Florida Keys Island Currents

Florida Keys Island Currents

FWC Partners with Wild Bird Center
Natasha Warraich, wildlife biologist for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, bands a threatened Roseate Tern chick as part of a study to monitor a Marathon-based rooftop colony. Roseate Terns are one of the lucky naturally ground-nesting bird species that are not expected to be affected by the Gulf oil spill since they do not nest along northern or eastern Gulf shorelines.

It is baby bird season all around so if you see a bird in need of help please call the Marathon Wild Bird Center at (305)743-8382 for advice. Photo by Kelly Grinter


Some 500 motorcycle riders roared up the Overseas Highway Sunday to begin an epic race across North America to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

The first rider to complete the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge’s 7,000-mile route from Key West, the southernmost city in continental America, to Homer, Alaska will win $500,000 in Alaskan gold.

Scheduled completion date of the journey through 62 mountain ranges, 25 national forests, eight deserts, 33 Indian reservations and two countries is July 4.

The event’s name is derived from a Lakota Sioux expression often shouted by warriors as they went into battle.

More than half of the participants are military veterans.

Portions of proceeds benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans and other nonprofit organizations.

The event began early Sunday morning at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel.

Music teachers spotlighted at CAMP faculty concert

A delightful evening of lighthearted music by the Collegiate Arts Magnet Program faculty entertained community members, CAMP sponsors, students and families Thursday, June 17, at the Marathon High School (MHS) auditorium.

CAMP is a five-week arts and careers camp open to students from third grade to college students in Monroe County. Held for its eighth consecutive year, CAMP held an orientation June 12 at MHS and wasted no time in having the students learn what to expect in the next jam-packed five weeks.

This was the first year the faculty – who comes from throughout the United States and beyond—performed in an opening show. They coordinated music selection by email prior to the CAMP and practiced one time all together. Thursday, the show went without glitches.

Dr. Nick Perna from West Virginia, a CAMP teacher and one of the organizing support staff, opened the show with “Brindisi,” a song by Verdi from La Traviata. He performed this duet with his wife, Dr. Mandy Spivak, who also teaches at CAMP. In the hour-long show, Perna also sang “La Donna e Mobilie” from Rigoletto by Verdi and “Kansas City” from Oklahoma, showcasing his versatility.

Juliana Yap, a pianist from Malaysia, was Perna’s accompanist, and was onstage eight times playing a variety of music for vocalists and accompanying other instrumental pieces.

Along with Perna and Spivak, another vocalist and CAMP teacher Francesca Veglia-Dansky, formerly of Chicago and now of Sarasota, Fla., sang “Ch’il bel Sogno” from La Rondine by Puccini and “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera. Also, from Broadway, Spivak shared the song, “Popular,” with the students, which was playful and humorous.

Musicians Kevin Duncan, Andrew Neldon, Yasmin Flores, Brian Russell and Hulber Gagliardini showcased their tuba, steel drum, clarinet, guitar and trumpet playing, respectively. From “Tuba McDifficult” to jazz written by Russell, their selections entertained the crowd of about 200 people.

After the concert, a delicious dinner was served in the school cafeteria, prepared by the CAMP culinary students under the direction of CAMP chefs Anthony Green and June Clarke. A salad, pan-fried chicken with roasted red pepper sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables were followed by German chocolate cake for dessert. Families enjoyed the dinner and raved about the flavors and the talents.

The next CAMP event open to the public is a dinner and dance Sunday, June 27, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Stanley Switlik cafeteria, mile marker 48.5 Gulfside. Culinary, theater and dance students will showcase their talents through a delicious meal and the swing, foxtrot and meringue.

For more information about CAMP or the dinner-dance, call 305-289-2480, ext. 55416. All donations benefit CAMP.

Pictured, back row (l-r) are: Julian Yap, Andrew Neldon, Francesca Dansky, Hulber Gagliardini, Yasmin Flores and Nick Perna. Front row (l-r) Brian Russell, Kevin Duncan and Mandy Spivak Photo by Jill Zima Borski

Scholarship recipient
Lodging Association Awards Scholarship

Katerina White, 2010 Marathon High School graduate, accepts the first installment of her scholarship from Diane Schmidt, Board Chair of the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West. 

Each year the Board of Directors awards a $4,000 scholarship to a Keys student who is pursuing a course of study in the Hospitality or Culinary field.

White will attend Johnson & Wales University to study Business Management and Baking and Pastries. She hopes to open a bakery in the Keys.

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