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Heidi Rambo Centrella

Our perception of time is oddly fascinating. We know exactly how long each second is, each minute, each day—but we can still be caught by surprise at the sudden awareness of how much or how little time has passed without us realizing it.

Locals mired in cleanup and crucial renovations might find themselves feeling that Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida a few weeks ago, or perhaps 90 days, rather than seven months. For others who are waiting for bureaucratic entanglements to be resolved, or availability of contractors and supplies to accomplish their renovations, it might feel closer to a year or two. And with 2023’s season behind us and the area quieting back down following the departure of our annual visitors from cooler climates, it’s probably an unpleasant shock to many to realize that hurricane season is starting again. I know I’m having trouble believing it.

Speaking of which, I hope you’ll be on the lookout for the 2023 WINK News Hurricane Guide, filled with meteorological experts’ advice on what to expect and how to prepare for whatever nature throws at us in the coming months. It will be on newsstands June 1.

Local governments in Lee and Collier counties must be feeling as though no time at all had passed since their last expenditures for beach replenishment—keeping the region’s most visible tourist attractions in primo shape is an ongoing process at the best of times, but a storm of Ian’s magnitude requires a correspondingly massive special effort to restore the beaches and protect coastal property and wildlife. For example, an estimated 6,000 dump truck loads of sand will be rumbling onto Fort Myers Beach over the next few months, at a cost of about $7.5 million. And the process is much more complicated than scooping a truckload of stuff off the ground at Point A and dropping it at Point B; David Dorsey digs into the details, including logistical requirements and who’s picking up the price tag, in “A Story of Sand” on pg. 38.

Meanwhile, as tourist seasons come and go and residents tackle day-to-day challenges, time keeps passing. It might not seem that long, but before you know it, Collier County will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this month, and Naples its civic centennial in December. We’ve come a long way from the initial cluster of buildings only accessible by sea—the Tamiami Trail wasn’t completed until 1928—but as Tim Aten chronicles in “First Resort” on pg. 46, a great deal about those earliest days wasn’t all that different from our modern city. Locals had to deal with the occasional storm—this isn’t the first time Naples Pier has been rebuilt—but the area still drew people who wanted, for a month or a lifetime, to enjoy a taste of paradise.

Finally, since this is the May issue (even though it feels like the year just started) we’re thrilled to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of our 2023 Women in Business; 10 remarkable businesswomen who are making their mark in Southwest Florida. This is a genuinely inspirational group, and it’s a pleasure to share their stories with you. Happy summer!

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