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MIA Student Athletes Honored

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:10am

By Roger LaLonde

In the months that followed sports seasons, Marco Island Academy (MIA) held separate award presentations.

“We have a tremendous group of student athletes,” Kelly Monnot, athletic director, said. “They are well-rounded students who work hard in the classroom and in athletics.”

Monnot thinks the school is headed in the right direction in academics and sports.

“The school student numbers are increasing and we are seeing more sports participation. We have many multi-sport athletes,” she said.

Monnot is proud of how the students are adapting to the school’s culture.

“We expect our athletes to excel in the classroom and in their sport,” Monnot said. “I am excited for what the future brings for MIA athletics.

Each sport gave three awards. In some instances a student won in more than one sport.

Below are the sports and the winners.

Fall Awards


Coach’s Award: Lauren De’Hooghe

Leadership Award: Chelsea Casabona

Outstanding Player Award:
Shannon O’Regan


Cross Country

Coach’s Award: Teagan Havemeier

Leadership Award: Olivia Watt and Cameron Zuck

Outstanding Player Award:
Julia Wagner and Juan Patino



Coach’s Award: Tyler Wallace

Leadership Award: Patrick Michel

Outstanding Player Award:
Andrew Fowler



Coach’s Award: Susan Faremouth

Leadership Award: Kasey Bersh

Outstanding Player Award:
Lisa Cottage-Ramnick



Coach’s Award- Duneshka Cruz

Outstanding Player Award:
Hunter O’Neill

Winter Awards:

Boys Basketball 

Coach’s Award: Brandon Estremera

Leadership Award: Andrew Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Cole Stretton


Girls Basketball

Coach’s Award: Gianna Rose

Leadership Award: Cayla Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Shannon O’Regan


Girls Soccer 

Coach’s Award: Julia Wagner

Leadership Award: Olivia Watt

Outstanding Player Award:
Abi Meredith


Boys Soccer 

Coach’s Award: Cameron Olguin

Leadership Award: Omar Rodriguez

Outstanding Player Award:
Colin McMullen



Coach’s Award: Blake DeHooghe

Leadership: Haley Havemeier

Outstanding Cheerleader:
Meagan Reisinger


Spring Awards:


Coach’s Award: Bon Deese

Leadership Award: Andrew Delgado

Outstanding Player Award:
Matt Grille



Coach’s Award: Nicole Brunson

Leadership Award: Katherine Felipe

Outstanding Player Award:
Raul Rodriguez



Coach’s Award: Anna Chamberlin

Leadership Award: Andrew Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Olivia Watt

Deputy Chief Chris Byrne Retires

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:02am

By Samantha Husted

Submitted Photo
Fire Chief Michael Murphy (left) and Deputy Chief Chris Byrne.

On May 31st the City of Marco Island Fire Rescue Department will bid farewell to longtime employee Chris Byrne. Chris started with the fire department as a firefighter in 1983 and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Deputy Chief. Chris has dedicated himself to the citizens of Marco Island, Collier County and the State of Florida. He has held leadership roles through various task forces, such as the State Coordinator of the Collier County Hazardous Materials District Response Team, the Collier County Marine Emergency Response Team Coordinator, as well as the Commander of the Collier County Strike Team Task Force.

“For the last 33 years the City of Marco Island and its residents have been blessed by the commitment and leadership of Deputy Chief Chris Byrne,” said Fire Chief Michael Murphy. “He is one of the best leaders, professionals and friend that I, and our fire department family have had the honor to work with. He has dedicated the majority of his life to saving lives and property and making our hometown a better place. He will be missed. Both the Fire Department and I thank him and his family, Julia and Joey, for their giving and wish him well in his retirement.”

On May 16th the Marco Island City Council recognized Chris’s many accomplishments with a proclamation declaring May 16th as “Chris Byrne Day.”

Chris’ retirement party will take place on May 27th at the Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island. The party begins at 1 PM, with presentations and a ceremony at 2:30 PM.

Coastal Breeze News will provide full coverage of Deputy Chief Chris Byrne’s career and retirement in the next edition, which will be on newsstands June 10.

Lely Passes Spring Test

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:59am

By Roger LaLonde

Coach Maurice Belser runs onto the field to congratulate his defense for a successful goal line stand at the end of the second quarter.

There were both good and bad plays, but more good ones, in Lely’s 33-27 win over Blanche Ely in its spring game on May 20.

Blanche Ely traveled to Lely from Pompano Beach to play in a steady downpour in the first half that saw the Trojans take the lead and stay ahead.

Both teams had breakaway plays, yet each had great moments on defense.

A major defensive thrust for Lely came as the seconds wound down in the second quarter, but a lapse on defense set up the possible score for Blanche Ely.

The Trojans had the Tigers buried at its own one-yard line, but a risky screen pass in the end zone resulted in a breakaway run to the Lely nine-yard line. One play later the Tigers were at the two. That’s when the Lely defense became a stone wall, keeping the Tigers out of the end zone as time expired for the half.

Lely quarterback Jacquez Carter ran for 101 yards and threw for 181 more, including two touchdown passes. Some of those yards in both cases came after Carter was forced out of the pocket as the Tigers defensive line had the edge in size over Lely.

Defensively, Lely’s line did well, but the lack of a consistent pass rush and key mistakes by the defensive backs led to all four of the Tigers’ scores. Pass plays of 35, 89, 16 and 14 yards gave them their touchdowns.

Lely senior Tre Popoli sings the national anthem.

One play showed how coach Maurice Belser teaches to play out a play. Lely fumbled and it appeared the Tigers had recovered, but tackle Rolph Tanis battled under the pile-up to steal it back.

Lely’s defense, led by linebacker Will Glasser, confused the Tigers at times, causing two forced timeouts. The defense stopped one drive when Glasser blasted a Tigers runner, causing a fumble that Luc Thelice recovered.

Lely kicker Noah Reich showed he’s the front-runner for the job. He made good on three extra points and two field goals.

Overall there were many bright spots, giving Lely a positive outcome as it heads to summer workouts.

For more photos go to

A Busy Start to Summer

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:54am

Donna Fiala

Probably most of us have heard about the stem cell procedure, but really don’t know what it is or how it’s done. Although not being really immersed in the subject, I’ve spoken to the owner of Arthrex, the largest company in Collier County, in Florida, and actually one of the largest in the USA (!), who has diligently been working on streamlining the procedure and equipment for the orthopedic surgeons in our community. Here’s what I understand so far. The surgeon takes stem cells from the bone marrow in your hip, and platelets from your blood, which are combined in a machine that Arthrex has invented, and then is inserted with a needle in the knee, or hip, or ankle, or wherever your arthritis is bad. In about three days you are feeling pretty good, but in three weeks you can do most things you used to do. A friend of mine from Marco Island has a Dad who had the procedure done and in three weeks (at 90 years old) the man was riding a bike around the neighborhood! It sounds truly remarkable. There’s never a reaction or rejection because it is your own body supplying the stem cells and platelets. It’s amazing how brilliant our inventors and scientists are!

• Do you ever study the prices of fuel? When fuel prices were at their lowest, the Plus was 15 cents higher and the Premium brands were 30 cents higher than regular. Well, in our county many people drive cars that cannot use regular fuel so they must use the others, and the gas stations are fully aware of it. A couple months later they raised the prices for Plus and Premium to 20 cents and 40 cents higher than regular, and now in some stations its up 25 cents for Plus and 50 cents for Premium…and we’re held hostage while they laugh their way to the bank, and they know there’s nothing we can do about it!

• While driving around in Olde Naples I noticed that many of the homes they are now building or renovating are taking on the look of cozy old Florida style homes, and they look gorgeous! I was really getting tired of Tuscan and Mediterranean, and longed to get back to why we moved here in the first place – because we wanted to live in Florida! Some of the homes are as large as mansions but look warm and friendly like Florida should look. It’s really a nice change.

