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Fri, 02/20/2015 - 12:05am

Body, Mind And Spirit
Laurie Kasperbauer

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” -Albert Einstein

Saturday morning beach yoga is one of my most favorite classes. Generally speaking, the sky is a beautiful blue, the dolphins are playing in clear view and the morning sun provides just the right amount of warmth without the heat of mid-day. Needless to say, when the conditions are this desirable, we have a great turn-out of ambitious yogis ready to share their practice. One recent Saturday, however, this was not the case.

The forecast predicted a cold front coming through. I have come to learn this sometimes means a swing of approximately 6 degrees. Not a true “cold front” by this former Midwesterner’s standards. I remember days in Iowa where the temp dropped 40 degrees in a day. We went from AC to furnace in a matter of hours. Snow and wind ripped at the tulips that dared to bloom in April. My down parka was not safe to store until June.

But on this particular Saturday, here in our tropical paradise, the predicted cold front, did indeed, arrive. The weather was not so much cold as it was, in my opinion, angry. The clouds were blue-gray and rolled across every opening the sun attempted to penetrate. The wind blew with authority, stirring the surf into white crested waves that crashed the shore noisily. And on this early Saturday morning in January, even the hearty northerners were a no-show on the beach. Optimistically I set up for beach practice anyway, hopeful that the sky would clear and between the sun and our yoga, we would find warmth. Unfortunately, for the 5 brave yogis who joined me that morning, Mother Nature had other plans.


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


From Marco To Alaska, Local Female Captain Is Always Busy

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 12:01am

Stepping Stones
Bob McConville
Master Naturalist

SMSgt Anthony Cauthen and MSgt Joel Bauman returned for Take a Soldier fishing.

I hear a very pleasant “Good morning, Bob” as someone passes by. “Good morning, Captain Jesse.” I reply as she ushers guests to a catamaran for a sailing tour of Marco Island.

Yes, I did say “she”. One of the few female captains in the area, Captain Jesse Baughman leads a very active life. From fishing with active duty soldiers, to finishing her college education, to working the salmon run in Bristol Bay, Alaska, she is constantly on the move. In addition to conducting catamaran tours for the Marriott she owns a fishing charter business, works the annual mullet run along the Gulf Coast, heads to Alaska each June for the salmon season and volunteers to take active duty fishermen on the water.

She credits the men she knew early on in her life for having a positive influence on her and is still very fortunate because of their input. “Whenever my dad grabbed a gun, a pole or a net I was right there with him, following and learning” she happily exclaimed.

A 4th generation southern Floridian, Captain Jesse attended Gulf Coast High School and is close to obtaining her Biology degree, attending FGCU with only a few semesters until graduation. As a licensed captain she understands the aspects of sailboating, sport fishing and commercial fishing and is a proven veteran in all of these fields.

Captain Jesse.

When she applied for a position as a captain for the Marriott she arrived professionally, in a dress and heels. Her interviewer, local author and captain, Tom Williams, asked if she had experience sailing the type of boats in their fleet and she quickly responded “Let’s find out”. She kicked off her heels, took the controls and was comfortable with the vessel within minutes.

Owner of Lady Luck Charters, LLC Captain Jesse specializes in backwater fishing and sightseeing tours, putting that biology major to work for her guests. She knows where and when certain fish are running and, more importantly, she has a great rapport with the public.

She is proud to participate each September in the Naples Take A Soldier Fishing program. With 60 backwater boats and 20 offshore vessels, this is a huge program. As the only female captain in this event Captain Jesse fishes with active duty service personnel and has been doing so for 4 years. As far as competition here, she and her guests have finished in the top 10 in 2 of the last 3 years!!!

From mid-November until the end of January she packs her bags and heads to St Petersburg, Fl. It is time for the annual mullet run.

These fish will eat heartily along the coastline before heading offshore to spawn. Quite a few fishermen will follow this migration and Captain Jesse is right in the mix. Starting in St. Pete she’s on a 2 person skiff and will work the coastline down to Naples during this period, pulling in 2-3,000 pounds of fish per day! This fall she will have her own boat for this venture, a 2 person, 21-24 foot Carolina Skiff and she can’t wait to get going again.

Joel is pictured with an overslot redfish.

To me, her most fantastic adventure comes each summer. On the 1st of June she will depart for Bristol Bay, Alaska for the annual salmon run. She will be out to sea for 6 straight weeks on board a 32 ft. gillnetter with a total crew of 3 plus 1 skipper. Encounters out there can be very unpredictable. Rough weather can cause nonstop 8-10 foot seas. However there are some rewards. The opportunity to see both Beluga Whales and Grey Whales are common and, along the shoreline, both Grizzly Bears and Brown Bears can be sighted as well as the majesty of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles. However, it would be remiss to overlook the greatest reward…a 73,000 pound catch of salmon during this time!

Yes, a local girl does well. She lives a life that many men just dream about. Hard working and adventurous, she does so with a kind heart. She has the ideal mix of professionalism and personality.

For me, I look forward to those days when she passes by and I smile when I hear that pleasant “Good morning, Bob”.


Captain Jesse can be contacted at

Bob is the owner of Stepping Stone Ecotours and is also a naturalist on board The Dolphin Explorer. He is a recent graduate of Leadership Marco and a member of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism. Bob loves his wife very much!



Color Your World…endlessly

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:22pm

Richard Alan

Season on Marco Island is in full swing, and I survived another Valentine’s Day rush that required my son and me only a couple of nights burning the midnight oil in the work shop. It was the smoothest, hassle free and profitable Valentine week I can ever remember!

While in the process of investigating and individually interrogating my sales staff I found the reason it was not the normal yearly, chaotic Valentine’s experience… One thing stood out…Endless Jewelry.

I mentioned that I had seen the Endless Jewelry line while in Europe last summer. It was unknown to jewelry lovers in the U.S.A. until its debut this past November.

I was at the dock (instead of the airport for a change!) when the U.S.S. Endless ship arrived, so to speak, and it was an immediate hit in my shop for holiday gift giving in December.

When my salesladies suggested Endless bracelet jewelry to the bewildered guys shopping for their Valentine sweethearts, over 95% of them loved the idea.

It’s a different look that’s high quality, beautifully packaged and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like diamond and gold jewelry. What’s even better is he won’t have to make himself crazy the next time a birthday or an anniversary comes around. All it takes is a new charm or different colored Endless bracelet to fill the bill and the joy or anguish of shopping for her is short and sweet.

What also makes it very special is I am the only store on Marco Island that is the authorized dealer to carry the line, making my love for Endless jewelry, well…endless.

I wish to remind my readers I am happy to answer any questions about “all that glitters”, in other words, questions that pertain to jewelry, diamonds, gold and such, E-mail me at and I will honestly research the answer to the question if I don’t know the immediate answer.

One such question reached me last week… Wm. K from Naples inquired…

“I am in the market for a diamond tennis bracelet for my wife, it’s our 40th anniversary; I see the prices for a 5 carat bracelet all over the charts, what’s with that, and how do I know I’m getting my money’s worth?”

