By James M. Lang, Commander,
Marco Island VFW Post #6370
A Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at Veterans Community Park on Bald Eagle Drive on Monday, the 27th of May at 11:00 am. All are invited to attend and honor veterans for their service to our country.
There will be members of the Marco Island fire and police departments, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol, the Boy Scouts and the VFW Post. Music will be provided by the Marco Island Strummers, including patriotic songs and a double-bugle taps. The Civil Air Patrol will be doing a fly over.
Memorial Day is one of the two annual events honoring veterans, and on each of these days the Marco VFW Post sets flags along Collier Boulevard and on veteran’s gravesites at the Island Cemetery. Over a thousand flags are set along Collier Blvd. and the grave sites to remind people of the importance of this day.
We ask that residents and guests to join us in our ceremonial service. We must remember our gift of freedom and be proud of our flag, the symbol of our country.
You may bring folding chairs for this one hour event if you wish.
The race is on to find a professional city manager for Marco Island.
On the heels of City Manager Jim Riviere’s retirement announcement last month, the Marco Island City Council voted 6-1 to issue an RFQ for head hunting firms interested in helping the city find his replacement. Councilman Chuck Keister was alone in his dissent.
“I don’t agree we need to hire a search firm,” Keister told City Council. “I don’t think we need to spend the money for a search firm.”
After nearly an hour of debate, though, council ordered city staff to issue the RFQ and coordinate the responses in time for a special workshop before the June 3rd City Council meeting. The goals of the RFQ process and the workshop are to define what the city council is looking for in its new city manager and to contract with a consulting firm to find that person.
“Perhaps council needs to look closer at what our expectations of a city manager should be, better define our expectations,” Councilman Larry Sacher suggested during the city council’s discussion of the issue.
Councilman Larry Magel agreed: “The question is what do you want and how much is it going to cost. Until you talk to these people who do this for a living, you don’t know what your frame is.”
The decision to use a consulting firm rose from the council’s discussion of its role in the process of choosing a new city manager. The city’s past experience with city manager searches and Florida’s Sunshine Law were central to this discussion. While the Sunshine Law allows Floridians “open access” to government proceedings and public records, it also would allow public access to resumes submitted to the city council for the city manager position.
The reason for the concern: If candidates’ resumes were part of the public record, some very qualified — and currently employed — candidates might not bother to apply for fear of losing their jobs.
Keister conceded, “When we did this process before, (the resumes) were considered public record. Unfortunately, it limits the number of applicants.”
For Sacher, Magel and the rest of the council, the use of a search firm would solve this issue, allowing the firm to whittle through the piles of initial applications and pass along only the top candidates into the public record. As an added bonus, the search firm will serve as a sounding board for council’s wish list of criterion for its new city manager, which includes water utility experience.
“I want to know what someone who does this for a living is looking for,” Councilman Larry Honig said. “I want to get their insight. What do they look for?”
Council Chairman Joe Batte agreed that a search firm is important to this process, but he does not want the importance of council direction overshadowed. “This is critical,” he noted. “I want to know what my fellow councilors are thinking and feeling. We need professionals to get involved, but I don’t want to be lectured to by the professional without knowing what everyone is thinking and feeling. We are the ones that are going to live with this person.”
Keister voiced a final word of caution on the topic: “We don’t want someone looking for a stepping stone. We want someone who wants to make Marco Island his home — someone who is looking for stability in his life and for Marco Island; someone that has the experience that fits our needs
“I don’t like the idea because an outside consultant decides these are the best people,” he added. “I feel like we are abdicating our responsibility if we hire a consultant.”
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
Keller Williams put out a call to their local agents in preparation for their annual Red Day. The challenge: help a child with autism. Red Day (which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate) is a local service day for Keller Williams agents held in communities around the world. So, the call went out, do you know of an autistic child who could use our help? There was no response. Finally, one agent, Ellen Henderson, responded, “If you don’t find anyone, my daughter has three year old autistic twins.” Plans were immediately set in motion to help not one child, but two!
Stephanie and Tim have four children: Gavin and Logan, the autistic twins; a brother Eli who is two and their newest sibling, Titus, who is just four months old. Before the twins were a year old, Stephanie suspected they may have a developmental problem. She researched it and stayed on top of it. They were tested and tested again. “Typically, a firm diagnosis is not made until a child is 24 months old,” said Ellen, the twins’ grandmother. “The twins were diagnosed here, then sent to the Dan Marino Center where a diagnosis as severely autistic was made at 18 months old. It is difficult for parents to cope with one handicapped child, but two is extremely challenging. Stephanie has had to be her own advocate, doing all the research, seeking out whatever programs and help she could find. Now they are enrolled in a program held at Lely Elementary four days per week and a speech therapy program one day per week. They have come so far since starting the program; they’ve learned to point to something they want which is a huge step forward in communication for them. Something so simple saves so much frustration.”
Keller Williams’ agents descended on the twins’ home on Century Court early in the morning on Red Day. The goal was to build a sensory garden for the twins. First, a fence was installed around the back yard. Panels were drawn and murals painted featuring some of the twin’s favorite characters. A sand box was put together complete with a table and chairs, shovels and pails. A toddler size trampoline was set up and an inflatable pool installed. Around the lanai, screens were repaired, a table and chairs was renewed with paint. A hammock for mom (or dad) and a playhouse was added.
“It is amazing what can be accomplished when many hands come together to complete a project,” quipped Donna Cottrell, a Red Day organizer. “Jim Moyer and Florida Built-Rite built special beds for the boys that offer them the comfort of being in close quarters while in their own bed. Florida Built-Rite also put up the fence donated by Affordable Fence, which would not have been possible without the help of everyone at the City of Marco Island. We really want to thank them for their assistance, too. Everyone worked hard and we couldn’t have chosen a more deserving family.”
About 2:30, Ellen received a call the boys were on their way home and had just crossed over the Jolley Bridge. Several Keller Williams agents tidied up and others added last-minute finishing touches. Everyone waited patiently and guessed what would attract the boys first. The sliding door opened, the twins came out with an unmistakable look of wonder in their eyes – it was like Christmas. They looked at the swing set, the sand box, the pool, and back around again. The pool was the clear winner….one at a time Stephanie took off their shoes and in they went in, clothes and all!
“The sensory garden made for another successful Red Day. It is so nice to be a part of something like this and to feel like our efforts accomplished something really good! We wish the family all the best in the future!” said Donna.
By Noelle H. Lowery
Last week, the Marco Island City Council unanimously approved to spend $976,143 to replace its water utility’s Marco Lakes Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) Pump Station.
Council also gave a nod to the three-pronged team to complete the project.
The decision to replace the 48-year pump station could not have come soon enough for Marco Island Utilities’ General Manager Jeff Poteet. “The pumps in this station are obsolete,” he explained to council. “The parts must be manufactured, and that causes extended down time and higher repair costs.”
Originally slated to be completed in 2011, the Marco Lakes pump station replacement was put on hold when a $400,000 grant from the South Florida Water Management District was eliminated due to budget cuts. Back then, the system itself was priced at $868,000 — before engineering costs.
This time around, SFWMD awarded the city a $300,000 grant to help with the hefty project price tag. That brings the city’s share to $676,143.
Bruce Weinstein, the utility’s senior project manager, broke the project down for council, explaining that it will be done in three sections. First is the direct purchase of the 400-horse power pumps from Carter Verplank for $391,215. Weinstein indicated the direct purchase of the equipment saves the city $23,000.
The second section of the project is construction services. This portion of the project was awarded to Okeechobee-based Enviro-Tech Systems Inc. in the amount of $518,928. This work includes a structure to house the systems, as well as the construction of concrete pads strong enough to support the 7,000-pound pumps.
Finally, the third section of the project — engineering services — was awarded to AECOM for $66,000. Although this amount gave some council members pause, they agreed to move forward with the award after receiving assurances from Weinstein and Poteet that the amount was an estimate for the services and that they would work to keep these costs down.
“A lot of this is electrical engineering,” Weinstein noted. “These are big, serious, high-powered pumps.”
