Last issue we talked about the components that make up our watershed; The Gulf of Mexico, Lee County Bays and Estuaries, The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary and Lake Okeechobee and we discussed the problems; Blue-green Algae, Red Tide, Red Drift Algae and Aquatic Plant Overgrowth.
This week we will discuss the causes for these problems we are facing!
The water quality issues that we are experiencing, originate from a variety of causes.
Urban storm-water runoff is one of the primary sources of pollution and it may carry fertilizers and pet waste, among other things. Agriculture run-off, aged and leaky septic tanks and releases from Lake Okeechobee are some of the more well-known causes of pollution in our waterways, but there are other sources that contribute as well, like reuse irrigation water, trash and atmospheric deposition (particles from the atmosphere).
Urban storm-water runoff
Storm-water runoff is rainfall that flows over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground.
The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters.
There are two types of runoff: rural and urban.
Both types of runoff can be managed through engineered structures and/or the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP). Releases from Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee historically overflowed its natural banks, sending a sheet flow of water south through the Everglades.
Since 1928, in the aftermath of the infamous storm that drowned thousands of people, the hydrology of the lake has been changed for safety reasons, with the construction of dikes, culverts, locks and levees.
When the Caloosahatchee River became the Okeechobee Waterway, the flows to the estuary were forever altered.
The resulting nutrient rich releases have the potential to cause environmental issues and aesthetic changes in the waterways and estuary.
Septic systems, also called on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), include a septic tank solid settlement and a drain field for the liquid to be dispersed into the soil for natural treatment. Solids are removed in the septic tank by settlement, and the effluent is discharged underground, where natural biological processes provide treatment in the soil.
It is important that adequate depth of dry soil not connected to the groundwater table be available for the percolation and treatment. Per Department of Health (DOH) requirements, the minimum depth is 3 feet, and without proper soil depth, the effluent would immediately impact the local groundwater.
While functioning septic systems effectively remove bacteria and reduce the water's biological oxygen demand, there is limited nitrogen and phosphorous removal. These nutrients eventually transport into surficial groundwater and have been found to migrate into nearby water bodies in coastal areas. Other Causes of Pollution
Common trash from consumer goods pollutes our waterways and oceans, threatening aquatic life and altering all types of aquatic habitats. Many items, like plastics, can persist in the aquatic ecosystems affecting the environment, wildlife, and human health.
All waste that isn’t properly disposed of has the potential to cause
Next issue.... In Part III of this series we will discuss 'What is Lee County Doing About It?'
Meanwhile check out www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater
and get involved in the "hand written letter campaign."
Water provides Lee County with an environment and quality of life that lures new residents and visitors alike. Human activities, population growth, and watershed alterations, though, have caused significant impacts to the County’s water and other natural resources.
In this multipart story, we will take you on a tour of the watershed, discussing the problems and causes as well as the steps the county and partner agencies have taken to help improve our local water quality. The county can’t do this alone so we also share some ways you can help keep our local waters clean and safe for us, and our future generations.
Lee County is home to all or part of several major waterbodies, including the Caloosahatchee River, Estero River, Imperial River, Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Gulf of Mexico in addition to many smaller tributaries.
1) Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is the largest gulf in the world, encompassing over 600,000 square miles. It is an ocean basin that is bounded by five U.S. states as well as Cuba and part of Mexico.
The Gulf is one of the water features that makes Lee County a great place to live, work and vacation. But it is more than a grand waterbody with beautiful beaches – it is a vibrant ecosystem with an exciting history and a vital commercial role.
2) Lee County Bays and Estuaries
An estuary is where fresh and saltwater mix; where river waters meet the sea. A Bay is a type of recessed coastal water body that directly connects to a larger waterbody such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Two rivers, the Imperial River and Estero River, bring freshwater into Estero Bay, an estuary that was designated as the state’s first aquatic preserve.
The Charlotte Harbor Estuary has a very large watershed: is mostly located within Charlotte County, but approximately one third of this estuary lies within Lee County.
San Carlos Bay is located at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. It connects to Matlacha Pass to the north, and Pine Island Sound to the west.
