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Wetland Restoration Webinar Series

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 10:12am

The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) has announced its newest monthly restoration webinar series as part of its efforts to tackle some of the biggest challenges for wetland restoration and to share insights and lessons learned from experts in the field.

Twenty five experts including restoration practitioners, regulators, policy makers and academics have formed a working group to develop a series of 13 informational webinars.

Webinars will be held monthly starting this month and will run through September 2015. Each will begin at 3 PM (EST), 2 PM (CST), 1 PM (MST) and 12 PM (PST), and will be recorded and posted on ASWM’s website. Check ASWM’s web site for up-to-date information at:


The current webinar schedule is set through the end of 2014:

Tuesday, Sept. 9: How Restoration Outcomes are Described, Judged and Explained. Presented by: Joy Zedler, Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology, University of Wisconsin; Robin Lewis, Lewis Environmental Services, Inc. & Coastal Resource Group, Inc.; Richard Weber, NRCS Wetland Team, CNTSC; Bruce Pruitt, USACE Engineer Research & Development Center; Larry Urban, Montana Department of Transportation.

Thursday, Oct. 16: History of Wetland Drainage in the U.S. Presented by Tom Biebighauser, Center for Wetlands & Stream Restoration.

Tuesday, Nov. 4: How to Prepare a Good Wetland Restoration Plan. Presented by: Richard Weber, NRCS Wetland Team, CNTSC; Tom Harcarik, Ohio EPA, Division of Environmental & Financial Assistance; John Teal, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Scientist Emeritus); Lisa Cowan, Studio Verde.

Tuesday, Dec. 9: Atlantic/Gulf Coast Coastal Marshes & Mangrove Restoration. Presented by: Robin Lewis, Lewis Environmental Services, Inc. & Coastal Resource Group, Inc.; John Teal, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Scientist Emeritus); Joseph Shisler, ARCADIS; Jim Turek, NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center.


Additional topics that will be covered in future webinars include:

• Pacific Coast Wetland Restoration

• Temperate and Tropical/Subtropical Eelgrass Restoration

• Riverine/riparian wetland restoration

• Peat land restoration

• Playa and Rainwater Basin restoration

• Prairie Pothole restoration

• Vernal Pool & Pocosin restoration

• Low Impact Development wetland “restoration” in urban landscapes

• Novel ecosystems and restoration


Island Theater Company Upcoming Season

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 10:10am

Coastal Breeze News Staff
The Island Theater Company has announced the line-up for its 2014 – 2015 season.

Kicking the season off with a crash will be “Stonewall’s Bust” by John Morogiello and sponsored by Centennial Bank; it will run Oct. 25-Nov. 8. This southern comic gem is about nervous New Yorker Paul Striker who bites off more than he can chew when, while visiting his wife’s hometown deep in Dixie, he breaks a priceless Confederate heirloom and lies about it. Paul’s attempt to save his own skin with a dubious story involving moans, chains and a supposed poltergeist sets off a string of hilarious and dire events that threaten his career, his engagement and his very life.

For its annual Children’s Company production, ITC will partner with Christmas Island Style, the Marco Lutheran Church and the Island Dance Academy, to present “The Music Man, Jr.” Based on Meredith Willson’s production, “The Music Man, Jr.” adapts the timeless Broadway classic for young performers. It is sponsored by APM Custom Homes, and will march into town Nov. 21-23, kicking off the Christmas Island Style festivities.

In February, a special ITC encore performance of “Frankenstein: A New Musical” will be held at Rose History Auditorium. ITC will bring back the original cast from last season for a special “in concert” performance of the Mark Baron, Jeffrey Jackson and Gary P. Cohen musical. The performances are scheduled for February 26-28, and will raise funds for the ITC’s Youth Summer Camp.

Spring time brings murder and mayhem to ITC with a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” by Joseph Kesselring. Scheduled for April 9-18, the play introduces the audience to the charming and innocent ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously “acceptable” roomers; the antics of their brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt; and the activities of the other brother. The production is sponsored by Clausen Properties.

Rounding out the season will be a “Teen Troupe” performance of Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies.” Scheduled for June 12-20, this comedy follows two English Shakespearean actors who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA, is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews but nieces, and the hilarity ensues.

Tickets for all shows will go on sale in September. Visit for tickets and show information. Special group discounts and reserved seats are available for 10 or more by calling 239-394-0080.

Interested in being part of the action? In addition to acting there are many “behind the scenes” areas in community theater that can use volunteer help, including marketing, hospitality, box office, technical, back-stage support and set construction. Please call 239-394-0080 if you are interested or would like additional information.

MIHS Alley Proposal – Part III

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 4:11pm

By Noelle H. Lowery and Craig Woodward

Courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum “Portrait of Frank Hamilton Cushing,” oil on canvas, by the American artist Thomas Eakins.

During its Aug. 1 regular meeting, the city of Marco Island Planning Board approved a proposal from the Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) to name 11 currently unnamed alleys around the island after major players in Marco’s history. With a vote of 6-1, the proposal was passed onto City Council, but council has yet to set a date to review and consider the proposal.

An initiative of the MIHS, the proposal will help mark the 50th anniversary of modern Marco, which begins January 2015. Society members believe it is a good time to acknowledge the contributions of local historical figures who were not already recognized in some way around the island. The resulting list includes modern Marco marvels, early island pioneers and important figures from the Key Marco Cat and Cushing expeditions.

Involved in this process was local attorney and Marco Island historian Craig Woodward, who suggested the idea, as well as local realtor Paul Tateo, who like Woodward grew up on the Island. In addition, MIHS members Austin Bell (Curator of Collections), Kathy Miracco and President Tom Wagor assisted in the suggestion of some of the names.

Coastal Breeze News is examining the MIHS’s alley proposal in depth through the words and pictures collected and written by Woodward. In this issue, we will wrap up with the key figures from the Key Marco Cat and Cushing expeditions.

In 1976, Marion Gilliland published her book “Material Culture of Key Marco, Florida.” It was the story of the 1896 expedition headed by Frank Hamilton Cushing, and it highlighted his remarkable findings. Previously, there was little local knowledge about this dig, and no local streets were named for those involved until the 1990’s, when the street entering Tommie Barfield School was renamed after Cushing. There were other key participants the MIHS believes should be honored. Gilliland described it as follows: “…this site remains unique. The quality, beauty and sophistication of the art work has never been surpassed.”

Muspa Island – 1715 Map of the West Indies (Herman Moll)

Alley No. 8, a 2,000-foot stretch of pavement located behind Marco Island Florida from San Marco Road Hawaii Court, will be named Silver Spray Way for the vessel Silver Spray that brought Cushing and his expedition to Marco in 1896. Cushing met all of the other members of the expedition in Tarpon Springs when they boarded the Silver Spray, a 2,187-ton schooner with six sails. It was one of a fleet of sponging vessels owned by Jacob Disston, whose brother, Hamilton, was at one time the single largest land owner in the United States having acquired 4 million acres of Florida land including what would later become the city of Naples.

