2018 Year in Review: The year of red tide and lots of good-byes

2018 Year in Review: The year of red tide and lots of good-byes

■ STAFF REPORT

Every year in paradise has its merits, don’t get us wrong … but this year could have been better. Red tide was the headline stealer of the year, taking precedence over even the all-encompassing Gilchrist debate. We coughed … and we coughed … and coughed some more as the bloom that seemed to form in the fall of 2017 flourished and grew, killing more than 100 dolphins in Southwest Florida and countless other sea mammals and birds.

This year we lost Isabelle, we lost Tim, and Freddy, Cassie, Mark, Dylan, Jewel, Nancy and Patty … the list goes on and on. We lost not only dear Barbara Bush but Former President George H.W. as well. We also lost The Fishery.

It hasn’t been an easy one, that’s for sure. Let’s see what 2019 has in store.

Here are some more of the front-page headlines that we covered over the last 52 weeks.

January

BIPS announced new partnership with Mote

The Barrier Island Parks Society announced it would be partnering with Mote Marine Laboratory and offering wading adventures programs at local public schools. Mote Marine hosted a five-year anniversary open house to celebrate its efforts of outreach in marine education in Boca Grande.

Three Sisters hearing included attacks, allegations … but no decisions

The Lee County Hearing Examiner’s office in Fort Myers became a rather heated place on Tuesday, Jan. 9 as the discussion regarding a road between Boca Grande Isles and Three Sisters Island and its proposed variances was continued from a preceding December meeting. The judge stated it would take months to reach a decision.

GIWA hosted annual membership meeting

The Gasparilla Island Water Association held its annual membership meeting at the Boca Grande Community Center and announced three new Board members: Bill Caldwell, Tom Courtney and Archie Hager.

Could algae destroy our brains?

Ethnobotanist Paul Cox spoke to a large crowd at the community center auditorium where he spoke about his documentary titled “Toxic Puzzle: Hunt for the Hidden Killer.” Cox identified an algal bloom called cyanobacterium, and scientists have liked the toxin to people suffering from ALS and Alzheimer’s.

February

‘Fete for Pets’ event raised $74,000 for Suncoast Humane Society

More than 175 partygoers gathered in the Clubhouse at the Boca Grande Club and enjoyed dinner, beverages and a very lively auction for the 10th annual Boca Grande Club Tennis Ball. The event raised more than $74,000 for the Suncoast Humane Society.

Tantalizing Taste

Nearly 600 attendees swarmed the 16 food booths at the 2018 Taste of Boca celebration, with all proceeds going to the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Sale of Las Olas breaks Gasparilla Island record

Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty announced the sale of the Las Olas estate at 121 Gilchrist Avenue on January 25, with the transaction marking the highest sale for a single-family home in Gasparilla Island’s history.

The passing of a legend: Goodbye, Freddy

On Tuesday, Feb. 13 Freddy Futch passed away in his South Gulf Cove home. He will be sorely missed.

Work begins on the new GIWA plant

GIWA announced that after several years of feasibility studies and financial planning, GIWA is now proceeding with a much-needed $15 million rehabilitation of the island’s water reclamation facility (WRF) located on The Gasparilla Inn Golf Course.

March

Saying goodbye to Pedalin’ Patty

She knew everyone’s birthday. She wasn’t afraid to show anyone she met how much she loved them. She was a very special part of Boca Grande life for many years. “Pedalin’ Patty” passed away in March, and took with her a piece of many hearts.

We will miss you, Nancy

If sunshine had a human face, that face would belong to Nancy Lingeman. She was one of the kindest hearts on Gasparilla Island, both to people and animals, and was always helping out behind the scenes without asking for any recognition. Nancy passed away in March.

Lee County granted variance requests for Three Sisters builders

A final ruling was made by a Lee County Hearing Examiner in the case of three Three Sisters variances requests regarding the small isthmus of land that may or may not soon be a road to the spoil island. This is a case that was continued from December 13, 2017.

LCSO appoints resource officer at Island School

As of Monday, March 26 The Island School has its own school resource officer (SRO), provided by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Parking on beach streets has changed

New signs were installed on beach access streets. Due to a Lee County ordinance and some input from an island advisory panel, we will now be parallel parking on the beach streets as of March 15.

