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Jun 21, 2017 - Big Pine Key. PRSRT STD. U.S. POSTAGE. PAID. PERMIT No. 469 ...... social media accounts have ...... campaign last year publicizing the.
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NAVIGATING THE ISLANDS SINCE 1987 • Key Largo • Islamorada • Marathon • Big Pine Key

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017 • VOLUME 30, N0. 28 • 24 PAGES

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Archaeologists uncover likely Acorn wreck BY THERESA JAVA Free Press Staff

KEY LARGO — Two NOAA researchers may have stumbled upon something big — or at least swam across it. It is about 163 feet long and 40 feet wide and resting on the ocean’s bottom off Key Largo. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary maritime archaeologist Matthew

Lawrence and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary maritime heritage coordinator Brenda Altmeier are surveying what has been tentatively identified as the Acorn shipwreck at Elbow Reef, which is directly east of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s about 20 feet below the surface. Elbow Reef is aptly named because it abruptly juts out further into deeper

waters. It’s home to the City of Washington shipwreck and the Hannah M. Bell which was formerly known as “Mike’s Wreck.” Lawrence believes that Elbow Reef notoriously claimed ships hugging the reef line to avoid following the Gulf Stream’s northerly current south and that there may be more wrecks there. “I wouldn’t say we’ve dis-

covered it. It’s always been there. It’s more like we are identifying it,” Lawrence said. Altmeier said they found the wreck while staging the Hannah M. Bell in 2012. They’ve been plotting measurements for a year now and are halfway through. Time spent below the surface so far has only

MATTHEW LAWRENCE/NOAA

Silvana Kreines, left, and Rebecca Hunter of Diving With a Purpose See ACORN, page 3A take measurements to create a map of the likely Acorn wreck.

Floating an idea

Murder-for-hire target asks court to name names BY ADAM LINHARDT Free Press Staff

SOUTHEAST FLORIDA REGIONAL CLIMATE COMPACT

Residents likely won’t see floating homes and roads in the Florida Keys anytime soon, but at a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact workshop to brainstorm possible responses to sea level rise, those ideas were floated for a Lower Matecumbe Key of the future. See story on page 6A.

MARATHON — A Marathon businessman targeted in a failed murderfor-hire scheme that sent a former Coast Guard commander to federal prison for a decade wants a judge to order the Department of Justice to unredact censored documents in the case in an effort to find unnamed co-conspirators. The motion is part of a civil lawsuit filed by developer Bruce Schmitt that names former Islamorada Coast Guard commander and former Marathon Marina and Boatyard co-owner Dennis Zecca as a defendant, as well as two co-conspirators previously identified by federal prosecutors as John Doe No. 1

and No. 2. Zecca was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in July 2014 following his Dec. 21, 2012, arrest by FBI agents after he agreed to pay an unnamed informant $20,000, or a kilogram in cocaine, to shoot Schmitt dead with a 9mm Beretta h a n d gun over Schmitt the 2012 Christmas holidays. Schmitt has been trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy since Zecca’s arrest and his conviction. The U.S. Attorney’s Office See TARGET, page 8A

Questions remain about neo-Nazi’s visit to Keys BY THERESA JAVA Free Press Staff

KEY LARGO — What brought an admitted neo-Nazi wanted in Tampa on explosives charges to a Key Largo Burger King where he was arrested and found to be carrying fuses and two recently purchased high-powered rifles with hundreds of rounds of ammunition remains a mystery during the early<