As anyone who lives near—or often frequents—the beach knows, it’s easy to claim your spot on the sands, mark it as your favorite, and like a ritual, visit often to soak up the sights, sounds and smells. Each trip to the shore, I marvel at how our beaches are so clean and cared-for; they never give me pause about going into the water. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the island beaches on Sanibel and Captiva or the more populated shores along Fort Myers Beach or even the sands flanking the Naples Pier, they are all well-kept and welcoming.
Besides the Gulf, there’s the Caloosahatchee River and various other waterways that define Southwest Florida, and those bodies of water are also precious to the region. But in the world we live in, clean water is not guaranteed. Red tide outbreaks and pollution threaten our waterways, and man often interferes with nature under the disguise of progress. We are fortunate to have elected city and county commissioners who have worked hard to keep our waters clean—and with the support of the governor’s office have been successful. I want to thank them all for their efforts.
We see more and more people moving to Southwest Florida, drawn here by our waters and stunning coastline—and the temptation of the beachcomber lifestyle. As the population grows, so does the area’s need for health care, which is why we are vigorously addressing the subject in this issue with a special section on Health and Wellness (pages 38-48).
Topics such as concierge medicine, new cardiac procedures, CrossFit workouts and healthy foods complement our Bonita
& Estero feature, “Forward Thinking.” In this story, writer Jeff Lytle delves into new health care projects on the drawing board for Southwest Florida. Topping the list is Lee Health-Coconut Point in Estero, which will be more than just a hospital. Think of it as a cutting-edge, stateof-the-art health and wellness destination. On pages 28-31, you can read about all the facilities the campus will offer the community, including a Healthy Life Center.
With the growing use of technology that sometimes isolates us and raises concerns about mental health, the center will be a place where residents can socially connect through cooking and yoga classes, a lecture series, and walking and bicycle trails.
As a community, we need to find ways to listen and interact more with family members and friends so real conversation doesn’t get lost. Real life goes beyond that smartphone in our hands, the number of “likes” on our Facebook page, and the last photo we uploaded with a text message. As for me, I often prefer a warm comforting embrace, a big hug from a little child, and face-to-face smiles and laughter over the “ding” on my smartphone signaling the arrival of a text message. The opportunity to have some real human interaction, preferably over dinner with all cellphones silenced, is more stimulating and something we all should try doing more often.
Let me know if you agree. I welcome your thoughts on our evolving community, our growing health care scene, and anything else you want to sound off on. Email me. I’d love to hear from you!
As a community, we need to find ways to listen and interact more with family members and friends so real conversation doesn’t get lost.