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Editor’s Corner

Englewood Edge Editor Mark Chapman’s musings.

Rise in notices causes concern

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – A while ago we noticed a spate of press releases from the Sara­sota County Sheriff’s Office noti­fy­ing the pub­lic of sex offend­ers tak­ing up res­i­dence in the county. This seemed odd – had Sara­sota County become some sort of mecca for these people?

Accord­ing to SCSO spokes­woman Wendy Rose, it’s all about information.

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

Remembering Nov. 22, 1963

ENGLEWOOD — Nov. 22, 1963. I was sit­ting at my desk in Mrs. Martell’s fifth-grade class­room at Hyan­nis West Ele­men­tary School on Cape Cod. It was a new school, opened in Sep­tem­ber for the kids from the west end of Hyan­nis, West Hyan­nis Port and Hyan­nis Port.

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

Editorial: A shout out to San Diego’s whistle blowers

ENGLEWOOD – The dis­grace­ful X-rated drama that has dom­i­nated the news in San Diego, bring­ing the glare of national spot­lights and the accom­pa­ny­ing shame to the city, is com­ing to a close. The long­time polit­i­cal favorite who was finally outed recently as a ser­ial harasser and accused groper, has agreed to resign as mayor.

Bob Fil­ner was sup­posed to be a par­ti­san sav­ior of sorts, the crown­ing achieve­ment of San Diego’s pro­gres­sives who worked so hard to break the Repub­li­can stran­gle­hold on the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia city.

We all know how that turned out.

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

So long to a real pro

ENGLEWOODOK, so why is it so darned impor­tant to do a lead story on the tran­si­tion of pub­lic infor­ma­tion offi­cers at the Char­lotte County Sheriff’s Office?

Well, I guess maybe because Bob “Carp” Car­pen­ter has been a gift to Engle­wood and, espe­cially, Engle­wood Edge and its readers.

Carp is among the best I’ve found at his gig, and that cov­ers many stops on the East Coast. In fact, he and Wendy Rose, his coun­ter­part in Sara­sota, helped this web­site grow start­ing in 2009 when there were not a whole lot of hyper­local news sites around. While it would have been easy to ignore the strug­gling lit­tle new kid on the block, both went out of their way to help the folks who were smack in between the two dis­tant headquarters.

The big dif­fer­ence is this: While the Sara­sota Sheriff’s Office sends out few press releases that involve Engle­wood crime, Char­lotte is quite lib­eral with its dis­patches. A good part of this was to do with the dif­fer­ence in crim­i­nal activ­ity between the coun­ties. It also under­scores, likely to the con­ster­na­tion of the Cham­ber of Com­merce, the CCSO’s desire to let every­one know it is crack­ing down on drugs.

I can count on Carp for mul­ti­ple press releases in my inbox each day, mostly detail­ing the lat­est drug bust. The major­ity, to be sure, as in other parts of the county, but the Engle­wood area sur­faces fre­quently. I can also count on pho­tos from acci­dent sites on occa­sion, and announce­ments of traf­fic dis­rup­tions caused by wrecks.

Carp has his soft side, too, and lets us know about the good stuff hap­pen­ing in the depart­ment, things like Shop with a Cop, a hugely pop­u­lar pro­gram about which the CCSO is par­tic­u­larly proud.

In the past year, Nancy and I have dealt with four other police depart­ments on a reg­u­lar basis, all in Fair­field County, Conn., and Westch­ester County, N.Y., both in the north­ern sub­urbs of New York City. None can hold a can­dle to Carp when it comes to deal­ing with the media. It’s not even close. Carp and Rose could both teach the North­east­ern­ers a lot when it comes to keep­ing the pub­lic informed about what their tax money is pay­ing for.

And that is why I felt it appro­pri­ate to fea­ture Carp’s com­ing depar­ture even though he does not live or work in Engle­wood. His pres­ence is felt here daily

I am sure Deb­bie Bowe, who has filled in admirably on many occa­sions, will con­tinue to do the great work Carp as made a CCSO trade­mark. So we say farewell to Carp on March 31, and a big wel­come to Deb­bie Bowe.