By Natalie Strom
It’s a big year for Florida; so many reasons to celebrate. The year 2013 marks the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of Florida, the 85th Anniversary of the Tamiami Trail and the 90th Anniversary of Collier County – all of which are noteworthy in their own right. So, plan on parties throughout the year. Some may be similar to the night of May 8th, where a full auditorium celebrated the 90th Anniversary of Collier County thanks to the efforts of the Collier County Museums.
The evening was held at North Collier Regional Park and promised four guest lecturers from four prominent cities within the county. Lodge Mckee spoke of the development of the City of Naples, Fred Thomas spoke about Immokalee’s history and Coastal Breeze columnists Craig Woodward and Patty Huff discussed Marco Island and Everglades City, respectively.
Employees and volunteers of the Collier County Museums greeted guests, sparkling in flapper attire. Mary Margaret Gruszka, Volunteer Coordinator for the Collier County Museum ran the show, wearing a beautiful purple headpiece and long pearl necklace to complete her 1920’s look – the era in which Collier County was created (if you didn’t already do the math).
As emcee of the evening, Gruszka introduced the four lecturers with the understanding that each had eight minutes to speak, “and it would be timed with an egg clock. Seriously!” Gruszka said as she held up the clock.
Fred Thomas and Lodge Mckee gave informative lectures about their cities, from Seminole beginnings or from a group of friends carving out a piece of paradise for themselves, they enthralled the audience, both running over the eight-minute egg timer buzz. But Gruszka was quick to cut them off and move onto the next.
Patty Huff spoke about Everglades City. She spoke of her “love of the quaintness of the town” when she moved to her piece of paradise on the water there in 1994. She explained that Everglades City was the original County Seat and Courthouse; how it became a fishing village; and how it then became a tourist destination. Patty owns and operates “The Mullet Rapper” publication in Everglades City. It is accessible online at www.evergladesmulletrapper.com. Patty has also written the “Buzz from the Swamp” column for The Coastal Breeze since its inception.
Craig Woodward writes “Coastal History” for Coastal Breeze News but is better known on Marco Island as local historian and long-time local lawyer. He spoke of the “four things that make Marco special,” but jokingly warned, “I’m an attorney and I never get anything done in eight minutes.” He briefly discussed living on Marco for 45 years now – half the age of the county, as he pointed out with some comical dismay. He went on to talk about the Calusas and their ancestors; how Indian Hill is the highest point in Collier County; and how the Marco Cat dig was of such significance. He hit on the beauty of the island with it’s white, crescent-shaped beach, the Ten Thousand Islands to the east and Rookery Bay to the north. And then the egg-timer went off. Craig moved through history and location, but never had a chance to enthrall the audience on points three or four.
However, those who live on Marco Island need not be reminded of those points, to be sure.
Cake was cut, spirits were high, Ponce de Leon made an appearance in full armor and local authors were on hand to sign and sell their books. This included one Betsy Perdichizzi, well known on Marco Island for her historical portrayal of Tommie Barfield as well as her book written on the iconic woman.
People also signed up to become members of the Friends of the Collier County Museums, which supports the five museums: The Collier County Museum, The Naples Depot Museum, the Marco Island Historical Museum, the Museum of the Everglades and the Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch. To learn more about the Collier County Museums visit http://www.colliermuseums.com or call 239-252-8476.
By Noelle H. Lowery
It’s almost that time of year again, parents. Summer break! Now, now, no heavy sighs. From the city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation programs to the Greater Marco Family YMCA to local churches, parents will be happy to know that Marco Island is teeming with organized summer activities for their kids — many of them starting June 5, the day after school is out for the summer.
This is good news for everyone. According to the American Camp Association, organized camp experiences are the safest experiences for children, while also helping them develop social skills, self-respect, character and community service skills.
“These activities serve multiple purposes, especially when the activities involved allow the children to be engaged in activities that are meaningful to them,” explains Elizabeth Elliott, a professor of early childhood education at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Mindy Gordon, the city’s recreation manager, takes it a step further. “We feel the importance of these programs is to help in the overall well being of our youth,” she says. “Not every child is interested in athletics or crafts. This is why we offer our enrichment camps, especially to help teach kids new and different experiences that will hopefully help build our youth and to help explore their minds.”
In addition to promoting active lifestyles and social and emotional health, these organized summer activities are particularly good for working families, notes Elliott. “They help (parents) to know that their children are in a safe environment and are well-taken care of while they are away from home,” she says.
Cindy Love agrees. “I believe the priority for parents, with camp, is to ensure their children have a safe and fun summer,” says the chief executive officer of the Greater Marco Family Y.
Mix in the right activities and staff, and you have a winning recipe for a summer camp experience. “We have counselors and staff who are qualified and trained, well-organized and structured activities, and proper supervision, all with ensuring fun is involved,” Love adds.
Drum roll, please. Here is a menu of organized summer activities for kids on Marco Island.Greater Marco Family YMCA • Summer Day Camp
June 10-August 16 – 7AM-6PM – K to 6th grades with weekly field trips for full-day program participants (Children must be 5 years old by June 1.) – $700 for full summer (Due may 31) – $80 per week for Y members – $90 per week for community – $20 per day for Y members – $25 per day for community
Week 1 – June 10-14 – Let’s Go Camping
Week 2 – June 17-21 – The Magic of Camp
Week 3 – June 24-28 – Alice in Wonderland
Week 4 – July 1-5 – Celebration of Nations
Week 5 – July 7-12 – A Pirate’s Life
Week 6 – July 15-19 – Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Week 7 – July 22-26 – Wacky and Wonderful
Week 8 – July 28-Aug. 2 – Mad Science
Week 9 – August 5-9 – Island Explorer
Week 10 – August 12-16 – To the Extreme• Specialty Camps
Girls Volleyball Camp – June 17-21 and July 15-19
Tim Cain Baseball Camp – June 17-21 and July 15-19 and August 5-9
British Challenger Soccer Camp – June 24-28 and July 8-12 and August 5-9
Seibukan Karate Camp – June 24-28 and July 22-26 and July 29-August 2
Sport N Splash Camp – July 8-12
VBS 5-Day Bible School – July 15-19 and July 22-26
Scott Stewart Basketball Camp – July 22-26• Monthly Programs
Little Tykes Soccer – ages 4-6
Soccer Academy – ages 7-11
Youth Swim Lessons – June 17-27 and July 22- August 1 and August 19-30
Youth Gymnastics – ages 6 and up
Summer Junior Tennis – ages 4 and up
YMCA Swim Team – beginners and advancedMarco Island Parks & Recreation Programs • Camp Mackle 2013
“Welcome to the Jungle. We’ve Got Fun and Games.” – June 5-August 16 – 7:30AM-6PM – K to 5th grades – $700 for full summer – $80 per week – $20 per day• Summer Enrichment Camps
Marco Island Community Sailing Center - ages 8-13
Police/Fire Academy - June 10-14 – 9AM-2PM – $40 for island residents – $48 for non-residents
Volleyball Camp - July 1-3 and 5 – 8:30AM-12PM – $60 for island residents – $72 for non-residents
Roller Hockey Camp – ages 9-13 – June 17-21 – $85 for island residents – $102 for non-residents
Cartooning Camp – ages 8-12 – June 24-28 and July 15-19 – 8:30AM-11AM – $65 for island residents – $78 for non-residents
Jewelry-Making Camp - ages 7 and up – June 17-21 – 9AM-11AM – $80 for island residents – $96 for non-residents
Jr. Chefs Camp (Travel the World) – ages 8-14 – July 8-12 – 9AM-12PM – $90 for island residents and $108 for non-residents
Face Painting 101 – ages 7 and up – July 22 and 23 – 9AM-12PM – $40 for island residents and $48 for non-residents
Theater Camp – June 24-July 5 and August 5-16 – $165 for island residents and $198 for non-residents• Youth Programs
Freestyle Martial Arts for Kids – Tuesdays and Thursday – beginners 6:15PM-7pm – intermediates 6:45 PM-7:30PM – $65 per month with an initial registration fee of $25 for new students
Tiny Tumblers Open Gym – ages 3-5 – Wednesdays – 6-6:45PM – $8 per class
Jr. Power Tumbling Open Gym – ages 6-13 – Saturdays – 11:30AM-1:30PM – $8 per class• Teen Programs
School’s Out for Summer Beach Bash – all students finishing 6th grade and up – June 3 after school
LIT Leader-in-Training (Camp Mackle Volunteers) – applications available at Mackle Park
Teen Trip (Adventure Island, Tampa) – July 16, with pre-registration required by July 12 – 7AM-7PM – $75 for island residents – $90 for non-residents
Teen Trip (Shell Factory and Hollywood 20 Movie) – June 26, with pre-registration required by June 23 – 8AM-7PM – $30 for island residents – $36 for non-residents
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church• Summer Music Camp
June 17-21 – 9:30AM-12PM – grades 2-6 – 7th and 8th graders are invited to participate as music assistants – $65 for the week – call 394-7242, ext. 94 to register
Wesley United Methodist Church• “Animal Crackers”
Fine Arts Camp (VBS) – June 10-14, with a gallery showing and performance on Sunday, June 16 – 9AM-12PM – ages 5-12 – participation is free, but space is limited – register at the church• Theater Camp
August 12-16, with a performance on Sunday, August 18 – call the church for more details
By Chris Sparacino
City of Marco Island CFM,
In the wake of Super Storm Sandy in October 2012, and the recent April flooding events in the Midwest, the reality and need for flood insurance once again becomes an important topic. With 98 percent of Marco Island lying within the Special Flood Hazards Area (SFHA) many residents are already bound by their lenders to the mandatory purchase of federally backed flood insurance. Many new homeowners are surprised to find out that their homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding.
