Nancy Klingener

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami HeraldSolares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.

She is a Spring 2014 graduate of the Transom Story Workshop. She is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar and reviews books for the Miami Herald

One little cottage of less than 800 square feet got a lot of attention - and even a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The home, in the Avenues neighborhood of Big Pine Key, was the first Keys Cottage to be completed by the Florida Keys Community Land Trust.

An iconic resident of Key West may one day be immortalized with the highest honor the Keys have to offer — an island that bears his name.

With lots of rain and high humidity over the summer, Big Pine Key has not seen a repeat of last spring's wildfire that consumed dozens of acres. And the state forest service is trying to keep it that way.

The fire last April consumed dozens of acres and destroyed one structure. It was fueled by the dead vegetation left behind by Hurricane Irma, which crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 hurricane in September of 2017.

Across Florida, school is starting with new attention to school safety and security. In the Keys, that means more than increased police protection.

Duval Street is Key West's main drag, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf end of the street is busy, with lots of bars and restaurants. The Ocean end is public property; it's got a pier, nine parking spots and a Dumpster for the seaweed that collects at the shoreline.

July this year was the hottest ever recorded in Key West — where officials have been keeping weather records since 1871.

The two men responsible for stealing a gold bar from a Key West treasure museum were sentenced Monday at the federal courthouse in Key West.

Richard Johnson received five years and three months in federal prison, while Jarred Goldman was ordered to serve three years and four months.

Monroe County already had one of the highest suicide rates in the state of Florida.

Then came Hurricane Irma. And although most of the debris has been removed from land - and lots of repairs are underway — the storm continues to impact the Keys, almost a year later.

The captain of a charter boat carrying government scientists on an environmental research cruise near the Keys has been cited for violating environmental regulations.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon releases 50 to 60 sea turtles back to the ocean every year. On Friday two unusually large turtles returned to the sea — with new souvenirs from their time on land.

Getting rid of Hurricane Irma debris from the Florida Keys took months and cost tens of millions of dollars. And now the saga has entered the political realm.

Every few weeks, Fred and Melissa Bach host a neighborhood barbecue at their home in the Avenues, on Big Pine Key. Fred’s watching the grill, a barrel shaped rig with a smoker on the side. There are ribs, chicken, salmon — all sizzling and smelling good.

A neighborhood cookout on a Sunday afternoon is a normal thing in most places. But here, in this neighborhood full of mobile homes and ground level houses, these barbecues are a rare refuge of normalcy.

The Avenues took a direct blow from Hurricane Irma last September.

Anyone who's spent any time in the Florida Keys knows the local symbol is the conch (pronounced konk) shell. The island chain is the Conch Republic. People who were born there are Conchs. It’s the Key West High School sports mascot.

So why, in front of Key West City Hall, is there a proud giant statue of … a tiger?

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

Hurricane Irma moved a lot of things around underwater off the Florida coast. And the storm has revealed new evidence of an old shipwreck off the Florida Keys.

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