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Villagers’ Views

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 4:05pm


‘’Three Herons,’’ oil painting by Tara O’Neill.

Tara O’Neill, award-winning artist, community activist, and devout Floridian, is hosting her 13th annual home-grown art extravaganza, Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, from 1-4 PM, at Little Bar Restaurant, 205 Harbor Place, in the historically-significant fishing village of Goodland. This year O’Neill will be joined by guest artist, renowned photographer Jim Freeman.

Recognized as the 2015 Artist of the Year by Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, O’Neill enjoys thinking ‘outside the gallery’ and invites all to enjoy fine art and fine fare in a venue like no other. The Bozicnik family, owners of the famous waterfront restaurant for almost 40 years, continue their support of the arts in Goodland by opening their antique-rich dining rooms, breezy screened porch, tree-canopied patio, and brick-paved sculpture garden, to showcase the artists’ works.

“My work may be collected internationally, but I live locally,’’ explains O’Neill, “I owe a great deal to the unfailing encouragement, support, and inspiration I’ve received from this tiny village over many decades.’’ A village she describes as “a community living not just by the sea, but from it; a place of history and mystery, of juicy flowers and candy-colored cottages.”

The event, always scheduled mid-late April, also serves as an end-of-season celebration, allowing the area’s busy denizens the chance to slow down and reconnect with each other while enjoying the atmosphere of camaraderie that art can enhance. Jim Freeman, a Goodland resident, is well-known for his ability to capture the haunting beauty of the Ten Thousand Island region as well as the charm and color of everyday village life. They are both founding members of the Goodland Arts Alliance, a 501(c)3 corporation.

Tara O’Neill 13th Annual
Art Extravaganza

When: 1 to 4 p.m.
Sat-Sun, April 16-17, 2016
Where: Little Bar
205 Harbor Place

Comments Sought on Oil & Gas Survey

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 4:03pm


The National Park Service is seeking public comment related to scientific or technical information that would aid in the agency reaching a decision on a revised Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the environmental impacts of a proposed oil and gas seismic survey by Burnett Oil Co. in Big Cypress National Preserve. This EA is a revision of the EA released by the NPS on November 29, 2015, and analyzes the impacts of three alternatives:

The EA is available at: 

Additional documents related to this proposed project are at: 

You can provide comments online or by mail. Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Comments by mail may be sent to Superintendent, Big Cypress National Preserve, 33100 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida 34141-1000.

Comments are requested by April 5, 2016. Once the comment period concludes, we will consider all comments submitted in the development of the final EA.

If you have questions, please contact Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107,


Alternative 1 
No Action –
Continue Current Management

Under Alternative 1 no survey
would be conducted.

Alternative 2
Proposed Action – Seismic Survey using Vibroseis buggies
Under Alternative 2 a 110-square-mile area would be surveyed using special off-road vehicles with attached mobile plates which would be placed against the ground, vibrated, and then moved on to the next location. The vibrations, or seismic acoustical signals, would be detected by an array of receivers to allow mapping of the subsurface geology.

Alternative 3 
Seismic Survey Using
Explosive Charges

Under Alternative 3 the same 110-square-mile area would be surveyed, but the acoustic signals would be produced by underground explosive charges instead of Vibroseis buggies.

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 4:01pm

Maggie Gust

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
By Curtis Sittenfeld Penguin
April 19, 2016
512 Pages
Genre: Family Fiction
Collier County Library: Yes – Requests

“No two persons ever read the same book.” – Edmund Wilson

The good news is that “Eligible” is not one of the “Gone Girl” or “The Girl On The Train” wannabes that are pervasive these days. The other news is that while it is a satisfying read, it is not even a shadow of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the classic satire on the social mores of early 18th century England. P&P purists, be forewarned that you will find no subtlety and very little romance in “Eligible.” Sittenfeld’s satire is fairly in-your-face and quite humorous. Austen’s subtlety and romance have no place in modern America. Understatement is not a term that will be used in history to describe our American era. I enjoyed “Eligible.” 

“Eligible” is set in present-day America with most of the story taking place in Cincinnati, the hometown of the Fred and Sally Bennet family. Instead of landed gentry, the Cincinnati Bennets belong to a country club, the center of their social life along with Sally’s Women’s League. They live in a very large home that Fred’s parents sold to him for one dollar. Due to Sally’s shopping addiction and Fred’s mind numbing irresponsibility, the house now has two mortgages, they are behind on payments and on the verge of bankruptcy.

Jane is almost 40 years of age, and Liz is right behind her. They live in New York City, each with her own apartment and own career. Each still single. Mary is approximately 30, living at home with her parents and working on an online college degree, her third degree. She has never held a job and her solitary behavior leads her younger sisters to assume she is gay. Every Tuesday she has a mysterious outing, refusing to tell anyone where she is going. Kitty is 26 and Lydia 23, also living with Fred and Sally. They are as spoiled and irresponsible as Austen’s characters of the same names.

Not innocent and no longer living in a protected world, the Bennet girls are often foul mouthed and despite close encounters of many kinds, none of them has found love. Jane has embarked on intrauterine insemination (iUI), realizing the “expiration date” on her ovaries is fast approaching and she may never find the right man. Liz has been carrying on an affair with a married man – Jasper Wick – for quite some time. He has explained that he cannot divorce his wife until her grandmother dies, otherwise his wife will not get her inheritance and their son will not be able to attend private schools. The usually levelheaded Lizzie has been gaga about the guy since they met 14 years prior, and one wonders why she has put up with his nonsense.

Fred Bennet’s quadruple cardiac bypass brings the two older girls back to Cincinnati for an extended stay. Here, the two elder Bennet girls meet Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Except in this version they are Dr. Chip Bingley, ER physician, and Dr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, neurosurgeon. Chip Bingley has appeared on the TV reality series, “Eligible,” and is universally known for dissolving into tears when he had to pick between two women on his last episode. He is very handsome and well-bred man, but has not really found his way in life and waffles about practicing medicine. He has a difficult time making up his mind, period. Darcy on the other hand, is thoroughly confident and sure of every opinion he possesses. New to Cincinnati, Liz overhears him telling Bingley that Cincinnati and the people in it are second rate. Although she harbors the same sentiment to some degree, she takes umbrage.

Liz’s friend Charlotte Lucas is employed by Proctor and Gamble, has a very lucrative career with them, and is about 70 pounds overweight. Although Charlotte hits it off with Liz’s step-cousin Willie, a dot com multimillionaire, after Liz turns down his offer to come to California and live with him, Liz and Charlotte draw closer. This closeness between the two old friends is the linchpin in the machinations that bring these four crazy kids, Jane and Bingley, Liz and Darcy, back together eventually.

Sally Bennet is a shopaholic and Fred Bennet is the droll nonparticipating observer of his family rather than its head. Liz takes it upon herself to help her parents downsize their life. Jane is pregnant and therefore cannot help Liz. Whether the pregnancy is due to her latest iUI attempt or to sleeping with Chip since their first date is uncertain. Although she usually took a pregnancy test after each iUI session, because of her father’s health situation, the rush to get back to Ohio had thrown her off schedule. She goes back to New York to live with some friends, a lesbian couple whose son was born through a donation from a family member. They can relate to Jane on many levels. Mostly, she does not want Fred and Sally to know until she herself knows if it’s Chip’s baby or not. Liz finds an unexpected ally and great helper in kindhearted Hamilton Ryan, Lydia’s boyfriend and the owner of the CrossFit gym where she and Kitty spend most of their waking hours. With his help, they get the Bennet family home decluttered and ready for sale.