William, There are several factors that contribute to the cost of a diamond tennis bracelet, especially one with 5 carats of diamonds. One is the weight and quality of the construction of the bracelet itself, flimsy and light weight is not a good start, so a solid hefty bracelet is best. Also the karat gold it’s made of, either 14 karat, 18 karat or platinum will be a big factor of cost. Expect it to be substantial in platinum.

Stay away from promotional specials, they are a waste of money and consist of a cheap lightweight bracelet with diamonds that have the color and clarity of rock salt. If you want to throw away $1000.00 on a piece of junk that won’t last a year without breaking, so be it. And be cautious at these so called “hotel jewelry auctions”. I have yet to see a bracelet procured this way that was not a major rip off.

In the real world a beautifully made 14 karat white gold tennis bracelet with five carats of nice quality diamonds total weight will run you $7,500.00 and up. Drop your standard on quality a little and you may get one for $5,000.00. Spending less than that would be a deplorable gold bracelet, the diamond quality or both.

I have always lived by a high standard of diamond quality; I simply don’t carry deplorable low quality diamonds. But what really can hurt the consumer is paying a high price for low quality diamonds set in the bargain bracelet he has purchased.

So my advice, a nice solid hefty, bracelet will last over 20 years of constant wear, a flimsy light weight one, may survive a year without repairs if you are lucky.

Very important… make sure the bracelet has a sturdy and functional safety clasp!

When looking at the bracelet the diamonds should really be white and sparkle brightly ( G-H color) not just sit there looking lifeless. Do yourself a favor and stay away from brown, gray or yellowish diamonds. Also the diamonds should not be cloudy or full of flaws ( I1 or I2 clarity is poor ). They should be SI1 grade or better yet… VS2 clarity. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson the grade of the diamonds in the bracelet. Don’t take A, AA, or AAA for an answer! That’s their in store grading standard which is more or less good, bad or worse.

Another tip…

I prefer diamonds in a white gold bracelet. It makes the diamonds look bigger than they really are and is a classy look on a lady’s wrist. Good luck and happy hunting!


Richard Alan Is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith for over 20 years on Marco Island and is located at Island Plaza located between Bealls and C.V.S. 239-394-9275

Marco Island’s Beachfront Condos

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:14pm

Gary & Sandy Elliott


Thirty four condo buildings were constructed along Marco Island’s beaches between 1967 and 2006. The first one built on the beach is the aptly named and well maintained, 48 residence Emerald Beach and the newest is the luxurious 101 residence called Madeira. Of the 4,091 beachfront apartments only 168 condos are for sale this week. The lowest priced listing is a $210,000, 534 square foot condo at Sunset North and the highest priced listing is a $9,500,000, 13,528 square foot penthouse at Belize in Cape Marco. On a dollar per square foot basis, the island’s beachfront condos are listed from a low of just over $300/sf at Sunset North to over $1,300/sf at Madeira with most beachfront condos listed between $400 and $700 per square foot.

Those apartments with front facing balconies providing full unobstructed views of the beach, gulf waters and always changing weather patterns during the day and vivid sunsets in the evening are the most desired and the most expensive in any building. Many people prefer a south facing apartment if they are here just for the season while others prefer the north side of a building to have shade on the balcony while getting their sun at the pool or on the beach. A few beachfront condos have an inland view from their balconies. Some owners prefer the first few floors of the building with tropical beach views through palm trees and the soothing sounds of waves breaking on the sand, others like the middle floors with more expansive views of the beach and cooling breezes and some desire higher floors with panoramic views of the Gulf and starry night skies.


Many beachfront condos have inviting entrances and lobby areas with interior elevators to the upper floors. Some have elevators that serve outdoor covered walkways on each floor. All of them have pools and outdoor BBQ areas and many have social rooms with kitchen facilities for family reunions and other functions. Theater rooms, libraries, card rooms, sports facilities and guest suites for family and friends are amenities found in several of the beachfront condos.

Pets are allowed in about half of the beachfront condos. Most have weight or height restrictions but some like Madeira allow larger dogs and even provides an outdoor designated dog area.

To help offset the cost of condo fees, taxes, insurance and utilities many owners rent their condos for a couple of months a year. Most condos on the beach have a 30 day minimum rental period and some have 90 day minimums. Condo associations also stipulate how many times a year a condo can be rented. Only a few condos on the beach allow weekly rentals and they cost about $1,500 to $2,500 per week in season. Condos on the beach, when available, rent for $6,000 to $10,000 per month in season and summer rentals are about half the peak season rates.


The Convicts have arrived! Convict fish that is…

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:11pm

Capt. Pete Rapps

Rachel and Corey with a Sheepshead.

Winter time here in SW Florida is synonymous with the arrival of huge flocks of snow birds, but did you know that convicts arrive here in big numbers too? Yes it’s true, and these are much welcomed convicts… AKA Sheepshead fish. These fish arrive in good numbers each winter to spawn. They inhabit many of our near shore structures, oyster bars, and the deeper mangrove pockets in the back county river mouths. We call them convicts because of the black and white stripes they bare.

In addition to being called Convicts, Sheepshead are sometimes referred to as the convict fish, Seabream Sheepshead, and Southern Sheepshead. They are distributed in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, with the densest populations being here in southwest Florida. Sheepshead are also found in smaller numbers off the Caribbean coasts of Central and South America, south to Brazil.

The teeth of the sheepshead include well-defined incisors, grinders, and molars. In the front of its mouth are the incisor-like teeth. These teeth look nothing like any other fish’s, but more resemble that of a human. I had an orthodontist out on a charter, who was completely intrigued with the teeth of the Sheepshead. It was funny. He spent a good part of the day admiring the fish’s teeth.

Sheepshead are most commonly caught in our area in the 2-5 pound range and average 12”-18” in length. They must be at least 12” to keep and currently the catch limit is 15 per person per day. They are thought to live about 20 years and can grow to about 20 lbs. They reach reproductive maturity in about 2 years. During the Fall and Winter spawning season, they are thought to lay between 10,000 to 70,000 eggs every 28 days.

Tim and Brian with some nice Sheepshead on a Captain Rapps Charter.

Sheepshead are omnivorous fish, feeding primarily on small Crabs, Oysters, Clams, and Shrimp. The sheepshead uses its impressive teeth to crush shelled prey and to scrape barnacles from rocks and pilings.

Sheepshead are highly valued for human consumption due to their mild flavor and delicate white flesh. They are difficult to clean and fillet because of the sharp spines on their back and thick skin and scales. At the fillet table, I like to use a pair of thick gloves to handle the fish, and an electric fillet knife to cut through their thick skin.

When fishing for Sheepshead, I like to use live shrimp with a 2’-3’ long leader made of 20# test fluorocarbon, and a #2 hook. They will feed very lightly….. you will think a small Snapper is nibbling on your bait. The trick here is to let him eat for a few seconds before trying to set the hook. It takes patience and discipline to hook these tricksters, but once you do it a few times, you will get the hang of it.


Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year round expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and spring time Tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at



More Good News for Lady Anglers!