The expedition left Tarpon Springs on Feb. 23, 1896, and made a quick stop in Charlotte Harbor, arriving in Old Marco (then “Key Marco”) three days later. The boat had a sailing master, a mate, a cook with an assistant and four “able seaman.” The Silver Spray was moored in Old Marco during the dig and used as their headquarters. In one water color, Wells Sawyer captured Cushing sitting in his berth writing in his diary, and Sawyer himself wrote a number of letters from the ship.

After working tirelessly in the heat, mosquitoes and mud to uncover treasures for almost a month, the expedition left Marco on April 19. By May 10, Cushing had left the Silver Spray in Tarpon Springs and shipped 11 barrels and 59 boxes of specimens from Key Marco. More than 2,000 objects of shell, wood, fiber and pottery were found in a small area of Old Marco called by Cushing the “Court of the Pile Dwellers.”

A number of streets on Marco have been named to commemorate this important archaeological find, including Cushing Way and Calusa Court. Still, the MIHS feels that given the new Marco Island Historical Museum’s emphasis on these discoveries, naming some additional streets is appropriate.

For more information on Durnford, Sawyer and the Silver Spray see Marion Gilliland’s books “Material Culture of Key Marco, Florida” and “Key Marco’s Buried Treasure – Archaeology and Adventure in the Nineteenth Century.”

Alley No. 9, a 1,200-foot stretch of alley located behind NeNe’s Kitchen, Joey’s Pizza & Pasta House and Kwik Stop from Amazon Court to Saturn Court, is set to be named Durnford Way for British Lt. Col. C.D. Durnford. In 1895, Durnford was digging in the area of the Calusa Canal (the “Old Indian Ditch”) in Naples when he got word and came to Marco to see what items Capt. W.D. Collier had pulled from the muck of Old Marco. Durnford found a wood trencher with carved handles, a clam shell funnel, netting of three-ply cord, 20-30 float pegs, etc.

Before leaving for England in April, Durnford stopped in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania and happened to run into Cushing and Dr. William Pepper, president of the Archaeology Department. By May 1895, Cushing was in Southwest Florida, and on June 3, 1895, he reached Marco Island for the first time, where he made a preliminary investigation of the site. His initial findings resulted in his 1896 expedition.

Durnford published the first article on Marco Island archaeology in “American Naturalist” (Nov. 1895). The artifacts uncovered by Durnford now reside in the British Museum in London. His chance expedition to the Key Marco site, along with his influence and connections at the University of Pennsylvania, started the momentum that resulted in the discovery of more than 2,000 artifacts here on Marco Island.

Young Wells Sawyer painting.

Alley No. 10, a 1,200-foot alleyway located behind Stonewalls and Alvin’s Island from South Collier Boulevard to Landmark Street, would be named for Wells Sawyer Way for the artist on the Cushing Expedition. We owe much of our knowledge of the Key Marco expedition to Sawyer, who painted original watercolors on-site of the wooden masks and objects and created a detailed topographical map of Old Marco showing the location of the dig site. He also took numerous photographs of the expedition, which now are housed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives.

Sawyer’s 1896 landscape paintings of Marco, as well as his correspondence from the dig, are crucial components of the historical record. When he joined the expedition at age 32, Sawyer was an artist in the employ of the U.S. Geological Survey where he had become an expert paleontological illustrator, while continuing his passion for landscape painting and photography. His letters home contained descriptions of early Marco Island, of the mangroves and fishing, and included his description of what we now refer to as the Key Marco Cat: “In the small carved statuette of a ‘mountain lion god’ the workmanship is so exquisite that the best Swiss carver of today could scarcely give it a better finish, and the design was so dignified and the convention so subservient that the best Egyptian work was suggested. The little figure is scarcely eight inches high, yet it has the dignity of a colossus. It is made of a light colored wood which upon drying has checked but slightly.”

The Key Marco Cat is dated 500-800 A.D. Sawyer was a gifted artist in other ways as well. He wrote a poem full of excitement when the expedition left on the Silver Spray sailing south for Marco, and Sawyer was present at the funeral of Cushing, who died at his home in Washington D.C. at age 42 in April 1900. It was Sawyer who wrote a memoriam for that occasion. Sawyer died in 1960 in Sarasota after a lifetime as a professional artist.

Alley No. 11, an 1,800-foot stretch of road behind Sasso’s and the Sea Turtle parking lot from Winterberry Drive to Valley Avenue, is set to be named Muspa for the Muspa Indians who were the predecessors to the Calusa. Although not as well known as the Calusa, the Muspa lived on Marco Island (and the area immediately south to Cape Romano) between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1300.

Sawyer’s Topo of Key Marco (Old Marco).

The Muspa culture is known by the pottery styles of the “Glades” region — known for decorated stylistic designs — as opposed to the pottery found north of here in the Caloosahatchee region dominated by the Calusa Indians — known for plain, undecorated pottery. Early European maps and written accounts also identify Marco and its location as “Muspa,” “Muspa Island,” “La Muspa” or “Punta de Muspa”. At some point, believed to be around A.D. 1300, the Muspa were conquered by or allied with the Calusa and possibly merged into Calusa culture. Later, Muspa was given as a name of a Calusa “town” in an account dated 1575 from a Spaniard, Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, who had been rescued from living with the Calusa for 17 years from 1550 to 1567.

At an archaeological site in Old Marco (at the present day Eagles Retreat Condominiums), which MIHS helped excavate in 1995 with volunteers, pottery was discovered that was in use between A.D. 500 and 900, meaning it was most likely used or made by the Muspa. Cushing’s Key Marco site, also in Old Marco, is often automatically attributed to the Calusa, but is possibly “Glades” or “Muspa,” depending on the controversial radiocarbon dates from the site.

After attempts to Christianize the Indians of Southwest Florida by the Spanish, a Spanish captain brought the Chief of the Carlos (Calusa), his brother and other “Indians of importance totaling 270” to Havana to be saved in the Christian faith in 1710. Included on that trip were the chiefs of five named towns, including the Muspa Chief. The Chief of Muspa and up to 200 other Indians died from disease in Cuba and did not return to Florida.

Marco Island City Notices

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 4:06pm
Sewer Maintenance

Earlier this week, the city of Marco Island and its subcontractor Shenandoah Construction began scheduled maintenance on the city’s underground gravity sewer utility systems. Residences in the northeast corner of the island will be impacted by the 60- to 90-day project, and a door hanger will be left at each home indicating to homeowners that work is scheduled to begin.

It is important to note that homeowners may experience surges in their household plumbing systems when work is being done, which may result in back pressures in toilets, tubs, showers and sinks. The city asks residents to expect maintenance crews to access back and front yard utility easements, and encourages residents to plug drains when possible and close toilet lids during the maintenance.

Should residents have questions, they are asked to contact Shenandoah Construction at 239-337-9385.

