Now, looking back, Dusty realizes what a long, strange trip it’s been.
Having been the owner and publisher of a newspaper in a place like Boca Grande, after all, has to be a unique experience. View More images >>
His rationale on the last 25 years?
“I still can’t get ahead of the Bocanut Telegraph,” he laughed, referring to the fact that once something happens in Boca Grande ... everybody knows, right away.
Creighton Sherman, the first director of the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, was actually the catalyst in making the deal happen.
“At that time I was married to Terri (Gannett) and she published the Fort Myers News Press,” Dusty said. “Through that connection we met Creighton, who was down in Fort Myers representing the island at a meeting of local community leaders. He told us about Marnie and her little newspaper in Boca Grande. He set up a meeting between us and Marnie, we came up here and we worked out a deal.”
Back then it was an every-other-week publication, but Dusty’s primary goal was to make it a weekly newspaper ... and that’s what he did.
So just how has news reporting in Boca Grande changed? Dusty said some things remain the same, such as the news itself.
“People have always said they could tell the tone and feeling of the island by reading our police reports,” he said. “Back then it was mostly about kids stealing oranges.
“Now, of course, it’s about adults stealing mangos.”
Our art director, Daniel Godwin, came with the original package purchase, as he worked with Marnie since the very beginning. Kathi Strapp, who is still with the Beacon today, was his first hire.
Now, 25 years later, Dusty also owns the Gasparilla Gazette and Gasparilla Magazine, which just hit the stands last week.
If you would like to be part of the long-standing island tradition that is the Boca Beacon, contact us at 964-2995 and we will commemorate your call by asking for a credit card number or check and getting you a subscription to any of our fine publications.
E-mail (required, but will not display)
Notify me of follow-up comments
Click for a larger view