• Marco Island Foundation for the Arts held a Scholarship and Awards Ceremony recently. The talent filled the room! President Carolyn Burger was also chairing her last meeting before the new officers take over, and she did an outstanding job. Sandy Johnson, treasurer, and Allie Ellis, secretary, presented scholarship dollars and gifts/plaques to: Anastasia Baran, Joseph Byrne/soloist, Ted Schmick, Emily Orgass/cello, Tyler MacDonald, photographic genius (in my opinion), Ashley Johnson, pianist with a lovely voice and song, and Juliana Piscolli. Each of these very talented young people were excellent in their field and on their way to a great, new adventure! Congratulations to each and every one of you! AND THEN – for the first time in his life – JRobert received an award! He was awarded the Artist of the Year! He sang for us and was accompanied by his son, Martin. What a sweet and humble man with a great sense of humor and his own way of entertaining a crowd. It was a wonderful event enjoyed by all. Last year’s Artist of the Year was present wearing her tiara! Yup – it was Tara O’Neill in all her glory and with that wonderful sense of humor and yet humble beyond belief!

• Boy! That Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse just never stop gathering crowds! Every day their parking lots are still busy, even though many of our winter residents have left for the summer. It’s been a lucrative area for them, that’s for sure. It’s been great for us as well.

• And then we have the busy Eurasia – what great food they have. I’ve heard that soon they will close for a few weeks for a little summer time off, so you’d better get in there now because you don’t want to wait till the Fall to eat there. And then there is 21 Spices. Quite frankly, I thought they would starve during the summer months, but they just keep going and going, like the Energizer Bunny! And of course we have Sam Snead’s – a really fun place to go with great food. We’re pretty lucky down here – we might not have many local restaurants, but the ones we have are tremendous! Oh yes, I forgot – DiJulio’s on Rattlesnake Hammock Road – I hadn’t gone there for quite a long time, but finally tried it again and was very surprised to see the inside all upgraded and improved, but the food was the same old marvelous Italian food, thank heavens. Then we go right across the street to the fun place – Mike Ward’s Erin’s Isle! You feel like you’ve walked into a room filled with friends! It’s a very happy place to be, but then again, aren’t all Irish people fun to be around? And they can all sing too!

I hope you are having a relaxing, enjoyable summer!

Letter to the Editor: Gerard Baio

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:52am

What’s Good for the Goose…

In March of 2015, a councilor called the Marco Island Police to report violations of excessive noise, disturbance of the peace, and excessive occupancy occurring at a nearby house to which the police responded. Because these disturbing violations continued, the councilor then called the police chief for relief and to restore reasonable peace and quiet.

As a result, Councilor Victor Rios made a huge ordeal on how that councilor “abused his position as a councilor” by calling the Police Chief and directing orders to resolve the problems.

Last month, Councilor Rios called the Police Chief twice to report an invasion of privacy by a drone that crashed onto a Belize Condo lanai, and that the drone owners trespassed onto the Belize property. A police investigation revealed the drone owners were let onto the property by a Belize condo owner so they could report their accidental drone crash to the front desk and retrieve it.

Councilor Rios states that he called the Police Chief “as a private citizen, not as a councilor”. In addition to the phone calls, Mr. Rios sent several emails to the Police Department and the City Attorney directing on how he thought the matter should be handled.

Really? Why is it okay for Mr. Rios to call the Police Chief to report an alleged violation but not okay for the other councilor, who also called as a private, tax paying citizen? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Mr. Rios.

Gerard Baio

Letter to the Editor: Dr. Jerry Swiacki

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:50am

On March 21, 2016, I came before City Council as Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to report on our findings regarding the development of Veterans Community Park. Under the direction of City Council, our committee was instructed to receive citizen input regarding further development of the park. This issue had been an agenda item for PRAC since February 2015 and continues to remain on the agenda. At every meeting citizens were asked for their input regarding their concerns and desires. For the past eight months, there has been considerable outreach by PRAC to several civic organizations and the general public requesting their input.

At the March 21 meeting, I reported that the majority of citizens wanted to: 1) Maintain Greenspace, 2) Build a Bandstand with dressing rooms, rest rooms and concession stand, 3) Improve parking by removing present parking lot and create angled perimeter parking, 4) Improve shade, 5) Improve lighting and landscape, 6) Create walking paths, benches and a promenade along the water to connect with the underpass at Herbert Savage (Smokehouse Bay) Bridge and 7) Maintain Farmers’ Market.

Councilor Amadeo Petricca presented a “White Paper” at the May 16, 2016 City Council meeting in which he urges City Council to provide funds in Fiscal Year 2017 Bucket Plan for the development of Veterans Community Park in accordance with the recommendations of PRAC. I and the other members of PRAC as well as the majority of citizens of Marco Island applaud Mr. Petricca for his effort. Now is the time for our community to come together and develop the park so that we may enjoy the many potential benefits that this piece of property offers.

Dr. Jerry Swiacki

Marco Makes a Move Or is it just another stalling tactic?

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:46am

By Barry Gwinn

Disintegration or raveling occurs at the site of unattended cracks, or more commonly at the edges of the road. Goodland Road
has plenty of both. (1/26/16)

In 2002, the City of Marco Island (CMI) took over jurisdiction and responsibility for Goodland’s only access road. Since that time, due to heavy traffic, frequent flooding, and inadequate maintenance, the road is deteriorating at an alarming rate. I have written four articles in this newspaper about the situation in which the road was rightfully termed “Goodland’s Orphaned Access Road.” Orphaned, because CMI has neither the will nor the money to correct the mounting problems this road poses for Goodland residents. Orphaned, because Collier County (CC), although having the money and the will to fix it, has no jurisdiction over the road, having ceded it to CMI in 2002. Consequently all we get in Goodland are washboard rides on this crumbling road, punctuated by frequent flooding during many spring tides. The Goodland Civic Association (GCA) has been agitating for a solution for over 15 years.

Jack Miller is a licensed road construction superintendent in the State of Michigan. In season, he lives next to Goodland Road. Steve Morgan is a licensed civil engineer, and a partner in an established east coast civil engineering firm. This firm has planned the construction of numerous road projects. Morgan is a full time Goodland resident and has served on the Goodland Road Committee of the Goodland Civic Association (GCA) for the past four years. Both Miller and Morgan agree that CMI has simply put “Band-Aids” on Goodland Road, doing nothing to address the deterioration of the road. Morgan, who has spent hours studying the situation, believes that because it is so often underwater, the base of the road needs replacing. “It’s the water,” Morgan says, “Water has always inundated the sub base. The base of the road today probably consists mostly of the shells laid down when the road was built.” Morgan says the road is now being assaulted by water from both sides, from underneath, and from water overlaying the road. As the heavy traffic passes over the road, water is pumped up though the road. “It is like when you are walking through mud,” explains Morgan, “As you step into the mud, it squishes up on either side of your feet. When water weakens the soil under the pavement, traffic can flex the asphalt up and down until it breaks apart. That is exactly what is happening here.” Morgan says that CMI has been dealing with the surface deterioration only. When the potholes become too numerous to ignore, a Marco crew comes down for a quick fix. They shovel either hot or cold asphalt into the pothole, tamp it down, and move on to the next. “Throwing asphalt into a hole in that road is not the answer,” says Morgan, “The road’s asphalt surface course is disintegrating. Filling potholes in a failed road is like putting a Band-Aid on a compound fracture. It does nothing to deal with the underlying problem.”

Saltwater flooding into from left, Gulf of Mexico and from right, Marco River. (1/17/16)

What does CMI hope to gain by procrastinating in the proper repair of Goodland Road? About 1.5 million dollars. This is the amount CC still owes under the 2002 agreement in which they ceded the road to CMI. CC has so far paid out $13.5M to CMI in agreed upon annual payments, part of which was for the maintenance of Goodland Road. But according to Mike Barbush, past GCA President and Chairman of the GCA Goodland Road Committee, CC has now decided to withhold the final $1.5M, until and unless CMI takes concrete steps to rescue the road. “Collier County is $500,000 delinquent [on payment of $1,000,000, which was due last month],” Barbush said, “They (the County) will probably withhold the remaining $1.5 million. This will cause a $1 million shortfall in CMI’s budget. It’s going to come down to the lawyers.”

