Editorials

Editorials

Storms remind us: Always have a plan

It’s far, far out in the Atlantic, so no one in the Keys should panic. But we must closely monitor Hurricane Irma, which on Friday was a Category 3 storm (sustained winds of at least 111 mph) heading west over the ocean.

Editorials

Collaboration for storm events is always the key

For almost 20 years, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West and Monroe County Emergency Management have teamed to communicate hurricane safety information before and during the six-month storm season, which started June 1.

Editorials

Face facts: The way you drive could kill someone

A strange phenomenon happens when you’re traveling on both the 18-Mile Stretch or Card Sound Road — the two roads leading in and out of the Keys. No matter how fast you drive, you typically arrive at the end of the road at just about the same time as the other drivers with whom you began your journey.

Editorials

Keys in the eye of Trump budget cuts

If you thought the federal government’s budget is some in-the-clouds, has-nothing-to-do-with-me spending plan, think again. The past few weeks, we’ve seen tidbits trickle out about President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 and if it passes in even somewhat of its current form, we would feel the effects. The Keynoter’s Kevin Wadlow reports that Trump’s budget proposes $1.3 billion in cuts for the U.S. Coast Guard, a massive amount for an agency whose current spending plan is around $10 billion. There are more registered boats in Monroe County than there are vehicles, and the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico are our prime playgrounds on days off and the office for those who work in fishing, diving, sailing and anything else having to do with the water. Coast Guard Sector Key West Cmdr. Capt. Jeffrey Janzen notes that “when it comes to the mission of Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations, there is no doubt we are the busiest in the Coast Guard for that.” And he notes that during winter, boats up north are put away until spring but winter here means snowbird and tourist season, and those people are on the water, often needing rescues. Then there is a proposed cut of $4.2 billion for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant program. In the Keys, the home energy program meant that 559 Keys households received a combined $130,000 last year to help keep their lights on. Trump’s budget’s mantra is programs must “demonstrate strong performance outcomes.” We think people being able to cook and see at night is the outcome. Monroe County Social Services administers the energy program locally. Director Sheryl Graham says she doesn’t see the cut happening. “There’s just too much at stake and too many levels of government for it to go through.” Still, it’s on the table. Then there’s the Environmental Protection Agency, which helps monitor Keys water quality through the Water Quality Protection Program, created in 1995. It’s designed to identify potential changes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that could harm Keys fish, coral, crustaceans and bird life. The current budget for the program is $1.4 million, down from $2.4 million seven years ago. Under Trump’s proposal, it would drop by even more, 31 percent. These are just the tips of the iceberg. As more details are delved into in the president’s proposed 2018 budget, we’ll surely see more concrete effects on the Florida Keys. Most people don’t believe Trump’s budget has any chance of passing Congress in its current form. But it would be unwise not to pay attention because before you know, things we’ve been accustomed to down here could very well go away.

More Videos

In Puerto Rico, which has a long-running addiction crisis, the few programs that help addicts are struggling to provide services. 3:17

In Puerto Rico, which has a long-running addiction crisis, the few programs that help addicts are struggling to provide services.

Northwestern dominates nationally ranked Central 1:52

Northwestern dominates nationally ranked Central

Trump feuds with Congresswoman over call to fallen soldier's widow 1:16

Trump feuds with Congresswoman over call to fallen soldier's widow

Rep. Frederica Wilson on the situation between her and President Trump over call to soldier's family. 1:39

Rep. Frederica Wilson on the situation between her and President Trump over call to soldier's family.

Operation Cross Country: 'Our Primary Goal is to Recover Children' 2:13

Operation Cross Country: 'Our Primary Goal is to Recover Children'

Kelly ‘stunned’ by Congresswoman’s reaction to President’s call to widow 3:18

Kelly ‘stunned’ by Congresswoman’s reaction to President’s call to widow

Protesters march against visit of white nationalist Richard Spencer to the University of Florida 0:10

Protesters march against visit of white nationalist Richard Spencer to the University of Florida

Protesters stand together against Spencer 2:26

Protesters stand together against Spencer

Dolphins coach Adam Gase says he only listens to himself on coaching decisions 1:14

Dolphins coach Adam Gase says he only listens to himself on coaching decisions

Chaminade-Madonna runs past Doral Academy 2:34

Chaminade-Madonna runs past Doral Academy

Seventh time’s a charm for Hemingway look-alike winner

White-bearded Texan Richard Filip on Saturday won the 2017 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, a highlight of Key West’s annual Hemingway Days celebration that ended Sunday. The 71-year-old, a retired real estate franchise owner, triumphed over 152 other entrants in the contest’s final round.
Florida Keys News Bureau
Seventh time’s a charm for Hemingway look-alike winner 2:56

Seventh time’s a charm for Hemingway look-alike winner

A windy, sunny day in Key West 0:53

A windy, sunny day in Key West

Dolphins visit Key West for Naval training 1:32

Dolphins visit Key West for Naval training

Meteor burning up over Lower Keys caught on dashcam 0:21

Meteor burning up over Lower Keys caught on dashcam