Even if a single family residence is located in an area outside the SFHA and is mortgage free, obtaining a flood insurance policy while not required is a wise decision. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your residence.
As the City of Marco Island’s Planner/Flood Coordinator I feel obligated to share some of the benefits of purchasing flood insurance as well as what it covers.
The cost to insure a property against flood damage is determined by risk factors such as: the year of building construction, number of floors, level of flood risk and the amount of coverage required by lender. This amount should be based on the cost to rebuild, which can be obtained from your homeowner’s insurance company.
The maximum insurance amount allowed by law is $250,000 for the structure. Coverage of contents is optional and should not be required by the lender. Contents coverage does cost extra and is limited to $100,000.
Remember: neither building nor personal property flood insurance will cover the following:
• Damage caused by moisture, mildew or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
• Currency, precious metals and valuable papers such as stock certificates
• Property and belongings outside of a building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools
• Living expenses such as temporary housing
• Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
• Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts
Here is some important information that may affect resident’s premium rates during the next few years.
The Flood Insurance reform Act of 2012, known as the Biggert-Waters Act, was passed last summer by Congress. This new law will eliminate many of the artificially low rates and premium discounts which can no longer be sustained by the federal government. These Changes will increase flood insurance premium rates for some residents and business owners on Marco Island.
Residents and business owner impacted include:
• Owners of non-primary/secondary pre firm residences (structures built before September 14, 1979) in a Special Flood Hazard Area will see 25 percent increases annually until rates reflect true risk, which began January 1, 2013.
• Owners of property which have experienced severe or repeated flooding will see 25 percent rate increases annually until rates reflect true risk beginning October 1, 2013.
• Owners of business properties in a Special Flood Hazard Area will see a 25 percent rate increase annually until rates reflect true risk beginning October 1, 2013.
The increases will be phased in over three to four years. Primary residences that have a subsidized policy will not see any rate changes and continue at the same rate they currently have unless they hit any of the four triggers listed below.
• A newly purchased NFIP policy after July 6, 2012. (The date of the Biggert-Waters Act)
• Any lapse in a subsidized policy
• A change in ownership of home
• If the property should suffer repetitive flood losses
While navigating these flood waters may seem difficult, it’s important to remember the City of Marco Island has qualified personnel available to provide flood protection information and assistance and other services including:
• Providing flood insurance rate maps and information;
• Flood insurance purchase requirements;
• Provide names of consultants and contractors knowledgeable in retrofitting techniques;
• Conducting a site visit to discuss possible flood protection measures; and
• Pre-plan reviewing and critiquing retrofitting plans prior to submitting drawings to the building department.
Should you have any questions regarding any of these issues you may contact, Chris Sparacino, CFM, Planner / Floodplain Coordinator at 239-389-3947 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to FEMA, the following items are considered part of the building’s structure:
• The insured building and its foundation
• The electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves and
built-in appliances such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
• Permanently installed paneling,
wallboard, bookcases and cabinets
• Window blinds
• Detached garages up to 10% of building property coverage (detached buildings other than garages require a separate building property policy)
• Debris removal
What is not covered by FEMA
As specified by FEMA, lots of important and expensive items are not covered by flood insurance. You will need to purchase additional personal property coverage if you are worried about the cost of replacing the following items:
Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture and electronic equipment
• Portable and window air conditioners
• Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
• Carpets not included in building coverage (see above)
• Clothes washers and dryers
• Food freezers and the food in them
• Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
By Randall Kenneth Jones
For what seems like two full years out of every four, politics dominates the media—speeches and rhetoric, profiles and promises.
Understandably, those pursuing the highest offices in the land receive the vast majority of the attention.
However, no single elected official runs our nation. Yes, “it takes a village” to preside over the countless villages, towns, cities and municipalities throughout our nation.
But there are innumerable unsung heroes at the local and regional level—veritable fixtures in our assorted home towns who, without fanfare, ultimately serve as the backbone of our government.
By her own admission, Collier County District 1 Commissioner Donna Fiala is just one of many public servants whose commitment is to people first and politics second.
Of course, Fiala also freely admits, “I don’t need this job—I want this job.”
Which raises the question: whether your bread and butter comes from the business community or the political arena, how many of us are truly “ruled” by those who “want” their job?
Fiala was first elected to her current post in 2000. Her long-term success may well be her accessibility to her constituency; however, it’s her visibility that impresses the most.
It is often said: if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. In Fiala’s case, “walking the walk” has become her claim to fame.
In brief, Donna Fiala is everywhere.
Not one to hide behind impersonal, technology-driven communication, Fiala pursues the kind of schedule that would make a lesser man or woman crumble.
From ribbon cuttings to grand openings, from five different volunteer board positions to two Kiwanis Club memberships, Fiala has arguably achieved sustainability and widespread popularity by setting a goal early in her first term and sticking to it: “You have to go where the people are.”
And she goes and goes—much like a metaphorical Energizer Bunny of public service.
According to Fiala, “It’s essential to participate in events that are important to the community—to understand how individuals interpret various issues and what is truly meaningful to the people you serve.”
Recently re-elected to a fourth term with over 80% of the vote, Fiala lives in the same home she purchased 39 years ago when she first moved to Collier County. A home which, coincidentally, sits squarely inside the district she represents.
A self-described “accidental politician,” Fiala explains, “At the time I first got involved, the community I lived in was sadly overlooked as compared to the rest of the county. It may sound naïve now, but I just wanted to make a difference.”
Considering one’s success in business is often inextricably linked to his or her ability to manage office politics, exercise diplomacy and gain the trust of colleagues and the public, Fiala and those who selflessly serve without the aforementioned fanfare ultimately become an inspiration to all of us.
Whether or not you agree with Donna Fiala’s politics, it’s difficult to argue with her process. In the political arena or the business world, it always helps to go where the people are.
Speaker, writer and “professional storyteller” Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the President of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, FL. He can be reached at Randy@mindzoo.com or 239-304-9611.
By Natalie Strom
“When you go to bed at night your skin should be as clean as a baby’s bottom when you put it to bed.”
This somewhat odd sounding sentence couldn’t sound any sweeter when spoken by Pamela Campbell of Marco Island Skin & Body Boutique. Open for just over a year, Campbell’s company offers a wide array of skin treatments, “after all, your skin is the largest organ you have, but it’s so easily neglected,” points out Campbell.
Marco Island Skin & Body Boutique offers massages, waxing, make-up, facials, micropeels, dermal rejuvenation, collagen CO-Q10 facials and more. “I believe we are the only place on the island that offers spray tans,” she adds.
But Campbell is most excited about her recent certification for microcurrent rejuvenation.
“Microcurrent has been used in physical therapy; it’s been used in wound healing. What it does is it works with the natural current in your own body and it stimulates the muscles to either lengthen the muscle or shorten the muscle. By doing that it also stimulates collagen.”