Smoke Testing

Starting Sept. 8, the city will be smoke testing the sanitary sewer lines throughout the majority of Marco Island to improve sewer service. This test, which involves forcing smoke into the sanitary sewer lines, will check for leaks, breaks and defects in the system.

Residents will be notified no earlier than three days in advance of when to expect testing in their area by way of door hanger.

This test is part of our continuing effort to provide a safe, economical, efficient and environmentally sound sewer system throughout Marco Island. The smoke testing procedure has been recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as an effective means of identifying problem areas in the sewer system. Eliminating system defects and illegal connections will help the city remain in compliance with new federal legislation regarding sewer systems maintenance and sanitary sewer overflows.

The smoke is odorless, creates no fire hazard, and should not enter homes or businesses unless an establishment has defective plumbing or dried-up sink traps or floor drains. The smoke used for this test is manufactured expressly for this purpose, and leaves no residuals or stains and has no effect on plants and animals. However, direct contact with the smoke may cause minor respiratory irritation in some people. Residents that suffer from a heart condition, asthma, emphysema or some other respiratory condition and are planning to remain in the building during testing should notify the city of Marco Island immediately at 239-394-3880.

If residents have special needs or suffer from a heart, lung or berating problem or area a shift worker, please also notify the city at 239-394-3880 prior to testing.

Some sewer lines and manholes are located along backyard or side yard easements. Whenever these lines require investigation, members of the inspection crew may need to enter a property to access the sewer lines and manholes. Crews will be in uniform for easy recognition. Homeowners do not need to be present; workers will not enter homes or disturb properties.

Prior to testing, please pour two gallons of water in the seldom-used sinks or floor drains to prevent sewer gases, smoke or odors from entering the premises. If smoke does enter the home during testing, immediately leave from the building and notify the crews that are conducting the test or call the city.

If smoke enters the home, it is an indication of a plumbing defect, notify a plumber. Crews can assist in the location of any defects on private property, but the corrections of any defects are the responsibilities of the property owner.

Smoke coming from the vent stacks on houses is normal. However, smoke coming from holes in the grounds is not normal and is considered a defect. All such defects will be photographed and logged. The city will contact property owners if a defect is located on private property.

The smoke testing will be conducted through Oct. 24 daily, 8 AM-4 PM. A test should only impact a home for 15-20 minutes.

Modifications to Water Disinfecting Procedures

Between Sept. 1-30, Marco Island Utilities (MIU) will be temporarily changing the disinfection process for the potable (drinking) water supply for the Marco Island Drinking Water Service Area. For the month, the water will be disinfected with free chlorine rather than chlorine combined with ammonia (chloramines). This conversion to free chlorine (a stronger disinfectant) from chloramines allows MIU to perform an annual water distribution system purge as recommended by the Department of Environmental Protection for water utilities using chloramines as their primary disinfectant. The process currently is underway.

This temporary change in disinfectant does not cause adverse health effects, but during this period, customers may experience a change in the taste, odor and/or color of the water due to the change in treatment.

Customers on Kidney Dialysis who use a proportioning machine to prepare dialysate at home are advised to contact their physician or equipment supplier to obtain the appropriate steps to accommodate the change in water disinfection and to install the proper filtering devices, if needed.

Customers who have a fish tank(s) or aquatic species are advised to contact the local pet store to ensure proper pretreatment of the water before adding or changing the water in the tank to avoid any problems associated with chlorine.

MIU will be performing a flush of the system in conjunction with this change in water treatment. Water customers should be aware that they might experience short-term changes to their water quality during flushing, including cloudy or discolored water. While this water is safe to drink, there is a possibility that it may possibly stain clothes that are laundered. Customers are advised to flush any cloudy or discolored water that may enter their plumbing by running a faucet for several minutes.

Customers are asked to call Jack Green at the Marco Island Reverse Osmosis Plant at 239-389 3967 or on his cell number at 239-825-5058 with any questions concerning this change in disinfectants.

Back to School with Dr. Jory Westberry

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 4:04pm

By Noelle H. Lowery

With three weeks of the 2014-2015 school year under her belt, Dr. Jory Westberry is very pleased. The principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary School and her staff made it through a summer of transitions to welcome 596 students — an average of 17-21 students per class — on the first day of school.

Gone are the FCAT and Common Core Standards, and in their place, TBE is implementing the Florida Standard Assessments System and the LAFS and MAFS tests. With the retirement of teachers like Gayle Dunphy, Diane Stone and Debbie Cooper at then end of last year, a number of TBE teachers also found themselves switching from one grade to another.

One of the biggest changes has been to how parents pick their children up after school in what is affectionately known as the car loop. “One of the changes made to address parent concerns about the length of time in the car rider loop,” explains Westberry. “The transition was slow at first, but now the car rider line finished in record time. We appreciate everyone’s patience with this.”

All in all, though, Westberry considers the first weeks of school a success. “The first (three) weeks were smooth, with a few bumps, but overall, students were happy; teachers were thrilled; and parents are smiling and adjusting to some changes,” she notes.

Coastal Breeze News sat down with Westberry to discuss what’s new this year at TBE.

Q: What teachers moved to different grades for the 2014-2015 school year?

A: Mrs. Schneller moved from first grade to Kindergarten. Ms. Bowers moved from second to first. Mrs. Robau moved from Kindergarten to second. Mrs. Cohrs moved from third to second. Mrs. Garousi moved from second to third. Mrs. Schadler moved from first to third. Ms. Bathke moved from second to third. Mr. Reinke moved from fourth to fifth. Mrs. Skudnig moved from fourth to reading coach.

Q: Why the changes?

A: Change keeps us on our toes! Some teachers asked to change levels and some filled vacancies from our retirees or teachers who moved away.

Q: Any special preparations over the summer to allow the teachers to prepare for their new assignments?

A: Several teachers participated in extensive training about the change in standards, Gifted and ELL endorsement classes, Kagan structures and more. Collier County Public Schools often uses a ‘Train the Trainer’ model, which means that the teachers with the extensive training train the other teachers on their staff. New teachers participate in several orientations and are assigned a mentor teacher to work with them throughout the year.

Q: What else is new for the school this year? Policies? Testing? Programs?

A: We plan to have more STEM activities this year to increase our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math knowledge. There are some additional pre-tests this year, even in Related Arts.

Q: What are the big goals for the school overall this year?

A: Since we missed being an ‘A’ school by three points, the biggest goal is to increase student achievement and recoup the ‘A’ that we’ve had for the last 12 years, and have fun along the way!

Stay tuned for more news from TBE in the coming weeks. CBN is running a series of profiles on the school’s eight new teachers.

Eagle Sanctuary Property in the Spotlight Again

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 3:57pm

By Noelle H. Lowery

On Monday, Sept. 8, the Marco Island City Council will be asked to sign a letter of support for the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation. This will be the second time in three weeks that Carl Way, chairman and founder of the volunteer, nonprofit foundation, will appear before council seeking its written support for the Marco Eagle Sanctuary at 665 Tigertail Court, which also is known as Tract K.

