Cheers: To the new leadership throughout Monroe County. The county this week swore in three new commissioners, while the Village of Islamorada welcomed five new council members. We’re hoping new ideas and solutions to long-standing problems may come along with the new personnel.
Jeers: To the continuing problem of affordable housing in the Florida Keys, which recently led one Islamorada resident to give up the fight and move to North Carolina. Her challenges are shared by many and are indicative of a dire situation that requires an immediate and effective solution.
Cheers: To Elicia Pintabona, who recently formed the Cornerstone Resource Alliance, which has taken control of the management of the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter on Stock Island. Pintabona looks after some of the Florida Keys’ most vulnerable residents, a daunting task that seems to become more challenging each and every day.
Cheers: To the Key West Film Festival, which continues through Nov. 22. As with many events and celebrations in the Keys and throughout the nation and world, the coronavirus pandemic prompted some significant changes to this year’s festival, but organizers came up with some innovative new measures, such as the “boat-in” movie at Stock Island Marina Village, set for Saturday, Nov. 21.
Jeers: To those who continually refuse to wear masks in the fight against COVID-19, both residents and visitors alike. The Key West City Commission on Thursday tightened its restrictions on masks, asserting they should be worn at all times in public, with few exceptions, or violators will face citations and fines. While the politicizing of mask-wearing continues, the science on the issue shows that wearing a mask has health benefits. Like the old ad for Nike says, “Just do it.”
Cheers: To the area’s non-profit theaters, which are dipping their toes in the water with productions scheduled in 2021. Key West’s vibrant theater scene had the curtain come down on it in March, when the pandemic struck, and only now while following social-distancing and mask-wearing rules, are they preparing for the show to go on. Break a leg.
Cheers: To members of the U.S. Coast Guard, who had a busy weekend with rescues. The USCG, along with a good Samaritan, rescued a 69-year-old Cuban man who was stranded at sea for four days following Tropical Storm Eta passing Cuba and the Keys; the next day, a Coast Guard Station Islamorada crew helped transport an unconscious snorkeler to land, where he was transported to Mariner’s Hospital.
Jeers: To the Monroe County Commission, for failing to solidify a plan to address sea-level-rise issues. While the cost of mitigation projects are estimated to be in the billions, the need for forward motion is clear — as evidenced by the number of Stillwright Point residents who spoke about their concerns at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Cheers: To Marathon cross country runner Jonathan Pitchford, who last week became Monroe County’s first three-time state medalist by running to a six-place finish at the Florida High School Athletic Association’s 1A State Championships at the Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee. The graduating senior — and his twin brother Owen — have left their marks on the record books by advancing to six straight state championships, while the Lady ‘Fins reached a second straight.
— The Citizen