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Location, Location, Location

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:44pm

Gary & Sandy Elliott

Beachfront condo.

Location, Location, Location is a familiar rule in real estate and the best locations come at a price. Marco Island is a great location with world class beaches, accommodations, amenities and restaurants creating a fabulous lifestyle with a commensurate price tag. Condos on the island are located in four distinct geographic areas. There are 4,200 condos on beaches, 3,000 on canals and waterways, 700 on the Gulf side and another 2,800 inland. For the last three years about 5% of all the condos on the island change ownership each year. That’s an average of 565 condos per year.

For people who enjoy strolling, swimming, fishing, sunning and shelling then a condo at South Beach, Tigertail Beach, Hideaway Beach or Marco’s Crescent Beach is for you. 124 beachfront condos are listed for sale this week. These condos tend to average 2,000sqft in size and are listed for an average of $562/sqft. The median price is $620,000. The lowest priced beachfront condo is $219,000.

Condos on the south or Gulf side of the island have great views of the Gulf and most come with fishing piers, swimming pools and lots of amenities. There are 18 Gulf condos for sale this week averaging 1,700 sqft with an average list price of $464/sqft. The median price is $700,000. The lowest price condo on the Gulf is $569,000.

A view of the Commodore Club.

For people who like boating and water views then a waterfront condo is for you. Water direct condos have open access to the Gulf and back waters. Water indirect condos have one or two bridges for your boat to go under on the way to open water. This week there are 65 waterfront condos for sale. On average they are 1,400sf and are listed for an average of $340/sqft. The median price is $390,000. The lowest priced condo on water is $169,000.

For people who want to enjoy the lifestyle of Marco island with access to boating and Residents Beach there are 60 inland condos are for sale this week. Inland condos listed for sale tend to be just over 1,000 sqft with an average list price of $254/sqft. The median price is $220,000. The lowest priced inland condo is $89,500.

From a location point of view it appears that a beachfront condo is likely to be twice as expensive on a $/sqft basis and twice as large as an inland condo. No matter what location you choose Marco Island provides a great lifestyle for everyone lucky enough to afford it.

Historic Site #2 Naples Historical Society’s Palm Cottage

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:40pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Historic Palm Cottage is Naples’ oldest house (1895) and is listed as a landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. Docent guided tours of the house-turned museum are offered year round. The Cottage is the educational headquarters for all Naples Historical Society programs and initiatives, including the Cottage Theater, where visitors can view pioneer oral history films, and the Archival Viewing Center, which allows visitors to peruse the Society’s vast archives with state-of-the-art digital systems.

In their effort to increase public awareness of the importance and significance of Collier County’s historical and archaeological heritage, the Historic and Archaeological Preservation Board of Collier County produces a 28-page booklet featuring historic sites in Collier County. The 44 sites highlighted in the book are grouped together by proximity and shown on a locator map.

Each of the sites listed was given the ‘historic’ designation by County Commissioners. The designation of specific sites, structures, buildings, districts and properties may be initiated by the Preservation Board or the property owner. Consideration of the Preservation Board’s findings and recommendations, and upon the consideration of the criteria and guidelines contained in the Land Development Code, the Board of County Commissioners either approves or denies the petition. The Board of County Commissioners has designated many of the sites and structures as locally significant.

For more information go to



Buying Diamonds That Dazzle

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:31pm

Richard Alan

I recently sold a nice diamond engagement ring to a young couple I had never met before that day. They had told me I was highly recommended, a welcome compliment. The “perfect” diamond was set into one of my classic diamond halo mountings, and was presented to his lady during a complimentary romantic dinner that very evening.

What made this young couple stand out from most was that they did not have sheaves of printed information they had downloaded from doing “research” on the internet. Honestly, when someone requests that they would like to show me the results of their searches, and would really appreciate it if I could narrow down their searches so they could pick out the perfect diamond from all these choices…I politely decline. Besides, most of the time they have already made up their minds. Yet these cyber-scholars, who now think they know all there is to know about diamonds, still need reassurance from someone like myself?

Hello! I sell diamonds. I’m certainly not going to go through a competitor’s ghost inventory and spend my valuable time picking out their perfect diamond that does not exist, because it is never in stock. And get this – they then PayPal it for thousands of dollars, buying it sight unseen. Not very smart.

Back to the intelligent young couple. There were no sheaves of paper, just honest, intelligent questions about diamonds. Within ten minutes I knew what they were in the market for, no need to waste time showing them diamonds that cost way beyond their budget. Just the facts, no theatrics or smoke and mirrors. I procured several diamonds to choose from that were in their price range. Their choice was high color and size.

Big and brilliant! That would be my choice! Not only were they thrilled with the diamond they chose, they also returned the next day to thank me for the wonderful dining experience they had at Davide’s Italian Restaurant that was included with their purchase.

When the subject is diamonds, you are in my element. I sold my first diamonds, a pair of one carat total weight diamond stud earrings to be exact, before I could even see over a showcase. I think I was eleven.

Working for my uncles in the Jeweler’s Building in Boston, we sold a lot of diamonds. By the time I was eighteen I actually lost count of how many sales I made. My uncles were very proud of my sales ability at a young age. I rarely had a diamond customer walk out without that perfect diamond in a box or on his or her finger.

My uncles were talented goldsmiths, not professional salesmen. I learned at an early age to listen and not be pushy. Ask anyone who knows me – I’m not the least bit pushy! In fact the word lackadaisical comes to mind (I’m kidding!). I try to understand what the customer is looking for and the approximate price range of their budget for that perfect diamond. The parameters are different for each person.

So what is a perfect diamond? You can look at this two ways, in actuality a perfect diamond is triple X quality, a flawless “D” color with an ideal cut. It’s that simple! Only one problem… putting a one carat round diamond with this pedigree on your main squeeze’s finger can cost close to $30,000.

So as you can imagine, the cost of this diamond is out of the question for well… most everyone! My point is that a “perfect” one carat diamond can cost far less than the one above. It’s the one that is perfect for you and yours, and one’s budget.

I explained to the couple that what makes a diamond cost so much or so little is sort of like a sliding scale. For example, a one carat “K” color “I 2” clarity is a highly included or flawed diamond. It can also have a horrendous cut, and you could spend 3,500 Benjamins on this dog of a diamond, something one should avoid, because down the road of life in the future, it will have no trade-in value.

From day one I have found that color is everything, and if you choose a diamond with color above a “J” you have an awesome diamond. Keep the inclusions to a minimum, and you have an incredibly awesome diamond.

The lower down the color or clarity scale, the less expensive the diamond becomes. The trick is not being duped into paying more for less quality.

Another example: a one carat “H” color and SI2 clarity can very often face up beautifully and within budget, and look fantastic for $4,800 or so.

I refuse to sell anything below SI2 clarity. Every diamond that leaves my store will include a definite “WOW” effect, guaranteed.

Purchase a “Clarity Enhanced” diamond and save at least 30% more. I have often written about the enhancing process in my past columns. It’s an intelligent option with brilliant results. Most of the clarity enhanced diamonds I sell are “G” and above. Like I said, color is everything. I am more impressed by seeing a ½ carat “G” color VS diamond that costs $4,000 than I am looking at a three carat “M”color I1clarity diamond. Put a leash on that $20,000 ugly dog!

Diamond color can also be gray or brown. That can cause the diamond to be listless and lack scintillation (brilliance). In other words, a very unhappy diamond. A diamond with innumerous flaws will also cut down brilliance to nil.

This is where the power of the magnifying loupe comes in handy. This tool will strike fear into any jeweler who is trying to pull the wool over a diamond buyer’s eyes. It’s hard to deny flaws when the diamond is magnified 10X. Ask for one.

The difference between good, better and best should be seen with your own eyes. Comparing them with a professional, you will see that they will be graded according to the four C’s: Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut.

In addition to the 4 C’s, I like to add one more “C” – Cost.

If any of my readers are interested in owning that “Perfect” diamond I will be offering summer specials on all fine diamond jewelry. Please ask about our “Diamond & Dinner” promotion. A romantic evening of dining that includes a special four-course dinner for two, including a nice bottle of wine at Davide’s Italian Restaurant .


Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and a purveyor of fine diamonds and precious gemstones. The owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island for over 21 years, he welcomes your comments and questions about “All That Glitters.” 239.394.9274 or visit our website @


What is Kombucha and Should I be Drinking it?