3) Caloosahatchee River and Estuary
The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary is another west coast treasure, and its health is essential to the Lee County way of life.
The river flows west-southwest from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico, becomes a tidal estuary within Lee County, and broadens as it nears the Gulf.
Extensive historical modifications to the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed have altered the hydrology of the region. As a result, heavy rainfall can bring large influxes of fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary from stormwater runoff within the basin, Lake Okeechobee releases or both. The increased freshwater flows affect salinity levels and water quality in the estuary, potentially causing environmental harm (SFWMD).
Lake Okeechobee means “big water” in the Seminole Indian language, and with a surface area of 730 square miles, the lake is the liquid heart of South Florida. In fact, Lake Okeechobee is only slightly smaller than the entire land area of Lee County!
Lake Okeechobee provides water for people, farms and the environment, and habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife. The lake’s health has also been affected by human influences, but restoration efforts are underway here too. The Caloosahatchee River starts at Lake Okeechobee.
Through this story map, we explore water quality issues that the County has been actively working to manage, explain some of their causes, highlight steps Lee County is taking to address water quality and provide useful tips that residents and visitors alike can use to help us save this most valuable resource.
Our region is characterized by a marked seasonality that offers different water quality challenges at different times of the year.
The dry season - from November to May - brings seasonal population growth, and with that comes an increase in the impacts to local water quality from additional fertilizers, septic tank use, traffic, and other factors.
Lee County’s rainy season lasts from about June through October, and supports aquifers, agricultural activities, fish and wildlife populations as well as the growing water demand from communities throughout our area. The stormwater run-off at this time of the year is at its annual high. Increases in the concentrations of pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus to the estuary can destroy the natural balance and even fuel algae blooms.
In aquatic systems, when there is an overload of nutrients, opportunistic species take advantage of this issue to rapidly grow into blooms. These species can cause the famously known blue-green algae, red tide and red drift algae phenomena and the eutrophication of fresh water ecosystems.
Blue-green algae, or “cyanobacteria,” are bacteria but, like plants, use sunlight to grow. They are ubiquitous in aquatic ecosystems. They play an important role in the environment, as part of the natural nutrient cycles and the food chain.
Blue-green algae thrives in warm waters with a high nutrient content. When the environment is conducive and they have the resources to grow out of control, they will become a bloom.
This can deplete the oxygen in the water, which can cause fish kills.
Some blooms can also produce toxins. In their toxic form, it can cause illness in humans, pets, waterfowl, and other animals that come in contact with it.
Red Tide produces a potent toxin, when red tide blooms are bad enough, it kills fish
Florida's red tide is a natural occurrence that begins offshore. It was first recorded in the 1800s. If the bloom moves inshore, nutrient runoff from land may promote bloom expansion.
A bloom can linger in coastal areas for days, weeks or even months. Red tides occur when microscopic algae multiply to higher than normal concentrations, often coloring the water to red or brown hues.
The most common species of red tide in our coasts is Karenia brevis. Its toxins, which can cause health problems in humans, are capable of killing fish, birds and other marine animals.
Red Drift Algae
Red drift algae is also influenced by nutrients.
This type of algae is visible with the naked eye. It is common for them to detach from the bottom and wash up along beaches in small amounts.
On occasions, if there is an excess of nutrients in the water, they will bloom. If the currents and tides are favorable, they may wash up on the shore in huge quantities.
Although it does not release toxins, the piles of algae will decay after a few days and they will emit an unpleasant odor until removed or washed away.
Aquatic Plant Overgrowth
Aquatic vegetation is essential for fresh water ecosystems. They produce oxygen in the water, remove nutrients, and serve as a source of food and shelter for aquatic organisms.
An excess of nutrients in the water can make plants overgrow to levels that are harmful for their ecosystem.
This is especially true for invasive exotic species that are capable of growing at a high rate and take over the ecosystem. When they are out of control, they can even deplete the dissolved oxygen in the water.
Next issue, we will discuss causes in dept and what Lee County is doing about it.