April

Woman’s Club awards more than $230,000 to 20 nonprofits in 2018

The Boca Grande Woman’s Club announced at its annual meeting that more than $230,000 was awarded to local nonprofit organizations. In addition to the community grants, the club provided scholarships for 55 students, totaling more than $227,000.

Many question Scott’s new law regarding private ownership of beaches

House Bill 631, signed into law last March, has some Gasparilla Island homeowners and beachgoers puzzled about their rights to access local beaches. While the answer is – of course – clear as mud when you ask a lawmaker, be assured it isn’t as  impactful as it sounds.

Regarding an absence that will be noted to years to come

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away at the age of 92, just days after making the decision that she would no longer accept medical care outside her Texas home. We are so glad she was surrounded by familiar things, family and friends when she passed.

The passing of Vernon Armour

Vernon Armour, 90, died of natural causes on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Vernon was born in Lake Forest, IL to Lester and Leola Stanton Armour on July 1, 1927.

Historical Society elects new officers, new members 

The Boca Grande Historical Society elected four new directors at its annual meeting in April. President Karen Grace accepted a nomination for a second three-year term.

Saying ‘good-bye’ to Dean Beckstead

Laurier Donald Dean Beckstead, 74, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at his home on Palm Island surrounded by loved ones.

GIBA begins process for new toll system – no increases planned

A new, more user-friendly toll system was the primary topic of discussion at the quarterly meeting of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the Woman’s Club Room at the Boca Grande Community Center.

Bill Klettke, the board member who was chosen to head the new toll sys- tem project, reviewed the bids from six companies regarding the replacement of the toll collection system. The prices varied from $390,000 to $2.3 million.

The passing of Frank E. Wolcott III

Frank Wolcott III of Boca Grande, Salisbury, Conn. and Boothbay Harbor, Maine died on September 9, 2018 in Salisbury.

May

Fishery property sold to islanders who want to keep it ‘to scale’

It may sound too good to be true, but it is: The Fishery property was sold once again, and this time to a Boca Grande family. 
Cookie Potter-Feinberg and her husband, Jay Feinberg, closed on the deal under the corporation name Placida Point, LLC, after purchasing the 18-acre property from Caribbean Bay Mortgage Lender, LLC.

The deal was brokered by Bob Melvin at Gulf Coast International Properties of Boca Grande.

Island documentary ‘Mullets and Mangroves’ is released

On Thursday, May 3, a new documentary on barrier island life had its debut on local television stations, and it featured several familiar faces and places. But don’t worry – if you missed it, you will get a chance to see it again. “Mullet and Mangroves: The Pioneer Fishing Families of Cayo Costa” is a production of Mainsail Video, directed by Ilene Safron and narrated by Bob Hite, WFLA-TV’s main news anchor for more than 30 years. Portions of the documentary were filmed in Boca Grande this past spring.

Waylon, Matt and Dan take top places at annual ‘Howl’

With 39 releases in three hours’ time recorded in the 2018 annual “Howl at the Moon” tarpon tournament on Saturday night, May 5, it was Capt. Waylon Mills and his anglers Michael Graci, Lindsey Graci, Stuart Lewis and Tanner Lewis who took home the big prize money of $5,400 with four releases. A five-way tie for second (each boat had three releases) ended with the Faithful team (Capt. Matt Coleman and anglers Alex Young, Liz Woodroffe, Matt Young and Melissa Steyer) taking home the $3,600 prize money.

Third place, or last fish released, was taken by the “Night Cap” gang (anglers JB Baldwin, Brandon Digman, Thomas Bethel and Price Whitman) and Capt. Dan Stickley for $2,000.

Attorneys on both sides of Three Sisters suit agree to extension, toll

Attorneys representing all sides of the ongoing “Path to Three Sisters” court case have agreed to cool things down for a time. In a court document filed in Lee County Circuit Court on Tuesday, May 8, Attorneys Jenna Persons (representing Boca Grande Isles homeowner Chad Pike), Mark Trank (representing Lee County) and Michael Haymans (representing 5F, LLC and the Three Sisters Homeowners Association) all agreed to allow for extensions for responses on the cases filed regarding access to Three Sisters Island through Boca Grande Isles Lot 99. They also agreed to toll the case until 30 days after the Florida Second District Court of Appeal issues an opinion regarding the cases presented to the court.