So, on April 7, 2016, in order to demonstrate to the County that they are attempting to properly fix the road, CMI solicited bids from engineering companies “to prepare a cost estimate to mill and overlay the existing asphalt pavement surface.” The solicitation went out as RFQ-16-015, RFQ being a Request for Quotation which is normally used to give potential suppliers an opportunity to competitively cost the final solutions. CMI scheduled a “Non-mandatory pre-proposal conference” for April 19. Two engineering companies showed up – Hole Montes, Naples, and Dannick Engineering Consultants, Orlando. Present for the CMI were Roger Hernstadt, City Manager, Tim Pinter, Public Works Director, and Lina Upham, Purchasing and Fiscal Analyst. Pinter and Hernstadt did most of the talking. Pinter thought that repairing the road could cost north of $4 million. Hernstadt agreed, especially if the road had to be raised and rebuilt. “In that case, it could cost four times as much as just milling and resurfacing,” Hernstadt said, “This would be beyond CMI’s resources.” Hernstadt called for county participation and meetings of the two staffs to this end, with possible meetings down in Goodland. He pointed out that a section of the road is owned by CC and also subject to flooding. “Elevation of CMI’s section of the road could cause more flooding on the CC section unless it is also rebuilt,” he said. “Goodland says that the road was a low grade road, with only a shell base, when it was put in. Now they want an upgrade and elevation that will last 30 or 40 years.” Hernstadt said that the RFQ calls for tests, which will determine if the base is in fact deteriorated and needs to be replaced. If this is the case, because this is considerably more than milling and repaving, it will require the Conservancy to sign on. (The Conservancy has been adamantly opposed to changing the footprint of the road, unless prohibitive restrictions protecting the mangroves are agreed to.) “It then becomes a political issue and could get adversarial,” Hernstadt warned. Hernstadt wants a series of meetings in Goodland and with the County to resolve these issues.

Tom Barrett on a “rescue mission” for a Goodland friend. The cab driver refused to drive on Goodland Road. (1/17/16)

It is no secret that there are many in Goodland, including the GCA Board of Directors (of which I am one) believe that CMI has been stalling until such time as the CC pays the final $2 million called for in the 2002 Interlocal Agreement. In that agreement CC ceded to CMI those sections of San Marco Road, (CR 92) and Goodland Road (CR 92A), which lay within CMI city limits. In return, and to help defray the costs of maintaining these and other former county roads, CC agreed to pay CMI $1 million per year starting in 2002 and ending in 2017. It is also no secret that there are some on CMI City Council, who would like to dump this whole mess back on the County, but maybe not until the last drop in the CC coffers is squeezed out. In a February reply to a concerned Goodland resident, Hernstadt wrote, “Concurrently, the City Council is also discussing/exploring with the County Commission giving the road (project) back to Collier County…We expect the design contract [RFQ#16-015] will be award (sic) in late April/early May assuming receipt of the 2 County payments for 2016 (Emphasis added).” So now it can be inferred that CC will advance no more money to CMI until they take steps to repair the road, while CMI will take no such steps, until they receive more money from CC – a classic catch-22 situation with Goodland getting squeezed in the middle.

This one’s a whopper and still expanding. Cars swerve left to the oncoming lane or right to the side. When boat trailers hit it, this hole sounds like a muffled cannon shot. Photos by Barry Gwinn

And so it has gone on – proposals and meetings galore involving GCA, CMI, CC, and the Conservancy. I have been to some of the meetings; Mike Barbush has been to most of them. Meanwhile, Goodland Road continues to crumble and sink into the swamp through which it runs, increasingly submerged beneath the rising Gulf waters. There are days when I won’t allow my wife to travel on it. There are days when I won’t travel on it. Flooding has caused at least one taxi driver to refuse to deliver his passenger to Goodland. (It was a family emergency.) The passenger had to walk in to Goodland through knee-deep water for much of the way. Someday, in the not distant future, the excellent Marco Island EMS will not be able to make it in to Goodland and someone may die as a result. Maybe then?

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.

Chamber Scholarship Recipients Named

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:10am

By Don Manley

Chamber President Alex Parker opens by introducing the scholarship recipients. He’s flanked by Donna Niemczyk (far left), Laura Schneider and Desiree Buhelos of the Chamber’s Education Committee.

Marine biology, advertising and the fashion industry are just a few of the career paths selected by the eight recipients of the 2016 Leadership Marco Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Awards.

The winners of $18,000 in scholarships were announced at the Chamber’s May After Five, held at CJ’s on the Bay in the Esplanade Shoppes. The scholarship funds were raised by the Chamber’s Leadership Marco committee through events such as Wet Paint Live. The Chamber’s Education Committee reviews the applications, conducts interviews and selects the recipients.

Duneshka Cruz – Marco Island Academy: Will attend the Pennsylvania State University’s Schreyer Honors College, where she’ll major in biology. She plans on a career in forensic pathology.

Activities and Awards: Honor roll, student of the month, National Honor Society, Varsity Gold, Palmer Trinity School track and field team, Palmer Trinity School Singers, Palmer Trinity School Best Buddies, student leadership and the Interact Club.

Elizabeth Clark – Lely High School: Will attend Florida Atlantic University where she’ll major in biology. Her career plans include marine biologist, researcher, dive master and teacher.

Activities and Awards: JV cheerleader, freshman academic award, color guard, dance line captain and member of the marching band.

Lauren Camposano – Lely High School: Will attend the University of Central Florida where she’ll major in business and marketing. Camposano is interested in a career as a buyer in the fashion industry.

Activities and Awards: Four-year member of both the marching and symphonic bands, flute section leader and first-chair oboe in symphonic band, member of the National Honor Society, key club member, four-year academic excellence award, newspaper editor and STEM ambassador at Hodges University Diversity Festival.

Adalid Lora – Marco Island Academy: Will attend Florida Gulf Coast University where she’ll major in biology. She plans on a career in pediatric medicine.

Activities and Awards: National Honor Society, student leadership, Key Club and involved in New Life Community Church. 

Hunter Angersbach – Lely High School: Will attend Florida Southern College where he’ll major in advertising and public relations. He’s interested in a career as a creative director in the advertising industry.

Activities and Awards: Varsity swimming, varsity lacrosse, Rotary student of the month, Top-10 senior, National Honor Society, Key Club, basketball, Lely High School webmaster, 2015 AICE Marine Biology Department Outstanding Student Award and completed laureate for outstanding achievements in 2015, FGCU’s CEO Academy.

Kathryn Schiller – Lely High School: Will attend Florida State University where she’ll major in political science and pre-law. She plans on a career as a criminal defense attorney.

Activities and Awards: Varsity cross country, cheerleading captain, soccer and track, National Honor Society, Road Runners Club, Project Unify and a counselor for Camp Able.

Blake Dehooghe – Marco Island Academy: Will attend Florida Southern College where he’ll major in business administration.

Activities and Awards: Golf team, National Honor Society, cheerleading captain, Christmas Island Style float planner, Relay for Life, Interact Club, golf ball drop and Meals of Hope.

Michael Scola – Lely High School: Will attend Florida State University. Will major in finance and economics and plans on a career in investment banking.

Activities and Awards: Spanish Award recipient, involved in cross country, sailing and golf and a licensed pilot.

Fourth Annual SUP Poker Run

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:05am


A benefit for the Special Olympics of Collier County will be held Saturday, June 4th. A stand-up paddleboard Poker Run will begin at Capri Fish House on the Isles of Capri. Registration time is from 9 to 9:30 AM. Cost is $50 per entrant and includes event t-shirt, buffet lunch and more.

You can register online at and follow us on Facebook at For registration questions or to learn how to become a sponsor, call 239-450-1304, or email Paddleboard and kayak rentals will be available. 

Fowlers Hit Football Trails to N.C.

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:00am

By Roger LaLonde

Photos by Roger LaLonde
MIA quarterback Andrew Fowler loosens up before a game.

