Water quality has been at the forefront of many Floridian’s minds over the past few decades, and at the center of it all is the health and flow of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee. Protracted debates have raged on over how water releases should be handled at the Lake, with the estuaries now connecting it to the east and west coasts of the state bearing the brunt. However, options of where the excess water can flow are limited by the buildup of agriculture on the Lake’s southern border, disrupting the historic flow to the Everglades.
Standing in the small, dark orchestra pit at the Broadway Palm Theater in Ft. Myers, musician Jay Heavilin holds his bass and waits for the conductor’s downbeat to begin his 100th show. He’s performed there regularly since the dinner theater’s second season (now in its 21st year) and still holds his breath anticipating the drop of that baton.