Blaze for the win in the 2018 Ladies Day Tarpon Tourney

Capt. Waylon Mills was on fire in Boca Grande Pass on May 12 as he took Team Blaze to victory with a first place in the 2018 Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament. Out of the two tournaments the Pass has seen this season so far – Howl at the Moon and Ladies Day – he is 2-0.

Anglers Jill Lewis, Lindsey Gracie and Shauna Lewis had three releases in the tournament. Gracie took the  Individual Angler Award.

The ‘Grande tradition’ began World’s Richest week on the island

Honoring Tradition. That was the common theme at “The Grande Tradition Event” held at The Crowninshield Community House. This event kicked off the 36th annual World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament festivities. Guest speakers from 
different eras discussed 
the history of the tournament and how it has
 changed over the years 
to focus on the protection of the fish.

29 boats, two days, 113 tarpon: Blaze takes win in WR 2018

It was raining silver in Boca Grande Pass on Thursday and Friday, May 17 and 18, during the two-day 2018 World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament, according to Tournament Director Wesley Locke. The first day of fishing, though a bit stormy, brought the ‘poons out from hiding, and boy, they were chewing. There were 60 releases on the first day alone, and 53 during the second day for a total of 113.

Dee Wheeler Fund grants $8,000 this year

In 2008, the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center created the Dee Wheeler Children’s Fund (DWCF) to honor Dee for her 32 years of service and her tireless efforts in instituting many of the programs at the Center that benefited the children of our community. Summer camp was a program that was always near and dear to Dee.

Moving on to middle school

The fifth grade graduates of The Island School’s 2017-18 year had their commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 30, which meant they were on their way to middle school in the fall (see photo at top of page).

The pasing of Jewel Freeman Herrli

Jewel Freeman Herrli of Venice, 
peacefully
 passed away 
Friday, May
 11, 2018.
 She was 
born in
 Tampa on
 May 5, 1932 and lived 
there until October, 1951. At that time Jewel moved to Gasparilla Island (Boca Grande) with her newlywed husband, Joe M. Freeman Jr. She would live in Boca Grande for the next 33 years.

June

Faithful II takes first at GIKC

Never underestimate the power of children who love to fish. This was the eighth year that fact was proven, as 23 tarpon were released from 10 of the 35 boats that fished the 2018 Gasparilla Island Kids Classic. The ages of the children ranged from 5 to 15, with 131 children in total participating.

Red tide in June? Yes, it happened

Several residents and visitors to the island were experiencing the cough and throat tickle indicative of red tide symptoms throughout June, and low concentrations of the wicked stuff were confirmed. Dr. Tracy Fanara, manager of the environmental health program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, said low concentrations of the toxic bloom were detected for several weeks.

The Tower of Terror: Objects falling from tower are larger than they appear

Kris Boyden, manager at The Palm on Park Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store, had quite a scare when she was finishing her day up at the store on Monday, June 4. She was taking some recyclables out the back door at the store that leads to an alley where the communications tower is located, when a pair of 7-inch heavy scissors fell from the tower, landing just inches from where she was standing.

“I just missed dying … it wasn’t my day to die,” she said.

Miss Sarah wins Ladies Howl

The team aboard Miss Sarah was on fire Saturday night, June 9 in Boca Grande Pass as they smoked their opponents left and right in the 2018 Ladies Howl at the Moon Tarpon Tournament, sponsored by Special Effects and Gasparilla Outfitters.

Anglers Jenna Persons, Stefanie Ink Edwards, Mary O’Bannon and Lillian Canfield took a $6,480 prize for first place, as well as necklaces designed by Julie Salvetti.

Plans for Placida Fishery property announced

A public meeting was held on Wednesday, June 13 in Rotonda to update residents on the “Village & Marina at Boca Grande” project, planned for the old Placida Fishery property. Real estate developer Jay Feinberg bought out the previous developer and closed on the property on May 1.

He said the focal point of the pro- posed marina development would be a 150-room boutique hotel designated to cater to destination weddings and meetings. It will be no more than three stories tall.