When Way first appeared before City Council during its regular Aug. 18 meeting, he explained that he was asking for the letter of support as part of the foundation’s current negotiations with the District School Board of Collier County for the continued use of the land as an eagle sanctuary. Deemed a school site by the Mackle brother’s original master plan for Marco Island and thus deeded to the Collier County school system, the school board granted the foundation a $30,000 per year, five-year lease on the property in 2010, after a mating pair of bald eagles was found to have nested on the property three years earlier. The lease provides the sanctuary with an option to purchase the land.

“We are providing an opportunity here for a little more revenue for the island,” Way told councilors. “We are not just a stand alone group in the corner over there looking to make trouble on the island. We are asking council to understand we have value. We need to know that our city appreciates the wildlife as much as we do.”

Way said the foundation had collected more then 2200 signatures from registered Marco Island voters and property owners who support the sanctuary. He also noted that the sanctuary attracts 2,200-2,500 visitors annually. “People from all over the world come to visit it,” he added. “We get 30 calls a week during season asking when the park is open. People are aware of it.”

Further, Way and the foundation have spent the last few years securing all of the federal permits and protections and to register the nest with the U.S. government. As such, as long as bald eagles are on the property, federal guidelines dictate that there is nothing that can happen on that property — that is until the eagle nest is dormant for six years plus one day.

However, Way’s initial request was received with mixed reviews by councilors. While Council Chairman Ken Honecker, Vice Chair Larry Sacher and Councilor Bob Brown were ready to approve the letter and council support, Councilor Larry Honig said not so fast.

“My issue is with the format and the way government works,” explained Honig during the meeting. “I strongly object to something as meaty as this letter unless the community has the opportunity to comment on it first. It was sneaked into this agenda.

“I always want to do things by the book, and this isn’t by the book. There is no one from the community here to discuss council granting something in perpetuity…We are acting as if the wheels of inevitably are rolling, and they don’t need to. The public hasn’t been invited to discuss this.”

“This is simply a request,” Honecker retorted. “I anticipated a vote that we would support it or not, but I didn’t see that it is over and done, and we can’t talk about it. There would be a second crack at the apple for the public to come to bite on.”

Upon confirmation from City Attorney Burt Saunders that no special readings would be necessary because the council was dealing with a letter and not a resolution and further that nothing in the letter creates any legal problems for the city, councilors approved putting the letter on the consent agenda for their Sept. 8 meeting.

Councilor Honig still was not satisfied. “This is not transparent. This has zero to do with support. This is about transparency,” he said.

Even so, City Council will take up the discussion and vote again on Monday, and this time, there may be voices of opposition in the audience, as the letter and City Council discussion has opened up old wounds for some Marco Island residents.

Take Frank Recker, the former Marco Island city councilor who spoke up against the original lease deal for the property between the sanctuary and the school board because, he insisted, the history of Tract K dictates that the Mackle brothers intended for it to be a school site. “I have a strong belief and sense of allegiance to everything educational. From the time I was on council when this first came up, I found it personally offensive,” Recker said in an interview after the Aug. 18 meeting.

In fact, Recker voiced his opposition to the lease deal again and in writing in a recent open letter addressed to the City Council. While the letter was briefly discussed during the Aug. 18 meeting, it also was dismissed by some councilors as a lone voice of dissent on the issue.

Still, another long-time Marco resident and realtor Jim Prange shares Recker’s distaste not for the sanctuary itself but for the politics behind the original charge to set Tract K aside for park land and then the subsequent lease deal between the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation and school board.

“Before anything was built by the Mackles, they laid out everything — every house, schools, churches, commercial and business districts. Marco Island was meant to be a middle-class community, and it had three schools sites,” said Prange.

Of those three sites, only one ended up with a school on it: Tommie Barfield Elementary School. The third site, located behind Marco Walk on South Collier Boulevard, is a condo complex called Club Marco. “Where was the school board? Where was the civic association? Where were they when they gave away that school site?” asked Prange.

Both men are concerned about the future of Marco Island’s school aged children. “Where are our kids going to go to school? Our high school students go to seven different high schools spread throughout Collier County right now…Somebody has got to stand up. I don’t care if we have to wait 10 years to get that site back… This is not a retirement community. There are families here. We are going to have a hard time attracting people here if our kids have to get up at 5 AM to catch a bus to go to school into Naples.”

Recker agreed: “Everyone is happy (about the sanctuary) except those who consider the future education needs of Marco Island…Who stands up for the kids? No one…There is no one here to speak for the high school children.”

Rookery Bay Studying Mangrove Die-off

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 3:53pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Dr. Jeffrey Schmid stands in the “healthy” mangrove holding a water sample containing four varieties of fish. PHOTO BY NATALIE STROM

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have partnered to conduct a long-term study of the 225-acre mangrove die-off area near Goodland known as Fruit Creek Farm.

USGS awarded funding to this project for a minimum of three years to assess the hydrologic restoration, which now is partially underway. Since 2000, Rookery Bay Reserve has partnered with the Coastal Resources Group, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the city of Marco Island to conduct the initial assessment of the area’s hydrology and produce a plan for restoring the affected mangrove forests.

This will be the first time Rookery Bay has partnered with the USGS to work on the mangrove restoration inside the reserve.

Jeffrey Carter, stewardship coordinator for Rookery Bay Reserve, explains: “This research can help us get a better understanding of mangroves’ response to restoration efforts. We expect the results from the study will enable us to more effectively manage these resources and be better prepared to meet future environmental challenges.”

Tidal Troubles

The problems for the mangroves are nothing new to the residents of Marco Island and Goodland. In fact, the trouble began in 1938 with the construction of State Road 92, which greatly altered natural tidal flushing to mangrove wetlands in the area. Specifically, incoming flow from higher tides inundates the forest but cannot readily be flushed out, creating a “bathtub effect” that holds the water for longer periods than these forests would normally experience. Summer rains compound this effect. Following the heavy, flooding rains from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the area experienced a slow, steady die-off of approximately 65 acres of mangroves.

According to Robin Lewis III, a Certified Senior Ecologist of the Ecological Society of America, a Board Certified Environmental Professional, Professional Wetland Scientist and President of Coastal Resources Group, Inc., one of the main restrictions to the tidal exchange along SR-92 is the existence of a single 54-inch culvert located under the road that connects one side of the road to the other. While it is supposed to allow for the tidal exchange, it is more than 75 years old, and Lewis says, the normal lifespan of such culverts in saltwater is typically 50 years.

The flow of tidal waters is necessary for the survival of these mangroves. The road has disrupted the flow of the area’s natural tides, causing parts of the mangroves on both sides of the road to flood and die. Roots of the black mangrove, called pneumatophores, shoot up out of the ground to gather oxygen. When they are constantly covered in water, they don’t receive that oxygen and they die.

