By Carol Glassman
Have you fully recovered from Olympic fever yet? Even from a distance it’s hard not to get caught up in the fervor and fever of the Olympic Games, getting a camera’s view of a country we may never visit and having an opportunity to witness people striving to be No. 1 after years of training, deprivation of a ‘normal’ life and hard work.
A little of that competitive nature must be spreading, judging by the way people handle that four-wheeled lethal weapon commonly known as the automobile. Give people steering wheels and horns, and they become creatures that would make savages look tame. It’s a close contest between which is more dangerous around here: a car in motion or one that is parked.
Recently, I joined a friend for lunch at a local restaurant, and when I came out, I found a small grey car had parked so closely to my car that there was no way I could open the door. What was worse, that car was parked in a skinny walkway, not a parking spot. I returned to the restaurant where they kindly canvassed the patrons until a very tall woman approached me, placed her arms across her chest and asked, “What’s the problem?”
“The problem,” I replied, as I pointed out the window,“ is that someone has parked that grey car in a way that I cannot open the door to my car.”
“Oh,” she said as she stood there.
I admit I was a little taken aback by her attitude and lack of motion, but the best was yet to come.
“That isn’t a legal parking spot; it’s a walkway,” I added, hoping she might take a hint and move.
Lady Bountiful slowly uncrossed her arms and plodded back to her table, where she slowly picked up her keys and strolled back to me.
“Why don’t you just call a tow truck,” she said, “and then you can wait another half an hour.”
What? I had not mentioned I was in a hurry. What was her problem?
Two can play the game, so I slowly withdrew my cell phone from my handbag, (the battery of which incidentally was dead) and replied, “What a good idea! And while I’m at it, I’ll call the Marco Island Police Department, so they will know why the tow truck came here.”
That moved her. She ambled out and moved her car. Wouldn’t you know it — no iPhone camera to take a photo of this princess.
“I did apologize,” she threw over her shoulder as she returned to the restaurant.
Oh, I must have missed that! Was I supposed to thank her? But it’s a small town. She’s sure to reappear, and I’d know that car anywhere — unless she gets a paint job. Karma is wonderful.
I guess I’m a magnet for parking fools. Just last evening I met friends for dinner at a different restaurant. I parked well within the lines of a parking spot. Wouldn’t you know it! This time a very large white car parked, or should I say squeezed, (you guessed it) onto a walkway beside my car. Fortunately, I had no problem getting out of the space, but in the darkness when we left, I had a problem reading the rather vile two-word epithet the driver had left on my windshield, punctuated with a series of exclamation points (which I hope soothed his anger before he began to drive). It was very breezy; the wind whipped it right out of my hands, so I am unable to frame it for posterity. Maybe it landed on someone else’s car so he too can wonder what is going on with these people.
I would consider riding a bicycle when I go to a restaurant, but I have a feeling that these terribly entitled folks would find something wrong with how and where I parked it at a cycle rack. They would probably manage to park on top of it, or find another reason to become obnoxious.
They say that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones, and I’ll add to that. People who drive unusual cars should not do and say nasty, threatening things, especially to people to have a penchant for unusual cars and are tempted to describe them with their license plate numbers in the newspaper. You know who you are; now try to behave. This is paradise after all. You might upset the angels, and ruin your chances to advance through the gates — and park inside.
By Noelle H. Lowery
The Sunrise Rotary Club of Marco Island, the Kiwanis Club and the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco Island are gearing up for the Sixth Annual Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, and this year, visitors will notice some changes.
First, the schedule is different with a new Friday-Saturday line-up. Second, there is an additional culinary theme — barbecue — and a rock ’n’ roll musical act has been added. Finally, the festival’s marketing plan has a new look, which attracted a new, high-profile sponsor, Acura-North America. The car maker will be at the festival offering test drives.
“We are very excited. We’ve really reinvented ourselves this year,” says Dianna Dohm, the director of the festival who heads up marketing. “We have more sponsors than in the past…Acura actually contacted us, and told us they found us on Facebook and the web. We are reaching an audience that we have never reached before, and when people start calling us, we know we are doing our job.”
Part of that job included revamping the festival’s logo to include a fresh seafood band partaking in the festivities. It also included changing the festival’s usual Saturday-Sunday schedule. This year’s festival will be held Friday and Saturday, March 28-29, 11 AM-9 PM. According to Dohm, attendance at the event has held steady — between 9,000-10,000 — for the last four years, but festival officials noticed that attendance numbers on Sundays were traditionally low.
“We watched attendance trends,” she explains. “We evaluated attendance by the hour, and we found the bulk happened on Saturday.” So, officials shook up the schedule for 2014, adding Friday and eliminating Sunday altogether.
Subsequently, a Friday night musical headliner was needed to compliment the down-home country flavor of Saturday’s musical entertainment, Fakahatchee Band. Enter Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band. Satisfaction will take the Seminole Casino-Immokalee Stage at 7 PM on Friday, and Fakahatchee will works its musical magic Saturday beginning at 6 PM. Other musical acts will play throughout both days starting at 1 PM.
“We are a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll this year,” quips Dohm.
The final alteration incorporates barbecue into the event’s menu of high-quality, fresh seafood and traditional festival fare of pizza, lemonade, popcorn, ice cream and various beverages. The festival also will include 60 arts and crafts vendors and a Kids Zone, completed with a Bungee Bounce, rock climbing wall and s jump house.
Admission is $8 for adults, and children 12 and under are free. Organizers recommend visitors bring blankets and lawn chairs to set up for the concerts, but coolers and pets are prohibited.
As always, proceeds from the festival will be split between the three organizing entities. Dohm notes that last year’s festival raised about $60,000 between entrance fees and scholarships, allowing each club to net about $20,000 to be used for their service work. “It all goes back into the community,” she says.