The climax of the novel occurs at the filming of a special edition of “Eligible,” where Jane, the pregnant angelic bride, and Chip are to be married. The entire Bennet family is there of course, as well as Dr. Darcy who is best man, and Chip’s sister Caroline who acts as his business manager for “Eligible.” Everyone is attached to microphones so small that sometimes they forget they are there, so you can imagine what ensues between the bickering Bennets.

I put aside my veneration for Austen and enjoyed the humor in this latest Sittenfeld work. She gives many little nods to Austen throughout, using some of her vocabulary – “displeased, odious, make a spectacle of yourself,” etc. This seriously pleased me. She keeps the pace of the story moving along quickly, and we learn more about the characters with each page. I especially found her background story for Jasper Wick hilarious. Sittenfeld also gives Mary, the neglected middle child of the Austen classic, a small chapter at the end of the book explaining her behavior and lifestyle choices.

“Eligible” was quite entertaining as a modern story. When we first meet these characters, they are all jaded, especially the younger Bennet sisters. Jane and Liz are on the verge of middle age and have been through several relationships each, yet their character judgment seems to be nonexistent. In its place, they use sexual aggression with Jane sleeping with Dr. Bingley on their first date and Liz proposing “hate sex” to Dr. Darcy which he accepts. There is also a transgender spouse, interracial dating, as I mentioned earlier the iUI, profanity, history of sexual activity as a sport, the uninvolved parents, adult children refusing to leave home, college educated with nonmarketable degrees, shopaholic Sally, CrossFit and Paleo eating style with which the two younger girls are obsessed. Every meal with the Kitty and Lydia is filled with information about dangerous carbs.

This is definitely a satisfying story. Honestly, it took me a few chapters to get used to the potty mouthed Bennet girls but the raw language lessens as the story goes on – I think Sittenfeld was just making a point in the beginning that hers was not Austen’s story. The only likable characters I found were the realtor and the gym owner. But all the characters change and develop, some of them surprise the reader. Don’t let the 500+ pages scare you – it is a quick read. Sittenfeld is a very skillful writer.

Please note that the publication date is currently scheduled for 4/19/2016. The book can be pre-ordered at the major vendors and our public library is currently taking requests for both the audio and hardcover editions. An advanced copy of this book was obtained from the publisher through NetGalley for this review. Rating: 3.5/5.0.

Maggie Gust has been an avid reader all her life. Her past includes working as a teacher, as well as various occupations in the healthcare field. She shares a hometown, Springfield, Illinois, with Abraham Lincoln, but Florida has been her home since 1993. Genealogy, reading, movies and writing are among her favorite activities. She is self-employed and works from her Naples home.  Contact her at or 

Marco Island ?Writers Meet

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 3:56pm

Submitted by Maggie Gust

Submitted Photo
Pauline Hayton

March Meeting
The Janice Hardy Workshop at our March 9, 2016 meeting was an astounding success. Many members of the general public joined us for the workshop and were excited and satisfied at the end of the evening. Thanks to Janice for sharing her passion for writing and inspiring us, as well as to all participants for their interest and support.

April Meeting
Second  Wednesday
To keep those creative juices flowing, please join us Wednesday, April 13, 2016, from 6 to 8 PM. The topic is “Widen Your Scope as a Writer.” Pauline Hayton, our Anthology Book chair and a published author, will share some techniques for expanding interests and skills in the writing process. Please bring paper and pen to participate in some creative small-group activities and to provide and receive feedback.

Farmers Market
Our members are continuing to staff the booth at the weekly Marco Island Farmers’ Market every Wednesday from 7:30 AM to 1 PM through April 13, 2016, at Veterans Community Park, 901 Park Avenue. Drop by for a chat and check out the books for sale.

About Marco Island Writers
Marco Island Writers, Inc., is open to writers of all skill levels and genres. If you write for yourself, just your family, or want to be published, our group may be just the boost you need to assist you in that writing project and support you through any obstacles. Our motto is “Writers Helping Writers.” Meeting place is Marco Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. First time visitors are welcome with no admission fee. We meet the second Wednesday of each month, year round, 6 to 8 PM. Doors open at 5:30 PM for sign-in and social prior to the meeting. For more information, call Elisabeth Noyes at 239-394-5856 or visit our website

Kingfishers Support Clubfoot Project

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 3:54pm


On March 17, 2016, the Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club was treated to a very special meeting, one that was organized and run by the club’s “Kingfisher” members. The Kingfishers are Rotarians who are members of Rotary Clubs other than the Marco Island Noontime Club, but spend significant time here on Marco during season. “The Kingfishers are such an important part of our Rotary Club,” said Lynne Minozzi, Noontime Rotary Club president. “We look forward to their return every year.”

In addition to a delightful program with a definite Irish flair, the Kingfishers presented Lynne Minozzi with a generous gift. John Buchanan of the Iowa City, Iowa Rotary Club handed Lynne a check in the amount of $4,250 raised by the Kingfishers and their friends. This donation will directly benefit the Rotarian Action Group formed to provide global leadership to eliminate clubfoot disability.

The Rotarian Action Group encourages Rotarians around the world to provide financial support, logistical support, and nighttime braces, create public awareness and advocate to provide the facilities and resources to treat this deformity. The contribution made by the Noontime Rotary Kingfishers will go to train 29 orthopedic surgeons in Mexico, and Rotary International will match the donated funds.

8th Annual Seafood and Music Festival

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:05pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff
The 8th Annual Marco Island Seafood and Music was a resounding success, if the plates of seafood, happy shoppers and hips swaying to music were an indication! Thousands of people attended the three-day music festival. “Our attendance was even to what we have seen in the past. Considering the downpours all around us from Naples to Bonita, we feel fortunate we didn’t miss a beat due to rain,” said Stan Niemczyk, founder of the festival.

Three charitable organizations work together to host the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival. It is the single biggest volunteer driven event on Marco Island, a massive undertaking logistically, with over 200 volunteers from the Sunrise Rotary Club, the Noontime Rotary Club and the Marco Island Kiwanis Club. The festival has grown into a signature event for the City of Marco Island. Proceeds from the annual festival benefit these organizations, accounting for much of their annual giving. The Marco Island Sunrise Rotary, Noontime Rotary and the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island provide support to numerous organizations with the assistance of the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, such as the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, Lely High School, Manatee Elementary School, Marco Island Academy, Marco Island Charter Middle School, Marco Island Historical Society, Meals of Hope, St. Matthews House, Tommie Barfield Elementary School, Youth Haven, and many more.

A great entertainment line-up included Jim Long, the Manipulators, and a Santana/Doobie Brothers tribute band, “Supernatural.” On Saturday, “The Boss Project,” a tribute to Bruce Springsteen headlined, there was Smokin’ Joe and Konnie, and on Sunday, it was the Ben Allen Band and Joe Marino and All the King’s Men. Over 60 vendors were present with everything from jewelry cleaners and fine cutting knives, to paintings and photography, jewelry, clothing, hammocks, signs and much more. A Kid’s Zone kept the kids busy with bounce houses, rock climbing walls and face painting.

To top it off, there was a huge variety of seafood dishes as well as traditional favorites…and lots of ice cold beer. A selection of beer and wine that accommodated every palate.

It started with clapping, foot tapping, hips moving and grew into full-fledged ‘let it all out’ dancing. Special thanks to sponsors: Fresh from Florida, Winn Dixie, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Condee Cooling and Electric and Seminole Casino. Watch for the announcement of the 2017 festival dates.

