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Speed Networking

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:10pm

By Pat Newman

There it is — networking in 60 seconds! Marco Island’s Chamber of Commerce recently challenged about 30 members and guests to promote themselves and their businesses during a “speed networking” tutorial led by Gina Sisbarro, local children’s theater director and guide of Marco Island Murder and Mayhem Ghost Tour.

Participants sat in one of two lines of chairs, facing each other. Those seated on the left spoke first. Then it was the right-siders turn to give their introductions. After two minutes, Sisbarro gave the signal to switch and the right siders slipped into the next seat, while the participants on the left remained in their original spots.

Networkers exchanged cards, information and contacts with lightning speed. At the conclusion, there was still time to make contact with the people on your side who you may not have met.

“We’re here to teach you how to network wherever you go; help you learn to meet and greet,” Sisbarro said. “Start off by stating your name, the name of your company and what you do. Then concentrate on one thing you do. Pick the product and sell the product; then ask for a contact.”

Sisbarro cautioned participants to avoid falling into the social circle, like siding up to a friend and talking about the kids. “Keep it all business,” she instructed. Closing off into little groups of circles is another networking no-no, according to Sisbarro. She recommends standing in an inviting half-circle, allowing newcomers to come into the conversation easily.

By the conclusion of the session, we had all met more than a dozen new people, downed way too much coffee and learned how to keep our circles and business prospects open.

Change Comes to Code Enforcement

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:06pm

By Noelle H. Lowery

Since April, Marco Island’s Code Enforcement Department has been quietly undergoing reconstructive surgery. It started with the assignment of city Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie to the three-person department to carefully examine all means and methods used by enforcement officers. The process will continue through this year as City Manager Roger Hernstadt and the City Council make crucial decisions about hiring a magistrate and organizing a new City Code Advisory Committee.

“Nancy was a good, impartial person to bring in there and examine how (the department) was handling its responsibilities in an unbiased way,” explains Hernstadt. “We had to make some decisions on what to improve and how to improve.”

The changes were sparked by community-wide criticism of the city’s code enforcement practices, with many considering the process as “selective enforcement” where some fines appeared to be arbitrarily mitigated based on no concrete rhyme or reason. Hernstadt says he had concerns as well: “When we started this process and I would have staff meetings with the code enforcement department, I didn’t feel I was getting good clean information. The code board was also being informed at the last minute about cases they were getting ready to hear.”

Hernstadt aims to change the negative perception, and to do that, the department is first getting back to basics. “We are trying to put some structure into the organization,” he says. “We are creating work standards and performance standards, a methodology by which all codes will be enforced.”

This means looking at how cases are being handled when compared to similar cases. For example, how did code enforcement officers handle each complaint about an overgrown lot? Did officers handle each case the exact same way, or did they offer leniency or an extension to one property owner while coming down hard on another? What are the parameters for giving a property owner extra time to comply?

“We want to create a scenario where if people are caught breaking the code we teach them and their whole sphere not to do that…We want to make sure the cases move through the process more systematically,” notes Hernstadt. “We have to develop good processes and procedures for what we do. If we can get to the point where we can look at a case and not know which officer handled it, then we are in good shape.”

The second component will be the magistrate. Two City Council meetings ago, councilors made the decision to migrate from using the Code Enforcement Board to a magistrate, and at the most recent City Council meeting, they agreed to the qualifications for the purposes of running an ad for potential magistrates. The city is considering hiring three magistrates with a legal backgrounds who have experience mediating and adjudicating issues.

“The magistrate ordinance will be the meat and potatoes of how the position will operate,” says Hernstadt, who has worked with both magistrates and code boards during his municipal career. “The magistrate is the most effective and efficient way to handle code enforcement cases. With the board, you get the benefit of the jury of your peers, but a magistrate provides cleaner, more uniform decisions. Plus, a magistrate won’t feel obligated to take the city’s case if it is not well-prepared either. It helps the city get better, and the staff learns from that process and corrects the mistakes.”

