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We’re back! How was your summer? Did you miss us? We hope you spent your summer days pleasantly, and that you’re energized and ready for the “season” to begin again.

We’re doing our best to prepare you, with an issue packed with things to do and see. Inside you’ll find our picks for the best upcoming arts and entertainment offerings, as well as cookie recipes from a cheery group of friends who’ve been sharing the holidays together for years. We’re also giving you some great suggestions for unique gifts you can buy locally, for the tastiest pizzas in town, and for some talented young area achievers to keep your eye on.

And we’re thrilled to be able to present photographs from Venice’s own Clyde Butcher, who recently published a book collecting some of his thousands of images from our national parks and preserves, including several in Florida. Just like our parks, Clyde is a national treasure, one whose dramatic wilderness photos have been displayed in museums across the United States and Europe. We’re lucky to have him right here, where you can stop into his gallery, view and purchase his work, and even learn something about his technique. A collector of large-format cameras, lenses and filters, Clyde can capture angles and depths you’re just not going to get with your iPhone. Not to mention he’s a master of the darkroom.

Clyde first discovered the west coast of Florida about 40 years ago, when he and his family spent three months cruising around the state on their 20-foot sailboat. Years later, he lived in Fort Myers and near Big Cypress National Preserve (one of his favorite subjects, where he also has a nearby gallery), before moving to Venice about 12 years ago. He’s just one of many amazing people who could live anywhere in the world and chose to live here. We’re so glad he did.

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