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Missi D’Ambrosio – Painting Marco With Sunshine

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 8:35pm

By Maureen Chodaba

Missi’s clients are an extension of her family. Photos by Maureen Chodaba

A new ray of sunshine has illuminated 1720 San Marco Road with color and light. Paint and Color Specialist Missi D’Ambrosio has joined the staff of Sunshine Ace Hardware, bringing along her talent, experience and dedication to customer service. A Marco Island resident since 1986, Missi is a familiar face, a powerhouse of expertise and a friend in need.

You may know Missi from the Florida Paint Centers. Many assumed she was the owner of the establishment, but in her words, she was “simply the manager” for almost 20 years. Anyone who has ever known Missi knows that there was nothing simple about Missi’s performance on the job. One Marco Island resident, who has chosen to remain anonymous, recalls a day when Missi came to the rescue. This individual recounts a day when he stopped by on his bicycle to check on the home of friends who were away at the time. This cyclist was horrified when his bike accidentally fell over, scratching and removing the paint from his friends’ custom-painted faux finish garage door. The 911 was Missi to the rescue. She personally traveled to the scene of the accident to access the damage and analyze the remedy. She determined the exact mix, color combination and application procedure to restore the garage door to its original state. With the help of a painter friend, our distraught bicyclist was astounded and relieved as the door looked perfect once again. Upon the return of the homeowners, he told them the story. Even when the area of repair was specifically shown to them, they swore they could not tell that anything had ever happened.

It is her personal touch and dedication that makes Missi such an asset to Marco Island. She says, “My clients are an extension of my family.” On May 20, when Florida Paint Centers abruptly closed its doors, it was not only a shock to the clients. It was a shock to Missi as well. She said, “Knowing I couldn’t turn my back on the wonderful clientele that had been built up over the years, I thankfully answered a call from the Sunshine Ace team. Sunshine Ace will now be serving commercial paint professionals and do-it-yourself (DIY) customers, just as I have done for the past years.” Sunshine Ace carries Ace brand paints as well as Benjamin Moore. Missi added that Sunshine Ace is a locally owned company with a major buying power, allowing the business to make pricing on paints and supplies much better than she ever imagined.

Prior to living on Marco Island, Missi lived in Naples for 10 years. “I have seen the comings and goings of many trying to make this wonderful paradise work for both their families and businesses,” she said, demonstrating her affinity for the Southwest Florida area. Missi began her days on Marco Island as a full service attendant at the Phillips 66 Service station, then a 7-11, located next to Kretch’s Restaurant. She loved the job, because she was able to see her customers on a regular basis. If they didn’t need fuel for their cars, it was for their boats, lawn equipment or repairs. However, in the mid to late 1980s, most people did not think that a young girl could fix a tire or diagnose a necessary automotive repair. Missi said, “I loved the challenge. Once the men and women became comfortable with me, I seemed to be the ‘go to’ girl for many things.” After 18 years of service at the station, she was approached by a friend who knew of an opening at the paint store. The service station was under new ownership, so Missi decided to take the leap and applied for the job. She was told that the owner of the paint store hired her “because of her attitude.” Missi said, “I found out how much I enjoyed working in the paint field and with color, and here I am!”

Missi continues to be the “go to” girl in the world of paint and color on Marco Island. Stop by to see her at Sunshine Ace Hardware on San Marco Road. We hope she will be spreading her rays of sunshine on our island for many days and years to come!

Placencia: Belizean Beauty

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:58pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

The world’s narrowest street.

For low-maintenance travelers who appreciate unspoiled natural beauty, a trip to Placencia is a must.

Located in the Stann Creek district of Belize in Central America, Placencia is a 16-mile long, narrow strip of land. Although it is a peninsula, the Caribbean Sea on the east and lagoon on the west make Placencia feels like an island.

The area is known for its natural beauty: golden sand beaches, lush foliage and a variety of tropical birds and sea life. Visitors can relax on the beach, or partake in a variety of activities such as kayaking, sailing, snorkeling or diving. Divers will see marine life and amazing coral formations clearly because of the pristine water on Placencia’s coast.

There is one main road in Placencia, which was paved in 2010, and little traffic. Many visitors walk, bicycle or drive golf carts to get around. Driving through the area travelers can catch a peek at many red dirt roads leading off the main road, reminiscent of the days before the road was built.  At that time all vehicles, shoes, and often clothing, were spotted orange from the rich colorful earth.

At the very southern tip of the peninsula is a charming village on the water. The village is the hub of activity for the peninsula, and is the place to be for shopping and nightlife.

Children play on the beach at Lobsterfest, while music plays in the background.

Notably, Placencia holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having the narrowest street in the world, at only three feet wide. Despite its small size, the street is bustling, lined with hotels, restaurants and shops. The shops carry everything from the typical tourist t-shirts to unique local art, textiles and sculptures, wooden Mayan masks and stone calendars. Often you may find artists busy at work, painting, carving or making beaded jewelry under the shade of a tree along the sidewalk.

For lobster lovers the best time to visit is the end of June, when the annual Placencia Lobsterfest takes place. Local restaurants prepare fresh lobster in every imaginable way. Some of the crowd favorites this year were the lobster fajitas, Thai lobster spring rolls and grilled lobster served with garlic butter. The festival also brings out the local talent, and musicians, young and old, perform throughout the day and night. Vendors line up from all over the country selling art, food products and handcrafted goods.

If you come when it’s not Lobsterfest, don’t fear – there is plenty of good food to be had! In addition to many local restaurants with authentic Belizean cuisine, there is the award-winning Maya Beach Hotel Bistro, which also has an extensive wine list. And surprisingly, some of the best gelato can be found in the village at Tutti Frutti, where fresh local ingredients such as mango and sour sop are highlighted.

Traffic on the main road stops when planes take off from the Placencia Airport.

Accommodations range from economy to luxury; Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn being an example of the latter. Many private residences are for rent, often with pools if you need a break from the sandy beach.

Often visitors use Placencia as a home base to explore other parts of the country. Sightseeing tours to the nearby Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun are popular, as is a trek to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, site of the world’s first Jaguar reserve.

The best way to get to Placencia is a two-hour flight from Miami to Belize City. From there, the peninsula is a scenic three-hour drive through the mountains and countryside or a short 35-minute flight on a small plane.

A word of advice: if you are high maintenance, this is not the trip for you. You won’t find shopping malls or Starbucks here, but you just may find the adventure you crave.

Paved only six years ago, Placencia’s main road used to look like this red dirt road.

Belize Facts

• Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.

• Belize is the only country in Central America whose official language is English.

• The Belize dollar is set at the rate of $2 Belize to $1 USD and the U.S. dollar is accepted as currency.

• Belize’s average temperature, year-round, is 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Belize has the lowest population density in Central America, with a population of 331,900 (2013 census).



My Newest Best Friend A Carolina Love Story

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:55pm

Goodland Life 

By Barry Gwinn

Bill and Cassandra Gwinn with Nancy and Barry at their May 28th wedding in Canton, N.C. These guys really seem to like each other. Submitted Photos

My newest best friend lives in North Carolina. Her name is Cassandra. She is a strikingly beautiful blue-eyed blond. She lives in Canton, N.C. where she grew up and spent most of her life. Until September of last year, I had never heard of her. On May 28, 2016, Cassandra, 46, (affectionately known to me as Cassie) married my son Bill, 52. To accommodate all the guests, the wedding took place in the Canton National Guard Armory. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

Canton is located about 13 miles west of Asheville in the scenic Appalachian Mountains and on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains. A city of about 4,500 people, Canton prides itself on being the second largest city in Haywood County, N.C. It is also home to a large paper mill and seven schools, which provide education to surrounding areas. It has little changed since the paper mill came to town in the early 20th century. Bill Gwinn came to Canton in 2001. He didn’t know it then, but knows now that he will spend the rest of his life there.

Bill Gwinn at USMC Barracks, St. Mawgan, England at about the time he met Cassandra Ferguson in 1987. Shown here with Jim Ball, a member of Bill’s unit.