Greg Fowler and son Andrew will be showing their talents at 1AA North Moore High School in Robbins, North Carolina.

Greg Fowler left on May 19 to become the school’s new offensive coordinator.

He certainly will know the quarterback, son Andrew.

The rest of Fowler’s family will join them after school is out.

Andrew transferred to North Moore on May 16 to take part in spring football practices. School enrollment is 630.

Greg Fowler resigned as football coach at Marco Island Academy (MIA) following his second football season. Son Andrew led the area in passing yardage for his two years at MIA.

Mike Vogt, in his third year as head coach at North Moore, knows Greg Fowler well.

“We have been personal friends and kept in touch,” Vogt said. “I coached against him when I was in Florida at University High School at Orange City.”

Vogt said when Fowler resigned he contacted him a few months later for the opening he had as offensive coordinator.

Vogt had been serving as defensive and offensive coordinator. In his three years he has done a credible job in building a program that had lost 32 straight games before Vogt came aboard. He went 2-9 his first season then 6-6 and 6-5, making the state playoffs last season.

“We have the same philosophy and I have tremendous respect for him. He’s a solid football coach, ” Vogt said of Fowler.

Andrew Fowler comes at the right time for North Moore. Its three-year starter at quarterback is graduating.

“I have some young guys for the future, but they are not as ready, or as polished as Andrew,” Vogt said. “More than anything he’s a great kid and ready to take over the reins.”

Greg Fowler said, “I’m excited. It is a good opportunity and a great fit for me and Andrew. I had other offers, but this is a good opportunity to be closer to our extended family. He (Vogt) is a great guy and coach. I couldn’t turn him down.”

The opportunity looks even better as the team returns 18 seniors. Andrew Fowler played offense and defense at MIA. Vogt doesn’t like having a quarterback or his offensive line going both ways.

“We’ll have around 60 boys out for JV and varsity and we’ll put the best product we have on the field,” Vogt said.

No doubt the Fowlers will help.

Rose Marina – Growing and Lifting

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:59am

By Maureen Chodaba

Photo By Maureen Chodaba Construction in progress at Rose Marina.

Originally named the Marco River Marina in 1969, this once small store with just a wooden T-shaped dock, has now blossomed to become the rose of Marco Island; the Rose Marina, to be exact. Located at 951 Bald Eagle Drive, the marina with three acres of waterfront property continues to grow and expand in ways that its namesake, Marco Island’s beloved Renaissance man, Bill Rose, may have never imagined.

W.R. “Bill” Rose, an engineer, aviator, Marine, poet, and family man first came to Marco Island in 1956. Rose purchased the marina from its original owners and named it the Rose Marco River Marina. Sadly, Rose passed away in April 2010. After his death, the marina was renamed simply Rose Marina. Today, the marina is operated by an executive staff of President/CEO Dwight Stiehl, Executive Vice-President James Vandenberg, General Manager Dan High and Controller Ann Marrese, and forty-five employees.

Major changes and growth continue at Rose Marina. The current reconstruction and expansion of the marina began in October 2015. Completion is expected by September 28, 2016.

The marina’s main construction contractor is a Southwest Florida company based in Fort Myers, and many local sub-contractors are being used. For example, Glass of Marco is the contractor providing all of the glass necessary in the construction.

While planning the project, this rose did encounter a few thorns along the way. General Manager Dan High explained, “We had to go through the Planning Board and City Council to receive conditional use approval for our plans. It was passed unanimously by the Planning Board as the marina is actually part of the Marco Island Master Plan, making it a focal point of the community. When it got to the City Council things became political and more challenging.” Eventually, the plans were approved and construction began.

The two-story marina office complex will feature additional boat storage and a new shipping and receiving center for marine gear that is sold in the adjacent store. According to Dan, “The new shipping and receiving center will change the traffic flow for deliveries, making the parking lot much safer for those visiting this section of the waterfront.”

The improvements for boat storage at the marina will benefit many local boat owners. Prior to demolition Rose Marina had 60 customers inside the building. The construction will allow the marina to store 142 boats inside a new state of the art hurricane-rated concrete boathouse. Further, the new boathouse will be able to accommodate vessels larger than 43 feet.

The boats will be put on racks and specialized marine forklifts will handle the bulk of the work lifting, supplemented by a 75-ton Travelift to launch the largest boats. The large boats will be stacked three high and the smaller boats will be stacked four high. They will be lifting boats 46’ in the air to place them in their racks on the 4th level.

The time needed to retrieve a stored boat for use depends on the size (the largest boats take more time), but most often only one-hour notice will be all that is needed.

Dan further explained how boat owners could benefit from Rose Marina’s Hurricane Club. Many insurance companies require larger vessels be moved north of Charleston, South Carolina during hurricane season. The fuel costs and other expenses may exceed $30,000, and the vessel will still run the risk of storm exposure. The Hurricane Club guarantees members indoor storage space in the event of a hurricane or named storm. Members can have their boat safely moved from the water by the 75-ton Travelift into the concrete boathouse, secured with blocks and stands, and locked behind concrete fortress doors. Most insurance companies will offer a reduced premium for boats enrolled in this program.

Finally, many locals are curious about changes to the popular Ship’s Store at the marina. According to High, it is currently the island’s largest store, carrying a stock of over $500,000 in clothing and accessories. The store will receive both interior and exterior face-lifts, but plans are to remain the same in size and stock of apparel, at least for now.

For more information about Rose Marina, please visit or call 239-394-2502.

Hideaway & Central Beach Dredging Project Update

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:57am


Love Your Beach, Support a Beach Clean-Up

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:53am


MICA board members Ray McChesney and Bernardo Bezos haul trash to the dumpster.

Publix Super Market volunteers joined members of the Beach Advisory Committee for the May 14th beach clean-up. Their mission was to collect plastic straws, bottle caps, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic cups and lids and glass bottles. Armed with plastic buckets, grabbers and plastic gloves, this group of determined volunteers wearing their “Love Your Beach” green t-shirts, panned out in all directions.

Why is beach clean-up so important? Because we all care about our environment! Nature has given us clean air, clean water, a beautiful pristine beach, all for free. Picking up trash on our beaches once a month, for a couple of hours is a way to give back and ensure that our great-great-great grandchildren will continue to enjoy a Marco Island beach experience.

It is also sea turtle season. According to a new University of Florida study, “removing beach debris helps sea turtles nest.”

How can you help? Support our upcoming evening beach clean-up scheduled for May 31st at 6 PM at South Beach. Please also consider becoming a clean-up sponsor. All residents are invited to join us in our efforts to keep our beach clean and pristine, meet members of the Beach Advisory Committee, make new friends and wear our signature “Love Your Beach” green t-shirt.

Contact: For more information on the May 31st evening clean-up, please contact Samantha Malloy at 239-389-3917 or

Mark Your Calendar: 

May 31st: 6 PM at South Beach, sponsored by the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron.

June 11th: 8 AM at South Beach, sponsored by the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce.

Publix Super Market supplies gloves, water and trash bags. The Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) supplies the beach vehicle to haul trash to the dumpster. Leadership Marco supplies the buckets and grabbers. The Beach Advisory Committee of Marco Island will supply the fresh air and beautiful beach scenery!

Locals Learn to Grow Vegetables

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:47am

By Samantha Husted

Submitted Photo
A certain fun can be had growing (and eating) your own food.

Last month the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department presented a three-part gardening lecture series courtesy of the Collier County Extension Services and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). The presentations covered topics ranging from orchids, the ins and outs of gardening in Southwest Florida and growing vegetables. Coastal Breeze News sat in for the last presentation and learned all about veggies—how to plant them and when to eat them.

Growing vegetables in our Southwest Florida climate is much easier than one might think. We have no bothersome snow to worry about and our weather rarely dips below 50 degrees. It’s as if we live in a perpetual summer. Which is good for the gardening, bad for the skin. Our ability to grow almost year round, however, seems to give us a slight advantage over the average Northern American farmer. But like always, there are pros and cons.