Naples – World Pickleball Capital

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 11:01pm


Photo by Jodi Pree
Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships

Save the date! On April 26 Collier County will become the pickleball capital of the world when the gates open for the first-ever Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships.

For six event-filled days, America’s fastest growing sport will take Naples by storm when over 800 athletes compete for top prize money while thousands of spectators fill the hospitality village in East Naples Community Park. This premier event will feature special Gold Box seating, parties, live entertainment, charitable fundraising activities, a Kids Day, a unique Zing Zang Championship Court, and of course the greatest pickleball players in the world.

Saturday night CBS Sports Network will be filming the finals of the Pro Mixed, Women’s and Men’s finals. For ticket information contact,

Access to watch all other matches, enjoy the U.S. Open Village, Expo, Miller Lite Beer Garden and nightly entertainment is free!

Sail Away For MIA Raises $125,000

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:55pm

Jane Watt

From left: Melissa Scott, Karen Young, Jane Watt, Bill Young

On Monday, February 29, 2016 at 5 PM, a luxurious private yacht set sail with 20 of Marco Island Academy’s VIPs. There was live music, laughter, delicious food, and en-gaging conversation. After watching the sunset fade into dark, the guests all made their way downstairs to celebrate MIA’s past year and to hear the plan for the future.

The prestigious 2015 MIA Philanthropists of the Year Award was presented by Jane Watt, board chair to Bill and Karen Young. Over the past year, Bill and Karen have giv-en personally in many ways to the school.

Melissa Scott and her mother, Vicki Hook.

“There is no end to the selfless dedication and commitment the Youngs have shown to MIA. They exemplify the definition of philanthropy: love of human kind. From helping the school sell a used van and used motorcycle to raise funds, to helping the school meet a match before deadline, to sponsoring teams for the Golf Tournament and Sporting Clay Event, to providing unwavering guidance and support, and ultimately to providing a two million dollar loan to the school to buy land for a permanent home, there is no one who is more deserving of the award this year. Their kind and generous spirit is an inspiration to all of us. Their generosity will have a positive impact on stu-dents’ lives for generations to come. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their help. They are leaving a legacy behind in our community,” acknowledged Watt.

After the guests were done exchanging congratulations and thanks to the Youngs, Rene Champagne, treasurer of MIA’s board and former recipient of the MIA Philan-thropist of the Year Award, walked to the front of the room and explained the school’s need to complete its 2015-2016 Annual Fund. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools must raise funds for facilities, technology, athletics, and a 5% administrative fee to the district. This year alone, MIA must raise $500,000 toward the Annual Fund to cover these costs. Rene and Tish Champagne offered a gift of $25,000 and asked for a match. The gift was matched almost immediately by four more couples including Bill and Karen Young, Scott and Brenda Rhinehart, Constantine and Marianne Iordanou, and one anonymous couple. Within minutes, Marco Island Academy raised $125,000 to support the school. The school needs to raise an additional $25,000 before June 30th to complete its Annual Fund.

From left: Vicki and Michael Hook seated next to Scott Rhinehart, his wife Brenda at the table in back.

At the end of the evening, the vision for the future of MIA was unveiled. Ms. Scott, MIA’s principal, explained the school’s need for a permanent facility. Plans were revealed for a brand new gym, including a full court for basketball and volleyball, a stage for music and theatre performances, a music room, and additional administrative space.

The mission of Marco Island Academy is to provide a student-centered, well-rounded, interdisciplinary education. Students will engage in critical thinking while focusing on math, science, technology, environmental, and global studies. The Academy will up-hold the highest standards of academic excellence, integrity, respect, and social re-sponsibility, while guiding students to achieve post-secondary success.

In addition the yacht’s private chef, some food was prepared by La Tavola.

As Marco Island Academy continues to grow and flourish, the schools leaders and supporters focus on the next steps. They are very proud of where they are today. The road has been long and hard, with many bumps along the way. The board, administra-tion, faculty and students are thankful for the many friends and supporters who have joined the MIA family. There are many hands that have played an integral role in MIA’s success. Together, we are making a difference in students’ lives.

Jane Watt is a mother of three children in the public school system. She is also the Founder and Chairperson for Marco Island Academy, a public charter high school. Recently she wrote the book, “Fighting For Kids: Battles To Create a Charter School.” Her mission is to help improve educational opportunities for children.

Projects in the Works

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:45pm

Donna Fiala

Sometimes I feel like I’m the queen of the median landscaping effort, so we have good news coming our way on this subject…lots of good news. First, the county applied for a Florida Highway Beautification Council Grant quite a while back to landscape another portion of Collier Boulevard/951 between Mainsail Drive and Fiddler’s Creek. It seemed like there were more hurdles to jump than ever, but our staff is persistent, and so am I. We finally got the news that the request has been approved and we can move forward with design, bid and construction. It will probably take a few more months – government doesn’t really do anything in a hurry – but it should be completed by the time our residents get back for next season, as long as they come towards the end of the year. More on landscaping in a couple more paragraphs, but while on the subject of Collier Boulevard, I asked the Secretary of FDOT, Billy Hattaway, to take a ride with me over what I call the washboard of 951, which he did. He was terribly surprised, and remarked that he knew of NO roads in the State of Florida that had that problem and surmised that there must be something going on below the surface that couldn’t be fixed by just resurfacing the pavement. He will have his crews looking into it shortly, but he thinks maybe erosion might be going on. As I find out, I’ll keep you informed. For those who don’t know what area I’m talking about, it is located between Fiddler’s Creek and Mainsail Drive on Collier Boulevard. No matter which way you go, north or south on Collier Boulevard, to or from Marco Island, the washboard is there. I’ll keep you informed as I learn more.

*Another welcomed relief should be on the way for those folks living on U.S. 41 E, east of 951/Collier Boulevard. There are many homes and developments on this newly widened road from two lanes to six lanes, but there were no street lights installed with the expansion of the road. When I took Secretary Hattaway on “our ride,” I told him the response I had received from FDOT was that they would not look into the project for at least 18 months, but when he saw all the people and developments already there he stated that he doesn’t believe that the project can wait that long, and he will get back to me with a time line. I pointed out that it is so dangerous right now, and hoped that they would be able to get the job done sooner rather than later. Hopefully we hear back from them soon.

*The news wasn’t as good for the folks in Reflection Lakes who are having a real struggle with all the noise emanating from the newly widened road, but do not have a noise wall to buffer it. He said when they took the study six years ago, Reflection Lakes was in its infancy and the developer was advised of the future road widening and was ordered to include that information to those who bought into the development as he sold the units. Secretary Hattaway said the residents would have to sue the developer to put in a noise wall. I’m afraid I hear someone whistling Dixie.

*Now, back to the countywide landscaping effort. Years ago, about 2003 or so, we asked our residents if they wanted landscaping, they said yes, so we enacted a Municipal Special Taxing Unit (MSTU) to do the landscaping, picked out a plan and design, which included side trees and grass, and began the effort to make us the most beautiful county in the State of Florida! Our landscaped medians became our signature! We were the envy of other counties, who then started to emulate our effort. We enjoyed the beauty it created, plus it hid many things we’d prefer to stay in the background. I’ve also noted that it prevented a few head-on collisions as we see people hit trees or get stuck in the medians rather that hit someone head on. Well then, the Great Recession came to be and the MSTU money needed to be folded into the budget to keep county government going, and once the recession ebbed away, we needed to cover the backlog of infrastructure that needed to be replaced or repaired. We are about at the end of the process, and we can now use those MSTU dollars for their original intended use – Median Landscaping. We will be starting to catch up, oldest jobs first and moving forward. We will try to do four areas each year for four years until we catch up. Immokalee Road residents will be relieved to hear that they will be one of the roads that will start to get their landscaping, as will Santa Barbara Boulevard, and Collier Boulevard between U.S. 41 E and Davis Boulevard. Each year we will continue down the roads until they are finished, taking the oldest work promised to the newest, which might still be in progress now. I will get you a more complete list of areas and times by the next writing of this column.

