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

Over the summer, Hawaii became the first place in the United States to ban sunscreens with chemicals that have been found to harm corals. Now Key West is considering a similar ban. And a group opposing the ban is fighting back — online.

If you're in Key West and open a video on YouTube, there's a new ad on heavy rotation.

The Department of the Interior is one of the parts of the federal government affected by the current shutdown. But you can still visit South Florida's national parks.

Tom Brandner and his family were hoping to visit Dry Tortugas National Park during their Key West vacation.

That was not to be — but not because of the shutdown. The ferry to the national park was full.

"We wanted to book it about a month ago, but they were sold out," said Brandner, who is from Columbia, SC.

When Hurricane Irma slammed across the Lower Keys as a Category 4 storm last year, it hammered what passes for affordable housing — mobile homes and older structures that weren't elevated.

For people who are left with a piece of land but not a lot of money to rebuild, Monroe County plans to commission four tiny homes as a pilot project.

Flooding is a fact of life in the low-lying Florida Keys. And it's projected to get worse. According to Monroe County, this is the third most vulnerable county in the country to tidal flooding.

A Keys man who was held at the Monroe County jail on a federal immigration detainer — even though he's a U.S. citizen — is now suing Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay in federal court.

Monroe County has recently had some of Florida's highest rates of suicide. With the numbers increasing nationally and locally, people in the Keys are stepping up to prevent more deaths.

People who live in the Florida Keys have been waiting for years to find out whether the island chain will be the first place in the U.S. to try genetically modified mosquitoes as a method of controlling the pests.

They're going to have to wait awhile longer.

The utility that provides power for Key West and the Lower Keys usually only gets public attention when the power goes out. That has changed recently with the creation of a new high-paying position — and the choice of who will fill it.

For the last couple of years, scientists and divers in South Florida have been watching as a new disease has been spreading along Florida reefs. It's a water-borne pathogen that kills stony corals — the big ones that serve as the foundation for reefs.

Scientists don't know what caused the outbreak. They do know that the number of different kinds of corals it attacks — and the rate they’re dying from it — is unprecedented. But so is the response.

Key West elected a new mayor Tuesday for the first time in nine years. And Teri Johnston's victory was historic: she's the first openly lesbian woman to win election as a mayor in Florida, according to the LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida

Johnston has lived in Key West for 20 years. She works as a local contractor. And she served as a city commissioner for eight years.

More than a week after 11 people were shot and killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Key Westers of many faiths gathered at South Florida's oldest Jewish Congregation to speak out against anti-Semitism.

More than 100 people attended the service and read the names of the 11 people who died.

Rabbi Simon Dudai of Congregation B'Nai Zion in Key West led the group in the Mourner's Kaddish.

Afterward,  he said the service and the number of people who attended showed Key West living up to its official motto, One Human Family.

In Florida's high profile, tightly contested governor's race, the focus is squarely on South Florida. On Thursday, one candidate went as far south as he could go.

It's the one night of the year when zombies take over the streets of Key West. Thousands of zombies. On bikes.

The Zombie Bike Ride has been around less than a decade but has quickly grown into one of the locals' favorite Fantasy Fest events, a remarkably family-friendly cap to the first weekend of the 10-day festival of parties, parades, costume contests and general decadence.

It's been well over a year since Hurricane Irma struck, but in the Florida Keys some canals are still being added to the list for cleanup.

It's a good idea to protect your skin with sunscreen when you're out on the water.

But protecting reefs means giving up some of the most common sunscreens that can harm corals. Studies have found that some ingredients, especially oxybenzone and octinoxate, are harmful even in very small quantities.

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