Odds are, if you are reading this newspaper, you are already a fan of Galveston County. The mix of breathtaking nature, diverse cultures, unique people, powerful industry and downright good-hearted community is second to none. I’d challenge you to find a comparable small stretch of land (only 873 total square miles) anywhere in the world.
And to top it off, we’re only a hop, skip and a jump from Houston, the fourth largest metropolitan city in the United States and truly one of the world’s great cities.
Yes, Galveston County is one very special place to live, work and raise a family.
As is the long-standing tradition here at The Daily News, as publisher I’d like to share a few favorite talking points about our community. Enjoy.
• Leonard Woolsey
1. The roar of the surf and how it speaks directly to your soul.
2. Spectacular sunsets — there are not enough crayons to accurately describe.
3. Sitting on the seawall with a cup of coffee witnessing the sun’s daily arrival.
4. The seawall — a miracle of engineering and community foresight.
5. Creating young entrepreneurs through Lemonade Day in Galveston County.
6. You can get by with only a pair of flip-flops and a pair of cowboy boots.
7. The dedication of our local fire, police and emergency personnel.
8. How so many religions and interests live peacefully and respectfully alongside each other.
9. Dinner and drinks with friends at the Press Box on those chilly, sometimes-foggy autumn and winter Friday nights between tourist seasons.
10. The University of Texas Medical Branch and the resources it brings to Galveston County.
11. The Ronald McDonald House and those who serve people in need.
12. The Shriners Hospitals for Children-Galveston and the work professionals there do for burn victims.
13. People-watching on the seawall … and you thought airports were fun.
14. Beaches, beaches and more beaches.
15. The peaceful, wide-open lands of the Santa Fe region — reminding us we are still in the great state of Texas.
16. The pride of knowing the important role Texas City’s industry plays in our national economy.
17. The important role our residents play in supporting NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
18. The chambers of commerce across Galveston County — each working to support and grow local businesses.
19. Barbecue choices galore — all different, all wonderful.
20. The dolphin escorts while riding the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry across the channel.
21. MOD Coffee House in Galveston — a coffee shop that doubles as a heartbeat for the community.
22. The majestic Hotel Galvez — proudly standing as a symbol of rebirth from The Great Storm of 1900.
23. Hometown Heroes Park in League City — what a wonderful community facility.
24. The radiant silhouette of Moody Gardens’ pyramids at sunset.
25. Dogs chasing seagulls into the water — yet never catching one.
26. The picturesque and romantic bayous of Dickinson.
27. The quietly majestic oak trees of League City.
28. The Grand 1894 Opera House — from Tony Bennett to Broadway, all under one roof.
29. Mardi Gras and the wonderful (and colorful) energy it brings to the community.
30. The abundance of fresh fish in local restaurants — most of them caught the same day.
31. The Bryan Museum — get your cowboy on with the greatest collection you’ll ever see.
32. The rattling of gentle breezes passing through palm trees.
33. The endless festivals in Galveston County — impossible to make them all.
34. Looking up at a cruise ship as it towers over downtown Galveston.
35. Friendwood’s Fourth of July Parade — an example of small-town America preserved in the post-modern world.
36. A handshake is still a valid form of currency.
37. The feeling you are leaving the world behind as you cross the Galveston causeway onto the island.
38. The fact it can be raining in Texas City and clear skies on Galveston Island at the same time — and vice versa.
39. Gina Spagnola and the Galveston Chamber of Commerce — a vocal proponent for local businesses and young entrepreneurs.
40. Jenny Senter with the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce — helping fuel both residential and economic growth.
41. The continuing expansion of the cruise ship industry in the Port of Galveston — now the fourth largest in the nation.
42. The annual migration of grackles and the eerie reminder of Alfred Hitchcock’s film, “The Birds.”
43. The Texas history archive of Rosenberg Library — the largest in the state.
44. The friendly employee who sits in the small tollbooth at the foot of the San Luis Pass Bridge.
45. That Galveston County has a locally owned and operated newspaper.
46. The Kemah Boardwalk — so much fun packed into a small place.
47. Blue Santa programs across Galveston County — police and law enforcement personnel delivering gifts to children in need for the holidays.
48. How people proudly (and rightly so) claim The Daily News as their newspaper.
49. Peter Davis and the remarkable job the Galveston Island Beach Patrol does for our community.
50. Texas’ beaches belonging to the people and not corporations.
51. The number of public parks per capita in Texas City — simply astounding.
52. The Texas City Dike — nearly 5 miles of fun, fishing and storm protection.
53. How everyone in Galveston County keeps sand between his or her toes (figuratively).
54. The trolleys running along the seawall — a great way to see the island.
55. Learning I can be practically anywhere I need to go in only a few minutes.
56. Brown pelicans’ hypnotizing practice of kamikaze dives into the water.
57. How people are truly engaged in the politics of their community — they keep elected officials accountable.
58. Driving Bolivar Peninsula in a borrowed convertible.
59. That anyone in Galveston County can put his or her toes in a body of water at a moment’s notice.
60. The millions of visitors a year and the opportunities they bring to our local businesses to grow and flourish.
61. Families making memories year-round along Gulf beaches.
62. People taking selfies against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico.
63. The Lighthouse Charity Team — cooking for others in need with love.
64. The unmistakable taste of saltwater on your lips.
65. Viewing a Mardi Gras parade from beautiful balconies along The Strand.
66. Genuine pirate history — and the stories of buried treasure on the island.
67. The beautifully restored streets of downtown Texas City.
68. Watching ships line up on the horizon to enter the ship channel.
69. Climbing through a genuine submarine at Seawolf Park.
70. The lights of the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier through a winter fog.
71. Dozens of surfers dotting the water in search of “one more wave.”
72. Paddle-boarding — from waves to quiet back waters.
73. The unmistakable sound of the mosquito truck heading down your street.
74. The local chapter of the Boys and Girls club and the many volunteers helping shape young and impressionable lives.
75. People whose families have subscribed to The Daily News for generations.
76. That good-natured debate between BOI and IBC residents on Galveston Island.
77. The faces of young children feeding a flock of hovering seagulls.
78. The faces of adults telling children not to feed the seagulls.
79. Driving into League City and discovering yet another new business opening.
80. Being able to hop a cruise ship at the last minute for a quick getaway.
81. The Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, a true Texas tradition.
82. Waking up to discover an unexpected humidity-free day.
83. Learning there are different varieties of palm trees.
84. Viewing the Moody Gardens pyramids at night while crossing the causeway.
85. Knowing you can catch an Astros game an hour up the road.
86. Afternoon rainbows over the Gulf after a rainstorm.
87. Experiencing 99.9 percent humidity and living to tell about it.
88. Streets named with a letter followed by a numerical 1/2.
89. How neat and clean the streets are in downtown Texas City.
90. Knowing there is a place of worship for practically everyone in Galveston County.
91. The Salvation Army, United Way, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations.
92. Driving on the beaches — that, my friends, is rare these days.
93. The Lone Star Rally — everyone should experience it at least once in their life.
94. The good places to eat generally located within a mile of where you’re standing at the moment.
95. How a northeaster can quickly remind us why we live here during winter.
96. Live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss hanging over a local bayou.
97. The bird observation decks tucked throughout Galveston Island State Park.
98. The annual winter migration of out-of-state RVs into Galveston County.
99. Accepting that tuxedos are a necessary part of your wardrobe.
100. The mountain bike trails at Jack Brooks Park — rated among the best in all of Houston.
101. Knowing Galveston County’s best days are still to come.