BEYOND THE COAST
It is Saturday night, March 15. A bright full moon graces Marco Island. It is the end of yet another beautiful day as I sit in front of my desktop computer writing this opinion piece, with windows in my room wide open to the scents and sounds of nature. It is very peaceful.
It is hard to imagine that somewhere in the horizon there, past the Gulf of Mexico, the mountains and the oceans, Ukrainians are waking up to a miserable day, when a large portion of their country (Crimea) will be separated and annexed into Russia by a ruthless dictator as a result of a sham referendum whose results are known even before the first ballot is cast.
It is hard to imagine that just a few hundred miles south of the Ukraine people are waking up all around Turkey after many days of street demonstrations, where many were injured, against Prime Minister Erdogan who is slowly but surely turning into a dictator.
It is hard to imagine that just a few miles south of Turkey in Syria people are fighting another dictator named Assad who has killed and used chemical weapons on thousands of his own people and continues unabated.
It is hard to imagine that due east and right next door to Syria an Iraqi government headed by President Al-Maliki — which is in power only because more than 3,000 of our young men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to make it happen — is willingly watching his country fall into the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists and Iranian Mullahs.
It is hard to imagine that only a few hundred miles due east in Iraq a bunch of Iranian Mullahs are busy working on producing a nuclear weapon to “erase Israel off the map of the world” after successfully fooling America and the West that their efforts are perfectly legitimate and for peaceful purposes only.
It is hard to imagine that due east of Iran in Afghanistan — where more of our sons and daughters blood was shed to get rid of a hoard of ruthless savages called the Taliban — President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign an agreement to protect the lives and guarantee the safety of 38,000 or so of our troops still in that God-forsaken country trying to maintain peace saving the very Karzai’s rear end.
It is hard to imagine that only a few hundred miles south of Key West in Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is attacking his own people to maintain a miserably failed Socialist regime brought on by his predecessor President Chavez who is finally smelling the sulfur he so proudly talked about during his various long and boring speeches at the United Nations.
And finally it is hard to imagine that after days and days of searching, using all the modern equipment and tools known and unknown to men, there is no trace of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard. Terrorism is suspected.
And we sit here totally helpless and powerless to do anything about any of these events. More than anything else, the feeling of helplessness bothers me the most. I ask myself over and over “what happened to the country that won a world war and freed the peoples of Europe from tyrants; invented the Ford assembly line; sent the first man to the moon; is the first to respond to all natural or man-made disasters around the world; possesses the mightiest armed forces; home of Microsoft and Apple?”
The world is falling apart only because the world lacks a strong America. How did we get to this point in our history? That is a very long discussion for another day; however once one examines the events I listed above, one may come to the same conclusion I came to a long time ago. Without a powerful America willing to show her power intelligently, willingly and sparingly, there will never be peace in the world.
Let us go back to the list above and imagine the following:
Imagine if a powerful and resolute America drew a line and told Assad of Syria that if he crosses this line and uses chemical weapons on his own people that the consequences would be a bunch of cruise missiles raining on him the next day, and when Assad did use the chemical weapons, cruise missiles actually rained down on him?
Imagine if after Assad understood that America was serious when she threatened to do something, and if a powerful and resolute America sent a stern message to Putin and informed him in no uncertain words that his actions will be met with the harshest of the reactions, would Russian soldiers be in the Crimea today?
Imagine if a powerful and resolute America told the Iranian Mullahs that continuing to work on obtaining nuclear weapons will result in America cutting off all financial resources of their regime and totally ruin their economy; and the Mullahs thumbed their collective noses at this threat, yet the next day all financial institutions around the world shut their doors to them and no one purchased their oil. Would they continue to build centrifuges and work on getting a nuclear weapon?
Imagine if a powerful and resolute America informed Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela that unless he stopped killing the demonstrators in the streets whose only wish is to determine their own fate that America will no longer purchase Venezuelan oil (presently we purchase 12 percent of our oil from Venezuela, around $76 million worth per day) which keeps his regime in power; and Maduro knows that this is no idle threat. Do you think he would continue to shoot demonstrating students and workers?
There is no powerful and resolute America today. Neither our friends nor our enemies take us seriously anymore. We are not as powerful as we used to be in their eyes, and we have been reduced to being spectators to the world events. A powerful and resolute America is the only way to real world peace. We may never have to exercise our power; just the mere thought that we may actually exercise it would be a deterrent to the likes of Putin, Maduro, Al Maliki, Assad, Erdogan, Karzai and the Mullahs in Iran.
A powerful America certainly insures world peace; a weak America opens the door to conflicts. We have been here before and we have overcome. We shall overcome this time too.
We are Americans after all. We can, and we will do it!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.
Tarik Ayasunfirstname.lastname@example.org [email_link]
The Keller Williams Realty is one of the largest real estate franchise companies in North America. The company mission to build careers worth having, businesses worth owning and lives worth living® for its associates, is a philosophy which has led to many successes and exponential growth. Recently, the local Keller Williams office celebrated a year success during their annual Triple Crown Award ceremony at Bistro Soleil.
The McCarty Group came in First Place for Market Share for the Top Sales Group by Units with the total sales of 94 Units equaling $39,385,550 for the third year in a row. This achievement was termed the HAT Trick.
The Wilkins Group came in First Place for Market Share for Top Sales Group by Volume with Total Sales of 46 Units totaling $57,520,555.
Overall, Keller Williams came in FIRST PLACE for Market Share with $238,676,009.
New team leader Cindy Griesse celebrated the company’s achievements during 2013….
Rookie of the Year:
Closed Sales Volumn Awards:
Million Dollar Club:
Cindy Doeringer, Mike Skudnig and Roger Fleming.
Two Million Dollar Club:
Sandi Sims, Mike Buddemeyer, Bill Irvine and Cindy Timmerman.