It seems right out of the Bible.......Hordes of fearsome biological monstrosity's Cicada are about to drag their way to the surface of the earth after developing underground for 17 years. It comes only to mate and spawn; however, it imparts terror and disgust in the hearts and minds of every man, woman, child, and beast unfortunate enough to cross its path.
This is no Hollywood fantasy ladies and gentlemen, this creature is real. (a 17 year cycle of cicadas and it is called 'Brood X')
When a particular brood matures and emerges, it is usually in many millions of noisy insects in May and June. The last time this brood emerged was in 2004. The 2021 Cicada emergence is the largest of all broods, affecting portions of DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY,OH, PA, TN, VA, WV.
Depending on where you live, these heinous herbivores should be dive-bombing your friends and family any day now, actually, they are more likely to fall out of a tree than fly, but, rest assured, they may be landing somewhere on your body sometime soon. During their brief emergence, they are a major nuisance.
In areas where they emerge all at once by the millions, they can do serious damage to a the trees and shrubs. In addition, their high pitched, shrill noise is very irritating. While Cicadas are fascinating to some, their presence in big numbers, is un-nerving to many people.
Cicadas have the longest adult-to-adult cycle of any animal known, taking the full 17 years to mature from ant-sized nymph to peanut-sized adult. During their years of subterranean seclusion, the juvenile forms suck juices from small roots, shedding their skins four times as they grow. When their time in the sun finally comes, the nymphs tunnel to the surface and wait for the soil to warm to about 64 degrees F. before venturing out. “They’re amazingly synchronized,” with hundreds of thousands to more than many million per acre appearing almost simultaneously at night in some areas.
Within a day or two, the adult males begin their cacophonous chorusing, producing sound by vibrating abdominal drums called timbals. One Circada can emit sounds at 100 decibels or more when up close, the racket is among nature’s loudest sounds, rivaling a jet airplane at takeoff.
The adults will spend about six weeks engaged in raucous reproductive behavior, and then they’ll be gone, leaving millions of tiny offspring behind to burrow into the soil and start the 17-year cycle all over again. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies. This dramatic phenomenon occurs only in the eastern United States.
Adults do not eat. Egg laying females cause significant damage to trees, bushes and shrubs, during their brief adult stage. Damage to trees is caused by the adult female, as she cuts slits into twigs and small diameter branches, to lay her eggs. An abundance of eggs can cause the branch tips to break and terminal leaves to die. The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. The nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground tree roots. They remain there for years, slowly growing, until their periodic cycle calls them to emerge again as adults.
• If the human life cycle followed the same pattern as the 17-year cicadas, we’d have a 102-year childhood followed by a one-year adulthood.
• The first record of 17-year cicadas appeared in a book published in 1669, describing an emergence that probably occurred in 1651. Reminded of Biblical grasshopper plagues, Pilgrims called cicadas “locusts,” a misnomer that persists today.
• During the Civil War, Union soldiers held at the Andersonville, Ga., Confederate military prison relied on cicada choruses to mask the sounds of prison breaks.
• The W-shaped mark near the outer edge of 17-year cicadas’ front wings prompted the superstitious belief that the insects foretell war.
• There are three species of 17-year cicadas. In most places where they occur, all three species are found intermixed.
• Recordings of cicada songs, rather than specimens of the insects themselves, are more useful in telling the species apart.
• For many cicadas, only males sing. This led the Greek poet Xenarchus to write, “Happy are cicadas’ lives, for they have only voiceless wives.”
• Male cicadas have three kinds of songs: calling choruses attract females and other males to the aggregating area; softer, complex courtship songs are produced just before mating, and disturbance squawks are used when cicadas are approached rapidly or grasped.
• Cicada songs may sound strange and grating to our ears because they’re at ranges we’re not accustomed to hearing in music or human voices.
**If you see or hear them report them with the Cicada Safari app. Use the hashtag #BroodX or #BroodXCicadas in social media.
As we get closer to rainy season, the fight over how to handle water discharges from Lake Okeechobee is intensifying!"
