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Safety Meets Creativity

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:41pm

Submitted

Ask Lon Boggs, manager of The Somerset of Marco Island condominiums, what his biggest on-the-job headache is, and he’ll answer right away: “signage.” Not the maintenance of 122 units, nor the comfort of all those residents and guests; not upkeep of the lush botanical grounds, two swimming pools, boardwalks to the beach, or all that infrastructure. And definitely not his A-team staff — who are responsible for seeing that his headaches are few. Nope, it’s signage.

“Well,” says Boggs, “we have a beautiful environment here, and I don’t like signs that disrupt the integrity of the architecture or landscaping, but if you make them too low-key then nobody sees them.”

And the headache of all signs? “Pool signs,” adds Boggs. “Because they aren’t just about information they’re about safety. The law requires that we post certain rules in an officially approved format, but nobody reads them. I even had some elegantly painted signs installed — nobody read them either. Still, I was determined to find a solution.”

That’s when he contacted fine-artist and muralist, Tara O’Neill. His idea was a mural at each pool that would be enjoyable and eye-catching and incorporate only the most important rules, the rules concerning safety.

“And what a great idea,” says O’Neill. “Coming up with concepts was a delight; the challenge was the rough concrete walls weren’t ideal for hand-lettering. I contacted Kevin Hauke from The Sign Artist to see if we could have the words printed on surfaces that would also function as part of my designs. He and his assistant Jason were great. With minimal consultations, the signs were printed on thin vinyl and adhered to quarter-inch sheets of PVC. I mounted them directly on the walls, giving a 3-D effect to the overall mural.”

The final result is the whimsical crossroads of safety and creativity, and the information is well worth the read!

Florida’s Swallowtail Butterflies

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:39pm

PLANT TALK
Mike Malloy
mikemalloy@naplesbutterfly.com

Black Swallowtail

My “Butterfly Gardening in Florida” series rolls on with this third installment in which I will focus on swallowtail butterflies. Florida is home to 10 swallowtail butterflies — more than any other state. They are very easy to identify due to their strikingly large size and their ability to glide long distances between wing flaps.

Much larger than other Florida butterflies, most swallowtails have distinctive tails on their hind wings. I remember the first time I saw one. Actually, there were two, and they were mating. I’ll never forget it! I still thoroughly enjoy watching them chase one another all through my garden.

The giant swallowtails are dark in color — some say brown, others say black —with yellow spots across their fore and hind wings. These distinctive spots serve as protection against predators, as they mimic sunlight shining on dark-colored leaves. Swallowtail’s larvae feed on Aristolochia (Dutchman ’s pipe), which is very abundant here in South Florida.

In the larvae stage (all five), all swallowtails larvae resemble bird droppings. I’ve also noticed that the black swallowtails, when their larvae pupate into a chrysalis near a green leaf, the chrysalis will be green, and when they pupate near a dead brown leaf, the chrysalis is, of course, brown. These clever disguises render them almost invisible to the naked eye, as well as hungry predators.

Another unique characteristic of swallowtails is the osmeterium (tiny orange or reddish Y-shaped glands or horns that protrude from their head). When predators harass them, they emit a pungent odor that resembles old cheese.

Pipevine. PHOTOS BY MIKE MALLOY

The largest in the Papilionidae Family of butterflies is the giant swallowtail. It is North America’s largest butterfly, and can measure up to eight inches across. The giant swallowtail utilizes native wild lime or citrus trees as host plants (the plants that females lay their eggs on, and serve as food for emerging caterpillars). They are sometimes called Orange Dogs here in Florida because they voraciously feed on the leaves of citrus trees.

The elegant black swallowtail is my favorite swallowtail. Its larvae feed on the carrot family, which includes dill, parsley and fennel. Other swallowtails worth noting are the zebra swallowtail, laurel or palamedes, spicebush, pipevine and the eastern tiger swallowtail. Although the polydamas or gold rim butterfly has no tail, it is still considered a Florida swallowtail.

Look for my next butterfly gardening installment, in which I’ll cover (sulfur butterflies in Florida) The Pieridae Family.

 

KEEP BUTTERFLYING!!!

About The Author Mike Malloy, local author and artist known as “The Butterfly Man” has been a Naples resident since 1991. A Collier County Master Gardener, he has written two books entitled “Butterfly Gardening Made Easy for Southwest Florida,” and “Tropical Color – A Guide to Colorful Plants for the Southwest Florida Garden”, and currently writes articles on various gardening topics for several local publications. Mike has planted and designed numerous butterfly gardens around Naples including many schools, the City of Naples, Rookery Bay, the Conservancy and Big Cypress. Bring your gardening questions to the Third Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or on Thursdays at the Naples Botanical Garden where he does a Plant Clinic or visit his website, www.naplesbutterfly.com

Stay Cool, Beat the Heat While Late Summer Fishing

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:35pm

FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
CaptainRapps@gmail.com

Bob is wearing a long sleeve shirt and wide brimmed hat to beat the sun.

Out on the water, we have sun baking us from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about reflection. The reflection from the water and the white deck of a boat can be equally as strong as directly from the sun. It is imperative to completely cover up if you want to beat the heat and avoid a bad burn. Sunscreen is the most obvious first line of protection, but there is a lot more to protecting yourself from sun exposure.

Wear light colored and light weight clothing. Have you ever worn a black or dark colored shirt in the sun? You heat up real fast, right? I personally wear long pants, long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat all year round, especially in the summer.

People ask me, “Aren’t you hot wearing all of that?” Truth be told, I am a lot cooler in the sun than you are in a tank top and shorts. This is why. As the sun bakes on you, it heats up your skin which holds the heat. Wearing light weight, breathable clothing shades your skin not only from the damaging sun, but also from the direct heat it creates. Columbia makes a fantastic line of clothing made for our extreme summer heat that actually keeps your body cool. Yes, you will still sweat, but that sweat is what keeps your body temperature cool as it evaporates. Without protection, the direct sun on your skin will dry out your perspiration before it has time to do what Mother Nature created it for.

Many of us are wearing “Buffs,” which are thin tube-shaped sun gear made for your neck, face and head. They are made from a light weight, quick-dry, wicking material that offers UV protection from the sun. If you are not sure what they are, you have probably seen fishermen wearing them and wondered why they looked like a bandit. Silly as they may look, they work great!

Lou is sporting a Buff to beat the sun.

If you can, break up your day and get out of the sun during the middle of the day. What I mean is that we all know it’s going to be brutally hot by noon. Many of the fish feel this heat too, and will stop feeding at the peak heat of the day. Your best bite will be early morning until maybe noon, if you are lucky. We also know that the summer afternoon rains are going to occur, which will cool things down a bit. The fish feel this too, and will begin to feed again late afternoon into the evening. With this in mind make a plan to get out fishing early, maybe from 7-11 AM. Plan on getting off the water by noon so you can swim, eat, nap and cool off. Then get back out on the water after our late day showers for some fantastic late day action.

Drink a lot of water! It is also imperative to remain hydrated before, during and after a day on the water. Hydration must occur on an ongoing basis, not just when you are feeling thirsty. Drink water before heading out. Be sure to pack a cooler with lots of ice, and be sure to drink at least 12-16 oz of cool water for each half hour. It may sound like a lot to some, but drinking that much water is necessary for your body. If properly hydrated, you will not feel as exhausted after your day in the heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as this will dehydrate you even more!

About The Author Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com 

It’s Gator Hatchin’ Time in the Glades

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:28pm

Stepping Stones
Bob McConville
Master Naturalist

A few weeks ago I took a walk through several different areas of the Everglades, and there was a very distinct and serene quiet, a sound of silence that was not there in early summer.

During the months of May thru July, I could hear the unmistakeable bellowing of male alligators trying to entice the females. Some of these boys have traveled great distances to find a mate. Now, all is calm.

Courtship rituals are complete, and females are tending to their nests, waiting for the young to hatch. The males have moved on, having done their part to assure the survival of the species. The females now bear the responsibility of guarding the unhatched eggs and then protecting the young.

Nearly all alligators, both male and female, become mature when they reach an approximate length of seven feet. It is not a specific age that determines this sexual maturity but rather the physical size and development. Females might require ten years or more to reach this stage and males about eight to twelve years.

Courtship begins in the springtime, and mating occurs in late spring into early summer. The female will then build a nest about three to four feet wide and nearly six feet long. Instinctively the mom-to-be constructs this nest above the high water mark to keep the eggs from flooding, which could ruin them within a day.

The number of eggs, called a clutch, will average about 35 per nest. Once the eggs are deposited in the nest by the female, she will cover them, and they will incubate in the warm sun. Mom will remain near the nest during the entire incubation period, which will last about 60 days. She will protect the eggs from predators, such as raccoons, hogs, otters and even bears, helping to insure as many live births as possible.

