KEEP MOVING TODAY FOR A HEALTHIER, WELL-BALANCED FAMILY TOMORROW! Did You Know- According to the New England Journal of Medicine today’s young people are not expected to outlive their parents! This is a startling statistic and is mostly related to Youth Obesity-Type 2 Diabetes.
Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But, for some kids summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year. For parents and caregivers looking to keep kids’ minds and bodies active, the Greater Marco Family YMCA is offering summer camp to give youth an adventurous, active and healthy summer.
YMCA camp programs provide a fun and unique experience that gives children and teens the opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime.
“YMCA summer camp supports the social-emotional, cognitive development and physical well-being of kids, kids are in a welcoming environment where they can belong, build relationships, develop character and achieve – discovering their potential. We really encourage parents to give their kids the gift of camp so that every child can benefit from the experience.”
There are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:
- ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of fun adventures and new experiences, and especially exploring the outdoors.
- HEALTHY FUN: Day and Specialty camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits.
- PERSONAL GROWTH: While being away from the routine at home, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.
- NEW FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, educational activities and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The relationships formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.
- MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share!
A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for nearly 37 years on the island. Our YMCA continues to give youth an enriching, safe experience with caring staff and volunteers who model positive values that help build their kids’ character.
See the website for more information. www.marcoislandymca.org
Have a Blessed and Healthy Summer
Lucinda “ Cindy” Love, CEO
By Bette McGilvray
As in years past, the Marco Island contingent made up of Bette McGilvray (MIAAOR President, 2014 and Florida Realtor’s Key Political Contact for Rep. Kathleen Passidomo), Dick Shanahan (MIAAOR Legislative Committee Chair 2014), and Steve Josselyn (Legislative Committee member), teamed with NABOR (Naples Area Board of Realtors) to meet with legislators in Tallahassee last week to discuss issues relevant to all of us Florida Realtors.
The four main issues MIAAOR and NABOR presented to our legislators were as follows:
• Support for SB 176 and HB 11, which look to lower the commercial lease sales tax from six percent to five percent in 2014. Since Florida is the only state in the union that currently has a sales tax of this kind, we believe it puts our state at a competitive disadvantage when trying to attract new business. The legislators we spoke to all seem to be in favor of these bills, but the amount of money at stake will be the ultimate determining factor.
• There is $291 million in Sadowski Funds available in fiscal years 2014-15 that we support being used for affordable housing. In 1992, realtors strongly supported an increase in the documentary stamp tax on deeds for all real estate transactions by 10 cents per $100 of value if all of the monies collected went to housing programs. That hasn’t been the case since 2002. We believe that using this $291 million for housing programs would create more than 27,000 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the Florida economy.
• Florida realtors also supports efforts to create a competitive and sustainable property insurance market. These well publicized efforts have successfully urged congress to pass legislation that was signed into law last week by President Obama, that provides some reform that will bring stability, certainty, and smaller rate increases to the National Flood Insurance Policy brought on by the passage of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The other two bills we support include HB 143 and SB 346 which lengthen the amount of time property insurance companies have to pay assessments to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA). These bills would allow FIGA to collect assessments in monthly installments if it has enough funds to pay claims for six months or more. This is important when trying to attract more insurance companies to Florida and create a more competitive independent insurance market in our state.
• Finally, the issue of water quality was presented to all the legislators we met. We support the completion of the Department of Health’s Onsite Sewage Nitrogen Reduction Strategies to understand how onsite wastewater systems work in different areas of the state. We urged them to support the $650,000 in funding to complete this study. Additionally, we urged them to support funding alternative storage options that would alleviate some, if not all, of the disastrous outflows that plagued our region last year.
Our meetings with Legislators were well received. We met with Senator Garrett Richter, Senator Dwight Bullard, Representative Matt Hudson, and Representative Kathleen Passidomo to present these important issues. We also sat in on meetings with Senator Lisbeth Benequisto. We were able to sit in the Senate Gallery during session while they passed numerous bills on Tuesday. On Wednesday late day we sat in the House of Representatives Gallery during presentation, amendment, and debate about a number of different bills before the house. It was interesting to watch our government at work and drove home the importance of our travels to Tallahassee each year to present important issues affecting our real estate industry in Southwest Florida.
By Noelle H. Lowery
“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering and math.” - First Lady Michelle Obama, Sept. 26, 2011
At a time when more than 80 percent of girls are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers but only 13 percent choose a STEM field for their career, Laura Poelstrap is leading the way at Marco Island Charter Middle School.
The shy, quietly confident seventh-grader has been nominated for the chance to attend Tech Trek, a highly-competitive week-long science, technology, engineering and mathematics summer camp for rising eighth-grade girls sponsored by the State of Florida American Association of University Women (AAUW). Originally from Pembroke Pines, Poelstrap is new to MICMS this year, but she quickly made an impression on her science teacher, Mary Jo O’Regan, who nominated her for the camp.
“I nominated her for the engineering component,” says O’Regan, who teaches life science, as well as some physics and chemistry at MICMS. “Laura stood out to me when they talked about girls who were interested in STEM. She does well with formulas and organization — step by step processes. Her attention is scary. She is very well-focused. Really anything you could want in a student, she is it.”
Tech Trek Tracks
Through Tech Trek, girls are immersed in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians and computer specialists. AAUW of California member Marie Wolbach founded Tech Trek in 1998 with the help of an AAUW Community Action Grant. For the last 15 years, AAUW of California has grown Tech Trek to 10 camps on eight college campuses across the state.
Tech Trek attendees spend a week on a college or university campus, and the campers attend either a math or science core class daily as well as hands-on workshops, many of which are run by women STEM professionals. Campers take part in activities like building and programming robots, extracting their own DNA, and learning how computer simulations are used to predict weather patterns. A day-long field trip provides girls with a chance to learn about a STEM profession in person and witness a STEM workplace environment.
All Tech Trek camps also include a Professional Women’s Night where women STEM professionals speak to the girls about their educational and career paths. These women serve as role models and provide key insights into the successes and challenges of working in a traditionally male-dominated field.
A study of the program found that Tech Trek significantly increased girls’ self-confidence and their interest in and excitement about the STEM fields. Additionally, surveys from Tech Trek-California alumnae demonstrate the impact of the camp experience on their own educational and professional paths. Tech Trek alumnae:
• Have completed a higher number of science and math courses (including Advanced Placement courses) in high school than the national average student has
• Attend college at a higher rate than the national average
• Credit Tech Trek with encouraging them to pursue their interest in science and math careers
As a result, AAUW piloted four new national Tech Trek sites in 2013: Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington. Due to last year’s successes, AAUW is bringing Tech Trek to three new states this summer: Alabama, New Mexico and Oregon.
Families pay only a $50 fee to send a girl to camp, ensuring that girls from a range of backgrounds are able to attend. The total per-camper cost for AAUW is $850.
Still, Poelstrap has a way to go before she knows whether or not she will get to attend Tech Trek. “This process is very much like applying to college,” admits Coral Miller, a local member of the AAUW-Florida.
It is a three-step process, which begins with a nomination by their seventh-grade math and science teachers. From there, the candidates are reviewed by a selection committee, and a letter is sent to those who meet the initial requirements.
Step two is the interviews with the nominee and her parents. Girls and parents are interviewed separately by two AAUW members. Once the interviews are completed, the interview committee meets to rank each candidate with the overall criteria being which girl would most profit from the Tech Trek experience. Each candidate scored based on a scale of 1-3 with 1 being an “excellent candidate,” 2 being a “good candidate,” and 3 being a “poor candidate.”
Finally, candidates must write an essay about why they want to attend Tech Trek and what they feel they would gain from going — much like the essays written for college applications. Essays are scored on the same 1-3 scale as the interviews. Students receive a letter when the selection process is completed.
Poelstrap has passed steps one and two and will learn later this month whether she is accepted or not. Either way, she is excited about the prospect of attending Tech Trek. “Science is interesting to learn about,” she says. “Math is simple to understand because there is a set way to do it.”
O’Regan believes Poelstrap is a strong candidate not just because of her interests in STEM fields, but also because she is a “well-rounded” student with a strong work ethic. In addition to loving school and to read, Poelstrap is an athlete, playing volleyball, soccer and running track.
“Laura excels in every subject,” says O’Regan. “She loves a challenge. The more difficult the assignment, I see her eyes get brighter. When I raise the bar, she rises to the occasion.”
Moreover, O’Regan feels attending Tech Trek would be an opportunity of a young lifetime for a girl interested in STEM fields, which have historically been male-dominated and left girls and women intimidated: “I want (girls) to know that (STEM) is not just for men. Many scientific occupations are open to women, and we need to encourage girls. They need to be nurtured, and it is easier to learn when they are younger.”
