Syndicate content
Updated: 12 hours 56 min ago

Anchoring Regulation Survey

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:56pm

Interested parties on potential anchoring regulations on Florida waters should contribute their thoughts on this subject through an online survey FWC has developed in response to feedback received at three prior public meetings this year. This survey has crucial explanatory language in the form of a video and audio messages (text options are available). To minimize the risk of confusion please listen to the messages in their entirety. Immediately following each video or audio message are questions specifically related to the information contained in that message. It is desired to obtain the most widespread response possible from all parties with an interest in this subject. The survey may be accessed at this site:

This survey will be active through 11:59 P.M. EST December 7, 2014.


Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:54pm

Local Letter Carriers will help Santa and The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program on Saturday, December 6th. Toys left by mailboxes will be collected for distribution by The Salvation Army to underprivileged children.

Residents are encouraged to leave a new, unwrapped toy by their mail box on Saturday, December 6th.

The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is directed by the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, with the assistance of his staff, from the Marine Forces Reserve Headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity, is the authorized fundraising and support organization for the Toys for Tots Program.  The Foundation provides the funding and support needed for successful annual toy collection and distribution campaigns.  The Foundation staff is headquartered in the Cooper Center located just outside the main gate of Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, about 35 miles south of Washington, DC.

Local campaigns are conducted annually in over 700 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  The Commander, Marine Forces Reserve has under his command 163 Reserve Units located in 47 states.  To cover all 50 states and more communities in each state, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation selects Marine Corps League Detachments and Local Community Organizations (generally veteran Marines) located in communities without a Marine Reserve Center, to conduct Toys for Tots campaigns as part of the overall U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

While Toys for Tots Coordinators organize, coordinate and manage the campaign, the ultimate success depends on the support of the local community and the generosity of the people who donate toys.

Marine Forces Reserve consists of 34,000 Marine Reservists, 2,000 Active Marine Reservists and 4,000 Regular Marines for a total of 40,000.  Typically, 15 to 20% of the forces are involved in annual Toys for Tots campaigns.



Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:54pm

Motorists are reminded to wear safety belts and drive with caution, courtesy, common sense, and patience as they travel through work zones. Remember, speeding fines are doubled in work zones.

I-75 at CR 886/Golden Gate Parkway:  Construction project:  Crews widen the southbound-off ramp to include two dedicated right turn lanes, a shared right/left turn lane, and two dedicated left turn lanes.  The project also replaces traffic signals and resurfaces the intersection and ramp.  Work occurs during daytime and nighttime hours.  Motorists should expect lane closures during nighttime/overnight hours from 5:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. and during daytime hours from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Drivers should use caution traveling in this area.  Estimated completion is spring 2015.  The Contractor is Wright Construction Group.

Andrew Drive from US 41 to Caledonia Avenue and Francis Avenue from Shadowlawn Drive to Pineland Street:  Construction project:  Crews build sidewalk, install curb and gutter, signs, and pavement markings as well as make drainage improvements to manage water running off the roadway.  Currently crews are working on Andrew Drive and Francis Avenue.  Estimated project completion is early 2015.  The contractor is Marquee Development.

US 41 from Catalina Drive to Lakewood Boulevard:  Maintenance permit project:  Motorists should expect the westbound lane to be closed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for crews to install culvert pipe.  Drivers should use caution as crews work near the roadway.

US 41 (Tamiami Trail East) from SR 951 to Greenway Road: Construction project: Crews continue work to expand two-lane US 41 to six lanes from SR 951 to Joseph Lane and to four lanes from Joseph Lane to Greenway Road. A 30-foot median will separate northbound and southbound travel lanes. The project also includes a 10-foot multi-use pathway along southbound travel lanes and a six-foot sidewalk parallel to northbound lanes. Median openings spaced throughout the project allow for left turns and U-turns. Crews also replace the traffic signal at Manatee Road. Crews are currently relocating utilities, constructing culverts, installing underground storm drainage, working on the bridge over Henderson Creek, and are beginning to construct the soundwall on the south side of the roadway.  Motorists should be aware of construction vehicles and equipment entering and exiting the roadway.  The contractor expects to complete work by fall 2016. The design/build team is Wantman Group Inc./Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, LLC.

US 41 from Rattlesnake Hammock Road to Guilford Road:  Maintenance permit project:  Motorists should expect the outside northbound lane to be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays for crews to install concrete utility poles.  Drivers should use caution and expect slow moving traffic.

US 41/9th Street North from 7th Street North to Orchid Drive:  Construction project:  Crews add landscaping in the median and decorative brick pavers in areas along the project.  Work occurs during daytime and nighttime hours.  Motorists should expect the inside northbound and southbound lanes to be closed during nighttime/overnight hours from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Drivers should use caution as crews work in this area.  Estimated completion is spring 2015.  The contractor is Wright Construction Group.

SR 29 from Santa Rosa Avenue to Immokalee Drive:  Maintenance permit project:  Crews are connecting a driveway and installing underground utilities.  Drivers should use caution while crews work near the roadway.

CR 31/Airport Pulling Road at North Horseshoe Drive:  Construction project:  Work continues to replace traffic signals and illuminated street signs, install a traffic separator, and resurface the intersection.  Work occurs during daytime and nighttime hours.  Motorists should expect lane closures during nighttime/overnight hours from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Crews are widening the roadway.  Drivers should use caution traveling in this area.  Estimated completion is spring 2015.  The contractor is Wright Construction Group.v

Travelling? Watch for I-75 RAMP CLOSURES

I-75 — Airport Direct Connect from south of the Alico Road interchange (#128) to south of the Daniels Parkway interchange (#131): Construction project: Crews are paving ramps.  The contractor will post detour signs to guide motorists.  Emergency services will be able to travel through the closure if necessary.