Campbell is currently certified to work on the face and neck – there are 32 muscles in your face alone – but will soon be getting certified on the rest of the body. “It’s really amazing what it can do. For example, a woman’s just had a baby and just wants to tone up that stomach area a bit. This would be perfect.”
Campbell admits it can’t do as much as regular exercise, but she does compare the microcurrent treatments to it. “It’s cumulative. Just like when you exercise, you go once and it feels good, but to see lasting results you have to go more than one time. Once you get to a point where you are happy, then it’s all about maintaining.”
After a full consultation, Campbell would recommend to the customer how many times they should come in for maximum results. “It’s usually between five to ten treatments,” she explains.
First Campbell cleanses the face and neck and then adds a gel to stimulate the current through the face. Using gloves that look like mesh armor, but feel much nicer Pamela turns on the machine, allowing the microcurrent to go through her gloves. “I put on latex gloves first so that the microcurrent doesn’t go through me. That would be pointless,” she laughs. Campbell massages the face mostly in an upward motion, often times having her customers fall asleep at how relaxing the 40-minute process feels.
Photos of before and after show dramatic differences in the lift and structure of the face after the rejuvenation.
“It’s a wonderful treatment for people who don’t want to go under the knife,” she adds. Maybe they don’t want Botox and fillers, but for those who do have Botox and fillers it’s a wonderful treatment because it’s going to prolong the life (of those treatments).”
Campbell says the treatments can be preventative for the younger generations as well.
Leaving Marco Island Skin and Body Boutique after a microcurrent automatically lifts you, literally and figuratively. Because when you feel good about how you look, you feel more confident about who you are. “That’s why our logo is ‘Bringing out the Best in You!’”
And Campbell means it. She openly admits that she absolutely loves what she does and is excited to come to work every day. Her boutique is immaculate and stylish just as is her appearance. Spend some time at Marco Island Skin and Body Boutique and you are certainly in for a treat, regardless of your choice of treatment.
Find Marco Island Skin and Body Boutique in the Royal Palm Suites on the corner of Bald Eagle Drive and Collier Boulevard, 997 N. Collier Blvd. Or for more information, call the boutique at 239-398-0244.
By Noelle H. Lowery
Aqua Beachwear has relocated.
After ten years at its Marco Walk location, Aqua Beachwear has taken over the space formerly used by Island Drug in Marco Town Center. The move has increased the shop’s size from 1,900 square feet to 3,000 square feet, allowing Aqua Beachwear to expand it offerings to more than 5,000 bathing suits, cover-ups and various beachwear accessories.
“We chose our new location to enlarge our selection, offer more accessibility to our customers and gain more visibility,” explains Don Bauer, owner of Aqua Beachwear. “We are very pleased with the move. Our sales are up substantially over what they were in our old location for the same period last year.”
Fort Myers-based Aqua Beachwear has 17 stores, including one in Scottsdale, AZ, and one in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Marco Island shop opened in 2001.
Aqua Beachwear became a retail bathing suit powerhouse after the original Sanibel store was purchased by Don and his wife, Mary, in 1994. Since then, they have made it their mission to provide top-notch customer service and an unparalleled selection of bathing suits — 42 premium brands — at each location.
“We have an unequalled breadth and depth of product,” adds Don.
Let’s face it. Most women would rather have a root canal than go bathing suit shopping. In fact, a recent survey of women in California conducted by the San Francisco-based retail chain Mervyn’s found that women would rather clean the bathroom, do the laundry, take their car to be serviced and even receive a call from a telemarketer than shop for a new bathing suit.
The Bauer’s found this out first hand shortly after buying Aqua Beachwear, when Mary stumbled upon a customer crying in the fitting room. From that point on, Mary made it Aqua Beachwear’s mission to whisk away the pain and anxiety of bathing suit shopping through a discreet and personalized shopping experience.
According to Kimberly Barber, Aqua Beachwear’s district manager and original manager of the Marco Island shop, the mantra has been a success: “In general, we are fit specialists. When a customer comes here, they know they will find something, and it will fit. We can truly fit almost anyone.”
“Bathing suits aren’t something you just buy off the shelf,” she notes.
The new Marco Island location adds to the experience with its open square space, soothing tunes and inviting racks of colorful bathing suits and cover-ups.
“It really is the ideal space,” says Barber. “We gutted it and completely transformed it.”
By Eddie Webb
The U-12 Marco Island Optimist Eagles opened the short spring season against the Lee County Hawks at Fleishman Park in Naples. After joining the newly formed “South West Florida Youth Football League” the Eagles were looking forward to the first game. What could only be described as a “David vs. Goliath” when it came to the size of the teams, the football game was about as even a match as could have been hoped for. The Marco Eagles team of only 13 players went against the Hawks who fielded a team of over 40 young players. The Marco team played with the hearts of giants and it showed with all the players having to play iron man football with little rest during the game. This spring team includes: Richard Reisinger, Jimmy Gates, Cody Webb, Jordan Love, Jackson O’Shea, Charles Hamilton, Ryan Wallace, Jay Cartwright, Zachary Hurdis, Jacob Warren, Cooper Nettles, Justin Webb, Stuart Endres, Justin Bethra and Dominick Moller.
While only a few practices were held before the first game it was clear the team was working well together with QB Reisinger completing a short pass to Cooper Nettles for a long run of 64 yards for the first score of the game. As the Eagles team continued to battle the Hawks team it was clear the game was going to be a battle to the end, after the Hawks team scored again, QB Reisinger found Zach Hurdis open for a pass that allowed Zach to score his first of what would be two touchdowns for the day. The extra point attempt was made by Cody Webb and the Eagles were tied with the Lee County team. The defense held the Hawks and soon learned that the outside was a favorite spot to try to run to and the team was able to contain almost all but a few big runs. The Hawks passing game caught the Eagles off guard only a few times today and the run up the middle was stopped several times by Jake Warren, Stuart Endres, Jay Cartwright, Jordan Love, Jimmy Gates and Justin Bethra.
As the fourth quarter started the Eagles team was tired but the big hearts they played with all day won out, as the final buzzer sounded “David” was able to compete, if may be not beat, “Goliath” with the final score being Lee County Hawks 20 – Marco Island Eagles 20.
The Eagles will look to field a U-6, U-8, U-10 and U-12 team in fall and if enough players sign up a U-15 team to play against the other teams in the new league. Players and parents interested in learning more about the new league can visit the www.swflyouthfootball.com web site for more information.
Registration is still open for the spring U6- U12 division. As part of the new SWFYFL we get to play the East Naples Pirates next and in spring we will play the Naples Gators, Lee County Hawks, Golden Gate Tigers, East Naples Pirates and the Dunbar Rattlers.
Sign up now for the remainder of the spring season to get ready for fall! Fall football will also have cheerleading based on football age groups U-6, U-8, U-10 and U-12. Sign up will start on June 1st with season starting in July.
Registration is now open for the new Optimist Club Lacrosse league until June 1st with practices starting around June 15th. Boys and girls ages 7-14 are welcome. Lely High School coach Lynn Gordon will be heading the league. The Optimist Club is pleased to add this to their line-up of sports opportunities for area youth.
Contact Eddie Webb at 394-0494 if you have any questions.
The City of Marco Island Beach Advisory Committee is conducting a monthly beach clean-up on Sunday, May 19th, 2013, 8 AM, at the South Beach boardwalk access. All public is welcome to participate!
Partnering with the Beach Advisory Committee in the beach clean-ups are Publix Supermarket and Marco Island Civic Association (MICA). Both have sponsored the monthly beach clean-ups for the past two years, providing bags, gloves and bottled water to all participants. MICA assists with a beach vehicle to cart the supplies, tired participants and the full bags of trash. MICA also disposes properly all trash and debris removed from the beach.
The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee organizes monthly beach clean-ups in coordination with the Friends of Tigertail Beach to cover the entire year. Committee members have reached out to community groups and businesses to lead a clean-up during this year. These clean-ups augment the routine beach maintenance and remove bags of windblown and abandoned trash on the beach and dunes. Plastic debris is problem, from straws, cup lids, wrappers and bottle caps. We find it all and then remove it from our beautiful beach!