To Your Health
CEO, Physicians Regional-Collier Blvd
The answer: it’s one thing for the media to report on the problem—it’s quite another to educate the public on possible solutions.
If your weight—or the weight of a loved one—is preventing the healthy, active life you’ve imagined, Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard can help.
In December 2013, Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard received a Center of Excellence designation awarded by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In fact, Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard is the only Bariatric Center of Excellence in Southwest Florida.
To achieve this designation, Physicians Regional submitted to a rigorous review of our surgical weight loss program—including the staff that cares for surgical weight loss patients as well as our facility provisions.
Why is this important? Medical Director for the Bariatric Center of Excellence Dr. Thomas Bass explains: “Accreditation clearly demonstrates value in clinical outcomes. Studies show a two- to three-fold reduction in mortality rates compared to non-accredited facilities.”
The benefits of weight-loss surgery, called bariatric surgery, also go beyond what the eye can see.
Physicians Regional’s comprehensive program addresses the physical and emotional aspects of weight loss by offering education and support from pre-surgery through recovery.
In support of this multi-disciplinary approach, our team includes registered dietitians, behavioral psychologists, physical therapists, nurses and many other qualified healthcare personnel.
Bariatric Surgery by the numbers:
1. Bariatric surgery is medical treatment for medical problems—not for cosmetic reasons. Research has documented its effectiveness in improving and resolving obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and others. By helping you lose weight, it may also lower your risk for other serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood, pressure, stroke, arthritis, and certain malignancies.
2. Weight-loss surgery is typically recommended for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater.
3. The safety of bariatric surgery has greatly improved over the past 10 years and carries a similar risk to gall bladder removal or childbirth.
4. Today, bariatric surgeries are typically laparoscopic and require only small incisions.
Nonetheless, it’s important that you ask yourself: Am I ready to make a change?
Every weight-loss procedure requires you to commit to a lifetime of healthy eating and regular exercise.
According to Bariatric Nurse Practitioner and Bariatric Surgery patient Amy Phipps, “Bariatric surgery is a wonderful tool, but requires lifelong lifestyle changes to maintain the weight lost.”
Phipps, who works in the office of Dr. Moses Shieh of the Surgical Healing Arts Center, continues, “Lifelong follow-up is critical to long-term success, so choosing a program where you feel comfortable and accepted is important.”
You may also be surprised to learn that most insurances cover bariatric surgery including Medicare and Medicaid.
Patients with private insurance should call their insurance company to see if their policy has bariatric coverage as employers choose whether or not to include bariatric coverage in their contracts.
“Our commitment to continuing education and investment in state-of-the-art medical equipment means that outcomes will continuously improve beyond the highest standards,” says Dr. Bass. “Patients can expect to receive compassionate care, centered on safety and sensitivity to each person’s individual needs.”
In the simplest terms, surgery to lose weight may be safer than carrying around those extra pounds. Please consult your physician or call Gail Ekblad at 239-354-6143 for more information.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
While East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District Chief Kingman Schuldt prepared to head to Tallahassee to testify about his district’s proposed mergers with Golden Gate and Isles of Capri fire districts, the Board of Collier County Commissioners voted expand ENFD’s boundaries to include Ochopee.
During its March 25 regular meeting, the BCC unanimously approved the creation of a merger plan between the county-managed Ochopee Fire Control and Rescue District and ENFD. This merger could be easier than the others, though, as it may be possible to complete with a simple Interlocal Agreement.
Currently, the individual bills required to annex both Golden Gate and Isles of Capri fire districts have been drafted at the state level. Once they are heard and passed by the various committees, they will go before the House and Senate for a vote, and if passed, on to the Governor’s desk for signature.
The legislation specifically states the mergers will not become effective until there is a vote of the electors of the respective districts. The vote is necessary to authorize ENFD to levy the ad valorem taxes required to fund the fire services. According to Len Price, a county administrator with the Administrative Services Division, the Isles of Capri vote is expected to take place in August with the primary election. Golden Gate’s vote is slated for the November general election ballot.
At the same time, the BCC approved Memorandums of Understanding for fire plans review with ENFD and Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District (GGFD). Currently, the ENFD is the administrator for the Fire Code Officials Office handling fire plans reviews for all dependent and independent fire districts.
“We agree with other districts that with the County already handling building reviews it makes sense for them to handle fire plans reviews as well,” said ENFD Commissioner Jeff Page.
The remaining, collective members of the Fire Code Officials Office services must decide the future of their fire plans reviews as a result. Collier County’s Growth Management Division will create a fire plans review section and as part of the mutual agreement will offer positions to some of the Fire Code Officials Office staff.
North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District already made its decision. In January 2014, NNFD entered into an agreement with county to re-assuming control of its own fire plans reviews later in 2014. NNFD officials have agreed to embed their reviewers in county offices to create a cooperative work environment.
For the East Naples and Golden Gate fire districts, fire plans reviewers will work directly under Collier County although the East Naples Fire Marshal will still be required by law to approve all fire plans reviews.
“We see the future where the fire districts must work more cooperatively with the County and we believe having the County manage the fire plans reviews with us just makes sense for businesses and our organization,” East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District Commissioner Jeff Page.
Both fire districts boards must still approve the agreements. ENFD is set to approve its MOU at its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 5:30 PM at the Fire Code Officials Office located at 2700 N. Horseshoe Drive. The GGFD will consider its MOU on Wednesday, April 9, at 5:30 PM at 14575 Collier Boulevard.
Another veteran has passed on to a better place. He was our own Walter Tucker — whom I considered one of my very special friends. Sadly, I didn’t know of his funeral until after it had taken place, as I was in Tallahassee when the obit was in the paper, or at least I assume it was in the paper. Walter was one of the few survivors left from Pearl Harbor. Even in his 90s, he never forgot a thing. He was always willing to offer a helping hand to his friends, and was as feisty as ever. I really loved the guy! He had 15 children that he cherished and adored. I felt fortunate to have met a few of them. His wonderful wife passed-on a couple years ago, which left a big emptiness in his heart. Walter had many stories, and he would entertain you with them at the first asking. What a great guy! Rest in peace, my friend.
• A short time ago while driving to Goodland, I noticed that the “osprey discs” were removed from the electric poles they sat on for such a long time. I used to love watching Mr. and Mrs. Osprey prepare their nest, and then greet their new family, feeding them constantly as they grew. It was fun watching the new little ones peer over the edge to see what the outside world was all about. I checked with Brad Cornell from Collier County Audubon, who then checked with Nancy Richie, Marco Island’s environmental specialist, and she confirmed that LCEC had removed the discs for pole equipment and maintenance. No news yet on their status or if they will be reinstalled.
• There is a lot of talk right now about the expansion of the intersection at 951/41 and new things that are coming our way. I hope you’ve noticed that east of the intersection U.S. 41 East is being expanded to six lanes to Joseph Lane and then to four lanes to Greenway Road, where it will drop back to two lanes. Lots of activity in that corridor, but so far the construction hasn’t held anything up to a great extent. The construction plans include bike lanes and sidewalks on all quadrants of U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. A 10-foot wide pathway for bikers and walkers is being planned on the east side of Collier Boulevard that connects to U.S. 41 E.
The intersection improvement will NOT contain an overpass at this point, in case you were wondering. It is designed and will be built to accommodate an overpass in the future. Thanks to careful planning, the taxpayers are saving a great deal of money that would have been spent tearing up this road when the overpass is installed. Thanks to all that made that happen! You know who you are. There will also be a resurfacing project on Collier Boulevard south of Fiddler’s Creek Parkway to south of U.S. 41 East. (I really wish the FDOT would go all the way up to Mainsail Drive and eliminate the “washboard” effect we now experience each time we drive it.)
• While talking about that intersection, I understand that Kite Realty is moving forward with plans to have Panera Bread build on their last out-parcel in the Shoppes of Eagle Creek, in front of the Fresh Market along the sidewalk area. I am sure there are many people who will be happy to read that news! In the same shopping center, where Maria’s Restaurant was located near Hoot’s, a new restaurant will be taking its place. It is called Burger Fi! I had never heard of them before, but some of my friends from the east coast are saying they are located in many areas there and are very popular. I love a good hamburger, so I’m looking forward to welcoming them. Their sign is already up, but the last time I checked, there was no activity. They are probably waiting until the end of season to build so they’ll be ready for the fall seasonal rush.
By Carol Glassman
Many people like to accumulate things, and at a certain age, find they have amassed what looks more like a jumble than an organized collection. For some, it represents the inability to throw things away, fearing these items may be of use one day; while for others, it’s the inability to say “no” when someone drops off yet another homeless cat on the doorstep.