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:34pm

Captain Mary A. Fink

Joan Olin, LASF member

There is plenty of exciting evidence that more and more women are discovering the great sport of fishing! One example of this is the continual growth of both local and state wide ladies fishing clubs and organizations where both fishing trips and social events are enjoyed by the club members and participants. One ladies fishing club, called Lady Anglers of South Florida (LASF), is comprised of ladies who love to fish and experience the enjoyment of the club’s social events as well. Captain Lynn Keller, the current president of the club states that “Lady Anglers is a fishing club with social events”, and “Captains like to take us out as we are good listeners, follow instructions and most importantly, catch fish”! Captain Keller explained that the fishing club has a membership cap of 35, but currently has openings for interested anglers who would be interested in joining.

The process to join LASF is fairly simple. The first step is to simply contact Captain Keller, or be sponsored by a current member. There is a $50.00 initial membership fee and some other rather basic requirements. The requirements include a brief interview by the current board, attendance at 1 club meeting, participation in 1 club fishing trip and attendance at one club social event.

I have enjoyed the pleasure of taking a good number of the LASF Members out fishing, through my fishing charter company, Island Girls Charters. Our trips have been primarily in the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands as well as the Fabulous Florida Keys. The Club Members are lots of fun and genuinely supportive of each other, and many have a knack for catching fish. The experience level of the Members is broad, ranging from novice anglers to ladies who have fished most of their lives. Through LASF, many of the Members have become cherished friends, allowing the club to grow socially, as well. The fact that the club provides social activities as well as fishing experiences enhances the clubs uniqueness making it more attractive to lady enthusiasts.

Private fishing trips are encouraged within the group and there are often ladies ready to fish on a moments’ notice! Some of the clubs more recent fishing destinations include the Suwannee River, Miami Beach, The Florida Keys, Boca Grande, Crystal River, The Ten Thousand Islands as well as local offshore locations. Often, fishing charter captains will provide discounts to the Club Members making fishing trips more affordable.

If fishing, making new friends and enjoying the beauty of nature is something that sounds appealing to you, contact LASF president, Captain Lynn Keller today to see about becoming a Member. Captain Keller may be contacted via email at: or


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

The Art of Forgiveness

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:32pm

Artful Life
Tara O’Neill

I have an artist friend, Sally, who not only is a very supportive friend, but also is one of the most grounded people I know; sure of who she is and confident in her art. During a recent conversation she assured me she had not always been this way.

“Let me show you something I keep around as sort of a touchstone.” She bounced out of the room and returned with a self-portrait as a young girl in pencil. It was a life-sized head shot and was really good…if it hadn’t been torn in places and crumpled all over I would have thought it was done recently from an old photograph.

“I was 15 and this was my after-school obsession,” she explained, “not because I was the subject, but because I wanted to be good at drawing portraits and there was no hope getting anyone else to model. Inch by inch I carefully covered this paper, feeling totally confident that those were my wide-set eyes staring back at me. Oh yeah, I was goood.

“When I finally finished, I proudly showed it to my older sister and coyly asked if it reminded her of anyone. She stared a bit, squinted some, curled her lip and said,” ‘That’s not supposed to be you, is it?’

Sally was crushed. She shoved the drawing into the back of her closet, figuring maybe she’d work out what went wrong later. But she never did. She never looked at it again until 3 years later when she was cleaning out her room before heading off to college. Like any proper 18-year old she chuckled at what she perceived to be utter immaturity in her pencil-craft way back when she was 15. She remembers tossing it into the trash.

“Oddly, I found it maybe twenty years later in an old portfolio, torn, smudged, and crumpled; no idea how it survived. What a shame…it really was very good. It may not have the boldness that hallmarks my work now, but it was on the way. And that face was definitely mine looking out from across the years, obviously disappointed in my lack of spine.”

She apologized to 15 year old Sally, and really was sorry. Sorry for all the times she let someone else’s judgment skew her opinions; sorry for all the times she looked back on her younger self as, well, as incomplete. It’s okay for little kids…a five year old really is so much more accomplished than a three year old, and most seven year old kids will roll their eyes at the things s/he thought were important when five. But when you get older, that’s supposed to stop.

Sally continued, “I remember at twenty-four thinking how precocious I was at eighteen; at thirty I snickered at how pretentious I was in my twenties. Did I really have to be so hard on myself? What made me think it was a crime to be young? That day I found this drawing I stopped allowing others to define me, or my work; I was already my toughest critic.”

So now I have taken the Sally Pledge: I will leave the criticisms to others, I will be kind to myself, I will support myself, I will be my own best cheerleader, I will forgive myself for growing older, and I will forgive myself for having once been young.

And maybe I’ll take a peek in one of my really old portfolios.


Tara O’Neill, a lifelong, award-winning, artist has been an area resident since 1967. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida and is currently represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery on Marco Island. Visit her at


Golf Swing Myths

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:31pm

Golf Tips
Todd Elliott

Head down

When I am on the lesson tee with students we converse about their latest round, what their swing thoughts are at the moment, bad shots, good shots, etc. One thing that sticks out to me in these conversations is the amount of bad information that is communicated between playing companions, whether it is husband/wife, friends, opponents, or someone they just met. Many common sayings by amateur golfers need to be put to bed. The fact of the matter is people give free advice, and usually the person who listens gets what they paid for.

Many of you have gone to an instructor and not gotten better. The next natural step is to turn to your friends, family, and anyone who can help play this very difficult game. You are looking for that one thought or tip that may be helpful, but these tips can have a negative effect on your golf game for the future. This visual problem can be the reason you are not playing well, but other things in your swing are the actual causes of the visual problem. There are many other avenues golfers are getting their information from. This is easy to find information, golf equipment commercials, Golf Digest, etc. Listed below are phrases I hear regularly that I don’t agree with.

  1. Keep your head down / keep your eye on the ball / Stay down

Yes… your head did come up, but it is because you are not moving correctly. Staying down and becoming immobile will not help the matter. Learn how to move efficiently, not how to stay still. Does your head stay relatively steady through impact…yes. If the head moves upward before impact it has nothing to do with the head inadvertently jerking towards the sky. No one intentionally raises their head while swinging, it would hurt, so do not try to fix something that is not the root of the problem. If a golfer tries to keep their head down it stays stationary well past impact. This puts your spine and body in a terrible position, not to mention loss of speed, loss of accuracy, and possible cause of back injuries.

  1. You’re swinging fast today / Slow down.

Slow down what? Something has to hit the ball with speed if you want to be successful. When a golfer feels fast, or looks fast, their sequence is not in the correct order on the downswing. The body could be faster than the arms and club head. I call this dragging the handle. Also, it may be that the body does not move and the arms and hands are the only thing that swings the club through impact. The word “slow” is not a good word when playing golf. Think about making the sequence better on the downswing, not slowing down.

  1. Keep your lead arm straight on the backswing (left arm for right handed golfer)

In my experience the lead arm stays straight if the golfer has the physical capabilities of achieving an “arms extended” position. The arm folds on the backswing because of physical limitation, and trying to keep it straight is not good for the body or the golf swing.