The I-75 — Airport Direct Connect project builds a direct connection from I-75 to Southwest Florida International Airport.  The project builds new northbound lanes parallel to I-75 south of the Alico Road interchange and new southbound lanes parallel to I-75 south of the Daniels Parkway interchange.  Crews are constructing a bridge over I-75 and over Treeline Avenue/Ben Hill Griffin Parkway connecting the interstate to Terminal Access Road and the Midfield Terminal Complex.  Project completion is expected spring 2015. Cost of the job is $54.1 million. The design/build team is Stantec (C3TS)/Prince.


Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:53pm



Notice is hereby given that the Collier County Board of County Commissioners and the Marco Island City Council will hold a joint workshop at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, in the Board of County Commissioners chambers, third floor, Collier County Government Center, 3299 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, Florida 34112.   This meeting will be broadcast live on Collier Television and via

Discussion topics include, but are not limited to:

1)          Ambulance Service

2)          Funding for Arterial Roadways

3)          Improvements to Goodland Road

4)          Park Impact Fees

5)          Signage and Parking of Tigertail Beach

6)          Dredging of Collier Creek

7)          South Beach Parking

All interested parties are invited to attend and to register to speak.  All registered public speakers will be limited to three minutes unless permission for additional time is granted by the chairman.

Collier County Ordinance No. 2004-05 requires that all lobbyists shall, before engaging in any lobbying activities (including, but not limited to, addressing the Board of County Commissioners, an advisory board or quasi-judicial board), register with the Clerk to the Board at the Board Minutes and Records Department.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or other reasonable accommodations in order to participate in this proceeding, should contact the Collier County Facilities Management Department, located at 3335 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, Florida 34112, or (239) 252-8380, as soon as possible, but no later than 48-hours before the scheduled event. Such reasonable accommodations will be provided at no cost to the individual.

For more information, call the County Manager’s Office at (239) 252-8383.

Red grouper conservation measures approved by FWC

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:53pm

At its meeting in Key Largo on Nov. 20, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved lowering of the red grouper recreational bag limit from four to two fish per person in Gulf of Mexico state waters, excluding Monroe County.

The Commission hopes that this change will mean an increase in the length of the recreational red grouper season in federal waters, which closed early this year because the recreational catch limit was exceeded in 2013. A two-fish bag limit was initially requested by Florida anglers and for-hire captains to help maximize fishing opportunities for red grouper, especially during late fall.

This change would make state regulations consistent with similar pending regulations in Gulf federal waters. Assuming the two-fish bag limit is finalized in federal waters, the state change will go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

To learn more, visit and click on “Commission Meetings” then find the topic in the agenda. To learn more about red grouper, visit and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

Public Safety Center Opens at Mile Marker 63

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:52pm

For decades, motorists traveling across Alligator Alley from Miami to Naples were often very far away from first responders if they got into trouble. All of that changed Nov. 6 when a long-awaited public safety center opened at mile marker 63.

The county has been working to get an emergency services center on Alligator Alley for more than 25 years. Then-Ochopee Fire Chief Vince Doerr initially made the request to the state in 1988, before Alligator Alley became a four-lane road.

The Ochopee Fire Department, which staffs the new station, has been the department responsible for responding to incidents on the Alley. There are about 250 calls a year on the Alley requiring emergency response, mostly involving vehicle accidents, vehicle fires and medical calls. Research has shown that 73 percent of most of the incidents on that stretch of Alligator Alley happen within 10 miles on either side of the station.

The project is a good example of the state and the county working together. In 2011, the Florida Legislature approved dedicating excess toll revenue from Alligator Alley to develop and operate the station. That was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) supplied the funds for the $8.8 million project as the county did not have the tax base around the station to fund it, and FDOT and the Board of Collier County Commissioners approved an agreement this spring that provides state funding for county staff and equipment at the station for the next four years, clearing the way for Collier County to hire 12 firefighters and paramedics to staff the station on three shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:52pm

~Participants sharpen their nature photography skills both in the classroom and the field~

Relative newcomers to digital SLR (single lens reflex) nature photography will be able to build on their skills at a two-session nature photography workshop to be held at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center on Dec. 18 and 19, 2014.

Only five photographers may participate in the two-part class, which will address nature photography techniques led by reserve educator and photographer Dave Graff. The classroom session will teach a variety of photography techniques including spot metering, composition and depth of field, among others. A discussion about the ethics of nature photography and the practices photographers sometimes use to get the “perfect shot” will be included.

Following the classroom session, students will practice their new skills in the field. In order to participate in this class, students must have a digital SLR camera with detachable lenses. In addition, participants are expected to be familiar with the basic operations of their camera and equipment.

Graff, who has bachelor’s degree in psychology/photocommunication (photojournalism) from the University of Miami, started his professional career with the Miami Herald and has more than 25 years of photography experience.

Additional photography classes will be offered at the reserve in the coming months to accommodate residents who exceed the current class size. The class is offered to a limited number of participants to allow Mr. Graff ample time to work one-on-one with students. For more information about the class contact Renee Wilson at 239-530-5958 or

The cost for the two-day class is $150 per person and registration is required, here.

WHAT:          Nature Photography Workshop

WHEN:          Day 1 – Dec. 18, 2014
9 a.m. – noon

Day 2 – Dec. 19, 2014
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE:        Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
300 Tower Road
Naples, FL 34113

Water Works Lunch Program

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:51pm

Conservancy of Southwest Florida invites community to Jan. 14 Water Works lunch and program to focus on water advocacy

Clean water is essential to all life, the basis of the Southwest Florida community and the foundation of its economy. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is hosting the premier of Water Works, a luncheon to support Southwest Florida’s most valuable natural resource, water. The event will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. at Naples Yacht Club.

The event includes a three-course, sit-down luncheon, and a meet and greet and keynote presentation by National Geographic’s Joel K. Bourne, an award-winning journalist who has covered environmental issues impacting water nationally and internationally for the past 20 years. The presenting sponsor is The Naples Trust Company, and supporting sponsors are Naples Yacht Club, Hurley Travel Experts, CRS Technology Consultants, PNC Bank and Naples Daily News. Registrations are being accepted at or call 239-403-4200 by Dec. 22.