Bill’s journey to Canton began, when in 1986, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and reported to Parris Island, S.C. for basic training. After basic, he was assigned to a unit at an R.A.F. base in England. While there, Bill befriended Todd Ferguson, another Marine in his detachment. Ferguson happened to be from Canton, N.C. and was accompanied by his wife, a high school sweetheart, whom he had married the year before. At the Marine Corps Ball in November 1987, Bill and his date sat next to Todd and his wife. She happened to be Cassandra James Ferguson, who at the age of 16 had dropped out of school to marry Todd. Neither Bill nor Cassie was impressed with the other. “Bill was boisterous and kind of crazy,” said Cassie. “She was just a kid,” countered Bill, who considered himself an accomplished ladies’ man. Nothing here. But neither ever forgot that first meeting. Todd would regale Bill with stories of the fishing and beautiful mountain streams and rivers in western Carolina. Bill spent the last two years of his enlistment at the USMC Base at 29 Palms, California, located in the harsh Mojave Desert, 130 miles east of Los Angeles. Todd Ferguson was also assigned to his unit (still accompanied by his wife), and told Bill of a community college in Asheville, N.C. which might accept him as a student. Upon his honorable discharge in 1990, Bill headed to Asheville, N.C., where after a year at AB Tech Community College, he was admitted to the University of Western Carolina, graduating in 1995 with a degree in marketing. This ultimately led to a job as regional sales rep for a Fortune 500 company, Republic Services, which had an office in Asheville. In 2001, Bill and his first wife, from nearby Candler, bought a cute bungalow in Canton. Ironically, it was Bill’s wife who insisted on that house, in that town, a decision that was to change the course of both their lives. “After Bill left 29 Palms, it was like he dropped off the face of the Earth,” Cassie told me, “I had plenty of my own problems and pretty much forgot about him.” The key words here are “pretty much.”

Cassie had moved back to Canton in 1994, settling on mountain property owned by her parents outside of town. When Todd Ferguson came home from the first Gulf War, he was a changed person, moody and uncommunicative. Things came to a head when Ferguson discharged a firearm in their Canton residence. Cassie and their infant son, Nicholas, who had been born five years after their marriage, were both present. “Todd had become a threat to our safety,” Cassie said, “We were terrified. After the gun incident we were constantly on edge.” It was an impossible situation for her. In 1997, the marriage ended in divorce.

Cassandra Ferguson, 17, meets USMC Private Bill Gwinn, 23, at the 1987 Marine Corps Ball, St. Mawgan, England.

Cassie subsequently married another high school sweetheart, Danny Cope. A daughter, Haley, was born of this marriage in 2001. About a year after her birth, Haley Cope was discovered to have contracted an active and insidious disease known as cytomegalovirus, or CMV. Over half of adults by age 40 have been infected with CMV. Most people infected with CMV show no signs or symptoms. However, CMV infection can cause serious health problems for babies who contract the virus before they are born. The doctors determined that Cassie had passed this virus to Haley during the third trimester of her pregnancy – one of the worst possible times. There is no known treatment for this virus. It is present for life. It was devastating to Cassie to realize that she had given this virus on to her daughter. Her guilt has only added to her determination to always be there for Haley, who now suffers from intellectual disability, coordination problems and seizures.

Now, in 2001, Bill had moved to Canton, Cassie lived and worked in Canton, they shopped at the same places, and both had children (or step-children) close in age who attended the same school. Cassie worked at a local Main Street pharmacy, filling prescriptions. And yet for 14 years Bill and Cassie went about their lives without knowing the other was in town. By 2015, the marriages for each had turned sour, for much the same reasons. Both were contemplating divorce on account of infidelity by their spouses. Both their spouses had moved out. Bill and Cassie were struggling, despondent and alone. On top of this, Cassie had taken active role in caring for her dad who had been placed on kidney dialysis. Then, on June 5, 2015, Cassie’s mother asked her to go into town and get $3.46 worth of milk. Cassie has saved the receipt.

Ingles was the place to buy groceries in Canton. Bill too was food shopping and showed up at the same time. In a rush to get a shopping cart, he literally bumped into her. In fact, he almost ran her over. He was visibly annoyed that Cassie had gotten in his way. It had been 24 years since they had last seen each other. He obviously didn’t recognize her, but Cassie had remembered him. “Aren’t you Bill Gwinn?” she asked. That was the beginning. The two talked for another hour and a half. A couple of months later they had become inseparable.

Photo by Cassandra Gwinn
Ingles grocery store, entrance at middle center left.

In September 2015, Cassie met my daughter, Bill’s sister, Nikki Kaheh, at a Pennsylvania family reunion for the family of my first wife. Cassie and Nikki quickly became fast friends. Cassie’s upbeat, can do attitude is hard to resist. Soon the two women were planning a summer vacation on Marco Island. A connection between the families of my two children had finally been forged. Last December, Bill brought Cassie down to Florida to meet Nancy and me. They brought Haley along. She is a lovely and sweet teenager. When they left, four days later, we had fallen in love with both of them. Bill and Cassie’s wedding followed on May 28th.

Cassie’s late entrance into our family was like a breath of fresh air and has served to rejuvenate and unify all of us. It was an unexpected life changing event, which does not often occur at this late stage of life. She has touched and uplifted all of us. Nancy and I had not traveled in years. Nancy’s Parkinson’s disease made it too awkward and exhausting for her. That was before Cassie. This time, Nancy got dolled up, I packed a suit I had been saving for my funeral, and we flew up to the wedding. We couldn’t stay away and had the time of our lives. We are already thinking of going up again for Thanksgiving. Yogi Berra was right. “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Thank you, Cassie.

Barry was a practicing attorney before he worked as a Special Agent of the FBI for 31 years.  Barry worked for several government agencies another ten years before retiring to Goodland in 2006. Barry is presently the Secretary of the Goodland Civic Association.

A High Tech Answer to Turtle Egg Poaching

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:50pm

Stepping Stones

Bob McConville

Master Naturalist         

Photos by Bob McConville

Just a few weeks ago a Florida man was caught stealing more than 100 eggs from an adult female loggerhead sea turtle while she was in the process of laying them. This guy could face a maximum term of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for hisactions. A California couple was sentenced to six months in prison when they were caught smuggling more than 900 olive ridley turtle eggs into our country from Mexico in May. A Georgia man went to jail for 21 months when he was caught stealing 84 loggerhead turtle eggs and he was already on probation for committing the same crime! There is a problem here.

Outside of the United States the issue is much bigger.

For example, in Costa Rica, eggs are taken from beaches by the truckload. So is it dangerous to get in the way of these poachers? You bet! In 2013 a ranger paid to patrol beaches during nesting season was killed trying to protect leatherback turtle nests.

It seems most of the Costa Rica thefts have been perpetrated by Panamanians. They transport the eggs back to their homeland and they are sold, mostly in bars, as aphrodisiacs. Here in the U.S. many are sold as a delicacy commonly in Central American and Latin American establishments. They are slurped raw, just like oysters, or sometimes cracked into a beer or eaten hard-boiled with salt, and can cost from $5 to $20 each.

Both here in the United States and also in Costa Rica sea turtles are protected andtheft of these eggs is illegal. Time behind bars (not the ones you drink at) is a viable solution but, like any crime involving mass theft, there is usually a bigger player behind the scenes.

Steps are now being taken to go after these more important players. A company called Paso Pacifico has developed an egg that was produced, not by a turtle, but by a 3-D printer. Just a smooth as a real egg and equally as round, these artificial eggs with silicone shells don’t contain a potential hatchling inside. Instead, there is a GPS tracking device!

Starting this fall these eggs will be strategically placed in nests that are most vulnerable to be taken by the poachers. Why this fall? That’s when the mass nesting event known as DzArribadadz takes place on Central American beaches. Turtles come lay their eggs by the thousands and poachers will be right there to take their share. Paso Pacifico trains guards to monitor these beaches and they estimate that, without the guards, 90% of the nests would be destroyed.

So the purpose of the tracking device is not to catch these thieves in real time but rather to generate maps that show the locations where trade of these eggs take place. The ultimate goal is to determine the players with money who are driving the supply and demand. Just removing a few of these people could save hundreds of thousands of eggs from destruction.

Also happening is the use of drones to fly above the beaches and help deter potential theft from the nests. This could also pinpoint the ingress and egress routes used to approach the protected areas.

Here in our immediate region I am not aware of any issues at this time but there aresome pitfalls. People on the beach that see a loggerhead coming out of the water to create a nest are amazed, as they should be. But, everyone wants a picture, and everyone wants to get close to these gentle giants of the sea – and that is a problem. If the adult female is not comfortable with its surroundings it will turn back to the water and not lay its eggs at that time. This is known as a “False Crawl.” It is important to give this turtle its space. Do not crowd around her, do not attempt to touch her or deter her in any way from the task at hand. Let nature take its course and, please, just be the distant bystander that you were meant to be.