Here are a few that I will not get into:

  1. Hit down on the ball
  2. The clubface is open at impact because you hit a slice
  3. Swing out towards the target after impact
  4. I have too much right hand in my swing
  5. A longer length driver will make you hit it further
  6. I am not good enough to play Titleist Pro V1s.
  7. I am not good enough to get fit for golf clubs.
  8. The putter head needs to swing straight back and straight through

Most of the above listed is information from bad resources, from people who do not study cause and effect in the golf swing, 30 second ads telling you lies so you will buy their product, PGA tour professionals giving swing tips, and Golf Channel announcers who have never taught golf a day in their life, but suddenly know what is wrong with Tiger Woods swing.

Also beware of golf tips. I write these golf articles to be golf education pieces; I prefer not to write “Swing Tip” articles. Swing tips are general statements, i.e. how to fix a slice. Everyone swings differently and needs corrections that fit their game. There is never one way to do things in golf instruction.

I encourage you to go see your local PGA Professional, but make sure they have a passion for teaching and learning about the golf swing. If you’re playing partner wants to offer a tip during a round you might want to ask what research he has done to substantiate the free tip, and what future impacts this could have.


Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is also a Coutour-certified putting fitter, a Titlteist-certified fitter and a Titliest staff member. Follow Todd on Twitter @elliottgolfpro or for any question or comments email


Who Made the Top 10 List for Best Tennis Cities in America?

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:27pm

Doug Browne

The volunteer coach was a 3.0 level player and had never coached before.

I’m sure there are tiny pockets of success when there is a non-tennis person at the helm but I urge all athletic directors to reach out to their communities and hire tennis pros to lead their programs.

One more item: The easiest way to motivate young impressionable tennis players is to have them view a college tennis match. In southwest Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast University men and women’s tennis teams are not only talented but they are big winners in their respective conferences. There are just too many cool things that occur during a college tennis match but one of my favorites is watching each teammate enthusiastically cheering on one another. Believe me, it is addictive!


30 Years Young

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:15pm

Straight Talk
Allen S Weiss, M.D.
President & CEO NCH Healthcare System

I’m proud to say our track record for quality healthcare has been growing for quite some time, even as we continue to improve and break new ground. I was reminded of this recently as we celebrated the “old” and rang in the “new.”

I speak of two celebratory occasions—first, Marco Island’s Urgent Care Clinic’s 30th anniversary; and second, the groundbreaking for NCH Northeast, a 40,000 sq. ft. freestanding emergency room.

Marco Island’s Urgent Care Center may be 30-years-young, but its staff is as energetic and vibrant as any in our system. It is our most extensive facility outside our two major hospital campuses and is staffed with Board Certified Emergency Room physicians and physician assistants, capable of caring for patients with minor illnesses and injuries. Radiology services, including CT scans, ultrasounds, and regular X-rays, complement the diagnostic capability and are all Joint Commission certified for quality and safety.

On the same campus is our always-busy, full-service Rehabilitation Center and physicians’ offices, ranging from NCH Physician Group’s Dr. Robert Folsom, who started practice 37 years ago, to Dr. David Linz, who started practice last year. Director of Emergency Services RN Betsy Novakovich, who is also a Marco Island resident, leads approximately 50 colleagues who cared for 7,689 patients last year. This magnificent staff is responsible for the center’s 26% growth year to date. Happy anniversary, one and all!

By contrast to this 30th anniversary, last Friday over 100 of us attended a groundbreaking ceremony for NCH Northeast at the corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard. NCH Northeast will include a 24/7/365 emergency room on the first floor, accompanied by radiology with a CT scanner and MRI. Also in place will be our teleneurology robot system, blood bank, and laboratory, making this location as fully capable as our two hospital building-based ERs. Additionally on the first floor will be a small rehabilitation facility, making this our eighth southwest Florida location.

The second floor will have well-designed physician offices for twelve new NCH Physician Group doctors starting with Drs. Monica Menichello, Brian Menichello, Bruce Gelinas and Richard Prewitt. An additional eight physicians will be joining once the building is completed.

Both of these facilities are part of a busy and growing NCH. Last month was among the busiest ever in our history in terms of number of patients admitted, seen in our ERs, and surgeries performed. We also are hiring, having added over 160 new employees to the team over the past two months. I’m reminded of when I was in private practice with two colleagues when phoning in for everything from scheduling a new appointment to obtaining lab results was the norm; there were days when the phone never stopped ringing. In the midst of “phone fatigue,” we all agreed the only thing worse than the phone ringing too much was it ringing not at all.

And the same is true at NCH today. As southwest Florida continues to grow with year-round residents and simultaneously swells with seasonal visitors, we will continue to be called on, constantly, to help everyone live longer, happier, healthier lives. That’s why we continue to add new facilities, freestanding ERs, electronic communication, and more dedicated colleagues. At NCH, as someone once said, “busy hands are happy hands.” And for all we have and can provide to others, we are profoundly grateful.


In September 2006, Dr. Allen Weiss was appointed president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, a 715-bed, two-hospital integrated health care system. NCH is one of only twenty hospitals in the country affiliated with Mayo Clinic, and has been named three times by “U. S. News and World Report” as best in the region and among the 50 best cardiovascular programs according to Truven. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his training at both the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University. He also had a solo practice in Rheumatology, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics for 23 years, and is board certified in all three specialties. He is recognized both as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. His wife, Dr. Marla Weiss, is a writer and educator, and they have two daughters who are physicians.

Gardening for Bees

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:09pm

Mike Malloy

Another bee on a flower.

Honeybees are more important than most people realize. Hundreds of crops that we have come to love and also dislike rely on the honey bee for pollination. It’s estimated that the sum of approximately fifteen billion dollars annually, is the value of the honey bees work in the United States agriculture industry. About one third of all food consumed in the United States is pollinated by bees. Inadequate pollination will reduce the size and quality of crops.

The demise of the honey bee is a complex issue. Since 2006 bee keepers have lost about one third of the honey bee colonies due to Colony Collapse Disorder. Their decline is caused by different problems, parasitic mites, viral and INSECTICIDE POISONING to name a few. This is not an article on farming or agriculture. It is about helping honey bees and other pollinators by planting gardens that will attract pollinators and help increase their numbers.

People who know me realize for years I have been butterfly gardening, which by the way is another pollinator. Most people don’t think about this role of butterflies because everyone is so busy applauding their beauty and color that the last thing they consider is the important part they play in pollination of crops and flowers. Besides, we have grown to admire and respect these lovely “flying flowers”. Well, what I am going to do is give you a list of plants I have found to attract honey bees and, as a bonus, you will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Now come on, how better does gardening get that we are also helping our insect friends!