Monitoring and Restoration

Scientists from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida have been monitoring the area for the last 14 years. Over a period of four years, beginning in 2000, Kathy Worley, director of environmental science and a biologist at the Conservancy, studied the mangroves, referencing 17 plot points in various health phases. The study not only proved that the mangrove die-off was getting worse, but also proved why they were dying — the altered hydrology.

Enter Lewis and a two-phase plan for mangrove restoration. He has worked with Rookery Bay, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, to implement the plan. Phase I began in 2011 with Conservancy researchers monitoring the mangroves. In February 2012, the historic tidal channel that exists near Steven’s Landing on the north side of SR-92 was reestablished. By clearing those channels, proper water flow was restored.

Scientists monitored water quality and wildlife — fish and invertebrates — in the water around the mangroves by taking samples and comparing them over time. The team also recorded every mangrove tree within every reference point, tagging and measuring diameter for growth.

By December 2012, there were signs of life in the mangrove die-off area, as species of fish not initially found there were discovered in water samples. The mangroves have been monitored in this fashion every three to four months since then.

“Mangrove seedlings have been taking root, and it is beginning to look like there are signs of life,” says Rookery Bay’s Communications Coordinator Renee Wilson.

Phase II of Lewis’ restoration project, which consists of maintaining the original culvert while installing three additional 48-inch culverts across SR-92 and clearing additional channels on the south side of the road, has yet to be endeavored. The reason: It has a hefty price tag of $600,000.

Moving Forward

According to Wilson, the new Rookery Bay-USGS project will propel the research already conducted forward, studying the results of the restoration that is yet to be completed and monitoring how the area’s hydrology is changing.

To that end, USGS just installed 12 Rod Surface Elevation Tables (RSETs) in order to monitor surface elevation change associated with mangrove forest recovery within the study plots, which span a gradient of dead, degraded and intact forest. Initial assessments of the forest canopy, sediment conditions and plant/animal communities will begin early in 2015. Three reference area study plots, also including RSETs, will be established on the south end of Horr’s Island adjacent to Fruit Farm Creek in November 2014. Long-term data collected will provide information on trends in forest canopy structure, sediment chemistry and nutrient cycling, and benthic faunal community and food-web structure.

In August 2013, a series of small trenches were excavated to re-establish tidal connection to one acre of a four-acre die-off area. Within one year, the return of normal tidal flushing has produced a dramatic response — mangrove seedlings are taking root and many of the characteristic fish, crabs, snails and other species have moved in. The project partners are still seeking additional funding to restore flushing to the remaining 224 adjacent acres. It is on the list of projects under consideration for federal funding through the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act (RESTORE Act).

“We have examples of how hydrological restoration works in other locations,” said Kevin Cunniff, research coordinator for Rookery Bay Reserve. “A long-term assessment of forest community change and recovery over the next decade will provide invaluable information regarding the resiliency of our mangrove wetlands and the cost/benefits of restoration.”

Local Referendums Have Surprise Endings

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 9:18am

By Noelle H. Lowery

Prior to Tuesday, Aug. 26, most folks were calling the referendums on Marco Island and Isles of Capri too close to call.

Not anymore.

Some 3,928 Marco Islanders cast their ballot on the non-binding referendum question regarding the construction of a new Mackle Park Community Center: “Shall the city expend up to $3.5 million to construct a new community center up to 16,000 square feet at Mackle Park?” With 2,059 yes votes, the referendum passed by a margin of 52.42 percent to 47.58 percent.

On Capri, firefighters, their families and community supporters spent the day rallying support for their “vote no” campaign on Collier County’s referendum regarding the proposed annexation of the Isles of Capri Fire-Rescue District into the East Naples-Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District. The efforts paid dividends.

When polls closed Tuesday, the results revealed a narrow race with just 559 ballots cast. In the end, though, the firefighters prevailed, and 286 people —or 51.16 percent —voted against the annexation, while 273 —or 48.84 percent —voted in favor for it.

Now the real work starts in both communities.  The Marco Island City Council must decide whether or not to honor the results and move forward with the new community center, and Collier County and Capri must work out the confusing and disputed funding issues surrounding the operation of the ICFRD.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida 2014 Red Snook Tournament set for Oct. 24-26

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:09am

This year’s tournament features lower entry fees, new kayak division and honorary chair Oliver White

The 2014 RedSnook Catch and Release Charity Tournament will be held Oct. 24-26, and supports the water quality protection and gamefish research conducted by Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

New this year is the kayak fishing division, which has become increasingly popular in Southwest Florida for recreational fishing. Anglers will enjoy lower entry fees than in years past.  Also new this year is the honorary chair, Oliver White.  White is a famed salt water fly fisher and entrepreneur. Brands from Costa Sunglasses to G. Loomis have endorsed and partnered with Oliver to promote their products and message. Jungle Fish, a recent short film he starred in, won the Lightstays Conservation Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, while an upcoming book and a television series in-the-works demonstrate his capabilities as a leading authority on the sport.

The event is sponsored by Wayne A. Meland, of Morgan Stanley.  “The RedSnook Catch and Release Charity Tournament is a reminder of one of the treasures of our region – our waterways,” says Meland. “Without clean and abundant supplies of water, recreational and sport fishing would be a thing of the past.”

Last year’s tournament netted a record $140,000 to support the Conservancy’s water quality initiatives.

For a complete schedule of events, anglers and sponsors can register or learn more at

“We believe that blue-green algae, red tide and polluted waterways are everyday reminders that all is not well in this paradise we love,” said Conservancy President and CEO Rob Moher. “We recognize that the quality of our environment is linked to our economic viability, recreation and enjoyment of all this area has to offer.”

Over the years, the RedSnook Tournament has helped support the water quality protection work of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, including:

• Working with decision-makers to communicate and to understand the importance of clean water to Southwest Florida’s overall economy and quality of life;

• Providing assistance and expertise to planned projects in order to minimize pollution – and in some cases actually enhance the quality of water that ultimately flows into local waterways;

• Creating the “Estuaries Report Card” which rates the condition of our region’s vital waters every five years including recommendations for improving overall water quality;

• Working to limit the amount of pollution from the north that enters Southwest Florida’s beautiful bays and estuaries;

• Researching and monitoring juvenile gamefish habitats to ensure abundant future fish populations;

• Helping to restore natural water flows to the Western Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands; and

• Helping to protect environmental jewels such as Ten Thousand Islands, Big Cypress, Estero Bay, the Cocohatchee Slough and the Caloosahatchee River.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida began 50 years ago when community leaders came together to defeat a proposed “Road to Nowhere” and spearheaded the acquisition and protection of Rookery Bay. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region, including Glades, Hendry, Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, with a mission to protect the region’s water, land and wildlife. Conservancy of Southwest Florida and its Nature Center are located in Naples, Fla. at 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road.

LEARN, GROW, THRIVE AT THE Y! YMCA Afterschool Program

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:07am

The Greater Marco Family YMCA Afterschool program offers more than a safe place for your child. Our program nurtures a child’s potential to ensure the development of healthy, trusting relationships that build confidence and character. We serve children 5 through 12 years of age.

