Nancy Klingener

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami HeraldSolares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.

She is a Spring 2014 graduate of the Transom Story Workshop. She is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar and reviews books for the Miami Herald

President Donald Trump's news conference Tuesday was supposed to be about his executive order on infrastructure.

Most of the attention has gone to his controversial statements blaming "both sides" for violence in Charlottesville during a rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

But the executive order is also receiving some pushback from a South Florida Republican.

The order is supposed to speed up improvements to the nation's roads, bridges and railways.

Every year in the late summer, the dive and tourism industries in the Florida Keys encourage people to come to the island chain and watch the reproductive act first-hand — on the reef.

Florida takes its hits, from late-night TV jokes to, now, even a ranking as the worst state in the nation for a “staggeringly impressive” “awfulness resume,” according to the website Thrillist.

But for all the Flori-duh jokes (that we make, too, but we live here so it’s OK), this is an astonishingly large, diverse, beautiful, interesting and yeah, sometimes staggeringly awful place — and it has produced some remarkable works of literature.

While mainland South Florida ramps up its battle against the mosquito that can carry Zika, the Florida Keys has already begun the region's most intensive mosquito control operation.

Commissioners in Miami-Dade County and the city of Key West have voted to endorse  the Paris Climate Accord, despite President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the international agreement to cut carbon emissions earlier this month.

Most of the news and research these days about coral reefs is pretty grim — massive losses from bleaching, everywhere from Australia to the Florida Keys. Some parts of Florida and the Caribbean have lost more than half of the living coral off their reefs in the last three decades.

But there is some good news on the coral research front and this week saw a major milestone in those efforts, when Mote Marine Laboratory opened its new $7 million center in the Keys.

Cletus the crocodile may be lonely no more.

The American crocodile that showed up at the Dry Tortugas in 2003 was captured and loaded onto a seaplane over the weekend, then released in the Everglades.

Over the last several years, some new arrivals have taken up residence at Naval Air Station Key West's airfield on Boca Chica Key: American crocodiles.

"We don't know exactly how many we have," said Edward Barham, the environmental director for the base. "But we know we have four or five of them pretty much all the time."

Constellation is an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, but she spends most of her time in the Pacific. She's part of the Navy's Marine Mammal program, based in San Diego.

As the rainy season returns to South Florida and the fight against Zika gears up, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Tuesday began a first-in-Florida trial of a control method that uses bacteria to reduce mosquito populations.

The district will release 20,000 male mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria twice a week for the next 12 weeks. The releases will take place in a 10-acre test site on Stock Island,  and mosquito traps there will be compared with a similar-sized control area nearby (but separated by a buffer).

The end of the wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allowed Cuban refugees who made it to U.S. soil to stay in the country, also means the end of another phenomenon in the Florida Keys: refugee boats that were abandoned in remote islands.

Florida has not had any locally transmitted cases of Zika so far in 2017. And the number of travel-related cases has fallen drastically in the dry season.

But tests of new mosquito-fighting methods are still moving forward in the Florida Keys.

The first U.S. trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever — is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. That's the island that Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified mosquito, chose for its test site.

When a diver who was also a volunteer for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation saw a fish that looked out of place in the waters off Dania Beach in October, she sent a photo to REEF, a marine conservation nonprofit based in Key Largo.

Most voters in the Florida Keys said in a Nov. 8 referendum that they were in favor of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Keys.

People in the Keys have been living alongside Key deer for a long time. And for ages, wildlife officials have implored people: Don't feed the deer.

An argument that has been taking place in Mosquito Control board meetings, hotel conference rooms and Facebook comment strings finally moved to the ballot box on Tuesday.

With most of the vote in (32 of 33 precincts) the GMO mosquito question had split results.

The first Florida trial of the Wolbachia bacteria to combat Aedes aegypti mosquitoes has been approved for the Florida Keys.

Aedes aegypti are the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the Zika virus. They can also carry dengue fever and chikingunya.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services approved MosquitoMate's request for a trial of Wolbachia as a method of mosquito control in the Florida Keys.

While Florida Keys residents debate the use of genetically modified mosquitoes ahead of a November referendum, a new survey finds that a majority of Floridians supports the concept.

  A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a tattoo parlor owner and against the city of Key West's attempt to block a new tattoo business from opening in the city's historic district.

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that tattoos and tattooing are artistic expression, protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  Fifty-seven species of fish and wildlife are so rare or face such threats that they are considered "imperiled" by the state of Florida.

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