“Amendment 1 brought the community together, demonstrating that the vast majority of Floridians support the protection of Florida’s rivers, lakes springs, coastal waters and natural areas for future generations,” said Conservancy President and CEO Rob Moher. “Water Works is an engaging new event that brings together like-minded citizens to learn about the Conservancy’s work.  This luncheon provides the opportunity find out how they can become more involved in protection of our water quality, fisheries and estuaries, so that together we can protect our quality of life for generations to come.”

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, Florida at 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, call 239-262-0304 or visit

November is Manatee Awareness Month!

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:50pm

Manatees have long been a part of the Florida ecosystem. Scientists have even discovered fossils in Florida from ancient relatives of the manatee dating back more than 45 million years.

Unfortunately, manatees are currently an endangered species. Even with laws in place to protect the species, they face threats of accidentally being hit by motorboats or becoming entangled in fishing nets.

The best way to help save our gentle giants is to be aware of your surroundings. Boat owners can help reduce the risk of hitting manatees by respecting No Wake Zones and Manatee Zones. Boaters should try to stay in deep water channels and avoid boating over shallow seagrass beds where manatees like to feed. Other ways boaters can protect manatees include wearing polarized sunglasses to help see manatees and other wildlife, using propeller guards and donating to manatee protection by purchasing a manatee decal when registering for a boating license.

If you do happen upon a manatee when out on the water, remember to maintain a safe distance of at least 50 feet and cut your motor if nearby!
The next Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition begins January 10th and will traverse the heart of springs country, where many manatees gather in winter months. To learn more about the Florida Wildlife Corridor and the Expedition route, please visit our website at

Fall Color in the Florida Landscape

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 4:08pm

Mike Malloy

Cassia wisilizenii. Photos By Mike Malloy

Summer heat is beginning to subside. and we actually have temperatures in the mornings in the 50s and 60s. The first thing to do is open all the windows and doors. The next step is to start enjoying all the cassias, or sennas, that begin to bloom this time of the year.

Cassias are generally known for their fast growth. Let me get this over with now before we all get confused: Cassias and sennas are the same group of plants, but some people with too much time on their hands decided to change the name from cassia to senna. I prefer cassia probably because I’m old and hate change.

These trees and shrubs are some of the showiest plants we have in the fall in Southwest Florida. Their bloom time is usually late summer or early fall and can bloom continually throughout the winter months. In fact, I have actually seen them bloom for more than a year straight — the same tree. I think like everything else they bloom whenever they feel like it and for as long as they feel like it. The longer they bloom the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Cassias can grow on a balcony or lanai, as well as in the landscape. They can be kept as a container plant with judicious pruning. They are all members of the pea family (Fabaceae).

Cassia ligustrina Privet cassia

Cassia bicapsularis, also known as Galbrata cassia, is a noxious weed but is still for sale here in Florida. I would suggest planting a native cassia like Privet cassia (Cassia ligustrina) or Bahama cassia (Cassia bahamensis) in place of the more invasive one.

One of my favorites is the popcorn cassia (Cassia didymobotyra) and another is desert cassia (Cassia polyphylla). The desert cassia can be kept as a small tree or shrub and is the slowest growing plant I have ever encountered that will bloom on and off all year. Another little known cassia in Florida is the canyon cassia (Cassia wisilizenii) and makes a beautiful small shade tree. It has feathery leaves making it as nice when in bloom as out of bloom. It has your typical yellow blooms that most cassias have, and the root system is not a problem as those of other trees can be. There are also a few red and pink cassias. Cassias are a great alternative to trying to stuff live oaks in where they do not belong.

Some other favorites are:

Candle Bush (Cassia alata) is a large cassia, also known as candelabra cassia because the flowers shoot upward just like a candelabra full of yellow candles. It makes an attractive specimen shrub and is one of the most spectacular. Alata will also do well as a container plant but must be controlled; it prefers, like most cassias, a lot of sun and should be trimmed back once a year.

Popcorn cassia (Cassia didymobotrya)

Popcorn Cassia (cassia didymobotrya) is very similar to alata cassia and can also be used as a specimen plant. It likes full sun and gets 10 feet in height. When rubbed in one’s hand it smells just like buttered popcorn. I’m not kidding; it’s made quite a few people crave popcorn.

For all of us who could not wait till the Sunshine Tree (Cassia surrattensis) to rebound — myself being one — from the fungus they seem to have had for two years, SURPRISE, they are back, and some better than others. In full bloom and beautiful, they attract the yellow (sulfur) butterflies that use them for depositing their eggs and feeding the caterpillars. This cassia makes a great small tree.

In case you did not notice there are hundreds planted around Naples. It matures at about 15 feet and is almost the same in canopy spread. It will take full sun to partial shade. The sunshine will bloom on and off all year but looks its best in fall and winter. They do, however, tend to go down in strong winds if their canopies are not thinned out from time to time. On the good side, they can be put back up easily. Let’s face it there is not much that won’t blow over in strong winds in Florida.

Orange barred Sulphur

Bahama cassia (Cassia bahamensis), also known as cassia chapmanii, is a large shrub that is covered with yellow flowers all fall. Bahama cassias are great in the landscape when planted in mass. This one is native to Florida.

Privet cassia (Cassia ligustrina) is a shrub that grows to 10 feet and can be 6-8 feet in width. Like most cassias, it will bear yellow flowers. They do well in full sun to partial shade, bloom on and off all year and have average water needs. They are also native to Florida and will reseed themselves — maybe more then we like.

Coffee cassia (Cassia occidental) is a wild growing cassia growing in woods everywhere in Southwest Florida. I have never seen it for sale as a cultivated plant. This cassia is sometimes called stink weed because when the leaves are crushed it has an unpleasant odor. These are no reasons to count this cassia out. Keep your eyes open. I know the dainty sulfur and the barred sulfur love this one.

Coffee cassia (Cassia occidentalis)

Most cassias bloom brilliant yellow flowers, but the apple blossom tree (Cassia javanica) has pink flowers and most spectacular ones, I might add. This tree gets quite large — a little larger than most cassias actually the size of a northern apple tree — so give them room. It requires full sun. In Hawaii, the streets are lined with this cassia.

