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

Big Pine Key was the epicenter for Hurricane Irma's impact on the Florida Keys back in September of 2017. The eye of the category four storm went just west of the island. People there are still struggling to put their lives back together — and now they're coping with the coronavirus.

Marine debris — or trash in the water — is a problem everywhere including the Florida Keys. And it got a lot worse when Hurricane Irma crashed across the Keys in September of 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to songs like "Moon River" and "Accentuate the Positive" — music that is part of the Great American Songbook. 

Some Mercer songs — then new and recorded on a demo reel in the 1960s for a show that was never produced — were recently performed for the first time, in Key West.


A commercial fisherman in the Florida Keys has been sentenced in a case involving undersized lobsters. The sentence also keeps him out of the water for quite some time.

For decades, most of the news about coral reefs has been pretty gloomy. Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is launching a new mission to bring back a few of those reefs.

After Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys in September 2017, the island chain saw a drop in visitors. Now the primary industry in the Keys is back — and it's booming.

The Monroe County Public Library system is celebrating its 60th birthday this month. But the Key West library calls itself South Florida's oldest, dating back to the 1800s. 

Splinter the green sea turtle returned home to the Atlantic Ocean off Key West on Friday.

It was less than two months after she was found off Key Largo, tangled up in trap line and speared through the neck.

The local legend in Key West is that a few businessmen started Fantasy Fest in 1979 because they wanted to drum up some business at the end of the off-season.

That's true, says Tony Falcone, who was one of those founding fathers for what has turned into the biggest annual event in the Keys. But it's not the only reason.

Online home renting sites like Airbnb have greatly expanded the vacation rental market — when travelers rent a home or apartment instead of a hotel room.

Two new studies illustrate the impact that's having on the Florida Keys.

There's a reason Key West was the inspiration for the song Margaritaville. The island runs on booze.

Tourists and the Duval Crawl — that’s the obvious. There are towns where it might be frowned upon for locals to start the day with a beer, or even a shot of tequila. Key West is not one of those towns. 

Initial reporting can leave lasting impressions after a hurricane — and that can be really damaging to a tourism destination.

For years, the city of Key West and Monroe County have been at odds about the location of the city's homeless shelter. But they may have reached a resolution.

This post was updated at at 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 12

The prospect of genetically modified mosquitoes is back for the Florida Keys — just as a new study raises concerns about the technology.

Two people were killed in a small plane crash off Marathon Sunday morning, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

The 1961 Cessna 210 Centurion crashed into the water near Rachel Key, a small island off Marathon's gulf side.

The two people, whose identities have not been released, are believed to be the only two on board the plane, according to the sheriff's office.

All of the Florida Keys reef is under thermal stress — meaning the water is warm enough that corals may start bleaching.

The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane that slammed Islamorada was the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record — until Sunday, when Hurricane Dorian tied it in the Bahamas.

On Monday, residents of Islamorada gathered for the annual Labor Day service at the Hurricane Memorial on Upper Matecumbe Key. They were thinking of hurricanes past — and present.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials Thursday evening faced a crowd of Keys residents strongly opposed to removing the Key deer from the Endangered Species List.

Almost two years ago, Hurricane Irma destroyed or did major damage to more than 4,000 homes in the Florida Keys. It also devastated many hotels, especially in the Middle and Upper Keys.

It's been more than 20 years since the last comprehensive plan to manage the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

It's been decades since Monroe County opened a new library branch. And even longer since the county built a library. That is about to change.

Construction began on a new library in Marathon last month.

In the last few months, Key West has banned the sale of chemical sunscreens and the use of styrofoam and some pesticides on city property. Now the city is taking on single-use plastics.

Rebuild Florida is a state program that helps people whose homes were severely damaged in Hurricane Irma. The program is also aimed at removing some homes in harm's way .

For months, a truck that serves only as a mobile billboard has been driving around downtown Key West. Its days on the island may be numbered.

Key West is taking on the island's abundant wild iguana population. They're everywhere, including city-owned property, from the old landfill known as Mount Trashmore to the historic cemetery in the center of the island. 

For the last several weeks, Chicago-based composer and percussionist Ben Wahlund has been a resident artist at The Studios of Key West, absorbing the island and its people, both the tourists and the service workers who provide the only-in-Key West experiences for them.

Wahlund's observations and encounters have been transformed into a dozen musical compositions that he's calling "Mile Marker Zero."

WLRN's Nancy Klingener talked to Wahlund about his work and got a preview of some of the pieces he'll be performing on Saturday, July 13, at The Studios of Key West.

There are a lot of challenges to living in the Florida Keys. The biggest is the cost of living. But even some people who can afford to live in the Keys are leaving anyway for another reason — the lack of access to medical care.

About 25 Democrats in Key West gathered at Shanna Key, an Irish pub, to watch the debate.

Bert Sise is chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Monroe County.

She was watching to see the candidates address a couple issues in particular.

"Climate change for sure. For sure. Because all of our lives in South Florida are going to be impacted by what happens in the next couple of decades," she said.

While the spotlight was on the candidates Wednesday evening, Sise says local party members have an important role to play in the election and in national politics.

The recent U.S. ban on cruise ships traveling to Cuba has had a ripple effect on South Florida's cruise industry. Yet not all of it is bad news.

In fact, it's bringing more attention to the southernmost port of call for these big ships in the continental U.S.

People in South Florida have lots of reasons to resent iguanas. They pillage the garden. They poop in the pool. And in the Keys, they sometimes knock out the power.

Now Keys Energy Services, the utility that provides power from the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, is taking steps to prevent that.

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