December 30, 2004
It seems like a slow year when you try to remember what happened over the past twelve months as we prepare for the annual Year-in Review edition.
The night before we finish the paper, I usually get a glance at the stories. After reading this years version I’m reminded how it always amazes me at how much does happen in a year.
The story getting the most coverage was Sammy Hamilton, as he ran through legal hoops to keep Everglades National Park Boat Tours running in Everglades National Park after he started the business 40 years ago.
The government wanted to give it to another bidder. So far, he’s still running it and is beating the federal government in their legal hoops they keep putting him through.
In other big news, the big grants being received for fixing up Copeland is something that brings Federal tax dollars home to be spent on those nearest to us. This should kick up a spur of other activity in people fixing up their homes more or more people wanting to live there, due to the improvements and the rising costs of housing in Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Plantation Island.
Pretty soon, most of the working folks of the Everglades might be living in Copeland. What other choice will they have? The Everglades City area is getting too expensive for most locals. It’s a good time to make the Copeland/Lee Cypress community something that is desired, rather than a place too scary to visit after dark.
As the development of Ave Marie University unfolds, it may attract even more new homes to be closer to the University too. The future looks bright for Copeland.
Some disappointing news was the crime wave running through the community. There are a few bad apples causing discomfort for the whole community. The County’s crime rate is going down, while Everglade’s is now on the increase.
Unique events included a plane crash, in which all of the passengers survived, the City wanting to take over control of the Everglades Airpark, and a government body seemingly wanting to “give up” control of such a facility.
Some bright spots on the horizon for the Everglades area is that local people are getting involved in programs that will bring more attention to more regional governmental bodies which will bring in more tax dollars and exposure coming their way.
These include becoming a member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization through the city, and a local Chamber of Commerce that shows promise to get some good things off the ground to help promote this area and participating with other groups with like interests.
Something else that was barely noticeable in the Echo was the mention of the hurricanes. Many Christmas cards we received this year commented on questions about how we faired. A few said they would rather shovel than dodge hurricanes.
This area hardly mentioned the hurricane, and for the most part, was good economically as rooms were filled with people coming to escape other parts of the state.
What will you do to make 2005 the best year yet?