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:29pm

Crystal Manjarres

If you’ve ever ventured in the refrigerated section at most health food stores, I’m sure your eyes have a field day with the many selections of colorful (mostly) glass bottles that line the shelves.

Green tea – full of antioxidants!

Chia seed smoothie – natural energy!

Vegetable juice – cold pressed!

Kombucha – organic and raw!

Rejuvenate. Restore. Revitalize. Replenish. Regenerate.

What does it all mean? Is there any truth to the label?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage created using tea, sugar, and bacteria (from a starter culture). Depending on how long a batch ferments, the temperature used, as well as any flavors added, can make Kombucha taste sour or tangy. You can purchase it from health food stores or create your own at home adding different tea blends, fruit, herbs, and even spices.

What makes Kombucha beneficial to you is the healthy bacteria that comes from the SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY is what initiates the fermentation processes and eventually looks like a “…pancake-sized disk that looks like the top of a mushroom” according to Kombucha master brewers Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman.

So why would you want to drink that? Lee notes that

Kombucha is alive, teeming with beneficial microorganisms and active bacterial cultures that, much like the live cultures in yogurt, provide the body with a great source of nutrition. With its probiotic properties that help balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract, kombucha is regarded by many as a “wonder” food as opposed to just a healthy drink. But even though this magical tonic has been around for centuries and is chock-full of probiotics, B vitamins, and amino acids, its purported health benefits remain unproven.

Because of its detoxifying nature, it is best to start small, with 4 to 8 ounces a day, to get your body acclimated to the vitamins and amino acids. It’s recommended to drink much water throughout the day to help flush the toxins from the body, as well as to aid your body’s ability to properly absorb all the nutrients.

There is a trace amount of alcohol from fermentation (0.5 percent or below), so if you are sensitive to that, it is something to consider.

If you are pregnant or nursing, you must consult with your healthcare provider prior to consuming Kombucha, as it is very detoxifying. My son’s pediatrician gave me the green light and even said he could enjoy some sips as well, and he loves it! But check with you physician just to be on the safe side—everyone is completely different.

If you do decide to go for it, make sure to sample several different flavors and brands because it is an acquired taste, and you may dislike one or more before you find one that works for you.

I noticed that I had clearer, more radiant skin, a decrease in sugar cravings (and late-night munchies), and more energy. The energy I’m referring to is not like a caffeine or sugar-crash energy, where you’re having weird heart palpations or jitters, but a natural energy, more like feeling good and energized instead of exhausted at the end of the day. The good gut bacteria also helps in regularity as well—a big plus for those who struggle with constipation.

If you get the green light from your physician, why not try it? You’ve got nothing to lose, but good gut bacteria to gain.


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 and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes.” To send in a question, email Crystal@ She can also be reached at or and 239-333-5771.

Fire… a Necessary Function of Nature

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:23pm

As I watch the evening news, I see that another wildfire is burning out of control somewhere across the United States. Reports proclaim that it is 40% contained, and then 60% under control. Attention is drawn to the number of structures that are at risk, then saved, because of the quick action taken by mankind’s actions. It’s good that homes are spared Mother Nature’s wrath, but is this stoppage of a natural event what was intended overall?

Here in South Florida, throughout the past few weeks, I’ve left my home in the morning and I can smell smoke in the air. Big Cypress Swamp is burning. Adjacent to the Big Cypress is the Everglades. Is this a devastating event or just a means for nature to cleanse the land for regrowth?

It is estimated that the Everglades came to be what it is more than 5,000 years ago. Waters overflowing from the south banks of Lake Okeechobee created a slow and deliberate disbursement that irrigated the land. Winds would carry the condensation from these waters and create much needed rain over the region. But every once in a while a purge of the undergrowth is required, and the catalyst to do so is fire.

Fire is the “maintenance man” for the Everglades and surrounding areas. Florida has two seasons, wet and dry. The majority of fires are caused by lightning strikes during the wet season.

The sawgrass prairies have endured these strikes for thousands of years, and fire actually improves the passage of water through the shallows by burning grass that would eventually impede the water flow. Wildlife also benefits from prairie fires as food is created by the new growth of vegetation. A burn also keeps out larger bushes and small trees.

At a slightly higher elevation, but still in the same region, are the hammocks or what are known as “tree islands.” The prairie waters create a moat-like effect that protect these areas from harm. Additional moisture in the soil and higher humidity become fire deterrents. Animals may rely on this habitat for protection.

The driest land will produce pine trees. These communities require fire for maintenance as well. Flammable needles from the trees will cover the sand-based floor and, when ignited, help eliminate competition from low lying vegetation. Extreme heat here will also open the fallen pine cones to allow for germination.

Our misunderstanding of the role of fire played a huge part in the disappearance of many pinelands. As fires were extinguished, the pine areas were naturally replaced with smaller hardwoods and vegetation. The purge was disrupted. For example, pine forests covered more than 150,000 acres of the Miami-Dade County area prior to urban development. Today only about 22,000 acres remain.

The effects of fire are temporary. Some large, uncontrolled fires move fast and burn at higher temperatures, but they are also temporary. Vegetation recovers rapidly. Many wildlife species can use areas pretty quickly after burns. The high quality habitat is created after a burn.

One can conclude that fires are beneficial to purge the land. The new vegetation created may actually be vital for the wildlife population. Fire should not be considered as a killer in these areas, but should be seen as a creator, a generator to kick-start a new growth.

Some research indicates that regions of the Everglades actually burned for years, although this tendency seems to have abated in recent times. Now, when I leave my home in the morning, and I can smell the wood burning from a fire to the east, I’ll know that all is in order and that Mother Nature is just doing her job, as usual.


Bob is the owner of Stepping Stone Ecotours and a Naturalist for a local dolphin survey team. He is a member of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism. Bob loves his wife very much!


Dr. Doris Corey: Nature vs. Nurture

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:22pm

To Your Health
Scott Lowe
CEO, Physicians Regional-Collier Blvd

As a native of Southwest Florida, I continue to appreciate—and rely on—our friendly, small-town status. And though I understand the respectful way a young person is taught to interact with a physician, doctors are people too.

Our area physicians are our neighbors and friends. They shop. They eat. And yes, even a doctor goes to the doctor. When all is said and done, we’re all human.

There is no better example of a down-to-earth, caring physician than Dr. Doris Corey—a relatively new addition to the Physicians Regional family. Dr. Corey practices family medicine at Physicians Regional’s Collier Boulevard and Marco Island locations.

Born and raised in a large Italian family in Philadelphia with “lots of love and lots of chaos,” Dr. Corey ultimately came to Collier County by way of Ohio. However, looking back, as the oldest daughter in a large family, being a caregiver seemed to be a unique part of her DNA.

“I knew I was going into medicine from the age of 10. If people ask, ‘was it a calling’—yes it was,” she recalls.

Perhaps it’s her focus on “family”—her own family and those of her patients—that has helped Dr. Corey make such a positive impact in our community in such a short time. Dr. Corey has often been quoted as saying, “We’re all people. We’re all family. We’re all part of one big community.”

As empty-nesters, the Coreys had tired of the cold northern climate. In a story that is all-too-familiar, Dr. Corey and her husband found professional and personal refuge in our beautiful community. “What really drove me to Naples was the weather,” she says.

What makes her stay? The special people who reside here.

She also loves our local foliage and has become a member of the Naples Botanical Garden and the Naples Orchid Society. Dr. Corey is also actively involved in the Notre Dame of Naples Club—her husband and both of her children will forever identity with being part of the Fighting Irish.

Though Dr. Corey once considered working in the fast-paced ER environment or pediatrics, family medicine was a lifestyle choice that ultimately reflected her character as one who has always thrived as part of a family.

It could easily be said that Dr. Doris Corey is equal parts daughter, mother, sister, aunt and yes, family physician.

Dr. Corey also has an innate ability to read people—to pick up on little nuances. True, intuition is a valuable talent in many walks of life. However, in her case, this skill appears to be a natural offshoot of her desire—her need—to understand a patient emotionally and physically.

For example, when Dr. Corey meets a patient for the first time, her opening question remains the same: “Where were you born and raised?” Why this question in particular? “I want to know their story,” she replied. “I want to know that whole patient because it helps me understand so much more about them.”

This is also perfect example of Dr. Corey’s excellent bedside manner being well served by her inquisitive nature.