The matriarch of Boca Grande took her last ride over the Causeway – The passing of Isabelle Joiner

It’s very hard to put into words what Isabelle Joiner meant to the heart and soul of Gasparilla Island. She didn’t just live on the island, and she wasn’t just raised on the island. She truly was the island. On the morning of June 20, 2018, when she passed away, a tangible feeling of loss hung as heavy over this little island as the June humidity. It still hasn’t left … it may never go.

Where is our clean water?

Local fishing guides have been coming back from the water in the last two days with pictures and video that most describe with two words – a nightmare. Out on the sandbar near the trestle, in the Harbor and in Gasparilla Sound there is death everywhere you look. Thousands of dead fish, from snook to grouper to tarpon, are mixed in with large floating mounds of viscous decomposing matter. The smell on press day (Thursday, June 21) going over the Boca Grande Causeway was incredibly overwhelming, as gas from decomposition mixed with salt water, seagrass and other questionable substances. The water around these masses is black and almost gooey-looking.

GIBA discusses petition to change name of Causeway

At the quarterly meeting of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority held on Wednesday, June 27, it was discussed that Boca Grande North is petitioning Charlotte County to change the name of the roadway from Boca Grande Causeway to Gasparilla Road.

A member of the Boca Grande North Homeowner’s Association suggested the idea, and letters have already been sent out to residents who live there.

Are we really feeding the red monster?

Hype on social media and on local television news channels continued regarding the red tide bloom, and it’s easy to see why. It’s been a few years since we had a fish kill of this magnitude, particularly in combination with the death of larger fish and aquatic mammals.

The problem is, Florida’s human population has been using the state’s water supply as a dumping ground for many, many years. Everything from grass clippings and fertilizer in a private citizen’s yard to a major corporation’s cow pasture or sugar cane field runoff goes into our water supply, sometimes even trash and sewage.

July

Coral Creek convergence newest acquisition for CHPSP

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced the permanent protection of the 55.7-acre Coral Creek Peninsula as an addition to the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park (CHPSP). The peninsula is strategically located at the convergence of East and West Coral Creeks near the town of Placida in Charlotte County, Florida. These freshwater creeks flow into Gasparilla Sound and Aquatic Preserve and thereby the Charlotte Harbor, all state-designed as Florida Outstanding Waters.

Waylon wins the Belt Buckle!

Some of the country’s most famous tarpon guides packed the Rotonda Golf & Country Club on the evening of Saturday, July 7 to watch Capt. Waylon Mills be presented
 with the Jay Joiner Captain’s Award of 2018.
 He took the honor by recording the most re
leases out of four popular annual tournaments
 – the Ladies’ Day Tarpon Tournament, the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament, Ladies Howl at the Moon Tarpon Tournament and the Red Gill Invitational. This year Waylon had 18 releases in those four tournaments.

Boca Grande Community Center to get sunshade

Work began on the new outdoor stage at the Boca Grande Community Center, and the project, which

included a sunshade, was completed by the end of October. Funding for the project was procured through two fundraising concerts given by Lynda Jamison in February of 2016, and the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center organization made up the rest of the cost – which is just under $250,000.

New reef to be built in honor of Pace Taylor

Pace Ervin Taylor was a 19-year- old, fun-loving, free spirited kid who enjoyed everything about life, and he especially loved fishing in Boca Grande. He would come here every summer and on spring breaks with his family, who all adored the special quality of this island. Tragically, Pace lost his life Saturday, June 30, 2018 in an accident in Memphis, Tennessee. To honor Pace, his family plans on building an artificial reef through the Coastal Conservation Association.

Fire causes damage to Damfino home

A home at the end of Damfino Street sustained approximately $500,000 worth of damage on Monday, July 23 as a fire broke out under the floor at the home and smoldered for several hours. According to Boca Grande Fire Department reports, units responded to the home at 3:04 p.m. after it was reported that the smoke detectors were going off. There was no one in the home at the time.

Saying goodbye is the hardest part … Theatre Building memories from Betsy and Kathleen

Amid tears and good wishes, more than 30 people said goodbye to their home away from home at the end of June, 2018, as the Old Theatre Building’s doors were closed. It had been a major hub of activity in downtown Boca Grande for decades, and Betsy Joiner and Kathleen Turner hope it will return to that status once again some day.

