Thanks for the emails, notes and phone calls in response to last Sunday's front-page "Letter to Readers" that announced a major Naples Daily News initiative called the Lighthouse Project.
Everyone wished us well or offered to help. Some did both.
Jeanne Targett, via email, invited me over to BB Locksmith on U.S. 41 North in Naples to view a black-and-white, aerial photograph of the Naples coastline as it looked 37 years ago. The image hangs on the wall above a row of safes at the business.
"You're welcome to photograph it or take a scan of it," she said.
The initial phase of the Lighthouse Project is to publish a special Sunday section about the history of the Naples area. Photos, memorabilia and recollections are welcome. We have a special page on the Naples Daily News website set up to allow readers to submit personal accounts related to area history. You can get there at www.naplesnews.com/lighthouse.
In the regular mail Tuesday was a typewritten letter from longtime resident Brad Estes, reminding us of FOCUS, a massive visioning effort that was initiated in the mid-1990s.
"I read with particular interest," Estes said, "about the Daily News' Lighthouse Project and plans to review prior community visioning efforts."
He said FOCUS, which stood for the Future of Collier Created by Us, was initiated by the Greater Naples Civic Association.
"It was the most comprehensive and inclusive community visioning effort in my memory," he said.
With the letter, Estes enclosed a trifold brochure that was distributed throughout the community 16 years ago to explain the initiative.
Former Naples Mayor Ned Putzell's signature was below the introduction. He was a co-chairman along with the Rev. Susan Diamond. Their executive committee read like a who's who list of community leaders of the day: Fred Thomas, Jerry Coomes, Carol Girardin, Dick Botthof, Donna Fiala, Stanley Hole, Dudley Goodlette, Michael Stephen.
FOCUS was officially kicked off on Oct. 8, 1995, and had three phases.
The first was "idea gathering." Eleven neighborhood meetings were held in the county, yielding 2,000 ideas for the future.
Then, the ideas were categorized and the FOCUS leadership boiled them down to 17 areas, ranging from education to health care to the environment.
Next, goals were established followed by strategies.
The result, in March of 1996, was a report that was to be used as a blueprint for moving forward.
Was it a success? Did it bear fruit?
Those are questions our newsroom will be asking as we move forward with the Lighthouse Project. On April 29 we will publish a special section that reviews the various visioning exercises and white-paper studies over the years. It will be a look at what action resulted and what was accomplished — or not accomplished.
All studies and efforts have a story to tell.
As a reminder, we will publish two other special sections in April.
The first will be a special history section on April 1.
On April 22, we plan a section on "who we are," a demographic look at Southwest Florida and what makes us tick.
One of the goals of this project is to better focus our reporting in the future, to monitor what is most important to our residents and to give a voice to all.
Thanks for last week's feedback.
Lewis is editor of the Daily News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.