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Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key presents a free dolphin show during a past ‘Keys Strong’ event.

Two visitors to Theater of the Sea in Islamorada participate in a dolphin show in this 2015 file photo.

Bobby Dube, Florida Keys' face of FWC, retires

As an annual tradition, veteran Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Bobby Dube trades in the open seas to camp in Ocala during the Thanksgiving holiday. This year may be different, though. Dube won’t have to rush back for work due to retirement.

Using up remaining vacation time throughout the month, Dube said he’s “easing into retirement,” spending time with his feet up and his dogs on his lap.

His official retirement date is Nov. 30, but his last day in the office was Friday, Nov. 5.

“I was in the police academy when I was 21 years old. I started with the Florida Marine Patrol (a precursor to the FWC) in 1989. The academy was tough, learning all criminal statutes and wildlife laws as well.”

Dube said he’s looking forward to this new chapter in his life.

“Thirty-two years out on a boat takes a toll on you,” he said. “As long as you love what you’re doing, it’s not bad. It’s been a good ride for me.”

Dube said he looks forward to spending more time fishing and hunting.

“I go hunting in Illinois. I’ve gone for duck, geese, but I’ve never killed a deer,” he said, but not on account of his marksmanship. Deer may only be hunted by bow and arrow in the county where he hunts and must be within 25 feet, he said. It’s difficult, he said.

Serving as his home’s horticulturist is also on the agenda.

“I’ll be spending more time in the yard,” he said. “Brown and Crebbin (landscape architects) designed the yard a while back and I try to keep up with it,” he said. “I also plan to travel more and I may rejoin the softball team.”

Dube, between navigating the deep blue, protecting marine resources and catching the bad guys, is also the local spokesman for the FWC. In 1999, when the Florida Marine Patrol merged with the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and other office as the newly named FWC, Dube integrated into the community and educated residents and visitors at seafood festivals, boat shows, schools and other public events of the agency change, lobster rules and fishery laws.

Dube became the face of the FWC in Monroe County for many schoolchildren as well as the local media. He’s also been a mentor to new officers.

“Bobby has been a constant presence for all Upper Keys officers and supervisors,” said FWC Officer Jason Rafter. “We’re going to miss tapping into his work experiences, his calm demeanor and the camaraderie he brought onboard when he was on duty.”

Capt. David Dipre said, “He has been a mentor, teacher, friend, advisor and counselor. His experience, after 33 years, cannot be replaced by a handful of new officers. FWC is very sad to be losing such a capable, competent officer, and such an outstanding public information officer.”

Dube’s career has spanned just about every aspect of working for the FWC. He’s been a field training officer and served on the FWC honor guard, the Special Response Team (SWAT), Dive Team, Special Operations Group, Disaster Response Team and the Resource Protection Unit, which is an undercover/plainclothes team that looks for poachers.

“When I was young, we didn’t have as many go-fast boats out on the water,” the 54-year old said. “Now there are boats with five or six 350’s on the back of them and the electronics are a lot more advanced. Far less people run aground these days. A lot more people know where the fishing holes are, which may not be as good for conservation.”

Dube is humbled when reflecting on his career.

“I just want to thank the community for their support, and not just for me but for FWC,” he said. “This is a wonderful community and I’m fortunate to have made my career here.”

He will celebrate his accomplished career after the holidays with his wife, family and friends.

Bar fights turns into family feud

With the holidays approaching, one Marathon family is proving that “Family Feud” is more than a television game show.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a father and his daughter Sunday morning following an altercation at the Brass Monkey bar in Marathon, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt.

Keith Warren Crews and Grace Ann Crews, both of Marathon, were both charged with battery and resisting arrest, Linhardt said.

Multiple deputies responded to the bar at approximately 1:30 a.m. Nov. 21 regarding a battery. The reported victim of the assault told deputies that Grace Crews took a seat at the bar, which spurred a verbal disagreement, Linhardt said.

The victim stated Grace Crews eventually kicked her and punched her in the face. Deputies noted a fresh bruise under the victim’s eye, Linhardt said.

Grace Crews initially refused to provide her identification or give her name or date of birth. While deputies spoke to Grace Crews, her father, Keith, as well as Crews’ mother and brother began to interfere with deputies as they placed her in custody, Linhardt said.

Keith Crews did not obey deputies commands to back up, and he began to loudly curse at them, reports state. Keith Crews tensed up and pulled away when deputies went to detain him. Both Grace and Keith Crews were taken to jail, Linhardt said.

This is not Grace Crews’ first arrest for violence. In April, she allegedly broke into her ex-boyfriend’s home in Hilltown Township, Pennsylvania, and stabbed him with a broken bottle, according to the media outlet the North Penn Now.

Grace Crews, 30, was charged with felony counts of burglary and criminal trespass April 4 incident, according to North Penn Now, citing a police report.

Police were dispatched to a resident for a report of a stabbing. Upon arrival, police said that Crews was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle in the driveway and the victim remained inside the home.

Police officers made contact with the victim, who had blood-soaked makeshift bandages covering his upper right arm, according to reports. After the bandages were removed, police said they observed a deep laceration approximately 6 inches long.

The victim told police Crews would stay with him from time to time; however, she did not live at the home and she did not have a key to the residence. Investigators said the victim was sleeping in his bedroom when he was awoken by Crews and an argument ensued. Crews then grabbed a beer bottle, broke it and swung at the victim, causing the injury, North Penn Now reported, again citing a police report.

The criminal complaint states that the victim received more than 12 stitches, the news outlet reported.

Investigators said that Crews had forced entry into the home via smashing out the glass of an exterior rear door. Police attempted to speak with Crews on scene, but the complaint states that she was not forthcoming with information. She did, however, tell police that she was kicked in the knee prior to grabbing and breaking the bottle, the North Penn Now reported.

The disposition of her criminal case in Pennsylvania was not known as of press time.

U.S. 1 Radio listing

Tiffany Dunsmore, with the Florida Keys SPCA, talks with News Director Joe Moore and Chuck Thomas about some new additions and great opportunities for adoptions.

Also on Morning Magazine,

• John Bartus, Marathon Mayor

• Rick Ramsay, Monroe County Sheriff

• Kimberly Matthews, Monroe County Director of Libraries

• Patti McLauchlin, Key West City Manager

• Theresa Axford, Monroe County School Superintendent

• Liz Young, Arts Council Director

On Evening Edition, host Ron Saunders talks with State Representative Jim Mooney