August

Will it ever end? Authorities not providing enough information on red tide

When Lisa Haney and her husband, Mike, got to the Palm Island ferry landing on Tuesday night, July 31, they weren’t dressed for carrying manatees. That ended up being what happened though, as this particular sea cow was one of many that have been killed or made sick by red tide.

Fire damaged Boca Bay maintenance building, injured one

On Friday, August 3 the Boca Grande Fire Department responded to a fire call at the Boca Bay maintenance shed in the 900 block of Gulf Boulevard. Approximately $15,000 of damage was done in the small blaze.

Firefighters received the call at 11:06 a.m. and arrived about six minutes later.
The fire apparently started when a lawn mower backfired upon ignition, causing a gas can next to the mower to catch fire. The gas can was then accidentally knocked over, causing the burning gasoline to spread onto the floor and an employee’s legs. He refused transport to the hospital.

Is ozone the answer? Some say it may help with red tide

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists were on Damficare Street on the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 14 to field-test a newly developed method for mitigating Florida red tide (elevated concentrations of toxic Karenia brevis algae) in the closed end of the canal. Results show the study did work in small areas of water.

Lee County DOT resurfaces island roads

The roads that were resurfaced include sections of Palm Avenue, Park Avenue, East Railroad Avenue, West Railroad Avenue, Damficare St., Bradley Avenue, Bayou Avenue, Harbor Drive, 1st Street, Banyon Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street and 5th Street. The work was completed in September.

Who has our best interests in mind when it comes to clean water?

With a primary election right around the corner, this was a good year for people to sit up and take notice of one hot topic in particular – clean water. While the Boca Beacon does not endorse candidates for any election, but knowing that people feel very strongly about water quality issues right now, our writer reached out to several candidates running for Agriculture Commissioner, and asked several tough questions.

Beacon Crew takes honors at FPA, FMA competitions

The Beacon staff was honored with several awards at the annual Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper contest as well as several Florida Magazine Association Charley Awards.

Hopkins & Daughter Publishing celebrate 30 years with the Beacon

It was 30 years ago this August when our publisher, Dusty Hopkins and his ex-wife Terry, published their first Boca Beacon … and oh, what a ride it has been.

You might ask how a nice couple of people like them got caught up in a maelstrom of 50-gallon barrels of ink, fishing captains and socialites, and still managed to take a bi-weekly newspaper to a weekly, not to mention adding several special publications along the way. The answer is this: A love for the free press and Boca Grande.

A beautiful life lost: Saying goodbye to Dylan Eric

The loss of Dylan Edic’s laughter was palpable on the island, after he was taken from us in a car accident that occurred on Monday, Aug. 27 in Rotonda.

Florida Highway Patrol reports indicate that at approximately 10 p.m. Dylan, who was 21, was driving his truck on Cape Haze Drive just north of Haitian Road in Rotonda when he lost control on a curve in the road and crashed into palm trees. He died at the scene.

The fates brought Harley home … the luckiest weiner dog in the world

The sea was calm on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 25 when Shane Hale set sail from Marina Jack’s in Sarasota in his 30-foot sailboat, with his first mate Harley, the long-haired dachshund, but mid-afternoon it turned into a nasty blow that changed Shane’s life dramatically.

Shane was two miles offshore from Sharky’s in Venice when the storm hit with wind gusts up to 34 knots and big swells. Harley went overboard, and was later found by a couple near a Manasota Beach vacant lot.

Mote scientists come to Boca Grande to determine snook health

Mote marine scientists were at 7th Street beach in Boca Grande to lead an assessment project on the local snook spawning stock, a vital effort needed to determine impacts to this important fishery and to develop more strategic stock enhancement actions to ensure recovery of this population as quickly as possible.

From a boat along the shore, scientists deployed a 600-foot beach seine net, entered the water and pulled the net toward the shore. The fish were funneled into a bag at the center of the net, allowing scientists to count and measure the fish, attempt to determine their sex, insert PIT (passive integrated transponders similar to microchips) tags and release the fish. PIT tags hold key information about an individual fish and can be scanned to recover data if the fish is recaptured. September

Kappy’s Downtown: Island business opens second location

Steve and Jill Kaplan, owners of Kappy’s Market at the north end of the island, have opened a new store in town called “Kappy’s Downtown,” and some of its offerings may seem very familiar.
 The owners are offering similar services as The Grapevine like a self-serve coffee bar, breakfast sandwiches, coffee cakes and
 doughnuts, lunch sandwiches, soups and salads.

