The Big I Guide For 2022

By Butch Swank

Listen, I want to lead off with something everyone feels. Regardless of its cause, we are living in a very fractured society. Guess what? We live in the greatest country in the history of the Earth and are by no means powerless to fix that. I feel the best way back begins with tiny gestures of civility. Let someone into traffic and give them a big smile and wave. Compliment someone – don’t self-censor yourself and think, “Should I say that?”. Go ahead and pay them that compliment and make their day much brighter. If you see a piece of trash, don’t say, “What a piece of trash did that.” Instead, please pick it up and show pride in your neighborhood. Not only will you make things look better, but you’ll be and excellent example for others to see, and I bet others will repeat your good behavior. The bottom line is that we’ve all been on edge and pretty darn judgy lately. My Mom used to make my sisters write “Blood is thicker than water” on single-spaced pages of notebook paper when they fought. (Of course, I never did that because I never got in trouble…just kidding, I still have calluses on my fingers from all the writing!) My Mom’s lesson is important, though. We’re all on the same team. We’re neighbors. We’re citizens and have so much more in common than the news wants us to believe. It’s time we take back control and turn things around. It’s time for us to go back to having pride in how we take care of ourselves and also each other. OK, that’s the end of my sermon! On to business…

2022 has all the makings of a great year, especially for Lehigh Acres. We’re experiencing amazing growth in our neighborhoods and have seen many new businesses open. The Lee County Economic Development office clearly shows that trend will only accelerate going forward. An an example, we’re going to have our first Starbucks soon! I get asked a lot, so here you go- it will be next to Walmart. Our schools have been languishing for decades, and our School Board Member, Gwyn Gittens, has done a remarkable job advocating for our kids, and there is now a whole slew of new schools scheduled for construction. Finally, our businesses have a new resource, the Southwest Florida Business Alliance, and we’ve had a great success reconnecting with each other. The organization is growing quickly because it truly helps businesses – it’s a simple idea, but those are often the best, to close up, I wish everyone a truly prosperous and Happy New Year. We all have a very bright future ahead!

For comments, please reach out to Butch Swank at:

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