The May 19th beach clean-up community sponsor is Publix. 15-20 Publix employees will be walking the beach and picking up trash. All public is welcome to attend. It’s a casual, fun way to spend a Sunday morning on the beach and at the same time improve it! Required volunteer hours can be given to students for participation.
To participate, just arrive by 8 AM on the beachside of the South Beach boardwalk access. Public parking is available in the Collier County South Beach parking lot on Swallow Avenue. Upon arrival, you will be provided bottled water, bags and gloves. Walk the beach at your own pace picking up trash, going as far and as long as you desire. Remember to wear beach attire, such as, hats, sunglasses, sun screen and comfortable beach shoes.
Can’t make it in May? See the scheduled 2013 Beach Clean Ups…
For more information or if your business or group is interested in sponsoring a future clean-up, please contact Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island, at 239-389-5003 or email@example.com.
Date Group Partner Location Sun, June 23 Beach Advisory Com Mutual of Omaha Bank South Beach Boardwalk Sat, July 13 Friends of Tigertail Quarterly Clean Up Tigertail Beach Park Sun, Aug 11 Beach Advisory Com CJ’s on the Bay and Rick’s Salon South Beach Boardwalk Sat, Sept 21 Friends of Tigertail International Coastal Clean Up Tigertail Beach Park Sat, Oct 19 Beach Advisory Com Marco Island Civic Assoc. MICA South Beach Boardwalk Sat, Nov 16 Beach Advisory Com Marco Island Women’s Club South Beach Boardwalk Sat, Dec 6 Friends of Tigertail Quarterly Clean Up Tigertail Beach Park
By Natalie Strom
The Optimist Club of Marco Island is certainly known for its successful sports programs such as soccer, football, cheerleading and basketball. Many of the Optimist programs utilize Mackle Park’s fields and recreation areas which are run by the City of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Division.
On Thursday, May 9th, OCMI President Eddie Webb and Treasurer Kris Hodgdon presented a check to Mindy Gordon and Lola Dial of Parks and Recreation to the tune of $700.
“The $700 scholarship will cover one child for Camp Mackle for the whole summer,” explained Gordon. “That includes the field trips and the special lunch days and other extras.”
Each summer, children apply to be sponsored to attend Marco Island’s popular summer camp. Scholarships like the one from the Optimist Club pay for these kids to attend. “We have a committee that sits down and goes through the applications and chooses who will receive (the scholarships),” added Gordon.
“The city’s been very supportive of us on field usage and court usage; they give us an opportunity to come out here and do fundraising at the Easter Festival and the Halloween Festival. And we needed to give back to them,” added Webb. “We thought that whis would be a great way to do it.”
By Carol Glassman
Many people dream of visiting Australia and New Zealand, but those same people are usually intimidated by the distance and the cost. These are certainly facts to consider but when you think of the rewards of being in these unique countries, you may find it worth the effort. Give yourself a lot of lead time to plan the trip, and if you ever thought about cashing in those reward points you have been so carefully stashing, now may be the time to do it and splurge. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make the most of it and decide ahead of time not to spoil it by trying to do everything in the cheapest manner. Remember,– there’s a difference between “economize” and “cheap” when it refers to simply being wise about choices or giving up comfort. With a vacation like this, you may not want to indulge until you can afford a modicum of comfort.
Although the charges to your wallet may be steeper if you travel alone, it may drain your nervous system more if you choose the wrong travel partner — give it some thought.
The size of Australia itself can be daunting, so unless you are going to stay for a very long time, don’t plan to see a tremendous amount of it in one visit.
This trip has been on my mind since the day I discovered where koala bears came from, but other destinations seemed to have priority or were always easier to access. Finally I realized it is time to do it: now or never, while I am still mobile, vertical, and taking nourishment. My itinerary may not appeal to everyone as I did try to keep it simple, but it may give some an idea of how a single senior enjoyed what might be the best trip of her life.
I allowed myself a year to plan the trip. The first thing I did, was find a cruise that featured ports in most of the places I wanted to ‘sample’, at a time of the year I thought might offer pleasant weather in the area. As I said, my way may not necessarily suit you or be intense enough, but in my opinion a cruise is a good start for seeing different areas with little wear and tear on the body. If you have a lot of energy, you can use it once you dock at the port.
The cruise I chose on the Oceania Line left from Auckland, New Zealand and stopped in Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, Timaru, cruised the Fiords of Milford then crossed the Tasman Sea to Hobart, Tasmania/Australia, Melbourne, and Sydney. The cruise offered “free airfare” but in the past I always found that involved leaving from a location of their choice that is not always convenient to me, and may have involved several stops; I opted to arrange my own flights and land transportation, arrive in Auckland a day or so before the cruise began, fly business class, and then fly out of Sydney from where the cruise ended.
A few weeks before leaving, I picked up cash for both countries at the bank. I also carry a bank card that allows me to withdraw money from any country in the world in that country’s currency, for no charges. My credit card also has no exchange rates tied to it.
I flew from Miami International Airport to Los Angeles, CA, and from there connected with a flight to Auckland via Sydney. I used credit card reward points for business class and am afraid I am forever spoiled! Once checked in at the LA airport, I was treated royally in the Business Class Lounge where one can eat and drink, relax, use one of the many iMac computers, take a shower or have a nap. Most passengers were taking advantage of everything offered. If they, like me, were facing a 20-hour+ flight that departed around 11 p.m., they might have been wiser to indulge in some relaxing activity and plan to get a few snoozes in flight.
Each business class seat on Qantas Airlines is like a little self-enclosed pod that has a pop-up TV screen, and adjusts into a full-length single bed. You are given a rolled-up mattress, blanket, and cushion as well as jammies and a designer case with eye shades, ear plugs, socks, and toiletries. Before you tuck in for the night, you are given a menu from which you can choose items for breakfast and indicate when you would like it.
Guided by my usual sleep habits on planes I had brought a lot of things to do and read, but much to my surprise, once the lights dimmed — so did I. I slept quite well in two-hour segments and was almost wide-awake when breakfast arrived. I made sure to stay well hydrated with a bottle of water at my elbow at all times.
The airport in Sydney is large, bright, and modern and by the time I walked to the domestic flight departure I had just enough time to investigate a few shops and board the final flight to Auckland, where I was met by a very efficient driver who took me to my hotel, the Sebel Suites at the port. The hotel overlooks Auckland’s beautiful marina area whose boardwalk is lined with elegant restaurants, a marine museum, hotels, and touring boats that promise whale watching and spectacular views of the city from the sea. The major docks for large ships are less than a five-minute walk. After a solid night of sleep I set out in cool, sunny weather for a brisk walk along the waterfront to the main downtown area. Once on Queen Street, I could have been in any American city lined on each side by any well-known store one would see in a suburban shopping mall. A 10 or 15-minute walk up one side and down the other confirmed what I had read, and I decided to venture into some of the alleys where I found some delightful boutiques and a charming bistro for brunch. Well refreshed for further walking, I took a different route back to the hotel, stopping in a supermarket to pick up a few items that I could store in the refrigerator in my room in case I didn’t want to indulge in a large dinner, and for breakfast the next day. I’m a confessed foodie and like to compare prices wherever I go. Although breakfast had not been astronomically high, I was a little stunned at the prices in the supermarket, and I don’t think it was because of its location, from what some of the natives told me. I dropped in at McDonald’s to try to connect to WiFi and was surrounded by a bevy of others drinking coffee and doing the same thing, and all very friendly.
By the time the ship left Auckland the next day, I had familiarized myself with its downtown area and was ready for the next step of the adventure which took me to the small town of Tauranga, NZ.
While planning the trip, I had considered signing up for some of the land tours, thinking that as a single person in a strange country I might do well to get on a bus and be taken to the highlights. Fortunately, I listened to someone who advised me to save my money for something better. In most of these small towns where English is spoken (well, a variety of it considering the wonderful accents) there are other options. A lot of the small towns can be seen very well on foot, or by a day pass on the local transportation system that would cost $10 – $15 with on-off privileges. In fact, almost every town was smart enough to send shuttle buses right to the dock, carrying passengers all day to the tourist centers in the middle of town/their commercial areas and from there one could either walk or sign up for a variety of less expensive tours, acquire maps.