At any rate, hoarding exists and seems to be more prevalent, or perhaps just more noticeable, than it used to be. The media — television in particular — finds it interesting enough to run complete shows about it, boldly doing the laundry of these poor folks and hanging it out to dry in the public eye. Human nature has always shown a perverse interest in other people’s business from eavesdropping to opening others’ mail, but taking a camera into a house crammed with everything from newspapers to clothing and microscopically examining the personalities responsible for housing wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling trash, seems a little over the top.
It doesn’t stop there. Since these poor creatures’ lives are so out of control — in many cases they have not seen their kitchens or bathrooms in years and as a result — those rooms may be inhabited by mold and roaches by the time they are uncovered. We can only imagine in our wildest dreams how they are managing to attend to the necessities of life.
Those who house unhealthy numbers of animals seem to be attracting a lot of local attention lately, as concerned neighbors report them to the appropriate agencies. It’s as dangerous for the animals as it is for the safety of the humans that try to give them shelter.
It’s not surprising that the hoarders are visited by psychologists specializing in the topic; it’s only surprising that the professionals can manage to keep looks of pure disgust off their faces or manage not to gag as not only evidence of but also live bugs and rodents often scurry around and the occasional ‘lost’ pet is found mummified on the premises.
So what do you collect, and where do you draw the line between collecting and hoarding? As you walk from room to room (if you are still able to move freely) admiring your objects, have you considered their value or just how much of your living space they fill? Does the collection get in your way or prevent you from doing something else? Do you enjoy each piece individually, or just glory in having a large collection of dusty items that you rarely examine? Does the collection have real value, or has it been only an interesting hobby to you? What will become of it when you are no longer around? Will your heirs want it, continue collecting, or search for the quickest way to get rid of it? How many pair of shoes, handbags, ties or dinner jackets do you have in your closet? How many do you use regularly?
Many people leave huge stamp collections, and find none of their relatives or friends are interested in having them. As for knickknacks, you might as well donate them to charity today than hope your heirs will adopt them. Most people don’t want the responsibility or work required to maintain silverware, nor do they appreciate fine china and crystal. Beautiful household items seem to be what newlyweds collect and feel they must have, but never use. They are like the large family rooms they insist on having in a first house to “entertain,” but never use for that purpose.
Many of the hoarders made public by television got their start with one or two stuffed animals or perhaps some pieces of plumbing or machinery they thought might be vital one day or some books they simply couldn’t give away. Many subsequently bankrupted themselves as they continued to invest in their passions, which essentially consisted of useless objects. Perhaps they were more comforted by being surrounded by things they loved than in things they needed, as they slowly became buried.
What you collect is unimportant — take the time to consider why and how you do it. Many of us are guilty of being pack rats with more possessions than we need and closets that embarrass us. But we are far from being hoarders whose clutter has taken over our living space. So just let the dust bunnies out of their cages, and as I do, make them swear a confidentiality agreement about when they were last confronted.
By Noelle H. Lowery
Ask Kevin Barry what “tolerance” means, and he will give you a couple of definitions. The Tommie Barfield Elementary School fifth-grader first will tell you that tolerance, “is the willingness to accept others who are different.” Second, he will say, “it is the capacity to endure harsh environments or difficult situations.”
Ask Barry for an all-encompassing example of these definitions of tolerance, and his answer will be Abraham Lincoln. “He showed tolerance,” explains Barry. “He defended the slaves, and he fought for freedom for everyone to be treated the same. He showed tolerance all of the time — through his whole life… What did he get for this? He was assassinated.”
Barry made this case in his winning composition for the 18th Annual “Laws of Life” Essay and Speech Contest. Barry is the first student from TBE ever to place first in contest, and Ellie Poling was also a finalist this year. The contest is sponsored by the city of Naples, Collier County government, the Naples Young President’s Organization (YPO 49ers) and Collier County Public Schools.
According to TBE Principal Dr. Jory Westberry, the “Laws of Life” contest helps young people focus on and develop positive character traits that lead to successful citizenship and a successful life. There were more than 4,100 students from across Collier County who submitted essays from grades four to 12. Forty-one essays were orally performed in front of 12 judges at the MLK Center in January, and the first-place winner from each category presented their speech at a banquet in February at the Naples Hilton. Awards ranging from $100 to $2,000 — including the Bonnie MacKenzie Loveday Laws of Life Memorial Scholarship — were presented to the winners.
TBE Reading Specialist Debbie Cooper spearheaded the “Laws of Life” effort at the school. It was an optional assignment for interested fourth and fifth graders. “The topic was decided by the district, and the students could write about famous people, someone they know or themselves,” Cooper says.
Each student went through a series of group edits and revisions lead by Cooper. Through a succession of question and answer sessions, students developed their thoughts and wrote their essays. Cooper notes that she was not surprised Barry won after watching him go through the creative process.
“It was very fun to watch Kevin go through each step,” she adds. “He is a student to where he will listen to what you are saying, and he took it home and reworked some of his thoughts. Now, he is reaping the benefits of that.”
Barry, on the other hand, says he was very surprised when his name was announced at the banquet. The contest format allows four finalists in each age category to attend the banquet, but no one knows who the first-place winner is until it is announced at the banquet. Once announced, each winner recited their speech to the banquet audience.
“I was very surprised and excited,” Barry remembers. “I was especially glad my grandma and grandpa were there. My grandpa has been in the Mayo clinic all winter fighting cancer, and I was very glad he was here to hear my speech.”
Kevin — who wants to be a particle physicist or the President of the United States when he grows up — won a $250 gift card. He still is considering what to do with his winnings.
His mother, Kim Barry, is very proud of him: “I kept asking if he was nervous, and he never was. He truly loves speaking in public. He thinks its fun, and it will definitely be a useful tool for him in the future.”
The Collier County Public Library Adult Programs have collaborated with Marco Island Writers to offer a Writing Contest for the general public. Submit a poem, short story or essay to MarcoIslandWritersInc@gmail.com by April 12 stating what made you come to Marco, what keeps you here or coming back or simply why you love Marco Island. A team of published writers from Marco Island Writers will select six final entries to be read by each author at the event on Tuesday April 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Marco Island Library. Entries can be serious or humorous – share your love of Marco Island. Members of Marco Island Writers or published authors are ineligible.
*If attending, call the library to RSVP at 239/394-3272.
BEYOND THE COAST
There is a common expression in Turkish which roughly translates to “you don’t need a guide to tell you how to get there if you can see the destination.” This expression — which I heard many times as a young man growing up in Turkey — applies well to the situation in Ukraine today. Russia is preparing to invade and annex Ukraine as well as the neighboring country of Moldova. As I have done before, I would like to stress that I am writing this article on Sunday, March 30. The situation is fluid and many things may happen between now and next Friday when the Coastal Breeze is distributed, but as of today, one does not need a guide to tell one that Russia has every intention to invade and annex Ukraine and Moldova.
As it stands today, there are nearly 50,000 Russian troops amassed on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia. According to intelligence reports, these troops are concealing themselves and establishing supply routes. From a military perspective, this is a classic example of pre-invasion activities. In Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria where Russia already had 1,500 members of their 179th Motor Rifle Regiment, an additional 800 commandos have been brought in to supplement the force. I am sure this is not for conducting a joint military exercise either.
The estimates from international sources are that there are approximately a total of 100,000 Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine. President of Russia Vladimir Putin claims that this is not an invasion force. However, everything points to an invasion of Ukraine which may prove not to be as easy as invading Crimea. There are many factions and groups in Ukraine which may resist an invasion by Russian troops. A referendum similar to the one held in Crimea will not give Putin the results he desires. However, on the other hand, there is no Western resistance, willingness or combined forces in or around Ukraine to stop the Russians from moving forward.
Why is Russia on the move? There are many factors involved; however, for the sake of not giving a complicated or convoluted response, we may stick to the basics. As many of us have painfully come to realize, the foreign policy of the only world power today — the United States of America — is very weak, confusing and possibly non-existent. President Putin knows that other than finger pointing, scholarly advice and some rather weak economic sanctions imposed or to be imposed on Russia by the West, there really are not many clear options. Since the military option was taken off the table at the beginning of the conflict and since no one would like to risk or stomach a world war, we are in a helpless and frustrating position of our own making. Most of our European allies are heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas for their energy needs. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO were shelved after the 2010 election of Viktor Yanukovych. The now-ousted president also backed away from a trade agreement with the EU, which ignited the protests in Ukraine and brought the Russians into Crimea.
Jeff Sahadeo, an associate professor at Carleton University who studies relations in Eastern Europe and Asia, said losing influence in the former Soviet State would be a “real embarrassment” for Putin. “Putin’s end game is to make sure that Ukraine doesn’t become a part of NATO and that’s really the red line that he’s thought about and that’s why he sent these troops,” Sahadeo told CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday.