Currently, city staff and City Attorney Burt Saunders are working on the ordinance language, and the first reading of the magistrate ordinance is scheduled for a November City Council meeting. When the magistrate is seated — possibly by January — code violations can be appealed in front of the magistrate, or if a citizen has been fined, he or she can ask for it to be reduced. If the citizen remains unhappy with the magistrate’s decision, the only remedy is to go to court.

The final component of the code enforcement overhaul is a new Code Advisory Committee. Like with all city advisory boards, councilors will nominate a person to sit on the committee, and those individuals will be tasked with helping the city write or rewrite the codes that provide the criteria for governing quality of life issues within the city.

“Right now, the code is ambiguous, and if you go to the code, you should be able to know what you can and can’t do to maintain your property,” Hernstadt explains. “We are looking for clarity from the committee…They will go page-by-page through (the code), and help us make it as clear cut as we can make it…It will be a working committee, not sitting up on a dais and judging down.”

During its regular Oct. 6 meeting, the City Council discussed the resolution that would create the Code Advisory Board and provided staff with direction on the issue. The resolution will be presented for final adoption during the Oct. 20 City Council meeting.


Lunch with MIPD Chief Al Schettino

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:05pm

By Noelle H. Lowery

It was a packed house for Marco Island Chief of Police Al Schettino’s first “Lunch with the Chief.” Sponsored by the Marco Island Police Foundation, the lunch was held at Hideaway Beach Club on Oct. 9.

Schettino began with a state-of-the-department-type address, outlining all of the changes he has made to the department since taking over in July, which include the full staffing of MIPD, the department’s new community outreach programs and new community service officers, and the implementation of extensive skills training. Additionally, Schettino announced that MIPD will be working the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department on coordinated training sessions for specialized situations such as a missing child or missing swimmer.

“Chief Murphy is a mentor when it comes to public safety,” Schettino told the audience. “We can really learn from each other.”

He also discussed partnering with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to implement a new computer-aided dispatch system, or CAD, which will allow officers to receive calls by computer and allow for real-time updates. Schettino also is scheduled to meet with the CCSO to discuss using its records management software.

“Our current system is 14 years old and quite antiquated,” said Schettino. “A new system would cost the city $200,000-$300,000. We want to see if we can utilize the CCSO’s software at minimal cost to the city.”

Schettino then got down to business, discussing Marco Island’s recent rating by Safe Choice Security as the fourth safest city in the state of Florida, behind Parkland, Westin and Winter Springs. The ranking was based on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2012 Uniform Crime Report, which takes into account a community’s population density and urbanization, composition of population, population stability (transient), economic, cultural, education, criminal justice system, and community involvement and support of the police and fire departments.

He even delved a bit deeper into the numbers and found that if based on the 2013 report Marco Island would have moved up to the third sport. The key, Schettino noted, was looking at how the community can reduce crime through crime prevention education programs; raising community awareness; observing and reporting; being responsible for your own property; targeted, high-visibility police patrols; and targeting criminal populations.

The luncheon closed with a special gift to MIPD from the Marco Island Police Foundation. President Joe Granda presented Schettino with a new $2,800 patrol bicycle for the new community service officers.



Marco’s Newest Task Force

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:03pm

By Pat Newman

Marco Island’s newest task force on rental regulation already has one meeting under its belt and a second planned for Monday, Oct. 20 at the Board of Realtors on San Marco Road. Headed by Marco Island realtor and 45-year resident Marv Needles, the task force is seeking input from the general public and other organizations impacted by privately-owned properties rented as vacation properties.

The first planning board meeting of the month held Oct. 3 was well-attended by homeowners negatively impacted by noise and trash generated by the occupants of short-term rental properties. Homeowner John DeFalco of Galleon Court urged the board to step right in and at the very least “have the units registered. I would like to see realtors get more involved in the short-term rentals.”

While rental condominium units are self-governing and realtor-rented properties are managed, privately-owned homes advertised and rented by homeowners, often living out-of-state, present potential problems.

