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Letter to the Editor

Another record collection for Stillpoint Appeal

Observer article didn't cover adverse effects of growth: Get involved and vote.

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. April 25, 2024
  • East County
  • Opinion
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It was 14 years ago when was I introduced to the Stillpoint Mission, a small, all-volunteer food pantry in Bradenton. Twice a week they would distribute two or three food stuffs — a pound of rice and a pound of beans  — to the poor, homeless, and migrant families.

Upon seeing this rather bare-bones building and operation, I inquired what they did for fundraising. It turned out that it was ’’Not much.’’

My response was to send a simple email to some of my golfing buddies.

I was cautioned not to do this as it was shameless begging, and I was told people would be turned off.

But I received $1,500 from 9 golfers.

Now 13 years later, you can see the stunning, staggering, stupefying result. We are at $383,000 over the years, including this year's record total of $77,424.

That advice from 14 years ago grossly underestimated the compassion and charity in our community.

On behalf of myself, the Stillpoint Mission, and the 400 clients who stand on the sidewalk for an hour each week to receive what admittedly is only a small portion of their weekly food requirements, please accept our thanks.

And thanks to the 50 volunteers who run Stillpoint, Thanks to my friends who selflessly forward my little emails, and thanks to the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club and its members who have so generously supported this appeal.

Thanks to the Flanzer Trust which generously doubles any donation to Stillpoint

One last shameless beg:

As the 13th Annual Stillpoint Appeal has concluded, the 14th annual fundraiser begins.

Anyone who would like to support Stillpoint, can go online at and make a donation. Please add.’’14th Annual Stillpoint Appeal to your gift.

I offer my immeasurable gratitude,

— Bob Smith, Waterside

I read with great interest Lesley Dwyer's article "Affordable housing proposed for Lakewood Ranch area" (April 18 East County Observer). We're relatively new residents of Lakewood Ranch, previously residing in New York.

One of the compelling reasons we left New York was the continuing overdevelopment and over-retailing that dramatically impacted the environment and our quality of life. Unfortunately we've noticed this alarming trend occurring in Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch.

We're deeply saddened that our elected officials and the Planning Commission haven't adequately researched or considered how this impacts the environment, the quality of life, or even the sentiments of the existing residents. There's a lot to learn from the mistakes that's already occurred, and continues to occur, in other states.

Furthermore, your article notes "benefits" of this proposed new housing development. Perhaps there will be some select benefits such as an increase in the tax rolls, and that local merchants/retailers will experience some increases in revenues, and that the contractors will maintain their workforces for a period of time, but it is abundantly apparent that the developers stand to benefit the most.

What was clearly absent from your article was the potential negatives and any other pressing issues. The costs and expenses associated with the need for more services, the traffic congestion, additional pollution, the impact on existing real estate values, the stresses on public resources (when was the last time you tried to visit Anna Maria Island beaches on a weekend?) and if there is truly any actual benefit of adding future buyers/renters.

 Based on some of the data you presented, it seems unlikely that the term "affordable" is really accurate in this situation.

I would have expected a more balanced presentation and perhaps one that address how the community can let commissioners feel about their decisions and how they are affecting the lives of their constituents.

— Kevin Ritter, Lakewood Ranch

Election season is here as evidenced by the political advertisements hitting many of our mailboxes. Many of us have strong opinions on the presidential race but I want to urge my fellow voters to pay close attention to our local races including ones for the school board and for seats on the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners.  

You can level up quickly by visiting the School District of Manatee County and Manatee County websites. I also strongly recommend searching "Manatee County Board" and "Manatee County School Board" on the website. These searches yield a useful collection of articles on happenings related to the county commission and school boards.

The people we elect locally influence our taxes, schools, infrastructure, water, environment, parks, and libraries. We are a rapidly growing area and will continue to be for some time. We need to elect wise people to ensure that growth is done in a smart way without destroying what attracted many of us here in the first place. It is no easy task. Choose wisely. 

To the candidates — Thank you for putting your hat in the ring. Campaigns can be tough and thankless. Many people are turned off by the process for understandable reason. I urge you to stick to relevant local issues, share your vision, and be respectful of your opponents and of the public. At the end of the day, we are all neighbors. 

— Eric Di Silvestro, Lakewood Ranch


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