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.

'Renegade' Bongino challenges Rooney, Goss in Dist. 19 — Without the financial firepower of Francis Rooney or the elite pedigree of Chauncey Goss, Dan Bongino is counting on his passionately argued common-man conservatism to win hearts and votes in Florida's Congressional District 19. And with no office or paid staff, the guy's doing most of the campaign legwork and heavy lifting himself.

On the stars, civilizations and the spaces between them — They were there when the underwater bones of our peninsula were still fused with Africa's. They were there when it finally emerged from its warm saline bath. They were there when fleeced elephants and tiny camels roamed the newly dry land.

Her death was national news, but who was Mary Knowlton in life? — Steven Knowlton can't believe his mother is no longer around to be a positive influence in any life she touches. Standing in the living room of his parent's Montia Court home in the Punta Gorda Isles section of Punta Gorda with tears in his eyes and sometimes breaking into sobs, Steven Knowlton described Mary Knowlton as someone who lifted up everyone she met.

Field Notes: This baby bird has flown — I've got a bad case of empty nest syndrome. I miss his bright brown eyes. I miss hearing him chatter and splash in his bath. Most of all, I miss the way he'd thank me for breakfast with a gentle peck on the cheek.

Presses stop after more than a century in Fort Myers — After more than 130 years, the presses that print The News-Press in Fort Myers will power off for the last time as the paper's production moves to Naples. Here is a look at the presses on one of its last runs. Thanks for all your hard work.

The view from the Everglades' safe zone, the Tamiami Trail — The old man stood facing west. Although lunchtime traffic was heavy and loud, his voice had dropped nearly to a whisper. I leaned closer. "Sometimes I wish they'd never built that road," he said. "Everything has changed." A single tear slid down his face. "Most of what I loved is gone," he told me.

Gun play in our community: How much can we take? — Again? Really? As Southwest Floridians woke up to the news of the bloodbath at Club Blu Monday, stunned residents tried to fathom just how it was they were living through yet more high-profile gun violence, this time aimed at kids. Weren't three people shot in Cape Coral just the month before?

Feds, governor, mayor respond to Club Blu shooting — From the FBI to the Fort Myers mayor, government officials are scrambling to respond to the Club Blu mass shooting, where two were killed and at least 16 hurt by gunfire following a teen party At the crime scene on Evans Avenue, Fort Myers interim police Chief Dennis Eads declined to answer questions about who shooters were targeting, but said the FBI and ATF are helping with the investigation.

Prosecution coming in historic Monroe Station fire — It's slow going, but federal officials will prosecute the South Florida man whose fancy fire photos burned down historic Monroe Station. The night of April 9, he climbed the boarded-up roof of the Big Cypress landmark, lit some steel wool and spun it as two others shot pictures of the looping light show from the ground.

Time for the annual photo Field Notes — A year ago, I offered my first all-photo Field Notes. The inspiration was a conversation I had with my photographic hero, Andrew West, a longtime, multi-award-winning News-Press photojournalist. I wrote that once, when I admiringly called Andrew's work art, he strongly disagreed.
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Aug 17, 2016

Water not partisan says @dbongino on @wgcu "I don't support eminent domain but we have to get the land (to send Lake O. water south)"

Jul 18, 2016

@marcorubio: We need laser focus on passing water bill. South-of-lake land buy is a whole separate issue. #SWFL

Jul 18, 2016

Mayor Ruane of @SanibelFlorida to @marcorubio: You need to understand the severity of the problem. 161 cities now affected by foul water

Jul 18, 2016

City of @FortMyersBeach is in water-fueled recession says grim-faced Bud Nocera to @marcorubio. People are losing jobs b/c of water quality

Jul 18, 2016

@marcorubio: I'm not here to defend USACOE; this region can not afford bad news water stories. #SWFL

Jul 18, 2016

@marcorubio: Biggest worry is Everglades plan add-ins will distract and create diversions, excuses for not moving on it #swfl

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