Silver Circle 3-5:
Patrick Carley, Michael Ludwig, Bev Moyer, Carole Pransky, Grace McLaren, Jim O’Donnell, The Bates Team.
Gold Circle 5-8:
The Martin Team, The Henderson Team,
The Rouleau Group, The Sydloksy Group.
Platinum Circle 8-12:
The Shapiro Team.
Presidents Club 12+:
12+ Florida Sunshine Real Estate Pros,
The Gulf to Golf Team, The Busch Team, The McCarty Group and The Wilkins Team.
Top Sales Agent by Unit:
Bev Moyer and Sandi Sims (tied).
Top Sales Agent by Volume:
Top Sales Team by Unit and Volume:
Florida Sunshine Real Estate Pros.
Listings Sales Volume & Unit Awards:
Agents by Units/Volume:
3rd – Sandi Sims and Carole Pransky.
2nd – Bev Moyer.
1st - Cindy Timmerman.
Teams by Units/Volume (of two):
3rd – The Shapiro Team, The Sydlosky Team, Florida Sunshine Real Estate Pros.
2nd – The Henderson Team and The Bates Team.
1st – Florida Sunshine Real Estate Pros and The Martin Team
Groups by Units/Volume (team of 3 or more):
3rd – Gulf to Golf Team and the Busch Group.
2nd – The Wilkins Team and The McCarty Group.
1st – The McCarty Group and the Wilkins Team.
By Coastal Breeze News Staff
The statistics are startling.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die everyday from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger, and for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities, such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
Additionally, the United States Lifesaving Association reports that in some states — California, Florida, and Hawaii — drowning is the leading cause of injury death for persons under 15, and it comes as no surprise that the youngest of children (ages 1-4) have the highest rates of drowning.
Enter Collier County’s new “Kids Don’t Float, Lifejackets Do” program. Launched at Naples’ Sugden Regional Park in January, the lifejacket loaner program is a cooperative effort between Collier County’s Parks and Recreation Department, NCH Healthcare System and the Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County.
A special dedication event was held recently at Tigertail Beach to kick-off Marco Island’s participation in the program. On hand for the event were Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Executive Director of NCH Safe & Health Children’s Coalition Paula DiGrigoli, Marco Island Assistant Chief of Police Dave Baer and Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department Chief Michael.
There are now five lifejacket loaner stations located throughout Collier County — Sugden Park, Clam Pass, Vanderbilt Beach, South Marco Island, and Tigertail Beach — and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Floatillas 93, 95 and 96 check the condition of the lifejackets on a monthly basis, replacing any missing or damaged vests. Collier County Parks and Recreation staff will do weekly checks as well.
Bob Abudato of Floatilla 95 said, “If their efforts save one life, it will have been worth it…With good leadership you can accomplish a lot of good things.”
Modeled after the “Kids Don’t Float-Give Them Something That Does” initiative adopted in Homer, AK, in 1997, there will be 20 lifejackets per station with four adult sizes, four sizes 10-18 years, five sizes 5-10 years, and seven sized for children five and under. Officials in Homer cite 24 lives saved last year with the vest loaner program.
The idea to bring the program to Collier County developed after pediatrician Dr. Todd Vedder attended to two-year-old Daniella Alexandra Pantoja who accidentally drowned at Sugden Park in June 2013. Vedder also is the chairman of the Children’s Coalition, whose mission is to achieve and sustain a zero drowning rate for children in Collier County. This ambitious and cooperative program will provide another layer of protection against drowning.
Together, Vedder and DiGrigoli put the wheels in motion to make the program a reality locally. Collier County’s Parks and Recreation Department built the stands and signage for the lifejackets, and program donors’ names are inscribed on the signs.
“We hope the city of Naples will join us,” Fiala told the audience gathered at Tigertail Beach. “And place (the lifejackets) along their beaches when they see how well the program works.”
Tammie bravely fought cancer for nearly a year and a half before her passing.
Tammie was born January 8, 1963, in Copley, OH, to Harold and Lilly Bennett. Tammie moved to Marco Island at an early age, where she grew up with her four sisters and eventually met her husband, Harlow Alonzo Yaeger III (Lon). Tammie gave birth to the light of their lives, their son Harlow Yaeger IV, in 1987, and as a family, they lived in several parts of the country before settling in their favorite state — Texas.
Tammie will be remembered for her kind spirit and genuine love for both people and animals. It was often said of Tammie that she had never met a stranger, and the countless friends and loved ones she leaves behind prove that statement true.
Tammie is survived by her husband of 26 years, Lon Yaeger, and her son, Harlow, of Austin. She also is survived by her father, Harold Bennett, and four sisters: Tonya Webb, Terina Cherry-Foster, Anne Feinman and Jamie Bakke, along with an extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and brothers-in-law.
A memorial service was on Wednesday, March 12, at Purple Sage Ranch in Bandera. The family asks that donations be made to Cowboy Capital Pet Assistance League (C.C.P.A.L) or to the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic of Bandera County.
We are all better people for having breathed the same air as our precious angel Tammie.
By Noelle H. Lowery
During its March 17 meeting, the Marco Island City Council voted to untable its previous discussion about the language for the proposed referendum “to determine whether to renovate and expand the indoor community center at Mackle Park.” Council will take up the discussion at future meeting, possibly on April 7.
The motion — made by Councilor Joe Batte and seconded by Councilor Bob Brown — passed by a vote of 4-2. Council Vice Chairman Larry Sacher and Councilor Amadeo Petricca voted in dissent, and Councilor Chuck Kiester was not in attendance.
Councilors attempted to tackle the issue during the March 3 meeting, but lingering questions about pricing forced them to table the discussion until further information could be provided about the true costs of the long-debated community center project. The current plan for a turnkey, modular, precast concrete design concept provided by Royal Concrete Concepts is nearly one-year-old, and so is the $2.25 million price tag which expired in September 2013.