Remember, one of the best reasons to have cassias or sennas in the garden is that they are the host plant (plants the female butterfly lays her eggs on) to the many sulfur butterflies (yellow butterflies) we have in abundance here in Southwest Florida. Orange barred sulfur, large orange sulfur, cloudless sulfur and the dainty sulfur just to name a few of the many butterflies that are attracted to cassias.



Mike Malloy, local author and artist known as “The Butterfly Man” has been a Naples resident since 1991. A Collier County Master Gardener, he has written two books entitled “Butterfly Gardening Made Easy for Southwest Florida,” and “Tropical Color – A Guide to Colorful Plants for the Southwest Florida Garden”, and currently writes articles on various gardening topics for several local publications. Mike has planted and designed numerous butterfly gardens around Naples including many schools, the City of Naples, Rookery Bay, the Conservancy and Big Cypress. Bring your gardening questions to the Third Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or on Thursdays at the Naples Botanical Garden where he does a Plant Clinic or visit his website, He also can be heard every Saturday at 4 PM on his call-in garden radio show, “Plant Talk with Mike Malloy,” on 98.9-WGUF.



Condo Market Activity

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 4:05pm

Condo Report
By Gary and Sandy Elliott

Realtors often use the term “absorption rate” to help understand real estate activity in segments of a market. One definition of absorption rate is how many months it would take to sell all the active listings if no new condos came on the market. Using this definition, six months of supply is normally considered a balanced market. If a segment has more than six months of supply, then the buyer has an advantage, and if the market has less than six months of supply, the seller has an advantage.

Both sellers and buyers benefit by knowing the applicable absorption rate for a condo they are buying or selling. The attached charts give an indication of the condo real estate market on Marco Island. To calculate the months of supply, the number of active listings are divided by the average monthly sales during the last 12 months for a particular price or geographic segment. On the charts, those segments with less than 6 months of supply are marked green, and those with more than 6 months of supply are marked red. It is readily apparent that condos listed for under $200,000 are in short supply. Higher priced condos have more than six month’s supply, and those listed for more than $2 million have a 25-month supply.

Regarding island location, only inland condos are in short supply and show up as a green bar. There are plenty of beach front, water direct, water indirect and Gulf condos listed for sale at various price points as indicated by the red bars. However, it is important to consider each individual condo building because some popular condos have little or no inventory and others have several months of inventory.

During the last 12 months, 560 condos have sold on Marco Island, or 47 per month on average. Today, there are 326 condos for sale, resulting in an island-wide absorption rate of seven months — just over the six month balanced market. This season should continue to see a high demand for condos, and what may be considered a buyer’s advantage going into the season may well end up a seller’s advantage in a few months.

If you are trying to sell your condo in a short time horizon, check with your realtor for ideas on how to sell it quicker than the overall absorption rate for your segment. If you are a buyer, check out the absorption rate with your realtor to determine if you have an advantage when it comes to negotiating the price.

Educate Yourself and Get the Information You Need

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 4:03pm

To Your Health
Scott Lowe
CEO, Physicians Regional-Collier Blvd

Remember the good old days when it was commonplace to clip a helpful and/or interesting article out of the newspaper for future reference or to share with a neighbor? Well, grab your scissors, this is one of those times.

As the CEO of Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard, I believe there is nothing more important than your access to information to successfully navigate all aspects of your health care needs.

Today, I’m going to cover some basics about insurance and billing as well as a great new resource to access your patient record information.


First and foremost, empower yourself — take the time to know your benefits. Having a working knowledge of your policy, deductible and co-pay — as well as any exclusions on your policy and your in-network vs. out-of-network providers — will prove to be invaluable.

This information can typically be obtained through printed and/or online sources or by calling your insurance company’s customer service number. Don’t forget, you are a “paying customer” to your insurance provider, and they have a responsibility to help you understand what you are paying for.

What’s more, don’t wait until you need insurance coverage. Be proactive and educate yourself in advance.

Yes, members of the Physicians Regional team can help you with many insurance-related issues; however, by the time some questions come our way, a specific treatment process may already be underway.

When all is said and done, no one can understand all the nuances of your personal health insurance policy better than you.


To begin, please keep in mind that Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard is home to Physicians Regional health care providers as well as host to other specialty physicians and health care service teams. For example, outside organizations such as Naples Radiology provide essential services out of our hospital centers.

The result: Your insurance company may be billed by multiple providers; you may be as well.

Now, write this down and keep it handy: 866-481-2553. If you are a Physicians Regional patient, this telephone number will put you in touch with a member of our well-staffed customer service team.

Customer Service is prepared to help you understand issues such as the cost of specific procedures and the status on bills and insurance payments.

They can also assist you in determining estimated insurance benefit coverage versus out-of-pocket expenses in advance of a hospital visit. In fact, Physicians Regional Customer Service can access most patient/insurance benefit. Should your visit be to our emergency room, simply call Customer Service afterwards, and review the services provided rather than waiting for an unknown number of invoices to be sent your way.

Your patient record is typically updated within 24 hours of your visit.

My Health Home Patient Portal

Another great option for information is “My Health Home Patient Portal,” a secure online home for your hospital health information. This FREE online service is designed to help you be a more active partner in your healthcare.

To sign up, present your photo identification and email address at registration on your next visit to any Physicians Regional medical facility or doctor’s office. An email will then be sent to you to guide you through the online set-up process.

When you create an account in the My Health Home Patient Portal, you can:

  • View and share your personal health record (PHR) related to your hospital stays.
  • View your lab results, list of medications, diagnoses, allergies, lab test results, physician reports and other healthcare information related to your inpatient hospital care.
  • Access your hospital discharge instructions to help you take better care of yourself once you are home.
  • Review and update your personal information.
  • Manage family member health records (once you are authorized).

Plus, the My Health Home Patient Portal is easy to use. You don’t have to download or install any programs. You can access My Health Home from any computer or smartphone with an Internet connection.

The My Home Health Patient Portal is especially helpful for those who travel north during off-season — those with physicians in other geographic areas in need of your most updated health records.