Online listings for dozens of Marco Island homes for rent by the week are available on a host of websites. Consequently, when problems arise with the vacationing occupants, the police are often called, costing taxpayers money. Inability to contact the homeowner also presents a problem. Tax revenue is also slipping through the cracks, according to City Councilor Larry Sacher, who asked, “Are taxes being paid on that rental?”

This is not a new issue facing the city. “This goes back a number of years, and we have discussed it ad nauseam…People are thoroughly disgusted with the living conditions,” said Irv Povlov, planning board member. “We know what the problems are; let’s handle it.”

The rental regulation task force was requested by Planning Board Chairman Monte Laazarus to present a document at the second board meeting in November. “The more information you collect; the better off we are. Let’s get it up to city council with all deliberate speed,” he said.

The other big item on the board’s agenda was the presentation of site development plans for the Marriott Crystal Shores Vacation Club. The expansive build-out was initially approved in 2009 and delayed because of economic conditions. With a few updates, the plans were unanimously approved by the board. One feature of interest for the development is a public beach access set to look similar to the South Beach access. While Marriott will build the access, the city will maintain it. No parking is included in the plans, but a recently opened private lot across the street can be used by beachgoers.

Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort Hotel’s site development plans were also unanimously approved. Next scheduled meeting of the Marco Island Planning Board is Friday, Oct. 17 at 9 AM.




Crossfit Challenge Hits Marco Beach

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:01pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Crossfit is exploding as the latest fitness craze. It puts going to “work out” to an EXTREME level. For the second year in a row, Fit Nation Box Battles has brought a crossfit challenge to the beaches of Marco Island. Enthusiastic athletes came from all over the state and blew up the beach!

The event consisted of a series of professionally designed fitness tests that measure strength, endurance, balance, speed, precision, agility and power. Co-ed teams consisted of two males and two females that challenged their physical and mental fortitude while having the extent of their athletic abilities measured.

The event was held at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. Competitors were able to compete in four divisions: RX, Scaled, Masters and Corporate. It was an exciting competition, enjoyed by competitors and by spectators as well.

The Masters were led by Texas Tony’s Masters Real Fitness Crossfit (Jean Marie Cialone, Shannon Blanke, Jim Blanke, John Redshaw) with Crossfit Naples 5 CrossFit Naples (Danielle Green, Marty Kaczmarek, Carrie Pearson, Sukhi Singh) coming in second. Fantastic Four Real Fitness Crossfit (Kristina Patchen, Marieta Perino, Joey Sandoval, Michael Karnes) and Lift’O’Matic’s Crossfit ATC (Ryan Midolo, Sergio Rivera, Dominic Kinnier, Magen Wooley) came in first and second respectively in the RX division.

In the Scaled division, Quadrenaline came in first with Crossfit Estero (Madison Sharp, Donald Keller, April Rogers, Aramis Andreatas) with Buns and Guns coming in second Crossfit Estero (Kayla Seikel,Melissa Jennings,Joshua Foree,Everett Casas), Buns and Guns beat out Captain Crunch and the Cereal Killers Crossfit Redline (Jesse Peterson, Veronica Bertrand, Jessica Heaton, Jayme Heffernan) by 4 seconds.



Gas Prices, Angels and Parking

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:57pm

Donna Fiala

We’ve heard a lot about price of fuel recently. Last week I had to make an emergency trip to Ohio and the price of gas up there averaged $3.05 per gallon and a few places dipped down to $2.99.

Don’t you wonder what happened down here? You don’t happen to think that the owners of the gas stations are trying to gouge the visitors to our community (and of course us as well) because they know they can get it? They know they have us over a barrel (a little pun there) if we want to get to work, and being that they all fix their prices at the same amount, we can’t even price shop! Pretty lousy, don’t you think?

* You might have read about a project a few of us are working on to help the children in Copeland by providing two bus shelters for them while they wait for the school bus. Let me tell you about Craig Woodward and his band of angels in the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, plus the angels we work with at the County under Nick Casalanguida, with “Huggy Bear” Travis Gossard at his side.

