We all enjoy the privilege of living in a pretty amazing place. A place that draws thousands of visitors every year, willing to spend their precious vacation time and money to enjoy just a tiny sliver of what we enjoy every day. Like any community, we have challenges and we write plenty about those. But every couple months or so, we like to use this space to focus on some of the good things happening here and the numerous generous people who make our Island a better place to live, work and play. Kudos go out to…

The folks bringing our beautiful new road and sidewalks to us. We get so wrapped up in schedules and what’s wrong, we often miss the fact that in a good portion of our downtown area we now enjoy a new road and wide new sidewalks.

The scientists that keep the focus on water quality and Everglades restoration during the rancorous back and forth on who’s polluting what and how to fix it. Keep it up!

New Parks & Rec Director Sean De Palma and the citizens and staff he is working with to improve Bay Oaks Recreation Center.

The Student Town Council from Beach Elementary 5th grade class. They’ve learned what the roles are in Town government and got a bit of real life experience in running for office.

Drivers who are alert in our construction zones.

“Super” Dave and the Lake of the Ozarks Mid-Winter party that raised $2400 for Beach School.

Lahaina Realty for their efforts in organizing the 7th annual Putt & Pub Crawl to benefit Beach School PTO and Youth Soccer. Also to the many teams and players that came out and putted for the kids!

Estero Island Taxpayers Association for bringing the voice of taxpayers who are not voting residents to the conversation on the beach.

West Coast Inland Navigation District, Lee County and countless stakeholders who persisted in the pursuit of a dredging permit for Big Carlos Pass. Work should begin within a month to make navigation of the pass easier for everyone.

Members of the Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation for their successful Wild, Wild West fundraiser and their scholarship program along with the wide range of other community support they offer.

Teacher Jennifer Martin, winner of the Golden Coconut Award sponsored by the Beach Kid’s Foundation.

Estero Island Garden Club members led by Bobbi Kemp and Cindy Richardson who assisted in the planning stages for Beach Elementary’s new raised garden beds. Plus Coach Heather Ludovico who applied for the Dairy Council grant that made it possible. Plus all the community members that pitched in to do the work of creating the beds like firefighters, school staff and students.

Each one of the Artists of the Month that display their work at Beach Library and offer an opportunity for Islanders to meet them and discuss their work.

Friends of the Arts, Beach Methodist Church, Chapel by the Sea Church and St. Peter’s Church for their seasonal concerts that entertain and delight both residents and visitors.

Gretchen Johnson, winner of the Fort Myers Beach Citizen of Distinction Award this year. A beach resident since 1990, she’s generously shared her talent with Fort Myers Beach.

Garden Club members for sharing the importance of trees with Beach School 4th graders on Arbor Day.

Santini Marina Plaza and Bonnie Roberts for hosting fun monthly events like the Do Wop Jitterbug Contest and FMB Got Talent last weekend.

The Fort Myers Beach Art Association for their full calendar of exhibits, all free, plus classes and workshops. Whether you want to learn to paint, or just spend some time appreciating the talent of others, they’ve got your covered.

Volunteer Mike who hosts Sunset Sing Along at Bowditch Point Park every Thursday at 5pm through March 9th. Where else can you sing along to great oldies as you watch a world-class sunset?

Playwright Laurie Nienhaus and the actors who bring her play, “If These Walls Could Talk” to life. Island history comes alive, laughter is shared and funds are raised for the Friends of the Mound House for educational efforts.

“Uncle” Pete Piergiovanni on his 95th birthday. One of the Pete’s behind Pete’s Time Out, he enjoyed a party recently with his lovely wife Liz to celebrate a big birthday. Stay warm up north!

The pedestrians and bike riders who showed up at the recent workshop on a Master Plan for FMB Pedestrian and Bike users. There’s still time to weigh in at bit.ly/WikiBikePed

The Friends of Matanzas Pass Preserve who will make history come alive this Saturday in Voices of the Past.

The candidates for Town Council for running for office and their efforts to share their positions on a variety of local issues. Also the organizers of candidate forums that make it easy for candidates to share their ideas with voters.

Every Islander who has volunteered, donated or helped in any way to make our Island home a better place to live, work or play.


Missy Layfield