Delays to be expected when crossing the Boca Grande Causeway on Friday

On Friday, May 29 between the hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. there will be limited and/or no power to the bridge or toll booth, as the electric lines to the new tender house will be energized. According to administrators with the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority, during the outage tolls will continue to be […]

Tarpon Festival Weekend coming up! A message from the Chamber of Commerce

BY LEW HASTINGS – Tarpon Fishing. For some it’s an old family tradition, one that goes back generations. The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament has become a tradition in its own right. In various iterations over the past 33 years, the tournament has become known both locally and by participants from around the world as “The […]

Fires around the island, vandalism at South Beach reported

Several incidents kept area firefighters busy over the Memorial Day weekend, but none of them were on Gasparilla Island. We did have one crime report, though. On the afternoon of Saturday, May 23 firefighters from Charlotte County were battling a brush fire that burned more than 100 acres just northwest of Coral Creek Golf Course […]

The land of shamrocks and leprechauns: Ireland

BY JEAN NETHERY – The Beacon welcomes back our occasional writer, Jean Nethery, who is writing this time about Ireland. This is part one in a two part series. As our Boeing 757 touched down on the Dublin runway I could almost hear the angels singing “When Irish eyes are smiling, sure ‘tis like a […]

This Saturday night the howling shall commence …

If you’re anywhere near Boca Grande Pass Saturday night, don’t be surprised if you hear some odd noises. The howling will be fierce, as the Howl at the Moon Invitational Tarpon Tournament will be taking place from 8 to 11 p.m. The entry fee is $500 per team. Long time local fisherman Dave “Smitty” Smith […]

Coupling failure closes bridge to traffic during holiday weekend

BY JACK SHORT – The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority closed its swing bridge briefly to road traffic and for at least 19 hours to boat traffic beginning Sunday afternoon, according to representatives from GIBA and the United States Coast Guard.

Memorial Day weekend not kind to island sea turtles

BY MARCY SHORTUSE – Island sea turtle patrollers were full of excitement on Thursday, May 28 when they realized they had their first confirmed green turtle nest on Gasparilla Island. “We’ve got a green!” was the post on Facebook by the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Association. They noted the green turtle’s “enthusiastic nesting style,” and […]

More indicators of booming economic recovery

Shown in the two accompanying charts, mid-year tourist tax collections for Lee County (through March) have already surpassed FY10/11’s, not including late payments for that year. Lee County Tourism Development Council Director Tamara Pigott, collections for this fiscal year have already surpassed last year’s (for the same months) by nearly 16 percent.   Information compiled […]

Anglers and artists make for a great combination during Tarpon Festival Weekend in downtown Boca Grande

BY CARROLL SWAYZE – Excitement is brewing as anglers and artists alike prepare for the 2015 Tarpon Festival in downtown Boca Grande on June 4 through 6. Each year thousands of people travel to the Englewood/Boca Grande community from all over the world to take part in this annual Tarpon Fishing Tournament and Festival. The week […]

Obituary: Virginia Jeane Wilber

Virginia Jeane “Shay” Wilber, born in Albany, N.Y. on October 7, 1979 to the parents of Mr. and Mrs. David F. Wilber III, died unexpectedly at home on May 20, 2015. Shay grew up in Oneonta, N.Y. where she attended Valleyview Elementary and Oneonta Middle School. During High School, she attended Miss Hall’s School in […]