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


6 Tips for a Safe Day on the Water

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:49pm

Capt. Pete Rapps
[email protected]

With this hot summer air, and a tackle box full of lures, it is no wonder why you may be excited to hop onto the boat for a long day of fishing and relaxing. However, before you jump in, there are a few safety measures you should know about.

1. Follow and check off your pre-departure checklist 
No one can perfectly remember everything they need to bring 10 minutes before heading out. That is why you should make a pre-departure checklist to check off before every boat ride. This list should include: life jackets, first aid kit, extra batteries, charged cellphone, water bottles, emergency contact numbers, VHF radio, healthy snacks, sunscreen, etc.

2. Assign an assistant ‘skipper’
If possible, you should make sure that a second person that can handle the boat and safety operations is on board. That way if the primary navigator is hurt, ill, or incapacitated in any way, you will have another person that can take over command.

3. Create a float plan 
Whether it is a family member or one of the staff at your local marina, you should always have someone on dry land know what your float plan is. This float plan should include: where you are going, how long you are going to be gone for, and the name, address and phone number of the trip leader and possibly the other passengers.

4. Wear lifejackets 
While this may feel a little uncomfortable and silly to wear, lifejackets are vital when it comes to keeping you from drowning. Make sure everyone on board has a lifejacket that fits them properly. Even if the adults on your trip refuse to wear them, do not let any child on board without their lifejacket secured to them.

5. Do not drink and boat
While there is nothing like having a cold beer out on the water, it would be better for you and your passengers to avoid drinking as much as possible. Studies have shown that the probability of being involved in a boating accident double when alcohol is involved. That aside, the hot sun combined with alcohol use increases your risk for dehydration.

6. Learn how to swim
If you are going to be hanging out in or around the water, you should know how to swim in it. Check local organizations, such as the American Red Cross, for some basic swimming lessons and training. If possible, encourage your other passengers to do the same.

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, and Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge and experience of thearea, and easygoing 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 website for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more Captain Pete Rapps can be reached at 239-571-1756. 

Why Can’t We Live Together?

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:48pm

MIND, BODY And Spirit

Laurie Kasperbauer 

[email protected]

People should act more like a box of crayons, living together in harmony no matter what color or how you look. 

– Katelyn Doneker 

I have a couple of news apps on my phone. One is NBC2, local news, and the other is USA Today for national news. They send an audible ping that accompanies a headline on my phone when there’s breaking news. Lately, there has been a lot of breaking news. As I write this article it is just days after the most recent tragedies involving shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas. No doubt, by the time this article makes it to print there will be more. The horror of human violence against humans is not something new, but it would appear to be amplifying in both frequency and intensity.

So far, I have not been personally assaulted. My family and friends are physically unscathed. I don’t personally know anyone who has been in the proximity of these headline news events, but we have all been affected. We encounter increased security at the airport, metal detectors in schools, and terrorist preparedness drills in the workplace. Gun sales are up, and levels of trust are sinking low. Trust in our government, trust in law enforcement, and our trust in one another continues to slide as crimes of fear and hate clog the evening news. But before we shake our heads and fall into depression with fear that Armageddon is imminent, know that we have the power to change the course we are on.

Here in our little white-sand, warm-sun niche, we live inclusively within a stone’s throw of one of the most delicately balanced ecosystems in the world. In the wilderness of the Everglades, birds, alligators, spiders and snakes, bears and panthers, fish and frogs have adapted to life in balance. Fauna and flora coexist in an ecliptic chain of dependence, and prey upon one another for existence, not anathema.  Black bears have not declared war on the armadillo, and panther do not claw at the throats of roseate spoonbill simply because they differ in the covering of their skin. To me, the lesson here is simple. It’s called acceptance and respect.

I’m not trying to humanize plants and animals. They are driven by instinct and acute awareness of their surroundings, but we could certainly learn to live more harmoniously, if we accepted our differences and respected individuality without judgment and the impulse to try to change one another. And it begins at the root. In our own heart, and our own mind.

Pay attention some time when you are feeling annoyed or angry. How often is it because of the actions of someone else? The guy who cut you off in traffic. The friend who betrayed a confidence. Your co-worker who talks too loud. The service provider who tracked sand into your home. Your boss, your employee, your child, your spouse. Why do we feel that everyone should act, talk, and think exactly like we do?  What makes our way the right way, or the only way? What makes our appearance more appealing or acceptable than another’s?

Peace comes when we accept that the only person we can fix, change or manipulate is ourselves. The burden of frustration rolls away and the lightness of acceptance allows space for inner peace to expand.

When we look at people like a box of crayons we see that there are crayons that are broken and worn, standing next to those in beautiful hues with sharpened tips. The jumbo red Crayola, worn flat from years of use, is every bit as useful as the sliver of magenta that’s lost its paper cover. It takes all the colors in the box to capture the beauty of the world we live in. If only we accept the differences and stop trying to make cobalt blue look more hunter green. A song was released in 1974 by artist Timmy Thomas. It has a fun vibe and a great beat, but it’s the words that draw me in.


“Tell me why? … 

Why can’t we live together? …  

Everybody wants to live together … 

No more wars … 

Just a little peace in this world … 

No matter what color … 

you are still my brother … 

Everybody wants to live together” … 

Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.

Finding a Marco Island Condo

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:47pm


Gary Elliott & Sandy Elliott

An inland condo on Marco Island.

Starting your search for a Marco Island condo? Here’s a brief overview. Generally about 3% of Marco Island’s 10,500 condos are on the market at any given time. For instance, last week 337 condos were for sale. Marco Island’s condos can be found along the beach, adjacent to water, inland and along the Gulf.

38% of Marco Island’s condos are located on the beach and this tends to be the first area that people are drawn to. Last week, 152 were for sale. Prices on the beach range from $289,000 for a 2-bedroom 1.5 bathroom with 597 square feet to $7,895,000 for a Cape Marco penthouse with 7,150 square feet. The median list price of a beachfront condo is $699,000, which will buy you a 2-bedroom 2 bathroom 1,160 square foot condo.

Condos along the Gulf.

28% of our condos are on a canal or body of water with either direct boating access to the Gulf, or indirect access if there is a bridge or two between your condo and the Gulf. Last week 77condos were for sale with prices ranging from $193,000 to $899,000. The median price of a water direct condo is $389,000 for a 2-bedroom 2.5 bathroom condo. Median price for a water indirect condo is $575,000 with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

26% of the island’s condos are inland, some with a golf course view, some look out on a park and some come with a street view. Last week 90 were listed for sale. These range in price from $124,900 for a studio with 406 square feet to $839,000 for a 3-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom with 2,250 square feet. Median price is $249,000 for a 2-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom with 1,066 square feet.

A water direct condominium.

Another 8% of the condos are along the Gulf at the south end of the island. These condos have views of the gulf, most come with fishing piers, one with boat docks. The prices range from $525,000 for a 2-bedroom, 2 bathroom with 1,300 square feet to $1,695,000 for a 3-bedroom 3 bathroom with 2,596 square feet. Median price along the Gulf is $849,000 for a 3-bedroom, 3 bathroom condo with 2,118 square feet.

Condos on Marco Island were built over a few decades starting in the late 1960s, peaking in the 1980s and finishing in 2006. Early condos tend to be less than 1,000 square feet, but over time newer condos grew in size to thousands of square feet and come with many more amenities. The median price of a 1960s condo is $165,000 for a 2-bedroom 1 bathroom inland condo and the prices rise by decade to a median price of $940,000 for a 3-bedroom 3 bathroom Gulf condo built in the 2000s.

Richard Alan…Jeweler to the Stars!

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:45pm


Richard Alan

[email protected]

That might be one way to get your attention, or not? In June I thought I nearly died of boredom, and thankfully it got busy after the Fourth of July, despite the heat and days of torrential downpours. There were some mornings I swore there were tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lot; maybe it was only a heat mirage?

It is a fact in my illustrious past I have created jewelry for rock stars from the Boston band Aerosmith, numerous Boston Celtic team members, a Red Sox player or two, heck I even designed pieces for some movie producing moguls from Columbia Pictures, and my proudest moment was restoring priceless ancient Roman jewelry that was damaged while on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, also in Boston. Whoopee ding dong! So besides being a jeweler to the stars, I’d like to include the moon, sun and all the planets or possibly a satellite or two.