US Congressman Brian Mast, representing District 18, Florida's ‘upper’ east coast area, containing Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach, has sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers urging them to eliminate discharges to the Saint Lucy River, claiming there are models where this can be accomplished without causing harm to the environment and/or the west coast of Florida.
Lee County Officials quickly responded to rebuke the Congressman for his viewpoints, sending an email to everyone involved which among making many other great points....
stated:"This is not a complicated issue. Until the State and Federal governments are able to construct the major infrastructure projects that are part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, there are only two major outlets for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie Rivers. Shutting down one outlet means higher discharges for the other. Despite any other narrative that has been widely disseminated, this is a fact. Shutting down releases to the St. Lucie River will turn what is now an intermittent high flow problem for the Caloosahatchee into a chronic one, causing permanent loss of critical estuarine habitats including oyster reefs, sea grass meadows and mangrove forests"
This is another reason why to join this campaign spearheaded by Fort Myers Beach Town Councilor Jim Atterholt, to write hand written letters to our government representative is so crucial! Especially now with this new development! Please mention they can't allow this to happen in your letter!
Anyone that was in this area during the summer of 2018 will never forget the devastating effects of Blue Green Algae and Red Tide that wreaked
financial and physical havoc on our residents, visitors and community.
If you are a resident of the State of Florida, a Snowbird or just someone who just likes to visit..... go to the new Facebook page: "Florida for Clean Water Advocacy Reserves." This page has been created for the sole purpose of having all these govt. contact information links in one location, on line, where all can easily access this contact info and also as a forum and sounding board for all people concerned about this matter to get together and organize this...Clean Water ‘Hand Written’ Letter campaign and beyond! go to: www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater
Fort Myers Beach Town Councilor Atterholt, with the full support of FM Beach Town Council, has launched this initiative to encourage Town residents, Florida Residents and anyone that visits our shores to 'help in the fight to win the war for clean water' by sending handwritten notes to legislators in Florida and around the U.S.A. “Solutions to the water quality problems in Florida require a two-pronged approach involving both the federal government and the state of Florida,” said Councilor Atterholt. “Having been a legislator in Indiana and chief of staff for a governor, I know that elected officials rarely get handwritten notes. Receiving even a handful of letters on one topic from people who live in their district or state can really get their attention.”
Please write your State Representative, your State Senator and the Governor and ask them to keep up the fight for our clean water.
Here's how YOU can help:
Find your legislators' contact info at one of the links below:
All these links will be available in this same article on the new Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater in the first post listed!
Write your Senators and your Representatives a letter introducing yourself, let them know that you reside in their respective district/state. Make sure you include your home address where you permanently reside.
Water is our most important resource and the reason why we live here and the reason people come here. It’s why Florida is what it is!
Tell them in your own words why clean water is important to you. You may have environmental reasons, recreational reasons, personal health reasons or other reasons. Let your voice be heard!
It is key to let your elected official know why this issue is important to you. Tell them that the problems caused by red tide and blue-green algae must be solved because they impact our environment, our economy, and our health.
If you are a resident of Florida, write to your Florida State Representative, State Senator and Governor Desantis, He's already on our side and knows how precious clean water is to our state and is already fighting for this cause, your letter will give him more power to fight in Washington for our state. Please ask them to support and fully fund clean water programs for Florida and the Everglades.
The solutions to the water quality problems in Florida require a two-pronged approach involving both the federal government and the state of Florida.
So get all your friends from back home on board too, have them write their Representatives and Senators and our Governor DeSantis, let him know that clean water is essential for them to continue to visit here (most of us have come from another state anyway) Get all your friends that visit you on board too...
Get them all to go to the new facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FloridaForCleanWater and contact their representatives!
When you take the time to participate in this campaign we will have letters going to elected officials not just in Florida but to elected officials all over the country.
We have made good progress, they have heard us...... but we must continue to keep up the fight...
and we need YOUR HELP!
Especially now that the east coast is trying to make all discharges from Lake O come our way!
