During her career, Longboat Observer Senior Editor Dora Walters has covered countless long meetings, the longest of which ended at 3:30 a.m., after eight hours of debate.
Walters, who spoke at Christ Church of Longboat Key, Presbyterian’s potluck April 22, challenged church members to guess the group that held the eight-hour meeting.
“The Longboat Key Town Commission,” one member guessed.
“No,” Walters replied. It was in the 1970s, and the Sarasota County School Board was discussing how long boys’ sideburns should be allowed to grow.
Audience members laughed and, occasionally, gasped as Walters shared some of the more memorable events that she has covered.
Walters moved to Sarasota approximately 40 years ago. She freelanced for the St. Petersburg Times and the now defunct Sarasota News before Channel 13 news assigned her to cover anything south of the Skyway Bridge. She was the station’s first female TV photographer and reporter in the area.
Walters was often on the scene of breaking late-night stories and had to drive through rural areas and crime scenes, accompanied only by her protective German shepherd, Bella.
Walters began working for The Longboat Observer in 1986. At that time, she said, the Observer processed film in its only bathroom.
Walters detailed the changes she has witnessed during her time on Longboat Key, including the development of much of the island, the creation of Joan M. Durante Park and the formation of a new church — “your own,” she told the group.
She said if she were to write a book about her life, she would call it “The Ringside Seat on the World, My Specific World.”
When Walters finished her presentation, Christ Church members applauded. They thanked her with a purple ribbon bearing the picture of another famous Dora: Dora the Explorer.
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