The lazy days of summer are over... It's time to welcome back our friends from the North, and fill them inon what they've missed.
The biggest news of the season was of course, Hurricane Irma that hit the area Sept. 10-11.
The While it wasn’t as bad as Jim Cantone and The Weather Channel warned it would be, Englewood did not escape unscathed. Thousands lost power, many for more than a week. The wind took down an untold number of trees, fences, signs and pool cages. Homes, vehicles and property were damaged throughout the area. And the storm took out a 200-foot section of Manasota Key Road just north of Blind Pass Park., where traffic is still down to one lane. However, the general feeling after Irma was, “We dodged a bullet.”
But it was after Irma that Englewood once again showed just what kind of town it is. Bobbi Sue Burton lost power at her home for ten days and ended up sleeping on a crib mattress in her office in the Englewood Project Phoenix resale store.
As the director of Project Phoenix, Burton’s mission is to help people in need. Just weeks before Irma, she had helped organize a supply delivery for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. After Irma, Burton, aided by members of the First Baptist Church of Englewood and volunteers like Laura McCandless, prepared and served meals to people with no power and sometimes no home, in the First Baptist kitchen. When she put out a request for residents’ unused hurricane supplies for those in need, “In three hours we collected three pick-up truck loads,”she said.
Soon Burton was fixing hamburgers and hotdogs for the linemen who gathered by the dozens at the Wal-Mart across from her shop. When they moved to the Winn-Dixie parking lot, she and other volunteers started fixing breakfast for 50 to 60 workers. They fed the crews and first responders the entire time they worked in the area.
“The linemen kept saying they had never been treated like this. I told them Englewood is a special town and when you’re here you’re one of our own. People don’t go through things alone in this town.”
Burton said that the supplies that weren’t used were sent to other parts of Florida and Puerto Rico. Now, she’s focused again on area residents in need and on Project Phoenix and its need for a volunteer with a truck to pick up donations. Call 681-2707.
Artist Carroll Swayze is just one of many people with Bad Irma/Good people stories. Returning home from Michigan, she wasn’t prepared for what she found when she came back. There was a 3000-pound tree laying on her roof and more down all over her property. “It was a mess,” she said. Swayze put the call out and said 18 “wonderful souls” came out for a “Bad Irma Clean-up Party” in exchange for a meatloaf dinner. “I’m truly grateful to have so many incredible people in my life.”
Hurricane Irma also was the catalyst for Let’s Help Englewood, an initiative, created by Englewood Community Services, Inc., the charitable arm of the Chamber, to help residents and businesses trying to recover from the storm and others in need. Donations collected will be dispersed beginning later this month. To find out more, visit www.letshelpenglewood.com.
Jeanie Joyce runs the “What’s Happening in Englewood, Florida? Facebook page. With nearly 12,000 followers, she had the perfect platform to share Irma info, calls for support, even updates on where people could find gas and water. “I just shared information from the great resources I was able to get from our community,” said Joyce. “We truly came together as a community.
A lot of people were worried that the storms would imperil the safety of the sea turtles nesting on area beaches, but according to Wilma Katz, long-time permit holder of the Coastal Wildlife Club, 2017 was an excellent turtle season with the bad weather coming after most of the nests had hatched.
“More than 160 CWC volunteers working countless hours documented 4,376 loggerhead nests, the second highest number in recent decades, and a record-breaking 228 green turtle nests,,“ said Katz, adding those are preliminary numbers. They also documented four Kemp Ridley nests. “That turtle is one of the smallest and rarest, nesting in the daytime,” said Katz. For information on CWC or to join the Turtle Patrol in 2018, visit: coastalwildlifeclub.org.
School and Sports
The school year ended in a big way at Lemon Bay High School for the LBHS Baseball Team, which won its first-ever regional championship but the team lost its State Semi-final game to Bishop Moore of Fort Myers. Coach Casey Hanrahan stepped down after the winning season, staying on as assistant coach, Former Coach Dan Flaherty is returning as head coach. Both Flaherty and Hanrahan are LBHS alumni.
The LBHS Marching Mantas were busier than usual this summer. In the Fall of 2016, the band was selected to participate in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC. Band members and their parents and supporters held several fundraisers to help the 60-plus students get to the Capital to represent Florida in the parade and tour the DC area. Dawn Stephens, who accompanied her children Juliannah and Spencer on the trip, said that after the parade the group gathered on the Washington Mall to watch the fireworks before getting on the bus for the 14-hour trip home.
