The first quarter of 2019 saw more than its share of drama, tragedy and conflict on our Island. Here’s hoping that the remainder of the year brings some peace and tranquility.
January saw the setting of the final Town Council ballot for two seats with four candidates. Later that month, Dr. Leroy Hommerding was murdered in an unprovoked attack at the library doors. Our community and our library staff were shaken and remain so today. In an effort to provide stability at the library, this week the Library Board unanimously selected Cletus Poser, former reference librarian and current Interim Library Director as the new Library Director. Plans continue to build a garden on library grounds to honor Dr. Hommerding, something we believe would have pleased him. His love of native plants was well-known. While we hear rumors of an effort to have the library renamed in his honor, we know that the elected Library Board and those that knew him best have concluded that renaming the library would not be something Dr. Leroy would have wanted. Let’s not create community division over something that should unite us – the desire to honor an important community figure. The Library Board should be granted the lead on how to honor Dr. Leroy at the library.
The Beach Kiwanis Club has created a memorial scholarship in his name. As he served as their Scholarship Committee chairman for years, that is a kind and touching effort. No question, Dr. Leroy would be happy to know that a young person’s education will be made possible in his name.
The Town Council campaign heated up in February with a Political Action Committee getting involved sending out mailers. The opposition used more traditional campaign tactics – the coconut telegraph and email to spread their message. We doubt many voters were convinced to change their vote by either effort, but it sure riled up Islanders.
Meanwhile the outgoing majority on council saw the writing on the wall and raced to approve a new sweetheart Town Manager contract and tried to amend the noise ordinance.
The election in early March confirmed the Island’s rejection of a micromanaging Town Council majority. With a new majority and a new mayor, we hope to see a broader approach to Town government, one that listens to Islanders and focuses on the greater good of the Island and all who call themselves Islanders.
Many of us have become construction blind. We are now well into our fourth year of Estero Blvd. construction and it’s hard to keep track. Lanes change, walls go up, walls come down, center lane drainage construction continues to march south. We do notice a lot of use of new sidewalks though. When Segment 2 is complete from Lovers Lane to near Publix, that will be a major milestone and one we eagerly await. In the meantime, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are to be commended for the relatively accident free last four years. Everyone has to remain alert at all times to keep us all safe. Keep up the good work!
While you’re out on Estero, remember to keep intersections clear so emergency vehicles can enter and exit side streets. Be careful out there!