One should never forget the fact that President Putin was a KGB agent in the old Soviet Union. As such, he understands military moves, the importance of intelligence services and the vital importance of energy strategies, as well as the clear consequences of a growing economy. He was personally devastated when the Soviet Union was disbanded and the old empire was reduced to Russian Federation. There is nothing he would not do to bring Russia back to her former glory as the “other” world power.
What may happen in the days or weeks will depend on the resolve the United States and her allies will show in Europe. Putin’s Ukraine adventure started when the Ukrainians wanted to join the European Union rather than joining Russia’s alternative Eurasian Union. Ukraine’s next door neighbor Moldova also wanted to be identified with the European Union. Putin did not like this one bit, and even imposed a ban on imports of Moldovan wine into Russia last year, only to see the Moldovan government sign an association deal with the European Union. The payback may be coming in the weeks to come, and it may be hellish!
Transnistria is a breakaway part of Moldova which has a majority Russian speaking population. In 2006, they voted to join Russia but were not invited. After the Russians annexed Crimea, they again asked the Russians if they could join. So far, Russia has not replied to this request, and the time may be just right for this to happen now. Another part of Moldova which consists of Russian speaking Turkic people called Gagauz also voted to join Russia if the Moldovan government signed an agreement to join the European Union. This agreement was signed, and it may now be a matter of time for the Russian tanks to appear.
All of the above signs indicate we do not need a guide to tell us what Russians will do next. We can clearly see that Putin will get the rest of Ukraine (at minimal cost), Moldova and Transnistria. Russians presently hold all the cards. We only have to be frustrated and wait and see.
About The Author Tarik Ayasun is President of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board of Directors and has given many years of service of community service to various organizations.
March 7 was a big day for Rookery Bay Reserve Fisheries Biologist Pat O’Donnell and his volunteers. The team captured three endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) in Fakahatchee Bay while out on its monthly shark monitoring and tagging program. The biggest — a female measuring nearly 15 feet — is the largest sawfish captured by Rookery Bay since May 2000.
It is no secret that many species of shark come into shallow, protected estuarine bays of the Ten Thousand Islands to give birth to their young. These back bays provide young sharks with plenty of food and protection from potential predators, such as larger sharks. Rookery Bay began its monthly shark monitoring and tagging program 14 years ago in order to gain an understanding of shark nurseries and relative distributions before, during and after the restoration of the Ten Thousand Islands watershed.
One very important piece of information gleaned from this project is that Southwest Florida estuaries are important nursery habitats for the endangered smalltooth sawfish. In fact, Southwest Florida estuaries have the greatest concentration of smalltooth sawfish in the world. These fishes are closely related to sharks and rays with skeletons composed of cartilage. Their distinctive rostrum (nose) has about 30 teeth on both sides and is used for defense and hunting prey. While monitoring the local shark population over the past 14 years, Rookery Bay fisheries research has captured 36 different sawfish, and 10 of of those fish were recaptured at least once.
In 2002 and 2003, 11 juvenile sawfish were captured, measured, tagged and released. Four of those individuals were recaptures. The growth data obtained from these recaptures contributed to a scientific journal paper that suggested these fish exhibit substantially faster growth rates than previous literature has reported. Within the last two years (Feb 2012 – Mar 2014), 17 juvenile and one sub-adult female sawfish were captured, tagged and released. All of these tagged sawfish, except the one large female, were eight feet or less and assumed to be one to two years old.
Researchers noticed that the big catch in March had 3mm thick monofilament fishing line wrapped around her head causing deformation near the right eye and right spiracle (organ used in water exchange). Once secured to the side of the boat, she was measured and tagged, and a fin clip sample was taken for genetic analysis prior to her safe release. The other two sawfish caught that night both measured around eight feet. One of those had been tagged previously by the National Marine Fisheries Service near Pavillion Key in Everglades National Park 17 months prior.
Sawfish can be extremely dangerous. Anyone who encounters one must be extremely careful of the toothed rostrum (nose), which can slash through human skin with ease. Because they are protected by federal law, if you happen to catch a sawfish while fishing, it is very important to ensure the minimum amount of fishing tackle remains with the sawfish following release.
For more information about Rookery Bay or its monthly shark monitoring program, visit www.rookerybay.org.
This weekend — April 5-6 — Veteran’s Park will be transformed into an outdoor art gallery, as Howard Alan Events and the Marco Island Center for the Arts bring the Marco Island Festival of the Arts to the island community for the first time. The juried art festival benefits the Center for the Arts.
Chief among the line-up of artistic talent is Marco’s own Tyler MacDonald. At just 18 years old, MacDonald already has won numerous awards and national recognition for his work including second-place in the National Wildlife Federation’s annual photo contest. His passion for wildlife photography is evident in each and every photograph. Taking risks and spending hours waiting to capture the perfect image, MacDonald has lain in mud just a few feet away from venomous snakes, sat in trees and been suspended above water to capture the infrequently seen creatures in the wild. He believes that through his lens he has become a steward of the earth, teaching people to love nature one photograph at a time.
In addition to MacDonald, the festival will showcase the work from more than 150 leading artists in the country. All exhibitors will be on site for the duration of the show. Other Southwest Florida artists participating in the show include: the wooden knives and utensils by Jerome Oppenberg (Marco Island); sculpture by Todd Babb (Fort Myers); jewelry by Sylvie Camps (Fort Myers); paintings by Michaela Castaldi (Naples); photography by Geoff Coe (Fort Myers); sculptures by Gilles Peltier (Naples); photography by Dennis Goodman (Naples); and acrylics by Debbie Hummel-Marconi (Bonita Springs).
It is no surprise the Center for the Arts teamed up with Howard Alan Events to produce this juried art show. For the past 32 years, the Florida-based company produces many award-winning juried art fairs throughout the country and Florida, including the popular Downtown Venice (FL) Art Classic, the Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts, St. Armands Circle Art Festival and the Las Olas Art Fair in Fort Lauderdale. National shows include the Downtown Aspen Art Festival (Aspen, CO), Beaver Creek Art Festival (Beaver Creek, CO) and Chicago Tribune North Michigan Avenue Art Festival (Chicago).
“This is a wonderful addition to our line up of high-end art shows,” says Howard Alan of the Marco Island show. “The artists are juried by an independent panel of expert judges and are hand-selected from hundreds of applicants based on quality and diversity in order to ensure a wide array of artwork with broad appeal.”
Alan’s shows have the distinction of making the arts accessible to a broad audience with prices set to suit all budgets — from $25 hand-designed earrings to $30,000 metal sculptures. “The festival is an ideal setting in which to explore the work of many different artists in one location,” says Alan. “You have the opportunity to meet and connect with the artist before making a purchase, which makes the investment much more meaningful and personal.”
During the local event, art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to engage the artists to gain a better understanding of their work and inspiration. They also will be able to register to win the free art giveaway featuring the work of exhibiting photographer Dennis Goodman. The prize, a 24” x 36” print of “Veil of Glory” valued at $650, will be on display at his booth where registration also will take place. No purchase will be necessary to participate, and the winner will be announced during the final hour of the festival.
For additional information on the Marco Island Festival of the Arts and other Howard Alan Events art and craft shows across the country, visit www.artfestival.com or call 561-746-6615.
The Marco Island Festival of the Arts
A juried outdoor art showcase
Saturday & Sunday, April 5-6 10AM–5PM at Veteran’s Park on Marco Island
WHY: To support the arts, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the local community
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public
By John Scott
The sheer excitement of sliding down the backside of six feet of following sea in a small but well crafted open sailboat for the first time was an exhilarating awakening to the powerful forces of nature. We methodically rose on a wave’s front side, reached its crest and accelerated, only to skate into its trough. We would slow and repeat the cycle over and over. Watching the froth bubbling, smelling the fresh salt air, hearing the wind gusts fill our sails and feeling the constant rhythm of motion glued a grin on my face and an adrenalin rush in my core. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
We expected the race to take 29 hours; we completed it in 12 hours and 59 minutes. The scramble began with a light breeze, but by the time we passed the entrance to Big Sarasota Pass, conditions changed. Winds rose to a steady 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph.
It was the Watertribe Ultra Marathon for small paddling and sailboats. It began at the high water mark of the north bank of Tampa Bay at Fort De Soto and ended at Cape Haze Marina on Lemon Bay near Englewood. It was a distance of approximately 62 miles. Due to the great race tactics and sailing skill performed by our master boat builder and captain, Clayton Seelgen, better known by his Watertribe race name Clam, we finished first in our class and fourth out of 24 boats overall. I’m John Scott. I was the mate with very little sailing experience. I’m known as Screaming Frog.