Master Gardner Marty Koblish began her presentation with a simple question, “Why plant vegetables?” Answers rang out from the audience. Some people suggested that planting vegetables feels fresher or cleaner. Others chimed in saying that they feel safer knowing where their food comes from. Many simply contended that there’s a certain fun to be had in growing and eating your own food.

“It can also teach your children and grandchildren where food comes from,” said Koblish, adding her own reason. “One of the exciting things happening now in Collier County is that we have more and more schools that are starting student gardens.”

We then moved on to the advantages and disadvantages of growing vegetables in containers. Almost all vegetables can be grown in a pot, so long as the pot is big enough for the root systems and there is adequate drainage. Containers allow the gardener control. For instance, if there’s a torrential downpour outside one can easily pick up the pot and move it to a drier area. Or if your vegetable plant isn’t getting enough sun you can always move it around until it’s happy. It’s also convenient for those who live in condominiums or apartments who may not have access to a yard. Due to the controlled environment that containers allow, plants will live a much safer life. On the other hand, plants in containers do require more water as the containers dry out faster. Potting soil can also get pretty pricy. But according to Koblish there are ways to conserve.

“I use Styrofoam peanuts and some plastic containers that I don’t need anymore,” said Koblish. “Yogurt containers, things like that. I dump them all into the pot and fill it about half way then put the soil on top. Plants don’t care. They just need to get their roots in and around. It makes the container lighter, you spend less on soil and it’s easier to move around.”

Photo By Samantha Husted
Master Gardner Marty Koblish (left) and her assistant for the day who is also on the path to becoming a Master Gardner.

Other planting options include putting plants straight in the ground or creating raised beds. Raised beds are especially convenient for those who my have issues bending over, though they tend to be more expensive to set up. If you plan on planting in the ground it’s important that you ameliorate the soil. Here on Marco most of our natural soil is made up of sand. Potting soil needs to be strong and dense enough so that it’s able support the plant as it grows.

“You need good air and water flow while retaining its moisture. You also want the soil you buy to be free of pathogens or weeds,” said Koblish.

Regardless of how you plant, it’s important to remember that all vegetables need at least six to eight hours of sun a day.

Finally, for the beginning gardener it can difficult to decide whether you want to start from a seed or a seedling. This is more of a matter of personal preference. Buying a seedling from the store will yield faster results. It also allows you more of a selection, while seeds take longer and may never grow. To put it simply, if you’ve got patience go for the seeds, but if you want faster results a seedling might be the better option.

“It’s impossible for all of us to know everything about everything when it comes to plants and palms and trees and vegetables in Florida,” said Koblish. So we all sort of help one another and we learn from one another.”

For more information about gardening visit:, or call/visit: UF/IFAS Collier Extension Center, 14700 Immokalee Road, Naples, 239-252-4800.

Green Thumbs for YMCA Kids

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:43am

By Don Manley

Donna Hardy Johnston, Kaylie Young (left), Tebow Morris and Hailey Creek tend to one portion of the garden at the Marco YMCA.

Anticipation is in the air among the children in the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s after school program.

The object of their preoccupation can be found outside the rear doors of the Y’s youth development center and a few steps away on the right, where the youths are receiving first-hand experience in growing food, as part of the Y’s new Green Thumb program.

Green Thumb is part of the nutrition education portion of the Y’s after-school program in which the children plant seeds and seedlings to raise fruits, vegetables and herbs that when ripe, will be used in preparing healthy snacks and meals in the youth development center’s Publix Super Market kitchen.

The youths have planted lettuce, radishes, onions, parsley, thyme, tomatoes, pumpkins, eggplant, watermelons, sunflowers and two mango trees. The plantings were started in pots and now “they’re starting to transfer those plants into raised beds on the south side of the youth development center,” said Donna Hardy Johnston, the Y’s grants coordinator, who is overseeing the project.

Green Thumb has also been introduced in the after-school programs the Y operates at Manatee, Parkside and Lely elementary schools, and will also be part of the Y’s summer camps.

“Our vision is by fall, we will have the logistics all in place to have not just the plantings at the school sites, but to bus the kids in for exciting things, such as planting their own beds here at the youth development center and then preparing the food we grow in our instructional kitchen and then eating it,” Johnston added.

The seedlings, seeds and some gardening tools were provided by Lipman Produce’s Jaime Weisinger, who is part of the task force that designed Green Thumb, along with representatives from the University of Florida’s Family Nutrition Program, the Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island, the Naples Botanical Garden, the Naples Garden Club, and Michelle Finnegan of Essential Art Books, who is a master gardener.

“These are all gardening people who are outstanding,” said Johnston, who describes herself as “just a backyard gardener,” although her grandfather was a farmer in Ohio and her youngest brother is following in his footsteps.

Green Thumb is funded by a $2,000 grant from the Whole Kids Foundation and a $1,000 grant from the Balk Family Foundation.

Stephanie Pepper, the Y’s youth development manager, said the Family Nutrition Center is taking the lead in bringing the classroom-based nutrition program it designed into summer and after school programs.

Pepper and Johnston said that as with any new program, there’s a learn-as-you-go process to determine what works best and Green Thumb is no different.

“This is just the beginning,” said Pepper.

Future plans call for such additions as espalier, training the branches of fruit trees and ornamental shrubs to grow flat against a fence or wall, and butterfly gardens, as well as presentations about bees by Ray Portu, a beekeeper on Marco Island.

“The garden really provides a hands-on, creative aspect to the health and nutrition program,” said Johnston. “It pulls in a bit of history as they learn what grows well in Southwest Florida and that includes landscapes and soil, and a bit of topology. There’s also math involved, learning planting distance, what to expect from their harvest, rainfall. We hope to start composting by next fall, even learning about drainage. Science is in there too; soil testing, weather patterns. It’s just an incredible amount of information for the kids and they’re learning hands-on.”

She said gardening tools, gloves, aprons and a wheelbarrow for Green Thumb were donated by John Ritchie, a former member of the Y’s board of directors, and Walmart also provided some seeds for the program.

The Green Thumb has a wish list of items that are needed for the program that includes planting soil, fish emulsion, earth boxes, garden towers, flagstone wall blocks, paver base, construction adhesive, compost bins, a wheelbarrow, five-gallon buckets, soaker hoses, rain barrels and a four-foot-by-eight-foot raised gardening bed.

Volunteers with an interest and background in gardening are also being sought. We’re always looking for volunteers who can come for one or two hours a week to help the kids,” said Johnston. 

To donate items or volunteer, contact Johnston at 239-394-3144, extension 115, or at For more information about the Greater Marco Family YMCA, visit or call 239-394-3144.

The Perfect Storm: The Rise of Donald J. Trump

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 12:03am

By Roy Eaton 

The news media and both the Republican and Democratic Parties seem surprised and shocked by Donald Trump’s meteoric rise to the position of presumptive Republican nominee for the office of the president. They also seem both awed and baffled by his accomplishment for he did so without the help of PAC and other special interest money and without major “Party” endorsement and sponsorship. Some, who thought Trump would simply fade away during the primary process, remain in denial, while a small group of others have spitefully disenfranchised themselves from his candidacy and in doing so, from the Republican Party and the will of their current voting constituency. However, most members of the party elite likely will support Trump’s candidacy even if done so half-heartedly, because they know he poses a real threat to the Democratic Party and Hillary’s hopes to again occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Members of the Republican Party who believe Trump’s popularity is a result of an increasing but still minority number of Republican voters who are unhappy with their party’s leadership and status quo, are grossly mistaken. His rapid ascent and current status as presumptive nominee of the Republican Party is a result of many factors including his ability to identify and exploit major weaknesses and flaws in his opponents, an uncanny ability to handle embarrassment and confrontation, an inherent determination to refuse to consider defeat, an unmatched resolve to be the very best in every endeavor and long-term status as a world renowned celebrity. Trump has expanded a populist movement composed, not of an unhappy minority, but of an exponentially growing number of disenfranchised Americans who have lost faith in all three branches of government as well as the entire electoral process. They believe “The System” is corrupt, rigged, and controlled by a select few incompetent, inept politicians who have hijacked the process, are sponsored and controlled by big money and take positions that are not in the best interests of the American people they represent and the country they serve. Members of this growing populist movement rightfully believe these back room politicians are deeply entrenched in position and power, and adamantly reluctant to support anyone who exposes their vulnerability or threatens their obstructive control. Simply stated, a complacent Republican establishment was caught off guard by Trump because they did not know the man and therefore underestimated his talent and resolve. And, they failed to recognize the will of their constituency and their degree of discontent with Washington “politics as usual.”