So often, I find that “fear” of technology and automated voicemail systems keeps patients from proactively educating themselves. However, both your “comfort” and your “comfort level” impact your health care experience.

Give technology the benefit of the doubt and take the initiative to educate yourself. You may be surprised at how much more pleasant your overall experience will be. After all, knowledge is power.

It’s All in the Hips

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 4:01pm

Golf Tips
Todd Elliott

It’s all in the hips” is a funny line from the movie “Happy Gilmore.” Happy’s teacher, Chubbs, tells him this line while helping with his golf swing. The line has some truth to it. The hip movement is important for many reasons. The number one reason is that hip rotation affects pelvic rotation and footwork. If a golfer’s hips move properly, the correct balance and footwork can be achieved. Many of us have limitation in our hip rotation. When the hips are limited in the golf swing, compensations are made with other body movements. Compensation for poor hip mobility causes bad balance in the swing.

On the backswing, the pelvis rotates. Face a golfer while they are taking a backswing, we should see the pelvis work around. There should be no movement to the right on the backswing for a right-handed golfer. Many golfers have limitation in their hips that makes this impossible. A golfer will take half of a backswing, and the hips are already at their maximum rotation. The body slides to the right because the body can no longer rotate. A playing companion might tell the golfer they are swaying off the ball. The playing companion may not know that the golfer has no choice; the golfer has body limitations.

When the sway occurs on the backswing, the weight goes 100 percent on the trail foot. The stability in the feet lose connection to the ground, and the center of mass (the body) moves to the right for a right-handed golfer. From this position, at the top of the backswing, there is no chance to drive the legs and the body mass threw impact. All of this causes a lack of power and poor contact.

A new teaching tool that has become very popular in the teaching world is called BodiTrak. BodiTrak is a device that measures COP, or center of pressure. Other than the clubface, there is nothing more important than for a student to understand where their weight is during the golf swing. BodiTrak has set standards which many golf instructors have been teaching for years, but now we have confirmation. There are no perfect numbers when it comes to center of pressure, but there are some standards that instructors use based on their teaching ideals.

Golfers should rotate on their backswing with their body over the ball, inside the barrel as seen in the picture. Even though the body does not move laterally, the weight, or center, of pressure moves from 50/50 at address to 80 percent on the golfer’s trail foot — right foot for right-handed golfer at the top of the backswing. To be more specific, if the pelvic rotation moves properly, there will be more pressure on the heel of the trail foot.

The transition from the backswing to the downswing starts with no pelvic rotation but a weight shift to the front foot. The weight will go from an 80 percent on the trail foot to 80 percent on the lead or front foot before any rotation starts to occur. Many golfers start to rotate before the shift in weight occurs. When this happens, there is no room for the club handle to approach the golf ball. This causes the club handle and shaft to work away from the body, also known as over the top.

After the transfer of weight, the rotation of the pelvis and torso can start. The weight will stay 80-90 percent on the left leg during the rotation on the downswing. If the pelvis rotates correctly, the weight will move towards the heel of the lead foot. The main reason the weight goes to the heels during rotation is the pelvis being an elliptic shape.

The correct rotation should see the pelvis rotating outside the heel of the lead foot. This means the glute will be beyond the heel of the lead foot at impact. This is an important movement for maintaining the spine angle through impact. If the pelvis moves towards the golf ball on the downswing instead of rotationally, the torso and head will move up and away from the golf ball. Many golfers will say, “I lifted my head”. No, actually the pelvis did not rotate properly. The pelvis moved closer to the ball, making the torso and head move upward.

How the pelvis and footwork should function in the golf swing is irrelevant if a golfer’s hip rotation is limited. I encourage every golfer to get physically evaluated, and then, if needed, work on the inward and outward rotation of the hips with a local fitness instructor or physical therapist.

I have built a team of my favorite local instructors and therapists for my students. I can tell my students until I am blue in the face how to move their body, but if they are not physically capable I am wasting their time. Getting students to progress includes me telling them how to move and a fitness trainer or physical therapist helping their body function correctly.

Go see your local PGA Professional to see if you have the correct hip and pelvic movement, footwork and balance in your swing.


Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is an active Student Mentor at FGCU; a volunteer with the First Tee program and was presented the 2010 and 2011 PGA’s President Council Awards on “Growing the Game.”

Naomi Christmas 2014

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 4:00pm

Naomi & Karina Paape

Dear Fellow Felines,

Now that I have — literally — Thanksgiving under my belt (boy, was that turkey and green bean casserole tasty), it’s time to talk about Santa Claws, elves, Christmas cookies (yummy smelling, but deadly for cats), stockings, tinsel, fake snow (what is snow by the way?), glass ornaments, those awful scented candles and, of course, that silly mistletoe your staff stands under in expectation that someone will kiss him or her.

For you newbie felines experiencing your first Christmas, the joys of the day are many: dangling ornaments, presents wrapped in pretty paper (great for shredding into hundreds of pieces) topped with colorful ribbons (fun to wrestle with, but dangerous when swallowed), vats of food and hordes of visitors traipsing in and out of the front door offering us felines many fabulous opportunities to duck out and escape the chaos.

And then there is the tree — that most enticing of all things Christmas. Who among us hasn’t heard of a fellow feline scaling a Christmas tree and replacing the tree top ornament with their feline selves? Don’t believe me? Well then, I have one doozy of a Christmas tree story to tell you!

My dear, late friend “Patches,” a fellow tortie, told me a fabulous scale-the-tree story just before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year. Apparently, her original staff (remember our feline mantra: dogs have owners, cats have staff) failed to have her spayed when they got her as a kitten. When she wasn’t even a year old, she found herself pregnant and homeless. Her humans blamed her for getting pregnant and kicked her to the curb when, in fact, it was really their fault she hadn’t been spayed.

A kind, unsuspecting woman agreed to rescue said tortie, even after she picked her up, held her in her arms and discovered she was rather pregnant — a fact that the people who found her had failed to share. Patches had her kittens on Mother’s Day a few years ago, found her four babies wonderful furever homes, then settled into life as a spoiled house cat.