Our race boat, The Viola May, is a 19 feet 6 inch Caledonia Yahl that was lovingly and expertly hand crafted by the son of a boat builder, former high school wood shop teacher and captain of our race boat, Clayton Seelgen. The building took many hours of painstaking craftsmanship over a year and a half.
Several months prior to the race, Clayton approached me. With my meager sailing experience he was too kind to admit that he was working his way toward the very bottom of his list of potential sailing mates. I, Screaming Frog, am a true water lover with considerable experience in small open boats; namely canoes and kayaks, but almost no experience in small sailboats. I have always loved high adventure and learning something new, especially if it had anything to do with being in on or around the water.
So I said yes! Was I a fool to say yes?
Twenty-nine non-stop hours hours in a small open sailboat over the first two days of March in Central Florida’s Gulf of Mexico – when the nighttime temperature can be in the 40s and winds can be anywhere from calm to gale force – isn’t foolish is it? No! It’s just high adventure.
Our first meeting was a dry land overview of the boat and its working parts – one of which was the head – a plastic paint bucket. Over the next few months, we practiced rigging, reefing the main sail, coming about, jibing and rowing. We sailed all points of sail and most wind conditions. We failed to find a day with high winds.
Eventually, my training involved a sort of final exam. I am certain that Captain Clam meticulously planned this as a final test of my performance under fire. It was a week and a half before the race and we were sailing the Gordon River in Naples. We were coming back from the Gulf. Captain Clam had obviously planned for one of the two gudgeons that hold the rudder to the stern to work loose, causing the rudder to tilt and break off, leaving us without steering. Upon this well-planned event, Captain Clam announced, “We don’t have any steering,” as he crawled up on the stern to check out the problem.
We began to drift. Just as we finally dropped the mainsail and took to the oars, 42 feet of Hinckley Picnic Boat with five feet of wake sped past us only to turn immediately across our bow. We were at the intersection of the inter coastal waterway to Marco Island and, apparently, the picnic boat was in a hurry to get to the Snook Inn for lunch. Or was he paid by my captain to offer me this test? I must admit the experience was well worth the effort as we successfully, but less than flawlessly, recovered and rowed back to the boat ramp.
“We don’t have anymore gudgeons,” Clayton announced.
“What do you mean?”, I asked.
“We are out of the race. The gudgeons are custom made in bronze by a guy in Connecticut. We race next weekend and we don’t have any steering.”
Somehow my captain worked his magic. He found the part, had it shipped overnight and installed it just in time. The rudder performed flawlessly for the race. My captain still hasn’t admitted that this episode was just a final test of my reactions under emergency conditions.
Finally the big day arrived and the Viola May, according to the rules, was perched on the beach at the high tide line at Fort De Soto. At 7 a.m. the race began and we, along with all of the other entries, slowly pushed and struggled to get the 650-700 pounds of Viola May, including way too much food and gear, into Tampa Bay. Rules prevented our wives – or anyone else for that matter – from pushing. Eventually, we were successful and piled ourselves into the boat. Many of the lighter boats that could be carried or had special rollers had already launched and were half way across Tampa Bay as we set sail with a light breeze from the northeast.
Our first goal was to cross Tampa Bay and to enter the Gulf of Mexico at the north end of Anna Maria Island. The water is extremely shallow off the beach at Anna Maria Island and all of the boats in our vicinity, except ours and a sailing kayak with outriggers, headed due west out to sea to avoid the shoals. I knew for sure that my captain had completely lost it as I watched the sea recede to what seemed to be only a foot or so beneath our keel. Running aground would certainly ruin our day, but the magician pulled it off again. We sailed across the shoals with ease and met our rivals gaining several minutes on the others in the pack.
We settled in and found that the Viola May handled extremely well running in a light breeze. We were slowly gaining on most of our fellow travelers; we sailed for several hours. Then, the wind receded, and the sailing kayaks with outriggers and peddles began to gain and pass us as did the sleek modern designed monohulls with a chute. We took to the oars to try to catch them with little success. Just as we began to become discouraged the wind picked up out of the north/northeast. We started to gain on the kayaks.
The wind continued to build, and by the time we were abeam Venice Inlet we almost had more wind than we could handle, so we reefed the mainsail and continued on. Because of the high winds, many of our rivals turned left at Venice Inlet and continued on the inside of the barrier islands where the wind and the waves were more accommodating. We considered doing likewise, but my captain finally said, “Sail on!”. This is where the fun began.
The wind was now at around 15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph, and we were skating over the waves. As long as Captain Clam kept the Viola May just a little bit west of perpendicular to the following sea we were fine. In keeping the bow pointed just west of the wind we were slowly being driven further out to sea. To steer east too much would cause a jibe which would violently smash the sails in the other direction, causing the boat to steer sideway in the trough of a six foot sea. This definitely would ruin our day. We sailed on for several hours, and finally the wind receded and we raised our sails allowing us to be able to sail closer to the wind, and we continued on.
At sunset we could see Stump Pass, the entrance to Lemon Bay, and with the lighter winds we were able to gently jibe to make the pass as darkness was falling. My job as Screaming Frog was holding the GPS in one hand and the flash light in the other to find the day marks while Captain Clam manned the tiller. Then, the wind almost died. We couldn’t figure out why, but another boat came up behind us and passed us in the channel. We realized that they were rowing. I began vigorously taking to the oars, and even after demonstrating my superior rowing skills, we finished the race two minutes behind the passing boat.
Later, we found that the passing boat was in another class, so we actually finished first in our class of six boats and fourth overall in a group of 24 entries. Not bad for a new boat and an inexperienced mate. Both Clam and Screaming Frog slept well that night.
The next morning we received our “first in class” paddles from the Watertribe Chief. It was truly a weekend of high adventure for two young-at-heart septuagenarians who have little sense but much bravado.
By Noelle H. Lowery
On a blustery and sunny March day, Collier County District 1 Commissioner Donna Fiala hosted a special constituent tour of East Naples’ newest eco-friendly resort-style community — The Isles of Collier Preserve.
Spearheaded by Minto Communities Florida, the 2,300-acre development boasts some 1,649 home sites, which include coach homes, paired homes and single-family residences ranging in size from 1,600-3,900 square feet. The piece de resistance of the outdoor living community, though, is the 1,300 acres Minto set aside to remain undeveloped. This protected land encompasses lakes, preserves and natural habitat with miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Set to open in 2015, the amenities will include a clubhouse with a resort-style pool, fitness center, gymnasium, bocce ball and tennis courts and a private yacht club and marina with a boat ramp.
I attended the tour on behalf of Coastal Breeze News. A quick note, I spent six years covering real estate, construction, growth and development for a business publication in Orlando. I did this during the real estate boom in the early 2000s when residential real estate development in Central Florida gave all new meaning to the term “slash and burn.” During that time, I learned a few things about irresponsible development on environmentally sensitive lands. I was intrigued when I heard about this tour and Minto’s claim that it is building an “eco-friendly-community.” I have to say I was impressed.
To say The Isles of Collier Preserve has been well received is an understatement, according Bob Stevens, Minto Communities Florida director of operations. Before taking Fiala’s group on a tour of the community and four of its model homes, Stevens helped the visitors explore the sales center. Right now, the themed-building is home to a historical perspective of the Minto company and its property, as well as a full schematic of the development and an in-house design center where homebuyers can create the home of their dreams.
“Sales have been fantastic,” Stevens told the group. “We just opened in January, and we had 2,100 people in for the grand opening weekend.” He added that the sales center averages about 175 prospective buyers each weekend.
But it was more than potential sales figures, the list of amenities or the one-on-one attention to the desires of the homebuyer that impressed me — and clearly homebuyers — about the community. A quick look at the history of the property that is now The Isles of Collier Preserve is one reason. Originally dubbed Sabal Bay, the land was approved as a development of regional impact in 1986 to include 4,000 housing units, a golf course, village center, school site and fire station. All of this was proposed with little thought to the 600 acres of wetlands and uplands that would be destroyed if the DRI came to fruition.
Enter Minto, which purchased the land from its most recent owner Collier Enterprises. Minto has been building homes in the Sunshine State for 50 years. Headquartered in Canada, the family-owned business has built more than 70,000 homes throughout Canada and Florida, and has grown into an integrated real estate development, construction and management company.
When Minto bought the land, it could have made good on the plans in the original DRI, but company officials had bigger and better plans for the property. They understood that people who shop for homes in Southwest Florida are looking for something special, something different. There is a certain charm in this area that makes it quintessentially its own. It is a love of the outdoors and all that it has to offer — from brilliant sunsets to walks on the beach to a romp in the swamp and scrub.
