July/August 2001 Issue

 Growing Pains and Gains

Five years after our premier issue, we stand at one of life’s mileposts. Times of the Islands was born when the national and local economies were beginning to crest and we have benefited from that momentum. More than that, we have benefited from the faithful support of dozens of artists and writers who contribute to our pages, from hundreds of loyal advertisers, and thousands of enthusiastic readers. They continue to tell us that Times of the Islands fills a unique niche in their lives.
    Over these five years, we have witnessed unparalleled growth in Southwest Florida and, temporary economic contractions notwithstanding, we know that Sanibel, Captiva, and the rest of the Lee Island Coast will continue to offer quality experiences.
    For those who live here, Times of the Islands offers a regular repast of new discoveries and forgotten aspects of these delightful islands they call home. A perfect illustration is found in Libby McMillan’s “When We Were Very Young” on page 40, in which some longtime islanders reminisce about island life before the causeway. For visitors who subscribe or who pick up our magazine at newsstands, we are bimonthly bearers of both memories of visits past and anticipation of visits to come.
    For our part, we will continue to pursue editorial excellence, focusing on the interests of our readers and forgoing the temptation to become “advertorial.” We know that a valued and entertaining magazine ultimately is more advantageous to both readers and advertisers. When we provide our readers with a high-quality editorial forum, we provide our advertisers with a vehicle that is eagerly anticipated and welcomed by their customers. We thank our advertisers for their support and salute them for their wisdom in recognizing the value of editorial integrity.
    Someone once said, “Challenges are only opportunities in their working clothes.” One of the opportunities that we face is the integration of our printed publication with the burgeoning world of electronic publishing and the Internet. We already have a sizable Web site that augments our printed pages and we continue to expand our Web presence, providing archives for past articles and photographs, linking to sites for useful and important information about Lee County, and offering a fascinating new scanning technology. Soon, readers will be able to access our advertisers’ Web sites directly from their ads in Times of the Islands. Stay tuned for more in the upcoming months.
    Finally, as we have seen the Lee Island Coast grow into a full-fledged resort area, we expect the controversies and conflicts inherent in growth to continue. James Phillips examines one facet of it, Florida mangroves, in elucidating form on page 46. After all, those who live here and those who own property here rightfully want to protect the environment that attracted them. We hope open minds will prevail.
    Likewise, area businesses serve residents as well as visitors and share the premise that sensible management of the area’s resources—both natural and commercial—is important. They provide convenience and quality and they contribute to our economic health through taxes and employment. In this perfect world that we call the Lee Island Coast, we know that Times of the Islands’ readers, supported by our advertisers, will be knowledgeable participants in the process of growing with balance and understanding.

Friedrich N. Jaeger, Publisher