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An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys




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Hotels and motels
Florida Keys
and Key West






Duck Key News - posted February, March, April 2011



Several items were added to sections on Duck Key's history. Click on the Indies House ad below to read some historic highlights of Duck Key.


Indies House at dusk 1962

Historic Highlights link above will also provide what is written on the back of this card.

1965 Newsletter Duck Key Beachcomber

An image link to a newsletter "Duck Key Beachcomber" produced in 1965 is provided below. It makes for some interesting reading.



Press Release announcing purchase of Indies Resort Inn and Marina in 1983

Page 1, 2, and 3. The Barrington Group sold the Hawks Cay Resort to the Northview and Harvard Berringer investors in 2007. From 1983 to 2007 the resort was owned and operated by the Barrington Group. The links to pages 1, 2, and 3 will take the viewer to the 1983 press release.


Splenda Estate on Duck Key?

In an NBC Miami article by Jessica Sick entitled "Worth the Drive: Valentine's Day Edition" mention is made of "drool-worthy waterfront real estate (the Splenda and Halliburton fortunes both represent) and kiss-worthy view" on Duck Key.

A portion of the article reads,

". . . lucky for you, they've got a romantic side. . . . head to Hawk's Cay. The resort wants you and your sweetie to snuggle up to their Couples Cast Away package, which includes all kinds of perks to get you in the mood. Later the article state, "s Be sure to leave some time to explore the island, which includes lots of drool-worthy waterfront real estate (the Splenda and Halliburton fortunes both represent) and kiss-worthy views."

Most islanders are familiar with the Hallibuton fishing lodge located on Duck Key, but does anyone know what the "Slenda" estate fortune comment was referring to?

An email to the article's author was sent inquiring,

"I am familiar with the Hallibuton fishing lodge association on Duck Key, but where does the Splenda reference come from? Duck Key does have a home named "La Splendida", but I'm unclear as to whether this is associated with the Splenda fortune.

Jessica Sick emailed back,

"Glad you liked the article! I was told by a staff member at Hawk's Cay that La Splendida is owned by the family who owns Splenda. If you'd like to contact the person who gave me the info, let me know :)"

The article may be read in it entirety at this NBC link.

A good story, yes, but apparently not true. Splenda is owned by a British firm, Tate and Lyle, and was discovered by researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London in 1976. The "La Splendida" estate located on Yacht Club on Duck Key as best we can tell is owned by a New Jersey business couple who own Artcraft Promotional Concepts.

In searching out possible noteables for the "Splendida" estate, Wikimapia mentions that Duck Key is the home of the inventor of the twist tie.

"Duck Key is also home to Mr. Scot Greve who is better known as inventing the modern day twist tie seen on loafs of bread in today's grocery stores. He also invented the color coding system used to coordinate the freshness to the days of the week. "

This reference presents another mystery as there is no other reference to a Scott Greve and the twist tie on the internet other than its mention on Wikimapia.


Local Arrests and Police Calls - At the time of this reporting those arrested have not been found guilty in a court of law.

1. A server at Hawks Cay Resort, was arrested around 1:40 AM Thursday morning, February 10, 2011, at mile marker 43 on the Seven Mile Bridge. Witness accounts describe the individual as. "splayed across the pavement, his damaged Toyota 4Runner next to him -- containing residue from other autos he's accused of plowing into" . County records report "multiple parked vehicles being hit in Trailerama Trailer Park in Marathon at 1:30 a.m" He was charged with "14 violations, including DUI, multiple counts of DUI with property damage, leaving the scene of multiple accidents, possessing an open container of alcohol, failing to change his South Carolina license for a Florida license, failing to register his vehicle in Florida, and improperly stopping on a bridge. "

2. A man charged with several felony counts of burglary of an unoccupied building and larceny of $300 to $5,000 was identified in a news report as having a Duck Key address. News reports stated, "Deputies on Monday arrested Joseph Giovanni Zecca, 22, of Duck Key . . . ". Several bikes and a motor scooter were taken from a fenced property in a North Key largo property. The bikes were taken to Homestead aboard the baggage compartment of the commuter bus. A check of sheriff records show Zecca as having a Grand Street, Key Largo address. Zecca is shown with the occupation of kitchen hand which might explain the Duck Key reference in the news article.

3. Another individual which news reports identified as from Duck Key was arrested on January 26 in Tavernier on a felony charge of fraud for allegedly passing a bad check for more than $150. The address upon checking police record showed a Long Key Lake Drive, Layton address. The individual was previously arrested on December 6, 2010 with the arrest location given as 354 Seaview Circle which likely accounts for the mistaken Duck Key residence.