Instead, Minto completely reworked the plans and committed itself to developing an environmentally responsible community. This became even more apparent during the private golf cart tour of the community and the model homes. While the areas designated for homes were cleared and roads paved, the majority of the land was untouched. Tall pines spiraled toward the sky flanked by palm trees while water was everywhere. Not quite the scorched earth policy Central Florida developers clung to 10-15 years ago.
A trip through the model homes confirmed my first impressions. Each home was dedicated to capturing the unique “Old Naples” character of this section of Southwest Florida. Absent was the Neo-Mediterranean and Italian architecture so prevalent throughout this area, and in its place were wide open floor plans with an entire wall of sliding glass doors opening each house up completely. The outdoors and its natural surroundings became part of each home.
In the end, I was impressed — impressed by the attention to detail and history of the area inherent in the community, impressed by open, welcoming feeling of the model homes and impressed that a residential home developer took the time to create a community that understands that green is more than the color of money.
By Melinda Gray
When people think of Karate, they think of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Mr. Miyagi, but make no mistake young grasshoppers, there is much more to it than the Hollywood portrayal. Nick Lemke, owner and sensei of Shima Dojo, will tell you that.
On Saturday, March 22, Shima Dojo held their Third annual All-You-Can-Eat Blue Crab fundraiser. Unlike the previous fundraisers, which were held at the YMCA on Marco Island, this year it was hosted by Marker 8.5, and the setting was perfect.
Students showed off their skills to proud parents and audience members enjoying their meal. Led entirely in Japanese, as they learn in their classes, the children had fun as they moved through the demonstrations with ease.
This year’s fundraiser was a huge success, pulling in around $1,600 which will be used to help pay the dojo’s charter fees, hold summer camps, put on other events and lend financial assistance to students for class fees. Lemke attributes the event’s success to the students’ dedication and the island collaboration of Goodland residents who pitched in to help. Stephen Finn donated around 400 lbs of blue crab and cooked and served them to diners; locals helped to set up and prepare food; and Marker 8.5 and its staff graciously hosted the occasion.
Sensei Nick started his own Dojo in 2010 under his home in Goodland. Two years later, he moved into the YMCA on Marco Island, and officially named it the Shima Dojo. A rather fitting title as the Japanese word “shima” translates to mean island.
Lemke began studying Karate 20 years ago with his brother, and has since immersed himself in the constant betterment of the art and the ongoing improving of himself, synonymous with serious martial arts. He’s travelled to Okinawa, Japan, three times to train under the “head of system” for a total of six months; and he brings his commitment and experience to fruition with his students.
“I must have the best kids in Marco! They are so good; they do what I ask, listen to their parents, do their homework. They do well in school and at sports; they are the cream of the crop,” said Lemke.
He is proud of what he’s created: a dojo that can trace their lineage to 1962, when Zenryo Shimabukuro founded the Shorin-ryu Seibukan Karate style and dojo in Okinawa. Lemke is vigilant in his efforts to stay as connected to that lineage as possible.
Spending up to 10 hours with his students in any given week, he teaches them what he’s come to know. Karate is more than a form of Martial Arts; it’s a lifestyle.
By Julia Barnett
Mutts and Martini’s returned to Marco for the sixth year, running this past Wednesday, March 19, 2014. The event once again brought barks and bucks to the Esplanade Plaza, all in the name of charity. The “Yappy Hour” event ran from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and included a puppy parade, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle.
Mutts and Martini’s is an annual fundraising event held to benefit Bedtime Bundles, a local charitable organization that provides necessities to migrant workers and their families, especially children, living in Collier County. Founded in 2006 by Karen Saeks, Bedtime Bundles began as a project inspired by children and run out of a bedroom. When Karen was a volunteer at Manatee Middle School she got involved with the migrant education advisor in an effort to assist the children who did not have the basic necessities, and Bedtime Bundles was born from there. The charity grew too big for the bedroom and soon moved into the garage, followed by a relocation to St. Marks Episcopal Church. After that, an anonymous donor gave Bedtime Bundles the office space they currently occupy in Sunset Plaza by Cocomo’s.
Last year, the Mutts and Martini’s event raised over $28,000 for Bedtime Bundles, and with better (meaning less windy) weather this year, the event brought more people, and the amount of children and families Bedtime Bundles will be able to help will be even larger.
This year’s Mutts and Martini’s was once again emceed by Steve Reynolds, of Island Paradise DJ. A professional DJ for 45 years, Steve has been the announcer and DJ at the Mutts and Martini’s event for all six years. This year as well as the two prior, he has been joined by Nick Ciletti, from NBC-2 News. Held in the Esplanade Plaza, the night was hosted by CJ’s on the Bay, which provided the martinis and has been an important part of the event for all six years.
“CJ’s is always proud to contribute to our local community and to such a worthwhile organization,” CJ’s Chef Laura Owen said. Owner Jacquie Coon added that they were “honored to host and support this event and organization for the past six years.”
The fundraiser included a 50/50 raffle that ran until 7:30 p.m. The event also hosted a silent auction, the proceeds of which went directly to Bedtime Bundles. The auction items were varied and seemingly endless. Items ranged from artwork created by local artists, gift baskets, locally made pottery, jewelry, a propane gas fire pit from Lowe’s, a stay at the Marco Marriott, and gift cards for places such as Critter Café, Carrabba’s, Stan’s on Goodland, as well as excursions like free rounds of golf and a trip on the Key West Express. The auction also included tickets to see the Miami Heat, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs – the big favorite of last year’s auction and this year’s.
The highlight of the Mutts and Martini’s event, however, was the Pooch Parade. Attendees of the event walked their four-legged family members across the stage for the judges, and winners are then chosen. There were six categories for winners this year: the dog that looks most like its owner, best party animal, best large dog, best small dog, best owner/dog costume combo, and the all-around best in show. An event award was given out to the people’s choice, chosen from the winners by the spectators. The prizes for all of the winners were provided by Critter Café.
With this year’s Mutts and Martini’s event a great success, next year’s should prove to be bigger and better. The date has already been set for Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in the Esplanade Plaza, right in front of the outside gazebo bar of CJ’s on the Bay.
To learn more about Bedtime Bundles, the work it does, or to lend your support, visit www.bedtimebundles.org or call 239.393.3415
By Noelle H. Lowery
It is almost time for the big reveal. On Friday, April 11, at 3 PM, The Harbor Goldsmith will send the $10,000 “Marco Green Diamond” home with one lucky customer.
It has been a long-time coming. According to Richard Alan, owner and resident goldsmith at The Harbor Goldsmith, he has had the 1.43-carat green diamond in his Island Plaza shop for five or six years, and he made the solid, 18-carat gold setting about ten years ago. “I’ve had many colored diamonds in the store,” Alan says. “Blues and yellows and cognacs sold well. Green, on the other hand, sold not so well.”
Never one to shy away from controversy or a challenge, Alan devised the “Quest for the Marco Green Diamond” to help drum up interest in the $10,000 setting, as well as to generate some fun and intrigue and get some new faces in the shop. Looking to Marco’s pirating history, he created a treasure map and wrote corresponding rhymes and limericks for clues. “I drove around the island on my Harley, and searched for places and things that would correspond to certain numbers,” he explains.
The quest was launched back in February with a proposed giveaway date of Monday, March 17 — in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, Alan was foiled by a state bureaucracy. “Apparently, in the state of Florida, you can’t just give away a $10,000 diamond ring without permission or a permit,” he quips. “Delays, misunderstandings and bureaucratic state B.S. with roll of red tape made the St. Patrick’s Day date impossible.”
Over the course of the last six weeks, some 100 people have strolled into his shop looking for a treasure chart. It’s less than he expected, but still a decent turnout. He printed up 200 charts. To qualify for the April 11 drawing — which will be conducted at The Harbor Goldsmith by a blindfolded employee — questers must return their completed and correct treasure charts to the shop by 5:30 PM on Thursday, April 10.
Alan is certain whoever wins the ring will be happy with the outcome: “People who have seen the ring in the window became enamored by it.”
If you haven’t gotten your official treasure map yet, run by The Harbor Goldsmith at 680 Bald Eagle Drive to request one and get in on the chance to win the $10,000 “Marco Green Diamond.”Time’s running out… Here are the clues once more:
Five consecutive coordinate numbers is what you seek:
An Island logo that’s been in plain sight and the fact the island of San Marco has never possessed such a structure is quite unique. Many a navigating mariner has searched for its guiding path as the daylight wanes to avoid a deadly catastrophe. It bears the colors of bleached bones and the Caribbean Ocean, and upon it, there the first course number you will see.
In the land of Good where buzzards lope, they come near and far, While this big salty lady sits silently by a minuscule bar. Safe and dry while cradled high, Your second numbers appear twice to the sober eye.