It has been a tumultuous road to get there, but none of the team has given up! And, we’ve found a solution that all can live with. A group of us met with Mitchell Roberts and Arita Parker in Copeland to discuss our ideas and plans. After the entire group met, discussed the options, toured the area, watched the school buses drop children off during the rain, noted the deep gulley’s on a certain road, and noted the paths that were available, Nick, Travis and Trinity Scott came up with a solution that would work, and included all of the “Angel Team.” I especially want to thank the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary for their dedication to the children who truly needed their help. What a great bunch of guys! And a special tip of the hat to Mitchell, Arita, Nick, Trinity and Travis! Thank you for all you do for others! You make our community a much nicer place to live.

  • At the Oct. 14 Collier County Commission meeting, $179,919.44 was approved to increase the number of parking spaces and upgrade the gravel/shell parking lot to asphalt with additional curbing at Tigertail Beach Park parking lot. The funding was from the TDC Beach Park Facilities Capital Fund. The county in cooperation with the city has extra signs along Collier Boulevard, hoping to attract off-island visitors to Tigertail Beach and taking the pressure off the parking at the South Beach location. People from Manatee Road, Fiddler’s Creek, Mainsail Drive and Isles of Capri might find this a much better solution than traveling to the other side of the Island. People from the U.S. 41 E area just travel the eight miles to the beaches of Naples where there is plenty of parking and easy access.

Come Wiz Me to Ze Casbah!

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:55pm

By Carol Glassman

When we were invited to come to the kasbah/casbah on a recent trip that included a visit to Tangier, Morocco, we agreed to go, not sure what to expect. A little too old and wrinkled to worry about being kidnapped into the white slave trade, and not unrealistic enough to expect Bogie or Bergman in a Casablanca setting, we did however prepare by removing all jewelry, dressing modestly and leaving anything of value on the ship. Thus disarmed, we followed the guide toward the medina.

The sidewalks were filled with throngs of youngish, wildly enthusiastic young men all headed in one direction. Not wishing to be caught up in any public or political altercations, we were relieved to hear they were headed to a football game, and as we neared the stadium, the streets and roads were filled with police cars and tough-looking officers.

We continued down one snaking alley after another, lined with mostly shuttered shops as it was Sunday, until we reached the walls of the old walled city, or medina, that runs up the side of the incline to the kasbah. An uphill climb past a series of street merchants, attempting to flog everything from leather handbags to shiny but cheap-looking jewelry and in one case three packages of rather worn looking Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum, took us inside the city walls to more winding cobblestone streets with a wide variety of eastern bazaar-like shops on each side. Polite but curious vendors offered best deals, acceptance of euros or US funds, welcoming us inside. Somehow, we were able to resist, and flapping away the persistent flies, we tried to maintain a steady pace behind our guide, who seemed more determined to get us to some mysterious destination than to cater to our curiosity about the local wares.

Dripping from the high humidity and beginning to wonder if this were an exercise in futility, we were drawn toward one dim alley that suddenly produced drum beats that became louder and more insistent with our approach. Our guide turned in at a doorway flanked by three lavishly dressed drummers, all decked out in gold trimmed outfits and thumping away at their instruments with gusto. At the bottom of a steep flight of stairs was a fellow, reminiscent of Goya’s self-portrait of Candle Hat(the artist working at night with candles around the brim of his hat), only this was a dancer with a tray of candles in glass tumblers balanced on his head.

We certainly didn’t expect the scene at the top of the stairs: It was a large, spotless airy room with about 50 chairs, a stage and a long table containing three varieties of sweets and hot mint tea. Wide-open picture windows afforded a view of the ocean, our ship in the distance and a much-needed breeze.

Within a few minutes the street drummers appeared to entertain us with their folklore talent, one of them performing his version of a dance that was suspended in time between whirling dervish and rap. He encouraged the audience to join him in a Moroccan conga line. Then, a veiled woman appeared and began to shimmy and shake like my sister Kate, only when she flung off her veils she incongruously looked more like Kate’s grandma! Undeterred, she wriggled and writhed her jiggling body around the room, conning two from the audience to join her. The candle hat man also appeared to show off several versions of his shaky dance done while balancing the rather battered tray of lit candles in glasses on his head. His infectious smile and energy somewhat compensated for his level of talent.