Bee full of pollen. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Remember honey bees are out in the garden collecting pollen, they are not there to attack you. Honestly I have so many in my garden that in the morning when I have my coffee outside it’s so quiet that the honey bees sound like a hydroelectric plant with their loud hum as they scurry around the garden collecting pollen. You know what? I have never been stung in my garden in twenty years. As long as you don’t go after them they will leave you alone. So I will give you my list with what I think is most important on down. DO NOT USE PESTICIDES. INSTEAD RELEASE LADY BUGS IN THE SPRING. This in itself will boost their numbers and keep your yard more pest free because 90% of all insects in your garden are good bugs keeping the balance in your gardening. When you spray pesticides you kill everything. The first is Vitex. I have three different species. The Chaste Tree comes in white and what I call purple flowers. Leaves are shaped like marijuana (oh my) and are just covered with honey bees all the time in spring, summer and fall. The third is Vitex trifolia. This one is special because the top side of the leaves are silver green and the bottom are purple so when the wind blows it is just beautiful. Fire bush to me is probably my favorite bush. It is native and also dwarf and all species of gladbra have their own uses, not only attracting honey bees but you know what, all of these plants will attract butterflies and humming birds as well. Next is Sweet Almond (Aloysia varigata), very fragrant and blooms all year. I have four or more in my garden. Other plants are: Penta, Dombeya, Yellow Alder, Elderberry, Agastaches, Lantanas, Sweet Almond, Salvias, Almost all herb flowers and wild flowers. The list goes on.

Better yet let your yard go more natural, use no pesticides and rely on Mother Nature. Help everyone out. Keep Butterflying!!! Or maybe KEEP HONEY BEING!!!


Mike Malloy, local author and artist known as “The Butterfly Man” has been a Naples resident since 1991. A Collier County Master Gardener, he has written two books entitled “Butterfly Gardening Made Easy for Southwest Florida,” and “Tropical Color – A Guide to Colorful Plants for the Southwest Florida Garden”, and currently writes articles on various gardening topics for several local publications. Mike has planted and designed numerous butterfly gardens around Naples including many schools, the City of Naples, Rookery Bay, the Conservancy and Big Cypress. Bring your gardening questions to the Third Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or on Thursdays at the Naples Botanical Garden where he does a Plant Clinic or visit his website, He also can be heard every Saturday at 4 PM on his call-in garden radio show, “Plant Talk with Mike Malloy,” on 98.9-WGUF.

The Dipper Returns

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:06pm

By Mike P. Usher

After setting a few months ago the Big Dipper has returned to the early evening sky. The Dipper of course is not a constellation but merely an asterism and makes up a portion of the rather large constellation of Ursa Major, the bear. It is an odd fact that roughly half of the world’s cultures regard this grouping of stars as a bear; after all it does not look much like a bear. One possible explanation is that this constellation’s identification as a bear is a shared cultural tradition springing from a common root. If true, this tradition can not be less than 15,000 years old for groups of Native Americans identify the group as a bear and North America was settled not less than 15 millennia ago.

Leo the Lion is well up now in the east; it’s very easy to find, just reverse the pointer stars on the Big Dipper and go roughly the same distance you would go to find Polaris in the opposite direction. Regulus is the brightest star in Leo and is one of the few bright stars on the ecliptic. In fact it is so close as to be occasionally covered up by the Moon; when this happens the event is known as an occultation. Regulus can also be occulted by planets on very rare occasions – the next time is by Venus in 2044. Being the brightest star in a constellation devoted to the king of beasts, Regulus tended to be associated with royalty in ancient times.

Two other nearby constellations are associated with royalty although it’s best to wait until the Moon is not in the sky to view them: Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs and Coma Berenices, Bernice’s hair. As the story goes, Queen Bernice of Egypt cut off all her golden tresses and donated them to the temple of Aphrodite as a sacrifice. (This was after the Greek conquest). The next morning the hair was gone – when summoned to the throne room the fast thinking High Priest claimed Aphrodite had placed the Queen’s hair among the stars. Thus saving his head and giving us a constellation at the same time.

Canes Venatici has the peculiar distinction of having one of the very few stars named after a human being – Cor Caroli, the “heart of Charles” in Latin. It’s named for King Charles I of England who lost his head in 1649. It has appeared on English star maps since 1673. While on the subject of star names be aware that there are fraudulent companies out on the internet which promise to name a star after you for a fee – don’t believe them!

See you next time!


Mr. Usher is president of the Everglades Astronomical Society, which meets the second Tuesday each month at 7 PM in the Norris Center at Cambier Park in Naples

No Biting

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:03pm

Naomi & Karina Paape


Dear Fellow Felines: I hope you all had a terrific Valentine’s Day. I sure did. I was besieged with cards, treats, cat grass, treats, toys, treats, a fancy cat bed, treats, a designer cat tree, treats, and more treats. Mixed in with the hundreds of love letters, however, I ran across a few disturbing emails (yes, cats have email accounts; we just choose not to “reply”).

It sounds to me like some of you have been biting your staff, the very hands that feed you, and without provocation. I’m not talking love bites here. I’m talking plunging your razor-sharp fangs into human flesh, thereby unleashing mega doses of drop-to-the-floor pain, leaving your staff doubled over in surrender. How do you expect to get fed? Rule #1: NEVER BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU.

That brings us to this month’s discussion: biting behavior and who’s to blame. But first, my credentials. Based on records meticulously kept by my staff here at For the Love of Cats (the island’s famous no-kill cat shelter), since my arrival here in 2010 I have bitten nearly every single one of the shelter’s 80 volunteers. And that makes me an expert. As a matter of fact, that’s how I ended up here in the first place. I bit my way out of a happy fur-ever home. In my human’s eyes I’d morphed from being a cute kitten with harmless baby teeth, to being a nearly homicidal 10-month old cat with adult-sized teeth. Consequently, my “fur-ever” family kicked me to the curb just shy of my first birthday.

But it wasn’t my fault. I thought they liked being bitten based on their reactions. They cooed and chuckled and rough-housed with me, rolling me over on my back, tickling my belly, and letting me play paw-swat and nip-the-finger. It was just like being with mom and my litter mates. We were always tumbling over and biting each other. If one of us bit another kitten too hard, the other kitty would cry out so we knew to stop. If we didn’t stop, mom would end the game. There was a practical purpose to these games, however. Mom wanted to train us to be skillful predators and successful rodent hunters. Under her steely supervision we learned to stalk, slither, and pounce our way to our next meal. In lieu of that, a dumpster would do the job.


When I moved to my human’s fur-ever home, my biting was further encouraged when, in fact, it should have been discouraged. Remember, to tolerate a behavior is to enable its continuance. My predatory instincts needed to be re-directed to interactive play, such as wand toys, laser toys, or even battery operated mice and geckos. I kept biting and was eventually getting regular slaps on the face and nose. This really confused me. And before I could figure it out, I found myself out on the street, diving dumpsters for scraps of food. After awhile some angels from For the Love of Cats saw me and came to my rescue. I’ve been queen of the shelter ever since.

It didn’t take long, however, for the shelter staff to figure out I was a biter. Efforts were made to extinguish the predator within my tortie soul. But I was a terrible student. When even “clicker” training failed, my file was stamped, in big red letters: “UN-ADOPTABLE”. My travel papers came through: I was to be placed in a cat sanctuary way, way, way up on the Florida map (yes, I am a good map reader).

