Editorial: Summer is all about numbers

I spent a lovely, breezy evening this past month riding on a golf cart counting trailers in Briny Breezes.  Although the U.S. Census counted 800 housing units in the community, my detailed accounting found 484 — not counting bath houses, public buildings or empty lots.
Go figure.
    I spent a lot of time doing just that — figuring  — this past month.  May was one for the numbers: sea turtles, property tax rates, budget workshops, special assessments, hurricane projections and even the latest circulation numbers for Florida’s daily newspapers.
    The upshot of all this number crunching? Some good news, some bad.
    Sea turtles: Although most of the nests counted are north of Riviera Beach, the county is seeing a trend toward more sea turtle nesting along our beaches. In Ocean Ridge alone there have already been 25 more nests counted than at this time last year.  By all accounts, that’s good news.
    Taxes and budgets: When it comes to tax rates, budgeting workshops and special assessments, it’s better that you read a complete account than depend on me to summarize. Please check out Tim O’Meilia’s excellent tax rate story on Page 1, Margie Plunkett’s Lantana budget story on Page 15, and Steve Plunkett’s Gulf Stream special assessment story on Page 14.
    Hurricane season: I’m usually numb to hurricane predictions this time of year, since they are always revised before we get into the heart of the season. Still, it’s June and we should all be thinking about our evacuation plans.  If the La Niña theory is accurate, we should be spared the worst until the later part of the season. But as we know, it only takes one. Be prepared.
    Newspapers: Although the ABC service that audits daily newspapers has become more flexible in what can be counted as circulation, the numbers continue spiraling downward.  That’s bad news (no pun intended) for daily newspapers. So, unless small, independent community papers like The Coastal Star can survive, the number of reporters on the street dwindles as the daily papers shrink. That’s bad because to make good decisions, we need good information. 
    So, as you make business decisions about how to reach your customers, please consider your local newspaper. When you do, I hope you’ll consider The Coastal Star — even if the editor is a little number-challenged from time to time.

— Mary Kate Leming, editor

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