The New Year is off to a roaring start with a busy January here in our Island City.

Special primary elections for Florida House District 94 are underway. This district takes in a large part of Wilton Manors and early voting is going on now through Jan. 9, with the day of the special election on Jan. 11. Registered voters can vote at any early voting site, one is located right here in the Island City at the Women’s Club Building, 600 NE 21st Court, next to the volleyball courts at Hagen Park. Comes the day of the election, one will need to vote at their designated voting location. Elijah Manley has received the endorsement from the Sun Sentinel, but don’t rule out the other two leading candidates Daryl Campbell and Josephus Eggelletion, both with very strong credentials and support. Seek out information on all the candidates, make an informed decision — and make sure to vote!

Following on the heels of this Special Election will be the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Monday, Jan. 17 is also a National Day of Service. The MLK Day of Service is a way to honor Dr. King’s life and teachings by engaging in community activities. Volunteering to work together to improve our neighborhoods helps build stronger communities. Here in the Island City, our neighborhood associations have joined this effort and will conduct neighborhood clean-up events in each area of our city. On the Eastside, Three Bridges Neighborhood Association will be conducting a park clean-up at Colohatchee Park and Boat Ramp. In Central, the Central Area Neighborhood Association (CANA) will be conducting a clean-up of Rachel Richardson Park as well as along the east side of Andrews Avenue. On the Westside, the Westside Association of Wilton Manors (WAWM) will be conducting park clean-ups at Snook Creek Boat Ramp, Donn Eisele Park and the front of Mickel Park along Powerline Road. Reach out to your area association if you would like to volunteer on this special day.

Right after the holiday weekend, on Jan. 18, the “Wilton Next” kick-off meeting takes place at the Hagen Park Community Center beginning at 7 p.m. This special meeting is hosted by our city’s Economic Development Division and will look to develop a marketing and branding strategy, and engage the community in order to enhance economic development along major commercial corridors. Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and have their voices heard on the future growth of our city. 

All work and no play leave us a bit dull, so take time on Friday night, Jan. 14, to enjoy “Movies on the Drive” outdoors at Hagen Park. Then on Friday, Jan. 21, head over to Mickel Park for the free concert event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of music lounging in the field under the night sky. Check out Leisure Services website at for additional information.

A word of caution while out and about the next few weeks, COVID is back with a vengeance. Many have become infected and area hospitals are near capacity once again. The long lines around COVID testing sites tell a tale of many fellow residents feeling they may have been exposed, fearful for family members and loved ones, concerned for their own health, or in need of a negative test result to be able to travel or return back to work. Frustration and uncertainty are part of our daily routine once again. Get vaccinated, wear your mask and keep your distance from those around you, especially indoors.

Who knows where this New Year will take us during the next 12 months. Let us hope we move beyond the current challenges of this global pandemic to become better people. Take time this month to let the teachings and the love of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr reach within and guide us to making a better world, a better county, a better community, and a better place called Wilton Manors.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

Coming together, understanding one another, communicating with one another and helping one another is what Dr. Kings’ legacy asks of us. By doing so, together as one community, we will make life just better here…

Sal Torre has been a columnist for the Wilton Manors Gazette since its inception. Sal has served on the Wilton Drive Task Force, Budget Review Advisory Board, and Charter Review Board, among others. Sal is currently President of the Westside Association of Wilton Manors and Secretary for the Friend of the Wilton Manors Library. He is employed with Broward County in the Human Services Division.


Opinion | The Bridges of Our Lives