I had the opportunity to speak with Franco Russo of Two Meatballs Restaurant in Fort Myers and we got to talking about his dad.....Alfredo Russo....I had met him before but it surprised me to learn Franco was Alfredo's son, just never made the connection I guess.
I met Alfredo back in 2001, while working at the Island Sand Paper, met him at Junkanoos getting him to advertise in the "new" Beach paper.... and over the next 15 years we got to get to know each other better, I am proud to say I had the opportunity to know Alfredo. Whether at Junkanoos, the Fresh Catch or “The Ship” restaurant on Route 41in Bonita Springs: modeled after a 16th century Spanish Galleon and later,
The Sunset Beach Grill and The Playmore Tiki Bar...... Alfredo, has left his mark on South West Florida!
"The Ship" Restaurant & Tavern, in Bonita, I think was his coolest concept, I had eaten here a dozen times before I even met Alfredo
He had a heart of gold, he was well loved a
nd respected on Fort Myers Beach. One of his favorite quotes was... "In shallow men, the fish of little thoughts cause much commotion. In oceanic minds, the whales of inspiration make hardly a ruffle.” --Yukteswar Giri
By chance, I ran into Alfredo on a flight headed to Boston one day, 7 or 8 years ago, and we had a chance to chat a bit, Alfredo loved the beach and all its people, he really was a nice guy.
"Prior to my father passing away in 2016, he told me he wanted to retire and open a small Italian restaurant, just to keep himself busy. That always stuck with me" Franco said.
Fort Myers location
He continued... "Luigi (Franco's partner) and I looked at a few different locations but in 2018 when I caught wind that Two Meatballs was for sale, I jumped on the opportunity. I knew the place had been there for a long time and had a great reputation. When we took it over, we decided to keep everything the same, as if ownership didn’t even change hands."
With the pandemic, now being over a yearlong, I asked Franco how the restaurant was doing? "We've had it a little over 2 years now and even through all this Covid adversity, not only is the Fort Myers location going strong, but we recently opened our second location in Cape Coral, which is doing very well."
cape coral location
I asked him what was the best compliment he has received... "Every year we have a very close family friend come stay with us from Italy, his name is also Luigi but everyone calls him Billy, because as a baby, he had blonde hair and blue eyes, so everyone teased his parents that he looked American so they gave him an American nickname. One night we were sitting outside of Two Meatballs and he said to me in Italian"..... “it’s crazy, everyone leaves here with a bag of food and a smile on their face."
They even won Best of Cape Coral Award last year!
Later, I caught up with his partner Luigi, we talked about his experience, he said he had been in the restaurant business for 35 yrs, working for others and running his own businesses too. Then he went on to tell me how he met Alfredo some 25 yrs ago, at Anthony's On The Gulf, which is now The Fresh Catch Bistro. "I hit it off with Alfredo right away, we were buddies until his death and I miss him every day. As for Franco, I met him when he was a pre teen and now we work together at 2 meatballs ... you just never know." he said.
We talked a little more about family, I'm Italian too (The food here is amazing, and believe me, as an native Italian... I don't say that about most Italian restaurants) and know how important family is, he replied, "I am blessed with a loving and caring wife, a son and now a grandson, all healthy .... thank god"
So I asked him what makes 2 meatballs so special. "It's simple, quality food at affordable prices"
Zuppa di Pesce
"Our homemade sauces are unmatched and our signature dish, Zuppa di Pesce is to die for. "....."The Smiling faces of our customers tell me about their experience while here and when they come back, that lets me know we are doing it right." He added... "with my experienced staff, a good partner and my right hand man Sergio, I cannot miss."
Of course Franco is still owner of his dad's two beach restaurants, the Junkanoo and Fresh Catch, but his General Manager, Neal, Christine, the controller and Manager, Jerry have those restaurants handled....
I asked him about the future of 2 Meatballs..... "We will be continue to look for opportunities to grow the concept within 2021, having Luigi with me feels like a piece of my father is still here, they have very similar characters and even mannerisms, it is truly is blessing. I hope he’s proud up there!