This hungry adult female actually raises up on its hind legs in shallow water and then lunges down to catch a fish! PHOTOS BY BOB MCCONNVILLE

When the eggs are ready to hatch, mom will respond to calls from the newborn and will help to dig them out of the nest. She will carry several at a time down to the water in her mouth, open her jaws and shake her head gently from side to side, encouraging the young to swim out. These newborn, about eight inches long, will stay together in pods that could include hatchlings from other nests. They will receive mom’s protection for at least one year, sometimes up to two or three years.

There will be a mixture of male and female in the pod, and that is determined by the temperature of each egg during incubation. Those eggs that incubate at the 90 degree range will hatch as males. Eggs that incubate in the 85 degree range will be females. The intermediate temperatures will yield a mix of male and female.

Mom will quickly respond to any calls from the hatchlings facing danger. Even though the young grow quickly during the first four years, averaging about one foot per year in length, they are easy prey for raccoons, otters, wading birds and some fish. Their most significant predator…large male gator.

Because alligators are ectothermic (they rely on external heat to regulate body temperature), you will usually find them near bodies of water to cool off when the sun gets too warm. The newborn are no exception.

Even though the survival rate of young is only 10 percent, these alligators are an important players in the Everglades’ ecosystem. There is a series of checks and balances in nature here and having a sufficient number of young survive to adulthood is critical to maintain that balance.

When visiting the ‘Glades, keep an eye out for these newborn. It is, indeed, their birthing season.

 

Bob is the owner of Steppingstone Ecotours and a naturalist with the Dolphin Explorer’s survey team. He is a member of Leadership Marco 2014. Bob loves his wife very much!

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:25pm

BOOK REMARKS
Maggie Gust
winetaster13@gmail.com

 

By Nadia Hashimi

William Morrow, May 2014, 464 pages

 

“You know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.” - Khala Shaima, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel.

In her debut novel, Nadia Hashimi has gifted the world with a wonderfully written, mesmerizing look into a fascinating family drama set in Afghanistan. The main protagonists are Rahima, a young 21st century Afghani girl and her great-great-grandmother Shekiba who lived in the early 20th century.

The story shifts between the young women who share not only DNA, but the fact that both were allowed, for awhile, to dress and live as males. Under a custom called bacha posh families who do not have sons or have a single son may allow a daughter to have her hair cut in boy fashion, don boy’s clothing, be given the freedom of boys to attend school, play in the streets, do marketing and price haggling for the family, earn money for the family, are freed from household chores, are favored by the father and receive the best food at home. After the onset of puberty, the girl has to transition back to a traditional Afghani female, wherein lies much of the poignancy of this exquisite story. Once they have tasted freedom, recognition and respect, the bacha posh can have difficulty adjusting back to their culture’s traditional female role.

Rahima, allowed to become a bacha posh, is one of five daughters. Her outspoken, sharp-tongued maternal aunt, Khala Shaima, who never married due to a physical deformity, visits the family frequently to urge that the Rahima and her sisters be allowed to attend school, that they are as worthy as boys. She also tells them many stories, including that of Shekiba, their great-great-grandmother. Although the girls are allowed to attend school for a short time, after an incident with boys harassing them in the streets, they ultimately end up homebound. Rahima’s father is not a good provider, and had spent much of his young adulthood fighting with the mujahideen against the Russian occupiers. His re-entry to civilian life did not go well. Between his substance abuse and his lack of a son, he was an angry, bitter man. His continued alliance with the local warlord from his mujahideen days will have drastic consequences for his family.

Shekiba was the daughter of a happily married couple. Her father was a farmer who could make any crop grow, a true man of the earth. He taught all of his children to read. Her mother, two brothers and a sister died in a cholera outbreak, leaving Shekiba and her father working the farm. After father dies, Shekiba tells no one and continues to work the farm on her own, dawning her burqa if anyone approaches the homestead. Eventually her deception is discovered, she is moved to her grandmother’s house in the family compound and treated worse than a servant. Her spirit is fatigued at times, but never defeated. Shekiba becomes a female dressed as a male in the king’s harem just outside the palace. The king has learned not to trust male guards.

The description of Shekiba’s life in the harem is interesting and very compelling. The prestige of the concubines, the size of their apartments, their wardrobes and jewelry, were determined by the favor they held with the king. For the most part, this was dependent on the number of male children the concubine bore. The same measure used for Afghani wives, actually. Despite the luxury and leisure afforded concubines, there was always a shadow of danger hanging over them in their silk and jewelry-laden prison. Displeasing the king could be deadly. There is a vivid description of a stoning of a concubine who has entertained another man.

This story is fascinating. Not only is it beautifully written, but the two arcs of the story, Shekiba and Rahima, based a century apart, show the similarities and contrasts of the female role in Afghani society. Shekiba saw the beginnings of modernization for Afghanistan under King Amanullah and Queen Soraya, which included the expansion of the roles for women in society (true historical characters). A century later, Rahima actually participates in the Afghani legislature as assistant to a female representative.

King Amanullah’s efforts to modernize Afghanistan a century ago were met with resistance and rebellion, eventually forcing him into exile after less than a decade of rule. It is still an open question whether today’s efforts to modernize the country and expand the role of women in the Afghani culture will succeed. The message of this book is that through the indomitable nature of the human spirit, there is hope, no matter the external circumstances of one’s existence.

I gave this book a 4.75/5.0 rating. I hated to put it down to work, eat, sleep, and actually read it while I was on the treadmill and bike at the gym. I have barely sketched the stories of these two women; there are many other characters in the book who are just as mesmerizing. The most intense focus is on the women, but the men’s stories are represented as well because more than anything else, this is a novel about family. The men’s fates are also shaped by cultural expectations and how they use the power endowed by their societal structure has consequences for everyone around them. Some choose to brutalize others with this power, while other men choose kindness, empathy and love.

Although not available at Collier County Public Library yet, it can be found in hardback, paperback, audio, and e-format in the usual markets.

The title, “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell,” is a line from a poem/prayer “Some Kiss We Want,” by the 13th century Persian (born in today’s Afghanistan, part of the Persian Empire at that time) poet/mystic Jlal Ad-Din Mohammad Rumi.

There is some kiss we want

with our whole lives,

the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl

to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately

it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window

and ask the moon to come

and press its face into mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,

and open the love-window.

The moon won’t use the door,

only the window.

Nadia Hashimi is a pediatrician practicing in Washington, D.C. Her Afghani parents moved here to the United States in the 1970s, prior to the Soviet intrusion into their country. She grew up in New York and New Jersey, and lives now in Maryland with her husband and two children. I am in awe that she found the time to write this novel, but I selfishly hope she does it again soon. I urge you not to miss this extraordinary book.

I want to thank Diane Bostick for giving me a heads-up on this lovely, compelling story.

About The Author Maggie Gust is a life-long avid reader whose career path has included working as a teacher and in various positions in the health care field. A native of Illinois, she has lived in Florida since 1993 and presently works from her home here on Marco Island. e-mail: winetaster13@gmail.com 

Fishing from a Kayak! Really?

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:23pm

LADY ANGLERS
Captain Mary A. Fink
islandgirlscharters.com

Absolutely! Why not further enhance the enjoyment found from kayaking by taking a fishing rod along? The benefits of simply kayaking are obvious: ease, serenity, exercise and awesome sightseeing opportunities to name only a few. Most prefer to kayak in quiet areas around inshore waters, dense mangrove islands and bays where waters are calm and wildlife is plentiful. Interestingly enough, fish prefer the same habitat that most kayak enthusiasts do! This combination of interests creates a potentially action-packed inshore fishing experience from a small craft in a scenic surround. While it’s true that many experienced kayak anglers have a completely “rigged” craft with all kinds of specialized custom fishing equipment and storage areas, it is not necessary to do so to have an enjoyable and productive experience.

There are some very basic items you will need to take with you as you learn to discover fishing from your kayak. The obvious items being sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, a hat, water and any other essentials you may require. As for the fishing necessities, stick with light tackle, as it is easy to maneuver and store. Light tackle is defined as a spinning reel containing braided line between 15lbs and 20lbs and a rod of 4-5 feet in length. Fluorocarbon leader material is recommended as it is nearly invisible in the water, unlike braided line.

In our local inshore waters, use a chartreuse-colored jig head between 1/8oz and 1/4oz tipped with your desired artificial or live bait offering. It’s obviously easier to fish with artificial baits from your kayak as it eliminates the need to keep bait stored in a live well or frozen in a cooler. If using artificial baits, I recommend using soft plastics in the form of shrimp and mullet imitations for the best presentation with the greatest ease. Be sure to take along extra tackle and a pair of pliers and clippers in the event you choose to change out tackle and jig heads. If your plan is to catch and release, you need not bring along anything else. If you are in search of dinner, you will need to keep your fish on ice until you venture back home where the fish may be prepared.

There are some basic fishing tips I’d like to share with you to help increase your chances of a “hook up.” First, while kayaking, begin to notice any signs of movement on the water’s surface. You may see baitfish schools, tailing fish, jumping or rising fish or just water movement other than the more obvious tidal exchange that may indicate the presence of your target. Next, hug areas of structure like mangrove islands, docks and beaches as these areas provide habitat for most inshore species. Look for areas where water is moving in and around mangrove points and fallen branches. Present your bait as close to these hard structure areas as possible to provoke a strike. Use your small craft anchor when you find a desirable or productive location so you may maximize your time there.