Once in downtown Tauranga, I opted to wander on foot until I felt the need for lunch. It gave me a personal feeling for the town and in the beautiful weather I enjoyed chatting with natives and finally choosing a delightful place for a seafood lunch. A very sweet waitress pointed out that there was no need to tip — when I found no place on the bill to add one. The small city is immaculate and easy to access.
The next day was spent at sea, with all the shipboard options and entertainment one would expect on a luxurious cruise, from personal spa training to miniature golf and table tennis, a fully stocked library and coffee bistro, swimming pool, trivia contests, bingo, and a gambling casino, not to mention the constant availability of fabulous food. The Oceania line also offers cooking lessons in a high-tech facility where each student has his own station and utensils. The class is run by personable chefs with assistants to make sure you ‘don’t burn the toast’.
Napier, NZ was the next port of call and what a surprise that was! I had read that Napier had been almost completely destroyed in an earthquake and fire in the 30s. The city had voted to rebuild in the Art Deco style but I had not expected to see a seaside resort that felt almost like a recreation of a vintage Hollywood movie, putting Miami’s Art Deco district to shame: building after building tastefully shows the signs of Art Deco, right down to the simplest diner welcoming guests with door handles reminiscent of the times. From the moment one steps off the shuttle bus, there is a choice of vintage cars available for hire to take city tours. But this is a place where one definitely wants to walk, and see every little bit of trimming. The main pedestrian mall in the city has period sculptures that almost come alive, especially one of a flapper-looking woman with her dog.
The natives were warm and welcoming, with added attractions in the streets of a local high school’s cheerleaders strutting their stuff, along with a Highland pipe band.
After five or six hours of sightseeing on foot, I was ready to return to the ship.
Wellington, NZ was the next port of call, and for once, I had a goal: I wanted to see their famous Te Papa Museum of the Maoris.
(Carol’s trip continues in the next edition of Coastal Breeze News.) None of the places mentioned or Oceania Cruise Lines has contributed in any way financially to this trip.
PROTECTING & PRESERVING
With smile-like expressions on their faces, serious agility that translates to playfulness to human observers and a curiosity that may equal ours, dolphins are WILD animals – marine mammals that need to be treated as such to keep them that way.
“Flipper” is the iconic dolphin whose story created the myth that a wild dolphin is naturally friendly and never a menace. In fact, “Flipper” was a trained, captive dolphin (actually several dolphins) who did tricks on command for food, happily accepting the food and did not bite the hand that fed him.
In reality, a truly wild dolphin is a hunter, not a beggar or moocher of food. Dolphins, like most animals and humans, are quick to take the easy way out. When food is offered, they will take it.
A wild dolphin that has been opportunistic and consistently accepts food from humans turns into a frustrated beggar and does get very aggressive and even threatening when the hand out they expect is not provided. In Florida, dozens of dolphin bites are reported (no telling how many have not been reported) by people feeding or swimming with dolphins. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries reports that a woman who fed a pair of dolphins off the coast of Florida and then jumped into the water to swim with them was bitten severely. She said during her week-long hospital stay, “I literally ripped my leg out of its mouth!” Not exactly a scene from a “Flipper” episode.
It is very tempting to feed wild animals, especially a curious, beautiful dolphin. An encounter with a dolphin is magical. But remember, for that one brief moment of amazement as you toss a fish and it leaps to catch it, you have inched it closer to harm and its ultimate survival. Then you do it again to get that photo…
That human fed dolphin will quickly lose its natural wariness; losing fear of humans, boats and other dangerous things. Feeding it will make it vulnerable to severe injury from propellers, entanglement in fishing lines, gear and nets and even targets for abuse from people who will toss a beer, hotdog or trash at it.
Extensive studies have found, like many mammals, that dolphins survive in complicated social group structures (pods) to protect and feed the members and sustain their population. When wild dolphins are fed, there is disruption to the social group that threatens survival in the wild. Mother dolphins will compete with young ones for handouts from humans and subsequently they are never taught to hunt or forage naturally for food. Again, the younger dolphins lose the ability to fear boats and dangerous situations, causing injuries and death from propellers, boat hits and entanglements. Let’s keep dolphins wild, not kill them with kindness with a handout or for a photo opportunity.
Our island waters abound with gorgeous dolphins, seen commonly swimming in boat and jet ski wakes, cruising the river, herding mullet in the canals, leaping along the shore and beach. Enjoy them, don’t entice them! There have been a couple incidents in Marco Island waters that are very unique.
Twice dolphins have leaped and landed in a boat on the Marco River injuring the dolphin and passengers of the boat involved. At a congregation of marine mammal scientists for the southeast region of the U.S., these incidents were discussed. It was alarming to the scientists and not found to happen in other areas. General consensus of the scientific community about these incidents was that dolphins were being fed regularly so they were not afraid of boats or jet skis, swimming too close, leaping for handouts and consequently landing in the boats.
For the dolphins’ sake, your safety, and to ensure the dolphin population in our waters stay healthy, please do not feed, swim with or harass wild dolphins. Keep a distance of 50 yards; if approached by a dolphin, enjoy the moment, don’t feed, touch or swim with the animal. Please don’t bang the side of the boat or jet ski, or slap water. Keep the behavior wild. Here are a few tips that you can do to enjoy the encounter but ensure the wild dolphins are not harmed:
- Keep 50 yards from all marine mammals – dolphins and manatees
- Limit viewing to half an hour. Move on – there is so much to do and see in our waters!
- Never surround, encircle dolphins or manatees; give them an escape route
- Never follow, pursue or chase
- Do not swim or touch marine mammals
- If approached, put engine in neutral and enjoy the encounter, then move on carefully
- Do not feed marine mammals
The tips above are actually federal and state law. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibits the take of all marine mammal species in U.S. waters. The term “take” in this statement is defined as “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.” The maximum fine for violating the MMPA is $20,000 and one year in jail. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides additional protection to species of marine mammals listed as endangered or threatened and includes the same definition as “take,” but also includes the terms harm, pursue, shoot, wound, trap and collect. The maximum fine for violating the ESA is $50,000 and one year in jail.
To report harassment, injury or strandings, call the 24 hour/365 days per year hotline at 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC). For more information on marine mammals in the Marco Island waters, please contact Nancy J. Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-389-5003. “Flipper” is fun to watch, but let’s keep our dolphins wild and free!
For more information on local locations to see wildlife, or interest in volunteering, please contact Nancy Richie, Environmental Specialist, City of Marco Island, at 239-389-5003 or email@example.com.
By Natalie Strom
Sometimes scars aren’t always visible. Just because someone has been injured doesn’t mean it’s going to show. TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury is one such hidden scar – or PTSD. Some scars can be seen, like the loss of a limb or a slice down the center of one’s stomach in order to put them back together. Regardless of the type of scar, it stays with you – and you have to choose how you’re going to deal with it.
For soldiers of any war, these types of scars are all too common – be they seen or unseen. Operation Injured Soldiers (OIS) is a national organization, based out of Michigan with its goal being “to help our wounded heroes get back to doing the sports and hobbies they enjoyed before being deployed,” according to its website.
Operation Injured Soldiers also relays the fact that there are more than two million disabled veterans in the United States today – many who have been severely injured. This number does not consider those suffering from PTSD.
Chris Abrams moved to the Marco area due to his love of fishing and the beauty of the island in 2007, yet he barely leaves the house. A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Abrams served in 2005 and 2006 and was honorably discharged in 2007. Due to scars unseen, Abrams was discharged under disability. In his late 20’s, Abrams can no longer work. He has a service dog that helps him deal with many of his issues and a loving family. “I have a good life,” he states. We’re happy. I live in a beautiful house, I have my wife; I have my son and we live on a beautiful island.”
Abrams also has his uncle, a military veteran himself, who helped Abrams break out of his shell a bit and introduced him to OIS. “When you’re out there (on the battlefield), you’re constantly running on adrenaline all the time,” explains Abrams. “You have to be. You never know what’s going to happen next. And then you come home and everything’s different. You don’t know how to transition and deal with the loss of the need for that adrenaline. Regular civilians just don’t understand what it’s like.”
OIS tries to bring that adrenaline back through hunting, sporting, fishing, camping and other recreational events for any veteran injured in any way during any war. In 2008, Abrams, along with his uncle, traveled to Michigan for the “Muskie Meet,” fully sponsored by the Michigan Ontario Muskie Club and the Detroit Yacht Club, where about 30 large yachts took out OIS veterans to fish for muskie.