4. Accused of dumping sewage into wetlands on the U.S. 1 lot he rents, an individual renting a Duck Key home, 101 San Remo, was arrested on February 10 for allegedly dumping raw sewage on a Grassy Key lot he rented. The Keynoter Newspaper reported the accused owned Around The Clock Pumping with a business license from Miami-Dade County. He is thought to have been operating the business in Marathon. Police records indicate a "felony littering charge of more than 500 pounds of commercial hazardous waste"

5. This May 2011, a male identified as Jose Aristizabal, 65, from Palm Beach Gardens was charged with allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year old girl at Hawk's Cay Resort in Duck Key back in May 2009, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The young girl, recently told her mother of the abuse, according to the police. She is now 14-years-old. TheFacebook page for Monroe County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) identified Aristizabal as a guest and not an employee of Hawks Cay.


Sampling of Monroe County Sheriff's Calls for Duck Key

Most every week Sheriff Officers render assistance to local communities. Between February 6 through 11 Officers were called to Duck Key to render citizen assistance several times. There was one report of an animal incident on Bahama Drive North, medical calls - Nassau Street and Greenbriar Circle - requiring transport to a medical facility, a report of obscene/harassing telephone calls, a traffic offence and citation issued, and suspicious activity person or vehicle reported on Ixora Street.

Vacation and Spring Break weeks 2011- During the first several weeks in April the Sheriff was called to the area of Hawks Cay Blvd., Duck Key. Officer reports dealt with aggravated assault, grand theft, petit theft, disorderly conduct (including noise) and obscene/harassing phone call.


Vandelism and Theft over the summer 2010

During the summer a number of incidents of theft were reported. Six boat owners on Duck Key reported electronics and gear stolen from their boats. Several boats were stripped clean. Damage was done to a center console. Losses were in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The Key West Citizen newspaper reported "On average, the Keys have half the crime of similarly populated Florida counties. Most crimes are property crimes. There were about 3,000 larceny crimes reported last year and 1,000 burglary crimes. There were only 80 robberies reported — a crime that includes both property and person."

The Citizen article wrote that there has been " a rash of boat burglaries throughout the Keys. Thieves have been making off with complete outboard motors or just the lower unit. The Sheriff's Office recommends marking the engines with something more permanent than the serial number on a sticker that's provided by the manufacturer. Better yet, is to pre-vent the theft all together. The Sheriff's Office put out a list of recommendations that include disconnectiing the battery from the trim and tilt function of
the motor; keeping the trailer and boat in a well-lighted place; destroying the threads on one of the bolts for each engine; and parking the boat very close to the house so thieves can't get access."

June vandelism - A renter of a home at the end of Harbour Island on Duck Key suffered vandalism at the beginning of the summer.

The link below takes you to the travel journal by a Danielle and describes her vacation stay at Duck Key which ended on June 24, 2010. The narrative and images were posted on June 21 (Summer Duck Key vacation has ended), June 20, 19,18, 14 and 11 (Day 2) which suggests the vacation's duration was less than 28 days, but it is possible other individuals utilized the house for the remainder of the rental period.

The travel journal describes vandalism at the Duck Key rental property,

"Adam's trailer was moved clear across the parking lot lastnight. It wasn't stolen, but it looks like someone tried to take it. He had a steel wire lock through the wheel. When it was moved, the wire bent the aluminum on the trailer."

The narrative continues, "Last night someone threw a big boulder over the fence into the side of Lenny's SUV. They didn't take anything. It was easy to see where they must have thrown it from. You can tell by how it bounced off the truck and tumbled back on the pavers".


screen image - SUV with dent above


Annexation and Duck Key Fire Protection

A portion of an article written by Ryan McCarthy which appeared in the February 19, 2011 Keynoter is provided below

Two Monroe County commissioners and Administrator Roman Gastesi raised warning flags Wednesday about the city of Marathon intending to annex Duck Key from the unincorporated area.

And Commissioner Kim Wigington said the only reason for Marathon to build a fire station at its northern limits on Grassy Key is for future annexation.

The issue arose during an impromptu discussion as Gastesi began his staff report talking about economies of scale, citing fire service in the Middle Keys as an example.

Marathon has been housing firefighters on Grassy Key on a temporary basis for roughly two years to provide service to that area of the city. Meanwhile, the county has some $2.5 million budgeted to make repairs to its Conch Key fire station. That project has been on hold for a number of years.

City and county officials have previously discussed the possibility of joining forces. Marathon plans a new 5,100-square-foot fire station on land purchased from the Jolly Roger Travel Park near mile marker 59.