Further, multiple attempts to contact the Royal Concrete folks have proven difficult for Marco Island officials. That’s because Royal Concrete recently merged with Metromont Corp., a concrete company with manufacturing facilities in Greenville, SC; Altanta; Nashville, TN; Charlotte, NC; Richmond, VA; and Bartow, FL.
It is a game of beat the clock, after all. Councilors want to hold the referendum concurrently with the upcoming primary election on Aug. 26, but they are facing a June deadline to give the language for the referendum to Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards.
Parks and Recreation Administrative and Facilities Manager Alex Galiana opened the door for the motion to untable the discussion during his department’s monthly report to City Council. No hard bid was available for reference, and city officials continue to have difficulties contacting Royal Concrete Concepts to get an updated quote. Even so, Galiana and City Manager Roger Hernstadt did preliminary pricing research for similar community center projects in Southwest Florida. Here is what they found:
• Collier County has approved $2.24 million for the new 11,558-square-foot Eagle Lakes Community Center in east Naples. That is $194 per square foot.
• Brian Howell with Naples-based Phoenix Associates of South Florida Inc., a construction and engineering firm, confirmed that a figure between $190 and $200 per square foot would be sufficient to build Marco Island’s current 16,000-square-foot community center with no gymnasium.
• According to W. Jeffrey Mudgett, a principal with Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects Inc. in Fort Myers, the portions of the new 30,000-square-foot North Fort Myers Recreation Center — the areas that did not include an enclosed gymnasium — cost Lee County just $162 per square foot. The current Mackle Park design concept is based on the plans for this new rec center. Mudgett suggested Marco Island add 5 percent to account for increases in market costs along with a $5 per square foot premium because construction costs on Marco are higher than those in the middle of Lee County. The price: $175 per square foot, or $2.8 million for the 16,000-square-foot building with no contingencies, furnishing or accessories.
In the end, Galiana and Hernstadt told City Council the amount in the referendum should be $3.5 million, with the question being: “Shall the City expend up to $3.5 million to construct a New Community Center at Mackle Park?”
Galiana explained that the figure of $3.5 million was based on a “traditional” construction method and pricing of $200 per square foot plus a 9 percent contingency.
Councilors were skeptical. “This dollar number is 56 percent higher than what was given to us by Royal Concrete,” noted Councilor Larry Honig. “We led the citizens to believe that we were serious about reducing the price of this proposal.”
He added: “I don’t think enough work has been done to reconcile why we were given a bid for $2.5 million, and then a few months later, we cannot find any contractor willing to come in less than 56 percent more. If that is reality and that is where we are, I am willing to accept that. I just don’t think enough work has been done.”
Batte agreed, “I think we have the opportunity here for staff to do a little more work.”
Not long after Galiana finished his report, Greg West, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and board member Dr. Gerry Swiacki gave councilors an update on the marketing efforts for the Mackle Park plan. Both men applauded Council’s decision to untable the referendum discussion.
“Mackle Park adds to everyone’s quality of life on Marco Island,” Swiacki told City Council. “The city will build the best community center (it) can for the cost available.”
By Noelle H. Lowery
For iPhone users, it is no secret that their cell phone has changed the way they record the important moments in their lives.
“It’s played a huge role,” says local photographer Jason Reinhart. “The iPhone has made it possible to share moments with family and friends with a simple click of the upload button.”
It has even taken the place of professional photographers in some cases, Reinhart notes. “In recent news, the Chicago Sun Times fired its photographers to teplace them with iPhones photographers. That’s a huge move showing how photography is evolving,” he adds.
Reinhart will explore these themes while leading a new workshop — iPhone Photography and Editing — at the Marco Island Center for the Arts on Monday, March 24, 10 AM-12 PM. Reinhart has more than 50,000 followers on Instagram, and is the co-founder of @justgoshoot, an Instagram feed designed to provide exposure to talented underrated mobile photographers. The cost for the workshop is $60 for both members and nonmembers.
According to Reinhart, he developed the idea for the workshop last October. “I had been taking photos on the beaches of Marco Island, and in that time talked to plenty of people, and noticed a majority of people I talked to were not using their iPhone camera and apps available to the fullest potential,” he explains. “So I thought it would be great if their was a class or workshop where people could signup and learn basics, and also open their eyes as to what their phone camera can do.”
Reinhart has been perfecting the iPhone photo since 2007, when he bought his first iPhone. Admittedly, he was amazed at the camera that was built into that phone. “I loved that it was small enough to put in my pocket but almost as powerful as a point-and-shoot camera,” says Reinhart. “When I started downloading apps to edit photos, I realized it was like I now have photoshop on me at all times.”
The key, though, is knowing how to use those apps to edit the photos taken with the phone, Reinhart acknowledges. It is also important to learn to use existing light to give an image impact and composition that draws a viewer into the photo.
The workshop will teach people the basic settings within the phone to take photos in various situations, as well as focus on phone accessories that improve shooting. Reinhart also will introduce a number of apps that will help people get the best possible images to share with friends and family.
Anyone interested in checking out Reinhart’s work can look him up on Instagram @JasonHReinhart. For more information about the Center for the Arts workshop, contact the Center at 239-394-4221, or visit the center’s website at www.marcoislandart.org.
By Renee Wilson
The Friends of Rookery Bay held the Fifth Annual Batfish Bash for the Bay Saturday, March 15, at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center in Naples. Nearly 200 guests enjoyed a silent auction amidst the aquariums and art gallery, sunset and cocktails overlooking Henderson Creek, and a live auction followed by dinner and dancing on the center’s back lawn.
FORB is the non-profit corporation that has been connecting people with Southwest Florida’s dynamic estuarine environment since 1987. Its mission is to support the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park.
“With the back drop we have outside — under the stars and a full moon — the night could not have been more perfect,” said Craig Seibert, president of the FORB board. “We raised more money this year than ever before,” he added, saying the event raised $100,000 in total.