Her philosophy circles back to her humanitarian view of the world: “We’re all people and that bonds us together. We all share the same wish for good health and peace. With that in mind, I like a back-and-forth collaboration with my patients.”

So, as part of the decade’s long discussion of nature vs. nurture, Dr. Doris Corey seems to provide arguments in support of both sides of the equation.

After all, “human” is literally part of “humanity.” And to Dr. Doris Corey, “nature” and “nurture” seem to walk hand-in-hand.

Dr. Doris Corey can be reached at  239-348-4340.


Circling the Sun

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:21pm

Maggie Gust

By Paula McLain

Ballantine Books (Random House) 2015, 384 pages

Genre: Historical fiction


“For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, so dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.” – D.H. Lawrence

Although Circling the Sun begins with the transatlantic solo flight of female pilot Beryl Markham, the title does not refer to her flying exploits. Instead, “the sun” is Denys Finch Hatton, the lover that Beryl shared with her good female friend Karen Blixen, names familiar to those who know Out of Africa. Shortly into the flight, a lightning bolt over the icy North Atlantic sends Beryl’s memory back to her earliest home.

With her older brother Dickie, mother Clara and father Charles Clutterbuck, Beryl arrived in British East African Protectorate (later known as Kenya) in 1904. Her father had sold their family home in England to purchase 1,500 acres of farmland in the bush. Charles knew nothing of farming, since he was a horseman. After two years of utter misery, Clara took Dickie and left Kenya, promising 4-year-old Beryl a box of candy from Piccadilly. Although Clara kept that promise, Beryl would not see her mother again for almost two decades.

Charles was not an emotionally demonstrable man. There is no doubt he loved his daughter, but he simply could not answer her questions about when or if her mother and Dickie were coming back. So, little Beryl was adrift. Luckily for her, the Kipsigis families who lived in the forest on Clutterbuck’s land sensed her desolation and adopted her into their tribe, naming her Lakwet or very little girl. One wonders what their conversations within their camps must have been about this white woman who abandoned her child, an unthinkable act in their own culture.

Thus began my favorite part of this book, when Lakwet is soaking up the Kips’ love and guidance, learning their customs as well as the Swahili language, and forming what would be a life-long friendship with Kibii, son of the head warrior Maina. Although Kip females were strictly domestic, Lakwet was allowed to train along with Kibii, learning to throw a spear, to track and hunt, fashion and use a bow and arrow. Perhaps the Kip instinctively knew this child would need to fend for herself throughout her lifetime and they wanted to prepare her. She was also learning horse training from her father who had established himself as a reputable breeder and trainer.

When Beryl was 11, her father hired a “housekeeper” to look after the household duties and act as governess to his daughter. It wasn’t long until Beryl sensed that Mrs. Orchardson was acting more like Charles’ wife than a housekeeper. Not knowing quite how to share her home or her father with another creature, Beryl decided the best strategy would be to follow and track her movements and learn the best way to defeat her, akin to tracking. After a few months, Mrs. Orchardson gave up trying to teach Beryl and a series of tutors were hired, none of which survived Lakwet’s tactics of dead snakes in their beds or other such warning signs. Mrs. Orchardson, however, refused to relinquish her “housekeeper” position and her hold on Charles Clutterbuck tightened with each passing day.

Having defeated the string of tutors, Lakwet was feeling proud and victorious. Her father took her on a train trip that combined business and a visit with old friends, the Elkingtons. She reveled in her alone time with him while he regaled her with Greek myths, poetry and helpful hints on how to deal with wild beasts. After settling business in Nairobi, they went on to Kabete to visit the Elkingtons who had a pet lion named Paddy which was allowed to roam their home and their land. While the grownups enjoyed their beverages on the veranda, Beryl ran out to enjoy and explore the grounds, at which time she encountered Paddy. He bit her from calf to mid thigh and was taking seconds when Bishon Singh, her father’s horse groom, along with six or seven of the Elkington grooms, came to her rescue.

Beryl’s recovery process was long but rather luxurious, other than some pain. For six weeks, Mrs. Elkington waited on her hand and foot, bringing her an endless supply of luscious food and treats. When she finally was able to return home to Njoro, she regaled Kibii and other Kip boys with the story of her lion encounter. They were suitably impressed and envious. But in the retelling of her encounter and recovery, Beryl realized something more important than having a foot up on her Kip friends – a terrible thing had happened to her and she had survived. She felt invincible and confident that she could handle anything that came her way in life.

It wasn’t long before the next challenge presented itself. Her father and Mrs. Orchardson (“Mrs. O”) decided she must go to school in Nairobi and learn to be a lady. After two and half years, she was discharged from the school. World War I was in full bloom and in Africa that meant the English had their hands full fighting off German encroachment onto their territories. Everything changed. Everyone’s horses were taken for the war effort and most of the workers went off to fight and defend the King.

One of the most important relationships of Beryl’s adult life was made at that school in Nairobi when she met Doris (Dos) Waterson. Not only did she learn from Dos that Mrs. O was still married but that Mr. Orchardson, an anthropologist, had fallen in love with a Nandi woman and gotten her pregnant. Beryl was still unsure of her own parents’ marital status, so now she was seeing that in the world’s eye, the adults in her home had not only been humiliated by their respective spouses but were now themselves living in an unmarried state. Scandalous was now added to her vocabulary. Her first lesson of the adult world.

Eventually, Beryl was given a coming out party on her sixteenth birthday. She met Denys Finch Hatton briefly while taking a smoke break. He and another young man she was chatting with were quoting poetry to each other. Her heart was not won by anyone at that party, but it shortly became clear that the purpose of the party was to get Beryl out of the house. Her father had taken a job in Cape Town and would be leaving with Mrs. O. Reluctantly, she became the bride of Jock Purves, a new farmer to the area, a man almost twice her age. The marriage was a disaster and Beryl left even though Jock refused her request for a divorce.

The adult phase of Beryl’s life was filled with ups and downs. She was Lakwet in her spirit and heart, but in reality she had no money and few resources. Jock refused the divorce for years. In the meantime, she depended on friends’ hospitality and her horse training skills to get by. Eventually after her second marriage she even found herself involved in a scandal involving two British princes.

During her horse training years after she left Jock, she met Karen Blixen for the first time and Denys Finch Hatton again.

Her affair with Denys spanned several years, with long periods of separation. When Karen was visiting her mother in Denmark and Denys was living at her farm, he would not see Beryl at Karen’s house, but in the cottage down the road. Both claimed to and perhaps did love Karen. However, when Karen finally relented and gave her husband the divorce he wanted, Denys refused to marry her.

As I was reading the last two-thirds of the book, the adult phase, I found myself not liking most of these people, including Beryl, but was still fascinated by them. She wanted to be independent, but the structure of society and her own financial condition did not allow for that. Her marriages and all her relationships with men, except Denys, were based on financial need. Despite her efforts to be her own woman, she was defeated at every turn. Horse training jobs would be pulled at the last moment and the horses given to another trainer who would get credit for the derby win. She learned to fly because she loved it but also because she felt she would be able to earn a living from it, as she did for a number of years. She wrote a memoir, West with the Night (the Collier County Public Library has it) in 1942, which sold a modest amount of copies. Ernest Hemingway called it “…a bloody wonderful book.” Later, it was republished in time to lift Beryl out of a life of poverty for the final few years of her life.

She was indomitable. She may have had financial difficulties periodically, but her life was never dull. She was adopted by the Kipsigis as a four-year-old, bitten by a lion at age 12, in her 20s was dining with British royalty, and in her 30s was flying a record making transatlantic solo flight.

Circling the Sun is a beautifully written book with interesting characters. McLain’s admiration for her subject shines through on every page. Her descriptions of the land, the native people, the animals, dangers and beauty of the bush are so vivid that I could see every scene in my mind. I was casting the movie as I went along (which is my personal mark of excellence), along with the fact that days after I finished the book I was still thinking about the characters. Rating: 4.25/5.0. Available 07/28/2015, at the Collier County Public Library.


Maggie Gust has been an avid reader all her life. Her past includes working as a teacher, as well as various occupations in the healthcare field. She shares a hometown, Springfield, Illinois, with Abraham Lincoln, but Florida has been her home since 1993. Genealogy, reading, movies and writing are among her favorite activities. She is self-employed and works from her Naples home. Contact her at or



Gardens Summer Survivors

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:09pm

Mike Malloy

Aristolochia (Pipe vine).

