad Bertelli is a historian with four published books on Florida and Florida Keys history. As well as operating Historic Keys Walking Tours, he is the curator of the Keys History and Discovery Center in Islamorada. His column, “Notes on Keys History,” appears every other week in The Reporter. Brad will talk about lost wrecks of the 1563 Spanish treasure fleet.
▪ March 23: Bette Zirkelbach, manager of the Turtle Hospital, and founder Richie Moretti joined photographer Larry Benvenuti on two journeys to Cuba. The goal: To establish sound partnerships between Cuba and the United States to support conservation of marine sea turtles, a shared marine resource.
▪ March 30: Elizabeth Jolin represents Florida Bay Forever in political efforts to save and restore the waters surrounding the Florida Keys. She will talk about the connection between actions taken by the South Florida Water District and the declining health of the Florida Bay. She lives in Islamorada with her husband and daughter.