With gusto, the audience responded to the enthusiasm of the performers rather than their ability (or lack of it). The highlight for some was obviously one woman accidentally locking herself in the ladies restroom and the panic that resulted as she was easily convinced the slave traders were on their way.

The return walk was a repeat of cobblestones, dark alleys, flies and annoying street vendors accompanied by the occasional large cat.

The next time someone suggestively wiggles his eyebrows and whispers, “Come wiz me to ze casbah,” I hope he isn’t too disappointed to hear, “Been there, done that!”


OBITUARY: Mary Beth Brown

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:54pm

Mary Beth Brown, 64, died October 8, 2014, in Naples, FL. She was born on June 16, 1950, to Alexander and Leona (Michalak) Dasky. Growing up, Mary Beth lived in Auburn (Fisherville), MI, where she graduated from St. Joseph High School, Bay City in 1968.

She is the beloved wife of Bob Brown, whom she married 40 years ago on April 20, 1974, and dear sister of Monica (Terry) Hus of Auburn, MI, Patti (Russ) Friebe of Nashport, OH, Marcia (Bill) Reder of Auburn, MI, and Carol (The late Jerry) Vincent of Matthews, NC. She also is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Bob and Mary Beth moved to Marco Island in 2004. An active member of San Marco Catholic Church, she was also a member of the Collumbiettes and practiced her faith with love and many prayers to the Blessed Mother and to Jesus. During her time on Marco Island, she has met a whole new family who will miss her and who she also loved very much.

Services were held Tuesday, Oct. 14, at San Marco Catholic Church, and a private interment will take place in Michigan at a later date.

Memorial contributions to the Lupus Foundation of America Inc. would be appreciated: P.O. Box 96864, Washington, DC 20090 or

PACE Collier’s ‘Love That Dress!’ Raises $112,000

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:53pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff


With a record breaking 3,500 dresses and a number of new and returning sponsors PACE Collier’s 2014 “Love That Dress!” was destined to succeed, and it did, nearly doubling last year’s proceeds and reporting $112,000 raised.

“Love That Dress!” is not only a feel-good community event, but it brings together local businesses, volunteers and community partners. The fourth annual event was held at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

Title Sponsor White House Black Market had an even bigger presence this year by providing thousands of pieces of jewelery that were sold for $5 and $10 dollars each. In addition, a plus size collection of dresses from the label Queen Grace were donated by PACE Board Member Marina Lamitini, giving women of all sizes the opportunity to buy beautiful dresses at rock bottom prices.

“Love that Dress!” is not all about dresses but also about the girls PACE serves in Immokalee. The proceeds from the event give PACE the opportunity to help the girls with counseling, health care, food and clothing needs as well as providing incentives that keep girls in school and engaged in learning.

“It takes a village and a family to make this type of event a success,” reported PACE Executive Director Marianne Kearns. “We were destined for success with our phenomenal event Chair Libby Fero, the support of returning sponsors and new big sponsors such as Julie Diermeier, Honorary Chair Judy Green, All About Closets, BURN by Rocky Patel and Just Like Family Home Care. It continues to be the best ‘Friend-Raiser’ in town!”

PACE Center for Girls, Inc. is a non-residential juvenile delinquency prevention and intervention program targeting the unique needs of girls, ages 12-18, facing challenges such as physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, foster care, neglect, death of a parent, family history of incarceration and declining grades. At PACE, girls find a supportive environment focusing on their strengths through a gender-responsive approach that centers on the emotional and physical safety of each girl. As a result, PACE reduces the significant long-term costs associated with teen pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, and long-term economic dependency.

For more information, visit


Answering the Call

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:51pm

By Melinda Gray

Two thumbs up from Mac Chaudhry, General Manager of the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, as he gladly volunteered to try on one of the hazmat suits with some help from Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Corey (left) and Firefighter/EMT Jesse Yarnell (right).