Ironically, it is many of the same members of the political hierarchy who for decades kowtowed to the ultra rich, further widening the gap between the very wealthy and middle and low income Americans, creating the greatest income disparity in our country’s history. They approved disproportional trade agreements which benefited third world countries at the expense of the American worker and failed to legislate responsible fiscal policies required to eliminate annual deficits and reduce the spiraling national debt. Along with our “unbiased” FED, our representatives also failed to monitor and curtail the irresponsible actions of large banks, brokerage firms and mortgage insurers, which nearly collapsed our markets as well as the major economies of the world, and in the process, weakened respective GNPs for years into the foreseeable future. Our government’s questionable geopolitical policies destabilized much of the Mideast and brought about political unrest throughout the world, further exposing Americans to the threat of both internal and external terrorist activity.

Americans believe our economy and our image and credibility abroad have been tarnished by the failure of the current administration and Congress to demonstrate leadership in the wider world community. We are looking for a champion to restore our position as leader of the free world and to invigorate our executive and legislative branches to communicate with one another in order to serve the will of the people and best interests of our country. That is in fact their solemnly sworn responsibility under the Constitution. Incompetence, greed and complacency set in motion the very environment that allowed a charismatic, intelligent and well known figure to emerge. How is it possible the establishment is mystified that Donald Trump was able to challenge the process and represent the will of so many millions of American citizens?

Donald Trump is a celebrity with substance and has an uncanny method of manipulating the media to his advantage. Some Republicans believe he is too liberal, which is somewhat questionable in today’s evolving world. Trump’s emergence and the dilemma he poses are of his party’s own making. When political ideology is pulled too far in one direction, which is where the Republican Party was drawn by the Tea Party faction resulting in a gridlocked inept Congress, momentum usually overcompensates in the opposite direction. This is not a bad outcome for Republicans, if it brings them within reach of what was once considered the philosophical base of the party, the party of Abraham Lincoln.

If the Republican establishment truly believes this to be a simple, short-lived uprising solely among a minority of disgruntled Republicans they need to look no further than to their opposition and the turmoil that exists within the Democratic Party. Like Trump’s base, Sanders’ followers are growing in numbers and are equally as angry with those who have cemented their positions and are firmly entrenched in their party’s inattentive regime. Sanders and his base are correct when they declare their primary process is more skewed and far less democratic than the Republican primary process. Their party’s anachronistic use of “Super Delegates,” allows Democratic leadership to discourage dissension with the prevailing party favorite, therefore placing any anti-establishment candidate at a major disadvantage.

Perhaps if the Congressional membership and their respective party leaders had spent more time talking with their constituents rather than sparring with one another and their colleagues across the aisle, they would have seen and understood the festering embitterment and contempt which led to the emergence of their respective anti-establishment candidates. The 21st century American voter is determined to champion candidates of his or her own choosing, candidates willing to defy special interest groups, challenge the status quo, and follow an honorable course in the best interest of the people they pledge to represent and the country they wish to serve.

For nine months naysayers said Trump had no chance and disregarded his candidacy. Today, many of these resisters, in fear of losing out, have joined the ranks of the Trump following. But, not all Republican naysayers have joined ranks, for a good number feel that his candidacy will ruin their “Party” and in doing so, ruin their chances for re-election. If these obstructionists want a Republican to regain the Presidency and hope to benefit from Trump’s position if he is elected, they should review the headwinds that confront his main opposition. Weeks ago, most polls showed Trump would be decimated in a general election by Hillary Clinton. But the tide has shifted and he has now surpassed or is within striking distance in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, and has pushed ahead in the Fox News national poll.

Some critics ask why Trump is doing so well when he is thought to be poorly perceived by women and Hispanics. Simply stated, the tragedy of Benghazi, the sending of allegedly classified emails, transcripts of speeches made to Goldman Sachs and their likes, funding and patronage by large corporations and other special interest groups, lack of likability, questionable integrity, forthrightness, and foresightedness, and the label of “insider” are among the concerns of the voters.

Donald Trump’s support is proving to be more broad based and not just a rebuttal of an “establishment” candidate. During this election cycle, voters heavily favor an “outsider” for they believe a “newcomer” will be motivated to improve the geopolitical climate, minimize the threat of terrorist attacks, improve our substandard education system, revamp our infrastructure, reform healthcare, curb illegal immigration, address exorbitant spending, reinvigorate our sluggish economy, eliminate continual deficits, reduce our nation’s mounting debt, and improve our image and position abroad. Voters believe outstanding issues must be comprehensively addressed in a timely manner and favor a strong candidate who will bring equally strong proven leaders into a new administration.

Opponents of Trump should take notice and not underestimate his appeal or the size of his base. Just because a voter may dislike Trump’s demeanor, that person may respect his stance and fortitude and recognize his determination to restore America to a position of leadership at home and on the world stage.

Yes, Trump has hit a nerve with the American voter, and in the process has decimated perceived social and political protocols. He is no longer a ripple in a pond of disgruntled dissidents or a rogue wave that will run its course and slowly dissipate. He is “The Perfect Storm” churning up the seas and drawing energy from an ocean of frustrated, angry and dissatisfied voters. Fueled by gridlock, incompetence, and naysayers he has eliminated all in his path as attested by the 16 Republican challengers who have been swept aside. A storm named Trump has directed it’s wrath toward the Democratic Party and its perceived candidate and expects to make landfall at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

MICMS Brings Alice in Wonderland to Life

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 2:31pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

It was a grand finale of theatrical productions for the 2015/16 school year, and grand it was! The show was Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr., produced by the Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) ALL STARZ for family, friends and faculty. Under the tutelage of the musical director and choreographer, Karen Raymond, with help from Kerri Holdsworth, assistant director and backstage manager, the production was bound to be a great one.

This community is fortunate to have productions of such high caliber from their middle school. From the extremely talented individual vocal performances to the rousing group numbers and the supporting company chorus, this school play was anything BUT amateur. Set scenes and props helped to tell the story, but it was the true-to-character imaginative costumes that took this production a notch above.

A round of applause to the excellent performances by all! The only disappointment, there won’t be an encore until next school year.

Lighting and sound were handled by Roger Raymond and Kurtis August. Gigi Garraty and MICMS art students created most of the props and scenery. Former students, Carson Essi and Cassie Sullivan, helped with the Wonderland Flats, with Rob Eder from the Marco Island Academy. Margo Heidenreich and yearbook students worked on posters/props. Mark Alabanese handled the production program.

MIA Ranked Top 2%

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 2:25pm

By Jane Watt

Marco Island Academy, a tuition-free, public charter high school, is rated in the top 2% of America’s Most Challenging High Schools by the Washington Post in 2016. The list is comprised of public, charter and private schools across America. Out of the 22,000 schools that were evaluated, only 2,300 made the list. Marco Island Academy (MIA) made the list at #255- landing the school in the top 2% in the nation. The rankings are based on results from the 2014-2015 school year.

Last year, MIA achieved a 97.3% graduation rate, with 85% of the graduates going on to attend post-secondary programs. Schools are ranked by the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of students who graduated.

Marco Island Academy college preparatory program focuses on the Cambridge program. The Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma is an international curriculum and examination system with an emphasis on the value of broad and balanced study. Students gain an in-depth understanding of a variety of subjects, and must master a broader range of skills critical for success in college and beyond. When students pass an AICE class, they receive high school credit. If they pass the AICE exam, students also receive college credit. Rather than computer based testing, the majority of AICE examinations use pencil and paper. Students must respond to each question with a written explanation using evidence to support their answers.