On a cold and dreary northern night, her staff put up an eight-foot-tall live, sap-dripping tree (think Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation). It was her first Christmas, and, still being a kitten herself, Patches was intrigued to discover an actual tree growing indoors.

After said human spent days adorning said towering tree with gorgeous ornaments, the majority of which were glass and irreplaceable, there came a Sunday morning when Patches’s staff decided to take her two needy labs for a walk. That’s when she got busy. The tree so intrigued her that she did what any self-respecting tortie would do: She climbed it. Ah, you justifiably ask, why would an otherwise intelligent tortie do such a thing? Well, silly, to get to the top, of course!

Unbeknownst to Patches, however, her staff had failed to anchor said tree to the ceiling and walls with bungee cords. Consequently, when Patches summited the top, she and the tree came crashing down. There was glass everywhere. Tangled strings of lights, tinsel and candy canes covered the white wall-to-wall carpeting. The tree had stopped breathing. Patches herself was covered in sap, making her claim that a tornado had roared through the house ridiculous.

When her staff returned from walking the dogs, they couldn’t believe their eyes. What happened to the Christmas tree? And where was Patches? Apparently, the noise that accompanied her toppling of the tree sent her running for cover. When she emerged a few hours later (the clean-up alone took three hours), her sappy fur was irrefutable proof that she was the culprit. You could say the cat was out of the bag. The moral of the story, my fine fellow felines, is do not follow in Patches’ paw-steps. To do so, risks getting a stocking full of dog treats.

For those of you who’ve been sleeping in a cave all fall, let me remind you that today is Black Friday. Your humans go berserk over this day, which doesn’t sound like much fun since, after all, it is called “black” Friday, but I discovered why today is so named. Humans get up in the “dark” and “black” early morning hours so they can go stand in line at the mall in an effort to be the first one to hit the sale racks. What ever happened to online shopping?

I, however, have a stress-free solution to your staff’s Christmas gift woes: visit our booth, run by some of our shelter kittens, at the Farmer’s Market any Wednesday between now and Christmas. We have our wonderful 2015 “Glamour Puss” calendar which, by the way, doesn’t have a single photo of yours truly within its glossy pages. But you still might want to buy one or two as gifts for your non-Naomi loving friends. We also have a nice t-shirt with new graphics this year, as well as a sterling silver cat pendant (with a red heart on it of course), and lots of fun car magnets.

I’ve received a couple of intriguing “Santa Claws” letters forwarded to me from the North Pole:


Dear Santa Claws,

I need a book on how to deal with a neurotic human. Signed “Freud”


Dear Santa Claws,

There are six cats in this house. Could you take five and give them to some kids who asked you for a cat for Christmas? Signed “Bonzilla.”


Dear Santa Claws,

I would like another cat to play with. The Siamese you left last year keeps me up all night talking. Signed “Polar Bear”


The only Dear Santa Claws letter that really matters, however, is mine:


Dear Santa Claws,

Please make Jim (Jim and Jan Rich founded my “no kill” cat shelter in 2002) take more naps so I can clean his face and snuggle on his chest. If you grant this one, humble wish, please cancel my original request for a stylist. I don’t know what I was thinking. I loath being groomed or having a pink bandana wrapped around my neck. If there is so much as a sliver of a hint that a brush is coming my way, I will use my teeth if I have to. Signed “Your most esteemed tortie, Naomi”


And no, I haven’t forgotten to share with you my “stunt of the month.” If you may recall, my last year’s Christmas wish came true when I gained full house-cat status in the home of shelter co-founders Jan and Jim. Whenever I’m feeling unloved and forgotten (after all, I have to share the joint with three other cats), I march over to the bedroom door, and cry as pitifully as possible so that someone will come play with me. My first choice on the playground is “Max” because he comes up with the most clever games. I will, however, settle for “Danny” who likes to chase me into said bedroom where we play “Dust Ruffle Paw Grab.”

Happy and safe holidays to all and to all a purr-fect holiday.

Love, nips, purrs and holiday kisses!


Namoi is a 5 1/2-year-old Tortie and a permanent resident at FLC. She is the shelter supervisor and takes her salary in food. She would love for you to learn more about For the Love of Cats at its website,



Are You a Good Listener?

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 3:56pm

Body, Mind And Spirit
Laurie Kasperbauer

I am a good listener, or maybe not. Maybe I’m just a better listener than I am a talker. Entertaining stories and antecdotes do not just roll off my tongue. Unlike my husband, who is a great talker. He can speak intelligently about any subject, and he can tell the same joke over and over. Even if the listener knows the punchline, they still find it funny.

I recently attempted to recall one of his standard jokes that always gets big laughs, and it fell flat, like sea pork. It rolled around in my audience’s mind for a few moments, and then shamefully, I had to explain it to the reply of a sympathetic chuckle. So, I stick to listening.

Listening is easy if we are interested in the subject or in the person doing the talking, right? But what if the person doing the talking is us, and the subject is our own body?

Example: When leading a yoga class, I often say these words, “Move slowly into your ‘edge,’ and when you reach your edge, stop. Relax and breathe into this new place.” Some people listen to their bodies, find their edge, and do, indeed pause. Some, listen to the voice in their head that says, “Push harder; no pain, no gain; I need to sweat.” How do we know which voice we should be listening to, and when we hear the voice speaking to us, what if we choose to not listen?

This summer my brother-in-law was suddenly diagnosed with a very aggressive brain cancer. The doctor said it had only been growing a matter of weeks when it was discovered, and the prognosis is not good. I believe his body was talking to him before he went to the hospital for diagnosis. I am quite certain he was aware of his slurred speech, the change in his gait, and his unusual mood swings. Was he listening? Probably. Those symptoms are things we do not want to hear from our bodies. Perhaps he was listening but decided not knowing was better than knowing. I would probably agree.

