Photos by Alyson Crean

United Way Appreciation and Support Month
Key West Mayor Craig Cates proclaimed October as United Way Appreciation and Support Month during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Tegan Slaton accepted the honor, noting that more than 15 local non-profits benefit from United Way locally.

The recognition kicks off a countywide capital campaign to continue and expand local efforts to serve social service agencies. Slaton is a former member of the United Way of the Florida Keys Board of Directors.

Without the help of United Way, said Slaton, some of the local service providers might not be able to survive.

Children’s Movement of Florida Week
Key West Mayor Craig Cates proclaimed Sept. 27 – Oct. 3 Children’s Movement of Florida Week during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting. Monroe County Children’s Movement Steering Committee Chairman Alan Eckstein accepted the plaque.

The organization, he said, is a non-partisan effort to raise awareness that children are not treated as a high priority in the state. The program’s goal, according to the proclamation, is to encourage people to make the well-being and education of children the state’s highest priority, especially when it comes to investing public resources in programs that make a difference in the lives and futures of children.

Eckstein noted that, on Sept. 30 at 6 pm, there would be an awareness-raising event at Key West High School.

Navy Namesake Commander to Meet Mayor
Commander Robert Koonce, Commanding Officer of the USS Key West and the Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Timothy Preabt will be visiting the ship’s namesake city on September 23 and 24. The Navy, the Submarine Force, and the USS Key West are proud of the service they provide to their country and periodically visit with community leaders and groups to inform the public on their Navy’s contribution to the nation’s security. This will be the first visit by the USS Key West leadership to the city of Key West since Commander Koonce has been in command.

“This is a huge honor,” said Mayor Cates. “It’s a special thrill for me and my family because my mother was in Norfolk, representing Key West, when this vessel was named for our beautiful city.”

Key West Mayor Craig Cates says a visit on Thursday by the commanding officer of the USS Key West has several layers of significance for his family and for the community. Mayor Cates’s mother – City Commissioner Emma Cates – represented Key West at the Norfolk christening ceremony of the Navy’s namesake vessel in 1987.

The USS Key West is a nuclear powered Los Angeles Class Fast Attack submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor. It recently returned from a successful deployment in the western Pacific. After a 24-month overhaul, the vessel will join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces stationed in Guam.

During their visit, Commander Koonce and Master Chief Preabt will meet with the Mayor Cates as well as the Key West Navy League, the chamber of commerce, as well as other civic organizations.

Sprucing up the Southernmost Point
Last week, Key West crews slapped some new paint on what must be the most photographed hunk of cement in the country (other than Anne Coulter).

After meeting in several sessions spread out over numerous weeks, a group of officials finally decided to have the paint crews work early in the morning, limiting the time the buoy would be unavailable to Key West visitors. The city workers were out of the way by 6 am and in their favorite Duval Street watering holes by lunch.

“Essentially, it was a normal work week,” said Roscoe Lemonjello, a 30-year veteran with the city’s Scrape & Paint Department.

Because the buoy must be painted in several coats, there were times last week when the buoy was about as photogenic as a street performer after a 3-day bender, but the entire job was completed in less than a week.

“It takes us longer to scrape the gum from under the City Commission’s dais than it does to repaint the Point,” Lemmonjello added. 

The attached file photo was taken several years ago while the buoy was being repainted. The popular landmark is worn by wind and sun and needs a facelift every now and then.


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