You know it really makes me laugh when I read in magazines or see on the boob tube or internet that this or that celebrity paid millions of dollars for a four or five carat diamond purchased from some exclusive “jeweler to the stars establishment” in New York city or Beverly Hills. And how it goes on that it was an exotic cut or an extremely rare colored diamond or the ring’s design was influenced by an eccentric designer who came up with the ring’s design during the experience of living with a tribe of dung flinging orangutans in East Africa.

So just for kicks and giggles I’ll do some research on the near priceless rock that a certain movie star or celebrity presented to his or her flavor of the year. Nine times out of ten it’s a matter of having more money than sense, the celebrities write a check for millions for this ring, but what in the real world does it actually cost!

No, let me clarify that statement, what is the diamond ring really worth? Let’s just say it will boggle one’s mind on the profit made on just one “celebrity sale.” I am immersed in the diamond trade on a daily basis and have been for most of my life and I have yet to see a three or four carat diamond, regardless of its quality, cost even near a million dollars. I knew a friend in Boston who years ago sold a ten-carat monster pear shape diamond, and I admit it wasn’t the best quality, and that was only $125K.

So it’s no wonder that jeweler to the stars, Sir Manfred La Fleece’s clients just call him “Manny.” Meanwhile, in his past life Manny sold knock-off fake Rolex watches on the strip in Las Vegas, along with fake Louis Vuitton handbags, that’s where his street name was “Jimmy Short Arms” (as in short arms and deep pockets).

The only difference is today he is leaving his Malibu beachfront home in one of his many exotic sports cars to catch a flight on his private jet to finalize the sale on another one of his latest eight million dollar one-of-a-kind four carat diamond rings in the Big Apple for some overpaid and overmedicated sport celebrity. Is Sir Manfred laughing while driving his new Bentley? You bet he is…all the way to the bank! Am I jealous, you bet I am; only I have a conscious! And besides, I’m afraid of driving fast and I hate flying in small planes.

What! Give up all this? I have a business here on the rock, in paradise where everyone who lives here is a millionaire, wishes they were or at least acts like one, the sidewalks are paved in gold, that must be why they roll up after 9 PM and the sand on the beach is uncut diamonds.

So while “Manny” is reeling in the naïve drug addled celebrity’s millions for diamonds that cost him a fraction of his asking price, (I heard he’s saving to buy an island in the Caribbean), here I am dealing with people in the off-season who are accusing me of being a thief because I charged $10 to change a battery in their $10,000 watch; one guy asked me where I keep my mask and gun. And then the next minute I’m explaining to some mental giant that I don’t fix Jaguar keyless entry fobs, hearing aids or re-gold plate handles on a knock-off Gucci hand bag. Just last week I was asked if I would fine-tune some electrical parts on a fricking elevator to make them fit, which I did, and saved some non-appreciating condo commandos thousands on new parts. It’s a thankless job being a goldsmith.

All I want to do is what I do best, and that is to design and create beautiful jewelry that people love to wear, that can be worn for generations. I love to educate and supply beautiful diamonds and precious gemstones to my loyal customers who appreciate my talents and expertise, and this past season I had the pleasure satisfying those with the most sophisticated of tastes.

I hear it over and over and have tried to ignore the writing on the wall that the fine jewelry business will never be the same as it was in the good old days before the crash.

Every day is challenge for my son and I when we try to repair the most horrendous quality jewelry that we are told was hardly ever worn.

The main source of this “trash” is from the billions of dollars people spend on T.V. jewelry shopping networks and online website purchasing, and don’t forget the big box discount outlets, where you can buy a diamond ring right next to the chain saws and leaf blowers! I hope it’s not a sign of the demise of the vocation I love so much.

I wonder if Manny “Jimmy Short Arms” needs a goldsmith in his exclusive Beverly Hills jewelry studio?

Richard Alan (Street name: “Richie Rich”) is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island for over 23 years and welcomes your questions and comments on “All That Glitters.” The Harbor Goldsmith is located at 680 Bald Eagle Drive on Marco Island. Call 239-394-9275 or visit the website at:  

Everybody’s Fool

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:44pm

Diane Bostick
Guest Reviewer

Everybody’s Fool
By Richard Russo
Knopf Publishers, May 2016
Available at the Collier County Library
Available as Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Nook and Audio book

I have just had the pleasure, and a pleasure it was, of reading Richard Russo’s newest book, “Everybody’s Fool.” Some might say it has no plot but it actually does, though I will admit it is rather a subtle one, and you might not really be aware of it until the end when you realize that all the individual stories running through the book have come to a conclusion of some sort, good or bad. What this book really is is a character exploration with a cast of the intertwined, unorthodox residents of the small town of North Bath, New York. If you read Russo’s “Nobody’s Fool,” written in 1993, or saw the movie (with Paul Newman as the lead), you will recognize some of the characters you grew to love, though I would not call this new book a sequel to the other. You can easily read and enjoy this one without having read the other. However, I loved it enough that I have gone back and reread “Nobody…” just so I could have another dose of my favorite residents of Bath. To me the one person who is the thread that ties all the others together is “Sully.” As he interacts with the others we get to know them and their personal idiosyncrasies. And he is certainly not without his own idiosyncrasies. He has recently been diagnosed with a heart problem that gives him, at most, two years to live. You might think that would drag things down but instead it seems to make him all the more determined to do whatever he wants to do, whether it is in work or play. He knows each and every one of the personalities in this town and loves to poke them in fun, keeping a straight face at all times while doing it. You would think his sense of humor would not always be appreciated, but everybody seems to know that while saying what he says he would be the first one to take the shirt off of his back and give it to anyone needing it. Imagine coming home one day to see three suitcases, belonging to your wife, sitting on the curb, only to go in to find her dead at the foot of the stairs after falling down, headfirst, “like a slinky.” And on the table there is a note saying, “I am sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Try to be happy for us.” (Perhaps he might have anticipated her leaving if he thought back to the fact that she had taken a large suitcase full of books with her on their honeymoon, all of which she read.)

This is what has happened to Sully’s friend, Doug Raymer, the Chief of Police. His anguish over these events is intensified tremendously when he finds an unidentifiable garage door opener jammed in the seat of her car. He is sure this must belong to her lover and makes it his purpose in life to find its owner. To say this journey takes many bizarre and humorous turns would be an understatement!  Then there is the stammering and not too bright Rub Squeers, the caretaker of the local cemetery. He considers Sully his best friend and follows him like a faithful dog, which is made difficult by the fact that Sully’s dog has also been named “Rub” which often makes it hard to know who he is talking to, a confusion shared by both man and dog. The man, Rub, suffers great frustration by this situation, especially when Rub, the dog, is intently investigating his nether regions, which dogs are prone to do. Bath is not without its female characters. First there is Ruth, Zack’s wife, who has been Sully’s lover for more than twenty years, on and off, but more recently just friends. Zack is well aware of the situation but seems able to live with it, most likely because of his own friendship with Sully. And don’t forget Charice, Doug Raymer’s right hand “man” down at the police station. A very attractive black woman who Doug couldn’t run his office without who yearns to actually participate in police work but is not allowed to for fear she will be hurt. (Her twin brother Jerome, a police officer in the neighboring town of Schuyler Springs, is OCD when it comes to anyone even touching his ‘stang, becomes a large part of the story especially when he becomes convinced Sully has “keyed” his ‘stang and sets out to make retribution.) There is Janey, Ruth’s daughter, who is ever fearful of her ex-husband Roy, just out of prison, who regularly beat her up and seems unable to control himself and his angry outbursts. I could go on and on. There are so many residents of North Bath that you need to know. Richard Russo has managed to bring them each to life with humor and understanding of their very own humanness.I absolutely loved this book and highly recommended it to my husband. He told me it took him awhile to get into it but now finds it as “laugh out loud” funny.

Good Reads, a website that reviews and rates hundreds of books had over 830 ratings and 175 reviews averaging 4½ stars out of 5 for “Everybody’s Fool,” so I am not alone in my feelings. The chances seem pretty good you will love it too.

Diane Bostick has lived on Marco Island since 1987. She was the Founder and President of the Ft. Myers chapter of the Association of Children with Learning Disabilities, President of Jr. Welfare League, Ft. Myers Chapter, and served on the board of the Art League of Marco Island. She is an avid reader, fly fisherwoman, tennis player and crafter. She has currently embraced cardmaking and shares that enthusiasm on her blog:

Resilience is the Key

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:43pm

Ask The CFP® Practitioner
Darcie Guerin
[email protected]

leads to weakness,
optimism to power.”

– William James, American Philosopher (1842-1910)

Question: What are your thoughts concerning the financial markets response to Brexit and the overall performance of stocks and bonds so far for the year?