*Have a wonderful day and remember: If you take care of the little stuff, the bigger stuff will take care of itself, as said by Reinhold Schmieding, founder and owner of Arthrex.

The night my foot got caught

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:43pm

In memory of Monte Lazarus and his contributions to Coastal Breeze News, we are publishing many of his humor columns again in coming editions. They will bring as many smiles now as they did when first printed. Enjoy!

By Monte Lazarus

One of the things we enjoy every now and again is an Everblades hockey game at Germain Arena. It’s a great arena for spectators; just about every seat is good for viewing the game. Unlike the new mega-arenas, Germain is small, cozy, friendly and reasonably priced. A family of four can go for less than $100, if they don’t go crazy buying jerseys and other stuff for the kids. The hockey is good from our perspective: it’s a lower league, so the players are very young; and there’s considerably less fighting and dirty play than in the big leagues.

Thanks to a friend we recently got four tickets for a game, and off we went. The seats were great: second row, right next to the visitors’ bench. The players were right next door flashing their (1) recently broken noses, (2) missing teeth, (3) band aids and stitches. Yes, folks, hockey is a contact sport.

When the game began we knew we were in for a wonderful night. There was lots of action and the game was close. One leather-lunged lady right in back of us apparently disagreed with my appraisal of fighting and dirty play. She alternated screaming among: “Kill Him”, “Hit Him” (when she was feeling mellow I presume) “Smash Him”, and “Start Fighting”. Since she was missing a few teeth of her own I assumed she was either a hockey or a football player herself. However, now that I ruminate about it I’m inclined to believe she was simply pro-violence.

There was only one problem: since our seats abutted the bench that was in line with our second row, we found it hard to see the action to our left. The visiting team kept standing when the action was to the left, and we were reluctant to suggest to a group of toothless hulks that they kindly refrain from standing, and that they should behave themselves. We were only separated from them by a thin sheet of plastic, and it would have been unseemly for us to be pummeled into insensibility by a bunch of young guys trying to make a living.

Good fortune arrived! between the second and third periods the first row emptied. My wife – alert as usual – said that she was moving to the first row for an unobstructed view of the left goal. Brilliant! She walked down our row, then down to row one. My friend’s wife, sprightly, comely, and in great shape, simply stepped over from our row down to the seat in row one. My wife, and friends, urged me to follow her. What? Me take the easy way? I am no wuss! I decided to step over from my seat to a seat right in front of me, thereby demonstrating my agility and excellent conditioning (but ignoring my lack of brainpower). I was duly warned. Three voices in unison said: “Walk around, it’s easier; you’ll have trouble if you step over.” Being a male only firms up the resolve when someone says you can’t do something. It became a challenge.

I stepped firmly from row two to row one. Row one was apparently not pleased with my decision, because the seat in row one immediately snapped from “Sit” to “Up”. As a consequence my feet were both caught in the gap behind the up seat. I was able to extricate one foot, but the other was being punished by the seat that refused to budge. I was trapped. My wife was a combination of concern, annoyance, amusement and bewilderment. Still in my macho phase I put on my best toothy grin and explained to one and all that I was fine and would easily get out. I couldn’t. I could not reach down. I could not move the seat. I could not wiggle my foot out of the devilish trap. I thought I might get my shoe off and free my bare tootsie. What if I couldn’t? My fallback was my tiny Swiss Army knife, since I had recently read about the climber who sawed off his arm when he got trapped. That did not seem too promising, especially since my trusty knife can barely open envelopes.

Urged on by my wife and friends, and even the leather-lunged lady, I wiggled and coaxed and voila! My shoe was off. Free at last! I sat quietly. The rest of the game was great. In row one we saw everything and I emerged unscathed, except for a gigantically bruised ego.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: “Beware the male ego: you’re not nearly as young and fit as you think. (NOTE: those of you who say the moral is “Look Before You Leap” win second prize – two seats in row two.)

Boaters – Look Out for Manatees

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:29pm


Florida Baby Manatee. Submitted Photo

Taking their cues from the warm spring weather, Florida manatees have begun leaving their winter retreats and heading north along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters.

So if you’re a boater enjoying spring days on the water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions you to look out for manatees and follow posted manatee zones.

From April 1 through November 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being struck by motorboats or personal watercraft.

FWC law enforcement officers will be on patrol in state waters to remind boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones and will take enforcement actions when necessary. Manatee zones and maps are available at, where you can select “Protection Zones” for links to county maps.

“Our officers do their very best to support conservation of this species,” said FWC Capt. Gary Klein. “We ask that boaters take notice of the zones and do their part as well by increasing their awareness of the possible presence of manatees.”

Because manatees are large, slow moving, and difficult to detect when underwater, operators of boats and personal watercraft need to take basic steps to avoid causing injury to manatees:

Wear polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees.

Look for the large circles on the water, also known as manatee footprints, indicating the presence of a manatee below.

Look for a snout sticking up out of the water.

Follow posted manatee zones while boating.

The FWC also asks anyone seeing an injured, distressed, sick or dead manatee to call the agency’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 888-404-3922 (FWCC) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.

You can watch manatees without disturbing them if you follow “Guidelines for protecting native wildlife – Florida Manatees,” a brochure that includes tips for canoers, kayakers, paddle boarders, snorkelers and scuba divers. It’s available at, click on “Boat, Personal Watercraft and Paddle-sport Operators” and then on “Paddle-sport Operators.”

Support the FWC’s manatee research, rescue and management efforts by purchasing a “Save the Manatee” Florida license plate at, or by donating $5 to receive an FWC manatee decal by going to and clicking on “Decals.”

Waves on Marco

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:28pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Photos by Joey Waves

People are buzzing about “Marco Island and the Everglades,” a new book filled with vibrant photographs that will make you fall in love with Marco Island all over again.

Photographer Joey Waves is the artist behind the lens.

Joey, born Joseph E. Weiner, grew up in Miami, Florida. From early on it was clear that this rebellious youth was bursting with raw talent. He started his artistic life as a spray can graffiti artist. His skills became known, and soon he was being asked by teachers to paint large-scale murals on the walls of his South Florida high school.

Joey used his talents, and refined his digital art skills, providing graphic design services for Southern Wine & Spirits for ten years. But once he picked up a camera, he was hooked. And when he began sharing his photographs with friends and family, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. His talent was recognized, and he was encouraged to pursue photography professionally.

Though most of his photos depict scenes of nature, Joey actually spent his entire adult life, up to this point, in an urban environment. Marco may have initially been a culture shock, but Joey clearly has adapted and embraced it. He describes the island as “magical,” which is exactly the feeling his photos convey. He spent an entire year photographing Marco Island to capture the images for his book. The photographs, and book, are a testament to Joey’s “adoration for Marco Island,” says Erin.

The name Joey Waves was coined after Joey did his own in-depth photographic study of sorts, on waves. It started years ago when Joey would take his small waterproof camera to the beach. He spent three years photographing the waves, capturing every variation imaginable in form, light, color and size. Joey took “Literally thousands and thousands of photographs of waves,” Erin tells me, emphatically.