On the island of San Marco in the vicinity of isle marker six and not far from the sea, There is a house of worship with its seat in a faraway place, the one and only Holy See. It’s magnificent belfry spire tall and proud, Has twin instruments that can be quite loud. The answer is not how many las companies you count and don’t go seeking too late, But how many las companies would the spire accommodate?
A vast me hardy’s, it is considered a scare and magical number in days of old. This same number is how many raging seas could be sailed and make even a pirate’s bloom grow cold. Landlubbers and seamen play this gambling game created with bleached bones or of ivory square. This number has six in thirty-six chance or one-sixth probability to magically appear.
A famous watering hole is a hustle and bustle all afternoon and night. One can eat and drink while sea-going vessels pass and dolphins play with utmost delight. Upon a sign in its lot, the fifth number is posted for the advised safe-moving speed, And that number for speed land-roving vehicles seeking parking must heed.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
For the past five years, the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival ran over a weekend, Saturday and Sunday. This year, the schedule was changed to Friday and Saturday, and by all accounts, being open on Friday was a huge success!
“We had a steady flow of guests on Friday with a spike early evening at 6 PM,” said Stan Niemcyzk, founder of the Marco Island festival, which has become one of the biggest events the island holds annually.
Entertainers performed all day, including the ever-popular Jim Long, with the internationally acclaimed “Satisfaction,” a Rolling Stones tribute band topping off the evening. Feet were moving and hands were clapping as “Mick” strutted the stage. Only the genuine Mick could have done it any better! The audience loved the repertoire of Stones hits!
Saturday began strong, but by afternoon, clouds that loomed all day let loose. Still optimistic, the decision to close the event was not easily made. DJ Steve Reynolds, Deb and the Dynamics and others had entertained the crowd all day and provided for plenty of dancing opportunity.
All in all, although a wet Saturday afternoon, plenty of seafood and landlubber fare had been downed, along with plenty of beer, wine and lemonade.
The success of this year’s Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival had yet to be tallied at press time. Proceeds from the event go to support the charitable efforts of the Sunrise Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island and the Noontime Rotary Club. Plans for next year’s festival are already underway.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
One of the largest, master-planned artificial reef projects in the Western Hemisphere is underway in the Gulf waters off of Naples/Marco Island/Collier County. Thirty-six reefs off the Southwest Florida coast will be a game changer for the ecology — and economy.
When complete, conservative estimates anticipate an economic boost by some $30 million dollars through increased tourism and conservation from the artificial reefs.
“It is exciting to see this project move forward with such enthusiasm and backing from so many in our community,” Nancy Richie, city of Marco Island environmental specialist, said. “The collection of materials is ongoing, permit applications have been submitted, and bids on the project have been received. These are tremendous milestones in developing this world-class destination.” Anticipated construction will likely begin sometime in mid- to late-2014, pending United States Army Corp of Engineering permit approvals.
The Artificial Reef team us headed up by the Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) and long-time angler and local attorney, Peter Flood. The artificial reefs have been designed in consultation with Dr. Heywood Matthews, an oceanographer who has been building artificial reefs for more than 40 years. Marine Team International, Pure Naples and world-renowned film producers Scoular Images have joined the team to produce a “teaser” video for an upcoming documentary chronicling development of the project. Florida Power and Light is among the corporate sponsors that have pledged their support and participated in this effort, donating 3,000 of the 18,000 tons of material for the project.
A guiding principle of this project is to build the artificial reef system with a mix of private grant funds and private donations. As such, the project is funded by private donations to the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC) with a minimum contribution of $2,500, as well as a $1.3 million grant from British Petroleum awarded to the cities of Naples and Marco Island and Collier County. Long-time Collier County resident Elhanon and Sandy Combs have stepped forward to be the first community members to purchase an artificial reef module for a tax-deductible contribution of $2,500.
Reefs also can bear business or family names on nautical charts used by boating, fishing and diving enthusiasts. The Business/Family Legacy naming opportunity is limited to six donors with a minimum contribution of $100,000.
“Southwest Florida can be very excited that this world-class reef destination is a tremendous economic driver that will greatly improve the health of the Gulf,” Representative Kathleen Passidomo commented.
“The Community Foundation of Collier County has been thrilled to be included in an ecological and philanthropic effort from the start. This is a project that will have such a positive impact for the County and the ecosystem,” noted Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of CFCC.
Anyone interested in securing Business/Family Legacy naming rights, in perpetuity, or contributing to the Artificial Reef Project may contact the Community Foundation of Collier County at http://www.cfcollier.org/artificial-reef-fund/ or 239-649-5000.
South of Marco Island is the well known Cape Romano with its famous, dilapidated dome house tilted on washed out pilings above the Gulf of Mexico. Kice Island, located north of Cape Romano and just south of Marco Island, received almost no attention until recently, when a number of pilot whales beached themselves there. Kice Island is a beautiful island, running parallel to the Gulf with a long, sandy beachfront; leaving us to wonder, how did it get its name and what can we find of its history?
Almost 100 years ago, on Sept. 27, 1915, Murray S. Kice purchased 119.4 acres of land from the U.S. Government. Mr. Kice sold real estate in Louisville, Kentucky through his business M.S. Kice & Co., and it was not long until he became Florida’s newest developer with big ideas for his island. The founders of Naples were also from Louisville, Kentucky, naming their subdivision “Naples-on-the-Gulf,” so it is probable that Kice had learned of this area from them, as he similarly called his project “Kice Island-on-the-Gulf.”
In 1893, the oldest child of Murray and Lucy Kice was born and named after his father, Murray Stancliffe Kice, Jr. Murray Jr. graduated from Purdue University in 1915 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, he got a job with American Blower Co. in Cleveland Ohio, but at age 23 his career was interrupted when the soon-to-be Lieutenant Kice was drafted into World War I in May of 1917. He was placed into the 88th Division of the 337th Field Artillery Regiment, and in September of 1918 he was shipped out to France. Fortunately for him, the war was almost over and soon after, on Jan. 8, 1919, the Regiment came back to the U.S.
In February of 1922 Murray Kice, Jr., age 28, married Miriam Deming from Franklin, Indiana, and Murray was able to resume his engineering career with American Blower Co. The Florida real estate boom of the 1920s created the next interruption in their lives. By 1927, the Ft. Myers City Directory shows all the Kices, both Murray, Sr., age 58, his son Murray, Jr., age 35, and their wives, Lucy and Miriam, were living in Ft. Myers. In December of 1925 they had formed the corporation known as “M.S. Kice Developing Company” with Murray Sr. as president/treasurer and Murray Jr. as vice-president/secretary.
On March 5, 1926 the 119.4 acres purchased in 1915 had been surveyed and was platted. It was one of the first subdivisions of Collier County, newly created in 1923 by the State Legislature. The official plat was signed by the Kices, father and son, and witnessed by notables: Mrs. Tommie Barfield and Barron Collier’s brother, C. M. Collier, Jr., who was, at the time, the chairman of the first Collier County Board of Commissioners. It was notarized by D.W. McLeod who was the county’s first property appraiser.
About a mile long was “Gulf Beach Drive” in the new “Kice Island-on-the-Gulf” subdivision, with the “Bay Beach Drive” following a similar distance along Caxambas Bay. Running through the interior of the island, also north and south, was a long central canal appropriately named “Venice Way” with two openings out to Caxambas Bay at the north and south. They created 971 sellable lots on paper, with 143 lots on the beach. A similar number on the eastern Caxambas Bay side and 202 lots, or 20 percent of the project, would have water access via the interior Venice Way canal. Named streets included: Kentucky Ave. – reflecting the family’s home state; Hugh Ave. – a Murray family name; Deming Drive – Murray, Jr.’s wife Miriam’s maiden name – a “Barfield Drive” after J.M. and his wife Tommie who resided in the nearby Caxambas area – and interestingly, a Mound Ave. that curved around an apparent shell mound. Almost all of the lots were sized as 50 feet wide and 140-150 feet deep.
Strangely enough, while there are a number of interior roads, there is no bridge or ferry access shown. Also, there are no bridges crossing the long interior Venice Way waterway, making it difficult to drive around this large platted project.
Despite Murray S. Kice, Sr.’s expertise in real estate, tremendous development and the great optimism of his family, unforeseen forces immediately doomed their project. Within six months, in September of 1926, a hurricane nicknamed the “Great Miami Hurricane,” hit with a 60 mile wide storm spreading from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. It carried winds recorded at 140 mph, pushed a 12-foot storm surge that rushed up the rivers and bays and slammed into South Beach. The 1926 hurricane continued west in Naples and Marco breaking windows, toppling trees and utility poles. In Everglades City water emptied from the Barron River creating an eight-foot storm surge throughout the city. Meanwhile, on Kice Island, the curve of the northern tip of the island was destroyed. Statewide, thousands were dead, and one headline read “Southeastern Florida Wiped Out.” On the east coast properties that had sold for $600,000 in 1925 were reportedly put on the market for $600 after the storm.