Fishing from your kayak can be fun and action packed, enhancing the enjoyment of a day on the water. The ability to navigate into shallow areas very quietly is a big plus when it comes to fishing inshore waters where fish can be easily spooked. Give it a try today.

 

Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both backcountry and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit www.islandgirlscharters.com to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.

 

 

 

Viva Espana

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:21pm

ALL THAT GLITTERS
Richard Alan
harborgoldsmith@comcast.net

By the time this story is published, I will be back home on Marco, as I’m writing about my experiences here and now. I’m in a sad-to-leave-but-happy-to-go emotional state of mind. What may seem to many of you like aimless wandering about the southern Iberian coastline actually panned out to a memorable and wonderful experience.

Almaria. Photo BY RICHARD ALLEN

The cities of the Costa de Sol dot the coast line like a beautiful set of pearls. We are currently in Almeria, Spain, which is considered the last but not least wonderful northern-most city on the Costa de Sol. This whole city knows how to party during their summer festivals as I mentioned in my previous “Glitter.”

So far we have visited Malaga, Torremolinos, Marbella, Gibraltar, Cadiz, Grenada and Seville to name a few. At first sight, they do seem similar, but each one has its own history, personality and specialities, such as the wines, cheeses, olive oils, fish, beef and pork that influence each locale’s cuisine. Just about every large city I explored has a mercado — an outdoor-indoor marketplace — that features all the exotic (to me anyway!) local seafoods, meats, cheeses and produce. The choices are endless and fun, and almost every vender offers you a bite of this or a nibble of that. This beats any food shopping experience I have ever had at home. The smell of salted cod and fresh fish reminded me of my childhood at the outdoor market on weekends in Haymarket Square in Boston.

The delicious result of these mercados is evident when dining in the surrounding restaurants; the word frozen food is nonexistent. Another tip…One should always avoid the obvious tourist trap restaurants and ask locals, such as a well-tipped bodega employee, where she or he likes to eat? Of course, it helps that your traveling companion speaks fluid Spanish. This simple method of gastronomic discovery is rarely a disappointing experience and is also easy on the wallet.

Alas, it is time once again to move on, back to our trusty and now dusty Renault. Whatever it is? I grabbed the now well-worn map of southern Spain and asked my co-pilot, “Where next?” A simple finger point, and, “Hmm…this looks good; I’ve heard of that town,” and we’re off!

Two and half hours northwest from the coast is the ancient city of Granada, the home to one of the most magnificent arabic palaces built on the European continent many centuries ago — The Alhambra. I read a little about this mystical place in high school, but I was not prepared for what I was about to behold.

Perched on a high peak overlooking the city of Granada is the most lush and grand Moorish palace I have ever imagined. The sound of bubbling fountains and water rushing by in miniature aqueducts surrounds you as you meander through centuries of manicured hedges, gardens and terraces. Even with hundreds of tourists milling about, there is a feeling of peace and tranquility. The architectural details of arches, walls and ceilings are mesmerizing. It was obviously good to be king or Sultan!

The Moors controlled this palace fortress for many centuries until they were finally expelled by the royal Spanish families in 1492, and there were many changes. Islamic influences became Roman Catholic. The Spanish even added another palace. Parts of the palace suffered earthquakes and desecration and later fell into near ruin until the French conquest in later centuries. The French soldiers appreciating its beauty actually restored parts of the jewel of Granada to its original glory, only to blow up part of the palace when forced to evacuate. It is a miracle so much of the palace has survived to this day.

While poking around the city below Alhambra, we noticed a sign pointing to the whereabouts of the ancient public baths. We expected a dry, dusty relic of what once was, but to my amazement, we found a fully functioning palace of natural hot water open to the public like the bath houses of centuries old. For 14 Euros, you got a towel (no suit) and a locker. I gracefully refused noticing it was co-ed, and bathing suits, I’m sure, we’re optional. Is my proper Bostonian parochial upbringing at work here?

Granada is a mix of the old and new. The sophisticated shopper will not be disappointed with the endless array of elegant shops and boutiques (Thank goodness my wife is not here!) that line the main and secluded alleys. Speaking of secluded, sometimes an object in plain view is the best hiding place, and squeezed between a modern shoe store and dress boutique we found Bodega Enrique. This hidden gem opened more than 140 years ago, and the 300-square-foot bodega (bar) hasn’t a single chair and serves patrons from a narrow armrest of a bar. It is a treasure discovered.

Order a small beer or glass of wine, and moments later a complimentary plate of tapas appear. Order another beverage, and there appears a different tapas. I’m liking this! The tapas can be on slices of bread and can be thin sliced cured Iberian ham, large fresh olives, garlic fish dip with potato or aged sausage. My favorite was the chorizo.

I can’t even tell you what half of the tapas were made from except that they all tasted amazing. What makes this place so special is the unavoidable camaraderie that occurs in a place so small. In moments, the place was packed. We talked to Aussies on holiday, Brits and a French couple, and when the crowd cleared, the bodega-tender, Pedro, was extremely helpful on where to go and what to see.

By and far, Enrique’s was the highlight of the trip, tiny and quaint with only one quality beer on tap and an endless array of wine choices. We signaled Pedro for the check. He came over and wrote the charges upside down on the bar in white chalk. We laughed, paid the bill and he then wiped off the total with a damp cloth. The IRS would love this method of bookkeeping back home! Who has room for supper? Enrique’s is a place not to be missed when visiting Grenada.

On a jewelry note — after all this column is supposed to be about that subject — I can’t help but notice that here on the Costa de Sol there is no lack of high-end jewelry stores, and every shop I saw was deserted. Bars, bodegas, cafés, dance clubs that’s a different story. The young and beautiful people, locals and tourists alike, wear silver and stainless steel but sparingly. The young Spanish men and ladies dress very chic especially at night. It seemed like I was the only one wearing a t- shirt. Want to leave no doubt you’re an American over here? Wear a t-shirt and a ball cap!

Well, my aimless wandering will soon be organized. We are heading back to Malaga so my traveling companion can catch his flight back to Marco. It just so happens my wife is scheduled to arrive at the same airport (coincidence?) an hour later, and we will catch a short flight to Mallorca, where Andrea will force me to follow a regimented program of strict rest and relaxation to relieve my stress. I feel fine dear; I really do.

They say there is no such place as “Margaritaville.” It’s where you make it, and I discovered the next best thing — “Sangriaville” — parking my butt on a sun-drenched, cliff-side hotel in Cala Fornells, Mallorca.

I enjoyed my seemingly chaotic rambling about the southern coast of Spain. In truth, absorbing the life styles of ancient and current cultures and the way these people live, design, create and build everything from A-Z is so different from the way we live in the States. It’s a fact they live healthier and longer than we do because many Europeans work to live and not the other way around. They eat better foods, and stay in shape. Where we would jump into a car to go a few blocks, they walk or bike, and this includes folks in their late 80s.

I have mentioned before the siesta thing would not be a bad idea on Marco Island especially in the slow steamy summer months. What island shopkeeper would mind opening at 8 AM work till12 PM close and re-open from 5-9 PM? At first, customers wouldn’t like it, and neither would my staff. Eventually, though, they would learn to love it. I sure as heck would live longer!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the new line of jewelry that will be the hottest thing since Pandora. It’s called “Infinity,” and it will be available in late October exclusively at The Harbor Goldsmith. The Infinity line launched a success in Europe and will soon be rage in the U.S.

About The Author Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith at Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at 239-394-9275 or harborgoldsmith@comcast.net

Nine Months to Baby- Proof Your Finances

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:19pm

Ask The CFP® Practitioner
Darcie Guerin
darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com

“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” - Carl Sandburg, American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner, (1878-1967)

QUESTION: Our daughter and son-in-law announced that they are expecting their first child and our first grandchild! What practical financial advice would you suggest we give to them? 

Answer: First, congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of grandparenting. Besides forever changing our lives for the better, babies have a way of boosting economic activity. In fact, when we became grandparents-to-be, my online shopping activity increased dramatically. Perhaps a future column should address financial tips for grandparents! For today though, let’s focus on nine ways your daughter and son-in-law can baby proof finances in nine months.

MONTH 1: Establish or fortify an existing emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

MONTH 2: Closely monitor cash flow and establish a budget. Two websites to check out are http://www.babycenter.com/baby-cost-calculator to help anticipate the costs of having a baby, and http://www.raymondjames.com/investmentinsights/FinancialResources for savings and investment calculators, a printable budget worksheet and other helpful tools. You may also want to suggest that they consult with a financial advisor. Having a baby is a life-changing event that could affect other goals in their financial plan.

