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Publisher's Letter

From Design To Debate, Our March Issue Includes Hard And Soft Feature Stories That Engage Our Community

It is not unusual to hear spouses of skilled tradesmen complain that their men do beautiful work on somebody else’s property, but never seem to find time to do anything around their own abode. But that gripe does not seem to apply to interior designers, and for good reason. When somebody makes a living advising others, they would look pretty sorry if their own homes did not reflect their good taste and skills.

In this issue we prove that point with a special section written by Managing Editor Alyssa Morlacci and featuring the work of six leading interior designers. Photographer Austen Amacker gives us a look at some beautiful furnishings, and Alyssa’s interviews take us into the creative heads of the designers as they chose their own favorite rooms.

This is the kind of story that has been a staple of the magazine from its first issues in 1965. So is our special boating section. The presentation is infinitely more polished, but the idea is basically the same—the good life of South Florida as told by the good people who live it.

Far less common is the kind of stories we thought we would do on a regular basis when we came down from Philadelphia in 1970. Philadelphia magazine had a reputation for shaking up the city on a regular basis with hard-hitting pieces on all aspects of community life. Its reporters were as likely to be prowling the ghetto, talking to people who started a race riot, as they were hanging out with the wealthy set at their Main Line clubs.

It turned out that such stories were few and far between in South Florida, for all manner of reasons. Primarily, the magazine was geared to the good life of the many people who lived here only for the balmy winters. They weren’t as interested in reading about the problems of the dying Everglades, or worrying about rising seas inundating their waterfront mansions.

There were notable exceptions. Our work on the Kennedy assassination in the late 1970s has given the magazine a place in history. And it gave the writer, our former partner Gaeton Fonzi, a rare form of recognition—an obituary in The New York Times.

It was also Fonzi who revealed the fascinating and dangerous life of Ken Burnstine, an Ivy League drug runner who turned federal informant and died in a mysterious crash of his air racer just before he was scheduled to testify in trials that might have put dozens of locals behind bars. That story was 40 years ago, but we still get requests for reprints.

This issue features one of the rare stories in that mold. Eric Barton examines a thorny problem that has been much in the news, from here to Ferguson, Missouri. The problem of police relations with the black community. It’s a complicated situation as he points out with interviews of key law enforcement players.

Finally, off topic, not many locals watching the recent classic Super Bowl knew that the Patriots’ hero of the game, James White, was a product of local high school powerhouse, St. Thomas Aquinas. He joins Brian Piccolo, Chris Evert, Michael Irvin and dozens of others on the list of successful St. Thomas sports alums.

He also illustrates why St. Thomas and other elite schools such as American Heritage and Pine Crest attract star athletes. The schools go after them, of course, but it is also true that parents of promising athletes point their kids to schools where they will be academically challenged as well as highly publicized as part of championship teams. This enhances their chances of getting scholarships to strong college programs, followed possibly by a pro career.

It isn’t just the super stars. James White was not even the top college recruit on St. Thomas’ 2008 national championship team. Only one Florida school offered him a scholarship. But he did wind up at Wisconsin, where he did well.

Success breeds success. Somewhere out there, the next James White is heading for St. Thomas.