Day in and day out, we live with a voice in our head. You can call it “ego” or “subconscious” or just plain annoying, but it’s there and it’s seldom quiet. In the book, “The Untethered Soul,” author Michael A. Singer tells us to step back and observe the voice. Listen to the dialogue, but don’t be a party to it. Not easy to do when you’re lying in bed at night trying to sleep. As the clock ticks on, the voice in your head gets louder. It’s reminding you of the things you forgot to do today, or the important events coming up tomorrow. It recalls that conversation you had that didn’t go so well. It’s pointing out the pain in your left hip. It’s jealous of your spouse sleeping soundly beside you. How we wish to silence this voice!

So, how do we become good listeners? How do we discern which voice we should cozy-up to and which one we “tune out?” When our oldest son was in college, his first two years were spent studying beer and women. Somehow he still graduated just a couple of summer courses past four years, but there were many “discussions” between parent and adult “child” during that time. Like a fool, I asked what compelled him to make some of the unwise decisions he made, and I will never forget his reponse. “Mom, I always know the right thing to do. Sometimes I just chose not to do it.” Fair enough. I suppose if we always listen to the voice of reason we will somehow miss out on the experiences that feed our future good judgement.

Like everything in life, listening is a choice we make. What voices we carry with us are also a choice, and which voice we actually listen to is the most important decision of all. Whether it’s the voice of our body or the words in our heads, we must carefully observe what we’re hearing. The distraction of chatter and worry serve no purpose in your life. It is the soft voice that guides you to your “edge,” then quiets as you enjoy this new place, who will bring the greatest rewards.


Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.


Endless Excitement

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 3:55pm

Richard Alan


While traveling in Spain this past summer, I mentioned in my column I came across an unusual line of jewelry. Many of you who have been following my writing may notice I occasionally veer off subject when the subject is supposed to be about things that glitter and especially jewelry. Except for a few trends, I must admit the jewelry scene have been pretty much lackluster full. The past five years or so I have had the pleasure of investing my hard earned money in up and coming jewelry fads or trends only to watch them have the effect of the proverbial lead balloon. Many of these so-called latest and greatest jewelry stock investments failed miserably or just plain fell on their face in less time than a paper towel roll runs out. It hurts me more than you can imagine. Every jeweler I know asks the same question: What does the public want this holiday season?

Diamond halo jewelry — which includes rings, pendants and earrings — has been the most exciting new look for diamonds and precious gemstones for a couple of years now. The Halo look is extremely popular in my shop here on the island. It makes smaller and even large diamonds look bigger when placed in the center of a halo mounting, and not a day goes by that customers don’t notice them or reset their own diamond in one.

I’m excited by the Endless Jewelry line I discovered in Europe. It is already the rage there, and just recently debuted in Canada this summer. There is no question in my mind it will be a hit in the U.S., and what makes it exciting for me is I have it now in my store. I am one of Southwest Florida’s exclusive vendors of this new and exciting line on Marco Island.

So what’s so special about Endless Jewelry? First of all, it’s different! Beautiful lush leather bracelets, all the colors of the rainbow that encircle the wrist once, twice or even three times. Specially-designed, high quality sterling silver or vermeil gold charms can slide on and off with ease and stay right where you put them. There are hundreds to choose from, and Endless designs new, fun or fancy charms every month. The Jennifer Lopez Collection is a knock out with lush gold or colored, textured leather bracelets with upscale sterling and gold vermeil charms.

Sorry, Pandora bracelets owners. Your charms won’t fit on the Endless bracelet. It’s a different design. I have nothing against Pandora. In fact, Endless Jewelry’s founder Jesper Nielsen helped launch Pandora Jewelry worldwide back in 2003, and within a few years, sales reached more than 1 billion Danish Kroners (more than $166 million). It was sold in five major European countries, and then went viral the U.S.

In 2008, Pandora sold to venture capitalists that focused on profit. Not Jesper’s cup of tea, so to speak; so he and his family left Pandora and moved on to something new and different — Endless Jewelry.

Endless Jewelry is high quality and affordable. Pricing starts at $69 for the promotional double bracelet and one charm. The bracelet looks and feels wonderful with a few or numerous charms, and one can mix colors by attaching one, two or three bracelets by the simple and sturdy magnetic clasp. The color combinations and mixing different charms make for endless possibilities.

I can’t say enough about it. It has already gone beyond sales expectations, and it just got to U.S. shores. I predict it will be the hottest selling holiday gift this season. It will be here on Marco too!

I also see high quality sea life jewelry is in demand again so I continue to carry the lines of Stephen Douglas and Denny Wong jewelry, besides stocking my own custom designs. Diamond earrings are already going out the door.

And guys, your significant other wants diamond studs or a signature diamond pendant, believe it!

Come in and find out how you can get her a knock-out pair without breaking the bank. Three words: clarity enhanced diamonds. Ask me about them!

Happy Holidays to all!


Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith with more than 40 years of experience and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island. He welcomes your questions about “all that glitters” at 239-394-9275 or at



Attack Arthritis!

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 3:53pm

Crystal Manjarres

Do you or someone you know have arthritis? Maybe it’s mild and more of a nuisance than anything, or maybe it’s so severe that you rely on medication to make it through the day. Depending on the type you have, you may find some relief in improving your diet (although it alone cannot reverse the damage that’s already been done).

The two central types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is typically lumped into the too-much-wear-and-tear division with the majority of sufferers being diagnosed with this particular one. Truth be told, that’s not necessarily the case; studies have indicated that nutritional deficiencies, an imbalanced gut flora and toxicity in the body (among others) play a strong roll in this brutal inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system breaks down and attacks its own tissues, wreaking havoc on the joints.

Due to space limitations, we will not be able to address such a multifaceted topic in one article, as we will merely be scratching the surface; what we will do is learn some tips that will help you manage and/or (hopefully) prevent such a painful disease in the first place.

Think of attacking arthritis — instead of letting it attack you — with a three-pronged approach: nutrition, exercise and supplementation, if needed.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that your food is akin to putting gas in a car — you want the best quality to keep your car functioning at its peak and avoiding a future breakdown. With foods, you also want to ingest the best quality sources available to keep your body running at its best as well and that includes anti-inflammatory foods. This is especially true for those suffering from arthritis as they are already in a state of inflammation.

