It’s celebrations, helicopters and repair projects in Monroe County

Kristen Livengood, Public Information Officer for Monroe County, joined KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the county.

The 200th anniversary of Key West will begin this Saturday at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater with a drone fireworks show.

Livengood said, “There’s going to be more than 250 drones lighting up the sky on Saturday night.”

The gates will open at 5 p.m. and music will begin at 6.

The celebration will look back over the 200 years of being a county in the Florida territory. Monroe was a county before Florida was a state in the union.

Livengood said, “It’s very cool to be celebrating this milestone for Monroe County and the Florida Keys. We were the sixth county in Florida and our county actually ran from Lake Okeechobee, south, which is a very, very big county considerably for the state of Florida for when we first became a county.”

Many more events are planned throughout this year.

For more information on the celebration, click here:

Three new Trauma Star helicopters could be voted on at tomorrow’s Monroe County Commissioners meeting.

Livengood said, “Trauma Star is the air ambulance service that will take crash victims, heart attack victims, newborn babies who are born premature and need help on the mainland. It’s a joint venture between Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County Fire Rescue.”

It’s $52 million for the three new helicopters.

Livengood explained, “Some of the issues with the three helicopters that we have now are that they’re more than 22 years old. The company that made those actual helicopters, they no longer are in business, so finding parts for these helicopters now is getting very difficult. So having three new helicopters that can fit two full-sized people in them, it runs more than 1,400 people a year to the mainland. I know when it goes over my house, I say a little prayer for whoever is in it. I think it’s a great service. My brother had to use the service a few years ago when he was in a dive accident. If it wasn’t for that, who knows where we’d be today, whether or not my brother would be around or not. So I know personally that this is one of the most important things that this county has for the safety and well-being of our residents and our visitors.”

No resident in Monroe County will get a bill from Trauma Star.

Also on tomorrow’s agenda is the agreement for the county to acquire the Hawk Missile Site in Key West at Higgs Beach.

Livengood explained, “That was something that needed to be done for the airport renovation to make the airport a little bit safer.”

A transit study is required to see what can be done about the traffic situation in the county.

Breakwater projects will repair boulders and rocks in front of homes to break the waves that were damaged during Hurricane Irma.

Livengood said, “That’s going to help make these houses that live behind breakwaters safer during a hurricane. These breakwaters actually protect the wave action that’s coming forward form the ocean or from the bay side during a hurricane or during big waves.”

The county commission meeting can be live-streamed or attended in person. For tomorrow’s agenda, click here: