2010 will be remembered for its cold weather, fine fishing tournaments and continued warm generosity among Boca Grande residents at a variety of fund-raisers.
And there was a little bit of discussion about replacing the bridges on the island.
With input from readers and Editor Terry O'Connor, the following list of stories was chosen for its importance to Gasparilla Island residents and expressed interest by Gasparilla Gazette readers:
Former Boca Grande Chief Dave Edmonds and his crew were cleared in sex discrimination lawsuit.
No. 1: Black Tide threatens Southwest Florida
The uncertainty surrounding the massive BP oil rig disaster, which spilled an estimated 100 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico, was handled calmly by Southwest Florida officials.
Boca Grande Fire Department Chief C.W. Blosser organized instructional classes so people would know how to clean up beaches and ordered protective boom should the need arise in either case.
Top Year in Review headlines
January - Jan. 28: "Intensified bridge cracking reduces demolition window," Jan. 21: "Inn's Master Chef bash a smash," Jan. 14: "Icy Florida sets many record lows," Jan. 7: "Island School safety net drive begins."
February - Feb. 25: "January island traffic hits 7-year lull," Feb. 18: "St. Andrew's reopens for church business," Feb. 11: "More people attend Boca community center events than ever," Feb. 4: "Taste of Boca undaunted by chilly weather."
March - March 25: "Winter chill cracks manatee kill record," March 18: "Harm de Blij is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser," March 11: "Gasparilla rated No. 10 as an investment," March 4: "Strawberry Fest unfazed by cold weather."
April - April 29: "Relay for Life smashes record take," April 22: "Coral Creek Bridge replacement to open in May," April 15: "Hank Wright tourney hits record drive," April 8: "Boca helps tarpon research leap forward," April 1: "St. Andrew's rectory named after Edie and Steve Gardner."
May - May 27: "Active hurricane season on horizon," May 20: "SW Florida combats Black Tide stigma," May 13: "Island traffic snaps 16-month skid." May 5: "Goliath grouper rebound evident."
June - June 24: "Chief Blosser promises fast oil protection," June 17: "Record-setting grad class at Island School passes muster," June 10: "Boca Grande residents prepare for spill fallout," June 3: "Capt. Mills conquers field in two-day tarpon tourney.
July - July 29: "Boca millage rates likely to rise," July 22: "Island crime remains virtually non-existent," July 15: "Supreme Court backs beach renourishment," July 8: "Gasparilla Gazette ranked No. 2 in Florida by judges," July 1: "Miss Florida, Willard Scott visit Boca Grande."
August - Aug. 26: "Major, Hayes clinch GIBA seats in primary," Aug. 19: "Mirani calls mistrial theater of absurd," Aug. 12: "Gasparilla Inn refurbished," Aug. 5: "Gopher tortoise case ready for trial."
September - Sept. 30: "Woman's Club concocts 'hearts of palm,' " Sept. 23: "Bridge financing plan questioned," Sept. 16: "Expert: Boca realty has hit bottom," Sept. 9: "Coast is Clear concert runs into big problems," Sept. 2: "Coast is Clear concert to highlight Fall Fest."
October - Oct. 28:"BGFD cleared in sex discrimination suit," Oct. 21: "Closed Boca Fishing Pier reopened after second look," Oct. 14: "Condemned kids fishing pier cancels kids tourney," Oct. 7: "Gasparilla Island Run shines."
November - Nov. 25: "Boca Bargains will reopen after Black Friday frenzy," Nov. 18: "New GIBA Board focuses on big picture," Nov. 11: "GIBA toll hike does not create any traffic backlash," Nov. 4: "Watkins, Ryan take different routes to GIBA Board wins."
December - Dec. 30: "State drops all gopher tortoise abuse charges," Dec. 23: "Super tourney for kids launched in Boca," Dec. 16: "Dual lighting ceremonies dovetail perfectly on Boca," Dec. 9: "Island moving to No. 6 traffic year all-time," and Dec. 2: "GIBA balances rising costs with fortifying new bridges."
Not one drop of oil ever despoiled any Southwest Florida beachfront property yet tourism officials say the damage to the state's image caused millions in damages form lost business and will require millions in pr to repair
All 825 miles of Florida beaches and 1,260 miles of fishing grounds remain open. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fishing closures largely affected commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Florida's Pensacola Bay.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued an official reminder that all species are safe to eat, including grouper, snapper, golden tilefish, mullet, blue crab, oysters, clams, flounder, sea trout and shrimp.
State agencies, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Health continue to test water samples and shellfish.
2011 impact: There is still great disagreement among scientists as to the extent of the damage, particularly to the sea floor. Continued research will be monitored closely by those interested in Florida fishing and the ecology.