MONTH 3: If both parents work, investigate childcare options. Will Grandma care for the baby, or could they share a nanny with another couple while the baby is very young? Having a plan in place ahead of the big day is vital and arranging for childcare is an essential component. Remind them to check into leave under the Family Medical Leave Act or paid family leave if offered by their employers.

MONTH 4: Many couples wait until after the first trimester to go public and break the news about the baby bump. When communicating the news to employers, do so in a professional way and be prepared to answer questions about an anticipated return to work date after delivery. They may consider telecommuting or job-sharing options if possible.

MONTH 5: Stock up on wipes and dipes! The amount of baby stuff available can be overwhelming. A new car seat, diapers, wipes, clothing and a place for baby to sleep are mandatory. The rest is optional, and they can always save money (and the environment) by purchasing some gear secondhand. Just be sure to research items and check for recalls.

MONTH 6: Have a plan in place for the unthinkable. Review life insurance offered by employers, and then consider supplementing it with a term or whole life policy. Disability insurance is also a good idea. Between the ages of 35 and 65, we’re more likely to become disabled than die. A financial advisor can help guide them toward the coverage that best fits their situation. One last thing: Make a reminder to add the baby to their health plan as soon as possible after birth.

MONTH 7: Update their will. They’ll need to plan for the care of a minor child in the event both parents die at the same time. Work with a trusted financial advisor and qualified estate attorney to make sure all bases are covered. In addition, if there is already an estate plan in place, be sure to review and update documents with the appropriate beneficiary information. This may be time for Grandma and Grandpa to review their estate plan as well.

MONTH 8: Start (or keep) saving! According to the U.S. department of Agriculture, child-related expenses average $12,600 to $14,700 each and every year. If there is extra money in the bank when baby arrives, consider starting a college savings account. Choose from a 529 savings plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account, among other options. However, don’t divert funds from retirement accounts to a college fund. There are scholarships and loans available for education but not for retirement needs.

MONTH 9: Reap the tax benefits. In 2014, they can claim a $3,950 exemption for having a child, as well as a refundable child tax credit of up to $3,000. They may also want to adjust the amount withheld from paychecks for taxes.

The first year of a baby’s life is happy and hectic. It’s a good idea to get as much done before delivery day as possible so everyone can enjoy each moment. When their little one arrives and the to-do list is checked off, they’ll thank you for helping to baby proof their finances. Stay focused and invest accordingly.

The information contained herein is obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. This information is general in nature, it is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular investment. Investing involves risk and the possible loss of principal invested, investors may incur a profit or a loss. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and subject to change at any time.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any outside web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site’s users and/or members.

“Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP(R), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(tm) and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S.”

 

This article provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, Associate Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. She may be reached at 239-389-1041, email darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com Website: www.raymondjames.com/InvestmentInsights

 

 

 

Do You Overeat? Part I

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:17pm

FITNESS DIVA
Crystal Manjarres
Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com

For many of us, this is a resounding yes! We eat the foods we know are bad but that taste so good. We tell ourselves not to, but we do it anyway. We allow ourselves a “cheat” meal and then feel lousy or guilty (or both) afterwards. We swear up and down that we won’t do it again — until we do.

What we need to do is understand why we are tempted to overeat in the first place, and then formulate a plan of action — that’s right, action. You can’t just sit there and wish that you didn’t overeat. You’ve got to purposefully make a conscious effort not to.

Think about training for a marathon, getting a degree or even teaching children how to read and write. They are all a process: a process of time, effort, consistency and discipline. Was it super fun the entire time? Heck no! Was the result worth the effort? Absolutely!

To change your body, you have to change your mind. Changing your mindset will help change your behavior, and your behavior will inevitably change your body.

  • Be Mindful: Be aware of the allure of trigger foods such as warm and gooey brownies, hot buttered bread, an irresistible slice of cheesy pizza; take a moment to ask yourself what you are feeling. Are you sad? Stressed? Upset? Ask yourself if eating will make those feelings go away — and be honest. I always have a list of back up tactics to try whenever those urges strike. Find some other healthier activity that you enjoy to help distract and/or uplift your mood. It could be calling a good friend, going for a walk (my favorite), exercising, reading, journaling, praying, taking a relaxing bath, deep breathing, etc.
  • Change Your Triggers: If having Twinkies or shortbread cookies (or chips or whatever your weak-at-the-knees food is) in the cupboard has you relying on sheer willpower every time you open those doors, you will more than likely cave. Instead, don’t let it enter your house at all, and toss all junk foods in your house (if your significant other objects, put it in a place that you never visit, like a cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen where you’ll forget about it). My husband’s favorite expression is “if it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it,” and nine times out of 10, you aren’t going to go out of your way to the store to buy that tempting treat.
  • Make a List: Make a list of situations you cannot control and formulate alternatives. Maybe you need to avoid certain restaurants at all costs (for example buffets) and skip eating with people who sabotage your efforts (or at least make sure that there are healthier options available so that you are able to eat with them). Just because someone serves you a plate of cookies or a slice of cake doesn’t mean you must eat it. Push it away or toss it in the garbage if you must. I find pouring water on any tempting treats always works for me.
  • Create New Habits: If you always get a donut from the bakery when you hit Publix or grab a latte from Starbucks on your way home from work, make it a point to do something different. Reward yourself with your favorite cup of tea when you get home or pack a healthy snack to eat before you get to the store to diminish hunger. Try walking the store in a completely different way than you usually do and avoiding the bakery altogether for instance. On your drive home, focus on listening to your favorite music, try a new stop (perhaps at a park to relax in the grass or a bench instead of a bustling coffee shop), or change your route home completely to avoid any temptation.

This is part one of three about ending the vicious cycle of overeating. If you have any tried and true methods that work for you, feel free to email them to me, and I may mention them in an upcoming article.

 

Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.

 

 

Judgement

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:15pm

Body, Mind And Spirit
Laurie Kasperbauer
lkasperbauer@gmail.com

Throughout the course of each day of our lives, we are tasked to make decisions. Small ones like, “Am I hungry for breakfast?” “What should I eat for breakfast?” “Do I have time for breakfast?”, or did I make the decision to sleep an extra 15 minutes and now breakfast consists of a stick of chewing gum and coffee at my desk?

As our day gets rolling, the decisions we make might gain significance. After all, we get to decide how we dress, who we hang out with, what we are going to say, how much effort we are willing to expend, and when we’ve had enough.

Decisions are personal. Our best decisions are generally based on the influence of those we respect and the experiences of past decision-making. When our four children were all teens, our household was a roiling cauldron of hormone-induced, peer-pressured, parental-defying decisions. Somehow, we all made it through unscathed. As adults, our children’s characters are well-constructed and we can recall the memories with humor and (mostly) mild embarrassment.

But what happens when the decisions we make and the opinions we express to support those decisions don’t exactly line up with expectations — specifically, the expectations we have of ourselves and others. Is this when we begin to topple down the slippery slope of judgement?

After all, if I decide to eat a well-balanced diet and include exercise in my daily routine, I would probably expect to look a certain way. Yet each time I catch my reflection in the mirror, my gaze is instantly drawn to THE SPOT! We all have one, and you know where yours is. Maybe it’s your belly that protrudes over your waist band further than you like, or those folds of skin that seem to appear out of nowhere and droop over your knees like lazy eyelids, or maybe, despite a daily ritual of facewash and various creams, we gaze into the mirror and the only thing we can see is that one, fiery red blemish planted like a beacon next to our too-big nose. Judgement, in it’s most unflattering form, steps into our mind like an unwelcome house guest. Loud. Boldly trampling through our thoughts and leaving feelings of defeat and frustration in it’s path.

Joseph Addison was a poet and a politician born in the late 1600s. He penned this line more than 400 years ago, and it still rings true: “What an absurd thing to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.”

Yoga, in a word, means union. It is the coming together of our minds, our bodies and the world we live in. Through yoga, we learn to gaze inward. In our practice, even if we are in a classroom setting with many other participants, we are encouraged to practice “alone.” That is, within our own bodies, our own capacities, and at our own pace. There is no judgement in yoga — not of others and not of ourselves. When we come to a pose that is uncomfortable or even unattainable, we rejoice in what our body allows for us rather than power into a place that could cause injury or stress. The emphasis is on what is possible, in this moment, on this day. We aren’t stuck on the pose we are stuck on. We acknowledge the physical “blemish” or the internal “block” that appears, as a single part of the whole body, and we acknowledge the whole body as a single part of the world in which we live. And we continue to live peacefully in this body, in this world, with all the other creatures — scales, spots, fins and blemishes alike.

There is a story of a Native American tribal leader who describes his own inner struggles as two dogs that live inside him. One of the dogs is mean and evil; the other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When the leader was asked which dog usually wins the fight, he replied, “The one I feed the most.”

If we imagine judgement to be an unwelcome house guest, with its bold assessments and too-loud voice, we are again tasked with a decision. We can simply choose to live with it and forever see the blemish in our reflection, or we can stop feeding this particular houseguest. We can take away it’s comfortable resting place and show it the door, and the empty space it leaves behind will be filled with love and appreciation of our most valuable self.

