Byron Donalds gave me a reality check.
The Naples newcomer candidate for U.S. House District 19, now held by U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, sent an email after last Sunday's columm:
"Congratulations on your coverage of the questionable websites created by Trey Radel involving three other CD19 candidates. That coverage has been essential to some of the happenings in this crowded congressional race.''
Then Donalds got to the point. Amid all the attention devoted to a candidate behaving badly, good news had been overlooked. He specifically mentioned good news about him — winning straw polls by landslides at two candidate forums and the endorsement of a reform movement known as Get Out of Our House.
That got me to thinking there is more good stuff going on — like the profile of Del's 24-Hour Store, which is for sale, and its proprietior, Del Ackerman, that also was offered up on these pages last Sunday.
This, like Del, will be refreshing:
For context, of the 168 Edison bachelor's degrees, 152 went to students at the Fort Myers campus and 5 at Naples.
Collier students accounted for 123 of the 684 associate of arts degrees; Fort Myers, 446.
Fort Myers students likewise dominated the associate of science degrees, with 176 compared to Naples' 34.
Other students attend campuses in Charlotte and Hendry/Glades counties.
Those numbers speak to the vitality of Edison despite severe administrative problems that Naples' Dudley Goodlette, as interim president, is helping solve; they also speak to the great importance of Edison to our economy and its workforce in nursing and other fields.
* "Saturday was awesome; it all came together beautifully.''
So says Veora Little in summing up last weekend's Operation Medicine Cabinet, which invited the public to get rid of old or leftover prescriptions that might fall into the wrong hands or cause pollution if put into the garbage or down the toilet.
She says the network of collection points — official recycling centers, drug stores and supermarkets — rounded up half a ton of pills, with perhaps 10 percent of them narcotics.
The CVS Pharmacy at Third Avenue South and U.S. 41 was the leading volunteer center, gathering 144 pounds or nearly 1,800 bottles of pills from about 100 people.
The Naples Recycling Center at Naples Municipal Airport led all sites with 326 pounds or 2,700-plus bottles of pills from 160 people.
Amazing — especially with scant advance publicity.
It goes to show how much old, surplus drugs are out there, and how much people care about safe disposal. The haul at the Marco Island YMCA, 60 pounds, more than doubled last year's.
* Collier Countians recycle a lot more than surplus medicine these days. In addition to paper, glass, plastics and cans that are picked up at curbside and condos, five satellite stations handle items such as household pesticides, oil, electronics and paint.
In addition to Naples airport, those sites are in Immokalee, Marco Island, the landfill and North Naples.
I drive past the latter, on Goodlette-Frank Road south of Immokalee Road, at least twice a day and seldom see anyone there. Yet, based on county usage figures and the fact that the $1.8 million facility is already there, the site has great potential and some public awareness is in order.
The county says the North Naples site collected more than 7 of the 53 tons of household hazardous waste counted in the past six months, second to the totals at the airport and landfill sites.
North Naples handled 1.5 of the 25 tons of old oil and nearly 2 of the 16 tons of dead batteries.
Tires, computers, TVs and paint are not tracked by site.
I have used the North Naples center, and it's great. The help is eager to serve and please.
It's an asset that needs to be used.
* The Daily News carried a legal ad the other day for a project that bears watching — an "educational aquarium'' off Sabal Palm Road in Golden Gate Estates.
The county says the project, on more than nine acres already developed as a large home and art studio, would host tanks for "species of fish native to various regions of the world,'' which a project engineer says would welcome 30 to 40 schoolchildren at a time.Stay tuned.
So there. Lots of good stuff going on.
Thanks, Byron. We needed that.
* * *
A sign of the season, believe it or not.
The big elections of 2012 are closer than you may think, with sometimes-decisive Republican primaries and non-partisan contests for judgeships and school boards coming up Aug. 14.
Note that is not the start of early voting. That is the end of voting.
Our editorial board interviews of candidates are under way. The sessions are being videotaped for posting on our web site, naplesnews.com/elections.
The videos go up one at a time and the first ones are there for your inspection.
See? Couldn't avoid politics altogether, and we'll wade back into congressional campaign swamp soon enough.