Silent auction items amidst the two-story exhibit hall delighted auction enthusiasts as they sipped on their Batfish Brew (the event’s signature drink), while servers passed hors d’oeuvres. They got some great deals on items like artwork, fishing charters, kayak tours, dinner deals, rounds of golf, wine tastings, and Red Sox tickets at Fenway Park. There was even a week-long stay in a lakeside cabin in Minnesota. All items were donated by local companies and other supporters.
Out under the stars, event participants enjoyed delicious food from Matthews and Gardner Catering. The menu included soups, sandwiches, a fresh grilling station, and many delectable dessert options.
After dinner was served, Chris Lombardo, the evening’s energetic auctioneer, kept everyone on their toes and grabbing for their bidding paddles as he sold all seven live auction items, including artwork by Guy Harvey, trips to New York City and New Hampshire, a boat tour and lunch with the Reserve Director Gary Lytton, and a getaway at a secluded cabin within the Reserve complete with a campfire dinner and boat tour. The headlining live auction item — a seven-day luxury yacht vacation in Belize — caused quite a stir in the crowd until the bidding ended at $3,400. A special category called “Fund-a-Need” raised a record-setting $9,300 toward the purchase of a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) to be used by the Reserve’s research and resource management staff for mapping the shoreline, prescribed fires, beach clean-ups and more.
Following the auction, guests flocked to the dance floor as the Girl Meets Boy band ended the evening on a high note. Corporate sponsors for the event included Minto, Arthrex, Lennar, Naples Daily News, J.R. Evans Engineering, Pulte, Fifth Third Bank, Gulf Coast Construction, Marco Island Marriott, Stock Development, Argo Land, Southern Wine & Spirits, Artistic Science, Aggressor Fleet, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and StoreSmart self-storage.
Proceeds from the Batfish Bash for the Bay support the Reserve’s youth science education programs, research and habitat management. For more information about the Rookery Bay Reserve or Friends of Rookery Bay visit www.rookerybay.org.
By Noelle H. Lowery
On a quiet, sunny Tuesday in March, Bob Votruba and his six-year-old Boston Terrier, Bogart, pulled their big blue kindness bus into the parking lot of Tommie Barfield Elementary School for a third visit in just a year. This time, the visit was extra special because Votruba was giving a special “One Million Acts of Kindness” plaque to TBE Principal Dr. Jory Westberry and her students.
You see, the Ohio native has been traveling the Unites States for the last seven years, spreading the gospel of kindness to school children everywhere. According to Votruba, his work grew out of the April 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech in which 32 people were killed and 17 injured by a lone gunman. “I was deeply moved by this event, divesting myself of nearly every possession I had and setting off in a bus to travel the country…and now the world,” says Votruba.
His goal: To help others realize how important having kindness as a goal in life is in helping people to be the kindest, most caring individuals possible.
The quick stop at TBE was to reward its students, administration, faculty, staff and parents for taking Votruba’s pledge to commit “One Million Acts of Kindness” in a year. Votruba explains that in a school community of approximately 400 students or more — with all the faculty, staff and as many parents as possible participating — one million acts of kindness can be performed collectively from September to June. TBE is just the 26th school in the nation to make the pledge prior to the school year beginning and to receive the plaque.
“Schools that shows me that they are actively working on creating a culture of kindness for the extended ‘family; of that campus will receive a plaque,” Votruba says. “Tommie Barfield Elementary exemplifies the criteria mentioned.
In total, Votruba has visited more than 300 schools in the last five years, and more than 20,000 individuals have taken his kindness pledge. Recently, Votruba was the recipient of a kindness as well, when Blue Bird Corp. donated a new bus to him and Bogart for their travels.
Votruba and Bogart also visited TBE in February when the two spent the day talking to TBE students about kindness and reading from Bogart’s book series. When completed, the series will include 12 books that teach children about the world through Bogart’s eyes. Votruba donated two signed copies of “Bogart Begins His Kindess Adventure” to TBE.
“We were so honored to have Bob Votruba and Bogart visit our school for an entire day,” says Westberry. “Bob and Bogart read their book to classes and demonstrated what one act of kindness can do, represented by an unfolding heart. Many of our students were awed by Bob and his Kindness Bus, but the message was very powerful — just be kind.”
By Carol Glassman
At the March meeting of the City’s Code Enforcement Board, Officer Patrick Hayman reported on the progress of a property at 32 Gulfport Court, which had been cited as a public nuisance and an unsafe structure following a serious fire and explosion that injured the home’s owner, Roberto Roque (Roberto Roque Revocable Trust) in early December 2012. The property also has required extensive work on a sinkhole that appeared.
Roque appeared at the hearing to explain that he had tried to prepare the house sufficiently for sale and then realized the structure was beyond salvaging. He also has spent almost $90,000 to repair the sinkhole.
Hayman said the family had a deadline of January 4 to repair the violations and that several offers to sell the property had not been successful.
Al Cahoon of Marco Island appeared at the meeting to say that he currently has an offer on the property to purchase it “as is” with a March 31 closing date. His plan is to have the house demolished and then sell the vacant lot. Cahoon said he intends to pay for the sewer hookup but not the city’s hard costs or maintenance fees which are approximately $2,000.
City staff advised Cahoon and Roque that these costs and the city’s lien against the property would have to be settled before a demolition permit would be issued.
Roque was given 30 days to pay the costs. The eventual property owner will then have 60 days to obtain the permit and demolish the building or face fines of $200 per day. If the city demolishes the property after the 60 days, costs incurred would become part of the owner’s fine.