Bringing the Gilchrist median back to life

The median on Gilchrist Avenue from 5th Street to 1st Street has been completely replanted and is looking very fine compared to what it was earlier in the summer. The cost of the project is $49,600. New Maypan coconut palms were planted at the end of 2016 (see photo above).

Is West Nile virus a concern in Boca Grande?

The Boca Grande Health Clinic addressed local concerns about the virus, saying that most people who become infected never develop symptoms. The virus stays in the system for a few days while the immune system does its job and eliminates it. Those who show symptoms do so in the first 15 days after infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, rash, muscle aches and fatigue.

Mark Futch: His passing has left us all in shock

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 is land residents were shocked to hear of the passing of Capt. Mark Futch, a man taken far too early who will be missed very much by many.

Proposed Fishery amendment voted in with no contest; plans are to feature replicas of island lighthouses

At a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 25 Charlotte County Commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance to adopt a small scale plan amendment of the Fishery Property, located at 13000 Fishery Road in Placida.

October

Boca Grande Historical Society online archive system now available

As they tirelessly work their way through stacks of boxes, scanning photos, transcribing audio and sorting through a variety of other items, Jim and Rose Marie Blaha have been creating an online archive system at the Boca Grande Historical Society for the past year. It was available to the public in early October via the organization’s website.

Boca Grande native now Navy attorney

Boca Grande native Lt. Cmdr. Kathy (Young) Paradis, a staff judge advocate, is supporting the world’s most advanced ballistic missile submarines as part of Submarine Group Nine JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corp in the United States Navy. Kathy grew up in Boca Grande and was very involved in the community.

Hurricane Michael missed the island, but we still felt effects

The Coast Guard had to take two men off of a sailboat on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 10 near Gasparilla Island, as eight-foot swells had the 50-foot sailboat in jeopardy.

The unmanned vessel named “OldSkool” crashed into the jetty at the south end of the island by Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. No one was injured, but within a day’s time the boat was essentially in pieces.

Michael effects …

We didn’t get much rain from the hurricane from Michael as he passed by us about 250 miles west of us in the Gulf, but the next day brought some torrential rain – about three to four inches. High tides submerged island docks and flooded low-lying areas along the Bayou and the Gulf.

Saying good-bye to Pamela Jones

Pamela White Jones, 67, of Chickamauga, Ga. and former resident of Sandy Hook, Conn. was born November 29, 1950 in Lexington, Ky. to Russell Edwin White and Betty Lee White. She passed away suddenly from an acute illness on September 30, 2018.

A quiet goodbye to the folks at The Fishery

On Thursday morning, October 18, a light breeze pushed a melancholy feeling around the bruised and potholed road at The Fishery. Small groups of shoppers congregated around the Hatch Gallery shop and the old Albritton house at the end of Placida Point for a final art sale.

Boca Grande Fire Department celebrates 75 years

A celebration was held at the firehouse to celebrate serving the island. Everyone was invited to come and enjoy food and fun as well as take a tour of the firehouse.

J.T. Smitty and Chef Jim, together again

Tuesday, Oct. 23 if you thought you felt the earth shift a little bit, you might have been correct. Call it a change in the tectonic plates along the planet’s lay lines, call it fate, call it what you will … there was a tangible change as three forces combined to create a dynamic trio at Hudson’s Grocery, right here in Boca Grande. Chef Jim Morrow, Chef J.T. Turner and Chef Smitty Smith are all work- ing together now, after decades of friendship and hijinx.

Islanders come together to help neighbors devastated by Hurricane Michael

When Hurricane Michael came onshore in northern Florida on Wednesday, Oct. 10, he came with winds of 155 mph and driving, torrential rain. And as always, islanders stepped up to help.

November

Wonder why the light wasn’t lit? BIPS schedules range light relighting

You’ll have to wait until next year to see the historic Gasparilla Island Lighthouse lit again, but a big celebration is in the works for February to usher in the new beacon in the dark.