When asked what all the wave photos were about, Joey explains, “Composition.” With each wave, he says that he tried “to get a different angle, a different composition.” It is a grand task to undertake- on a constantly changing subject.

One of the reasons Joey’s photos are so compelling is that he is not scared to experiment with different camera angles, or with light. “Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t,” he says matter-of-factly. This experimentation often leads to unexpected results, unique angles and interesting composition. It’s why people love his photographs.

Joey and Erin are a great team. The couple met on Florida’s East Coast, where Erin was successful in the marketing industry. Erin’s ties to Marco Island, through her family, originally brought them to the island for visits. Thinking that the move would be “inspiration for Joey to develop his craft” eventually led them to take a “leap of faith” and move to the island fulltime, two years ago.

Together the couple owns and operates Island Graphics on Marco. The business is the perfect marriage of marketing, art and photography. Joey describes Island Graphics as a “full service media company.” They provide businesses with graphic design and marketing services, seeing it as a coordinated effort, which includes social media.

Erin and Joey, little Bella in between them; Joey’s book is dedicated to Erin, “without whom none of this would be possible.”

To enjoy more of Joey’s photographs go to: Books can be purchased online or at Sunshine Booksellers at 1000 N. Collier Boulevard or 677 S. Collier Boulevard on Marco Island. For more information on Island Graphics, go to

What is Marco in Bloom?

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:15pm


Kathy and Brad Badeau’s winning cul-de-sac. Submitted Photos

By now you’ve probably noticed the light pole banners throughout Marco Island displaying the signs for “Marco in Bloom.” Marco in Bloom is a citywide recognition/award with emphasis on Florida friendly landscape, water conservation, use of color and contrast, and creativity.

Categories include:

Residential: Single family homes personally landscaped.

Residential: Single family homes professionally landscaped.

Cul-de-sacs: Adopted and maintained by residents.

Commercial property: Non-Residential (Zoned C1-C5).

Condominiums: Multi-family dwelling unit, condo complex grounds.

Institutions: Government properties, schools and houses of worship.

This is a contest/recognition put on by the Beautification Advisory Committee (BAC).

The BAC wanted to recognize people in the community for creating a more beautiful landscape to look at while keeping its tropical character and natural beauty. Thus, five-plus years ago, a committee-sponsored event was created to do just that. They called it Marco in Bloom.


Criteria for eligibility are:

Use of native or water wise plant material (because water is a precious and diminishing commodity in Southwest Florida), minimizing grass is emphasized.

Use of color and contrast.

Visibility from public streets.


So what do you do to enter this recognition contest? Simple, real simple.

Take a few pictures of the landscape from the front of your house, condo or building. Write a few sentences as to why the nominee deserves to be recognized.

Call the Parks and Recreation Department at 239-389-5035 and nominate your own yard, a neighbor’s yard, a condo or a city establishment. Applications are available at Mackle Park or online at

The deadline for nominations is April 19, 2016. As one drives around Marco there are many landscapes big and small that help make Marco come alive with beauty. So take a look around and nominate them. There will be a winner and a runner-up for each category.

Properties will be judged by the BAC, and the winners presented with a sign at the May 2nd City Council meeting. This sign can be placed in the front of the property.

However, all qualified participants will be recognized with a recognition certificate. Let’s recognize beauty when we see it.

Easter Bunny’s Spring Jubilee

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:06pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

There was so much excitement at Mackle Park for the Easter Bunny’s party of the year, the Spring Jubilee. It was eggsactly as you’d expect! Hundreds of children and parents laughing, giggling, having fun and yes, an Easter egg hunt to end all Easter egg hunts. Lola Dial, recreation manager for the City of Marco Island, said 20,000 eggs were spread out on the Mackle Park field, roped into four age categories. Members of the Marco Island Senior Softball League guarded the eggs to be sure none disappeared while families played games, bounced on inflatables, made crafts, rode a train around the lake, colored a mural, pet an alligator, tortoise, or other animals. Entertainment including hula-hoop and limbo contests by Mobile Sound Entertainment. Concessions were provided by the Optimist Club of Marco Island. There were sailing excursions around the lake provided by the Marco Island Community Sailing Center. At 11:30, the Easter egg hunt countdown was given by City Manager, Roger Hernstadt. At 11:30 and 25 seconds, every one of the 20,000 eggs was claimed! The City of Marco Island puts on this premiere event annually. In an interview with the Easter Bunny, he said the planning and egg gathering for the 2017 Spring Jubilee was already underway.




Help Protect Our Owls

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:51pm


Brown eyes in a burrowing owl are by recessive gene.

At only nine inches tall when mature, the burrowing owl is a beloved Florida native and year-round resident of Marco Island. Those piercing, yellow eyes have drawn us all in, and their presence reassures us that all is well with our natural world.

Recently, there was an incident in Marco Island in which a resident intentionally plugged an owl burrow. Thanks to the quick action of a neighborhood Owl Watch member, the incident was reported to the proper Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement authorities, and charges are being prepared. It is illegal to “take” (pursue, hunt, capture, molest or kill) burrowing owls and their burrows or eggs without a permit from the Florida FWC.

Marco Island started monitoring burrowing owls in 2001. In a newly launched project, Owl Watch, the city has partnered with the Audubon of Western Everglades (AWE) to continue the science-based chick/adult data collection for the burrowing owls. This project will continue the data collection started in 2001 by then city environmentalist, Nancy Richie. AWE will supervise the data collection and monitoring of burrow sites through the Owl Watch project. Collected data will help in conservation decisions on whether to up-list the burrowing owl’s status to a “Threatened” category or leave it as a “Species of Special Concern.”

Here on Marco Island life has not been very kind to the burrowing owl. Burrowing owls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (although they do not migrate). They were also designated as a Species of Special Concern, established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1970. The burrowing owls are protected by Marco Island under Endangered, Threatened or Listed Species Protection, Ordinance 01-34. Despite these protections, the ongoing home construction boom on the island has contributed greatly to the owls’ loss of habitat.

A burrowing owl caught mid-“yawn.”

Yes, you can build a home if a burrowing owl is living on your property. However, special permits are required for the removal or relocation of an owl burrow. Contractors and builders best check with their state and local rules before applying for building permits. During the nesting season, (February-July 10) no building permit will be issued for applicants needing to “take” a burrow, unless the Florida FWC has issued a permit to take the owl burrow. Builders will need to submit a migratory bird nest removal permit application. Violations are subject to fines. Strong enforcement of state and local rules will help the burrowing owls’ long-term survival on Marco Island.

In Florida cities with a large burrowing owl population, volunteers armed with portable GPS units document the location of burrow sites. They share this information with the city. When a permit is pulled to build a home, the city is aware that a burrow exists by checking the database.

This is another way to ensure state and local rules are enforced, and to help protect a protected species. Crucial to the burrowing owls’ survival is a strong partnership between federal, state, local government, conservation groups and a committed citizen volunteer group to develop conservation guidelines and to enforce existing rules to protect Endangered, Threatened or Species of Special Concern.

Familiar, but no less charismatic, yellow eyes.

What can we do to help? Our activities have been the main contributors to the owls’ habitat loss; The use of heavy mowing equipment collapses burrows; Harm from domestic dogs and cats; Harassment by humans, and vehicle strikes.