In other action during the meeting, former city councilor Heyward Boyce appeared on behalf of his daughter and son-in-law, Ann Boyce and Kevin O’Neill, who had purchased a property at 83 Madagascar Court. They had appeared before the Board at February’s meeting, but as the property was not in compliance at that time for failure to connect to the city’s sewer system, mediation could not be arranged. Boyce reported that after receiving title to the property on February 24 and bringing it into compliance almost immediately, the sewer assessment fee, hard costs and the city’s administration fees had been paid. The board voted unanimously to waive all fines.
John R. Wood Properties has opened a new office on Marco Island at 1000 North Collier Boulevard. The 4000-square-foot office will be staffed by 30-35 Realtors and will include a John R. Wood Cyber Café™ to best serve the company’s mobile agents and transactions.
“For the first time, this will give us a total presence on Marco Island,” said George Percel, who was hired to manage the office. Percel has been a Realtor in this area since 1992 when he was named “Realtor Rookie of the Year” by the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors.
“Obviously, we are excited to expand in this new market in a bold way,” said Phil Wood, president. “With George’s experience and our already high awareness on Marco Island, we anticipate substantial sales this year.”
“We have already been contacted by half a dozen agents who are delighted to have the increased presence of a company known for its high sales volume and reputation for helping agents achieve their full potential.”
Founded in 1958, John R. Wood Properties is Southwest Florida’s oldest and largest real estate firm representing more than 2,000 clients annually through its 300 agents and 100 staff people in 12 offices from Marco Island to Sanibel/Captiva. John R. Wood Properties is routinely ranked as one of the highest sales per agent companies in the nation.
A ritual dating back millions of years takes place again this spring on Florida beaches. Spring marks horseshoe crab mating season, and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want the public’s help identifying spawning sites.
Beachgoers likely will have the best luck spotting mating horseshoe crabs around high tide, just before, during or after a new or full moon. The conditions around the new moon on March 30 will create ideal opportunities to view the spawning behavior of horseshoe crabs.
Mating crabs “pair up,” with the smaller male on top of the larger female. Other male crabs may also be present around the couple. Beachgoers lucky enough to spot horseshoe crabs are asked to note how many they see and whether the horseshoe crabs are mating. If possible, the observer should also count how many horseshoe crabs are mating adults and how many are juveniles (4 inches wide or smaller).
In addition, biologists ask observers to provide the date, time, location, habitat type and environmental conditions — such as tides and moon phase — when a sighting occurs.
The FWC asks the public to report sightings through one of several options. Go to MyFWC.com/Contact and go to “Horseshoe Crab Nesting Activity” for the “Submit a Horseshoe Crab Survey” link, then select “Florida Horseshoe Crab Spawning Beach Survey.” You can also report findings via email at horseshoe@MyFWC.com or by phone at 866-252-9326.
The survey program began in April 2002, and through 2013, FWC received 2,831 reports from across Florida. Horseshoe crabs, often called “living fossils,” are an important part of the marine ecosystem. Their eggs are a food source for animals. Birds, such as red knots, rely on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their long migrations to nesting grounds.
Further, horseshoe crabs are valuable to human medicine. Pharmaceutical companies use horseshoe crab blood to ensure intravenous drugs and vaccine injections are bacteria-free and sterile. Scientists also use horseshoe crabs in cancer research.
Saturday, March 15, was a beautiful day for sailing, and the Sailing Association of Marco Island took advantage of it, as it held its annual Lady’s Day Regatta in the Gulf waters along Marco Island’s beach.
The coastal breeze was just right to be caught in the sails and gentle enough to provide a sway of waves for the boats at anchor. Even so, it was close quarters on the water, and some held their breath for a beat or two at the awesome sights.
This is just one of several event SAMI conducts on Marco waters. The club plans and participates in several regattas each year and hosts several cruises to various locations. Organized in 1969, SAMI’s purposes is to encourage the sport of sailing and promote the science of navigation and seamanship among all who love to sail. The club also holds monthly meetings, both at local restaurants and pot luck dinners held at various locations around the area. Most gatherings feature a keynote speaker on areas of interest to the club.
Next on SAMI’s agenda is The Gulf Coast Sailing Club’s 38th Annual Regatta, set for March 28-30. Known as the Porsche of Naples Cup, the regatta also will feature Peter Schutz, the former CEO of Porsche, and Brain MacInnes of Oracle Team USA America’s Cup Group.
SAMI is always looking for new members and invites interested boating enthusiasts to check out its website at www.samisailor.org for more information.
SAMI Lady’s Day Regatta Boat Name Sail No Capt’s Name Adventure M36 Barb Evans Dragon Fly Plus 5310 Liza Brown Moby Nick 40606 Nicolette Amendola Vagabond 10890 Terai Griffith-Spence Southern Crescent 37006 Laura Kerckhoff Sea Swan 18 Brownwen McKiever Eve 711 Ruth Bee
By Noelle H. Lowery
On March 16, the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation raised more than $11,000 during its Fourth Annual Nest Fest — the most money raised at a single function by the organization to date.
“It was a great success,” says Carl Way, the foundation’s chairman and founder. “We thank all those that supported our cause.” The event was held at the Island Country Club.
The event is one way the foundation helps fund its efforts to protect and maintain the habitat for Marco Island’s resident mating pair of Bald Eagles, Paleo and Calusa. The foundation leases the property — located at 665 Tigertail Court — from Collier County Public Schools for $30,000 annually. The lease coupled with general maintenance, operational and insurance costs total $45,000-$50,000 each year. Currently, the sanctuary averages 2,500-2,800 annual visitors from all over the world. Since its inception, Nest Fest has brought $6,000-$10,000 into the foundation’s coffers annually.
Way reminds Marco Islanders to keep their eyes open for upcoming information about the foundation’s fall “ Welcome Back To The Nest “ event at the Snook Inn. For more information about Nest Fest and the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation, call 239-394-9285 or visit www.marcoeaglesanctuaryfoundation.org.