Historical Society celebrates Railroad Week in Boca Grande

Members and volunteers of the Boca Grande Historical Society were busy installing a new exhibit at the History Center.
 The exhibit: “Railroads, Phosphate and Real Estate,” became available to view by all on          Friday, Nov. 16

Sunshade ribbon cutting

Everyone was invited to the Friends of Boca Grande Community Center to celebrate the sunshade ribbon-cutting on Friday, Nov. 9.

Red tide forum

Everyone was invited to a free public forum, co-hosted by Mote Marine Laboratory and the Barrier Island Parks Society (BIPS), on Friday, Nov. 16 in the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium. The event featured speakers from Mote, Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) University of South Florida (USF) and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) will each give a 10 to 15 minute presentation.

A look at the future of The Gasparilla Inn Beach Club

The Gasparilla Inn & Club was slowly introducing their new plans for the property where the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club and the dog park are now, and now the plans are public.

The plans for the first phase of the project were filed with the county several weeks ago, and they are now making the rounds of all county staff. The new plan was approved by the Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board in December.

Permit process causing delays in Shoreline Protection Project plans

Those questioning when improvements will be made to the Lee County Shoreline Protection Project will have to wait a bit longer before any progress is being made.

Gasparilla Island State Park (GISP) Manager Rick Argo said the permit process is causing delays.

December

Saying goodbye the only way we know how

A tribute to a great man, placed on his son’s doorstep. An anonymous gift at Marvin Bush’s home here on the island to mark the passing of our 43rd president, George H.W. Bush.

Saying goodbye to an old friend: Tim Seibert

Edward J. “Tim” Seibert, 91, passed away peacefully on De- cember 2, 2018 at his home in Boca Grande, with his adoring wife Lynne and loving daughter Pandora at his side.

Demolition begins at the old Fishery

If you’ve driven past the old Fishery property as of late, you may have noticed that some work is being done and some things have been moved around. Excavation of the old commercial fishhouse has began, but not everything is going to be demolished.

A time-honored tradition: The Boca Grande Baptist Church to celebrate 110 years

As a labor of love, a small congregation has worked to preserve an island landmark over the past century. The historic First Baptist Church of Boca Grande will in 2019 celebrate the 110th anniversary of its founding.

Island woman dies after vehicle accident

On Tuesday, Dec. 18 an island woman, Cassie Kernan, lost her life after the vehicle she was driving was involved in a traffic accident with a UPS truck.

OBITUARIES*:

January: Calvert Cottrell Groton; Virginia “Jinny” Estelle Garrett Cunning; Carolyn Pell Colin; John M. Meyer; George Gwynn Clemons Jr.

February: Edward Hodge Coale; Carolyn J. Humke; Thomas Clark; Rudolph Eberstadt; James Ross; Freddy Futch; James Marden

March: (Services for) Wini Smart; Frank E. Wolcott III; Nancy Lingeman; Lise Yust (tribute); David “Dewey” Jenson

April: Doris L. Daughtrey Hargis; Vernon Armour; Dean Beckstead

May: Byong Uk Chung; Robert Arcan; Jean Cotten Blum

June: Jewel Freeman Herrli; Marilyn Thurner; Mary Janice Shortuse; Isabelle Louise Joiner

July: John Dean Compton; Alison Kimball Bradford; Jay Wein

August: Frances Dale Elwood Melvold;  Lacy Maresa Jenkins; Stephen F. Seidensticker; Dylan Mitchell Edic; George De Genaro; Jeff Gaines Jr

September: Maxine Pearl Futch Bowie; Buck Cole; Kevin Hughes; Nancy Gaffney; Joan Van Zoeren; Arline Kraft Buettin; Don “Postie” Post; Mark Futch; Jane Fortune

October: George Reese Lyons; Pamela “Glam Pam” Jones; Alfred Rudolph Sundberg Jr.; Charles C. Whitaker II; William “Bill” Elliott

November: Anne Wood Birgbauer; Diane Rosemary Ryan Kunkler; Arthur “Artie” Brooks

December: Harry Banks French; Guy Horgan

* (Obituaries are listed on the dates they ran in the newspaper, not necessarily in the actual month they passed away)