MIA students are demonstrating a mastery of the AICE curriculum. Highlights from the May/June 2015 Cambridge Examination Cycle include a:

95% IGCSE Biology pass-rate

98% IGCSE History pass-rate

100% IGCSE English Language pass-rate

88% AICE Marine Science pass-rate

91% AICE Thinking Skills pass-rate

91% AICE General Paper pass-rate

There are several reasons for the students’ outstanding results. The overall education system on Marco Island is excellent. Tommie Barfield Elementary and Marco Island Charter Middle School provide a solid foundation for many of the students who enter Marco Island Academy. The school also has students who move from many different geographic regions including France, England, Sweden and Germany. The Cambridge international curriculum serves the overall student population very well. MIA offers a block schedule with only four classes each semester. The school’s start time is later, beginning at 8:25 AM. Prior to the first day of school, the principal, assistant principal, and dean of students meet with every incoming student and parent. They discuss his or her goals for the future. The administration has high expectations for each student. The team uses the information gathered from the initial meeting to devise a plan to help the student achieve success, both personally and academically. Everyone at the school works together as a team to best meet the needs of the students. Ultimately, this combination of hard-working students, passionate teachers, and a dynamic administration has produced dramatic results.

MIA’s Class of 2016 continues marked post-secondary success with acceptances to a variety of competitive and exemplary institutions. MIA students have received acceptances from the following post-secondary programs: Alderson Broaddus University, Alma College, Barry University, Bemidji State University, Bunker Hill Community College, Coker College, Colorado State University, Cornell University, Earlham College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Ferris State University, Flagler College, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Florida Polytechnic University, Florida Southern College, Florida State University, Jamestown University, Johnson & Wales University, Liberty University, Michigan State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New College of Florida, Northern Michigan University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Penn State University, Penn State University Schreyer Honors College, Philadelphia University, Princeton University, Ringling College of Art and Design, Rollins College, Saint Leo University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Stetson University, University of Alabama, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of Notre Dame, University of Tampa, University of Tampa Honors College, University of South Florida, University of West Florida, United States Coast Guard, Valdosta State University, West Point Military Academy and Wittenberg University.

Although the scores and statistics are outstanding, this is not what matters the most to the school. Success is measured by whether the students develop into thoughtful, engaged, and responsible young adults. MIA prepares students to take the next step and pushes them to pursue their dreams.

As graduation rapidly approaches, part of me selfishly feels a sense of loss. I will miss seeing the seniors smiling faces on campus and hearing about their latest achievements. However, when I think of the future doctors, lawyers, educators, scientists and artists who are graduating this year, I am greatly encouraged. These bright young students give us hope for a brighter future.

City Council Highlights

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 2:21pm

By Maureen Chodaba

The City Council of Marco Island held their regular meeting on May 2.

A proclamation for National Safe Boating Week (May 21 – 27) was presented to the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron. A similar proclamation was presented to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla at the April 18th city council meeting.

The Beautification Committee announced the recipients of the 2016 Marco In Bloom Landscape Awards. The professionally landscaped single family home award went to J. Richard and Cheryl Corley of 1451 Caxambas Court, while 505 Tigertail Court, owned by Trigg and Dawn Kuhn was the runner-up. For residential personally landscaped single family homes, the winner was Linda Livesey of 146 Greenbriar Street, with Charlette Roman of 348 Colonial Avenue as runner-up. The commercial non-residential winner was Marco Golf & Garden owned by Fred Kramer. The condominium award went to San Marco Villas, with the Plantation Condo as runner-up. The award for cul-de-sacs adopted and maintained by residents went to Vivian Patterson at North Edgewater, while Edmund Shebert of Tulip Court was the runner-up.

Pursuant to residents concerns, city staff has been analyzing the feasibility of a traffic signal at the intersection of North Collier Boulevard and the vicinity of Saturn Court. Although everyone seemed to agree that safety measures need to be taken in this area, several residents of Seaview Court, particularly those who live in the South Seas Condominiums, felt that it would be more appropriate to put the traffic signal at the intersection of North Collier and Bayside Court. The city manager advised that further discussion is scheduled for the next city council meeting.

Fire Chief Mike Murphy gave his monthly report of both good and bad news. On April 19 a male collapsed on the tennis court at the YMCA. YMCA employee Kathy Kurtz and member Wendy Bullock performed CPR until Squad 50’s quick response vehicle arrived on the scene, staffed with two firefighter paramedics who took over CPR responsibilities and successfully administered two defibrillation shocks. Chief Murphy very proudly told council and the audience that the man walked into the fire station this week to thank everyone for saving his life. On the bad news side, Murphy went on to tell the sad story of a recent drowning on Marco Island, this time of a vacationer staying at the Charter Club. He made mention that there will soon be the addition of three more life jacket stands for adults and children along the waters of Marco Island. Murphy also informed council that the operating period of the part time seasonal 12-hour ambulance from Collier County ended on May 1. That ambulance is only available to Marco Island for five months of the year.

Signal concept for Saturn Court and North Collier Boulevard.

Councilor Rios proposed an ordinance for the regulation of drones on Marco Island. On April 3, a drone crashed into the railing of a lanai at the Belize Condominium in Cape Marco. In a series of telephone calls and emails to Marco Island Police Chief Al Schettino, Rios alleged that the drone was trespassing with the intention of taking a video of the condo resident in their bedroom. The incident was investigated by the Marco Island Police Department. Chief Schettino played the drone’s video documenting no ill intent, after rebuking Councilor Rios’ criticisms of the professionalism of the investigation. The video had been voluntarily given to the police by the drone’s owner. The video showed that the drone had been searching for dolphins in the Gulf when it inadvertently hit the building. The drone had lost its signal and was programmed to return to its home base. The railing of the lanai was an obstacle in its attempt to do so, resulting in the crash. There was no evidence of the intent to trespass or spy on the condominium resident. However, Chief Schettino did say that the drone’s owner was given a warning and instructed not to fly the drone in that area again. Drones are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA was notified of the incident, and quickly closed their investigation. Council, by a show of hands vote, did not support Councilor Rios’ suggestion for a city drone ordinance. Rios was the only councilor to vote in favor.

In other business, Debbie Roddy was reappointed to represent Marco Island on the Collier County Coastal Advisory Committee. She is currently the Coastal Advisory Committee chairperson. The vote was 5-2, with Councilors Petricca and Rios dissenting.

On a humorous note, local resident Howard Reed fulfilled a promise that he made in October 2015, when he predicted that council plans for a rental ordinance would resurface by April. At that time, Reed said if he were wrong, he would apologize and eat “humble pie.” Reed not only apologized to the council, but he also brought pie – apple, cherry and blueberry – for all to enjoy at the meeting break!

The next meeting of the Marco Island City Council will be on May 16 at 5:30 PM in the Community Room at 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

Fun Summer Camp Options

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 2:14pm

By Don Manley

Local summer camp providers are gearing up to make the season informative and fun for the children they serve.

With the school year’s end just around the corner, children and parents have a broad assortment of options for making the summer a constructive one.

Camp Mackle

The City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department’s Camp Mackle is a multi-faceted program for youths in kindergarten through fifth grade. Camp Mackle operates on weekdays, from 7:30 AM to 6 PM, June 8 through August 5. The cost, on a per-child basis, is $20 a day, $80 a week or $630 for the full summer (due by June 7).

“It’s about having fun, but it’s also about educating the kids too,” said Lola Dial, recreation manager for the parks and recreation department.

Now in its seventh year, Camp Mackle’s 2016 theme will be “Mysteries of the Galaxy.” Campers will be treated to guest speakers and presentations, field trips, specialty craft projects, games, athletics and other valuable experiences. The camp provides children with opportunities to engage in hands-on activities, led by a trained counseling staff.

Activities are based at Frank E. Mackle Community Park, located at 1361 Andalusia Terrace.