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, in honor of National Fire Prevention Week and in celebration of their 50th anniversary, the dedicated men and women of the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department gave an interactive presentation at the Marco Island History Museum. The auditorium was filled with people eager to learn about the department’s past, present and future. Also, in the audience was Nick Macchiarolo, the 100th new-hire for the fire-rescue squad.

Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Murphy opened the night by encouraging the audience to participate in each “show-and-tell” station demonstrating the different aspects of the department. The stations displayed AED (semi-automatic external defibrillator) and EKG (electrocardiogram) machines, equipment worn by firefighters, nostalgia from the department’s past and an informative display about their marine-rescue equipment. There were even hazmat suits to try on and a table where one could sit and have their blood pressure checked by a member of the fire-rescue team.

Following the interactive demonstrations, the history and importance of the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department was highlighted in a PowerPoint. Pictures and articles told the story of their growth over the last 50 years. Just a couple hundred calls per year in the 1970s have grown now to over 3,500 calls per year; a budget of $215,000 in 1980 has expanded exponentially to their current budget of more than $5 million. Naturally, they have had to expand and progress right alongside the island they serve and protect.

Marco Island has 380 multi-family buildings, 110 of which are high-rises, and more than 2000 single-family homes. Every fire gets investigated so that lessons can be learned, and thus passed on in the form of public education. They’ve learned a lot, said Chief Murphy.

Deputy Chief Chris Byrne, who has been with the department for 30 years, pointed out that there are just a few components for successful fire-rescue operations: dedicated, well-trained personnel, quality equipment and quality facilities.

The fire-rescue team is responsible for more than just fire suppression. Their operations include EMS (emergency medical services) in the form of basic life-support and advanced life-support; marine-fire and rescue; hazardous materials response, containment and clean-up; dive-rescue; high angle rescue, or repelling down a high-rise; and vehicle extrication, more commonly known as the jaws-of-life.

Fifty years of Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department history was displayed on the table at the front of the auditorium.

“The one interesting part about this is these aren’t separate people that do this. These are firefighters. They have to be just as competent in fire suppression as they are as a paramedic. They have to be prepared for marine rescues or dive calls; it is a jack of all trades. They’re always ready; they’re proud to serve; and they give people hope. That’s what they are dedicated to do,” said Chief Byrne.

Their quick response vehicle is just one of their quality tools. Akin to a mobile emergency room, it is equipped with a cardiac monitor, capable of more than the standard EKG. They can also screen blood pressure and oxygen levels in the blood. The machine’s 12-lead system covers all variables of the heart, and allows them to be able to recognize the early signs of a cardiac event. They’ve had great success in catching problems early and transporting patients to the hospital where they are able to make a full recovery.

The department’s fire station on San Marco Road is a quality facility, but Chief Byrne said it needs renovation to keep up with what’s required of it.

“Today, a fire station is a community building. It has to provide the space to train and a place to live when firefighters are on their 48-hour shifts. We bring in the community for meetings, teach CPR, teach first aid and all of the alarms are received there, “said Chief Byrne. “We encourage the public to come to one of our pancake breakfast and take a tour.”




Cross Country Invitational Meet Gaining Popularity

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:46pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Students descended upon Mackle Park — all wearing the appropriate school colors — to enter the MICMS Eagles/MIA Rays Cross Country Invitational. After some odd looking stretching and exercising on the field, they lined the start ready to race the clock — all 384 of them!

The annual meet attracted 12 middle schools and 16 high schools from around the region. Of course, they didn’t all start at once; there were five races: high school boys, high school girls, middle school boys, middle school girls and an open race. Middle school-aged runners had a course that was 3K, or 1.86 miles, while high school runners did a full 5K, or 3.1 miles.

The cross country meet is organized and hosted by Marco Island Charter Middle School and the Marco Island Academy under Athletic Director Roger Raymond. Roger, who has put the meet on for about 12 years, commented, “It has really taken off the last couple of years.”

Mackle Park is a great setting for the runners. Alex Galiana of the city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department guides the runners around the course by cart on the initial lap.

Cheered on by parents and coaches alike and with weather cooperating nicely, the runners went full steam and gave it their all. Check out for more information and results.