Summer is here and it came quickly! One of the most frequently asked questions I get is what will grow and flower here in Naples and South Florida during the summer months?

Summer in Florida is one of the most trying times, not just for us human beings who are bombarded with constant panic weather forecasts about fires turning the State of Florida into a large charcoal briquette, and upcoming storms which are going to sweep our children and pets into another world, but for our flowers and shrubs as well. It’s a wonder we go out of the house at all. Flowers and shrubs in our garden are the real survivors, because of the intense heat and the chance of torrential downpours every day. Many people assume the afternoon wilt of the foliage of plants in their yard is lack of water, when in reality most of the time it’s just the intense heat that builds up in the afternoon. So when panic sets in, our first reaction is to go get the watering can or hose and over water everything, creating a perfect micro climate for fungus and insect infestation. If we had just a little patience and restraint, and waited for the afternoon showers to roll in, or waited until the sun gets a little lower in the afternoon sky to cool things down a bit, most of these wilting plants would rebound to its natural and healthy look without any assistance from us.

Aloysia (Sweet Almond).

While talking with many people with problem plants, I got the idea that many gardeners have the “baby it” syndrome, meaning at the first sign that something is wrong or just thinking something is wrong, they begin to torture their plants with all kinds of sprays, wipes, rubs and drenches of all types in the name of love – which most times leads to serious problems and sometimes death of the plant, shrub or lawn. In fact, most plants would be a lot better off and healthier with less interference from us, and letting Mother Nature do her job. Remember the saying, don’t mess with Mother Nature? This is very true when it comes to gardening. With just minimal help from us, everything should do just fine. Sometimes with no interference from us they actually will flourish, bloom and live a long happy life.

Below I have listed some of my favorites. Remember, if you have any gardening questions please email me at and I will try to answer them. You can find us on Facebook (Mike Malloy) or You Tube under South Florida Plant Pickers. Keep Butterflying!!!

Porterweeds – Four different colors, (red, purple, coral and blue.

Tacoma stans (Yellow Elder) – Can be a large shrub, can be kept any size with a little trimming. Bright yellow flowers hang in clusters. Blooms appear almost all year. Drought tolerant.

Mussaenda (Tropical Dogwood).

Plumbago auriculata (Leadwort) – Light blue flowers, host plant for the cassius blue butterfly and blooms almost year round. Drought tolerant.

Calliandra emarginata (Power Puff) – Blooms all year. Likes full to partial sun. Flowers are pink to red.

Bauhinia galpinii (Orchid Shrub) – Brilliant red flowers all spring and all summer.

Hamelia patens (Fire Bush) – This is drought tolerant shrub that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It blooms year round. Depending on which variety you use it makes a great privacy hedge or a low shrub. Use the Firefly variety for a lower shrub.

Mussaenda (Tropical Dogwood) – This plant is a show stopper in the warm summer months. Blooms range in color from pink, white, marmalade, red and combinations.

Clerodendrums (Pagoda Flower) – A huge red flower almost a foot long, shaped like a pagoda. This is one of my many favorites.

Tecoma stans (Yellow Bells).

Aristolochia (Dutchmans Pipe)


Aloysia (Sweet Almond)

Brugmansia (Angels Trumpet) and there are many more.


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, He also can be heard every Saturday at 4 PM on his call-in garden radio show, “Plant Talk with Mike Malloy,” on 98.9-WGUF.


The Summer Milky Way

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:06pm

By Mike P. Usher

Tonight the Summer Triangle is near the zenith. The bright trio of Altair, Deneb and Vega lies embedded in the summer Milky Way. Except for the previously mentioned three, there are few bright stars in this region, but there are literally millions of dimmer ones. Scan with your binoculars from Deneb leftwards towards Sagittarius – innumerable stars will be revealed. On the chart you will see a number of tiny circles; each one marks the location of a star cluster visible in your binoculars. The brighter objects have names or catalog numbers listed on the chart.

Among the wonders in the sky this evening viewable with binoculars is the Great Cluster in Hercules (M13) which we have mentioned before. M13 has 25 to 50 thousand stars in it, whereas Omega Centauri (mentioned a few months ago) has about a million, so this cluster in Hercules isn’t the best or brightest – but it’s still pretty good. You can’t actually make out the individual stars with binoculars however, that requires a large telescope. Binoculars will show a disk with rather hazy boundaries. The Wild Duck Cluster (M11) in the exceedingly dim constellation of Scutum (the shield) has a V shaped pattern of stars superimposed upon it that looks like a flock of flying ducks to some people.

The beautiful constellation of Cygnus (the swan) contains the bright star Deneb, whose name means “tail.” It’s one of the relatively few constellations that look something like their name. Cygnus contains the asterism the Northern Cross – much larger than its southern counterpart. The mythology surrounding Cygnus is somewhat confused. Probably the most common story is that Zeus disguised himself as a swan to seduce the human woman Leda, and placed a swan’s image in the sky to commemorate his victory. Leda later gave birth to the Gemini Twins and the famous Helen of Troy.

Aquila, the eagle, contains the bright star Altair and a number of star clusters, but they are on the dim side. Aquila is notable for having two bright novas (exploding stars) within its boundaries in historic times. The brighter one, in 389 BC, was as bright as Venus! More recently, the second one in 1918 was brighter than Altair. The Allies, in World War I, considered it a sign of their impending victory. A nova is a violent explosion, limited to just the surface layers, of a type of star called a white dwarf. On rare occasions the entire white dwarf star can detonate in an incredibly powerful explosion called a supernova.

See you next time!


Mr. Usher is President of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets every second Tuesday at 7:00PM at the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples.



Biggest Golf Myth Ever – You Lifted Your Head…Keep Your Head Down

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:04pm

Todd Elliott

Keep your head down. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

If you have ever read my articles you know that there is one myth that really bugs me. The myth is usually in the form of a free tip from a friend to “keep your head down” or after the shot, a playing partner will say “you lifted your head.” I cringe when I hear these statements on the range, or when playing golf with others.

Let us start with stating one fact. A golfer’s head should always come up during a golf swing. It is not a matter of if it happens, it is a matter of when it happens. Let’s do an experiment. Take a standing position, and try to lift your head. Impossible, correct? Now, take your golf stance, and try to lift your head. It comes up, correct? I assume you used your neck muscles. I promise that will never happen in the golf swing. No golfer uses neck muscles to move the head upward during the golf swing. So what happens? Why does your head come up, and why is it bad to try to keep it down?

As stated before, every golfer should raise their head, but many golfers’ heads rise before it should in the golf swing. One more experiment. Take your golf posture, and then push your hips towards the golf ball, or where the golf ball would be, until you are in a standing posture. This is how your head raises in your golf swing. The hips extend until you are in a standing position. If your hips extend early, your playing partners will say, “You lifted your head.” They would then proceed to tell you to keep your head down. However, they have not cured the root of the problem, because we do not physically raise our head during the golf swing. What happens next after the golfer listens to their playing partner? The golfer will early extend, and try to keep their head down at the same time. The human body was not designed for this movement. I call it the cat. Hips extended towards the golf ball, back arched or rounded, and chin buried in the chest. All while rotating as fast as possible…ouch! For a couple shots this might bring results, but after a few swings the body says “no more.” Then, no matter how hard the golfer tries to keep their head down, it is physically impossible.

So what is the correct fix for early extension?

I see two main reasons for early extension. One reason is physical. A player that is not capable of making the proper rotation in the hips and thoracic spine will usually early extend.

The second reason, and most common, of early extension is a swing flaw. A golfer must shift with the feet and legs towards the target to transition from the backswing to the downswing. This is a weight shift or a shift of pressure under the feet from the trail side towards the target. Many golfers start rotating to start the downswing. The golfer’s body will be fully rotated at impact if they start the downswing by rotating, causing complete extension at impact. Full extension is supposed to be at the finish of the swing.

Early extension – a common swing flaw with junior golfers.

Early extension causes multiple problems. The number one problem with early extension is the inability to control the club face at impact. The hands do not have a clear path to work properly. The hands move upward, and the club head works down. Sometimes this times correctly, but it is difficult to be consistent. The worst part of early extension is that it puts a lot of pressure on the lower back. I could keep going with more examples of the negative effects of early extension, but to put it as simply as I can, it is very hard to be consistent when a player early extends.