When driving at night, slow down in areas with active burrows. Owls hunt at night and are focused on prey, not on approaching vehicles. If you do hit an owl, please stop and render assistance. Please call the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Wildlife Clinic at: 239-262-CARE (2273) or your local Marco Island Police Department non-emergency number at: 239-389-5050. To report malicious destruction or harassment of burrowing owls, please report the incident by calling: 1-888-404 FWCC (3922). Take a photo of the violation and also call your local MIPD. To help monitor a neighborhood site or to be a business sponsor, please

Marco’s Uphill Battle for COPCN

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:48pm

By Maureen Chodaba

On March 22, Marco Island City Council presented a resolution to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) asking Collier County to support Marco Island’s future application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN), a certificate that would allow Marco Island to provide its own emergency medical services (EMS) paramedic and transport services.

Florida state statute requires that a municipality obtain a COPCN via the county to provide EMS services. At this time, Marco Island and Collier County EMS work together in an interlocal agreement. Some concerns of the future of this agreement have come about with the county’s strategic plan to create an independent consolidated fire/EMS district, as presented to the unincorporated areas of Collier County in a March 15 straw poll.

Marco Island City Council Chairman Bob Brown represented Marco Island. Also in attendance for this critical issue were Councilor Ken Honecker, Councilor Larry Honig, City Manager Roger Hernstadt and Fire Chief Mike Murphy.

Many members of the Marco Island community were present to demonstrate their support. Dianna Dohm and Cheryl Ferrara represented the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation. Marco Island’s strong community presence included representatives from the Marco Island Police Foundation, Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, Marco Island Area Association of Realtors (MIAAOR), Marco Island Civic Association (MICA), Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO), Marco Island Restaurant Association and the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs.

Commission Chair Donna Fiala remarked on the “unified body” of support among Marco Islanders regarding this issue. The resolution was simply presented to receive an indication of good will and good faith support from the BCC prior to Marco Island’s formal request for the COPCN. City Manager Roger Hernstadt stated that the purpose of the resolution was to send a message to the people of Marco Island that the city and county would work together in making this decision. Currently, the city is working with consultants from Fitch & Associates to provide the specifics and data to support this request.

Commissioners Fiala and Hiller voiced their support of the resolution. However, Commissioners Nance, Henning and Taylor voiced some concerns. They saw no reason for the resolution and questioned much of the wording. Commissioner Nance said that he hopes Marco Island will base their request for a COPCN on data, “not emotions,” while Commissioner Taylor said, “The issue has been blown out of proportion.”

Marco Island City Council Chairman Bob Brown said, “This is a positive thing we are trying to accomplish,” noting that our level of fire rescue service has impacted the county in a very positive way. All of the county commissioners agreed that the interlocal agreement between the Collier County EMS and the City of Marco Island has been “awesome.”

Although none of the commissioners voiced their opposition to Marco Island’s request for a COPCN, Commissioners Henning, Taylor and Nance would not vote to approve the resolution, as it was presented. Instead, Commissioner Henning made a motion that the county would withhold their decision until a formal application with supporting data is submitted by Marco Island. Henning said that he would not be against the request, once the application is submitted, as long as Marco Island did not request money from Collier County to operate its own EMS.

Commissioners Fiala and Hiller were the only two commissioners that voted to approve Marco Island’s proposed resolution at the meeting. Commissioner Henning’s new motion, which did not close the door on Marco Island obtaining a COPCN, was passed unanimously.

Commissioner Fiala continuously held her position by saying that she is “solidly behind Marco Island.” City Manager Roger Hernstadt said that although the outcome of the meeting was not exactly what Marco Island had hoped for, he would accept the county’s new proposal as a message of reassurance for Marco Island to move forward with their request for a COPCN. In fact, on March 25, Commissioner Fiala sent the city a letter authorized by her colleagues, encouraging Marco Island to apply for a COPCN.

In a related story, the litigation between the North Collier County Fire District and the county has ended. The settlement agreement has approved the issuance of a one-year COPCN to the district. The county previously denied the renewal of this certificate. That situation was a component in the “red flag” alert to Marco Island regarding the future of advanced life support (ALS) service there. With the COPCN, the North Collier district’s more than 100 paramedics may continue to provide ALS services to their entire 264 square mile service area.

MIA Principal Turns a School Into a Family

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:47pm

By Barry Gwinn

On Friday, March 4, 2016, during a visit to Marco Island Academy (MIA), Governor Rick Scott presented Principal Melissa Scott with the coveted Governor’s Shine Award, given to outstanding educators who have been nominated by their peers. Governor Scott had found out what many already knew. Marco Island Academy had finally found the principal they were looking for. It had not been easy.

After a titanic battle to obtain Collier County School Board approval and secure a building and campus, Marco Island Academy finally opened for business in August 2011. It very nearly closed up shop a few months later. Jane Watt recounts the struggles in her book, “Fighting for Kids.”

In the spring of 2011 MIA had hired its first principal. He lasted only until November 2011 and left a lot of wreckage in his wake. During the summer of 2011, teachers were not being hired, equipment, textbooks, and office supplies were not being ordered. The principal spent a lot of his time closed in his office. MIA gradually slipped into a state of anarchy, and then chaos. “There was no discipline and no leadership, whatsoever,” recalled Watt, “The hallways were filled with multiple students wearing head phones.” It seemed more like a community center than a school, one staffer observed. The situation abruptly came to a head when Watt got a call from the respected school resource officer, a member of the Marco Island Police Department. “He told me that the school was no longer safe for the students,” Watt said, “He said he saw a fight break out at lunch and was pretty sure why the bad behavior was escalating. ‘You’re a nice person Jane, and I know how hard you have worked. I hate to be the one to tell you, but this situation needs to be addressed immediately,’ the officer warned.”

Jane Watt with Melissa Scott on MIA’s pavilion. Photos by Barry Gwinn

In November 2011, within 24 hours of Watt’s conversation with the police officer, the board held an emergency meeting to determine the school’s future and deliver an ultimatum to the principal. Ultimately, the principal’s resignation was accepted by the board. George Andreozzi, an experienced educational leader from New York, was hired as an interim principal. “We made him aware of the deplorable situation at the school and let him know that we were looking for someone to turn the school around,” recalls Watt. By all accounts George Andreozzi did succeed in imposing a new culture and positively impacting MIA. Eventually he was given the permanent title of principal.

Things continued on a fairly even keel when, in July 2013, Melissa Scott walked in the door. She was looking for work and had an impressive resume. In 1998 Scott had graduated from the State University of New York – Geneseo, New York, with a degree in English and secondary education. Following a one-year public relations and scheduling assignment on Congressman Bill Paxton’s staff, Scott was hired as an English teacher in the Robert E. Lee High School (over 2,000 students) in Springfield, Virginia. From 1999 to 2013, she also served as athletic director and student government advisor. She was chosen as Teacher of the Year four times. While there Scott also managed to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership at George Mason University. In the summer of 2013, Scott tendered her resignation and moved to Marco Island. “I loved teaching at R.E. Lee High School” Scott said, “But for various reasons, I wanted to be near my parents on Marco Island.” Scott had no job or job prospects lined up here. She just packed her bags and came on down. Shortly after her arrival she began looking. “I heard there might be a reading position opening at MIA” Scott recalls, “Before I knew it, I was called in for an interview.”

“The school did not have any job openings at this time,” said Watt, “Mr. Andreozzi and I agreed to interview her anyway. Ms. Scott had come highly recommended by people whom I highly respected. We had no particular position in mind for her, but within a few minutes of meeting her, I realized that we had found someone truly extraordinary. Despite having no money for an additional teacher, we simply had to add her to the staff.” Scott accepted the position of half-time reading teacher and half-time director of development for the 2013-2014 school year. She accepted a reduced salary and was willing to help wherever the school needed her. Within a few months of working around the clock, weekends and evenings included, she was promoted to Assistant Principal.