Some of the most common offenders of inflammation are wheat, sugar, dairy, corn and soy. Nightshade veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant contain solanin, which also heightens inflammation.

It goes without saying that processed foods loaded with preservatives, chemicals, additives and artificial anything is a big no-no, as are fried foods, non-organic foods, non-grass fed meats, alcohol and caffeine to name a few.

Lastly are foods high in oxalates, which most people aren’t aware of; these health foods are terrible for those with gout as they create “crystals” in the connective tissue. Some examples are asparagus, spinach and rhubarb.

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s get to the fun part — what you can eat!

Eat your Omega-3s: Salmon is the most popular choice, but some other superstars are flaxseed, tuna, mackerel, trout and sea bass.

Eat foods high in sulfur to repair your cartilage: Think onions, cabbage and garlic. Anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger, turmeric, and curcumin are rich in antioxidants which promote healing to the tissues. Fruits high in bromelain like papaya and pineapple are exceptional at reducing inflammation and pain.

Vitamin E: Since those with rheumatoid arthritis are known to have low levels, it is imperative to consume broccoli, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, avocados and mangoes (just to name a few).

Flavonoids: Foods such as cherries and blueberries are anti-inflammatory, rich in anti-oxidants, and benefit not only the cardiovascular system but the nervous system as well.

In addition to adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, make sure to drink plenty of water (as dehydration has been associated with arthritis). Include some superfoods (like kale, olive oil, mustard greens, etc.). Eat whole, unprocessed foods, and consume more alkaline foods like dark leafy greens, coconut and almonds to promote a more neutral pH system.

Sometimes supplementation is necessary; check with your homeopathic physician to see if including supplements are right for you. Some great ones are fish oils with EPA, glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate, bromelain, curcumin, MSM and Vitamins E and C.

Finally, don’t forget about exercise! Walking, swimming, Pilates and lifting weights are all excellent ways to help arthritis sufferers reduce stiffness, pain and function better. Start off slowly, and if you’re unsure of how to begin, seek out a knowledgeable trainer to get you started.

If you have any questions, I’m just an email away.


Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email She can also be reached at or and (239) 333-5771.



Southern Skies!

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 3:51pm

By Mike P. Usher

For some reason the brightest stars in the sky make their appearance in the winter. We’ve discussed two of the brightest — Betelgeuse and Rigel — several times before; but is always nice to see them again.

Extend the line formed by Orion’s belt stars upwards to find Aldebaran. It is the orange eye of Taurus the Bull, who seems to be forever fighting Orion. Turn your gaze to the left to find the bright star Capella, commonly nicknamed the goat star as ancient artists depicted Auriga holding a goat.

Drop back towards the horizon to see two about equally bright stars, Castor and Pollux, which are part of Gemini. To the right and slightly downwards is Procyon, and to the right of that is the brightest of all stars Sirius. If you start at Aldebaran proceed counter-clockwise to the above mentioned stars and finish at Rigel and then Betelgeuse, you will see you have followed a giant “G” shape in the sky!

Notice how bright stars, particularly Sirius, sparkle and flash different colors while near the horizon. This is caused by our atmosphere being thicker and rather unstable near the horizon. Inexperienced star gazers almost invariably wonder if they could possibly be UFO’s, particularly since the stars are close to fixed objects such as trees which makes the motion of the stars more obvious. Planets don’t twinkle as much as they are tiny disks instead of dimensionless points of light, but even they will twinkle if the air is unstable enough. A few years back I was with two teenagers who spotted Venus very close to the horizon twinkling. First words out of their mouths were: “Is that a UFO?”

Notice that Aldebaran lies inside a “V” shaped group of stars that form the base of Taurus’ horns. These stars form the Hyades, one of the few open star clusters easily visible to the naked eye. Aldebaran is not a member but merely lies along the same line-of-sight less than half the distance away. These stars are more spaced out than the nearby Pleiades (appearing just off tonight’s chart) largely because they are so much closer.

Carefully scan the whole area of Orion with your trusty pair of binoculars; there are quite a few interesting objects in this region. In particular, the Great Nebula in Orion is even visible to the naked eye.

See you next time!


Mr. Usher is a Director of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM in the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples. E-mail:





Tue, 12/02/2014 - 3:50pm

The Bingo Committee celebrates its 16th season at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. Bingo is being played every Monday. Doors open at 5:30 PM. The public is welcome!


Hope for the Hungry

Sat, 11/29/2014 - 11:52am

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

By all accounts, Captain Hope and his band of warriors successfully packaged a ton of meals at the Marco Island Charter Middle School. This was the third year the Sunrise Rotary Club, the Noontime Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club came together to organize the event in the school gym.

Local attorney and Rotarian Neil Snyder (aka Captain Hope) leads the charge as chairman, with event logistics handled by fellow Rotarian Erik Condee. Neil’s goals for 2014 were immense: first, raise $40,000; second, package 200,000 meals in two hours; and third, recruit 500 Hope Warriors to join in to package the meals.

Marco Island went above and beyond! Not only was the $40,000 raised, but next year will begin with $20,000. A total of 210,000 were packaged by approximately 600 volunteers! Of course, the 2015 goals are set slightly higher, but obviously, it will be no problem for Marco Island.

Steve Popper is a Naples Rotarian who brought the 501(c)(3) Meals of Hope to Collier County several years ago. According to Steve, the food packaged at the Marco Island event will be distributed through the Harry Chapin Food Bank and stay in Collier County. “We have packaged over 3 million meals so far this year and are on track to hit 5 million.”

Young and old, students and retirees, sports teams and scholars, businesses (including Coastal Breeze News), scouts, clubs and organizations, friends and family all worked in unison to “get ‘er done,” as the saying goes. Each macaroni and cheese meal packaged contained 21 vitamins, soy protein, and is enough to feed six people.

Neil thanked everyone for making the effort so successful and announced Saturday, Nov. 14, as the date for the 2015 packaging event.