Abrams was allowed to bring his uncle because, “I was just coming out and I was afraid to go alone, so they said if I had a family member who was a veteran I could bring them. My uncle has helped me through some pretty dark times.”
Those dark times are slowly fading for Abrams as he’s found a way here in Florida to get the adrenaline rush he needs while helping other injured veterans at the same time.
After an exhilarating experience shark fishing with his uncle off of Marco, Abrams decided an OIS Shark Fishing Trip would fit in perfectly with the program. And OIS said yes.
The 501(c)3 is completely volunteer-based. This means Chris is a volunteer as well as all the other guides and board members. All the support comes from charitable donations and sponsors like American Airlines, which graciously sponsors flights for the trips.
Abrams was given a $10,000 budget for one year meaning he would have to search out more sponsors and volunteers to help bring the Marco Island Shark Fishing adventure to fruition. “I don’t get the rush of catching a shark anymore,” he says. “I get the rush from watching the other guys catch them.” He hopes to be able to soon host one trip every month.
Veterans come for the weekend spending one day shark fishing, one day on an Everglades tour and one day backwater fishing. On a recent trip held the weekend of April 13th, one of the veterans explained how the trips create immediate camaraderie. The trips consist of anywhere from two to nine vets who, for the most part, have never met, yet being a part of that same military background, they almost immediately become like brothers and/or sisters. This particular group was all men and they laughed and joked with each other as if they’d been pals their whole lives.
Some even joked about their injuries. One vet who lost his left leg showed off his t-shirt of a gingerbread man with its leg broken off, the t-shirt stating, “Oh, snap!” On a previous trip, Abrams told the story about how one man with a prosthetic leg wanted to take a picture of the shark he caught biting it.
Asked if they would take their time served back if they could, the unanimous response was a surprisingly loud and adamant, “NO.” These men are proud; they are heroes; and they are wounded – doing the best they can to move on with their lives after they have been so deeply scarred.
And it doesn’t stop. “We’re starting to become forgotten about,” states Abrams. This isn’t about me; people don’t need to worry about one vet. They need to worry about the hundreds coming home every day. They deserve the respect that the soldiers who first came home from these wars received.” These soldiers will also face a lot of the same injuries that those veterans already home are dealing with.
Through OIS, Abrams hopes to help give his fellow soldiers that respect and also help them recover in the process. Many local businesses have also helped Abrams. The Boat House Hotel in Olde Marco is where the veterans stay every time, with the owners graciously donating their rooms. American Airboat Tours of Goodland gives them a free ride, The Skunk Ape Research Center in Ochopee lets them experience gators, and exotic snakes and birds, often offering the vets a free t-shirt and a talk about the elusive Big Foot of the Everglades. Fishing charter captains Dan Fabian, Hector Diaz and Chris DeWitt of Big Shark Fishing often donate their time, taking the vets out on the fishing adventures.
The trips are completely free to the veterans and sponsorship is always appreciated. To learn more about the Operation Injured Soldiers program, visit www.injuredsoldiers.org. To discuss sponsorship options to help Abrams accomplish his goal of one trip per month, give him a call at 239-300-8355.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
The annual nesting season for Loggerhead Sea Turtles has begun! From May 1st through October 31st, female sea turtles come ashore, lay their eggs and by the end of October, their babies should have hatched and scurried off to sea. Female sea turtles only come out of the the water to nest, but only every two to three years. When they do nest, they can lay three to five nests in one season, averaging 100 eggs per nest.
Female Loggerheads can be quite picky when deciding where to nest. Often times, debris along beaches, artificial lighting or simply lack of a perfect location will send the female back to the water without laying a single egg. This is termed a “false crawl.” In order to help reduce false crawls, Marco Island strictly enforces Ordinance 01-35 (Sea Turtle Protection), Ordinance 99-7 (Lighting Regulations), and Ordinance 08-14 (Beach Ordinance). The city’s ordinances include:
Any lights visible to the beach after 9 PM should be turned off, shielded, or otherwise modified between the dates of May 01 through October 31.
Outside lights that can not be turned off for safety reasons can be temporarily shielded with foil, hoods or painted with black heat resistant oven paint on the beach-facing side.
Low wattage yellow lights (preferably low pressure sodium vapor lights) are less attractive to sea turtles and good replacements for white lights.
Closed blinds and curtains can shield bright interior lights that normally shine onto the beach.
Outside wall and ceiling balcony lights should be off by 9 PM.
To ensure compliance, property managers, beach vendors, and/or residents, please step out on the beach at 9 PM, view the building or vendor area to determine what lights need shading or turned off. If you can see the direct light or your shadow on the beach, the light is too bright!
The sea turtles need a beach free of any barriers that would prevent nesting. Beach furniture, toys, tents, any other equipment and all garbage should be removed from the beach EVERY night.
If you witness a turtle crawling out of the ocean or digging a nest, remain quiet and at a distance and never stop a turtle that is returning to the water. Movements and noises can easily frighten a female sea turtle and prevent nesting. Using flash photography or a mobile phone camera can scare the nesting turtle and prevent her from nesting.
No flashlights, flash photography or cell phone lights should be used on the beach and lights should never be pointed at sea turtles or to light a nest. No fires or torches on the beach.
Holes or trenches dug on the beach by beach-goers need to be filled in at the end of each day or by 9 PM. Adult sea turtles can get caught or disoriented and hatchlings get trapped in the holes or trenches, never making it to the Gulf. The holes are also safety hazards for beach goers, sea turtle monitors, and emergency response staff.
To report dead or injured sea turtles or disoriented hatchlings, please immediately call Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC) and the Marco Island Sea Turtle Monitor, Mary Nelson: Mobile # 239-289-9736.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
The City of Marco Island holds a spectacular fireworks event each Fourth of July at the beach. Thousands of residents and visitors flock to the beach that weekend to enjoy our sandy shores and beautiful water and to get prime viewing of the lovely fireworks display.
The City is tasked for paying the $40,000.00 (plus) price tag for the fireworks display. The Chamber of Commerce joined forces with the City of Marco in the fundraising effort over the past few years forming a committee to coordinate the campaign. The drive for the 2013 fireworks display has begun. Marco Island Civic Association which holds numerous festivities on Residents Beach in honor of Independence Day was among the first to donate.
Also stepping up to lend a helping hand for this campaign is Physicians Regional Healthcare Systems (PRHS). C. Scott Campbell, CEO, presented City Council with a $3000.00 donation at a recent City Council meeting matching last year’s donation. “Physicians Regional is pleased to continue its support of the fireworks display. We love the island, we love the atmosphere and with the new medical center here we are happy to be a community participant, and to do our part for the residents and the seasonal residents.” Council Chair Joe Batte accepted the check, noting, “We are very fortunate to have such good neighbors as Physicians Regional.” For information on donating to the fireworks fund, contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 239-394-7549.
By Noelle H. Lowery
When one door closes, another one opens. At least that’s the case for the Isles of Capri Fire Control and Rescue District.
On May 3rd, the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board voted 3-2 against consolidating its Collier County-operated fire district with the East Naples Fire Department, leaving the embattled district in limbo. Three days later, the Marco Island City Council committed to an intense study of bringing the Isles of Capri Fire District under its wing. City Manager Jim Riviere was tasked with penning a letter to Collier County Manager Leo Ochs, informing him of the city’s intent.
Councilman Larry Magel dictated the terms of the letter for Riviere and council: “The city of Marco Island will undertake a detailed study to understand the financial and operational ramifications of submitting a proposal. We expect we will have a decision ready for the fall.”
“We have to do an analysis first,” Magel insisted. “Until that is done, we don’t know where we are. It is a political issue. My sense is that the board of county commissioners wants to get rid of the Isles of Capri (district). Now, the question is where, and does it benefit the city of Marco Island to bring it under our auspices.”
Words that burn
The Isles of Capri fire district has been in the hot seat for close to 18 months now. The problems started in the Fall of 2011 when Collier County suddenly removed Emilio Rodriguez from his post as Isles of Capri Fire Chief. He had been with the district for 20 years.