We offer affordable care options which include financial assistance for qualifying YMCA Afterschool meets all of your needs: safety assurance, homework assistance and enrichment programs.We look forward to seeing your child at the Y on August 18th!

Afterschool, recreation, and enrichment for your child before and after school Program Benefits

Homework Assistance

Nutritious Snacks

Y Fit (Youth Wellness Class)

Dance and Tumbling

Character Development

Service Learning

Educational Enrichment

YMCA Tennis, Sports and Aquatics

Structured Recreation Activities, and much more!


101 Sandhill Street, Marco Island FL 34145


Enroll Today at the Marco Family YMCA

(p) 239-394-3144 (f) 239-394-8367



PCI Remembers Hurricane Charley: 10 Year Anniversary

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:05am

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is remembering the lives lost and those who were significantly impacted by the aftermath of Hurricane Charley nearly 10 years ago this month. As we mark this historic anniversary, PCI reminds homeowners, renters, and business owners that the active part of hurricane season is just beginning. In addition, PCI encourages those living in hurricane prone states to use the anniversary as an opportunity to take necessary steps now to prepare for the remainder of the 2014 storm season.

“Hurricane Charley made landfall as a strong category 4 storm with winds up to 150 mph and it packed a major punch to southwest Florida” said PCI’s counsel for state government relations, Donovan Brown. “I witnessed first-hand how this storm ripped through communities and uprooted thousands of lives. While the state of Florida bounced back even stronger after Charley and the four hurricanes that hit the state in 2004, it’s important to remember that it takes just one storm to cause billions of dollars in damage and alter lives. PCI and its members encourage you to take steps now to stormproof your home and become both financially and physically prepared for severe weather. Although you can count on the insurance industry being there in the aftermath of a storm to help policyholders get back on their feet, we can’t stress enough the importance of advance preparation.”

If you haven’t already done so, PCI recommends you contact your insurance company or agent and review your insurance policies, including your hurricane deductible and coverages. For more Hurricane Preparedness Tips, visit PCI’s Hurricane Headquarters.

Attached is a Hurricane Charley Info-graphic, and PCI’s Donovan Brown is available for interviews.

It Only Takes One: PCI Mitigation Steps to Prepare Your Property 

Evaluate your home and other property for vulnerable points. Review building codes. Fortify your windows, doors and roof.

Keep plywood, extra parts for hurricane shutters, and other storm-proofing items on hand.

Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.

Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.

Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive damage

Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

Determine how and where to secure your boat.

Install a generator for emergencies.

If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

Consider building a safe room.

Audition Call! The Marco Players announces 40th Anniversary Season Shows!

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:03am

Calling all actors! Be part of The Marco Players’ 40th 2014-2015 Season. Established in 1974, the oldest not-for-profit community theater on Marco Island will kick off the celebration with a 70’s theme. “Can you dig it?”

All those interested in auditioning for TMP’s shows are encouraged to contact us at or call Beverly Dahlstrom, President/Artistic Director at 239-404-5198 to schedule a private audition.

Visit to learn more about cast openings, preview of scripts and rehearsal dates. Becky’s New Car by Steven Dietz

Have you ever been tempted to flee your own life? Becky Foster is caught in middle age, middle management and in a middling marriage—with no prospects for change on the horizon. Then one night a socially inept and grief-struck millionaire stumbles into the car dealership where Becky works. Becky is offered nothing short of a new life…and the audience is offered a chance to ride shotgun in a way that most plays wouldn’t dare. Becky’s New Car is a “cool” comedy with serious overtones, a devious and delightful romp down the road not taken.

Directed by: Greg Madera

Audition Date: Sat., August 23, 2014. Schedule your private audition now. or 239-404-5198

Show Dates: January 7 thru January 25, 2015



New Physician Joins Florida Gynecologic Oncology

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:03am

Florida Gynecologic Oncology, a division of 21st Century Oncology, is pleased to announce the addition of Gynecologic Oncologist Samith Sandadi, M.D., MSc., to its practice. Florida Gynecologic Oncology provides high quality, personalized care to women with complex gynecologic problems and suspected diagnosed cancers of the female reproductive tract.

Dr. Sandadi will be joining the team of distinguished physicians at Florida Gynecologic Oncology who have held, or currently hold, faculty appointments in academic departments of obstetrics and gynecology, have published hundreds of scientific papers and book chapters, and have received numerous awards for their contributions to women’s cancer care.

“Dr. Sandadi’s clinical expertise, combined with his extensive academic credentials, make him the perfect addition to our practice,” says James Orr, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., F.A.C.S., Board Certified Gynecologist with Florida Gynecologic Oncology. “We are committed to providing women with state-of-the-art care delivered in a warm and caring environment.”

After earning his medical degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Fla., Dr. Sandadi went on to complete residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He then completed fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y.  Dr. Sandadi has also written several peer-reviewed journal articles and publications.

Dr. Sandadi is now accepting new patients at Florida Gynecologic Oncology, inside Regional Cancer Center in Fort Myers located at 8931 Colonial Center Drive, Suite 400.

For more information about our services, visit or call 239-334-6626.



Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:02am

The Marco Island Historical Museum presents Rob Storter’s “Artwork of the Everglades”, an illustrated guide to the Everglades history.  The exhibit runs from Sept. 2, to Oct. 31, 2014 and will include an opening reception onTuesday, Sept. 2, 5-7 p.m., hosted by the Marco Island Historical Society.  Light refreshments will be served and admission is offered at no cost.

The Museum of the Everglades will also honor Storter with the exhibit, “History of Fishing in the Glades through the Eyes of Rob Storter”.  The display will take place through September and include a reception on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 1-3 p.m. at the Museum of the Everglades.

Robert Lee Storter was born Sept. 30, 1894 in Everglades City, Florida.  He lived an abundant 92 years of life as a guide, fisherman, poet and artist who chronicled what it was like in the “earlier” days of Collier County.  Storter’s exhibit “Artwork of the Everglades” transports viewers to his remote, half-wild frontier of Southwest Florida in the early part of the twentieth century. This illustrated journey features great swamps, estuaries, and the fantastic array of plants and animal life of a time gone by. Rob‘s grasp of the Everglades is demonstrated through his work, as it looks back over a life closely linked to the water; recording how mechanized methods have obscured the more simple approach of fishing.

The exhibits also tell the story of family and community triumphs and its setbacks. Rob Storter knew the Everglades before commercial fishing, real estate development, drainage projects, and tourism changed the region forever. His illustrations offer a glimpse into the wonders of the Everglades during his time and the mixed benefits of progress and the responsibilities of stewardship.

For more information about the exhibits, please contact the museum at (239) 642-1440 or visit  Museum opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is complimentary to visitors.

