Cheers: To the Key West High girls basketball, which captured the District 16-4A championship following a 30-year wait. The title is the Lady Conchs’ first since the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The team continued its winning ways on Thursday, beating Imater, 62-23, for the Florida High School Athletic Association Region 4-4A quarterfinals — the first region victory for the program. Congratulations to the team, which consists of Aubrey Hunter, Hohina Rahkmonava, Miesha Hernandez, Ziamora Cartwright, Emily Tran, Alyssa McRae, Olivia Gibson, Sarah Centonze, Jenkavia Harper and Dharma Murray, and coached by Shontea McLeod.
Jeers: To the continuing challenge to home rule by the state legislators, specifically targeting control over seaports throughout the state, including Key West. Voters spoke via three referenda on November’s ballot that limit the size and frequency of cruise ships docking in the Southernmost City. Two bills — Senate Bill 246 and House 267 — aim to take away control from local government, thereby negating the voice and votes of residents on this issue.
Cheers: To the Marathon boys soccer team, which won its first district title in school history, defeating Keys Gate in the District 16-3A championship final at home. According to coach Arno Silva, the school has been trying to take home the championship trophy for nearly 50 years. And a shoutout to Henry Herrera, who scored four of the Dolphins’ five goals in the triumph.
Jeers: To the decision by the Florida Department of Transportation to cancel construction of a new pedestrian bridge outside Founders Park in Islamorada. And an additional jeer to the newly seated Islamorada Village Council, which pushed forward a request to end the $4.68 million project in January, although FDOT had already invested more than $1 million into design work, utility infrastructure movement and construction staging. The intention of the bridge was improving pedestrian safety and access to the park, particularly during large events that frequently stalled U.S. 1 traffic. Let’s hope this decision doesn’t come back to haunt us.
Cheers: To Katrina Madok, who teaches STEM at Gerald Adams Elementary School, for being chosen a Florida semifinalist in th escience and engineering category for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching. The PAEMST are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics and/or computer science teaching. The awards were established by Congress in 1983. Good luck, Katrina.
Jeers: To the two apparent violations at the Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, recently announced in a report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Pinpointed in the report is the fact that, in 2019, the wrong charging pump at the plant was worked on by technicians, resulting in a trip of the charging pump. The investigation also targeted the technicians involved, as well as a supervisor and department head, as to whether proper procedures were followed. This is an area where any mistake, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, could have dire consequences.
Cheers: To Monroe County’s prep girls weightlifting programs, which collectively sent nine athletes to the FHSAA 1A State Finals. Those competing Friday for state honors were Coral Shores lifters Annavera Peixoto, Ali Woltanski, Amber Stevens and Kaylee Stokey, as well as Key West’s Val Thene, Marina Goins and Breanna Allen, and Marathon’s Allie Brebenec and Rylan Chapa.
Jeers: To those individuals who can’t seem to understand the importance of proper disposal of waste and trash. Our communities are seeing an increase in the amount of litter along walking and bike paths. The face masks, water bottles and plastic bags represent more than just litter. These items are harmful to humans and reach our nearshore waterways to injure and create havoc for our fisheries and the beautiful waters we depend on for so much of what makes us unique. Stop littering!
Cheers: To the return of athletics at The College of the Florida Keys. The college debut its first women’s and men’s swim teams competing at their first meet hosted by Indian River State College, last weekend. Sophomore Ericka Augst won her heats in the 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke, 50-yard breaststroke, and 50-yard freestyle races and qualified for national-level competitions in multiple categories. Junior Sarah Pietraszka also qualified for nationals in the 50-yard butterfly and 200-yard backstroke.
— The Citizen