Answer: We’ve certainly had our share of uncertainty and volatility in the first half of 2016. There are a variety of reasons but let’s start with Brexit. This is the term given to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) after 40 years. Obviously, this hit markets hard and the long-term effects remain unknown. One thing is evident though, the U.S. economy continues to show remarkable resiliency regardless of international events.

Flight to Quality

Because the European Union was designed to provide an easy flow of goods, services, capital and people across the borders of member countries, economists expect the U.K. to face restraints in foreign trade and global finance which could have a negative impact. There could also be additional reverberations as other of the 27 European Union countries like Italy and Scotland consider leaving the EU.

Global investors are watching to see how the scope of this major change will impact British economic growth rates over the next few years as well as European politics, currency and economic reforms. Meanwhile, several countries’ central banks have offered reassurance that they will provide liquidity if needed.

Not surprisingly, many investors turned to what they consider more stable investments like U.S. Treasuries and gold. It’s normal for lower-risk investments to hold up better than those with higher risk profiles. The first half of 2016 is no exception. Established, mature companies as well as dividend paying stocks typically fare better than smaller company’s stocks during declines and market pullbacks. Dividends are determined by the company’s board of directors, and are not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

Historically, when stressful stock markets occur and yields decline, investment grade bonds—including U.S. Treasury, high-credit-quality corporate and other types of high-quality bonds rally. U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and guaranteed principal value. There is an inverse relationship between interest rate movements and bond prices. Generally, when interest rates rise, bond prices fall and when interest rates fall, bond prices rise.

The flight to quality occurred during the third quarter of 2015 and the first two quarters of 2016. This reaction from high quality bonds and stocks reinforces the importance of portfolio diversification to potentially to provide benefits during different market environments.

While the U.K. economy is likely to face slower growth, financial market volatility should begin to settle down soon. This isn’t a Lehman-type event. It’s a response to a surprise, not an outright panic.

Low and Slow

Many investment professionals are predicting slower economic growth and lackluster capital spending around the globe. On July 7, 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced the GDP growth rate forecast for the Euro Area from 1.6% to 1.4% in 2017. This is primarily due to the Brexit referendum vote outcome.

Besides Brexit, other market drivers include the Fed’s easy money policies and stabilizing commodity prices. While the Fed did raise interest rates by 25 basis points in December 2015, its statements since don’t indicate higher rates anytime soon. Bond prices have benefitted, calming some market concerns about any headwinds higher rates could have placed on the U.S. economy.

While the U.S. dollar has risen, weakening currency isn’t limited to the British pound, but also includes China and Japan. In recent years, the slowing of China’s economy has had a noticeable impact around the world. Although China’s rate of deceleration seems to have tapered off in the past few quarters, its economy still isn’t growing at the high rate it had been and especially influenced financial markets earlier in the year.


Investors should also pay attention to how much the market costs compared to how much it’s earning. When markets are cheap, they tend to earn above-average returns as valuations move toward normal values, and when markets are more expensive, the opposite is true. U.S. large company valuations have risen relative to other asset classes such as small-cap and international equities. Over time, it’s believed that the markets will be driven by valuation factors including earnings, inflation and economic growth

That’s why it’s important to stay informed and know how your investments are positioned. Maintain perspective on the news you’re seeing and know what you own as part of a long-term, well-diversified financial plan. Those poised to capitalize on market movements may see buying opportunities of fundamentally sound investments that could further enhance their portfolios.

As Warren Buffet states, “The most common cause of low prices is pessimism; sometimes pervasive, sometimes specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism, but because we like the prices it produces. It’s optimism that is the enemy of the rational buyer.” We expect more near-term volatility as the market looks for its equilibrium point while climbing a wall of worry. Stay focused and invest accordingly.

Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. The opinions expressed are those of the writer, but not necessarily those of Raymond James and Associates, and subject to change at any time. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. All investments are subject to risk. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. 

“Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.”

This article provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC, 606 Bald Eagle Drive, Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. She may be reached at 239-389-1041, or by email at [email protected] Website: 

Whoa, the Dreaded Words

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:42pm

Rumination from the Rock and Beyond

Jory Westberry

As summer progresses, some of your children temporarily unoccupied by arts and crafts camps, drama experiences, nature field trips, organized sports, theme parks or other engaging experiences, may have uttered those dreaded words.

“I’m bored.”

If you haven’t experienced this declaration from your child or grandchild, you’re exceedingly lucky. I’ll tell you, it pains the heart. Here you are trying to find stimulation for your child(ren) beyond insipid TV and violent video games by researching the local and nearby activities, cross-referencing budgets, timing of events, carpooling options, supervision, whether friends will also participate and so on; the details are endless. By the time you’ve worked out all the schedules, your patience is sorely tested, but you think you’ve created the best summer enrichment ever. And a few days into the activities comes the dagger to the heart, “I’m bored.”

You may be like me and have to count to 10, twice, before finding a rational response. Actually, I counted three times. The counting was probably reciprocal to the energy I had devoted to summer enrichment planning. Here’s what happened after those dreaded words from my child.

Deep breath. Release. I spoke calmly, “How can you solve this problem?”

Shocked silence. I tried again. “When you say, ‘I’m bored,’ you need to find ways that you will not be bored.”

Eyes wide now, a brief, “Huh?”

“Try making a list of interesting things to do, maybe things you haven’t done lately, and decide which you’ll do first, second and so on. You can be in charge of your activities, not me.”

I could see understanding was coming. “You mean it’s up to me to stop being bored?”

“Yes, you are perfectly capable of doing that, get to it!” And he wandered off to begin his list while I crossed my fingers and toes.

Here’s his list: 

do a puzzel, play a game with frend, read a book, play with bubells, find bugs, draw pikchures, rite a storey, clime trees, ride bike, make foil crechures, cownt my monee, bild a fort, mak up math probs to solv, play with legos, trucks and cars, call a frend, plant things, bak cookys, go to librarie.

I was surprised by the list he created and we high-fived his effort. He wanted to know if he could keep it for the next time he was bored.

(Hmmm, let me think.) “That’s a great idea!” I said. We, as parents, assume that we have to do it all, but look what happens when we give up control and give the kids the reins.

Breathing better now.

Jory Westberry has been a dedicated educator for over 40 years, the last 14 as Principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary, where she left her heart. Life is rich with things to learn, ponder and enjoy so let’s get on with the journey together!

MIHS to Host Moseley Exhibit

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:40pm


The Marco Island Historical Museum (MIHS) is honored to host “Here and There,” a collection of paintings by artist William Moseley, August 2 through October 29, 2016.

William Ward Moseley is recognized throughout the United States for his bold and brilliant paintings. He has received more than 100 awards for his artwork. Participating in juried exhibitions for the last ten years, his landscape paintings have been on exhibit in group shows throughout the East Coast. In creating works in a realistic, impressionist style, Moseley is inspired by scenes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Moseley’s landscape paintings are included in corporate and private collections throughout the United States. He is represented by several galleries in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

The Marco Island Historical Museum invites guests to an opening reception on Tuesday, August 9th. The reception is free, open to the public and will take place from 6-7 PM.

The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood in the heart of Marco Island. The Marco Island Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Admission is free and the site is handicapped accessible. For more information, visit or call 239-642-1440.

Jackfruit, the ‘Jack-of-all-fruit,’ Grows in Marco

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:37pm

By Maria Lamb

Al Bismonte with huge jackfruits ready for picking. Photos by Maria Lamb

Imagine a spiky green fruit, the size of a watermelon or pumpkin dangling from a branch or the trunk of a large tropical evergreen tree. Most people have never seen a forty-pound fruit hanging from the trunk of a large tree. Jackfruit, a member of the mulberry family, is the largest fruit to grow on a tree in the world. Its melon-shaped fruit can reach a length of 13 inches and can weigh up to 100 pounds.

Dr. Al Bismonte, a longtime resident of Marco Island, has a collection of exotic tropical fruit trees in his backyard, but the jackfruit, by far, is the most spectacular. Jackfruits are extensively grown in India, but are also found in most Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and also in Southwest Florida. Al planted this tree to remind him of his native country, the Philippines.

Why “jackfruit?” It most likely came from what the Portuguese called “jaca” which was a version of a name used for this fruit in Southern India. It is known as “kathal” in Bangladesh, “kanun” in Thailand, “langka” in the Philippines, and “mit” in Vietnam.

Cut open, jackfruit reveals sweet, edible fleshy pods.

