The Bottom Line
Sunday, May 17, 2015

Looe Key Reef Resort joins Blue Star program

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary recently welcomed Looe Key Reef Resort and Dive Center of Ramrod Key as the newest participant in the sanctuary’s Blue Star education and conservation program.

The program has grown to include 17 dive operators since its 2009 launch. The program recognizes charter companies that commit to training snorkelers and divers in low-impact practices, or “reef etiquette.” Research has shown that educated snorkelers and divers have less of an impact on marine ecosystems, because they do a better job of avoiding damaging contact with corals and other marine life.

Operators become Blue Star certified by attending annual training on issues affecting coral reefs, sanctuary regulations and coral reef etiquette. In turn, Blue Star operators educate their customers by incorporating the information into certification classes and dive briefings. They also must offer conservation-related dive courses and participate in activities such as fish counts and reef clean-ups. Operators are re-evaluated on an annual basis.

Mariners Hospital honors Ornelas

Lupe Ornelas, a nurse in the intensive care unit, has been named Mariners Hospital 2015 Nurse of the Year. 

Nominated by her peers for her professionalism and compassion, Ornelas also was lauded for her willingness to volunteer at hospital-sponsored events, her positive attitude and her clinical excellence. She also was recently named the hospital’s employee of the quarter.

A Key Largo resident, Ornelas has worked at the Upper Keys hospital for two years.

First State congratulates Martin

First State Bank of the Florida Keys recently congratulated MaryAnn Martin,  a teller at the Summerland Key branch, for her fifth service anniversary with the bank.

“Her commitment to her customers and fellow co-workers has made her an invaluable part of our team for the past five years.”said Jason O’Brien, First State assistant vice president/Summerland Branch manager.

Martin lives in Cudjoe Key with her husband. She is a volunteer at several bank-sponsored community events.