No. 2: GIBA bridges tumbling down - or could
Engineers issued the alarming finding at the start of the year that deterioration on the three Gasparilla Island bridges was accelerating and Jim Cooper, GIBA executive director, lowered the speed limit and added speed bumps in response.
Replacing the bridges has been in the planning stages for years now but the idea of paying $40 million is only really becoming a reality now that design contracts are being issued.
2011 impact: This is a critical year for determining designs and costs. This is likely to be the No. 1 story in the 2011 Year in Review.
No. 3: Boca homeowner accused of killing gopher tortoises
Hessam Oddin Mirani came to Boca Grande to carve out a little slice of paradise. But after being accused by the Florida Wildlife Commission of killing gopher tortoises to make way for his $2.5 million house, Mirani found he had to deal with a nightmare first. If the charges stuck, he could have been sent to jail for 60 years.
After the first trial ended in a mistrial Aug. 12, the state's case apparently began to fall apart with prosecutors delaying the trial three times before dropping the charges altogether Dec. 16.
2011 impact: Mirani is pushing for three state officials to be fired for their part in this case, which he said has caused him $500,000 to defend and ruined the engineering business he had launched right before the charges became public. The FWC has a lot of explaining to do.
No. 4: GIBA elections install 4 newcomers
Facing the most critical decision in GIBA's 12-year history, GIBA Board Chairman Jerry Lusk and GIBA Executive Director Jim Cooper welcomed four newcomers to its five-seat board. The unprecedented turnover caused a great scramble among islanders interested in helping guide the momentous $40-million decision to replace the three Boca bridges. Virginia "Ginger" Watkins, David Hayes, Lee Major and Dick Ryan emerged victorious.
2011 impact: The newcomers will begin to exert critical influence over key decisions but have already played a part in assuring the islanders during the campaign that this project must be done - and now.
No. 5: 'hearts of palm' released by Woman's Club
The Boca Grande Woman's Club outdid itself with its sensational new book, "hearts of Palm: Boca Grande cooks." The 288-page book delivers a unique blend of distinctive island menus, colorful anecdotes and photographs and 15 sharp historical vignettes contributed by island resident Alice Gorman along with 277 recipes written by club members and 14 more from island chefs.
The Art Alliance of Boca Grande contributed to the cookbook with artwork - all of which had to contain a palm tree in some shape or form. "Every section is spectacular," said Jan Goetcheus. "It's not just a cookbook. It's a collectable."
2011 impact: The 5,000 copies of the first run will likely be exhausted and require a second printing. It's a good idea to get an original run while supplies last.
No. 6: Island traffic continues to diminish
The island traffic stream is still on target to pour in roughly 844,000 vehicles this year looking for fun on island beaches, food in its fine restaurants or unique shopping and fishing destinations. This is nearly 60,000 fewer vehicles than in the all-time record travel year of 2007 but it is good enough for distinction as the No. 6 all-time travel year for Gasparilla Island.
A tourism slowdown would affect GIBA plans to to pay for the estimated $40 million in necessary bridge replacement costs. Fewer vehicles have arrived 20 of the past 22 months, which means fewer tourist dollars flowing to local businesses.
2011 impact: It's easy to believe the end of the Great Recession will mean more traffic to the island. But the recovery has been sluggish in Florida and may not truly arrive until 2012.
No. 7: Cold weather bogs down tourist trade
It's been a year of extremes for Boca Grande temperatures with a 50-year cold snap in January and the hard freeze this week bookending the hottest summer on record. The cold weather has killed off turtles and manatees in record numbers while state farmers have been hard hit, too. Citrus growers estimate losses in the millions from frozen crops.
Over the first two weeks of the year, temperatures averaged roughly 20 degrees below the average highs and lows.
2011 impact: Crop damage and steep fatality losses to fisheries and tourist attractions such as manatees are the worst impact but tourists are turned off by a chilly Florida. They want their Sunshine State visit to live up to the name or they won't come.
No. 8: BGFD cleared in sex discrimination lawsuit
The Boca Grande Fire Department has been cleared of all wrongdoing in a 3-year-old lawsuit involving charges of sexual discrimination and harassment. The case never made it to trial.
Paulette Rork, a former Boca Grande female firefighter, resigned on her own and was not wrongfully discharged, Judge Sherra Winesett ruled in a summary judgment made Sept. 24 in the 20th Judicial Circuit Court in Lee County.
Rork, a former island firefighter and paramedic, worked in Boca Grande for seven years until she lost her job in 2007. The then-39-year-old Englewood woman sued the Boca Grande Fire Department and then-Chief Dave Edmonds in December 2008 for wrongful termination and leveled charges of sexual misconduct.
2011 impact: Chief C.W. Blosser has tightened office procedures and training.