Monroe County’s Parks and Beaches Department is hosting two “Debris Free” trick or treat events on Halloween, Oct. 31. The public is invited to both events, which run from 5 to 7 p.m. Candy will be handed out to kids big and small.
The Halloween events will be at:
Baypoint Park (behind Baby’s Coffee at mile marker 15, Saddlebunch Key)
Murray Nelson Government Center’s Park (102050 Overseas Highway in Key Largo)
Halloween Events Flyer
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed post-Irma Key deer index surveys in the animal’s core habitats on Big Pine and No Name keys Driving survey work following procedures used since 1968 began immediately upon the return of refuge staff from mandatory evacuation and continued for several weeks.
“These Key deer and the natural habitat they depend on are pretty resilient. First they made it through the New World screwworm infestation last year and now through the direct hit of a Category 4 hurricane. We are happy to report Key deer population numbers are well within the range we observed before Irma,” said Refuge Manager Daniel Clark.
The driving surveys provide an index to Key deer population size and serve to inform managers on population trends and overall status. Prior to Hurricane Irma, density estimates were routinely obtained using these same standardized methods. After Irma, increased numbers of surveys were conducted to ensure an accurate estimate of the population since there are an increased number of response and recovery vehicles on the roads as well as piles of debris.
The most recent estimate collected prior to Hurricane Irma determined approximately 1,100 Key deer occupied the core range on Big Pine and No Name keys. Survey estimates post-Hurricane Irma suggest 949 Key deer live in these same areas. Key deer are now in the mating season and healthy, active deer are readily seen in the core area. So far the refuge has positively confirmed 21 storm-related Key deer deaths. Since the storm, the Refuge has documented 12 deer deaths from vehicle collisions, up slightly from this time during previous years. The Refuge encourages visitors, contractors and residents to drive slowly and safely from Big Pine Key to Sugarloaf to protect Key deer and other wildlife.
more “Press Release: Key Deer Population Makes it Through Another Major Incident”
Monroe County Sheriff’s School Resource Sergeant Eric Mixon worked with Sugarloaf School Counselor Rebecca Palomino to match these LEGO sets, donated by LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta, with the children who needed them most at the school. Sugarloaf School is located in one of the most damaged parts of Monroe County and the children attending the school come from families most affected by Hurricane Irma.
In the weeks immediately following Hurricane Irma, United Way of the Florida Keys has distributed over $20,000 in direct aid in the form of store gift cards and cleaning supplies and tools. The organization also disbursed $52,700 in emergency “mini-grants” to eight local, established partner nonprofits directly serving individuals and families impacted by the storm. Additionally, $45,000 was dedicated toward hotel rooms to assist residents in the Upper Keys left homeless due to Irma-related damages to their homes.
This week, UWFK will allocate another $80,000 in additional mini-grants to 16 previously vetted partner agencies, including Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Burton Memorial Church, Southernmost Boys & Girls Clubs, KAIR, Star of the Sea Mission Outreach and many others. Further, an application for an additional $100,000 worth of funding is open to any human service nonprofit engaged in hurricane recovery and rebuilding efforts at http://www.keysunitedway.org/uwfk-mini-grants-hurricane-irma-relief. There is also a link to the application on the UWFK homepage.
more “Press Release: United Way of the Florida Keys Provides Nearly $400,000 to Support Hurricane Irma Relief”
The Southernmost Coconut Castaways, the OFFICIAL Home “Friend Club” for Howard Livingston and the Mile Marker 24 Band, is proud to announce the release of a brand-new compilation CD called “Keys Strong: Music for Hurricane Irma Relief.”
With more than 35 songs about Key West, the Keys and the Keys “lifestyle” we all love, the double CD set includes songs by some of the best “Trop Rock” performers from all over the country and includes local musicians as well.
Some classic hits, some newly recorded versions of past hits and some brand spanking new songs specifically recorded for this CD, 100 percent of all proceeds will go to the United Way of the Florida Keys.
Money will be distributed to the 16 local charities listed on their website www.keysunitedway.org so the money stays here in The Keys.
more “Sales of ‘Keys Strong’ CD to Benefit Local Charities”
A favorite Florida Keys manatee mailbox seen in the Lower Matecumbe area carries the #KeysStrong message today!