While waiting for a space on the bus, shelter co-founders Jim and Jan Rich made a life-saving discovery – I had a knack for handling kittens and other new arrivals. My bossy, take-charge attitude seemed to put the newbies at ease. Following my lead, they started trusting humans and letting the staff flood them with TLC. Jim and Jan decided I was such an asset that they cancelled my bus reservation and appointed me “Shelter Supervisor,” a position I held for four years. I’ve since gone into semi-retirement and now hold the title “Shelter Supervisor Emeritus.” Super Bowl Sunday marked my fifth anniversary here.

Why do cats bite? First and foremost, we are hunters. Biting is a large part of our predatory behavior; it’s how we get our next meal. It’s how we spend our time when we’re not napping. This is all well and good until we get adopted and the folks in our new fur-ever home rough-house with us to see cute behavior. They run their hands under a sheet or towel and act very happy seeing us pounce, and bite at our hidden “prey.” Once our adult teeth drop into place, however, the bites start to hurt and we get slapped. Where did the peals of happy laughter go? What did I do to make my person so upset? Rule #2: NEVER HIT A CAT. We are not like dogs. If our tail is seemingly wagging it’s not because we’re happy. It’s a warning to our tormentor that we will strike unless you back off.

Sparkle is orange and white.

So who’s to blame for this conundrum? The blame rests solely on the shoulders of your person. They have been reinforcing a behavior which, in fact, they should have been discouraging from day one. Rule #3: TO TOLERATE IS TO ENABLE. If you don’t change the way you play with your cat, you’ve pretty much ruined his or her life, especially if hissing and growling accompany the biting. At that point, you have a cat full of fear and anxiety who knows only one behavior: biting.

Cat bites are serious and usually become infected because there is so much bacteria in our mouths. Much like a venomous snake, our teeth are perfectly designed to inject that bacteria deep into human tissue and can even penetrate joints, bones, tendons, and tendon sheaths. The most penetrating bites can lead to loss of a joint, surgery, and on rare occasion permanent nerve damage. These wounds can go viral in 4-8 hours and almost always get infected.

My ghost writer, the volunteer to whom I dictate each month’s article, nearly lost a finger joint a few years back. She was prying open the jaws of a labrador retriever who had chased and captured her cat, an Egyptian Mau named “Hodges”. The terrorized cat, a brand new addition to her menagerie, repeatedly bit her hands, thinking that would get him out of “Fang’s” jaws-of-life like grip. Said ghostly writer waited too long to seek medical attention and required IV antibiotics, and five courses of oral antibiotics to clear the deepest infections. Hodges didn’t have a mark on him, but he was drenched in dog saliva (I know, pretty yucky right?).

In the unfortunate event that you are bitten, run to the nearest sink and wash your hands with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. Wounds that bleed freely are at lower risk of infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, cat bites are extremely dangerous. And who, you rightly ask, is the most common bite victims? Middle-aged women. Shame on us!


Namoi is a 5 1/2-year-old Tortie and a permanent resident at FLC. She is the shelter supervisor and takes her salary in food. She would love for you to learn more about For the Love of Cats at its website,

When Books Went To War

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:01pm

Maggie Gust

By Molly Guptill Manning
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014, 267 pages
Collier County Public Library: Yes
Genre: Historical Nonfiction

“Books cannot be killed by fire.…..No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

This book is a nice little treat for history buffs and booklovers. It gives a heartwarming and personal perspective on our fighting men as well as some insight into life on the home front during the war years.

After the US began gearing up for the inevitable entry into the Second World War, the Selective Service Act of 1940 interrupted the lives of tens of thousands of men. These new recruits found themselves in training camps that were dismally inadequate and ill-equipped. In many cases, the men had to build the “camps” which were just open land. Faced with many idle hours on their hands, little to no means of recreation, living in tents until they finished their barracks, they were desperate for something to occupy their minds.

The American Library Association was the first to act on the men’s need. They instigated a book donation program, asking Americans to donate books to the armed services. Newspapers across the country helped promote the program, writing editorials and printing the information about donation sites. Ten million books were collected in almost no time, although many titles had to be discarded. Titles such as “How to Knit,” were not considered very useful to young men. Their mostly hardback books supplied libraries at training camps, military hospitals, internment camps, naval ships, isolated installations such as those in the Aleutian Islands. By October 1943, the librarians’ program was decommissioned. No longer able to elicit funding, they had to close their doors.

By this time, the publishing industry had coalesced into the Council on Books in Wartime. The Navy and War Departments worked with the council and a plan for “Armed Services Edition” was born. To meet the needs of the infantry, these books would be printed in two sizes – one to fit in a uniform breast pocket, the other to fit in a uniform hip pocket. They solved the problem of paper rationing by using paper slightly heavier than newsprint, used staples instead of glue to fix the pages (glue would be eaten by insects in tropical climes), and worked out contracts with authors for new books.

To say that the effort to get books to the American GIs and sailors was successful is an understatement. At least 123 million books were made available to American armed forces during the war. Near and after the end of the war, books were translated into some other languages to replenish the 100 million destroyed by the Nazis and also to familiarize the rest of the world with American life and ideals.

It is interesting to know that the effort to get books to the servicemen, as well as to those in our internment camps out West, was actually quite a battleground itself right here on the home front. Two sons of a former US President, Robert and Charles Taft, provided obstructionism. Charles was disdainful of the librarians’ efforts to maintain their book program and threatened to end their funding. In 1944, Ohio Senator Robert Taft wanted to prevent FDR’s re-election and cut Democratic control of the government. He proposed amending the Soldier Voting Bill by restricting amusement distributions to the services, including books, provided by the government which touched on anything political. People could buy and send such books to their individual soldier or sailor but the government should not pay for them. After months of debate and failure to persuade Senator Taft, the Army finally won the day by announcing that they could no longer distribute Official Guide to the Army Air Force because it bore a photo of FDR with his title, Commander-in-Chief. Forty-eight hours later, the bill was law minus Taft’s amendment. The presses rolled with the titles most requested by GIs and sailors.

Ms. Manning uses many excerpts from letters that GIs wrote to authors, sharing how his/her book had touched them, bolstered their spirit, or relieved their despair. Most of these men had no more than an 11th grade education, but the eloquence of their writing would moisten the eyes of all but the most hardened of human hearts. Two favorite books of the WW II combatants were The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith). Ms. Manning provides several examples of Ms. Smith’s correspondence from and to the soldiers. She answered almost every letter she received. Although Ms. Manning credits the American fighting men with making The Great Gatsby into a modern classic, she spends no time explaining or even guessing as to why the men loved that book so much. Up until the war, it had been considered a dismal failure.

In her final chapter, the author covers the story of the GI Bill. Again, congress played politics with the education benefits for veterans. Originally the bill was only applicable to men age 25 and under. Women and African Americans were not included in the original draft nor were veterans over age 25. It included only one school year of benefits. Eager to declare war and get the services geared up to fight the war, the congress was now pretty miserly with these men who had interrupted their young lives to save the world. Eventually, the end result allowed education benefits for all veterans, for up to four years of school to be taken over a 9-year span. The Bill also provided counseling, unemployment benefits, job training, and other assistance to returning veterans.

