The Wall That Heals, a half size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, arrived in Marco Island Tuesday December 6 for a five day stay. The truck moving the memorial was escorted onto the island by a motorcyclists from across Southwest Florida. We hear from some of them as well from veteran Lee Rubenstein who was responsible for bringing the Wall to Marco.
Photos courtesy of Frank Steiger Photography.
After 9 years of construction, the Fort Myers Housing Authority will dedicate its new administration building today in honor of the late circuit court judge Isaac Anderson Jr. It’s part of the largest affordable housing development project in the history of Southwest Florida. Isaac Anderson was Lee County’s first African American judge. He died in 2007 at age 61.
The Fort Myers native and Dunbar High School graduate was first appointed as a county judge in 1981 by former Florida Governor Bob Graham. Housing Authority Executive Director Marcus Goodson describes Judge Anderson as an advocate for affordable, quality housing and says he’s excited Anderson’s name will grace the new Administration building.
“To dedicate such a really nice building, a nice edition to this community to someone who was born and raised in this community, had a huge impact in the legal community throughout Lee County and also had a huge impact in the Dunbar community just by his presence and just by the things he brought to the table in terms of promoting affordable housing,” he said.
The ribbon will be cut for two other new buildings in the complex, where residents can find assistance with education, job training and life skills.The new 80 million dollar project, paid for with federal grants and state tax credit programs, will be complete this time next year. There’s already a waiting list for the new buildings.
One of Southwest Florida’s environmental icons passed away this morning. Ellen Peterson served on the Agency for Bay Management, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, Save Our Creeks, the Responsible Growth Management Coalition, The Everglades Committee, the Environmental Peace and Education Center and the Sierra Club's Calusa Group.
She founded the Calusa group 30 years ago and remained the chairperson until her death.
The Agency for Bay Management was formed as a result of a lawsuit about where FGCU would be built; Peterson was the only member who refused to sign off on the settlement agreement. She was responsible for saving Fisheating Creek and fought and won the battle to stop a coal-fired power plant from going into Glades County.
Plans are being made for public services in Estero and at Fisheating Creek.
Ellen Peterson was 87 years old.
The Florida man perhaps best known for infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s died Friday in St. Augustine. Stetson Kennedy, also known as a folklorist and historian, was born in Jacksonville in 1916.
In 1937, Kennedy joined the WPA Florida Writer’s Project, travelling the state with African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston, recording oral histories. The discrimination Hurston encountered led to Kennedy’s involvement in civil rights.
In the 1940s, he infiltrated the KKK, gained the leadership’s confidence, then provided information about the group to the Washington Post and Anti-Defamation League. Kennedy’s friend, former state lawmaker and historian Vernon Peeples said Kennedy exposed the Klan for what it really was.
“It took a lot of courage for him to do that but it was something he felt strongly about and I think he did it successfully and his contribution for unveiling the Klan was significant, “ Peeples said.
Kennedy wrote a number of books including Palmetto Country, based on material collected for the WPA. He also spent time living on a bus with Woody Guthrie and kicked up his heels in Paris. Kennedy died at the age of 94.