Backyard curiosities: Many years ago, a jackfruit was a “backyard curiosity” in Southwest Florida. Now, you can find jackfruit at Farmer’s Markets, on restaurant menus, and growing in our island backyards. You can also find jackfruit in Asian markets, stacked high in the produce section, weighing about 20-50 pounds each. They are also canned, but these are packaged in heavy fruit syrup. Al Bismonte freezes most of his Jackfruit and packages them for gifts.

How to cut open a jackfruit: The fruit contains a sticky latex when cut open, so it is best to wear gloves. Fresh Jackfruit has a musky aroma. Embedded inside are sweet yellow, edible “fleshy pods” or “bulbs” that surround a seed. The clove-like seeds, if boiled, have a chestnut-like taste and consistency.

Not your typical fruit: Tasters have described it as “mellow mango” or a “little peachy,” or a combination of pear, papaya and banana, or closer to Juicy Fruit gum, tasting sweet in a tropical kind of way. Its texture is compared to a chunky applesauce. It tastes great with yogurt or semi-frozen like a jackfruit popsicle. But nothing beats fresh jackfruit, by far.

In Thailand, they like to eat chunks of jackfruit with sticky rice, while Filipinos make ice cream with sweet jackfruit and a side dish of coconut cream. Or you can use the “fleshy pods” sliced, added to salad mixed with diced peppers, onions and tomatoes. The unripe fruit when cooked is said to have the consistency of pulled pork or chicken, which makes it an excellent vegetarian meal when added to curries, salads, noodles or even tacos.

Southwest Florida is very well suited for this spectacular fruit. According to Dr. Richard Campbell of Fairchild’s Tropical Botanical Garden, “the future is bright for this rising star of the tropical fruit world.”

Tips in buying jackfruit: Buy ripe, which means look for yellowish skin that yields under gentle pressure. It may be too ripe if you can smell its distinctive musky fragrance. Or buy green and firm and let the fruit sit on the counter to ripen. Better still, befriend a neighbor with a mature jackfruit.

Jackfruit Chili

(Serves 8-10)


• 3 cups fresh jackfruit (seeded and rinsed)

• 1 Tbs. olive oil

• 1 cup onion, chopped

• 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 teaspoon cumin

• 1 teaspoon chili powder

• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

• One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained

• 3 cups canned diced tomatoes, with liquid

• Hot sauce to taste

• 1 can corn, drained

• 4 cups water


Make sure that your jackfruit is not very ripe, as the fruit becomes too sweet when it fully ripens. Shred the jackfruit with a fork and set aside. Add oil to a large pot and sauté (on medium low heat) the onions, garlic, cumin, red pepper flakes (if using), and chili powder. Once onions are soft and translucent add all of the remaining ingredients. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the jackfruit is tender.

Serve with thinly sliced fresh jalapeno, finely diced sweet Vidalia onions, and a dollop of sour cream. Shredded cheddar cheese is optional.

Communication Breakdown

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:35pm

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Wayne Clark

[email protected]

Bob and Mike Bryan showing positive body language in between points.

In all sports, focus and concentration are a vital part of winning. In most sports, coaches on the sidelines are able to constantly observe and advise on a play-by-play status, allowing the athletes to be able to focus solely on performing.

Pickleball, like the sport of tennis, requires players to be their own coach and it is quite a challenge to play the dual role of competitor and coach all at the same time.

In both the sports of tennis and pickleball, players must be able to remain focused and compete, while having to vary strategies and adapt to constantly changing situations all by themselves, with no coaching!

Venus and Serena staying positive after winning a point.

This makes competing in the sports of tennis and pickleball different, because, while we are competing and playing points, we do not have someone calling individual plays for us like in other sports such as football, basketball or baseball.

Fortunately, because most pickleball and tennis play here in our area is doubles, we are not totally on our own in this process. However, even though we have a partner to discuss game plans and strategies with, there is still no advice coming from the sidelines, bench or dugout. So how do we best stay on top of the challenge of coaching and competing at the same time?

The most important thing to remember is to make sure we keep the lines of communication open between ourselves and our partners. Along with this, it is also important to remain upbeat and positive in the attitude of our support for our partner. And finally, let’s remember to always just have fun!

Mixed doubles team of Bouchard and Kyrgios keeping things fun at the U.S. Open.

In both tennis and pickleball, my partner and I need a coordinated, strategic plan that must always be able to be adjusted and changed in the blink of an eye. We must be able to try to see the game from the sidelines, because like I said, there is no coach providing insight as to which strategy is working best!

When playing doubles in tennis, I should be communicating with my partner and informing them if I plan to serve and volley or to serve and stay back and get into a rally. Either way, my partner needs to be aware of our plan and always be ready to take advantage of opportunities at the net to poach. When playing doubles in pickleball, because the size of the court is smaller than a tennis court, whether our team is serving or receiving, our basic strategy and game plan should be to always get to the net and play the point out in the kitchen.

But let’s remember, the rules in pickleball prevent me from serve and volleying. The serving team must let the return bounce before they can strike the ball and I only get one serve opportunity to get the point started. No second serves or double faults. These two facts prevent me, as the server, to take any real advantage of first strike of the ball.

So except for the fact that as server, I am the only one/team who can score a point, the fact that I have first strike opportunity of the ball is not as much of a factor as it is in tennis.

Because in most recreational levels of competition, most players do not necessarily have any big weapons like a big boomer serve or a giant to pain forehand, so it is vital that I retain a high percentage of serves and returns. Even on an advanced level of play, as a server in pickleball, I am strategically just trying to get the point started and prevent my opponent from taking control of the kitchen before me!

With that said, as in tennis, our partner in pickleball should always be ready to take advantage of opportunities at the net whenever possible.

Traditional positioning for doubles in tennis and pickleball.

I recently had the privilege of covering the U.S. Open Pickleball tournament here in Naples and more recently watching Wimbledon on television. As I watched and observed the world’s top-level teams compete, I noticed that in both sports, the players were communicating and discussing game plans and strategies between every point.

Wayne Clark is a certified professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction. He has been the head instructor at The Marco Island Racquet Center since 2001. The Racquet Center offers clinics, private and group lessons for both tennis and pickleball. Coach Wayne’s Island Kids Tennis juniors program runs year round and has classes for players from kindergarten through high school. Contact Coach Wayne by email at [email protected], by phone or text at 239-450-6161, or visit his website at

Get Ready for Mini Season

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:33pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff 

Florida lobster sport season, known as mini season, is almost here. The two-day event will take place this year on July 27 and 28. Many people have already made their plans to go to the Keys and catch some “bugs.”

On the last Wednesday and Thursday each July, with a Florida saltwater fishing license and a current spiny lobster permit, recreational divers and snorkelers can catch Florida lobsters.

There are limits to the amount of lobster you can take home. In Monroe County and Biscayne National Park the limit is six lobsters, per person, per day. In the rest of the state the limit is 12 lobsters, per person, per day. The size requirement is greater than a 3-inch carapace (upper body shell), which is measured in the water. Divers are required to have a measuring gauge. Egg bearing lobster must be released.

Penalties are stiff for violators, and include hefty fines as well as possible jail time. Know the rules before you go and follow them. For more information go to

Once you have your catch, there are many ways to cook it. Most people find that simple is best, and boil, steam or grill their lobsters. Here is an easy recipe for tails that is tried and true:

Florida lobster caught in the Keys and cooked at a local restaurant. Submitted Photos

Easy Broiled Florida Lobster Tails


• 4 (6-9-ounce) spiny lobster tails, split open in the shell

• 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Lemon wedges


Preheat broiler on medium high. Place lobster tails on a cookie sheet and make sure they are sliced open well. Spread butter over the meat, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Broil on the middle rack for about 6-7 minutes, or until it is just cooked through. Do not overcook or the meat will become tough. Serve warm or chilled slightly, with lemon wedges and melted butter.

Leftovers (if there ever are any!) taste great cold the next day over a salad tossed with lemon, olive oil and diced avocado.

If you don’t feel like cooking many restaurants will cook your catch any way you like it, for a charge. After a long day on the water, that just might be the best way to go!