Other than the letters from the soldiers, my favorite part of the book is the last sections of it – the appendices from pages 198 to 232 which list the Nazis’ banned authors as well as the lists of all the ASE titles.

The writing style of Ms. Manning is easy to read and she has managed to inject warmth into some rather dry historical facts. She does, however, repeat some things, apparently wanting to drive home a point but overstating certain facts. I did not think it took away from the pleasure of reading this little gem. The letters from the soldiers to the authors are both poignant and delightful. Books opened the world to these men. Most did not have the time or opportunity to read before their service, at least nothing other than textbooks or newspapers. They discovered that great books not only entertain and while away the boredom, they actually transform the reader. The reader then can transform his/her world. That is what the returning GIs did – they created the American middle class.

Rating: 4.0/5.0.

Of note: On this day, 02/20, in 1962, John Glenn was the first person to orbit the Earth. Friendship 7 was his vehicle. Sunday is George Washington’s birthday – a deep curtsy to both of you.


Maggie Gust has been an avid reader all her life. Her past includes working as a teacher as well as various occupations in the health care field. She shares a hometown with Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, but Florida has been her home since 1993. Genealogy, walking on the beach, reading, movies and writing, are among her pursuits outside of work. She is self employed and works from her Naples home.




Earl of Oxford’s March to Bugle Call Rag

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 5:00pm


Returning to Marco Island for its 9th consecutive year, the Naples Philharmonic Brass Quintet will perform Saturday evening, February 28th, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, as part of the Saul I. Stern Cultural Series. The performance will take place at the Synagogue, located at 991 Winterberry Drive.

The Brass Quintet consists of leading musicians from the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Founded in 1990, the group has received national and international honors, including first prize at the prestigious Summit International Brass Competition and honors at the Concurs International at Grenoble, France.

The musicians are known for their talents and include David Dash, trumpet, Michael Zion, trombone, Tracy Leonard, horn, Matthew Sonneborn, trumpet, Aaron McCalla, tuba, and introducing Brian Jordan, principal percussion, formerly of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

Following the performance there will be a Viennese table featuring homemade delicacies, traditional of Austria and Germany and a tasting by Starbucks. Sponsor of the program is Centennial Bank. Don’t miss this unique musical journey. Tickets are available by calling the Synagogue office at (239) 642-0800.





Thu, 02/19/2015 - 4:00pm

By Val Simon

The 2015 Kiwanis Car Show did not disappoint classic car enthusiasts. Over 200 waxed, buffed and shined autos were on display at the Marco Healthcare Center grounds.

It was a great day strolling under beautiful Marco Island skies and close to 3700 people took advantage of the opportunity to look under the hoods, check out interiors and peruse the glistening paint jobs. Whether your interest was in muscle cars, sports cars, antique cars, hot rods or specialty cars, there was something to see.

Students from the Marco Island Academy Key Club assisted their parent Kiwanis Club. Besides cars, Kiwanians cooked burgers and hot dogs to perfection. Plenty of desserts were available courtesy of the Italian American Club. Entertainment was by DJ Steve Reynolds. Sponsors included: NAPA, San Marco Electric, NCH, Island Automotive, Pepsi-Cola, Guzzo Electric and Mutual of Omaha Bank.

Trophies are awarded to auto owners by popular vote. Winners this year were:

1959 Chevrolet Impala Best in Show Dennis Albaugh.

1934 Panther Best in Show 1st Runner Up Bob Porter.

1952 Jaguar Best in Show 2nd Runner Up Amil Handeguand.

1957 Chevrolet Impala Best Interior Gary Broad.

1950 Mercury Best Paint Jim Salerno.

1964 Chevrolet Camaro Best Convertible 1920-1970 Sean Flynn.

Marilyn Wrucke and Donna Niemczyk assist.

1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Best Conveftible 1970-1990 Rick Lo Castro.

1949 MG Best Sports Car 1900-1950 Claire Keery.

1957 Corvette Best Corvette Jack Beckett.

1952 Allard Best Sports Car 1950-1990 David Gaunt.

1948 Buick Best 4 Door Car Joe Batte.

1966 Ford Mustang Best Mustang David Mann.

1965 VW Classic 60s Rick Yacono.

1931 Duesenberg Best Antiqud Pre 1949 Jack Dunning.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Classic 50’s Dennis Albaugh.

The annual car show is just one of several fun events Kiwanis Club holds throughout the year to raise funds for charitable giving which focuses primarily on children. The Kiwanis motto: “Serving the Children of the World.” The Kiwanis Club of Marco Island meets at 7:30 AM Thursday’s at Stonewall’s.


Center for the Arts Hosts Fine Arts & Crafts Show

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 3:48pm


Marco Island Center for the Arts announced today that it will host an arts and crafts fair on March 6 and 7, 2015 from 10:00A.M. to 4:00P.M. The event was originally scheduled to start one day later, but has been moved to accommodate parking in the surrounding area. The Center is located at 1010 Winterberry Drive.

The fair will feature numerous local artists, including Barry Howe (aerial photography), Linda Taffe (watercolors), Sheri Levine (nautical pillows), Dennis Collins (jewelry), Ray and Susan Burros (jewelry), Sue Mezzaros (wire wrapped silver wear) and Pam Patulla (clothing). Virtually every type of art will be on display and it will all be for sale. The fair will offer residents and visitors alike an alternative to the usual Marco Island activities. Some of the artists may even be creating work on site.

The Center will also be hosting the Calusa Garden Club of Marco, March 7 and 8, 2015 from 10:00A.M. to 4:00P.M. inside. The Calusa Garden Club Show is an annual event and they will present “The Beautiful B’s of Island Living”, Beaching – Birding – Boating – Building. The event will be a small standard flower show. It will have a variety of flowering plants and displays.

Visitors wishing to visit on both the Calusa Garden Club Show and Arts and Crafts Fair should plan on attending March 7, 2015, as that is the only day the events run simultaneously.

For further information about Marco Island Center for the Arts activities, classes, and upcoming exhibits, please visit


MIYC Winter Regatta Unfurls Sails and Hearts on Valentine’s Day

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 3:47pm

By Steve Gimmestad

A crew member of the T Bone greets spectators on the Naples Pier as they cross the start line.

Members of the Marco Island Yacht Club got to spend Valentine’s Day at sea with loved ones – their boats.

February 14 was the annual Marco Island Yacht Club Winter Regatta. Weather dictated a venue change for this year and the boats lined up off the Naples pier for the start of the first race at 10:30. “We had to make a call and forecasts showed up to six foot swells off Marco so we decided to move the race, “said Chuck Downton, race committee chairman. “Safety is a prime consideration as is a good course for the race. It’s a beautiful day!”

Sixteen vessels, representing a variety of boat types, cruised the pier area prior to the first race. Winds were fairly steady in the 6-8 knot range as the horn blasted for the start of the first race. “What a nice Valentine present,” said a spectator from Norway. “I was not expecting to see such beauty this morning.” (translation is not exact).

