Back

Covering the Cape since 1961: The Cape Coral Breeze - proud to be your community newspaper
June 16, 2017

Share

The Cape Coral Breeze celebrates 56 years in the Cape this year.

And, as it has been for all of our community's "pioneer" businesses, it's been quite a jump from humble beginnings.

First published in May of 1961, The Breeze got its start as a one-page, mimeographed sheet that detailed community milestones such as birth and wedding announcements. The Gulf Breeze was produced by one of the Cape's first residents, Dick Crawford, who thought the town just being carved from preserve and pasture land needed a news source. He didn't let the lack of residents - of which the budding town had none prior to June of 1958 - stop him from providing one.

On Dec. 14 of the same year, the first edition of the Cape Coral Breeze - a news-filled, advertising-supported 16-page tabloid newspaper priced at just a nickel - hit doorsteps with the lead story reporting "heavy voter turnout for the establishment of a Cape Coral Roads and Bridges District."

The vote was 174 in favor to 124 against, marking "a tremendous stride forward in the development of our community and one which should have far reaching effects on every resident of Cape Coral." That story heralded the first step toward the construction of the Cape Coral Bridge, huge news for the Cape, a spanking new "exclusive residential community" the Rosen Brothers were developing along the river at "the end of a dead end street" - hence the desire for the bridge.

Cape Coral has seen many changes since the often mud-bogged two-lane Del Prado Expressway, formerly known as Harney Point Road, mired motorists during the rainy season en route to the community's budding core.

As The Cape Coral Breeze reported, the community that was to later incorporate and become the largest city between Tampa and Miami was growing - and quickly, too.

The year 1962 was noted for its groundbreakings with the new Cape Coral Yacht and Racquet Club opening with a swimming pool, tennis and shuffleboard courts, club house and teen center. Faith United Presbyterian Church broke ground on Coronado Parkway, a first; construction commenced for a building for the Volunteer Fire Department; a four-story office building at Cape Coral Parkway and Del Prado got under way and the Cape got its own electric substation and telephone exchange.

All were reported by The Breeze, which, through the years, covered the opening of that much-heralded bridge, the incorporation of the city, the construction of a second bridge, and all of the innumerable infrastructure improvements in between.

As a newspaper, The Breeze also has seen a lot of changes through the years.

We built our building on Del Prado Boulevard in 1975.

We expanded into The Breeze Newspapers to also publish numerous sister community weeklies, including the Sanibel-Captiva Islander and Island Reporter, the Fort Myers Beach Observer and Beach Bulletin, the Pine Island Eagle, North Fort Myers Neighbor and Lehigh Acres Citizen, making us the largest publisher of weekly newspapers in Lee County with seven news web sites to boot.

We built a 35,000-square-foot commercial press plant and have grown to become the largest commercial printer in Southwest Florida.

But through the years, one thing has remained the same: The Breeze is Cape Coral's community newspaper - your community newspaper - dedicated to the town we grew up in, the news that Cape readers want, and to the business community of which we are proud to be a part.

A community newspaper is a unique form of journalism.

It's not a small, separate section of the paper.

It is the paper, cover to cover, front to back.

The "community" is the news front and center, everything from, yes, the major stories such as a first-approval for an essential bridge, but also all the other things that filled that very first issue of The Cape Coral Breeze:

The formation of a committee for a Christmas party to be sponsored by the Cape Coral Woman's Club. The opening of a new service station by a Cape resident. A community calendar highlighting upcoming things like swim team practice, a Kiwanis meeting, the junior golf clinic and game night at the Surfside Restaurant. An editorial supporting the construction of that bridge, for yes, The Breeze assumed a leadership role in the community with its first edition.

That focus on local news - community news - has not changed, not through the growth years when The Breeze increased publication days; not through the industry-wide move online where The Breeze now posts more local stories, sports, features, calendar items and other types of local content than any site touting Cape Coral in its name; not through the Great Recession when others fled to greener advertising pastures and we chose instead to modify our business model to not only stand with other hard-hit Cape businesses doing the same, but to assist them with reduced rates and additional specialized publications.

Our front page emphasizes our community news mission.

Every issue, every week is designed around at least one staff-written story showcasing an upcoming community event.

We continue to welcome community contributions - notices of club and organizational meetings; birth, engagement and wedding announcements (still free); military, education and business milestones; sports reports and fishing photos. We publish them by the dozens each week, both online and in print.

We continue to prioritize space to the city's youth through local sports coverage, our What's Cool in School partnership with the School District of Lee County and Facebook photo galleries featuring lots of names and faces.

Our mission statement sums up our news philosophy well: To be the primary provider of local information in the communities we serve. To that end we continue to report the news that matters to you.

We report it online at cape-coral-daily-breeze.com where we are Cape Coral's hometown daily newspaper.

We report it twice weekly in print, on Wednesday, and on Friday where it is packaged into the Cape's fattest, thickest newspaper on the street, packed cover to cover with local news and advertising, coupons and inserts.

We continue our commitment to the Cape, the community we have been proud to call home for 56 years.

Over the next few weeks, The Breeze will introduce members of our team. Many have been here in the Cape for a good number of years. All have a strong commitment to serving our readers, advertisers and contributors.

We thank you for your support, and we thank you for reading. As always, your input is welcome.

- Scott Blonde is the publisher of The Breeze Newspapers. A longtime Cape Coral resident and property owner, he has been employed at the Breeze office for 34 years, serving as the company's CFO before becoming publisher in 2011. He can be reached at sblonde@breezenewspapers.com

Share

Regular Size Cape Coral Daily Breeze