By Katrina Elsken
Publisher Caloosa Belle
In 1985, I had the honor of interviewing some of LaBelle’s oldest residents for a series of articles on the area’s history. The pioneer founders of this community dealt with many hardships, but they always came together as a community, and found ways to help each other through even the more difficult times.
Now this community faces a new challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, and the situation keeps changing. Businesses are closed. Whole sections of stores have empty shelves. School children are home at least until the middle of April.
In Florida, we know how to prepare for emergencies. We practically invented “hunkering down.” But this emergency is not something we can track on a map. This is new, and it’s only natural that people are scared.
Like the pioneers who endured hurricanes, floods, forest fires and yes, epidemics, this community will get through this. We will help each other get through this difficult time.
As your community newspaper, the mission of the Caloosa Belle is to keep our readers up to date on the local issues. As we do during emergencies such as hurricanes, our news team has been on the job, providing the community with the latest updates on our website caloosabelle.com and in our print edition. We are here to find the answers to your questions, to keep you updated on what is going on in your community. As the crisis continues, we will be there for you, and we encourage you to share your stories with us.
We have created a “Coronavirus” tab on our website. That’s where you can find the latest updates.
We are extremely thankful for the support of our advertisers. They make it possible for us to continue our service to the community as community journalists. We encourage everyone to support the advertisers who support our community journalism.
The Caloosa Belle will keep publishing, even as we adapt to the new circumstances of our lives. To help local businesses, we will publish business news on our website free of charge. Submit your business news online at caloosabelle.com/business and it will be posted online by the next business day. Whether you need to promote a change in hours, closings, availability of products or the addition of online commerce or delivery – we are here for you.
We are also thankful for our loyal readers. According to the World Health Organization, it is safe to pick up newspapers. However, on our website you will find the digital replica of the newspaper.
Due to the “social distancing” rules in effect, many of our news staffers may be working from their homes. But you can always reach us by email. If you have a question, if you have an idea to share, if you have an idea for a story, if you took a photo that made you smile or cry, share that with us, so we can share it with the community.
One thing we learned from the pioneers: In stressful times, you need a little fun in your life. The pioneers would get together and entertain each other by playing music, singing songs, wearing silly costumes, putting on skits, telling jokes … anything they could think of to make each other smile. Since we can’t gather for a fish fry or a frolic as the pioneers did, we’re starting a community gathering online. Join our Online Video Talent Contest. Categories include Best Family Dance Party, Cutest Kid Talent, Teens with Talent, Unique Use of Time at Home and more!
We will also have a work from Home Photo Contest – Are those adorable kids and pets joining your work day? Showcase your work from home experience. Find both contests at caloosabelle.com/contests.
The email for the editorial team is email@example.com. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach our editor, Dale Conyers at email@example.com and reporter Danika Fornear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to hear from you.
Our pioneer spirit endures.