Sicotte Hamilton (seated) was the day’s Primary Race Official and discusses final prep with Chuck Downton before the first horn.

Touch 2 Play, skippered by Robert Butler, won the Spinnaker class with Southern Crescent, skippered by Daniel Kerckhoff, coming in second and T-Bone, skippered by Jason Richards, crossing the finish line third.

In the True Cruising class, MobyNick, skippered by John Amendola, took first place honors with Dragon Fly Plus and Dragon Fly, both skippered by Dr. Ulrich Rohde, coming in second and third respectively. “All three boats share the same dock at the Yacht Club,” laughed Chuck Downton. “I think those boats talked to each other before the race.” Dr. Rohde also received Best in Club.

The race committee, headed up by Chuck Downton, included Randy Talbot, Susan Watkins, Ken Cort, Mike Conley, Meredith Downton, Sandy Dumas, and Sicotte Hamilton as the Primary Race Official. Many others were involved with special thanks to Jim Marr (MIYC past Commodore), Robert Butler (Touch 2 Play skipper), and Dick Irwin (MIYC Commodore).

The winter regatta, in addition to providing some great competition, also benefits the Youth Sailing Program at the Marco Island Community Sailing Center. Over 100 young people participated in the Center’s sailing programs last year. The sailing programs at the Center are sponsored jointly by the City of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Department. This regatta raised approximately $1,000 for the Youth Program.

Full race results, along with upcoming events, can be found at


Marco Island City Council

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 3:33pm

By Pat Newman

There were plenty of waves Tuesday night at Marco Island’s City Council meeting when the resolution to approve a temporary use permit for construction staging at Rose Marina came up for discussion. Ultimately, the 50-year old family-owned marina, was approved for using lots zoned “residential” for boat storage while constructing a new storage facility in a vote of 4-3. The lots are owned by Rose Marina, but Magnolia Court area homeowners argued that deed restrictions imposed by the Mackle Brothers, Marco’s original developers, and currently MICA (Marco Island Civic Association) allows only single family residential homes on the property.

Craig Woodward, attorney for Rose Marina, argued that the city code allows residential lots to be used for parking, noting several locations on the island where this has been done. “Our primary goal is to use the lots closest to the construction site itself. This is a temporary use to get us through construction,” he explained. The plan calls for keeping as many boats on-site as possible; creating minimal noise and disturbance in the area designed to hold boats during the building phase. He added that the plan was to keep the marina as operational as possible during the $15 million renovation which could take more than two years for ultimate completion. With the boat storage facility topping the list, the need for stacking boats on racks would be completed expeditiously. Other phases could be accommodated on the marina premises without “staging.” “We want to do what is in the best interest of the entire island,” Woodward added.

Striking a nerve with a number of neighboring residents was the removal, or re-nesting of burrowing owls located on the residential lots. While an “owl expert” testified that the proper permitting had been followed by the petitioners, there may have been a slight glitch in the paperwork issued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation. However, Woodward stated that “Owls were not destroyed; owls were re-nested.” This is an acceptable practice, and according to owl specialists, the Conservation Commission has guidelines to protect the species.”

In other business, council was briefed on the status of the Smokehouse Bridge project. It looks like the end of August before two lanes are open, according to Howard Murrell of Quality Enterprises, bridge developer. He acknowledged that the bridge is “the type of project with a lot of unknowns.” He originally estimated the construction time at 10 months but the presence of gas lines, underwater concrete and weather has pushed completion out about a month.


Wet Paint Shows the Love

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 3:15pm

By Don Manley

Gail Trent Risner chats while depicting the exterior of the Goodland Post Office. PHOTOS by Don Manley

Wet Paint Live has been an annual fixture on the Marco Island art scene since 2008.

But this year’s installment of the fundraiser is one that stands out for Sandi Riedemann, executive director of the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce.

“It was beyond anybody’s expectations,” said Riedemann of the event, which blends plein (open) air painting with an evening cocktail party and live auction to benefit the chamber’s Leadership Marco Scholarship Fund.

At 15 select locations scattered around Marco and Goodland, local artists applied paint to canvas one day last week, capturing what was before their eyes, with their creations going under the auctioneer’s gavel that evening.

More than $15,000 was raised at last year’s Wet Paint Live, which benefitted five high school seniors. A total for this year’s event was not available at press time.

The auction was practically a standing room only, with attendees enjoying hors d’oeuvres and libations, and reviewing the day’s artwork before auctioneer Chris Lombardo began his humorous inducements to bid, bid, bid.

Artist Tara O’Neill, left, and Hyla Crane, executive director of the Marco Island Center for the Arts.

“It was a really good night,” said Riedemann. “Everybody had a lot of fun and there was some beautiful, beautiful art there. Every artist put love onto their canvas. They’re just so happy to do this because they know they money goes for scholarships to deserving high school seniors from Marco Island, the Isles of Capri and Fiddlers Creek.”

That reason, plus the opportunity to promote the arts, motivate Phyllis Pransky to take part in Wet Paint Live each year.

She stood outside a home on San Marco Road, depicting its exterior, with the water view she has from the art studio in her Goldcoast Court home the actual view through the home’s windows.

“I’m creating my view, my dream,” said Pransky, who teaches painting at the Marco Island Art League and at her studio.

The art created was a varied as the approaches favored by the artists, whether it be realism, Impressionism or post-Impressionism.

Gail Trent Risner’s painting of the Goodland Post Office is shown to the audience as it goes up for bid.

William Ward Moseley said he was influenced by the Impressionists, as he happily worked away outside Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland.

“I try to not copy what you see, but what you feel,” he said. “Monet and all those folks like that were the foundation of Impressionism. Also, I lose patience, so I try to work quickly. If I spend more than two hours on a painting, it’s been too long.”

Lee Horton, enjoyed the weather and chatting with curious passersby. He was painting what he described as a “Key-Westy kind of, bright orange house,” located off Pear Tree Ave, while sitting in MarGood Harbor Park.

He checked out all 15 locations established for Wet Paint Live 2015, before selecting that spot. “I just thought this would be comfortable,” said Horton, who teaches art at Marketplace Mission Learning Center on Marco, a small private school. “I’m in the sun. It’s not too cold. It’s just a perfectly beautiful day.”

Victor-Hugo Vaca painted waterside, on the dock behind the Boat House Motel, located off Edington Place.

Lee Horton considered a number of locations before this home located across from MarGood Harbor Park caught his eye.

His piece, entitled “News Press: Public Trust” depicted two colorful, cartoon-like figures cavorting alongside the Marco Cat. The work’s whimsical appearance is in contrast with what inspired Vaca – a negative experience he had last year at an art related fundraiser in Fort Myers.

“If I sit there and tell you my story without the art, it seems like I’m just whining,” he said. “But with the art and the pretty colors, now it becomes something different. Now it becomes something whimsical. The beauty of life is there’s whimsy in it, but within that whimsy, there’s truth.”