Rotonda West resident Larry Altenburg, a Vietnam War veteran, could be facing stiff fines from the Rotonda West Association for the signs incorporated into his Memorial Day decorations. He does not want people to think Memorial Day is simply a three-day weekend and the start of summer.

I’m pretty sure the most-read story this week reached the top spot because it made people, well, angry.

Let’s see how you react. Here’s the quick summary.

Rotonda West resident Larry Altenburg put up some signs and decorations for Memorial Day. That’s when the Rotonda West Association, a homeowners group, pointed out that the rules state that no signs are allowed.

Altenburg could be fined up to $60 a day that he had the signs out.

I certainly can understand the association having to be a stickler for the rules. And I can certainly understand Altenburg wanting to honor Memorial Day.

After all, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1969. He did a tour in Vietnam from 1967-68.

I would hope that maybe the homeowners association could make a change to its bylaws so a very limited use of signs to honor certain holidays is allowed.

If you would like to read the story and see the signs, visit:

OK, let’s move on to the rest of the Top Five.

2 Punta Gorda Airport avoids shutdown

The headline on this story, no doubt, caused a lot of people to look twice and say, “Wait. What?”

At the Punta Gorda Airport, officials there have been planning to renovate the main runway. And the money was all set.

Then the FAA, which is paying for most of the renovation, said the entire runway needed to be raised an entire foot. The sounds simple but such a requirement would have added millions to the cost — millions nobody had.

Not following FAA rules could have meant the shutdown of the airport. But, fortunately, the FAA reviewed the project and ruled the required change would cost too much.

Can you imagine Allegiant no longer being allowed to fly out of the Punta Gorda Airport? Kinda scary.

To read the whole story, with all the details of what happened, visit:

Alligator attack

“It felt like I got hit with a boat going 50 mph,” said Jeffery Heim, 25, of Tampa. He’d been bitten by an alligator while looking for shark teeth in the Myakka River.

3 ‘I thought I was going to die right there’

Wow. Just wow. Truth really can be stranger than fiction.

A man diving in the Myakka River for shark’s teeth got met by a different set of teeth — those of a live alligator.

Jeffery Heim, 25, of Tampa, said just minutes after getting into the river, he was coming up from checking the bottom for gravel when he “got slammed.”

“It felt like I got hit with a boat going 50 mph,” Heim said.

The gator bit him and appeared to be coming back for a second attack, Heim said. He got away, made it to shore and then got the attention of people nearby.

As a person who has lived in Florida for decades, I can tell you with certainty that if you see a pond, canal or lake, there is a good chance there is a gator in it. Generally speaking, stay out of the water.

To read the whole interview with Heim, visit:

4 Cops: Child overdoses, parents arrested for child neglect

You often hear me describe a story as disturbing. This one is just that — disturbing.

In early January, emergency medical services responded to a call that a child was unconscious and not breathing, according to a probable cause affidavit. The child woke up after EMS gave the child three doses of Naloxone, a medication to reverse opioid overdoses.

This got police curious as to what happened. Why would the child need Naloxone? The mother said she was walking around the block when the child put something unknown in his mouth, as well as a needle cap. So police searched the block and couldn’t find anything.

Later, police found a suspicious spoon and pipe in the house. The spoon tested positive for fentanyl and cocaine and the pipe was positive for cocaine, according to a report.

Both parents were arrested and charged with child neglect without great bodily harm.

To read all the details that led to the arrest of the parents, visit:

5 George Floyd not someone to honor

Ok, this is the first time this has happened. A letter to the editor has made the Top Five list.

The letter is pretty strongly worded, as so many of our letters are. I’m guessing that a Facebook group somewhere that is involved in political discussion must have linked to the letter.

If you would like to read what the newspaper reader had to say, visit:

A Goodbye

By the way, I couldn’t write this week’s column without acknowledging that the Daily COVID-19 Update, which has been in the Top Five nearly every week since March of last year, is no more.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state will no longer give daily COVID-19 updates. That meant the end of our daily story. It was a good run.

Ronald Dupont Jr. is the digital editor for The Daily Sun and the Venice Gondolier. He can be reached at


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