About Collier County Museums: More than 10,000 years of Southwest Florida history is on display at Collier County Museums’ five locations – the main museum in Naples, Everglades City, Immokalee, the Naples Depot Museum in downtown Naples, and Marco Island Historical Museum. The main location is located just five minutes east of downtown Naples at 3331 Tamiami Trail East in Naples. The Museum’s five-acre site includes a native plant garden, two early Naples cottages, a logging locomotive, swamp buggy and a WWII Sherman tank. The main facility is open Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 5 pm.  Admission is free and the site is handicapped accessible. For more information, visit or call (239) 252-8476.

Wine Legend Marchese Piero Antinori Named Honored Vintner for 2015 Naples Winter Wine Festival

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 11:00am

Antinori One of 41 Preeminent Vintners Selected to Attend Festival

Marchese Piero Antinori, president of Marchesi Antinori, one of the most historic and prestigious names in Italian winemaking, has been selected as the Honored Vintner for the 2015 Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF), a premier charity wine auction. The Naples Winter Wine Festival, which will take place from January 23-25 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL, also unveiled 40 other world-renowned vintners who will participate in the 2015 festival.

“I am excited and thrilled for having been selected as the 2015 Honored Vintner,” said Marchese Piero Antinori. “It’s the first time that an Italian producer has received such an honor at the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and I consider it a great tribute to all wines and vintners of my country.”

Each year, one vintner, who has significantly contributed to the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is asked to represent his/her fellow vintners. Marchesi Antinori, which dates back to the 14th century and now boasts 27 generations of wine producers, is famous for three of the world’s most iconic wines: Tignanello, Solaia, and Guado al Tasso. Regarded as a pioneer and innovator, Marchese Piero Antinori has almost single-handedly changed the way wine is produced in Italy, having been credited with propelling the Super Tuscan wines to the forefront of Italian winemaking. 2015 will mark his fifth appearance at the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

In addition to Marchese Antinori, this year’s event will feature some of the most talented and respected vintners from three dozen wineries in 15 global wine-producing regions, seven countries, and four continents, in the northern and southern hemispheres. These top vintners have created some of the most sought-after and collectable wines in the world. They are regularly recognized for their contributions by wine enthusiasts across the globe.

“Each participating vintner is a giant in the industry, and we are thrilled that they are volunteering their time and talent to this amazing event,” said Sandi Moran, Vintner Chair and Co-Chair of the 2015 festival. “These renowned vintners, paired with the finest chefs and our country’s most generous philanthropists, will help raise millions of dollars for underprivileged and at-risk children.”

The other esteemed vintners for this year’s festival include:

Featured Dinner Vintners – Will pour during intimate dinners hosted by Festival Trustees in elegant, private homes and settings throughout Naples.

Santiago Achával of Achával-Ferrer in Mendoza, Argentina

Paul Leary of Blackbird Vineyards in Napa Valley, California

Deb Whitman & Ed Fitts of BRAND Napa Valley in St. Helena, California

Nick Allen of Carte Blanche Wines in Napa Valley, California

Roberta Ceretto of Ceretto in Alba, Italy

Blakesley & Cyril Chappellet of Chappellet Vineyard in St. Helena, California

Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux in Margaux, France

Thomas Duroux of Château Palmer in Margaux, France

Nicolas Glumineau of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac, France

Ann Colgin & Joe Wender of Colgin Cellars in St. Helena, California

Tim Mondavi & Carissa Mondavi of Continuum in St. Helena, California

Shahpar & Darioush Khaledi of Darioush in Napa Valley, California

Claude & Laurent Ponsot of Domaine Ponsot in Morey-Saint-Denis, France

Grace & Ken Evenstad of Domaine Serene in Dayton, Oregon

Bill Foley of Foley Johnson in Healdsburg, California

Valerie Boyd & Jeff Gargiulo of Gargiulo Vineyards in Napa Valley, California

Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery in Sebastopol, California

Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, Italy

Véronique Drouhin-Boss of Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune, France

Manuel Louzada of Numanthia in Valdefinjas, Spain

Betty O’Shaughnessy & Paul Woolls of O’Shaughnessy Winery in Angwin, California

Deborah & Bill Harlan and Amanda & Will Harlan of Promontory in Oakville, California

Merle & Peter Mullin of Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma, California

Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode Estate Vineyards & Winery in St. Helena, California

Barbara Banke of Vérité / Tenuta di Arceno in Santa Rosa, California and Siena, Italy

Champagne Sponsor – Will pour during the Krug Tasting & Luncheon event and during champagne receptions at each of the 16 private vintner dinners. 

Olivier Krug of Krug Champagne in Reims, France

Port Vintner – Will pour during the dessert course at each of the 16 private vintner dinners.

Dominic Symington of Symington Family Estates in Douro, Portugal

Featured Luncheon Vintners – Will pour during a luncheon after Meet the Kids Day, where guests witness first-hand the life-changing impact of the Naples Winter Wine Festival.

Bridgit & Stephen Griessel of Betz Family Winery in Woodinville, Washington

Andrea Farinetti, of Borgogno Wines in Barolo, Italy

Ann & Dick Grace of Grace Family Vineyards in St. Helena, California

Juan Mercado of Realm Cellars in St. Helena, California

VIP Party / Auction Day Vintners – Will pour at the opening party and prior to the start of the electrifying live auction.

Pam Starr of Crocker & Starr Wines in St. Helena, California

Todd Newman of Dakota Shy Wine in St. Helena, California

Mike Farmer & Lucas Farmer of Euclid Wines in Napa Valley, California

Augustin Huneeus of Flowers Vineyard & Winery in Napa Valley, California

Carole & Michael Marks of Gemstone Vineyards in St. Helena, California

Helen Keplinger & DJ Warner of Keplinger in Napa Valley, California

Melinda Kearney & Michèle Ouellet of LORENZA in St. Helena, California

Jenny Marie & Rutger de Vink of RdV Vineyards in Delaplane, Virginia

Gary, Rosella & Adam Franscioni of ROAR Wines in Soledad, California


Guests at the Naples Winter Wine Festival will savor incomparable cuisine and taste award-winning, cult classic wines. They will also have the opportunity to bid on exceptional wines, unforgettable dining experiences, and custom travel packages.

Ticket packages to this exclusive event are available and start at $8,500 per couple for festival tickets, with a $20,000 package that includes reserved seating for a party of four at the same vintner dinner and under the tent. For more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, please visit or call 888-837-4919.


About the Naples Winter Wine Festival

The Naples Winter Wine Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious charity wine auctions, bringing together renowned vintners and chefs with wine enthusiasts and philanthropists for a three-day festival that raises millions of dollars for underprivileged and at-risk children. Every dollar raised under the tent funds the festival’s founding organization, the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), whose annual grants and strategic initiatives have provided around 200,000 children with the services and resources they need to excel.  For more information, please


Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:59am

~It Only Takes One Storm to Change the Landscape of a Community~

Ten years ago, Hurricane Charley made landfall near Port Charlotte in Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm, making it the strongest storm since Hurricane Andrew to impact Florida. On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Charley, Florida’s residents and visitors are reminded to have a family emergency plan and a disaster supply kit. It only takes one storm to significantly impact your family, business, and community.