But those city-county talks - last joined nine months ago -- went nowhere, according to both city and county officials who participated.

On Wednesday, Gastesi suggested a joint meeting of the commission and Marathon City Council to air the issue publicly.

"That way everybody knows where everyone is coming from. There's no secrets," he said.

But Commissioners Wigington and Sylvia Murphy openly criticized Marathon for building a station on its northern outskirts.

"I see one reason for Marathon to be building a station at their line and that is to try to annex something from the county. If that happens, that happens," Wigington said.

"I'm one of the people of this county that's going to look at them and say, 'Are you nuts?'" Murphy said, referring to the generally accepted five-mile radius of coverage area for any fire station. "They're only getting a semi-circle."

Gastesi also said he questions Marathon's motives.

"Nobody's told me to my face there's an annexation movement, but it's clear other people are thinking about it. There's no reason you build a station on the northern end of your city limits if you don't have an idea of moving north. I just don't understand it," he said.

Marathon City Manager Roger Hernstadt balked at notions of annexation in the past, and did so again Thursday.

"We have a fire unit there now and it has been there. This idea we're [trying to annex Duck Key] is just totally not true," he told the Keynoter. "The decision of what happens in Duck Key lies with their residents. I've seen no overt action saying they're desirous of being annexed by the city of Marathon. What's being talked about at coffee shops I don't know."

Hernstadt said he presented Gastesi with projected city costs for a station during a meeting nine months ago.

"To date, I have gotten nothing back from them," he said. "If there's a desire for them to collaborate, that necessitates having meetings and going over real numbers. For whatever reasons they don't seem to want to do that."

Marathon Fire Chief William Wagner said he is "taken aback" by annexation accusations.

"The placement of that station was pure and simple economics. The availability of land; there wasn't a lot of options. There's very little commercial [land], especially on U.S. 1 where it needs to be," he said.

Wagner said he's made it known in meetings with county officials that when he was Conch Key fire chief in the '90s, he suggested relocating that station to Grassy Key. That was based on population considerations and that the Conch Key station is "subject to flood in any storm situation."

The commission on Wednesday did not discuss potential dates for the proposed joint meeting.

A previous website critique on the Fire House issue may be found at


Fire Station Issue continued

The Marathon Press of April 15, 2011 and the Marathon Weekly of April 16 both reported on developments concerning the issue of the Fire Station. City councilmen comments and that of Duck Key resident are provided below.

Reporter Marc Phelps wrote,

" There was some dissent on council, including Worthington questioning whether the location for the fire station was suitable. Duck Key resident Tom Nouveau (Tom Neville) also questioned whether the city could work with Monroe County rather than having the county proceed with plans to build a station on Conch Key, just under four miles from the Grassy Key station".

"This debate isn't for this council and a resident. It's for the county, and they're moving forward separately from us," Snead said.

"If the residents of Duck Key said they would like to sit down and discuss something, I'm sure we would, " Ramsay said.

The council voted to proceed, despite Worthington again questioning the suitability of the location.

"We purchased a piece of property in order to place on it a waste treatment plant and fire station", Ramsay said. "I'm totally convinced this site is the correct site.

"When we started the effort to incorporate [Marathon], the people of Duck Key were not interested", Cinque said. "What the future is going to bring, the future is going to bring"


The Marathon Weekly article written by reporter Blair Shiver stated

". . . Duck Key resident Tom Neville said he wasn't happy with Monroe County's decision to rebuild the Conch Key fire station to accommodate the island's residents that lie just outside the Marathon City limits.

"The problem we have is they are going to revamp the fire station that's basically underwater to the tune of $2.7 million", Neville said. The mayor quickly clarified that the item was not up for debate on the floor that evening and advised him to schedule a meeting with Hernstadt (City Manager) as well asa representative from the county."


Rental Law

One of the reasons Duck Key was not interested in becoming a part of the Marathon incorporation was the city's rental policy. Marathon allows for weekly rentals whereas the County requires 28 day rentals. Island residents did not feel that short term weekly rentals were compatible with residential community living, especially so since the community was already impacted by Hawks Cay Resort.

Florida Keys government officials and residents heaved a sigh of relief this week when lawmakers agreed to protect existing transient rental laws in Florida cities and counties. House Bill 833 would have eliminated locally passed transient rules. Instead the Floridsa Legislature amended House Bill 883 to protect local rental restrictions.



Club Duck Key News

For Club Duck Key Newsletters for February 2011, April 2011, and May 2011 in portable document format (.pdf) click on an image below. Club Duck Key also has its own website,







Duck Key Online
386 East Seaview Drive
Duck Key, Florida 33050