 

Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.

 

 

New Laws: Part 4

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:14pm

Condo Law
By Bob Murrell
Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A.

Today, we are continuing our look at the changes to the laws that were signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June, and became effective July 1. We are continuing our look at the changes that were brought about by House Bill 807. Today, we will consider the changes to the Homeowners’ Association Act found in Chapter 720, Florida Statutes.

The first change in Chapter 720 is found in Section 720.303(2)(a), which was amended to require that meetings of the board must be at a location that is accessible to a physically handicapped person, if requested by that person. This may change the location for meetings for many associations and may bring potential issues to the forefront. I have not seen this to ever be a problem for any of the associations that I represent. There is a similar change in Section 720.306(1)(a) for members meetings.

We also find the same changes here that we found in the Condominium Act and the Cooperative Act regarding association directories. Once again, all telephone numbers may be published in the directory, as well as the provision authorizing an owner to give his permission to permit the disclosure of other information, such as email addresses.

There was a clarification to Section 720.306(1)(b) regarding the provision of amendments to the members within 30 days. This change permits the association to provide notice to the members that the amendment was adopted, identifying the book and page where recorded, and informing the owners that a copy is available upon request at no charge to the owner. This can be helpful where there has been a major rewrite, but in most instances, it may be just as easy to send the amendment.

As we saw previously regarding cooperatives, a new Section 720.316 was added to provide the emergency powers to the homeowners’ association as well. Such powers that are granted include the power and authority to determine when the association property may not be used and granting the board power to prohibit property owners from using that property during the time of the emergency until it is determined that it is safe to do so. The power granted is limited to that time reasonably necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the association, and the unit owners and their family members, tenants, guests, agents or invitees.

As you will note, there were not as many changes to the Homeowners’ Association Act because most of the same changes that we saw in the Condominium Act and the Cooperative Act had already been implemented in the Homeowners’ Association Act last year.

Next, we will consider the other two bills related to community associations that were approved and signed by the Gov. Scott on June 13, 2014.

 

Sanding and Painting Can Cause a Toxic Mess

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:13pm

By Lt. Bill Hempel
United States Power Squadrons

Of all the boat maintenance chores, the prep work of sanding and painting bugs me the most. It always seems that the chips and dust stick better to my skin than they originally did to my hull. We also may be creating an environmental mess. Most marine paints are made with toxic chemicals designed to leach out and prevent bottom growth on the hull. When concentrated amounts of these materials are ground and chipped off the hull, there is the potential for environmental harm.

In addition to the paint, solvents, thinners and brush cleaners contain cancer-causing agents and have a tendency to compromise water quality, damaging marine life and the underwater environment. Inhalation and absorption through skin can result in health problems too. I recently read a fact sheet published by the Rhode Island Sea Grant Advisory Service. I thought I would share with you some steps to take to minimize compromising the environment:

  1. In a Marina area, ask the Manager if there is a designated sanding and painting area to confine the waste products.
  2. Work under cover to minimize the wind blowing dust and paint into the open air.
  3. Use environmentally friendly tools, such as vacuum sanders and grinders, to collect and trap dust.
  4. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth to prevent inhalation.
  5. A hat and long sleeves will minimize potential skin and scalp problems.
  6. Immediately following your work, clean up all debris, sanding dust and paint chips
  7. Use a drop cloth under the hull to catch dust, chips and paint drops.
  8. After sanding or grinding over a paved area, do not attempt to hose the debris away.
  9. Buy varnishes, solvents, and thinners in sizes that you will use within one year.
  10. Use water-based paints and solvents.
  11. Even though they are more expensive, switch to longer lasting, harder or non-toxic antifouling paints at your next haul out.
  12. Mix your paints, solvents, and reducers as far from the water’s edge as possible.
  13. Remember that you can save money by recycling your own solvents and thinners.
  14. If you have small quantities of unusable solvents, dispose of them by brushing them on a board and letting them evaporate.
  15. Thoroughly dry all paint cans before attempting to dispose of them in the trash.
  16. If in doubt about proper disposal practices, check with your Marina Manager or your local municipality.

These few simple tips will help you play an important role in protecting our marine environment and potentially your own health. For many more tips on boating safety and maintenance, take a class from the United States Power Squadrons. Contact your local unit, Marco Island Sail &Power Squadron, at 239-393-0150, visit it on the web at www.marcoislandsailandpowersqaudron.org or go to www.usps.org.

The members of the United States Power Squadrons always remind us: “Boating is fun…we’ll show you how!”

 

 

What Golf Ball Fits Your Game?

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:10pm

Golf Tips
Todd Elliott
telliott@hideawaybeachclub.org

I have been told many times by my students that they are not good enough golfers to play a premium golf ball. Believe or not, playing the correct golf ball can take strokes off your game instantly, even for the higher handicapper. Many of the companies do a great job marketing there lower priced golf balls. However, these marketing techniques lead to myths about how the golf ball performs and what leads to lower scores.

The one marketing technique that comes to mind is a golf ball company that markets a golf ball that supposedly fits a lower swing speed. Notice how they never explain why; the reason they do not explain is because there is no explanation. Research has shown that there is a four-yard difference between golf balls’ average driver carry distance within a golf ball company’s complete collection. Another myth is compression of the golf ball. The golf ball of today has a compression, but it factors little in how the golf ball reacts to different swing speeds.

The best marketing is a ladies golf balls. All ladies have various golf games and swing speeds. One size does not fit all. The golf ball companies put the name lady on the ball and sales go through the roof. Does anyone know the difference between a ladies’ ball and men’s golf ball? The name lady is on the cover of the golf ball…..that’s it.

The golf ball companies have categories of golf ball based on price points. If the company told consumers the best golf ball for everyone was the premium, high-dollar golf ball, it would hurt sales of the lower priced golf ball and put their business in jeopardy. The truth is that the premium golf balls travel the same distance off the tee as other priced golf balls, and are 100 percent better when hitting approach shots to the green. The premium golf ball will stop on the green with longer shots and have more control when hitting chip and pitch shots around the green. Most golfers have long iron or hybrid approach shots into the green. It is hard to hit a green with a hybrid. This creates an emphases on a golfers hitting a chip or pitch shot that stops on the green.

When I am conducting a golf ball fitting for a student, we work from the green backwards. I will have the student hit small chip shots, then longer chip shots, then pitch shots, and then half wedge shots. Finally, I will watch the student hit some long irons or hybrids into the green. I will rarely have a student hit a driver during a golf ball fitting, and 95 percent of my students will be fit into a premium golf ball that has more spin. An example is Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls from the Titleist premium golf ball collection. The Pro V1 has more spin and is softer. The Pro V1 is the best golf ball for someone who flights the ball low and cannot create a lot of spin with their wedge shots. The Pro V1x will fly lower with less spin. A player who can stop long irons on the green and can hit different shots with their wedges around the green will usually be fit into the Pro V1x. High club head speed players will fit into a Pro V1x more often than not because with more club head speed a golfer has the harder it is to reduce spin and height of the ball flight.

There is nothing wrong with the rest of the Titleist collection of golf balls. However, if a student ask which ball is the best for their game, I am going to use these two premium golf balls to do the fitting. If a student comes to me and says I do not want to spend $5 per golf ball, then I will conduct the fitting with a mid-range price point golf ball collection. Getting a premium used golf ball is not a bad idea. The golf balls today are very durable, and a premium used golf ball will be sufficient. Not ideal, but sufficient.

Do you wonder how the PGA Tour Professionals on TV hit short wedge shots, the ball takes two bounces and then stops on a dime? The first variable to that equation is if the PGA Tour player is playing a premium golf ball. Do not get your golf education from a golf club company’s 30-second advertisement. Go see a local PGA professional who can find the correct golf ball for your game and price range.

 

Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is an active Student Mentor at FGCU; a volunteer with the First Tee program and was presented the 2010 and 2011 PGA’s President Council Awards on “Growing the Game.”

 

 

Did Social Media Doom McEnroe?

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:08pm

READ MY TIPS
Doug Browne
dbrowne912@aol.com

USTA Player Development Director Patrick McEnroe. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Shocked? Yes, sort of because we had heard that USTA Player Development Director Patrick McEnroe signed another contract extension to remain in his current post. Tennis pros from all over the country were upset because USA men’s tennis has fallen off the grid, and there is little hope around the corner for an American male to win a Grand Slam in the near future.

Now, back to Mr. McEnroe. Whether it is Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, pros are bitter that Patrick was appointed Davis Cup Coach and Player Development Director because he is not qualified to fill either role. To many observers, he has prospered because of his older brother’s influence — John McEnroe. Let’s trace his career path. First, he followed John to Stanford University, trailed him in the broadcast booth and again followed him as the men’s Davis Cup Coach. Hmm.