Goodland’s Guardian Angel Fiala steps up

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 10:24am

Goodland Life 

By Barry Gwinn

Submitted Photos

Goodland Road (as it is known here) has been mired in controversy since Collier County turned it over to the City of Marco Island (CMI) in 2002. It turns out that because of increased flooding, the road needs to be rebuilt and elevated at a cost which may exceed $5M, an amount which CMI says they cannot afford. The County wants CMI to proceed with the rebuilding and has threatened to withhold the remaining $2M in annual payments due to CMI under the 2002 Interlocal Agreement. A stalemate between the County and CMI has resulted. Since 2002, Mike Barbush, a four time President of the Goodland Civic Association (GCA) has been fighting a lonely but relentless battle urging both CMI and the County to do something about the increased flooding and deterioration of Goodland Road.

If Barbush was the burr under the saddle of the City and County governments, County Commissioner Donna Fiala, has been one of those sitting on that saddle since the beginning of the controversy. Fiala was destined to play perhaps the greatest role in the fortunes (or misfortunes) of Goodland. Fiala moved to her current East Naples house (from Ohio) in 1974. While raising a family of five children, she joined and chaired a host of Naples civic associations, becoming well known in the area. She became increasingly involved in her community and has been a strong advocate for improving its appearance and impression. It was during her tenure as President of the East Naples Civic Association, that Fiala considered running for County Commissioner. In 2000, she was first elected Commissioner of County District 1, which includes Goodland. She has filled this post ever since and will run for an unprecedented 5th term this year. During her 16 years of service, she was elected Vice-Chairman three times and Chairman three times, the last being in January 2016.

Mark Barbush in front of house

Mike Barbush moved to Goodland from PA, 36 years ago. He raised two children here and established an irrigation business which he runs from his home. Some of his contracts are with CMI. For the past 14 years, he has haunted CMI Council and County Commissioners meetings in an attempt to convince them to do something about Goodland Road. Time and time again, he has met personally with City and County staffs, their managers and anyone else he thought could help. He has met with The Conservancy concerning their objections to raising the road. By the time Barbush again became President of the GCA in February, 2010, he had gained the respect of many in both County and City.

If Fiala has been Goodland’s Guardian Angel, then Barbush can be said to be its Guardian. To my knowledge, he has never gotten anyone from CMI to attend one of our GCA Town Meetings (I have been to every meeting since March, 2008.), but Commissioner Fiala has become a regular. The improvements to Goodland during this period have been impressive and have resulted, among others, in the development and dedication of two County Parks, a 30% to 40% reduction in our water rates (and now in process of replacing our water main), and finally, in saving the life of one our residents (the County paid for the installation of two automatic defibrillators, just in time to revive a resident in cardiac arrest.) Fiala has been personally involved in all of this. Now she has turned her considerable skills to the solution of the Goodland Road dilemma.

Fiala has made it a point to keep the GCA abreast of Goodland Road developments and assures us that we were not being forgotten. As early as March 2014, she raised the possibility of the County’s withholding the final $2M in payments to the City. “I find it perplexing that after paying the City $1M per year since 2002, the City refuses to act unless the County does,” Fiala then said, “Goodland needs a safe passage for its residents and emergency vehicles. It is not right that we [sic] are being treated as a tiny insignificant community. Our [sic] lives are here and we have to stick together on this.” By January 2015, Fiala reported that the City had not budged. She said she would recommend that the County withhold the final $2M owing to the City under the Interlocal Agreement of 2002. “The Collier County Commissioners are solidly supportive to the plight of Goodland,” Fiala told the GCA, “The City has used The Conservancy as an excuse for too long.”

In a May 24 Commissioners Meeting, following another 15 months of frustration, Fiala acted – decisively. She moved that the remaining funds ($2M) due the City, be put into an escrow account; that the Interlocal Agreement be modified [returning the road to the County]; and that a Project plan be developed “so that the folks in Goodland can be assured that we have a timing and commitment.” Fiala spoke forcefully in favor of her motion. “We need to get this job done sooner rather than later,” she told the Commissioners, “Flooding continues to be worse every year. Three different reputable organizations report that the road needs to be raised two to three feet. There is no other way in or out of Goodland and emergency vehicles may not be able to get in.” Fiala pointed out that the residents of Goodland are beholden to CMI for maintenance of the road “when there is only one [City] taxpayer there. We need to fix this road before a catastrophe occurs,” Fiala concluded. As he has done on countless occasions in the past, Mike Barbush rose to summarize his meetings with CMI officials, and the conditions and sentiment in Goodland. Barbush said that in his 36 years in the County, this may be the worst City/County relations he has seen. “Without dialogue [between County and City] there will be no movement [on Goodland Road]” Barbush told the Commissioners, “This has become a matter of public safety. Now it has become urgent.”

Fiala & Barbush

The motion passed unanimously 5 to 0. A letter was sent to CMI the next day (May 25th) announcing the decision. Then things began to move swiftly. On June 6, after two and half hours of debate the Marco City Council, passed a motion (5 to 2) agreeing in principle to sit down with the County to discuss returning the Road, but insisted that until that time, the existing Interlocal agreement must be adhered to “especially the outstanding $2M due to the City.” On June 14th, at a 9:00am meeting, the County Commissioners considered CMI’s response. Fiala noting CMI’s willingness to discuss returning the road to County jurisdiction, moved that the County Manager be authorized to “further explore the [possible] options with the CMI Manager.” There was some resistance to this motion which Fiala addressed. “We have a tiny little village here of 450 people, who are going to have trouble getting out if flooding takes place,” Fiala told the Commissioners, “As the waters rise and this road continues to sink down, they’ll be held hostage because of these things.” It is worth mentioning that Deputy County Manager, Nick Casalanguida, demonstrated a complete grasp of the situation at both of the above Commissioners meetings. Once again, Fiala brought the entire board along and her motion passed unanimously. Her purpose was to start some dialogue and she has done this. I am advised that the County and City Managers will meet sometime in July to begin negotiations.

Commissioner Fiala has persevered and expended a tremendous amount of political capital on behalf of a needy out of the way place with very few votes. Mike Barbush has known her since before she became a commissioner. “Donna Fiala is the best thing that ever happened to Collier County,” he says, “She has dedicated a large part of her life to the welfare of all of us who live here. He added that she always returns his calls. I asked Mike why he has spent so much of his life (mostly under the radar) leading the charge for a better Goodland. “I love this community and care about the people who live here,” he said, “You have to stand up for something to get something.”

Barry was a practicing attorney before he worked as a Special Agent of the FBI for 31 years.  Barry worked for several government agencies another ten years before retiring to Goodland in 2006. Barry is presently the Secretary of the Goodland Civic Association.

Summer Road Trip Tips

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 10:23am


Summer is here and for many families that means the time honored tradition of the summer road trip. Maybe school is out and you want to take the kids to Disney World or on an educational trip to Washington, D.C. Maybe you want to visit your grandchildren in Georgia or North Carolina. Wherever you are planning to travel, if you will be driving there are some pointers you need to remember in order to make the trip both safe, and enjoyable for you and your family.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provides tips for taking long road trips on their website. Some of the suggestions include:

Vehicle Maintenance. It is critical that you ensure that your vehicle is in good running order and can handle the trip. Have your car and tires inspected before any long drive. Keep a spare tire and jumper cables in the vehicle.

Plan the Route. Be prepared and map your route in advance. Do not rely on your smart phone – you may lose cellular service along the way. In order to avoid rush hour traffic, plan to leave earlier or later in the day.

Stay Awake & Alert. Drowsy drivers put themselves and others at risk of accidents. Make sure that you get enough sleep the night before a long trip. Schedule breaks along the way and stop driving when you are tired. If you are traveling with another driver, take turns at the wheel.

Hide Valuables. Often tired and careless motorists fall victim to road stop thieves. Lock your doors when you stop for a break, and keep all bags and valuables in the trunk or hidden from view.

Be Prepared. Keep roadside assistance contact information in the vehicle, along with a cell phone and charger. AAA (as well as other companies) offer smartphone applications for motorists to request help – without making a phone call.

For more information on safe driving on your summer road trip go to

This Place Is For The Birds!

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 10:22am

Stepping Stones

Bob McConville

Master Naturalist  

A Black Skimmer searches for its next meal by “skimming” along the water surface.

Join Bob on July 20th at 7 PM for more details about some of our area birds. This talk will take place at the Marco Island Historical Society’s Auditorium. On May 12th Bob gave a presentation about our birdlife and it was so well received that Part 2 was requested. Admission is free for all MIHS members and MIA students and teachers. A $5 donation is requested of all others.

Look!!! Up in the sky…again!!! I contributed an article in early May and discussed some of the birds we see here, namely the White Pelican, the Peregrine Falcon, the Swallow Tailed Kite and the Limpkin. There were many requests for additional information so let’s talk about some more of our feathered friends.

