Key West Voices
Here are some thoughtful Key West voices, news outlets and organizations and authors we like:
Key West Island News’ website is a great resource. Editor Linda Grist Cunningham has a weekly column and has local news and Florida news pages that consolidate other sources so you don’t have to scroll all over the place. The Facebook page is a must follow too.
As the bumper sticker says, “I get my news from Gwen Filosa!” Gwen is our local WLRN NPR southernmost reporter. In addition to her own reports here she avidly consolidates news from around the island, so follow her Facebook and Twitter pages and you’ll always be up-to-date. You’ll have fun too.
Key West Progress is the island’s newest addition to thoughtful writing about Key West. Editor Ray Warren provides the community with an honest news source and a catalyst for community discussion on issues of the day. Subscribe to their emails and follow them on Facebook.
Keys Weekly is online or pick up a copy every Thursday at the red boxes and locations around town. There are Key West, Marathon and Upper Keys issues each week. Local owners Britt Myers and Jason Koler and Editor Mandy Miles will keep you informed with in-depth and well-researched articles. This is a go to source for everything from news, to sports to entertainment.
I subscribe to Keys Citizen and so should you. They have digital news and a good old-fashioned paper that is dropped off at your house 3 days a week. They are our local newspaper of record. Local reporters like Timothy O’Hara are first rate.
I subscribe to KONK Life and you should too. While they haven’t produced a weekly print edition since Covid, they do an amazing job of consolidating local news, mixing it with some new content and presenting it in daily e-blasts and online. My “Streets for People” column appears there too.
FLKeysNews Key West is another online source that you should keep in your repertoire. They do a particularly good job of covering our huge events and entertainment industry. If it is happening, they know about it.
If you live in the Lower Keys, pick up the print-only News Barometer at many locations. It’s free and covers issues and events in the Lower Keys and beyond.
Organizations and Groups We Are Fans Of
Keys Last Stand
“Last Stand has been working since 1987 to protect Key West and the Keys from unwise and excess development, environmental destruction, and mass-marketed, cookie-cutter commerce.”
(non-profit organization, website, Facebook)
Safer, Cleaner Ships
Key West Business Guild
“The mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote LGBTQ+ travel to Key West through marketing and the promotion of special events; to support local LGBTQ+ owned and/or managed businesses, or other business members that share in the values of the Key West Business Guild. The Guild is committed to preserving, strengthening, protecting, and promoting the LGBTQ+ community’s position in Key West and partnering with other LGBTQ+ organizations to protect the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community.“
(non-profit organization, website, Facebook page)
Key West Art & Historical Society
“The Key West Art & Historical Society is a non-profit organization that exits to promote the humanities, art, and history of the Florida Keys by educating the public and by collecting, preserving, restoring, and exhibiting significant art, artifacts, and historical properties.”
(non-profit organization, website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
The Studios of Key West
“The Studios of Key West provides a collaborative and supportive environment for creative experience. We offer studio space, lectures, workshops, residencies, partnership projects and nurture the creation of work. Our mission is to build audiences and support the advancement of established and emerging creative people in the Florida Keys. Our purpose is to remind us of our own creativity, empower artists to show us the world in new ways, use the arts to build friendships and establish Key West as a beacon of cultural activity.”
(non-profit organization, website, Facebook, Instagram)
Old Island Restoration Foundation (OIRF)
“Old Island Restoration Foundation is a 501 (c3) nonprofit organization founded in 1960 dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the historic architecture and cultural heritage of Key West. Through private donations and memberships from individuals, businesses and public agencies the foundation is working to raise funds to preserve and maintain the Oldest House Museum and Gardens in South Florida, provide innovative programming, cultural events and grants for significant and worthy historical restoration projects in Key West.”
(non-profit organization, Website, Facebook)
Florida Keys Council of the Arts
“The vision of FKCA is to enrich the arts and enhance the cultural heritage of the Florida Keys. The mission of the FKCA is to advance the creative development and promotion of the arts in our cultural community by providing excellence in leadership, advocacy, education and financial support for artists, cultural organizations, and citizens of Monroe county.”
(non-profit organization, website, Facebook)
Save a Tree / Key West
“This page was created to raise TREE “awareness” in Key West, Fla. XO KO- Tree Hugger”
Shop Mom & Pop Key West
Keep Old Town Old – KOTO
“Keep Old Town Old (KOTO) is committed to preserving the historic character and traditional appearance.”
Reimagining Key West
Started during Covid, they are by far THE most thoughtful place on the Internet for good information and discussion about the issues concerning all of us.
The Well Informed Public
“We seek to educate those on the left and the right how to research properly, find real facts, and reliable sources.”
Local Key West Authors I Love
I’ve read all three of Hays Blinckmann’s novels, In the Salt, Where I Can Breathe and the latest Here, Kitty and was captivated by each. My reviews are at each of the individual book links in the review section. As her web page states, “her books and short stories are an invitation for people to enjoy dysfunctional families at their finest.” True! Follow her on Facebook too.
Rita Troxel wrote the amazing Home At the End of the World: Key West Tales of the 60s, 70s and 80s by those who lived it.
There are 74 different stories, each about one to six pages told by 52 different amazing characters, often reminiscing about a particular “only in Key West” moment involving other eccentric Key Westers.
Tennessee Williams must be in a dozen of the stories. It seems many of the stories involve hijinks involving booze, drugs, and partying. I recognized many of the writers (including my boss Mimi McDonald) and many of the people they wrote about as it’s a who’s who of Key West legends and lore. A time before cruise ships, when everyone rode bikes, didn’t need more than one job to pay the rent, could barter for what they needed and lived happily together in a blissful bubble far from mainland cares. A time when everyone seemingly had more time to enjoy the sun, water, and laid-back playful, artistic, and welcoming, anything-goes atmosphere of Key West.
For me as a relative newcomer just achieving Freshwater Conch status, I found it fascinating to learn of old places and ways, in a much simpler bygone era, but what struck me was how many of us today, still feel that same island crazy, One Human Family, on any given day, anything can happen in Key West vibe that existed back then. So many writers shared that the first time they came here they knew they were home and I think that’s still what draws so many of us here today.
The book isn’t available on Kindle but you can find it in hardback at Key West Island Books, 513 Fleming and Books & Books at The Studios 533 Eaton.
Here’s what I wrote in March of 2023 having just read Lucy Burdette’s (aka Roberta Isleib’s) book Fatal Reservations:
“Now THAT was so much fun! Wow. Okay I get that I’m very late to the party, what with Lucy Burdette‘s 13th book in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series coming out later this summer, but earlier this week Mike Kunkel said, hey read this. As I was lucky enough to meet the author a few weeks ago as she’d generously agreed to be a speaker at our Keys Last Stand “Through the Eyes of Storytellers” event at The Studios, I thought it hight time I read one of her books. Goodness I love her work!
Fatal Reservations (the sixth book in the series) was riveting, faced-paced, suspenseful, brimming with well drawn and lovable characters and so chock full of Key West places, restaurants and actual residents that I tore through the book in 48 hours wanting to find out who dunnit. I never figured it out till Hayley Snow (our protagonist) did at the end – that’s the kind of good writing I like. If you love a good mystery and love Key West I’m sure you’ll love this book and series. If in addition you love good food – that will be the Raspberry Cake on top! I can’t wait to go back to book #1 and read them all. Thank you Roberta Isleib for such a fun ride. For more about her books visit https://lucyburdette.com
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