Patrick’s television duties are extensive and have clearly interfered with his USTA Player Development position. It is alleged that the USTA pays him $1.4 million for his part-time gig, and with no outstanding results, it was time to go. So, last week at the conclusion of the US Open in New York, he resigned his PD job. He clearly made the correct decision, and I would venture to guess that he is significantly relieved. Just imagine being criticized by the majority of your peers on all of the social media outlets but also being lambasted by many tennis print publications. Heck, is our old Cornhusker star Andy Roddick the last American to win the US Open in 2003? Sad to say but yes, Andy is the last American male to win our nation’s biggest Grand Slam tennis event.

USA tennis fans have suffered quite a drought, and the pressure was on Patrick and his team to reverse the trend and start producing new champions. With so much riding on this crucial task, I can’t fathom how he could accept this job as a part-time endeavor? We are now hearing that his successor will have to move to the brand new USTA training center in Orlando and be prepared to work full time. Wow, what a revelation!

Now, it is vital for the USTA to learn from past mistakes and prepare to steer a new course. The best suggestion I have heard is for the USTA to put together a huge focus group which would include a wide variety of tennis enthusiasts. This new panel would include the Bryan twins; their father Wayne, who was the architect of their tennis games and still is closely connected to the sport; and numerous other leaders in the game. Instead of tapping into the same recycled group of ex-players, this new “super” group would include coaches and parents of successful junior players.

Certainly, leaders like Billie Jean King and current Davis Cup Coach Jim Courier would be consulted, but the emphasis would be to listen to a larger base of knowledgeable tennis people. For the better part of the last three decades, the USTA has only concentrated on former ATP/WTA stars and has ignored the pros who have consistently developed juniors from their early development.

The USPTA and USPTR boast more than 15,000 certified professionals; certainly there are enough well-qualified people who can offer salient ideas that can aid the new player development director down the road in Orlando. It is time for USA tennis to step up and make a splash in the world tennis scene, but we must be willing to make drastic changes.

First and most importantly, the USTA must embrace the coaches who have molded their young star from the beginning. Ironically, in the past, we have asked this rising youngster to leave home, abandon their primary coach and start anew. This old theory must be eliminated, and we must embrace and nurture the coach who has been there from the start.

Suggestion No. 2, allow the up-and-coming junior player to stay at their home address and only require them to visit the Orlando training site on a quarterly basis. Idea three, make sure to adequately fund the junior’s family for coaching and traveling expenses in lieu of moving them to Central Florida.

Finally, hire teaching pros, not former tour players, to help build the new brand. It is imperative to utilize the true professionals who have been in the trenches growing the games of beginners and advanced beginners and have the tools to ignite more progress. It is important to point out that some of the future stars still need technique improvement; certified pros have the expertise to tweak a grip change or a style flaw. Sure, the ATP or WTA tour player can offer outstanding motivational tips, but there are just too many other factors that compliment one’s tennis game.

Let’s look to a whole new batch of talent to rescue USA men’s tennis. Once we are able to produce another champion, it is quite conceivable that we will see a rise in popularity in this country. The time is now, and we must be willing to make bold steps to achieve our lofty goals.

A big shout out to my tennis buddy Tye Myers of Naples, who has been tapped as the next head tennis professional at Hideaway Beach on Marco. Not only is he a great guy, but he is immensely talented and dedicated to his craft. He has assembled an outstanding staff, and he is excited about the coming season. Good luck, Tye.

 

Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.

 

 

The Name is the Thing

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 4:06pm

SOUTHERN SKIES
By Mike P. Usher
usher34105@earthlink.net

How did the planets and stars get their names? For planets, the answer is easy. They were named after gods. Indeed, it was believed they were gods. Planets were named after different gods at different times in different civilizations, but the names we use today are those of Roman gods. The names follow a certain logic. Mercury was the messenger of the gods so he needed to move quickly as does his namesake planet. The planet Venus is quite beautiful and so was named after the goddess of love and beauty. Mars is as red as blood so it was named after the god of war. Jupiter was king of the gods and took the throne after defeating his father Saturn in a war.

Once the telescope was invented, and much later spacecraft, new features and new objects were revealed that just cried out for names. Gradually, certain naming conventions were developed. Satellites of Jupiter are named after the god’s many lovers, while Saturn’s moons are named after the god’s brothers and sisters — the Titans of mythology. Since Mars is a son of Jupiter and Jupiter is a son of Saturn when the next planet further out was discovered, it was named Uranus after the father of Saturn. The planet Neptune has a very blue color and so was named after the god of the sea. It should be noted here Neptune’s color actually has nothing to do with water but is a consequence of methane in it’s atmosphere.

Asteroids were named after Roman deities as well and later on Greek gods too. As more and more asteroids were discovered, the list of classical names grew thin, and other types of names were pressed into service. Astronomer’s wives and girlfriends names are common as well as numerous scientists, politicians, artists, composers, celebrities, TV characters and the occasional dog or cat. All asteroids are also given a numerical prefix in order of discovery so one can refer to a specific asteroid as 9007 James Bond (that’s a real name!). Discoverers are not allowed to name an asteroid after themselves, but colleagues can make deals to name asteroids after each other.

A few hundred stars have proper names handed down to us from antiquity; of these names, there are only about 20 to 30 that are in common use. Most astronomers do not know or care what a particular stars name might be. Instead, they use catalog designations almost exclusively. Certain companies claim to name stars after people, but they have no authority to do this. Currently, only the International Astronomical Union has the right to assign official names to celestial objects, and they do not name stars.

See you next time!

 

Mr. Usher is a Director of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00PM in the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples. E-mail: usher34105@earthlink.net

OBITUARY: Thelma B. Sergeant

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:47pm

Thelma B. Sargeant, 90, of Marco Island, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, at 12:05 AM at Dorothy Love Retirement Community, Sidney, Ohio.

She was born on March 29, 1924, in Sidney, OH, the daughter of the late Charles O. and Gladys (Hetzler) Middleton.

On December 3, 1944, she married Robert C. Sargeant. Thelma was a homemaker and enjoyed china painting and motor home traveling. She loved spending time visiting with her family and friends. Bob and she spent their winters in Marco Island.

Bob survives Thelma, along with two daughters, Marsha Jarvis and Lynn (husband Bruce) Lindsey, both of Sidney; one sister, Jean (husband Elton) Kaminski of Sidney; four grandchildren, Chris (wife Natalie) Jarvis, Ryan Jarvis, Kelsey (husband Al) Lindsey Ervin, and Jesse (wife Alisha) Lindsey; two great-granddaughters, Porter and Sutton Ervin; and two foster grandchildren, Raynae (Watercutter) Williams and Amy Watercutter.

She was preceded in death by one grandchild; one sister, Mrs. Paul (Eileen) Berner; and one foster daughter, Michelle (Randall) Watercutter.

Mrs. Sargeant was a 1942 graduate of Green Township High School in Plattsville. She worked for Stolle Corp. during World War II.

Over the years, Thelma and Bob have been very active and supportive of the two communities they called home — Shelby County, Ohio, and Marco Island. Locally, the couple has been a major contributor to the Marco Island Historical Society and Veterans’ Memorial Park. All told, they donated more than $100,000 to Veterans’ Park, including a recent $81,000 contribution that allows the Veterans’ Memorial Fundraising Committee to begin work on the long-awaited Freedom Fountain.

In 1997, the Robert and Thelma Sargeant Scholarship Fund, which is a perpetual fund, was established to annually assist Fairlawn graduates and college students. Band uniforms and instruments also have been donated to Fairlawn schools. They also are annual contributors to the Shelby County Applefest, and in 2008, they served as grand marshals in the parade. The Sargeants also were primary donors to the Hospice suites at the Dorothy Love Retirement Community in 2008.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Sept. 6, at noon at Cromes Funeral Home in Sidney, Ohio, with the Rev. James Oates officiating. The service was followed by burial at Cedar Point Cemetery in Pasco.

Marco Island Punt, Pass and Kick 2014

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:43pm

By Noelle H. Lowery
noelle@coastalbreezenews.com

Members of the Parks and Rec staff and the Marco Island Senior Softball League tracked each participants progress.

Marco Island’s under-15 set was ready for some football on a balmy Monday evening, as they gathered at Mackle Park to participate in the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition (PPK).

This was Marco Island’s 10th year to hold the NFL-sponsored, free competition.

Hosted by the city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department on Sept. 15, 31 boys and girls demonstrated their pig skin prowess like the pros in front of a supportive grand stand full of parents, friends and coaches. Established in 1961, the PPK program is the oldest of all the NFL youth football programs, attracting more than 4 million participants nationwide each year. PPK competitions are held annually from May through January, and is one of the world’s largest youth sports participation programs.

The competition is broken into five age divisions — 6/7, 8/9, 10/11, 12/13 and 14/15 — with boys and girls competing separately. Each participant punts, kicks and throws a football into an open field. Points are given for distance and accuracy for each portion of the competition and then combined to reach an overall score.

Participants ranged in age from 6 to 15.

Marco Island falls in the South District – one of six. Winners of the Marco Island competition will next move on to compete at the Sectional Championships in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area sometime in November. After the Sectional Championships, winners go to Team Championships, and the competition culminates in a National Championship in January.