The Fitness Challenge Triathlon

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:42pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Was held on Marco Island recently and included a ¼ mile swim, 15 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run. Hundreds entered the race, now in its fourth year. Only 15 years old and up were able to participate. Race results can be found at


Open for Business

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:39pm

By Melinda Gray

As the temperatures slowly start to cool and the daily amount of rainfall begins to dwindle, things are heating up on our small, seasonal island of Goodland. Heavier traffic and longer lines at the grocery store mark the return of our migrating snowbirds, flying south to escape their now frigid northern homes.

By now, it’s common knowledge that I’m a huge fan of our live entertainment here. The musical acts that pass through, as well as our own local talent, are first-class. Last week, each Goodland establishment celebrated the opening of season with live music, and the schedule for next week and the months to follow promise the same.

And so begins our yearly seasonal “boom,” which we rely on to carry us through the off-season “bust.” All four of Goodland’s restaurants — The Little Bar, Old Marco Lodge, Stan’s Idle Hour and Marker 8.5 — are now open for business, and we are all hoping for a great winter.



Golf Tournament Benefits Arts Center

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:17pm

By Pat Newman

Steve Josselyn takes a practice chip-shot out of a sand trap prior to Saturday’s golf tournament at the Island Country Club. PHOTOS BY PAT NEWMAN

A perfect canvas of blue skies and green fairways set the scene for Saturday’s golf tournament hosted by the Island Country Club and benefitting the Marco Island Center for the Arts.

Sixty golfers participated in the second annual event, raising a generous amount to support classes, workshops, lectures, gallery exhibitions and special events at the center, according to Executive Director Hyla Crane. “When considering this event, I looked to see how art and golf connect. Artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Hendrick Avercamp, Sir Henry Raeburn, Childe Hassam, George Bellows, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and the celebrated photographer Harold Edgerton have all created artwork devoted to the game of golf. Golf makes great subject matter for art work,”Crane observed. “We thank you for your support as your contributions enable us to grow and thrive.”

Golf tournament Chair Aris Petropoulos welcomed golfers to the event, stating, “I am overwhelmed by the response of our community, their generosity and their contributions to this wonderful institution.”

Tee-off commenced at 1 PM as participants set out for an afternoon of fun, friendly competition and community support. First-place team winners included Fred Gsell, Tom Schwartzburg, Trig Kuhn and James Karter. Second-place team players included Tom Britten, Michael Hook, Ron Myers and Ken Plunkett.

Closest to Pin #2 awards went to Kenny Plunkett and Ann Vreeland. Closest to Pin #15, Jim Karter; closest line #14 winner was Lee Burgin and the longest drive on #12 was executed by Mike Wick.



MIA Homcoming Royalty

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:14pm

Ford McKee and Jessica Ragan reigned as Marco Island Academy King and Queen, announced on Friday at half time of the football game at Winterberry Park. photo By Roger Lalonde

Marco Island Academy seniors Jessica Ragan and Ford McKee were surprised and very pleased when named this year’s Homecoming queen and king at half time of the football game on Oct. 10.

Once all the court was introduced with their parents or friends, they all lined up by balloons with their names. When popped two balloons sprayed glitter to announce the king and queen.

“When I saw the glitter, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in awe,” said McKee.

Ragan said, “I am so surprised and honored to be queen.”

Members of the court included freshmen Susan Faremouth and John Martin; sophomores Larysa Chystyk and Kyle Russo; juniors Emily McRae and Brian Flynn; and seniors Anna Howard, Livia Lenhoff, Anton Mertens, Preston Reese, Shyan Surber Peter Servente, Alexis Vilk and Kerby Victor.




To the Editor: Bill Harris

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:33am

To the Editor:

Often, as election time nears, we wonder who we should vote for. This year’s election includes the selection of three Councilors for the City of Marco Island.

As a Marco Island full time resident who frequently attends City Council meetings, I always find that Victor Rios, who is currently running for City Council, is always in attendance. He shows detailed knowledge of city issues and his comments are not only informative, but show that he has carefully studied the issues that concern many of us.