I hope you have learned something about your own swing, and how to correct it from this article. I hate to be so negative on this myth, but these two phrases can cause physical trouble, and trouble to a player’s golf game. The worst scenario for me is when a young junior golfer is being told one these phrases from their parent, grandparent or friend. Most juniors have the dexterity and are physically capable of keeping their “head down” almost through the entire swing, as seen the photo. This small tip can cause major problems later in their golf career.

I beg you, next time you go to tell someone “keep your head down” to think about the physical implication it could have on their body, and the lasting affects it will have on their game. Thanks for reading my rant, and go see a PGA Professional for a series of lessons if you want to improve your golf game.


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 also a Coutour-certified putting fitter, a Titlteist-certified fitter and a Titliest staff member. Follow Todd on Twitter @elliottgolfpro or for any question or comments email



Believe to See

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:02pm

Laurie Kasperbauer

I am a visual person. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a little deficient in the category of imagination. I have to see evidence in order to confirm that something exists. I have never seen a ghost, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster, therefore I am skeptical of their existence. Growing up as a child in the 60’s and 70’s, imagination was a pretty important element in day to day play. Toys in that era were fairly simple and involved creativity to fully enjoy. For instance, I had several dolls growing up, but they were not the plush, life-like variety sold in stores today. They did not blink, bend, cry, wet themselves or come with a background story and adoption papers. They were made of hard plastic with painted-on eyes and coarse hair. I would often wrap them in a kitchen towel for a blanket and use a shoe box for their crib. Our own creativity defined the story behind our toys, and without fanciful ideas to work off of, I’m afraid I was a bit on the boring side of story-telling. I’m sure my dolls didn’t care.

As I’ve aged, this deficiency has manifested in other ways. When I go to redecorate a room I need a picture from a magazine to guide me. I can’t “see” the end result without the help of a visual aid. Either that or I need the assistance of one of those lucky individuals with “vision” who puts it all together in their head first, and is then able to physically create the masterpiece they dreamed up.

So it was at church one recent weekend when the woman giving the scripture reading said “you must believe to see, not see to believe.” And I stewed for the rest of the service on how I have had that wrong for so, so long.

Of course, it makes sense. When we have a strong belief in something, it’s easy to see. Spirituality itself is based on what you believe more than what is tangible. For example, few have witnessed a true miracle, yet that doesn’t stop us from believing they exist. Especially when we need one.

So, as I sat in church that evening, distracted by my shame at too often believing only what I see, I realized that I’m not a complete lost cause. I have two strong beliefs and neither can be physically seen. I have spiritual faith in a power that is greater than all earthly things and I have yoga.

The theory of yoga is based on the premise that everything we need in life, we already possess. Strength, peace, knowledge, and contentment lie within us all. Through mindfulness we are able to peel away the layers of judgment, ego and disbelief to reach those qualities that lie within. Sitting in silent meditation, we focus on the rhythm of our breathing without attaching to the many thoughts that float into our consciousness. Because each thought we attach to we then believe, and believing makes it real. If it’s true that what I attach to I will believe, and believing in something makes it real, then maybe I just need to be more selective about what I attach to.

For example, each day we experience more than 50,000 thoughts. That’s more than 2,000 in an hour! More than 30 in a minute! Is that even possible? No wonder we are distracted. And how many of those 30 plus thoughts-per-minute serve us in the best possible light? How many are even clear? Pithy? I admit to having an occasional pithy thought. Those are the ones I should attach to. Moments that are clear, concise and focused. Thoughts that give direction; grant forgiveness; provide compassion; withhold judgement.

I believe that yoga has this power for me. The power to energize, to restore, to cleanse and to calm. And by believing with conviction, I am able to see progress through my practice.

Muhammad Ali said: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that lead to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

My words of wisdom…be mindful about what you believe because it soon will be all that you see..


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.


Never Arrive too Soon to the Ball or Else!

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 11:01pm

Doug Browne

I absolutely love when my students are diligent and prepare quickly. In most cases, this studious player will be in excellent position to strike the ball. However, inexperienced tennis players can be too anxious and then must cope with a variety of issues.

For example, amateurish tennis players often move to the ball so fast that they land on the wrong foot and then lose balance. As I coach this new player, I continually remind them of one basic rule: When a player moves right, plant on the right leg, and as they go left, gather balance on the left leg. The problem is that the untested player is so worried that they don’t have time, they cannot slow down, and tend to land on the front leg, and as a result, lose their balance.

Other characteristics of an inexperienced tennis player is when the person is too impatient. This player wishes to put the ball away too early and makes foolish choices. If the person has not logged a lot of time on the tennis court, it is virtually impossible to hit winner after winner.

When the new player hits a solid forehand drive and has moved the opponent out of position, it does not mean that the foe is not going to be able to recover. For example, when players compete on a slow clay court surface, it is common to be able to fetch ball after ball and always stay in the point for the duration. The new player might feel that there is an opening or a keen opportunity, but this is a false read!


Due to the slower court surface, most good tennis players are able to recover and get back into position with ease. Therefore, when the young competitor hits one solid groundstroke, do not get ahead of yourself and think the point is near completion. It is prudent for all tennis players to be patient and learn to cultivate each point and begin to learn their opponent’s tendencies.

As each point develops, sooner or later, the inexperienced player will learn the foe’s weaknesses and then be able to formulate a plan. Case in point, one of our current students is so restless that she will rip a big ‘groundie’ when it appears there is an opportunity. However, her rival quickly recovers and is now back to the middle of the baseline ready for battle. Unfortunately for our untested player, she over reacted when she spanked a big drive, and is now out of position for the next ball.

Due to her lack of experience, she continually misjudges the situation and hits to her opponent’s strength. Due to her lack of court intelligence, she is unable to adjust and continually drives her best strokes to her foe’s strength.

When she finishes the game and has her customary 90 second time-out, (players switch sides after odd scoring games or the completion of a set) she has to reassess her tactics. Whether she is down 2-5 or loses the first set, she has to come to grips that her current plan is a loser and must make drastic changes.

If she only makes one change and no longer hits her best shots to her foe’s strength, the match could change significantly. The moment we alter our plan and devise a better plan, our entire outlook will change for the better. Not only will the mental game improve but it will be a huge uplift for the physical game as well. In simple terms, if she begins to attack the weaker wing of the opponent, she will not have to run all over the court chasing balls.

Once the younger player gathers some tournament experience, she will learn about new patterns and strategies. To me, one of the best plays in the game of tennis is the “back door” pattern. The “back door” or “wrong foot” strategy is when we hit behind our opponent. In other words, instead of constantly hitting to the open areas of the baseline, we go right back where we hit our last shot.

When we utilize this successful play, the opponent no longer has a jump on the ball. The moment a player practices this different but effective “back door” pattern, the opponent will have to make big modifications. Remember, earlier in the match, this foe was able to track down just about every groundstroke and clearly had the edge.

With this game plan, the match could change 180 degrees; the player who is implementing this proven strategy is energized and the foe is potentially confused.

Yes, I thought that I would never say it, preparing too early can be a detriment. When playing on a clay court, the ball may bounce erratically and we must be able to make this correction at the last moment. If we committed too soon, our feet are now inflexible and unable to produce a good stroke.

If we are playing in windy conditions, arriving to the ball too early can be devastating. The key is to keep moving as long as possible so when the ball moves in another direction, we will be able to flow to this new placement.

Tennis is a game of rhythm, and when we move to a spot too early, we tend to be immobile. Tennis players need small rhythmic steps to groove through the stroke. When tennis players emulate the moves of a graceful dancer, they can produce beautiful flowing strokes.

Throughout the world of tennis, there are far slower court surfaces today and we must be able to play enduring tennis. Remember, as the point wears on, we not only learn about our opponents but we learn so much about ourselves. Therefore, after the completion of the first set, we will be more suited to make changes because we have so much more knowledge. Good luck.


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.


Networking, Food and Fun at the Chamber’s July After Five

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 10:58pm

By Steve Gimmestad

Guests line up for the elaborate buffet at Ciao Bella, host of the Chamber’s
July After Five.

Ciao Bella Ristorante Italiano hosted the Chamber’s After Five networking event on July 15, which attracted 95 attendees, a great summer turnout.