One of the most colorful birds nesting in our area at this time is the Black Skimmer. There are only three species of Skimmers around the world: one in Africa, in India and here in the U.S. One thing very unique about this bird is that the lower portion of its bill is longer than the upper half…the only bird in the country to claim this status. They will use this lower bill to “skim” across the waters in search of small fish. Once the prey is felt on the bill the head will tilt forward and the upper bill will trap the fish, providing a nice meal.

The Black Skimmer is very striking in coloration. They are black on the back and white on the underside. The unique bill will be red or orange and black at the tip. They are about the size of a crow, weighing from 8 to 15 ounces.

Many are breeding and nesting on the north end of Marco Island at this time and they nest in colonies. Both the male and female will incubate an average of three to five eggs for about 24 days. The parents will guard the hatchlings for about four weeks, when the youngsters are ready to fly and fend for themselves.

Right alongside of the Skimmers it is very common to find another beach nester, the Least Tern. These are the smallest of the North American Terns (that’s how they get their name “Least”) and they only weigh about four to six ounces. They too nest along the sandy shorelines which provide great camouflage. The eggs are about the same color as the sand and when the young are hatched they are also that same color. This could be a key factor that contributes to other flying predators from locating them. The Least Tern will raise its young in our area and return to South America in the Fall, returning again next Spring to repeat this life cycle.

Our national symbol, the Bald Eagle also calls Marco Island home and two have been nesting on Tigertail Court for several years. Parents Calusa and Paleo currently have a young one in the nest which should be mature enough to fly at this time. The adult female will be larger than the male by about 30 percent. This nesting pair are excellent fishers and have been seen frequently at Tigertail Lagoon and surrounding waterways gathering their daily meals.

There are so many other year-round and migrating birds that grace our skies and shorelines that it would take a book to discuss them all.

I invite you to join me on July 20th at the Rose Auditorium, 7 PM, when I will discuss more about our feathered friends. Until then, keep an eye on the sky!

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


What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 10:21am

Darcie Guerin
[email protected]

In the last column we discussed how financial planning involves so much more than just managing an investment portfolio. We explored several aspects of cognitive changes associated with Alzheimer’s and the concerns this evokes relative to financial planning.

As promised, today we’ll cover five distinct financial management issues related to conversations with caregivers and family members dealing with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive ability changes.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) AgeLab developed a five-element framework to discuss financial planning in the context of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. I was invited to visit MIT’s AgeLab in Boston and am eager to share their findings with you.

The first two elements represent sources of revenue, the third category helps to articulate someone’s wishes and plans, while the final two topics address how resources will be managed and disbursed.

Understanding the source and destination of funds allows you to honor someone’s wishes when they may no longer be able to communicate for themselves.

1. Assets

This includes real estate and home ownership a well as retirement and investment accounts. Be sure know how assets and accounts are titled, if they should be used to fund any necessary care and if the assets should be kept in the family or sold.

2. Income and Insurance

Once assets have been identified and reviewed, the focus can shift to income sources, including any disability benefits. Finding out how payments from all sources could be affected by changes in family circumstances such as the death of a spouse. Also determine if insurance plans fit current and future needs. Identifying and understanding income sources is necessary.

3. Intentions

It’s difficult to think about the progressive nature of cognitive impairment, but talking about this can help family members learn about someone’s wishes and reduce stress later. Knowing and honoring someone’s intentions for their future will better prepare everyone and help in designing an effective plan.

As diseases progress, one may lose the ability to appreciate the consequences of one’s actions and to make rational decisions. Consult with an attorney to discuss drafting a durable power of attorney if appropriate.

4. Banking

Financial skills may erode as a result of Alzheimer’s and the individual will need help managing day-to-day financial affairs such as bill paying and tracking expenses. Having thought about this ahead of time can prevent headaches in the future.

For many, a joint account is the logical solution. Keep in mind that in most states, the money in a joint account automatically goes to the person whose name is on the account upon the death of a joint owner. This could have unintended consequences and cause friction in the family. There are other options that avoid this outcome. Again, consult with an attorney before making decisions.

5. Care Management

A discussion of how care would be financed and facilitated is a must for families. Theoretically talking about caregiving preferences and how it would be paid for is not a pleasant conversation starter, but for those you care about, it’s a must.

Staying at home may require modifications and renovations to make the home more accessible. Knowing how these will be financed is an important piece of the overall plan. Community care solutions and care- management options are available and we have information on this if you’re interested.

There may be a long-term care policy in place to review and determine if it covers dementia and Alzheimer’s. Life insurance and annuity policies may also have similar provisions. You won’t know what is available until you ask the questions.

Many people incorrectly believe that Medicare will cover any long-term care expenses. In reality, Medicare covers care in a skilled nursing facility only for the first 100 days. Before making any decisions on gifting, transferring or retitling assets, consult with your attorney and examine each situation on its own merits.

Myth Busters

According to research from MIT, these are the facts regardless of what you may have heard.

• Not everyone experiences memory loss as they age.

• Memory loss isn’t “normal.”

• Alzheimer’s is a physical condition that eventually kills, there are no survivors.

• Younger-onset Alzheimer’s is a reality affecting those as young as thirty.

• The disease isn’t caused by aluminum pots, pans or soda cans.

• At this time there is no treatment or cure for this heartbreaking disease although research continues.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists Alzheimer’s as the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Meanwhile, Rush University reports up to 500,000 deaths in the county each year attributed to Alzheimer’s, making it the number three cause of death behind heart disease (597,000 deaths), and cancer (577,000).

In 2015 the Alzheimer’s Association® reported that Medicaid spending for people living with the disease is expected to reach $41 billion. At the same time, individuals will pay $44 billion out-of-pocket for their treatment.

Although it may be uncomfortable and perhaps awkward, have the discussion with family members and those you care about; talk about your intentions and resources available if faced with difficulties. It’s a big step towards peace of mind. Stay focused and plan accordingly.

Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. As federal and state tax rules are subject to frequent changes, you should consult with a qualified tax advisor prior to making any investment decision. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. The opinions expressed are those of the writer, but not necessarily those of Raymond James and Associates, and subject to change at any time.

“Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.”

This article provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, 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 [email protected] Website:

Caring Enough To Take Care

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 10:20am

MIND, BODY And Spirit

Laurie Kasperbauer 

As the Summer Olympic Games in Rio get closer, there is increasing media attention to the American athletes who will be participating. I recently saw Kerri Walsh Jennings interviewed and I was truly impressed. Ms. Jennings is an American professional beach volleyball player, a three time Olympic gold medal winner, a wife, and mother of three young children. Kerri stands more than six feet tall and her nickname is Six Feet of Sunshine. An appropriate appellation, in my opinion. She radiates happiness, warmth and strength.

In her interview, Kerri was asked how she stayed balanced in her daily life. Her response was she places her priorities into three “buckets”, family, career and faith. She said when she starts feeling off balance, she examines which bucket she is neglecting to fill. But it was what she said next that truly intrigued me. Kerri found herself “sprinting” through each day and decided to slow things down and create some peace in her life by waking up earlier in the morning, before the kids crawled out of bed. And during this newly-established “alone” time, she meditates.

Using the bucket analogy, I think it’s fair to say we all have our own five-gallon priority containers. How they’re labeled and the measure of their content is where we deviate. Some of us may even believe we carry too many buckets. One for family, one for career, one for faith, sure. But what about friends, and home, and volunteer work and hobbies? Kerri Walsh Jennings has made a career out of exercise and a healthy diet. The rest of us might need a separate bucket for “clean living”. And now we’re supposed to make time in our day for ourselves? Yes.

We can all carve out 15 minutes for stopping. Just a few moments out of each day to practice stopping. Stop to sit in quiet meditation. Stop and read a newspaper or magazine. Stop long enough to take a walk or practice a Sun Salutation. Stop to fish. Stop to dance. Stop in front of the mirror and smile at yourself. Stop to golf or to sing or to do absolutely nothing. Because if we practice stopping enough, we might find that whatever we chose to stop for is replenishing a bucket that is ours alone. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. In fact, if we don’t take care of ourselves, where will the energy come from to give to another?

Jean Shinoda Bolan, author and psychologist put it this way,

When you recover or discover something in your life that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

When Kerri Walsh Jennings made up her mind to rise early in the morning to meditate, she created a fourth bucket in her life. It’s the same bucket we should all carry, labeled “ME”. And with careful attention, we must always keep it full.

Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.