By Noelle H. Lowery
April is a very important month for Rob Eder’s art history class at Marco Island Academy. His students will be showing roughly 30 original art works at the La Petite Galerie at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.
These are not just any old paintings or sketches, and patrons definitely will not see any pottery. What they will see are computer-enhanced watercolors of guitars — bright, colorful, authentic guitars.
Part of a class project, Eder divided his class into working groups who then created their own guitar design companies complete with corporate name and logo. Each group had to design 16 guitars based on traditional templates for acoustical guitars and popular electric guitars created by Fender, Gibson and Les Paul.
Students in each group draw their guitar design, and create the watercolor, which is then scanned into a computer. Then, if students choose, they use a digital photo manipulation program to alter their creation as they see fit with various filters and effects. Eder’s class used Picmonkey and PhotoShop. Using a giclee printer, a watercolor image is created on museum-quality, acid-free archival watercolor paper, and voila, a unique work of is born.
Eder assigned a similar project to his art history class last year. Only, the subject of the project was skateboards. “The students’ personalities really came out into the design of the skateboards,” he says.
He is hoping for the same result this year, especially since a few of his students are avid guitar players. Take sophomore Sean Flynn, who has been playing guitar for the last two years. The classic rock loving kid was really excited when Eder announced the project.
“I took to the guitar very quickly…I’m good with music,” Flynn explains. “With the art stuff, I am clueless. The fact that Mr. Eder was able to combine both elements made it easier for me, and I was more interested in it.”
His company is Trinity, and his business partners are freshman Sydney Feriozzi and sophomore Emily McRae. Flynn’s favorite original design was based on elements he would include on his Les Paul guitar if he could create it himself. Vibrant colors and a maze-like body bring the picture to life for Flynn.
Juniors Livia Lenhoff and Katie Nelson have a different take on the project. Their company’s name — Soul Serial Eater — was inspired by Lenhoff’s collection of old Emerson, Lake and Palmer albums. (No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I said albums.) Their company logo is straight out of the 1960s as well complete with psychedelic flavor.
“I like that (the project) relates to music because I am a hug music fan,” Lenhoff says.
The girls are purist, though, and they will not alter their designs in any way with a computer program. “Photoshop devalues art,” says Lenhoff. “I am an artist. I enjoy painting and drawing and selling art…Anyone can manipulate a drawing with a computer, but being an artist, that is born in you.”
Eder welcomes the philosophical debate in his classroom: “Is it art if you use photoshop? Should we embrace digital images? That is the world we live in now.”
By Natalie Strom
News flash! Water is essential to our everyday lives! Oh, you already knew that? Good. Well, did you know that you can celebrate what keeps you alive on March 22 with the rest of the world. That’s right. It’s World Water Day, and the best way to celebrate the liquid locally is by taking a trip to Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) where its specialty, of course, is water and water research.
Head out to 300 Tower Road, just off of US-951, and you will find the Reserve tucked away in a hidden paradise of walking paths, boardwalks, mangroves and bays. To celebrate, the Learning Center at RBNERR is offering a buy-one-get-one-free entrance for the day. Learn about slithering snakes, get your hands on some wildlife in the touch tank and watch the film, “Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship.” Walk through the learning center’s two floors to learn even more about the water that flows through Southwest Florida in its many capacities.
Is your schedule already full for March 22? RBNERR’s staff wants to make sure you get a good lesson on the importance of water anyway. Regional Communications Director Renee Wilson and Kevin Cunniff, Research Coordinator, have some important facts to share not only about the water that surrounds us and drains through the Everglades, but also the importance of keeping our fresh water supply clean.
“First and foremost, every citizen and visitor of Florida drinks the water that falls as rain onto the land where it stored as surface water, primarily in wetlands, lakes, streams, and canals,” explains Cunniff. “While some of this water discharges to coastal estuaries naturally and through water management operations, a significant amount of water percolates slowly through our porous, limestone-based ground into shallow aquifers.”
These aquifers are basically holding tanks of fresh water from which we pull for municipal water supply.
“These days, we are drawing water out of aquifers at a rate that often exceeds the ability for rain water to recharge them,” states Cunniff. “This has consequences for our ability to hold back saltwater intrusion, maintain viable freshwater drinking sources and to support the habitats that collect and hold water for aquifer recharge.
“We can all help improve this situation by being conscious of the water we use. You can directly help reduce the pressure on our aquifers by reducing your personal water usage at home and your workplace, eliminating water-thirsty turf grass and exotic vegetation and by using your voice to promote habitat protection, conservation, and restoration. Re-planting with native Florida vegetation that is naturally drought-tolerant reduces or even eliminates the need for irrigation. Seventy percent of home water use in south Florida goes toward irrigation.”
“Clean water is important on so many levels,” adds Wilson, emphasizing the need to also keep our coastal waters, canals, estuaries and bays free from toxins. “Non-point source pollution is one of the biggest threats to coastal waters. It happens when rain falling on land picks up pollutants from driveways, roads, parking lots, and yards and runs off to swales and canals that lead directly to our estuaries and the Gulf of Mexico. Keeping up with regular vehicle maintenance and proper application of fertilizers and pesticides are a few easy ways of minimizing non-point source pollution.”
RBNERR constantly monitors the waters within its 110,000 acres for water quality. Wilson and Cunniff explain that the Reserve uses the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) which is used at all 28 National Estuarine Reserves across the country.
“In addition to recording weather data and collecting monthly water samples for nutrient analyses, we have deployed continuous water quality monitoring instruments at five permanent stations in the Reserve where water quality parameters are measured and recorded at 15-minute intervals,” explains Wilson. “The data collected include water temperature, depth, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity – or cloudiness or clarity.”
Shark and bird population studies are also being performed as another indicator of estuarine health within the reserve.