To make things worse, two years later in September of 1928, the “Okeechobee Hurricane” hit South Florida. The hurricane added another 10 inches of water to a lake already overfilled and pounded the area with 150 mph winds, breaching the dike that protected adjacent towns and sent four to six feet of water flooding into the streets. One in three of the residents died that night; 2,000 people gone in what was Florida’s largest tragedy. The Sept. 18 newspaper headlines read “Florida Destroyed! Florida Destroyed!” The following year on Oct. 29, 1929, Black Friday occurred, plunging the rest of the country into the Great Depression. It was the third and last strike of devastating economic impacts to the state; it would be a long time before Florida recovered.
At some point in the late 1920’s Murray Kice, Jr. and his wife Miriam left Florida and moved to Michigan to continue his career as a mechanical engineer, again rejoining American Blower Co. Meanwhile, Murray Kice, Sr. and his wife Lucy moved to Los Angeles, California where they apparently retired. In 1930 they were living in a very nice $25,000 house with a housekeeper and a nurse. Florida’s “Kice Island-on-the-Gulf” seemed all but forgotten until a man named Joe Dickman rode his motorcycle from Minster, Ohio and arrived in Los Angeles, California on his way to find his fortune in China. A chance encounter with Murray Kice, Sr., who was still at the top of his game as a real estate promoter, changed Joe Dickman’s life forever.
By Dickman’s account, Kice convinced Joe, then around age 49, to give up his dream of going to China and, instead turned around and headed back east to Florida to settle on Kice Island. It took Joe Dickman 30 days to drive the 3,000 miles to Florida. His head was full of Kice’s promises that the family would return to develop the island and that “Joe would be in on the ground floor” of this exciting project. Joe later said that the motorcycle was in such bad shape that he sold it on arrival in order to buy a small boat to get to Kice Island. Arriving in 1929, Dickman would be the only permanent inhabitant of this island for the next 31 years. In fact, he is the only known person to have ever lived on Kice Island in recorded history.
Joe Dickman soon put in pilings and built his own house looking over the Gulf and Caxambas Pass – a two story clapboard structure elevated above the ground. However, the key to habitable life on Kice Island was an artesian well that continually flowed large amounts of fresh water. A water test done in 1970 showed the quality to be good. It is possible that the historic existence of this water source was the derivation for the name “Caxambas,” which means fresh water, a name marked on old Spanish maps. We do know that in 1925 Kice had the artesian well capped for use with a strong valve placed on the wellhead.
Dickman lived a very simple life working as a fisherman and as a guide, but mostly he collected seashells along the long beaches of Kice Island, Morgan Island south to Cape Romano and on Marco Island. He was very good at shelling, taking boxed shells by the boatload to the mainland, shipping them and selling them to seashell jewelry factories including one in Pennsylvania. It was “pretty tough work for the best shells as they had to be dug out of the mud and then cleaned” according to Dickman. In fact, he was very proud that a “Fella named Tebeau from Miami called me an emeritus of a sea shell picker.” Dr. Charlton Tebeau, was a Professor of History at U. of M. and the author of “Florida’s Last Frontier – the History of Collier County.” With the cash earned, Dickman paid for discretionary items like Nabisco ginger snap cookies and burgundy wine, which guests mentioned he served them at his home.
As expected, from someone who lived alone on an island, Dickman was very independent and reportedly could live simply on sardines, crackers and beer. For clothing he wore very little, was normally shirtless and his skin was described as “a deep brown tone and looked like leather.” Often he wore wear cut off slacks with no shoes; his feet were so tough he could walk barefoot across broken clam shells. Outside his house were what must have been smelly boxes of shells in various stages of cleaning, while inside he had a high shelf containing his lifelong collection of souvenirs.
Remarkably enough, Dickman never corresponded with his family in Ohio. In 1931, a group headed to California to find out where Joe ended up. On that trip was Marj Freytag, Dickman’s great niece who traveled along with her grandparents, grandfather’s brother and her parents and sister heading “to California in a Model T Ford looking for Great Uncle Joe.” She remembers crossing the desert at night with a water bag hung on the car, and because there were no roads in the desert, they followed telephone poles. In the end, Marj said: “We couldn’t find any trace of Uncle Joe,” and it devastated her family.
Dickman would later recount that while he would never again see Murray Kice, Sr., he would occasionally receive letters from him that “kept sayin’ he was comin’ and to hold on.” Dickman chuckled to an interviewer that one of Kice’s promises did come true: Joe really did “get in on the ground floor and he was still here (on Kice Island).” It is not clear if Dickman knew that in 1938, nine years after they met in California, Murray Kice, Sr. died in L.A. at age 69 and his wife Lucy died after that. Meanwhile, their son Murray Kice, Jr. continued to work as the chief engineer for American Blower in Michigan while his wife Miriam raised their sons. Murray, Jr. was an inventor and a number of patents were issued to him between the years 1937 to 1951.
Dickman operated a short-wave radio and his friends said that Joe had learned five languages from using it. He once told a reporter that he spoke seven languages, having learned English and German at home. He later related to his great niece, Marj, that during WWII, he, like many locals, was involved in watching for German boats and subs along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Dickman was uniquely qualified for this, as not only did he live directly on the beach, but he could communicate by short-wave radio.
While Dickman lived alone, he never thought of himself as a hermit. Around 1950 Dickman famously said: “Long time ago, some city folks came out and asked me if it was true there was a hermit on the island; I told them that I’d been here 20 years and had never seen one!” Dickman remained long time friends with a number of local people, including Bud Kirk, having helped him build his house that was later moved to Goodland. He was also a friend of the Otter family in Caxambas.
By the mid 1950s, Dickman’s family had long given him up for lost. After all, it had been 26 years since he was last seen. Remarkably, a bachelor from Dickman’s home town in Minster, Ohio, Casey Kohnen, came fishing in Florida and ran into Joe on Kice Island. He reported back to the family, but sadly some of the family had died before knowing what happened to Joe.
Shortly after 1951, the Michigan census records show that Murray Kice, Jr. had died, and his wife, Miriam was now a widow. Of the four Kice family members, who, in the 1920s, came to Florida to develop Kice Island, Miriam was the only one alive. Florida public records from 1958 show that Miriam had M.S. Kice Developing Co. put into a court ordered receivership with the court ordering the island be sold to pay investors. On September 16, 1958, a few days short of 43 continuous years of ownership by the family, Kice Island was sold for the sum of $125,000.
Almost exactly two years later Hurricane Donna forced Joe Dickman to leave a home he had lived in for 31 years on Dickman’s Point at the north tip of Kice Island. Donna hit Sept. 10, 1960 as a Category 4 hurricane. The eye crossed Goodland, and the storm destroyed Dickman’s beachfront home leaving, according to his niece Marj, only the foundation and some plumbing pipes. Across Caxambas Pass the wind gauge at the U.S. Missile Tracking Station, located where Cape Marco is now, blew out and Islanders heard later that gusts had been as high as 185 mph.
With his home destroyed, Dickman moved for a while to Caxambas and lived near Otter Mound in the abandoned Barfield house, and then moved into the Ideal Fish Camp in Caxambas. In 1960, Marj Freytag and her husband Albert, made their first visit to the fish camp where “Uncle Joe invited us to stay with him in one of the fishing cabins,” but Marj said, “In the cabins there were just boards for a bunk and the stench of rotting shells was overwhelming. We declined his gracious invitation.” While living there, Belinda Ellington remembers Dickman as having “built sawhorses with planks across them and would put his shells out to cure.” She said that Mr. Joe was very sweet to her, and described him as the “nicest man she met when her family moved to Marco Island.”
Joe Dickman predicted that a hurricane would wash away Kice Island, having observed over the 31 years of living there that the island was “building up slower on one side then it was washing away on the other side.” He was correct. By 1966, the original northern tip of the island was gone and much of the western side had eroded to the point where most of the proposed “Venice Way” canal was now in the Gulf of Mexico; hundreds of platted lots had became submerged and disappeared.
Marj Freytag and her husband Albert made an effort to visit her Uncle Joe every year from 1960 until his death from cancer on Jan. 12, 1971 at age 90. He was buried at the Marco Cemetery. Today, Kice Island is owned by the State of Florida, but the north tip is still referred to as “Dickman’s Point” in his honor.
I want to thank Marj Freytag for our conversations and sharing with me her many memories as well as newspaper articles about her great uncle Joe; thank Dave Johnson for sharing his father’s photos of Joe Dickman and the Dickman home; and Belinda Ellington who shared with me her memories of Joe Dickman’s kindness to her and her family.