You may recall seeing this manatee “dressed up” for July 4, Easter, Christmas and more. Thank you to the owners!
Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park in Fort Lauderdale has created a new brew, Florida Rebuilds, and will donate all proceeds — not just profits — to Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) to help food and beverage workers in the Florida Keys. The beer — a blonde ale made with Key limes — went on sale Friday at the brewery and will soon be distributed throughout the state this week.
CORE is a 13-year-old charity that aids the children and families of food and beverage employees facing a “life-altering circumstance.”
Brown Distributing of West Palm Beach — Funky Buddha’s distributor — has pledged to donate all proceeds from its sales to CORE. Constellation Brands, which purchased Funky Buddha in August, has pledged to match up to $50,000 in sales of Florida Rebuilds ale.
“We want these folks to be able to pay their bills and feed their families, ” said John Linn, Funky Buddha’s brand manager. “Our goal is to hit that six-figure mark.”
Funky Buddha and CORE suggest F&B workers apply for aid at https://www.coregives.org/about/refer-a-child/.
A list of restaurants and bars selling Florida Rebuilds ale is available on the brewery’s website at https://funkybuddhabrewery.com/.
This post was adapted from an article in the Miami Herald.
Keys residents Jon and Julie Landau have created the Landau Family Hurricane Relief Fund for the Upper Keys at the Community Foundation of the Keys to aid the recovery efforts of people and businesses in the Upper Keys in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Landau, filmmaker and producer of films including “Avatar” and “Titanic,” and his wife, Julie, have lived in the Keys since 2010.
“What makes the Keys special is not the azure blue waters, but rather the community of people that choose to call the Keys their home,” Landau said in a statement. “The purpose of this fund is to distribute grants to assist those residents and businesses of the Upper Keys who are suffering from the impact of Hurricane Irma. These grants will in turn help to keep the community intact.”
Donations to the Landau Family Hurricane Relief Fund can be made at cffk.org/florida-keys-emergency relief-fund/ or by calling 305-292-1502. The fund will distribute all monies raised to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Applications for Upper Keys nonprofit organizations seeking assistance from the Landau Family Hurricane Relief Fund and other granting funds at CFFK are available now at cffk.org.
In the spirit of community and in alignment with its mission of preservation, Key West Art & Historical Society has joined Star of the Sea Foundation and Habitat for Humanity to support ongoing hurricane Irma recovery efforts throughout the Keys. Specifically, the society will host and donate proceeds from events it holds throughout the year to aid in the partnering organizations’ charity efforts, including the upcoming “Brick House Funk Party” benefit on Thursday, Oct. 26, and the annual “Back in Time” fundraiser on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
“Key West Art & Historical Society has a strong membership base that’s passionate about arts as well as the community,” said Habitat for Humanity Board President Debbie Swift Batty. “The organization has graciously offered to support Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Given the impact and destruction of hurricane Irma, Star of the Sea Foundation and Habitat for Humanity are working especially hard at providing what they can for communities Keyswide.
“Star of the Sea Foundation and Habitat for Humanity both have missions that support the Keys community on a consistent and continual basis, which is important, given the long-term impact of the storm,” said Michael Gieda, executive director of the society, one of the city’s oldest nonprofit organizations that spearheads the cultural preservation and heritage of Key West and the Florida Keys.
more “Key West Art & Historical Society Collaborates with Charities to Support Ongoing Hurricane Recovery Efforts”
International superstar Gloria Estefan has donated the use of her 1990 ballad, “Coming Out of the Dark,” as a music foundation for a new video depicting the furor of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys, the resilience and spirit of Keys residents, some of the aid provided and the post-storm resumption of tourism flow to the island chain.
The video, being shown on and shared via Keys social media outlets (https://youtu.be/4xUYDjcnC94), uses the song Estefan wrote and released following a horrific 1989 tour bus accident that almost claimed the Grammy Award–winning singer’s life. The first song that Estefan performed publicly after recovering from the accident, it is also dedicated to husband Emilio Estefan Jr.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighboring Keys family,” said Frank Amadeo, president of Estefan Enterprises. “We just want the song to inspire others to help.”
The video is sponsored by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council to provide a balanced perspective on the Keys.
more “Florida Keys After Hurricane Irma Video, with Music by Gloria Estefan, Debuts”