“Healthy coastal waters are critically important to the economy in Southwest Florida because so much of our tourism income is centered around the local waterways,” Wilson continues. “Boating, fishing, beachfront hotels, waterfront dining, ecotourism, and commercial harvest all rely on clean fresh water entering our coastal zone as runoff from summer rains. Many marine animals in the estuary and beyond are also dependent on fresh water which contains minerals and nutrients important for reproduction, shell formation, and many other functions.”
“Essentially, it is not an understatement that clean water in our estuaries, bays, and canals is the key to our health, fortune and the very livelihood of all Floridians,” states Cunniff.
It certainly isn’t. Be sure to celebrate World Water Day on March 22, but that’s not enough. Do your part and help keep our waters clean every day.
Rookery Bay is located at 300 Tower Road in Naples. For more information on World Water Day or its many programs and activities, visit rookerybay.org or call 239-530-5940.
Tips from the DEP to protect groundwater in Florida:
• Use less by not over-watering your lawn
• Consider Florida-friendly landscaping
• Water in the early morning hours to avoid evaporation
• Install rain sensor devices on sprinkler systems
• Fix leaky faucets and toilets that run continuously
• Don’t pour medications or poisonous chemicals down household drains or toilets
• Use water-saving toilets, faucets and appliances
• Limit fertilizer and pesticide use, follow the label directions
• Maintain your septic system by having tanks pumped and inspected every three to five years
• Test your drinking water wells once a year for coliform bacteria and nitrate
• Encourage and support businesses that are water-conscious
Author, national radio host, international speaker, featured guest of EWTN and mother of eight, Christina King’s highly dynamic and interactive style will inspire you to embrace the beauty of faith and God’s plan for your life. King will present “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” at San Marco Church, Wednesday, March 26, at 6:30 PM.
The Marco Faith and Wine event is sponsored by Coastal Breeze News.
“Treasure in Earthen Vessels” is an encouraging and inspirational presentation describing individuals as unique treasures in earthen vessels that God can, and does, work through — even though we might be “cracked.” King uses an entertaining style with visuals to tell her incredibly moving and heartwarming story. Full of faith and hope, this presentation will help the audience to enter into a deeper relationship with God, becoming transformed and allowing Him to shine through our “cracks” and weaknesses.
King holds a degree in psychology and counseling with graduate studies in family counseling. Her new book, “Desperate for Love,” will be available in bookstores soon. She speaks on varied topics related to faith including: embracing your greatness, the dignity of women, the new springtime (Evangelization), parenting teens with love, pure freedom (Chastity) and many others. To learn more about Christina, please visit: www.christinaking.com, www.CatholicMom.com, or www.embracingyourgreatness.com.
Tickets for the Marco Faith and Wine event are $25 per person and include light appetizers and a glass of wine. To purchase tickets, go to marcofaithandwine.wix.com/home or call Cindy Henning at 239-642-3177.
By Noelle H. Lowery
Recently, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and Sunshine Booksellers joined forces to bring renowned author Sue Monk Kidd to Marco Island for a book signing event for Kidd’s latest release — “The Invention of Wings.”
It was a natural partnership, after all. While Rosemary Wick, president of the Center’s board of directors, is a close friend of Kidd’s, the owners of Sunshine Booksellers — Stuart and Theresa Unsworth — have represented her for years.
To say the partnership and the event were unprecedented successes is an understatement. Tickets sold like proverbial hotcakes, and soon, the event outgrew its intended space at the Center for the Arts. In fact, nearly 300 people bought tickets.
Enter the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. Its large auditorium and additional parking made it the ideal venue for the event. The event was split between a wine and cheese reception at the Center for the Arts and the book signing and talk given by Kidd at the Synagogue. During the talk at the Synangogue, readers were issued numbers, and enjoyed the Center’s reception while they waited for their turn to get their book signed. Coffee and cookies also were served at the Synagogue.
Kidd spoke for about an hour, alternating between reading passages, describing her main characters and telling stories of her life. The book — “The Invention of Wings” — is a historical novel set in Charleston in the early 1800s. It is about a white girl named Sara Grimke, who is from a wealthy family, and her black handmaid/slave Hetty “Handful” Grimke, who she was “gifted” when she turned 11 years old. The book details their relationship and the “role” of women in society at that time.
In her talk, Kidd discussed her understanding of the constrictions placed on women from her own first-hand point of view. She likened her own struggle to find her destiny with Sara’s and Hetty’s. Kidd always wanted to become a writer, even from an early age. So, when it came for her time to choose a career, she ended up becoming a nurse — a proper career for women in the 60s and 70s, just like being a teacher, social worker or secretary.
Kidd is not stranger to themes focusing on women in society, and tackled similar questions in her much celebrate book “The Secret Life of Bees.” Published in January, “The Invention of Wings” was selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and is a New York Times #1 Bestseller.
“The book signing proceeded flawlessly,” said Wick. “We will continue to partner with Sunshine Booksellers in the future because it is so important that we all work together.”
April is National Poetry Month, and what better way to celebrate than with a poetry contest? Big Cypress National Preserve invites aspiring poets to submit their poetry for the Second Annual Big Cypress National Preserve poetry contest. Participants are encouraged to explore the national preserve, and write about their experiences.
The preserve is accepting poetry submissions through April 14. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places, and poems will be displayed on the Big Cypress National Preserve website and Facebook page. Winners will be selected by the staff of Big Cypress National Preserve by April 30.
Here are the guidelines for poetry entries:
• Poems must be single spaced.
• Poems must be 12-point font.
• Poems may be written in any format.
• Poems must be submitted by April 14.
• Poets can submit up to three poems.
• Poems must be original and unpublished.
• Poems cannot exceed two-pages (title page does not count toward this limit).
• Poems must be about subjects related to the natural or cultural history of South Florida.
• Poems must include a title page with: name of poem, name of poet, contact address, email and phone number.
Please email poems to: email@example.com. For additional information, please contact the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome center at 239-695-4758.