Moving Up, Moving On & Breaking Ground
Rotonda residents will be returning to a brand new community center overlooking two lakes in the Broadmoor Park neighborhood. The 8000-square-foot building boasts two big screen TVs, meeting rooms, a library and kitchen. The Fred Warner Meeting Room is named for the two-time past president of the Rotonda West Association and a long-time community volunteer. The building will offer clubs, organizations and residents a place to meet, relax and enjoy a variety of activities. For more information, and a schedule of activities visit rotonda west.org.
On September 6 Charlotte County held a groundbreaking for a new West County Annex government building on San Casa Drive. The building is budgeted at just under $7 million and is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2018, It will house staff from the offices of The Supervisor of Elections, tax collector, social services and an office for Charlotte County Commissioner Bill Truex.
On July 28, representatives of The Englewood Area Chamber of Commerce had the pleasure of burning the mortgage to the Chamber building located at 601 S. Indiana Avenue.
The Dome is no more. The eclectic weekend flea market, just over the Englewood line, in Venice, and home to vendors selling sunglasses, cleaners, jewelry, incense, produce and more, closed its doors on July 16 after 43 years and will soon become a RaceTrac gas station.
The Englewood Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) is behind a new outdoor sculpture garden at the 400 block of West Green Street. Artists were given a stipend to create their work and sponsors signed on to support the project. The featured artists are Diane Davidson, Eric Groff, Nichole Moranda, Jacob Rhoads, the late Jim Sears and Dan Swails. Their sculptures will be on display for three years.
Another public art project of sorts that started this summer is Englewood Rocks. Artists and creative people are painting rocks and placing them all over town. If you find one, all they ask is that you take a photo and post it on the @Englewood Rocks Facebook Page.
Awards and Kudos
On June 23, Rex Rowley was named the latest member of The Secret Society of The Smoked Mullet. He joins other Englewood pioneers honored for their work in the community by the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. Rowley has lived in Englewood since 1976, is a former Chamber president, and a force behind bringing major league baseball to the area. He was also very involved in Rotary, Kiwanis, economic development and other organizations. The Mullets also announced the first recipient of the Legends Award, a posthumous honor that went to John “Jack” Bass, Jr.
The SKY Family YMCA named Pat Ryan its new CEO after Ken Modzelewski retired on June 30. Ryan has been with the organization for more than 20 years, moving up from program director to Chief Operating Officer. The SKY Family YMCA serves South Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties and employs more than 600 people.
Saint David’s Episcopal Church named Reverend Vicky McDonald as its Priest In Charge. She is a recent graduate of the General Theological Seminary in New York and served as Deacon at Christ Episcopal Church in Ridgewood, NJ.
This year’s Pioneer Days Parade Grand Marshal was Dr. Raymond James, the director and co-founder of the Englewood Community Care Clinic (ECCC) and Medical Director of the Englewood Community Hospital Emergency Department. In her nomination of James, Beth Harrison, Executive Director of the ECCC, said “Dr. James has made a real impact on the health of the Greater Englewood area and is deserving of this recognition.
Another local M.D. making news is Dr. Michael Lily, who was named Englewood Community Hospital’s Physician of the Year. The award is quite an honor as the winner is chosen by the hospital’s nursing staff.
And, speaking of Englewood Community Hospital, it was named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.Magazine.
Christine “Chris” Davis passed away in August at 86. She was very involved at St. Francis of Assisi Church, and a member of the VFW Auxiliary. She was also a member of The Business and Professional Women’s Club, first in New York and then in Florida, for more than 50 years, where her passion was the scholarship program. At its September meeting, members of the BPW of Englewood and Venice unanimously voted to dedicate its adult learner scholarship fund in her memory, saying “The Christine Davis Memorial Scholarships will preserve the love and devotion she championed to achieve equity for all women through advocacy, education and information.”
And finally, you might hear a rumor going around that there’s a move to change the name of Englewood to Englewood Beach. The talk started when the Charlotte Harbor Convention and Visitor’s Bureau unveiled its new logo that focused on Punta Gorda and Englewood Beach with no mention of Englewood or Port Charlotte. But according to Ed Hill, Executive Director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce, the idea of a name change is a “Non-story.” So don’t worry. We’re still Englewood for the foreseeable future.
This is in no way an exhaustive list of what’s been happening in our area the past few months. We had so much to share we couldn’t include everything. Now that everyone is headed back, don’t forget to keep The Englewood Review informed of what your group or organization has planned. Visit our calendar at www.englewoodreview.com and enter your special event or meeting. You can also submit your photos on our website, browse our classified ads and see photos of many of the events you missed while you were away. For more information, call the Review at (941) 474-4351.