Victor supports a “balanced growth for Marco Island, so that our wonderful island continue to be the beautiful place that it is and which we all love.

He can as easily talk about the budget, as he can about the many other issues currently in the forefront of things to be dealt with. It shows that he has a strong grasp for financial, management and technical issues. Very sorely needed capabilities and skills to help guide our city in a fiscally and responsible manner.

With such a strong candidate, my wife Joan and I had a very easy decision. We are not only voting for Victor Rios; we also ask all Marco Island voters to give him your vote.

Whether you are voting absentee, early, or on election day, please make sure that you check Victor Rios name in you ballot.



Bill Harris
101 Greenview Street
Marco Island, FL 34145

Letter to the Editor: Bruce W. Novark, M.D.

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:32am

I am writing this letter in support of Victor Rios, candidate for our Marco Island City Council.

I  know Victor to be an honest & trustworthy hard working citizen.  He is fiscally knowledgeable, responsible, and is committed to making sure the City spends our tax money for programs we “Need to Have”—not on those “Nice to Have”.

He has attended a high percent of City Council meetings, paying attention & commenting based on facts.

I believe he will listen to us, the tax-payers, & will work hard with others to ensure our taxes are spent wisely & efficiently.

I believe Mr. Rios will be an asset to our City.

I urge you to vote for Victor Rios.



Bruce W. Novark, M.D.
1220 Ember Ct
Marco Island, 34145
239 642-6777

Letter to the Editor: James & Joanne Funk

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:31am

To the Editor:

My wife and I moved to Marco Island 15 years ago to enjoy this wonderful paradise. As voters, we have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who over the past ten years has been a key advocate for keeping our beaches pristine and intact, while preserving our precious wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations. That candidate is Victor Rios for the office of City Council. During the ten years we have known him, he has demonstrated his continued dedication to community and a willingness to help others. This is easily verified by looking at his record of Community Service, both here and in the other parts of the country where he has lived.

We all search out the candidate who will be a trusted steward of our tax money but often disappointed to find integrity and fiscal responsibility are qualities lacking in our representatives.  Victor Rios has not only spoken the words, he has repeatedly demonstrated these qualities by his actions.

Both Joanne and I urge all Marco Island voters to vote for Victor Rios.


James & Joanne Funk

970 Cape Marco Drive #1107
Marco Island, FL 34145

Letter to the Editor: Patricia Sattan

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 9:30am

To the Editor:

I would like to share with my fellow voters of Marco Island that I am extremely happy that Victor Rios, whom I have known for a long time, decided to run for City Council of Marco Island.

It is great to have choices and my number one choice for Marco Island City Council is Victor Rios.

Victor has always shown his willingness to help others. Neighbors and friends seek him out for advice and appreciate hisleadership and community service.

As a retired teacher, I appreciate Victor’s strong financial and managerial skills and his ability to understand and explain issues that affect us all. He has attended MI City Council meetings, which better helps him understand what our city needs.

I will vote for Victor Rios, and I would like to ask all my fellow Marco Island citizens to also vote for Victor Rios. When you vote, make sure you fill out the oval next to Victor Rios’ name!


Patricia Sattan
970 Cape Marco Drive
(239) 394-6866

Letter to the Editor: Sherri Wolfe

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 11:55am

To the Editor:

The City of Marco island voters need to vote for candidate Victor Rios. Mr. Rios is a very dedicated person whom I have known and worked with for several years. He is very honest and ethical and always fulfills his promises. He wants for Marco Island to continue being the “piece of Paradise that I and all other residents of Marco Island moved here for.

For years he has volunteered to make sure that our beaches and wildlife are taken care of.  He believes in a balanced approach to Marco Island’s growth. I know he will serve all residents equally.

He is very aware that the taxes we pay is our money, not the city’s money or the City Councilors’ money. He is a person with very strong fiscal and management skills and experience.  He will be a good steward of our finances.

Mr. Rios has the ability to work with others and is skillful at negotiating to achieve objectives to benefit us all.

I urge all Marco island residents to vote for Mr. Victor Rios.


Sherri Wolfe
969 Birch Ct