Sal Torre: Greetings From New Jersey

Sitting down to write my article this week, I am visiting my family in New Jersey. Spending the weekend outside of South Florida is a definite wake–up call to the reality that autumn is here, and the end of the year is fast approaching. Cooler nights dropping down into the 50’s, stores filled with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, pumpkin patches, and hay rides certainly crack through any denial that 2018 is now quickly coming to a close.  

This time of year is jam-packed with activities. Upcoming municipal elections, Halloween celebrations along Wilton Drive, and the annual Taste of the Island will dominate local activities.  Thursday, October 4, offers residents a chance to meet and hear from candidates running for local municipal office here in our Island City. The three Wilton Manors neighborhood associations sponsor this very informative event for residents.  

This year’s moderators will be SFGN’s own Salli James, reporter for the Wilton Manors Gazette,  and Michael D’Olivera, Editor of the Pelican newspaper. Everyone is encouraged to attend the forum at Hagen Park Community Center starting at 6:30 p.m. for a Meet & Greet with the Q&A beginning at 7 p.m. As always, parking will be free during this important event. 

Election Day is quickly approaching. Mail-in ballots will be hitting the post office next week, and October 9 is the last day you can register to vote in the General Election. Early voting will begin on October 22 right here at Wilton Manors City Hall. Register to vote, participate in elections and make a difference on who we elect to represent us locally, regionally and nationally.  

Those attending the Final Budget Hearing last week got a big surprise when resident Paul Kuta announced that Finance Director Bob Mays will be retiring in March. This best kept secret was a huge surprise to members of the Budget Review Advisory Board, who work so closely with Bob. His retirement will be a great loss for our city. Bob’s level of commitment, professionalism, and dedication have served our city well over the years. He will definitely be missed by many who work for and with the city.  We might be losing Bob as Finance Director, but we still have him as our neighbor and resident here in our wonderful Island City. Best wishes, Bob, on your new adventures.  

Another exciting event happening this month will be the Friends of the Wilton Manors Library Fall Lecture Series on October 11.  Wilton Manors resident, movie producer, director, and author Alyn Darnay will be the guest speaker at this event. Join us at our local free and independent municipal library located at 500 NE 26th Street beginning at 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments with the lecture beginning at 7 p.m.  

The Fall Season kicks off a very active time of year for many, with holidays, events and parties. It is also a good time to take stock of where we are heading as individuals and as a community. We have had some major discussions this past year on the future of Wilton Drive, on the role of the Pride Center, on the future of Andrews Avenue and Oakland Park Boulevard, on making hard budgetary choices, and many more issues and questions we as a community have been confronted with over the past year. Making these tough discussions and reaching a consensus on how best to move forward is a sign of how strong we are as a community. We will not always agree, but we most always look for ways to work together to achieve what is best for our community.  

It’s time for me to get back to my family visit up north. Enjoy the upcoming season of fun and festivities. Make sure you are registered to vote and exercise that right on or before Election Day. Participate in local happenings, meet your neighbors, and become involved with local community organizations. Let’s continue making life just better here in our wonderful community we call Wilton Manors.   

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