In the next three months, Scott took the lead in securing academic accreditation for the school. It was a big job. The MIA board must have been impressed because a month later, after reviewing 103 resumes, and interviewing the top three candidates, the board unanimously selected Scott to be third principal of Marco Island Academy. Andreozzi’s health had been faltering and he was hinting at retirement after the school year. He was unable to return immediately after the winter break. “His absence made it difficult for the school to maintain stability”, Watt said, “Discipline was inconsistent and the students were beginning to take advantage of this.” Andreozzi resigned and Scott was installed as principal in March 2014. MIA has never been the same.

In the two years before Scott became principal, MIA had received a “C” and then a “D” rating from the Florida Department of Education. Then, following Scott’s elevation, the ratings dramatically improved to an elite “A” designation, where it has stayed. Enrollment has risen from 68 in 2011 to 235 today. Morale has drastically improved among staff and students. Scott has also done much to foster good will in the community. Last year, she was selected to participate in Leadership Marco, a three-month course of instruction for community leaders covering all aspects of what makes Marco Island tick. Scott was selected by her Leadership Marco class as co-chair to lead the incoming class this year.

Perhaps Scott’s most enduring legacy will be the high regard and love, which her students and staff have for her. Board Chair Jane Watt is especially effusive in her praise. Watt feels that Scott is the heart and soul of the school with her most amazing quality – her love for the students. “Prior to each school year, she meets with every single new student and parent to discuss their goals. She uses this information to help each student reach their highest potential. Her passion, drive, enthusiasm and energy are contagious at our school. She makes herself available to students when they need it the most. Ms. Scott has redefined what it means to be a principal. There are no words to describe how thankful we are to have her as the principal of our school.”

But what do the students say? Through my reporting, I have gotten to know a quite a few of them. They kept returning to such words as considerate, caring, compassionate, loving, gregarious, creative, joyful, positive, funny, spontaneous, like a mother, and happy. Duneshka Cruz, a graduating senior who has been through both the bad and the good, took the time to put her thoughts to paper. Her tribute to Principal Scott is both eloquent and moving. I can do no better than to close with it here.

No bells at MIA – the P.A. system plays contemporary rock when it’s time for students to change classes, and ceases when the next class begins. Submitted Photo

Having Miss Scott as a principal has been one of the best parts of attending Marco Island Academy. She has most definitely made the school environment a special place, along with the rest of the administration. Miss Scott has such a passion for education and a love for students that cannot be matched. You will always see her around campus with an enormous smile on her face. She is exceedingly dedicated to the school and each student in it. She is not only a great principal, but a great mentor. She drives you to accomplish goals you didn’t even know were possible. She also always has an ear to listen and comfort any student who might be going through a difficult time whether it be personal or school related. Alongside the noteworthy moments, Miss Scott knows when to get her A-game on. You are either excited to step into her office or nervous because you know it’s time for a serious talk (you will always know when that time is).

Every senior’s last year of high school is the wildest. There are the college applications, scholarships, testing, and so on. Miss Scott always finds a way to remind you to take a breather and remember that whatever happens, happens. As I wait to hear back from three more universities, I can’t help but express my anxiousness to Miss Scott. What she told me really opened my eyes to the whole college process. She put both of her hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You must remember that you are not lucky to have those colleges, they are lucky to have you. It’s never the other way around.” It warmed my heart to hear her say those words.

Miss Scott has truly made an impact in my life. Now that that I will miss all my high school memories with such an incredible, brilliant, genuine principal. I will miss the drives with her as she took some students to volunteer opportunities. I will miss her being a champion in our spirit weeks. I will miss her inviting me to her office just for a chat. I could go on and on about all the moments with Miss Scott that I will cherish forever. Since she became principal, she has made my last two years of high school, ones I will never forget. I am sure most of the student body feels this way, as well.

Get ready to RELAY!

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:40pm

By Maureen Chodaba

The Luminaria Ceremony

The Relay For Life of Marco Island, presented by Robert J. Flugger, is rapidly approaching. On April 9, Mackle Park, in all its beauty and natural splendor, will be the site of this community festival and celebration of life.

A team event, this year’s Relay For Life takes the theme “Relay Road Trip – Destination – END CANCER!” As you take your road trip around the Relay track, you will want to make stops at the tents, each one representing a fundraising team, and each one depicting a state. The teams have been working diligently to raise funds in the fight against cancer, while also thinking of creative ways in which to showcase their state.

One team, Buster’s World, representing New York in the “road trip,” plans to show a video slideshow set to the tune of “New York Minute” by Don Henley. The slideshow will feature pictures of survivors, caregivers, and loved ones lost to the disease. The team captain, a former dental hygienist from New York State, will be distributing toothbrushes and other dental products, donated by the Sunstar America Corporation, to all who stop by to make a donation at their tent.

Remembering loved ones.

You may need that toothbrush after visiting Team BMO’s tent. Portraying Indiana, BMO will be offering pulled pork and corn on the cob. The Marriott’s team, representing Texas, will offer burgers and chips. There will be great fun with a Paint & Party demonstration by Masterpiece Mixers at the Keller Williams tent. The “Paint the Town Purple” campaign will feature artwork donated by local artists for a raffle. The City of Hope team will offer Hawaiian treats – stop by for leis and tropical food and beverages. At the Relay For Life there will be activities for children, games and live entertainment all day.

Kristine Taylor and Marva Sutt, Relay For Life Leadership Committee

Relay For Life is a fun event, but it is also a time to honor survivors, caregivers and remember those who have lost their battle to cancer. The day begins with the Survivor’s Lap, followed by the Caregiver’s Lap. The Sandy Holdgate Spirit of Relay Award will be presented to a survivor. This year, a special Caregiver’s Award is also being presented. Following the opening ceremonies, survivors, caregivers and their families are invited to a lunch of delicious food donated by our local restaurants. And for the first time, at 5:30 PM survivors and caregivers are invited to an ice cream social with bingo.

As the sun sets on our island, the Luminaria Ceremony will begin. The term “luminaria” traces its origin to the classical Latin word “luminare,” meaning window, and to the word “lumen,” meaning light. The Relay For Life luminaria truly are windows of light, as they let us look back at the light of those we have lost, and look forward to the brightness of the future for survivors.

Luminaria, Relay for Life’s “Windows of Light.” Photos by Maureen Chodaba

Please join us on April 9 from 10 AM until 10 PM at Mackle Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island. Start a team of your own, join an existing team, or just stop by to enjoy the day. Visit, or like the Facebook page: American Cancer Society Relay For Life Marco Island Unit. For more information, please contact the local office of the American Cancer Society at 239-642-8800 or

Pilot Project Promotes Aquatic Diversity

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:38pm

By Don Manley

Jim Timmerman and “Shadow” show off the artificial dock habitat outside his home. Photos by Don Manley

A pilot project is underway that may turn the murky waters of Marco Island’s canals into transparent, sustainable marine habitats, teaming with a diverse array of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life.

Ocean Habitats, LLC, has installed its artificial dock habitats in canals abutting six homes on the island. The simply designed habitats have are designed mimic mangrove roots in creating a home for organisms, such as larval and juvenile fish, crabs, shrimp and lobster, that consume phytoplankton – microscopic marine plants – that discolor water.

Constructed of fiberglass, PVC pipe, polypropylene rope and crab trap floats, the habitats come in two sizes, standard and the smaller “sampler,” and are installed under canal docks. According to Ocean Habitats, each habitat is able to support 60 different marine species and when fully developed over 18 months, they can clean 35,000 gallons of seawater every day.

