Cheers: To Coffin Marine, and its partnership with Monroe County, for its ingenious new boat removal barge. This barge only draws 6 inches of water and will help clean up the scourge of sunken and derelict vessels throughout the Florida Keys in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Jeers: To state legislators who have proposed bills that could dramatically increase windstorm insurance rates for Monroe County, despite the private insurance company that handles policies carving out the Florida Keys from such excessive rate increase. The proposed bills ignore the fact that Florida Keys property owners are charged some of the highest rates in the state, while having some of the strictest building codes in the state.

Cheers: To the Monroe County Commission, for voicing opposition this week about accepting more state-issued building allocation called ROGO (Rate of Growth Ordinance) units. Current traffic levels and impacts to residents’ quality of life were cited as key elements of the decision. As Monroe County faces build-out, this move puts residents’ needs at the forefront, despite the financial ramifications from fending off further land taking lawsuits.

Jeers: To the two suspects in the mutilation of a pelican in the Upper Keys. The two allegedly cut the pelican’s gullet and then pulled the tissue over the bird’s head; the pelican had to be put down because of the injuries it suffered. Law enforcement are still searching for the suspects. Such blatant disregard for life should not be tolerated.

Cheers: To the continuing decrease in COVID-19 cases in Monroe County, as well as the increase in vaccine availability through public and private sources. It’s been a year since the pandemic first hit the Florida Keys; strong leadership from both the public and private sectors has helped bring us to this point where nearly one-third of our residents have received at least one vaccination. While we’re not out of the woods yet, strides continue to be made daily.

Jeers: To KCI, the consulting firm hired by the City of Key West to oversee a sweeping redesign of Duval Street, which Key West Citizen report Pru Sowers discovered had laid off its project manager and its entire Planning Department one week after landing the contract with the city. On Wednesday, the city officially fired KCI, which sets back any redesign of the world-famous road once again.

— The Citizen