The Parks and Recreation Department would like to thank all of the young athletes who participated this year, and a very special thanks go to the Marco Island Senior Softball League who participated as the “field crew” for the event. In addition to spotting and measuring for each participant, they also provided a few pointers to the young athletes.

 

Ava Tobiason prepares to punt the ball.

Winners of the Marco Island competition were:

 

Boys 6/7: Jake Bruni 138’-10”

Girls 8/9: Lyndsay Lowdermilk 125’-3”

Boys 8/9: Andrew Meyers 129’-4”

Girls 10/11: Jordan Kraley 60’-11”

Boys 10/11: James Burns 154’-11”

Boys 12/13: Justin Webb 239’-11”

Boys 14/15: Cody Webb 264’-03”

 

23 Hours and 50 Minutes of Magic

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:35pm

By John Scott
Honor Flight Guardian

Mel Ollman was a second
lieutenant in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Army Air Corp. Below, he is pictured with his daughter, Karen.

Mel Ollman, a Marco Island resident since 1967, is in the prime of his life at 95 years of age. He and two other Marco Islanders — Francis O’Connell and Rudy Balocki — were among our World War II military heroes honored in September by Honor Flight of Collier County. Mark Sturdivent served as Guardian to Francis, while Jim Prange was Rudy’s Guardian for the trip.

The magic began at 2:15 AM when I arrived at Mel’s apartment on Bald Eagle Drive. He was waiting for me enthusiastically at the door. My job was to be his guardian for the trip to Washington, D. C. We drove to Naples Airport to join some of the other 73 veterans to be honored and to board a bus to Southwest Florida International (RSW) Airport. Leaving the waiting room at Naples Airport, Junior ROTC Cadets saluted the heroes with crossed sabers.

With full police escort and no stop lights, we proceeded to RSW where we boarded our chartered Allegiant Air MD 80 jet. Neither Mel nor I had ever enjoyed a police escort, and it is amazing how quickly you can travel if everyone gets out of your way. As we left the gate, we were showered by a twin water cannon salute from the airport fire department pumper trucks.

Our nonstop flight took only two hours and allowed time for the Vets to get to know each other. Upon our arrival at Baltimore Washington International Airport, once again we were greeted with a twin water cannon salute. A couple hundred well-wishers greeted us as we left the jetway into the airport. The conviviality of the occasion placed an ear-to-ear grin on the faces of our honorees. We boarded another bus, and this time the U. S. Park Police provided our blue and red light escort to the World War II Memorial. It was raining and 62 degrees, but who cared? Our Vets were VIP’S for a day.

Our next stop was across Memorial Bridge at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The rain was beginning to pour, so our bus with police escort circled the statue of the four Marines raising the flag of our country over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The sight raised goose bumps and pride in all.

As the rain tapered to a mist, we rode up the hill of Arlington Cemetery to the tomb of the Unknown Soldiers where our Vets placed a wreath. By now, the rain had stopped, and the sun began to shine. The ceremony of the changing of the guard and the laying of the wreath left few dry eyes.

Our last stop was at the Lincoln Memorial where we viewed the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and later ambled along the reflecting pool. Everywhere we went bystanders thanked our Vets for their service to our country. Mel felt overwhelmed by the love and respect shown by those along the tour.

The best was saved for last. Upon our arrival back at Southwest Florida Airport that evening, 73 really tired World War II veterans along with their guardians and volunteers were met by at least 1,000 well-wishers, including brass bands, bagpipes, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, barbershop singers, school groups, friends and family each thanking our Vets for their patriotism and service. We then boarded yet another bus and with another police escort we traveled back to Naples Airport where we found our car and returned to Marco.

We finally ended our magical day 23 hours and 50 minutes from the time of departure. Captain Mel Ollman, U.S. Army, Retired, was a sleepy but happy man. America still loves her heroes who saved the world from the axis powers and allowed us to remain, “home of the brave and land of the free.”

Honor Flight of Collier County did a tremendous job of organizing this third Honor Flight for Collier County World War II Vets. It was an unforgettable experience for both of us. One more flight will take place in October of this year.

Mel wants to thank all who greeted our Vets upon our arrival back in Southwest Florida as well as those who wrote letters for the mail call on the plane flight back.

Mel takes in the Washington Monument.

Mel’s Fight for America’s Freedom

Mel Ollman was drafted into the Army in September of 1940, 15 months before America entered the war. He was a sophomore in college at the time, and it was what was called a precautionary draft. America had almost completely disarmed after World War I (“the war to end all wars”) and only a skeleton armed force remained. President Roosevelt knew that although America didn’t want another war; if war came, we needed to try to be prepared.

After his basic training, Mel took the examination and qualified for Officers Candidate School. Upon his completion of training, he graduated as a second lieutenant. He was assigned to a very special and dangerous unit of the Army Air Corps. Only two units of this nature were created in the entire Army, one which was later assigned to the Atlantic Theatre and Mel’s unit which was later to be assigned to the Pacific. His unit’s job was to join in with the Marines and Army Special Forces as the first wave of an invasion force. They were to advance as quickly as possible to the air strip. They were to secure the air strip and make any repairs necessary so that our airplanes could land and take off.

On Dec. 7, 1941, when the war began with the bombing by the Japanese of Pearl Harbor, America was not ready yet for war. Because we were not prepared, the Japanese invaded and took most of the pacific islands. Mel and his group were assigned to the invasion force designed to take back the Pacific, and they did — capturing island after island with the blood sweat and tears… and sometimes the lives of our American and allied countries soldiers.

The colors flew high at RSW.

The battle of Guadalcanal was the beginning of the allied plan to retake the Pacific. In the summer of 1942, 60,000 ground troops headed for the Pacific in troop ships to accomplish this goal. On Aug. 7, 1942, Mel and his group landed on the beach at Guadalcanal with the sole purpose of capturing the air strip. While fighting was still going on all around them on the island, they began the job of completing the air strip started by the Japanese. They also lengthened the airfield so that our B24 and B25 long-range bombers could land. When this task was completed, they moved on up the Solomon chain of islands and repeated their task with each island that had an air strip. When finally Japan surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945, Capt. Ollman was on the island of Leyte in the Philippines.

Upon discharge, Mel went to Perdue University on the G.I. Bill. He had married Gertrude before being shipped out in 1942 and by now had a young daughter, Karen. In May 1948, he graduated with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering.

Mel has had a long and good life with a marriage to Gertrude lasting 68 years until her passing. He also has two daughters now living in the Mid-West. Mel is an inventor and promoter of open web light steel trusses in the construction of buildings. His unique approach was to use the whole building including its external skin in engineering the components. At 95, he is what he describes himself as “a problem solver.” He is still in business on Marco Island developing a system of metal residential buildings.

Rescuing Skipper: A Dolphin Explorer Tale

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:24pm

By Noelle H. Lowery
noelle@coastalbreezenews.com

Mother and calf spent the morning hunting and swimming through Little Marco Pass.

Finding one specific dolphin in the waters around Marco Island is akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. At least that is what I thought on the morning of Sept. 4 when I set out with researchers from Sea Excursion’s 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project to find one female baby dolphin whose tail had somehow become entangled with a foot of wire leader from a fishing rig.

These same researchers were the ones who spotted the baby dolphin — Skipper — and her entanglement in early August while aboard one of their Dolphin Explorer expeditions. They reported the injury to state and federal authorities, and in the weeks that followed, they also monitored the behavior and movements of Skipper and her mother, Halfway, keeping close tabs on the calf’s condition.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deemed the injury life threatening, and launched a multi-agency effort to locate, capture and free Skipper from her entanglement. NMFS officials reached out to the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (a partnership between Mote Marine Laboratory and the Chicago Zoological Society) for assistance, and the partnership involved members of the Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which included Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and FWC Law Enforcement, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sea World, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, University of Florida, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and, of course, 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project.

Skipper’s mother, Halfway, is among the most successful of Marco Island’s resident female dolphins at calving and raising her young. Her lineage includes Seymour (2004), Simon (2007), Kaya (2010) and Skipper (2013).

Now, on the balmy, late summer morning, the Dolphin Explorer crew (with me tagging along) loaded up in four boats to be part of Skipper’s rescue effort. The first order of business: To find Skipper and Halfway.

“An impossible task,” I thought as the Dolphin Explorer’s Mercury engine roared away from the dock at Rose Marina and into Factory Bay. Boy, was I wrong!

Led by naturalist Kent Morse and marine biologist James Liviccari, the Dolphin Explorer researchers have spent most of the last decade studying the bottlenose dolphins who call the waters in and around Marco Island home. From identification and distribution to social behaviors and hunting patterns to mating and family structure, these researchers have an unparalleled knowledge and expertise when it comes to the local dolphin population.