A few new faces were seen along with the familiar ones. This was Nikkie Sardelli’s first After Five event. Nikkie is the newest addition to the Marco Island American Cancer Society, filling the position of Coordinator- Division Office and Event Support. She thought the After Five event was “wonderful” and a “great way to meet everyone in the community.”

Owners Juan and Marisol Cortazar and Arturo Perez outdid themselves. The food was plentiful and delicious. Guests dined on chicken marsala, sausage and peppers, mussels, meatballs, pasta and garlic bread. Many unabashedly enjoyed seconds.

Michael Richards of Sparkle Cleaners won the $175 50-50 raffle. Perry Baptiste won a Marco Island cap from the business card draw.

Sandi Riedemann, Executive Director of the Chamber says “thank you to Ciao Bella owners Juan and Marisol Cortazar, Arturo Perez and the staff. They did a wonderful job and the food was superb.”

The Marco Island Chamber of Commerce’s monthly After Five events provide funds for the Chamber’s general fund through the admission charge and the sale of 50-50 raffle tickets. For more information on the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, After Five and other events, visit their website at




The Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 10:56pm

By Don Manley

Lynne Minozzi, president of the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island, is encircled by fellow members of the incoming board of directors and club officers. PHOTOS BY DON MANLEY

Cyndi Doragh emphasized the power of one during her visit to the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island.

“One small person can make a difference, but that one small person needs others to join them,” said Doragh, governor of Rotary International District 6960, which includes Collier, Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, Glades, Sarasota, Desoto and Manatee Counties.

She praised the club for its charitable work both locally and internationally, and urged its members to continue using their time and talents to better the world. Doragh attended the Noontime Rotary’s July 16 meeting to formally install the club’s slate of officers for the next year.

Lynne Minozzi replaces Bruce Graev as the club’s president. Joining her are:

  • Jennifer Tenney, vice-president and president elect
  • Cindy Love-Abounader , secretary
  • Ed Pontier and Alisha Garcia-Pacheco, co-treasurers
  • Phillip Penzo, sergeant at arms

The board of directors consists of George Abounader, Pat Lyons, Tom Menaker, Jim Richards, Linda Sandlin, John Scott, Gwyn Steiner and Jim Stine.

Doragh, a member of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, was joined by husband, Pete Doragh, who is a past governor of District 6960.

She illustrated her point about the power of the individual with the use of a doll – simply made, but beautiful, and adorned in a brightly colored smock and headdress – that she bought at this year’s Rotary International Convention, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The dolls are produced by impoverished women in a Kenyan village who make and sell them to generate sufficient income to avoid, out of desperation, prostituting themselves. Doragh said she plans to auction off the doll at this year’s District 6960 conference and donate the proceeds to the women.

“The power of Rotary is so exciting,” said Doragh. “I love Rotary because of these stories and the things we can do.”

In her remarks, Minozzi said that during her term she hopes to establish a system that rewards members for bringing in new members, and that her focus will be on the community’s needy children and their families.

“There are families living in cars and kids without necessities and we’re going to help them,” said Minozzi.


Rotary International District Governor Visits Marco Island

Sun, 07/26/2015 - 10:54pm

Cyndi Doragh, governor of Rotary International District 6960, recently visited both of Marco Island’s Rotary Clubs to discuss the organization’s 2015-2016 initiatives, and to encourage the members to continue their efforts to both improve the lives of people in need and to better the communities the clubs serve. Stories on Doragh’s visits to the clubs can be found below.

The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise
By Bill Morris

Sunrise Rotary Club President Debra Shanahan, left, is joined by Cyndi Doragh, governor of Rotary International District 6960. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise Recently Hosted District Governor Cyndi Doragh.

Doragh follows her husband, Pete Doragh, as district governor for District 6960 of Rotary International. District 6960 includes Collier, Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, Glades, Sarasota, Desoto and Manatee Counties.

The district governor meets with each of the over 50 Rotary Clubs in the district at least once during the first six months of the Rotary year, beginning July 1. Marco Island Sunrise was honored to be one of the first clubs meeting with the newly installed governor.

The governor’s visit began with a board of directors’ dinner hosted by Sunrise Rotary Club President Debra Shanahan at DaVinci’s Restaurant. It was followed the next morning by the club’s weekly meeting, where Doragh was the guest speaker.

The district governor’s speech addressed Rotary International’s 2015-2016 theme, “Be a Gift to the World,” and how each Rotarian can be that gift. Doragh stressed that Rotary is about relationships. Rotarians like being together, working together and going out into the world. The common denominator is caring about our community.

The governor noted that our time on this planet is finite, but that the power of one can make a big difference. Among many examples of the power of one, Doragh told the story of a doll she purchased at the Rotary International Convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The doll was made by one young woman in Kenya and purchased by one Rotarian in Sao Paulo. The funds are used to feed a multitude.

Doragh went on to relate the power of one to her three major projects for the coming year. First mentioned was “Coins for Alzheimer Research,” through which Rotary Clubs contribute their loose change and more to Alzheimer research. She explained that human trafficking is a problem in Southwest Florida that must be addressed, and she encouraged the involvement of Rotarians in that effort. She also emphasized Rotary International’s major project, the eradication of polio on a worldwide basis, was a priority. Only 29 new cases of polio were reported in 2014, and it is her hope that polio will be eradicated completely in the very near future.

In keeping with the governor’s speech, Shanahan announced that the club was making a $1,000 donation to the fight against human trafficking. And in appreciation of the governor’s visit, the Club donated 20 polio vaccines, in the governor’s name, to Rotary International.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise, please contact Bill Morris at (239) 642-6020 or via email at, or visit the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise website at


Getting Ready for Souper Bowl Marco 2016!

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:25am

By Coastal Breeze Staff

Fifth graders Gavin Lang (left) and Ryan Garraty started their Saturday morning by volunteering.

While many folks were sleeping on Saturday morning, July 11, volunteers filled the Mackle Park Teen Center, painting bowls for the Fourth Annual Souper Bowl Marco 2016.

The fundraising event is organized by the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce to benefit the Leadership Marco scholarship fund. Hand painted ceramic bowls are sold to event attendees, who can then sample a variety of delicious soups prepared by local restaurants and chefs.

Over $20,000 was awarded to Marco Island high school students last year.

This year’s event is co-chaired by Jada Shigley and Desiree Buhelos. They are preparing for an event to top last year’s sell-out, where every one of the 1,000 bowls available was sold. This year, organizers plan on having 1,200 bowls on hand.

The bisque bowls go through a three step process to prepare them for the event. The first step involves painting the bowls. Creativity is key here- and anything goes! The next two steps- glazing and firing – are done at the Marco Island Art League or Lely High School where they have kilns.

At this time, there is a call for volunteers to help with the first step of the process.

Saturday’s bowl-painting event brought together members of the community of all ages, as well as visitors to the island.

Budding artist Eva helps paint bowls for Souper Bowl Marco 2016.

Natasha Shevchenko brought her four children, ages three months to 11 years old. Sons Lucas, 11 and Santino, 9, also painted bowls in school. Last year, between the two of them, they painted eight. Daughter Eva, 4, who is not yet in school, did not have the same opportunity as her brothers. On Saturday she enjoyed the activity. Natasha tells us “We love painting bowls! We use them at home- they are the perfect size for cereal or ice cream.”

Friends Kathryn Kerpchar and Phyllis Finn painted together. Phyllis, from New York, and Kathryn, a Connecticut resident who has a condo in Marco Island, were looking for ways to volunteer during their visit. Other volunteers included residents Sharon Doggett and Jane Schlechtweg.

Donna Lang brought her grandson Gavin and his friend Ryan Garraty. The boys are in 5th grade at Tommie Barfield Elementary School. By 9 AM, when they arrived, the turnout was so good that a second table had to be set up to accommodate them. Organizers hope that this enthusiasm will continue until the event, so that all 1,200 bowls may be painted and ready.

Baby Vito, held by mother Natasha, and assisted by Desiree Buhelos, paints a bowl with his feet.

Co-Chair Desiree Buhelos wanted to “thank everybody that showed up to help, and thank Mackle Park for letting us use the Teen Center for the first Saturday of every month.”

Help is still needed to paint the large inventory of bowls. Volunteers can come to the Mackle Park Teen Center the first Saturday of every month until the February 6, 2016 event. The next bowl painting event is scheduled for Saturday, August 1 from 8:30-10:30 AM.