Since then, the fate of the district has been volleyed back and forth between Collier County and the Isles of Capri Fire Advisory Board. The main question: How can the district be better managed and by whom? The option discussed has been consolidation with either East Naples or Marco Island.
Last week’s City Council action stemmed from the April 10th letter sent in response to the county commission’s request for a consolidation proposal from Marco Island. Riviere sent the letter, and Marco Island Fire Chief Mike Murphy and Deputy Fire Chief Chris Byrne wrote it. Basically, it told the county commission Marco Island was not interested in consolidating the two fire districts at this time.
Some council members took exception to the tone and wording of the letter, as well as the fact that Riviere did not seek City Council review or approval for the decision and letter.
“These matters should have been brought to this council. The response of the city is not reflected in this correspondence,” explained Councilman Larry Honig. “As city council, we received an email from the city manager that says ‘last night, I sent the attached correspondence to the county manager in essence stating that for now Marco Island was not inclined to further pursue consolidation.’ That is pretty close to a no. That is pretty close to shutting it down. It is not open-ended.”
A course of study
While Riviere conceded publicly that it was an error on his part to not have sought council approval for the decision, Chief Murphy stood behind the decision during the council meeting, citing the county’s 30-day proposal deadline as the biggest obstacle to a complete and in-depth response from the city.
“Just as we prepare a budget, there are an intense number of issues here,” Murphy explained. “Turning around a proposal in 30 days is not adequate, and cannot be done.” Still, he added, “if you believe there is any benefit in having all parties sitting down at the table to work out a solution, we would be glad to as a cooperative neighbor.”
Riviere agreed: “We do business over the bridge in the water and sewer department, so we’re experienced as to how to find the other side of the river.”
To be sure, there are questions to be answered. What will the costs of consolidating and operating the two fire districts be? How will those costs be paid? How will the Isles of Capri fire house be managed and operated? What about the mingling of personnel? How will county-controlled EMS services be effected by a consolidation?
Most important to the Marco Island City Council, though, was the level of service question. “We need to determine whether or not Marco Island feels as though we can provide to the citizens of the Isles of Capri the same level of service we provide to ourselves, and if so, what would it take to do that,” asked Councilman Honig.
Of course, the two fire districts already work closely together answering mutual calls, pointed out Chief Murphy. “There might be a benefit to the citizens of Marco Island and the citizens of the Isle of Capri if the level of service we are providing and the level of service we could be assured we would be receiving were at the standards and levels that we give to our citizens today,” he noted.
Treading lightly but firmly
Not everyone thought the study of the consolidation idea was a good one, though. “My position is that this is a county problem,” said Councilman Amadeo Petricca. “I’d like to leave it a county problem, and not let it become a Marco Island problem. I think we have enough things on this island to take care of on our own. Let’s not water it down with another problem that is not on the island.”
Councilman Honig was cautious as well, despite believing the city has a “very strong negotiating position” on the issue with Collier County. “We should have a very tough mind of what we are willing to do, and make that the underpinning of (our) response (to the county manager),” he instructed. “We should not bend to all of what are going to be requests and requirements by Isles of Capri and the board of county commissioners. If that is where we are headed, then I would object to even this evaluation.”
As for the Isles of Capri, Jim Hughes, the chairman of its fire advisory board, was grateful to the city of Marco Island for its decision to do the study. “I thought your letter (to the county manager) was right on. It was too short, too quick,” he said. “East Naples tried hard, and gave us a good outline. But, it was too open-ended, and gave us no place to go with it. We look forward to the Fall to see what you come up with and possibly from East Naples as well.”
By Natalie Strom
Every woman wants to feel good about themselves. No matter the age, ethnicity, size, shape, employment or family life; every woman wants to look and feel pretty – inside and out. Marco Island resident, Marina Zelner believes in this idea, whole-heartedly. The entrepeneuer began her Queen Grace clothing line for plus size women three years ago because, “I wanted (plus size) women to be able to wake up, put on a dress and feel comfortable and confident. Because once you feel confident, your whole personality shines through,” states Marina with a grand smile.
“The mission of PACE is very similar,” she quickly adds when discussing why, with a young and growing company and three children, she decided to become a Board Member of the PACE Center for Girls Immokalee Branch. “A friend brought me there and I immediately knew it was a good fit.” (No pun intended.)
Yet, Marina’s Queen Grace clothing line is all about a good fit. “Because I’m plus size, I always struggled with finding clothes for myself. So, I thought, I’ll give it a shot,” she says of her entrepeneuerial decision. “We started three years ago but took a long time for research and development because plus sizes is a very specific niche market. Once we realized what really works for our customers… we created wearable clothes for women who can’t find these types of fashion anywhere else.”
Marina and her team technically broke down items of clothing, reshaping them as to what their specific clientele would want. “We realize what works for these women. It’s the little things that plus size girls worry about. The length of the sleeve, for example.” Or the hem line of a dress. Queen Grace’s knee length dresses are cut with just a few extra inches added to the back, so that when sitting down, one’s “assets” stay hidden.
Marina and a team of 13 based in L.A., create every season’s clothing line from scratch, attend all the trade shows, hold fashion shows and sell Queen Grace clothing through ecommerce, shipping their styles all over the world.
“(Queen Grace) is not just about making clothes,” emphasizes Marina. We’re really truly about empowering women to embrace their bodies the way they are. Once you feel good about how you look and that sadness goes away, the head is a little higher, the heart is a little bigger and you feel good about yourself.”
This is exactly what the Collier at Immokalee PACE Program is doing for about 58 girls right now. Considered an alternative school and partially funded by the Department of Education and the Juvenile Justice Department, the program is much more than a school.
Marianne Kearns is the Executive Director. “Kind of like a loving Principal,” as Marina describes. Director for over three years now, Marianne runs the safe and loving, but structured environment which yields extremely positive post-PACE statistics. “We are a center providing academics and social services,” explains Marianne. “We are centered in Immokalee and the the girls are usually referred to us within the community because it is so small. The problems here are generational.” Poverty, lack of opportunity and education are primary examples due to the migrant working environment and remoteness of the town.
“The reason we chose to put a PACE Center in Immokalee is because poverty is the number one risk factor – 98 percent of our girls receive free or reduced lunch which means their (family’s) income is below the national poverty level.”
“We go into Publix and we buy our local grown tomatoes but we don’t realize how we are getting them,” Marina chimes in. “These families live in poverty and they have children – but they don’t see the life that we see. They aren’t exposed to all the opportunities that we are.”
At PACE, these girls get an opportunity. “The first milestone is getting a high school diploma because the older generations out there don’t get it. And it’s something we just take for granted. For these girls that’s a major hurdle.” explains Marianne. “This is often why they come to PACE, because they are behind academically due to a number of reasons. But they can only come to PACE if they have four of the seven Risk Factors. These Risk Factors are: poverty, truancy, trauma, low academic functioning, incarcerated family member, mental health issue or substance abuse.
The day-program offers a high level of counseling for the girl while educating them at the same time. Independent living skills, career preparation and service learning also add to the positive outcomes. Current statistics show 100 percent of the girls have improved their academic performance and 98 percent have had no involvement with the Juvenile Justice System after leaving PACE. Ninety-three percent were placed in appropriate education settings after leaving and 86 percent were either in school or employed three years after leaving PACE. By combining compassion, guidance, counseling and schooling, the center transforms these girls’ lives.
The statewide organization gives these girls that same touch that Marina’s clothes give to plus size women. They make them feel good about themselves, and from there anything is possible.
To learn more about PACE Center for Girls visit www.pacecenter.org. To find boutiques that sell Queen Grace Clothing, visit www.queengrace.com.
PACE is Throwing a Party!
The annual Love That Dress! Event that benefits the PACE Center for Girls in Immokalee is beginning to gather dresses. “Every one of us ladies has a bit of a diva inside us. That means we all have a dress in our closet that we will never wear again!” laughs Marina Zelner. To kick off the campaign a free party was held on April 26th at Lux Boutique in Naples. Ladies are encouraged to throw their own Love That Dress! parties and collect dresses, “from GAP to Gucci” for the event to be held on Saturday, September 7th at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. Women will have a chance to purchase lightly used dresses at great prices with all proceeds going to PACE.