2 Meatballs now has two locations, and are open from 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM
remember to tell them “Bobby sent me”
8880 Salrose Lane,
Fort Myers, Fl
1403 Cape Coral Pkwy
E, Cape Coral, Fl,
Bill Semmer and Joanne Semmer and San Carlos Island residents have won their appeal to the Bay Harbor Marina project.
We heard late yesterday afternoon as we were about to go to press with this current paper.
The Semmers, have homes near the Main Street development, they have opposed the project at numerous hearings. but the marina and housing project gained approval from the Lee County Board of County Commissioners in June last summer, by a vote of 4-1.
“We feel the Citizens of the San Carlos Island Community did not get a fair and just decision at the June 17th County Commissioners meeting regarding the land use change for (the) Bay Harbour Marina Village project,” Ms. Semmer stated.
The citizens weren't even given the proposed settlement document, which was discussed at the hearing, until after the hearing after a public records request
“We believe in the State of Florida legal system and look forward to a fair and honest hearing of all the facts by the State of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge." she said at that time.
The Semmers are okay with the marina aspect of the business and have no objection to that, but not with the 100-foot tower and commercial space on the property currently housing Southern Comfort Storage, Ms. Semmer said. “The legally adopted procedures and rules of Lee County have been ignored in favor of the developer,” she had stated.
And now they won their appeal!
Action by Fort Myers Beach Town Council at its regular meeting on Monday, earlier this monts, involved enhancements of the Mooring Field, an upcoming traffic signal at Old San Carlos and Estero Boulevard, and appointments to two of the Town’s advisory boards, among other items.
Public comment was about Lee County’s plans for the Big Carlos Pass Bridge, consulting with FWC to find out if window tinting is an option for compliance with turtle lighting regulations, the ongoing dune walkover dispute, report from the Town Attorney that mask mandates have been ruled constitutional, conducting landscaper fertilizer training modeled after the City of Sanibel’s, joining with Lee County to receive FEMA funding to help pay utilities for lower income families that have been impacted by COVID, and confirmation that pan handling is illegal in the Town.
Council approved Resolution 21-02 to update the Matanzas Mooring Field Management Plan and add language about the expansion of the Mooring Field. These actions were necessary for the Town to complete the final steps in the permitting process with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the expansion. The Army Corps of Engineers has already approved the engineering permit.
This expansion has been in the planning stages since 2019, when it was first approved by Town Council. It encompasses the west side of Matanzas Pass Bridge and adds approximately 19 mooring systems. The added systems allow for accommodating vessels up to 80 feet, increasing the current vessel limit of 52 feet.
Related to Mooring Field, Town Councilors approved Resolution 21-04 authorizing the Town Manager or his designee to apply for and administer a grant from the Florida Boating Improvement Program (FBIP). If received, this grant would provide up to $200,000. A $100,000 match would be required by the Town, to be budgeted for in the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year’s cycle. The grant would be through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and could be available after October 1, 2021.
In other business, Council approved a contract of $75,572.82 for construction engineering inspection on the new traffic signal with AECOM Technical Services, Inc. This approval authorizes the Town Manager to execute contract documents from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). This is the Town’s first Local Agency Planning (LAP) project which provides reimbursement from FDOT for construction and construction engineering inspection.
Rebecca Guidry was appointed by Council to the Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Board (BORCAB). Council also appointed six members to the new Nuisance Abatement Board (NAB). NAB members appointed were Anita Cereceda, Charles Meador, Jr., Dawn Thomas, Jan Fleming, Monica Schmucker, and Tre Gillette. Schmucker was chosen as the chairperson.
Other agenda items:
• Recommendation to Lee County of two possible locations at Lynn Hall and Bowditch Point Parks for a scaled-down, single version of the original arches previously located on San Carlos Island;
• Acquisition of the Town’s pension and deferred compensation plans for employees by Envestnet Retirement Solutions, from Mass Mutual;
• Authorization of the Town’s voluntary, no-cost participation in the proposed Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact;
• Recap of the public hearing conducted by Lee County about plans for the Big Carlos Pass Bridge on the south end of Estero Island; Town Council decided not to join with the City of
Bonita Springs to advocate for an alternative to the proposed construction of a 60-foot bridge to replace the current bridge.