Once Upon a Time…Camp Able 2015

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:18am

By Steve Gimmestad
(with Alexandra Diaz)

I’d like to tell you a story. Clean off your glasses, grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. It’s a good story, and it begins something like…


…in a land called Marco Island, there was an event. It was more than an event, it was an adventure. And it goes by the name of Camp Able.

For five days, 55 campers with special needs and diverse abilities, join 110 counselors and numerous volunteers to experience a week of inspiration, joy, self-discovery and exploration that instills a sense of awe for all those involved.

Camp Able began on Marco Island nine years ago, and was initiated by a team lead by Father Kyle Bennett. Its home base is St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, but the experience extends throughout the community. This year the camp ran from July 15-19.

Campers arrived Wednesday and the energy was palpable. The drums were playing and songs resounded through the hallways. All that was but an accompaniment to the laughter, cries of greetings and tears as the campers unload their gear and met up with friends, both old and new. If you could harness that type of energy, it would light the entire night sky and be seen from the moon.

There is a 2-1 ratio of counselors to campers. This creates the opportunity for a very safe and meaningful experience for all the campers, who range in age from 10-46. The environment fosters a strong buddy system which creates many opportunities for the campers to explore their abilities.

Every day is filled with wonder as the campers explore all the activities open to them. Fishing, scuba diving (in a pool), shotgun target shooting, kayaking, biking, swimming, a day at the spa, and even making chocolate (more on that in a bit). They expressed their artistic abilities, their communication desires, and explored their spirituality in ways they did not think possible. And every day they practiced for the final night Talent Show. A perfect way to explore their individuality.

Let’s add a little magic to our tale; The Marco Island Chocolate Company. This is a venture established to help provide funding for Camp Able. Wade Mundinger leads the way for this endeavor and has been involved with Camp Able for eight years.

“We’re learning as we’re earning,” says Wade, as he demonstrates the process. “Campers get a chance to learn how to make chocolate and, in turn, they earn financial credit toward their Camp Able experience. We also sell the chocolate online and in local retail stores. We want to change the world one heart at a time and one chocolate bar at a time.”

The Marco Island Chocolate Company has three blends available, with three more coming soon. Local retailers include Wake Up Marco, Scuba Marco, Rookery Bay and Island Bike Shop. Go online: All their chocolate bars are made with 60% dark cacao and a whole lotta love. Which makes for some very magical enjoyment.

The Camp Able experience has spread and can be found in Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi. In the beginning, Father Kyle expresses his vision in true Southern style: “[Camp Able] is a sacramental gumbo where the diversely abled are baptized in a spiritual roux of dignity-driven love. It is a place where you are invited to be yourself, set your soul free and change the world.”

Callie Bennett is the Camp Coordinator and a focal point in bringing together the myriad components that make up the Camp Able experience. “Camp Able is the highlight of my year. It has been so motivational in my life. I am currently pursuing a master’s program in speech pathology. I have developed such a passion for working with special need children and adults as a result of my Camp Able experience.”

Callie continues: “This was the best year yet. There is no comparison to this week of the summer. It is just awesome! Thank you to the entire community of Marco Island for opening their arms to Camp Able. It warms my heart to hear, right from day one, that they are already looking forward to next year.”

The halls of St. Mark’s are quieter now. Campers and counselors have left our fairy tale world. But, in each, the story lives on and is passed along to all who will listen. The echoes linger here on Marco Island, and are strong enough to keep the memories intact until another tale can be written next year. This is where I will leave you. There is a chocolate bar on my counter I would like to experience. And while the story never truly ends, I will say farewell for now with something like…



“I want to thank all the people who make Camp Able possible, because coming here has really helped me to grow my faith. Every year when camp is over, I can’t help but look forward until next year. Camp Able is truly a home away from home.”

  • DJ Burlingame, Camper


“Sometimes, I feel down about myself. At times, I felt like taking my life. But if I were to die, I would have died in that car accident. I believe God created Camp Able for people like me. To make me feel happy again.”

  • Jeffrey Smith, Camper


“It is just amazing! You can not ask for a better place or better surroundings to send your children. The socialization here is fantastic. The counselors even stay in touch after camp. At home, Louis creates stories using the pictures from Camp Able. It really makes you teary-eyed because he loves it so much. This is by far the best place for anyone.”

  • Joseph & Cynthia Pampena (Campers Louis and Heather)
    Joe takes some pictures, Cynthia is seated with yellow sweater.


With So Many Thanks

Rick’s Island Salon

Marco Island Water Sports

Pro Fish in Sea Fishing Charters (Mike Kenzer)

Weis Guy Fishing Charters (Jody Weis)

Island Bike Shop

Capri Fish House

Scuba Marco

Marco Movies

Rock Star Gym

Rookery Bay

Marco Island Civitan Club

Collier County Health Department

Gulf Coast Clays at Port of the Isles Shooting Club (Corey Rugg)

Skin Renewal Systems

Scott and Deb Needles

Duncan Wheeler (Music)

Anne and Gary Landis

Wayne Carmignani

John and Jean Esposito

Scot and Pat Kaufman

Lights Out and Watch Your Step on the Beach!

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:08am

By Steve Gimmestad

It’s nesting time in the Marco area, but don’t look up. These nests are under the white sands of our beaches and belong to Caretta caretta, fondly known as our Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

Last issue, Coastal Breeze reported on the record-setting 101st nest. Now we have come to learn there are 114 nests. The previous record was 93 a few years ago. While this type of achievement merits some type of award, most sea turtles don’t have a mantle upon which to display a trophy. But we do have a couple people that deserve our most humble thanks.

Mary Nelson and Beverly Ann Shipe have been patrolling our beaches for over 20 years. Thanks to their passionate interest and concern, we know a lot about our sea turtle activities, along with a few ways we can co-exist with our oceanic brethren during their time on the beach.

“Sea turtles return to their natal site to lay their eggs,” says Mary Nelson. “That means that the turtles now laying their eggs were hatched on these beaches about 15-20 years ago. It’s a healthy sign to see so many nests this year, and there are probably a number of reasons including natural cycles, mating maturity of previous hatching and more responsible care of the nesting activities by beach goers.”

For over 20 years, Mary Nelson (left) and Beverly Ann Shipe have monitored sea turtle nests and activities on the beaches of Collier County. They are standing next to a nest on popular South Beach of Marco. With a little help, sea turtles and people can share the local beaches. And that’s pretty cool.

Officially hired by Collier County in 1995, Mary monitors, records activity and helps protect each nest to minimize the impact of human beach activity. She loves doing it and she’s very good at her job.

There is a lot of information about sea turtles and it makes for great rainy-afternoon reading from many sources online. Yet, Caretta caretta is a mysterious creature and there is much yet to learn.

Early on, they tried a tagging program on the hatchlings, but the tags would come off and proved an ineffective way to monitor the turtles from such a young age.

Accompanying Mary for the last couple decades has been volunteer Beverly Ann Shipe. Both Mary and Beverly Ann were happy to let me know that Beverly Ann has recently gained official status and is now a seasonal employee of Collier County. Her official title is Collier County Parks and Recreation Assistant/Environmental Technician. She much prefers Sea Turtle Monitor.

“Thinking of the early ‘90s when my husband and I first started vacationing in Marco in the summer- everyone said I was crazy to come to Florida in the summer,” says Beverly Ann. “But it was the only time I had off from work. We found the quiet of the island and peacefulness a treasure as we walked and ran the beach at daybreak, and enjoyed in other leisure pastimes. As I passed crawls and their resulted nests on the beach – one after another – it was natural to become more involved in protecting this species and volunteered in any aspect of sea turtle conservation efforts available.”

Why lights out? Good question. “One of the ways sea turtles, after hatching, find their way to the water – is light,” says Mary. “They crawl over the sand towards a light source, which is the stars, moonlight and horizon glow over the water. Artificial light sources confuse them and they end up going the wrong way. It’s not good.”

There are many other obstacles that make it difficult for the sea turtles. An increase in auto traffic on the beach packs the sand, making it difficult to dig a proper nest. The route to the beach can be impeded with litter or other man-made debris. Humans digging or walking on a nest can break the eggs. The list is long.

Says Mary smiling, “I remember an occasion where I saw a mother using the roped-off nest area as a playpen for her baby. It was a funny sight, but she complied when I reminded her it was unlawful. Guess we should add that activity to the signs posted by each nest.”