Activities kick off on June 7 with the Marco parks and recreation department’s annual Schools Out Summer Bash for the island’s teenagers. From 1 to 5 PM there will be music and food, games, including dance contests, hula hoop games and other activities, including DJ Chris’ Fabulous Feud Game Show, with prizes awarded to the top three finishers.

The department also offers a special camp-related program entitled L.I.T. – Leader In Training – for youths in ninth through 12th grade who serve as volunteers working with the youths who take part in Camp Mackle. L.I.T. provides volunteers to rack up school volunteer and community service hours, or to simply engage in something productive and creative during the summer.

Camp Mackle will have a different weekly theme, starting with “Kick off to Camp Mackle” on Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5, followed by:

Ground Control, June 8-10

Prepare For Lift OFF! 3..2..1..Blast Off!, June 13-17

Milky Way/Supernovae, June 20-24

Seti (Search for Extra Terrestrials), June 27-July 1

Magnetic Spinners, July 5-8

Black Hole (The Timeless End), July 11-15

Dark Matter (The Invisible Galactic Halo), July 18-22

Dodging Comets and Asteroids, July 25-29

Danger!! Danger!! Hurricane Forecast Landing Location Needed!!!!, August 1-5

There are also several specialty camps that are part of the department’s summer offerings, such as:

Fishing Camp, for children 8-to-12 years old, which runs from 9 AM–3 PM, June 13-17 at the Mackle Park Teen Center. The camp will cover the basics of casting, knot tying, tack gear, fish identification and more. The cost is $85 for residents and $102 for non-residents.

Mixed Media Madness, for children in grades three through five. It runs from 10 AM– 12 PM, June 20-24. Students will have a different art project each day. The cost is $75 for residents and $90 for non-residents.

Lacrosse Camp for children in grades six through 12. The camp will fine tune the skills of players and introduce the game to beginners. The cost is $85 for residents and $102 for non-residents.

Jr. Chef: Diner Specials is the theme for the cooking program for children at least 8 years of age. It runs from 9 AM-12 PM, July 5-8. The cost is $108 for residents and $129 for non-residents.

Volleyball Camp, for children in grades four through seven. It runs from 9 AM-12 PM, July 12-15. The camp will help beginner to intermediate players with fundamental skills. The cost is $60 for residents and $72 for non-residents.

Paddle Boarding, which will run from 2–5 PM, July 18-22 at the Isle of Capri Paddle Craft Park. Children must be at least 10 years of age.

Marco Island Community Sailing Center

The Marco Island Community Sailing Center will again have a full slate of youth programs this summer, starting the week of June 12 and ending the week of August 7. “We have a beginner class, an intermediate class and an advanced class,” said Rocky Cale, president of the Marco Island Community Sailing Center. Youths from the ages of 8-18 can take part. The sailing center is located at the Marco Island Yacht Club beach. Prices vary, depending on the program. For more information or to register, visit or call 239-642-0575.

Police and Fire Academy

The annual Police and Fire Academy for youths entering sixth through eighth grade in the fall is set for June 13-17. Held from 9 AM-2 PM, at the police department, the cost is $40 for residents and $48 for non-residents.

“It’s a unique camp,” said Chris Bowden, public education coordinator for the city’s Fire-Rescue Department. “The kids get to see what a police officer does on a daily basis and what a firefighter-paramedic does on a daily basis, as well.”

Greater Marco Family YMCA

The Greater Marco Family YMCA’s annual summer camp will feature old favorites and one major new addition.

“This year, we’re really excited because our Marco summer camp will be housed within our new youth development center,” said Charlene Garcia, the Y’s school-age coordinator, of the $1.2 million, 5,750 square-foot, multi-use structure that opened last October.

The camp, for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, runs from June 13 through August 12 at the Y’s Sand Hill Street campus. Elementary school children must be 5 years old by June 1 to participate.

The camp offer an assortment of values-based, recreational and educational activities, such as swimming, arts and crafts, gym time, sports and outdoor exploring, along with free breakfast and lunch. There are also weekly field trips, special guest visitors and a different theme each week. For example, June 13 through June 17 will be “Let’s Get Fit for Fun” week, while July 4 through July 8 will be “Carnival Craze Week.”

The special guest visitors will include former professional athletes from Sports World Ministries, who conduct field activities and leadership-focused discussions.

New this year is the addition of a fitness program that includes assessing children at the start, midpoint and end of the camp. “The goals are, one, that the children have an awareness of physical fitness and two, that they have goals for physical fitness,” said Garcia.

There will also be pool days for children from all camp sites at the Y’s Ms. Dottie Weiner Aquatics Center, as well as “Big Bang” parties every Friday. Families will be welcomed to attend the parties, which could include children and staff dressing up in costumes inspired by the weekly theme.

Campers at the Y campus will utilize computers in the youth development center’s technology center. They will also tend vegetables, fruits and herbs planted outside the center by children from the after-school program as part of the new Green Thumb program nutrition education program. The produce will be used in preparing healthy snacks and meals in the youth development center’s Publix Super Market kitchen.

And as always, there will be special camps for specific sports, such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, karate, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, gymnastics and more.

The summer camp program provides fun and academic benefits to the children, by providing instruction that enables them to remain at grade-level or above in math and reading, rather than regressing over the summer. Assessment tests are administered at the camp’s start, its mid-point and at its conclusion.

Need-based scholarships are available to children requiring assistance. For more information about the summer camp program, scheduling and enrollment, visit or call 239-394-9622. The Greater Marco Family YMCA is located at 101 Sand Hill St.

Island Theater Company 

For youngsters who yearn to take the stage there’s the Island Theater Company Summer Camp, which will run from 9 AM to 3 PM, July 5 to July 22.

The camp will teach theater basics, including stage direction, terminology, auditioning, the production process, lighting and sound and more. The program is designed for beginner through experienced student actors. All activities are designed to develop imagination, concentration, character, professionalism and technique to strengthen command of the body and voice.

All participants will be given a part in the Island Theater Company production of The Lion King Jr. Principle roles will only be given to those attending all three weeks of camp

The camp directors will be Marissa Secades and Christopher Cheng, who are theater majors at Florida State University and Miami Dade College, respectively.

“It’s definitely going to be a fun time,” said Secades. “We’re really excited about the musical. We have a lot of spots open so we’re definitely encouraging kids to sign up whether they’ve had theater experience or not.”

All classes and performances will take place at Marco Lutheran Church, located 525 N. Collier Boulevard. For more information and to hold your spot, contact for a registration form.

Marco Island Center for the Arts

The Marco Island Center for the Arts also has a slate of summer classes and workshops for youths.

Kicking things off is the Family Fun with Coil Bowls workshop from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM on June 18. Children ages 7 to 14 and adults of any age are invited to learn how to fashion bowls over slump or hump molds, using different thicknesses of extruded coils. The cost is $30.

Next up is the Digital Photography Basics Workshop for ages 10 through 14. The class will examine composition, color versus black-and-white photography and explore different photographic forms, such as portraits, landscapes and documentary. Camera operations and what’s proper when uploading photos to social media will also be covered. The class runs from 1 to 4 PM, June 27-29. The cost is $65, which includes all materials and use of a camera.

The offerings also include:

Functional Pottery Workshop for ages 9-12. Runs 9:30 AM -12:30 PM, July 11-15. The cost is $115 per student.

The Coolest Kids Art Class EVER! for ages 7-14. The class is from 9:30 AM -12:30 PM. Week one runs July 11-15. Week two is July 18-22. The cost is $105 per week.

Playmaking Workshop for ages 9-14. The theater class is from 1–4 PM, July 25-29. The cost is $100 per student.

For more information about the Marco Island Center for the Arts’ summer schedule of youth programs visit or call 239-394-4221.

Other Options

This list is not exhaustive. There are numerous other programs provided for our local children to keep them having fun this summer. Other summer camp options are available through Collier County Parks and Recreation (, the Naples Zoo (, and a number of churches and other organizations.

Happy camping!