Ocean Habitats founder, president and executive director is David Wolff, of Naples, a retired, former real estate agency owner with an academic background in marine biology. He recalls the waters around Marco from decades past, before the island was full developed and when it was possible to peer downward and see oysters on the bottom of Smokehouse Bay. Wolff said he began working on the basic concept of the artificial dock habitats when he was in college, but never “took it to the next level.”

Wolff said that once born, larval fish, crabs, shrimp and lobster can only swim for 12-to-24 hours without finding a place that provides the food, shelter and safety they need to survive, such as the artificial dock habitats. The smaller fish and crustaceans ultimately attract larger fish that feed on them and the improved habitat will also lure varieties of fish not normally seen in the island’s canals today, he added.

Cleaner water can also allow for the growth of the sea grasses that provide important aquatic habitat.

“We’re trying to help the life cycle, that was interrupted and which was impeded with the concrete seawalls and docks, after the removal of natural environment for development,” said Wolff. “It’s not a real quick process, but water quality improves year after year.”

The habitats are manufactured in Detroit, but all of the research is being conducted on Marco Island.

Marco Island City Council recently approved spending $10,000 for a pilot project that includes about 35 habitats, said Jim Timmerman, chairman of the city’s Waterways Advisory Committee. The price includes installation of the habitats and monitoring them to determine how they are performing.

It was Timmerman who brought the habitats to the attention of the Waterways Advisory Committee, which after investigating them, ultimately voted to recommend city council approve the expenditure.

He has had two standard size habitats and a sampler, which is about one quarter the size, installed behind his home for almost one year and he described the results as being “absolutely phenomenal.” They were installed last July, shortly before Timmerman and his family left for a month-long vacation in Maine.

“When we got back, we noticed a significant difference in the types of fish,” he said. “It’s amazing to see not just how they work, but how quickly they work.”

He said his son, Noah, 8, used to only catch catfish and sheepshead from their backyard and now red snappers, snook and other fish and crustaceans, not seen for a long time, are present.

“I’m putting my shoulder behind it because I would love to leave these canals in as good a condition as they can and should be for my children, other people’s children and all people that enjoy Marco Island,” Timmerman added.

Timmerman said he first became aware of the artificial dock habitats about six years ago, at a trade show, where he was promoting his company, Dynamic Seawall Maintenance System, Inc. He found the technology interesting and followed Ocean Habitats since then, as the company rode out the economic downturn. He said he decided about 18 months ago to test the products at his home before approaching the city about getting involved.

The habitats have not been deployed at the other dedicated test sites, which are located along a canal that runs between Elm and Perrine courts. Timmerman said he hopes they can be installed this spring.

Marco will serve as the first large-scale deployment of the habitats and demonstrating their effectiveness on that basis is something Wolff said will prove valuable as he markets the product. “Marco Island is giving us the chance to do that, which we’re really excited about,” he added.

For more information about Ocean Habitats, LLC, and its artificial dock habitats, email Wolff at or call 786-520-6459.

In the Kitchen With Stan Saran

Thu, 03/31/2016 - 9:35pm

By Samantha Husted

On the shelf artifacts and trinkets, on the counter Stan’s sculptures and artwork.

Stan Saran has been a Marco Island resident for a longtime. You may have heard of him. He lives in his own art gallery in what is perhaps the most colorful, bright blue building on the island. He is an artist, through and through. But unlike the average artist his mediums are limitless, his creativity inventive, and his style unbound. Coastal Breeze News met up with Stan so we could talk art and chocolate, which to him are interchangeable. He shared with us his recipe for spicy bacon chocolate cups.

Entering Stan’s home is like going back in time. But to a nonspecific, less organized time. It’s as if he hopped into a time machine and grabbed everything he could from the different eras and brought them back to his small, Miami/Art Deco-inspired apartment. He has ancient Mayan artifacts along with artwork he made when he was sixteen. On one wall hang the paintings done by his late mother, and on another samples of some of the couture dresses he designed in the 1970s. His kitchen table is carved and etched out of glass, all done by him. And his bathroom acts as a gallery for his artwork from the 1960s because he ran out of wall space.

A sculpture by Stan hangs above his kitchen sink.

His kitchen may be the most interesting aspect of his home. The appliances were either a deep black or red, while the walls and the ceiling were painted a greyish white to mimic marble. Almost everything in his house doubles as art. Above his sink is a colorful sculpture he made to look like different food items, and above his stove, which is gas, is another glass carving. Gas stoves are somewhat unusual on Marco, unless you’re a restaurant owner. Gas allows for the cook to control heat more readily, allowing for better distribution depending on what they’re making. It’s evident that Stan is as serious about cooking, as he is about his other artwork.

Back in the day Stan used to make his chocolate from scratch, which is sort of similar to making homemade coffee. It’s an involved process that includes roasting the cocoa beans, refining the chocolate and tempering it. But if you don’t have the right equipment, or even if you do have the right equipment, a lot can go wrong. While Stan agrees that nothing compares to real, homemade chocolate, the delicate operation is not conducive for the average home cook or baker. Nowadays Stan sticks to recipes that are equally as creative, just easier to make.

Stan in his art gallery/living room, under paintings by his late mother.

This recipe, though simple, is a fun one. But first I should warn you that these chocolates are spicy. If you’re not a fan of spice you may want to omit the cayenne pepper or double down the amount you add. But if you are a fan of hot food, like myself, then you’ll love these. The marriage between the chocolate and cayenne pepper is a harmonious one, with a long history. “Chocolate and chilies originated in Central America. Over 2,000 years ago the Mayans drank a concoction of chocolate and chilies. The tradition continues with you,” said Stan Saran.

The chocolates are spicy, sweet and savory all at the same time, which is interesting and unexpected. With each bite you taste something a little different.

The bacon added a layer of salty, savory goodness. That’s the beauty of Stan’s recipe it’s simple, yet so customizable. If you don’t eat bacon, feel free to dump the pig and just have the spicy chocolate. Or vice versa, it’s up to you. You could even get more creative and add other flavors such as cinnamon or allspice for a different feel.

Stan’s gas stove, a mark of a dedicated cook.

When he’s not making delicious chocolates, Stan has been working on his new yoga technique, which he calls “Baraabar Yoga, The Yoga of Balance.” Baraabar Yoga is more of a philosophy than an exercise routine, but it can double as both. For more information check out:


Stan Saran’s Spicy Bacon Chocolate Cups

Stan Saran’s Spicy Bacon Chocolate Cups

12 oz. bag of Wilton Candy Melts
(either dark or light cocoa)

1 small package of paper baking cups

¼ cup Real Bacon Bits

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. Arrange paper cups on tray.

2. Prepare set amounts of cayenne pepper and bacon bits and set aside.

3. Empty 12 oz. bag of candy melts into a microwave safe glass bowl. Set microwave to 50% power and cook for 30 seconds. Stir thoroughly, then continue to microwave at 15-second intervals until smooth and completely melted. Be careful not to overheat the chocolates or they will separate, crystalize and burn!

4. Once the chocolate is smooth and completely melted, quickly stir in cayenne pepper and bacon bits. Stir quickly so that the chocolate stays warm and liquid-y.

5. Using a teaspoon, fill each paper cup to the top. The chocolate will solidify within 5 minutes and should last a week, or a few months if refrigerated.

6. If you don’t like hot pepper or bacon- leave it out. But feel free to add your own touch like orange zest, sea salt, cinnamon or nutmeg-the possibilities are limitless!