To celebrate the first anniversary of Etc, we will honor it with a special “Best of Etc” edition, on Jan. 4. But what does it take to be the “Best of Etc,” you may wonder? Well, it is the best and most popular stories, with the most comments, that were published in 2008. The Etc editors complied a list and narrowed it down to a few features. But you will have the final say about which one earns the top honor. So, over the next three weeks, readers will have the chance to vote for their favorite.
This first annual edition will showcase the chosen story, republished in its entirety, as well as the most unusual and unique quotes taken from our past features. Etc’s best photos of the year will also be selected by its staff for your enjoyment. Another highlight of the edition will be a recap of Etc covers from 2008.
The Bookworm, Terri Schlichenmeyer, will create something unique for the edition by recapping of the best books of 2008.
The deadline for participating in the “Best of Etc” selection is Dec. 29. You can either drop off your entry to the Marco Eagle office at 579 E. Elkcam Circle or vote online at http://www.marconews.com/etc/beststories08/. Please, only nominate one feature story. The entry form will be printed for the next three weeks.
Team colors: Sports a factor in Lely High’s diverse community - Jan. 20
Lely students, teachers and families share their story about Lely High School and what it means to its students that come from 37 other countries. The story traces a community of students who learn at Lely High that they can become more than they and their family ever imagined by using sports to assimilate themselves into a very diverse student body that prepares them for life’s challenges.
Southwest of Somewhere: Smugglers in paradise - Feb. 17
After Joe, Butch and Sam, buy an old shrimp boat in Fort Myers Beach, a smuggling career is born and an in-depth interview relates a voyage and entertaining exploits into the Caribbean where bails of marijuana are bought from the chief of police of an island nation.
The beginning of the end? Area Cubans react to Castro’s resignation - Feb. 24
When Fidel Castro announced that he was resigning as president of Cuba in February, it brought hope and wonder for those Cuban-Americans who fled Castro’s dictatorship. For those who chose to apply to leave Cuba, it became a time of insecurity, loss of homes, possessions and sometimes forced labor before they got their plane tickets out. They left with what they could carry and in some cases no chance to ever see relatives again.
The Battle of Midway: a photographers perspective - April 13
As a photographer’s mate aboard the USS Yorktown, William Roy’s photos and film clips, now housed in the National Archives, are frequently used in television specials. The story was a graphic, first-hand account of one of the most legendary sea battles in the Pacific during World War II, given by Cmdr. Roy, U.S. Navy Reserves, Ret.
A century of prom memories - May 11
Call it what you will; there’s nothing quite like prom season to put stars in the eyes of teens and bring out the shutterbug in parents’ souls. But what was prom like a decade, or six or seven, ago? The story explored the styles, music and popular culture in days of yore.
Real Rosie the Riveter stories - May 18
Inspired by the “We can do it!” maxim of the muscle-flexing Rosie the Riveter poster, millions of housewives traded in their aprons for coveralls during World War II to keep America’s factories running. Learn what it was like from Southwest Florida residents who were among the two million mobilized to join the workforce.
Tom Owens: an extraordinary man in interesting times - Aug. 10
Beginning with the liberation of France in World War II, the Tom Owens’ story is a shining example of the strength of America as one man is trained by the military, attends university, and throughout the chronicles of raising a family, climbs the corporate ladder to crown his accomplishments as a senior executive at Bell Telephone.
Farhat fulfilling a lifetime journey - Aug 10
A diminutive, but talented swimmer, Marco Island’s Mercedes Farhat put the weight of Libya women’s swimming program on her shoulders as she swam in the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China in August. The Lely swimmer’s four-year trek to the Olympics is chronicled in her story. It deals with every step of the way to history for her, her father Kamal who coached her, her family and Libya. From sharing a swim lane with Michael Phelps for warm-ups, to her actually winning her heat, Farhat takes you with her, setting an example for Libyan women swimmers to come and her heartfelt chance to say “I am an Olympian.”
Snook season opens with no age limit, for fishermen that is - Sept 21
Mitchell Rusk, 5, caught what he and father Kenny Rusk, 45, call “Snook Fever.” Mitchell learned to tie fishing hooks and leaders before he learned to tie his shoes. If anyone is looking for tips on how to catch the limited delicacy, Snook, this kid knows it all. The Rusk family of fishermen live in Golden Gate and they kick off every Snook season staying at a rental home near Marco Island’s Snook Inn. The boys and men fish while mom, Deanne Tyler, a professional chef and caterer, organizes the weekend fish fry.
The pirates, the curse and the hanging tree of Key Marco - Oct. 26
After the freshwater springs of Caxambas are charted on old Spanish maps, a band of pirates settles on Key Marco. Using the island as a base to raid offshore shipping, the buccaneers are triumphant until outcries from merchant mariners demand a surprise naval attack. Just before last of the pirates is hung, a curse is invoked that still haunts Key Marco today.
Great Depression, unlike today’s troubling times - Nov. 30
Today’s economic troubles are just a drop in the bucket compared to what Americans suffered following the Crash of ‘29, but perseverance and innovation helped lead the nation through the next decade. We found four people, whose memories of that decade provide a few tips about how to survive these trying times.