“Hurricane Charley was the first of four hurricanes to impact Florida during the 2004 season. Florida’s State Emergency Response Team worked together to provide support during the response and recovery of the storm,” said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon. “The 2004 hurricane season produced some of the most devastating hurricanes in Florida’s history and serves as a reminder that hurricanes can change the landscape of a community.”

Hurricane Charley’s impact was felt across the state as it made its way through the Central and Eastern counties before exiting the state near New Smyrna Beach. Charley left behind an estimated $15 billion in damage and was just the first of four hurricanes to impact Florida that year.

Floridians are encouraged to review and update their family and business emergency plans using the Get A Plan tool available at It is also important to keep your disaster supply kit stocked with essentials, including canned food and water, to last you and your family for up to 7 days after a storm hits.

For the latest information on the 2014 Hurricane Season and to Get A Plan!, visit, follow FDEM on social media on Twitter at @FLGetAPlan, Instagram @FLGetAPlan, and Facebook at and Black bear curriculum teaches kids about wildlife, meets Florida education standards

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:58am

Giving schoolchildren a chance to learn all about Florida black bears is a great way to teach them about wildlife, while sharpening their skills in reading, math, science and problem solving.

For that reason, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has updated its Florida Black Bear Curriculum, and put it online for the first time

The revised Florida Black Bear Curriculum is free, easy for teachers to use, and meets the new Florida Standards for educational curricula.

The curriculum offers 10 lessons on topics such as “The Black Bear Necessities” and “Oh Where, Oh Where is the Florida Black Bear?” and includes hands-on activities such as mapping and role-playing. There are also videos for students to watch such as the FWC’s “Living with Florida Black Bears.”

“The Florida Black Bear Curriculum takes children’s curiosity about black bears into the classroom, where learning about black bears can improve kids’ skills in basics like reading, math, science and problem solving,” said Sarah Barrett with the FWC’s black bear management program. “Whenever FWC staff talks to kids about Florida black bears, the response is overwhelmingly positive because kids are eager to learn and ask great questions about bears.”

With more encounters today between people and bears in Florida than in the recent past, it is increasingly important for children to learn about the state’s bear population.

The Florida Black Bear Curriculum was designed for children in grades 3-8 and has been in use since 1999, when it was created as a joint project of the FWC and Defenders of Wildlife.

Florida teachers who register on the Florida Black Bear Curriculum website can gain access to additional information, particularly in regard to how the material fits the Florida Standards.

But anyone is welcome to go to and take advantage of the educational material there.

Draft Amendment to the Fiscal Years 2014/15 through 2018/19 Transportation Improvement Program Public Comment Period Announced

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:57am

Each year the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is required to develop a financially feasible Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that includes all transportation projects that are to be funded with state and federal dollars over the next five years.  Occasionally it becomes necessary to add, delete, or modify a project included in the MPO’s TIP.

The Collier MPO has begun a 21-day public comment period for the draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2014/15 – 2018/19 TIP Amendment.  The draft amendment is to add and increase funding for two new transit projects.  The first project is for the installation of new bus shelters at various locations throughout Collier County.  The second project is for Phase II capital improvements at Collier Area Transit’s (CAT) facility on Radio Road.  The funding for these projects will be appropriated from Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Pursuant to the MPO’s Public Involvement Plan, the public comment period for the draft amendment will end Sept. 3.  The MPO Board will consider the adoption of the amendment together with comments received within the public comment period at the MPO’s regular meeting, Sept. 12 at   9 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners Chambers on the third floor of the Collier County Government Center, 3299 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, Florida  34112

The draft TIP amendment is posted on the MPO’s website at  To view the Amendment, select “21-Day Public Comment Period for TIP Amendment” under the Latest News Section on the left side of the screen.

The draft amendment to the FY 2014/15 through FY 2018/19 TIP will also be on display at the customer service desks at the sites listed below:

  • Collier County Government Center North

2335 Orange Blossom Drive




  • Collier County Growth Management Division – Construction & Maintenance

2885 S. Horseshoe Drive




  • Naples City Hall

735 8th Street South




  • Everglades City Hall

102 Copeland Avenue N.

Everglades City



  • Marco Island City Hall

50 Bald Eagle Drive

Marco Island




  • Southwest Florida Works

750 S. 5th Street



  • All Collier County public libraries


The MPO’s planning process is conducted in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes.  Any person or beneficiary who believes that within the MPO’s planning process they have been discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or familial status may file a complaint with the Collier MPO Title VI Specialist Lorraine Lantz at239-252-5779 or by writing to Ms. Lantz at 2885 South Horseshoe Drive, Naples, Florida 34104.

For more information regarding the TIP Amendment call MPO Principal Planner Sue Faulkner at 239-252-5715.


Sierra Grande Community Partners with Humane Society Naples for Adoption Event

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:55am

Sierra Grande, a brand-new 300-unit resort-style rental community located at 6975 Sierra Club Circle off Collier Boulevard and Rattlesnake-Hammock Road, has partnered with the Humane Society Naples (www.hsnaples.orgto promote a summer ribbon-cutting and adoption event taking place at Sierra Grande on Saturday, August 23rd, from 10am to 2pm. The event is in celebration of the community’s newly-built Bark Park, which is located on community grounds, and provides a place for residents to play with and walk their dogs

“As the area’s first new leasing community in over 10 years, this is really a special celebration for us,” states Property Manager Robin Schmitt. “Sierra Grande offers incomparable luxury amenities, and we are family and pet-friendly. This event celebrates what we have to offer, as well as gives back to the community.”

The event, which is open to Sierra Grande residents and the public, will offer dog/cat adoptions through the Humane Society Naples’ on-site air-conditioned mobile adoption unit, food, entertainment, pet-friendly vendors, leasing promotions, prizes and a raffle drawing. All proceeds from the raffle drawing will be presented to the Humane Society Naples during the event.

The pet-friendly luxury community offers 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units with eight (8) floor plans to choose from along with well-appointed interior features and numerous amenities, including a grand clubhouse, lakefront pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, wellness center, wi-fi lounge, tennis courts, a children’s play room, sand volleyball court, barbeque/picnic areas, a tot lot and a now a brand new Bark Park.

Guests who R.S.V.P. in advance will have a chance to win a $100 gift card.  Call (239) 529-5631 or e-mail For further details, visit the community’s webpage

“Blues Bash”

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 10:53am

The Fourth Annual Naples Bay “Blues Bash” kicking off with The Chopper Band followed by Deb and the Dynamics then Big Ray & the Motor City Kings. If you’re a blues fan, this is THE event to attend. One hundred percent of the raffle and live auction proceeds will go to our Bayshore CAPA Youth Programs Charity.
The ten buck ticket gets you great music, a fun auction and lots of BBQ! This will be a fun and entertaining evening for all of us lovers of the blues.