As members of this vast ecosystem known as Earth, we do have a responsibility to live in harmony with our non-human neighbors. Sharing the beach is one of them.

“As you hear from many people now, the ‘secret’ is out and Marco is no longer a quiet respite in the summer, but shares its beauty with many more vacationers than ever in the past during this ‘off’ season.” Says Beverly Ann. “However, the Caretta caretta sea life returns year after year still dependent on our collective community effort to protect her nests and care for her young. As we know, only one out of 1,000 will survive to adulthood.”

While Mary Nelson holds iconic status as The Turtle Lady, the job has become larger than one person. I predict an image showing the Dynamic Duo of Mary and Beverly Ann will someday be seen on t-shirts worn by teen Loggerheads all over the world. It would be a fitting homage.


Marco Karate School Brings Home the Gold

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:04am

By Don Manley

Chase Polley, right, lands a kick during the kumite portion of the 2015 AAU Karate National Championships.

The Shima Dojo Karate School made a strong showing at the 2014 American Athletic Union Karate National Championships by capturing three gold medals.

But this year, the small karate school, based at the Greater Marco Family YMCA, truly made its presence felt on a big stage by coming away with 10 gold medals in three categories at the AAU championships in just its second year of competing at the tourney.

Marco residents Logan Terreri, Chase and Kirra Polley, Bryant Martinez, Ben Warnike and Connie Rausch all earned gold medals for the dojo, the Japanese term for a martial arts school. Rausch was the only adult on the Marco squad, with the remaining members ranging in age from 6 to 12. All are members of the dojo’s Competition Team.

“They exceeded my expectations,” said Nick Lemke, the dojo’s “sensei,” Japanese for martial arts instructor, of the team’s performance in Raleigh, N.C., the location of the 2015 AAU tournament.

At the 2014 tournament, Chase Polley won two gold medals and Laurie McCardle earned one, as well as a silver medal. Lemke said the experience of attending a national tournament with more than 1,000 competitors, was an eye opener for the dojo.

“We got enlightened last year,” said Lemke. “We did really well throughout the state, but the nationals, it was rough. I always tell my students before a tournament ‘Don’t expect anything, just go and do your best. We’re just here to pay these people to train with, so we have someone to spar against.’ We go into tournaments with that attitude and I think that helps a lot.”

Chase and Kirra Polley demonstrate their form at
the 2015 AAU Karate National Championships.

2015 has been a banner tournament year for the dojo.

Rausch, Martinez and Chase Polley all ranked No. 1, overall, in their age groups, in Florida after the state AAU karate tourney, held in late May. Kirra Polley and Mason Mullen finished in the top five. Allison Horchler and Ben Warnike were ranked as the top performers in kata – an exercise consisting of several of a martial art’s specific movements.

Their performances qualified them for the national AAU tournament, but Horchler and Mullen were unable to attend because they were traveling on family vacations.

Rausch, 51, took gold in the kobudo – the Japanese term for the Okinawan karate weapons system, in senior-beginner division at the national championships, just 13 months after taking her first karate class.

Her expectations were minimal going into the competition.

“I just wanted to do well,” said Rausch. “I was really happy that I got gold in kobudo and I was happy that I had a competitor, because at this age, there really aren’t too many beginning women who take karate or even compete.”

Despite winning a gold medal in kata in 2014, Chase Polley, 9, also had his sights set low because of the tournament’s national scope. But he captured gold medals in kobudo, kata and kumite (sparring).

“I felt proud of myself and surprised that I won, and excited,” he said of his performance.

Chase Polley poses with the three gold medals he earned at the 2015 AAU
Karate National Championships.

Chase Polley has studied at the dojo for about five years and he credited Lemke with being behind his success in the martial art.

“My sensei, if he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have won because he coaches me really well and he pushes me to go to class,” he said. “He helped me with all the categories to win gold. He’s a really good person because he always corrects us when we need it so we can win.”

Rausch also praised the quality of Lemke’s instruction.

“He’s very well respected,” she said. “We go to tournaments and see competitors from other schools and you can really see the difference in our katas, in our focus, in our punches, everything. He’s very detail oriented.”

Lemke founded the Shima Dojo Karate School in 2010, with a specialty in the Okinawan karate style known as Seibukan Shorin-Ryu. The dojo offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, six days a week, for students from age 6 through senior citizen.

Since beginning serious karate study 22 years ago, Lemke has studied in Okinawa several times on the way to obtaining a third-degree black belt in karate and a second-degree black belt in kobudo.

He patterns his classes and standards after the instruction he experienced in Okinawa, an island located about 400 miles south of Japan.

“I don’t just give out belts like other school’s do,” said Lemke. “You really have to come in and train. I pride myself on that because it’s exactly how they would do it in Okinawa. When you finally get it, you know that you earned it. I would hate for anybody to leave my school thinking, ‘Wow, that wasn’t hard.’ ”

Bill Polley, father of Kirra and Chase, was thrilled with the dojo’s performance at the nationals, as he is with the school itself.

It’s a really good dojo here,” said Bill Polley. “It’s quality, not quantity. They’re not giving out belts just because you’ve been here a certain amount of time. It’s all about the effort and the skill, and the lifestyle.”

Lemke and Rausch said the dojo had to raise $2,600 to cover expenses for the trip to Raleigh for the nationals. Fundraising continues in preparation for the annual summer and winter training camp trips, next year’s AAU nationals and a weekend-long seminar, set for January on Marco and conducted by Lemke’s mentor, Sensei Dan Smith of Coal Mountain Karate School, in Forsyth County, Ga. To help, contact Rausch at or 317-753-5203.

For more information about Shima Dojo Karate School at the Marco YMCA, please call 394-9622 or go to, click on Programs, Youth Sports.


Local Couple Visits Cuba

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 11:51pm

By Coastal Breeze Staff

John Lennon Statue located in the park bearing his name, guarded by Juan Gonzalez.

The door to American travel to Cuba is opening wider, and locals Lana and Roger Withers are among the lucky few to walk through.

The Withers took part in an educational “people to people” tour through Friendly Planet Travel, called the “Understand Photography Havana Tour.”

Lana grew up in Florida. She vividly recalls the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the air raid drills experienced as a child in elementary school. Lana always had a curiosity about Cuba, and when her husband Roger’s 70th birthday approached it presented the perfect opportunity for the trip.

Lana’s breathtaking photographs give us a glimpse into this beautiful country, which for most Americans has been off-limits for over fifty years. President Obama recently announced his plans to resume normal diplomatic relations with Cuba. Travel restrictions, although eased, are still in place.

The six day trip took the Withers to Havana, Cojimar and Callejon de Hamel. They were guided throughout the tour and presented with amazing photo opportunities each day.

Ladies using a pay phone.

In Havana the streets were lined with classic American cars from the ‘50s. Lana tells us that she didn’t see any vehicles dating after 1958.

Her Havana photos also show buildings lacking maintenance and upkeep; paint is seen peeling in large strips from the facades. Creature comforts were absent. People waited in line to use pay phones.

Despite hardships, the spirit of the people was strong. Lana describes the people she met as “open, friendly and kind.” Her pictures capture that spirit.

Little known is the fact that John Lennon is revered in Cuba- so much so that he has a park named after him. Parque John Lennon, located in the Vedado district in Havana, is also home to a bronze statue of the former Beatles member. The statue, sculpted by Cuban artist José Villa Soberón, is guarded round the clock by Juan Gonzalez, in order to prevent people from stealing Lennon’s trademark glasses from the statue’s face. Juan, a retired farm worker, took it upon himself to guard the statue after hearing about the repeated theft of Lennon’s removable glasses.

Trees line the path to Hemingway’s house in Cuba.

Lana and Roger’s tour took them to Cojimar, a small fishing village ten miles east of Havana, and Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. They visited Hemingway’s Cuban home, Finca Vigia (“Lookout House”), which was filled with memorabilia and personal effects. The house was the site where Hemingway wrote both The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. After Hemingway’s death in 1961, the Cuban government took ownership of the property and opened it to the public.

Lana took more than 700 photographs during her six day trip. She tells us that she wants to go back again. New rules make it easier for her to do that. Old rules required Americans travelling to Cuba justify their trip under one of twelve permissible categories, and sometimes required a license from the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. New rules eliminate the need for licenses to certify the travel under a permitted category. Commercial flights to Cuba have already begun.