Another August, another storm

Mother Nature does seem to crank it up in August for this area. From August through Octo­ber, Engle­wood res­i­dent will join the rest of Florida in the annual storm watch ritual.

Trop­i­cal Storm Isaac will have an impact here. The ques­tion is how much of an impact. Local­ized flood­ing, power out­ages, tree limbs down — it’s all probable.

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

Help catch the crooks

Between 12:01 a.m. Fri­day, March 2, and noon Sun­day, March 4, there were 18 bur­glar­ies reported in the Char­lotte County por­tion of the greater Engle­wood area, encom­pass­ing Engle­wood, Rotonda, Grove City, Placida and the Gulf Cove area. Five of those were in the 6900 block of Mamouth Street and three were a block away on Bargello street between the 6900 and 7200 blocks. A block west of Mamouth, two homes were bur­glar­ized o Spin­naker Boule­vard and two more another block over on Beard­s­ley Street. Homes on New Mar­tinsville Avenue and Adderly Road, both off Bargello, were also hit.

Did any­one see or hear any­thing out of the ordi­nary while 15 homes in the same neigh­bor­hood were being ripped off? Does any­body care?

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

New kid in town?

Remem­ber the Engle­wood Herald-Tribune? That local edi­tion of the New York Times-owned Sara­sota Herald-Tribune and shut down its bureau here in the mid 2000s, when shut­tered the Port Char­lotte a few years later?

Well, the Times has decided to divorce itself from the H-T and its other NYT Regional Media Group hold­ings alto­gether, with a sale to Hal­i­fax Media Hold­ings near­ing completion.

Con­tinue read­ing this story…

Never forget

Some months after Dec. 7, 1941, a  26-year-old mar­ried car­pen­ter, a father of three small chil­dren, went to work with two other men of a sim­i­lar age. They were sent to a woman’s house to do some remod­el­ing work. When they arrived, the woman got angry.

Why aren’t you men fight­ing for your coun­try?” she demanded. The 26-year-old father of three explained he had young chil­dren at home, was their sole sup­port. He was older than the men the gov­ern­ment was sign­ing up to go off to war at that time.

She would have none of it. The woman, incensed that these able-bodied men were not serv­ing their coun­try, called the con­trac­tor and told him to get these men out of her house and send some­one else.

That day, the 26-year-old mar­ried father of three small chil­dren drove to the Navy recruiter and signed up to fight in World War II.

Then he went home to tell his wife, who was not happy.

He explained to her — and, decades later, to the son that was not yet born when he enlisted — that he was so mor­ti­fied that he couldn’t face any­one else. Not even him­self. He was older. He had chil­dren. He was col­or­blind, some­thing that nearly dis­qual­i­fied him. But he begged, he pleaded, he lied. And he wound upon a troop ship headed for a string of islands in the South Pacific, islands with names like Tin­ian, Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima.

Over the course of the next three years, Carl Chap­man was a Seabee attached to a Marine unit. They landed with the Marines, fought their way ashore and then built air strips and base camps while the Marines pushed inland.

There were injuries, too: a creased foot from a bul­let, a machete slash across the arm that might have been deadly had the enemy sol­dier not been shot as he deliv­ered the blow. And there was the shrap­nel in the head that got him sent back state­side to recu­per­ate. He was train­ing oth­ers for com­bat in Rhode Island and await­ing orders to head back to the war when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

It was eight more years before I was born. It took decades before my father was able to tell me the details of his ser­vice, and he left a lot out. I heard from my mother about the night­mares, the strug­gle to return to some sem­blance of nor­malcy after return­ing home.

I was always proud of my father’s ser­vice. He was, to me, a hero, even though he never told any sto­ries of hero­ics. He didn’t have to.

My father died April 12, 1995. His ashes lie in the National Ceme­tery in Bourne, Mass. I think of him every day, but espe­cially each year on Dec. 7, the day that will live in infamy, the day that changed my father’s life, and the lives of so many oth­ers, forever.