It is this wealth of information that saved Marco’s most famous dolphin, Seymour, in March 2012, who had fishing wire wrapped around his tail. It also helped Skipper — Seymour’s younger sister — on Sept. 4, as the Dolphin Explorer’s depth of research helped lead researchers Bob Erickson and Meredith Barnard to a cove in Little Marco Pass where Skipper and Halfway were enjoying a morning swim and hunt and where rescuers eventually freed Skipper from her entanglement.

“We couldn’t have done it without (the Dolphin Explorer),” said Dr. Randy Wells, director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) and the rescue’s coordinator.

Skipper and Halfway were spotted Saturday, Sept. 13
— just 10 days post-rescue — by the Dolphin Explorer. As part of the rescue
effort, Skipper was tagged, and by all accounts, mom and calf are doing great. PHOTO BY BOB MCCONVILLE

The Search for Skipper

Upon leaving Factory Bay, Erickson turned the Dolphin Explorer pontoon boat southeast toward the Jolley Bridge. The morning’s search for Skipper and Halfway already had a major mark against it, as it was high tide. According to Erickson, it can be very tricky to spot a dolphin during high tide because there are more places for them to hide underwater.

“You actually see more dolphins during the last hour of an outgoing tide,” Erickson said.

While he drove the boat, Barnard explained some of the documented movement and behavioral patterns of Halfway and Skipper. “We usually see Halfway and Skipper right under Jolley Bridge,” she noted. “We also see them north to Isles of Capri and Keewaydin. We see them a lot at the Capri seawall. Halfway has taught all of her calves to hunt there. Dolphins often will hunt against manmade structures and mangrove islands.”

According to the Dolphin Explorer database, Halfway is the most successful mother dolphin in Marco. Since 2004, she has had four calves, and all survived: Seymour (2004), Simon (2007), Kaya (2010) and Skipper (2013).

The search took us through Big Marco River to some of the residential canals of the Isles of Capri back through Marco Bay and around Johnson Island and Umbrella Island and into Little Marco Pass. Along the way, we saw a small group of four well-known Marco dolphins: a big male, Trixie; Captain Jack; Sparky; and Keegan.

After the quick encounter, we were on our way. About 15 minutes and a short trip north later, both Erickson and Barnard spotted Halfway and Skipper. Who saw the pair first remains up for playful debate, but the fact remained the needle in the haystack had been found. Now, it was time to call in the cavalry.

With the entanglement gone and a dose of antibiotics administered, the rescue team prepares to release Skipper and Halfway. PHOTOS BY NOELLE H. LOWERY

The Rescue

After Erickson radioed the rest of the search party — 11 boats in all — that Skipper and Halfway had been found, it was all over but the waiting. We waited a good hour for all of the other boats to find our location; they trickled in slowly. First came the other three Dolphin Explorer boats, followed by NMFS, FWC, SDRP, Sea World, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Rookery Bay and Capt. Larry Fulford’s net boat.

The main goal while we waited was to not lose sight of Skipper and Halfway, a task made easier when the rest of the Dolphin Explorer crew arrived on the scene. The dolphins flirted with the four Dolphin Explorer boats, as well as a nearby fishing boat, swimming cautiously among them.

To be sure, it was a delicate dance, as the pontoon boat slowly glided behind the dolphin. All the while, Erickson made certain not to drive Skipper and Halfway in any one particular direction.

The dolphin pair began making its way south down Little Marco Pass just as the rescue party arrived, and a silent passing of the baton occurred from the Dolphin Explorer crew to the rescue team, which was led by NMFS and SDRP. Fulford, a commercial fisherman who has spent the last 30 years aiding in marine wildlife rescues, searched for a clam, shallow where the rescue could be performed.

He identified a shallow where Little Marco Pass meets Hurricane Pass. With storm clouds building and a change in the wind, the rescue team anxiously waited for Skipper and Halfway to find their way to the area. A little coaxing helped along the way.

Left, despite what appeared to be some discomfort from the entanglement, Skipper seemed playful in the water, as she swam leisurely toward the familiar Dolphin Explorer pontoon.

Once near the shallow, Fulford’s boat set a net to encircle the dolphins. The net corral then was moved to the shallower water, and rescue team members got into the water around the net and briefly restrained the dolphins. During the effort, rescuers made certain Skipper and Halfway maintained visual and acoustic contact to minimize stress on the animals.

While in the water, veterinarians found that the metal fishing leader was wrapped around the base of Skipper’s tail peduncle and flukes. Left unchecked, the stiff metal wire would have cut deeper into Skipper’s tail, possibly severing it. After the wire was removed, Skipper was given an injection of antibiotics, and she and Halfway were released.

According to Gretchen Lovewell, manager of Mote Marine’s Stranding Investigations Program, Skipper is the 22nd live animal that Mote has helped to rescue this year. In fact, the team recently helped to rescue “Speedy,” a dolphin that was trapped in a lake in the Everglades in July. In addition to responding to stranded dolphins and sea turtles, Mote’s team also supports FWC’s response to stranded manatees in Southwest Florida.

Even so, said Wells, rescues like these are “very complicated. There are a lot of sleepless nights trying to ensure the safety of the dolphins and the people, selecting the right number of people. Fortunately, we have access to a lot of interested people to call upon to help. We have a good set of people to draw from.”

Among those “interested people” are the researchers with the Dolphin Explorer, without whom it is uncertain Skipper and Halfway would have been found at all. “It is not an insignificant aspect that we are trying to find the needle in the haystack,” said Wells. “The Dolphin Explorer made all of the difference. We are fortunate to have people like them on the ground.”

 

The water rescue team which consisted of members of Sea World, Mote Marine Laboratory, Chicago Zoological Society, Clearwater Marine and University of Florida carefully enters the water.

The Rescue Team

  • NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service
  • FWC’s Florida Wildlife Research Institute and Law Enforcement Division
  • Sea World
  • Mote Marine Laboratory
  • Chicago Zoological Society
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • University of Florida
  • Rookery Bay Reserve
  • 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project (Dolphin Explorer)

 

 

 

Put a Cork in It!

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 2:16pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Lina and Carla Upham and Dave Flowers

If you want to take a real life “hands on” approach to ending hunger, Meals of Hope is the way to go! This 501c3 organization was designed as a way for communities to come together to end hunger in their communities and beyond. So far, more than 22.5 million nutritious meals have been packaged and distributed.

Locally, Neil Snyder has been dubbed “Captain Hope” by fellow Rotarians as the man in charge of the Meals of Hope campaign. His wife, most recent president of the Kiwanis Club, also joins the effort. In fact, more than 500 community volunteers joined the effort last year to package 180,000+ meals at the Marco Island Charter Middle School gymnasium.

“It’s an enormous effort and one which this community fully supports,” said Synder. “We have all the schools represented, the Sunrise Rotary and Noontime Rotary Clubs, the Kiwanis Club, many area businesses, city employees including Fire and Police, the scouts, sports clubs and individual citizens, all come together to help.”

He added: “And one of the neatest things, it’s a multi-generational effort! From mothers with babies to the oldest members of the community, we get the mission done. That mission is to help out the over 100,000 food insecure people in Collier County. These are people who may work, but are still making tough choices as to how to spend their money. Food, rent, medicine, utilities etc. There is not enough to cover everything, and they have to choose what to pay for. It is for these kids and their families that we march in our mission to end hunger in Collier County.”

According the Snyder, the packing starts off with the raw food ingredients and nutritional supplements and ends with packaging them in bags which each hold six meals. “What started off as a rice-and-bean-casserole-type dish now includes a couple different varieties including macaroni and cheese,” explains Snyder. “We use an assembly line approach and end up with boxes of meals we load onto trucks. The majority goes to local efforts like the Harry Chapin Food Bank and stay in Collier County.”

During the year, Captain Hope and his crew put on Meals of Hope Happy Hours to raise funds for the packaging event. Several have taken place this year at local venues such as CJ’s on the Bay, the Marco Brewery, Stonewalls, Konrad’s, Porky’s, the Snook Inn and the Old Marco Pub. Captain Hope is well known for his ability to “rally the troops,” or as he calls them his “Hope Warriors.”

Sue and Tom Ackerson. Sue had the idea of collecting corks as an ongoing fundraising effort.

Sue Ackerson, local realtor and owner of the Old Marco Pub, decided to take up the cause by “putting a cork” in it, literally. Ackersom came up with the idea to gather and sell wine corks on Ebay as a fundraiser. “People use them in arts and crafts,” said Sue.

Old Marco Pub will save all of their corks, other restaurants like Outback Steakhouse have joined the effort as well. “We will also be announcing a ‘Korks for Kids Kompetition’ for whoever collects the most corks by November 15. All corks should be brought to the Old Marco Pub and Restaurant where we will package them up,” said Sue, who partnered with Erik Condee to get an Ebay listing up and running. Now, people can bid on boxes of 300 corks each. Old Marco Pub and Restaurant is at 1105 Bald Eagle Drive and can be reached at 239-642-9700.

Everyone should plan on attending the big packaging event at 8:30 AM on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Marco Island Charter Middle School. Contact Erik Condee for more information at 239-389-3500. Snyder added, “It’s an uplifting experience you will never forget!”