Amy Bennett Williams on Muck Rack

Amy Bennett Williams

Southwest Florida
Senior Writer, The News-Press

Once an ashtray-dumping, obituary-writing clerk. Now News-Press journalist: curator of characters, conflict and curiosities. WGCU essayist. And proud Alvanian.

Smells of North River Road — Following another sweltering subtropical summer, this week's breezy and slightly cooler weather has been a reprieve prompting some locals to give the air

Help Tropicalia celebrate 15 years in paradise — Your field guide to paradise has a milestone coming up next month, and I want to invite you to help celebrate it. In October, our weekly sense-of-place magazine turns 15, so I'm hoping you'll send a gift. Or two. Or 15.

Field Notes: Bite the monster (trust me; it's tasty) — If ever there was a delicious reason not to judge a book by its cover (or a fruit by its skin), this is it. With none of the classic visual attributes of fruit palatability, roundness, redness or gloss (in fact, its genus name means "monster") this fruit looks like an odd, three-way cross between moldy corn, an alligator and a baseball bat.

2016 already a 'disaster' for Caloosahatchee watershed — It's not even close to over, but Caloosahatchee advocates are already reaching to find ways to describe just how bad a year it's been for the river. Last week, water managers and the wet weather presented them with a new milestone: 1 million acre feet of freshwater flows to the estuary.

Jury duty, or how to make the subtropics disappear — Amy Bennett Williams has been covering a trial in federal court this week, which called to mind this essay she wrote about serving on a Southwest Florida jury in 2004. I could have been anywhere. Over me, tube lights buzzed. Below me, government-issue low-pile carpet stretched to pale matte walls.

Not guilty: Charlotte jailers acquitted in pepper spray trial — A jury has acquitted Six Charlotte County jailers of violating the civil rights of a mentally ill prisoner who was pepper-sprayed, then strapped into a restraint chair and left for hours. "I was confident that we did not do what we were accused of and I'm very happy with the verdict," said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell in a statement.

Easy-to-grow exotica: the pinecone ginger — In terms of subtropical conversation pieces, pinecone ginger is about as perfect as it gets. First, there's the visual: decidedly, um, masculine, but covered with spirals of scalloped scarlet scales, pineapple-style.Then, there's the olfactory: a pungent sweetness with a peppery snap that will slowly fill a room if you place a few in a vase.

Pepper spray civil rights trial underway in federal court — The federal trial of six Charlotte County jailers accused of pepper-spraying a prisoner with schizophrenia, then leaving him restrained and burning for hours, got underway this week. At issue is whether their treatment of Stephen McNeeley was cruel and unusual, in violation of McNeeley's Eighth Amendment rights.

Waterkeeper group launches Caloosahatchee dream(job) boat — Talk about a dream job (not for me, of course; I'm planning to simply drop in the traces here). How about spending all your working days on the Caloosahatchee and getting paid for it? Not only that, but with the priceless benefit of knowing that your career truly makes a difference - not just to your fellow humans, but this part of the planet.

New book: Why Sanibel man killed father to save family — Long ago, when Tropicalia was in its infancy, I'd occasionally get notes from a Sanibel woman named Sharon Corbett. In the sixth decade of her life, she was refining her understanding of who she was and what she wanted to do. Writing topped her list.
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Oct 05, 2016

RT @samsminkTV: Strangers helping one another fill up sandbags in Clewiston. Bring your own shovel! #winknews

Sep 20, 2016

@YvieMcClellan, so far in SWFL, no, but they say they're keeping an eye on it in Polk. Nice to see you again virtually!

Sep 19, 2016

200+ million gallons 'slightly radioactive' water leaked into Fl aquifer but Mosaic waited 3 weeks to tell public… 

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