By the time you pick up this edition of the Coastal Breeze News you will have had the opportunity to start working your way through the joys of “left-over” heaven. I know one of my favorites is a turkey, stuffing, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich. I’ll leave it to you to pick out the style of bread, because many of us wish to choose the “healthier” of brands to satisfy our inner desire to fool ourselves that it will make a difference.
Another thing I think we can all be thankful for is that for the most part the election season is now behind us. The robo-calls, mailers, emails and the forests full of political signs dotting the island have finally been harvested and cleaned from our scenery.
Another related item to the election deals with the superior performance of the Collier County Supervisor of Elections office and the staff of Jennifer Edwards, who performed so flawlessly. Her staff and the many volunteers who manned the polls during early voting and on election day certainly can be an example to all who run similar operations throughout the State of Florida.
It is such a shame that two or three counties in this great state have not been able to get their acts together since the embarrassment that was the 2000 election. It was just horrible to see every major news network lead the morning and evening news cycle with multiple stories regarding the recounts, found ballots and inferences of impropriety within those systems. It certainly takes away from who we are as a state and a people.
Locally we have two new city councilors and one re-elected councilor who will join with the other four who will be up for re-election in 2020, less than two years away.
Our council will take on the same challenges that face all elected bodies within the state, and those tasks are daunting, as the issues continue to grow on an everyday basis. Not only will the tasks grow in number, but also in complexity, and will test the abilities of everyone differently, as they grapple with beliefs they hold dearly and balancing those opinions with the reality of the facts that continue to be brought forward regarding those issues. We should all wish them well, for it is counter productive to wish them failure, for we all then lose if they fail.
As we look beyond the bridge it is imperative that we continue to stay focused on the issues surrounding the solutions regarding Lake Okeechobee and stemming the toxic discharges related to the releases. Now that the monies are there for the Army Corp of Engineers to deal with the issues of the Hoover Dike, that project must be moved forward without delay. Congressman Francis Rooney has been a major proponent of that and islanders should reach out to his office to show their thanks.
A second portion of addressing that challenge came as an early Christmas present of sorts, when in October President Trump signed the federal Water Resources Development Act. The authorization for building the large reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, which is being paid half by the Federal Government and half by the State of Florida, will help divert a large portion of the lake’s discharges south through the Everglades.
The State of Florida has allocated its share, while the federal government will have to fund their portion over the next couple of budget cycles. The project’s projected costs are $1.6 billion for completion.
As a resident here for 30 years I am particularly thankful for the progress being made, for it will yield results that pay today’s residents and those in the future so many dividends going forward by working to clean up our watersheds.
Yes, we have many things to be thankful for in 2018. Many of those blessing were due to the hard work and planning done by your neighbors and friends. One person is about to celebrate his centennial birthday shortly after the New Year. Herb Savage and his wife Emily recently were honored when the Marco Island Historical Society named the Modern Marco Exhibit Room at the museum the “Herb and Emily Savage Room.”
Herb worked as a young architect during the development of the island by the Mackle Brothers and Deltona Corporation. He has been credited for setting the tone and character for the community that evolved in those early days. Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime when his birthday bash comes in January to make an effort to meet a true legend.
I’ll let you go back to the kitchen and make another great “left-over” feast and settle in for some more football or any other activity you choose. In the meantime, get ready for another great Christmas holiday season.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com