The next regularly scheduled Town Council meeting will be on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 2525 Estero Boulevard. (The President’s Day federal holiday is Monday, February 15.) In keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19, Council meetings are social distanced with reduced audience capacity. Masks or other face-coverings are mandatory.
Council meetings are broadcast live on the Town’s YouTube channel and Comcast Channel 98.
Visit the Town’s website at www.fmbgov.com, click on the title Mayor and Council, then go to Meetings & Agendas. Agendas and minutes of meetings are also available at that link.
To find out when Council meetings are scheduled, visit the Town’s website, and scroll down the homepage to the calendar.
Keep up on meeting schedules by signing up to receive emails through the website’s Notify Me feature. Find that feature under the Popular Pages column on the homepage.
A couple days ago, I found myself humming along to a Supremes song.
Mary, back in the day of the Supremes
Then I did what everyone does today, in the age of the internet: I logged onto YouTube, found a music video and lost myself in some vintage footage of the 1960s supergroup performing some of their greatest hits.
Mary had a romance with Tom Jones for 2 years
It was a soulful trip down memory lane, and I lingered online for some time, soaking up images of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard performing much-loved, high-energy favorites such as "Stop! In the Name of Love" and "Baby Love."
Hours later, in an eerie stroke of coincidence, I learned that singer Mary Wilson had died that same day at age 76. Ms. Wilson was one of the group's original members, and the news sent chills down my spine. The timing was uncanny. It was the end of an era, and I felt deep sorrow.
For me, the news that we lost Mary was personal. Years ago, I had the rare opportunity to spend time with her when we connected by chance at the Harbor View Hotel in Martha's Vineyard where we were both staying. We spent an entire afternoon together and she regaled me with stories from her illustrious career in the entertainment business. We talked about collaboration on a TV show from her Las Vegas location, as well as politics, business and global traveling. We laughed, and we connected on a personal and spiritual level. Serendipity, perhaps. All I know is that it was unforgettable.
Mary was a warmhearted woman with an incredible soul and a magnetism that matched her amazing talent. The music she and her bandmates produced as The Supremes brought immeasurable joy to millions of people.
In the days since her passing, I have reflected on the lessons we can all learn from Mary Wilson's trailblazing life. And there are many.
Mary Wilson after she sang national anthem in Detroit april 4 2019
First of all, time is short. Never wait to cherish the people who make your life special. Too often, we fail to appreciate the people we admire and respect until they are gone, and then it is too late.
It is so essential that we celebrate and cherish the time we have with the unique people who make this world a more beautiful, happy and joyous place through their God-given talents. Music has the power to transcend and create connections between people and to lift us up in the times when we need it most.
When life seems grim and the future looks bleak, an inspiring lyric and a catchy tune is often all we need to turn things around. In our moments of greatest joy, we express happiness through the celebration of music, a universal language. Mary's passing reminded me of this.
Also, Mary's passing is a stark reminder that America's world influence is not solely derived from our democracy and national principles. Our global impact is also rooted in the sheer genius of our people. There is no country in the world that has our power to effect change and to impact lives through the creativity of entertainment.
As I reflect on Mary Wilson and the legacy of her amazing life, I am reminded that her talent, success and bold determination to blaze new paths are representative of those elements that make America truly special. This is a unique country where people of talent and brilliance can share their gifts with the world, not just with their immediate audience.
They can transcend borders and truly lift up people all across the world.
As we say goodbye to Mary, I will continue to celebrate her legacy of love, life and music. The memory of her joyful energy and that special day we shared long ago will always remain in my heart.
To celebrate and commemorate her astounding life, I encourage you to play one of her CDs or call up a song by The Supremes on YouTube. Take a moment to listen to this impactful, creative woman at work: It will bring a smile to your face as you escape into yesteryear.
Thank you, Mary, for the beautiful and everlasting gift of your musical genius. Your timeless legacy will live on forever.