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35th Annual Shell Show

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:43pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

The 35th Annual Shell Show is presented by the Marco Island Shell Club. There will be dozens of magnificent juried scientific and artistic exhibits. One can find beautiful shell art pieces, see unique specimen shells and A LIVE shell tank will be on display. The show will be held March 12-14, 10AM to 4PM at the United Church of Marco Island, 320 N. Barfield Drive. A $2 donation is requested.

All proceeds of the show will go to support the Marco Island Shell Club’s scholarship Fund. Scholarships are awarded in conservation and education in line with the club’s mission statement: “To promote the study, conservation, science, history and appreciation of seashells and mollusks in all their forms.” The scholarships of Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of South Florida will depend largely on proceeds from the upcoming show.

This year’s show will feature a contest, “The Hunt for an Anomaly”. An anomaly is a shell that is a deviation from the normal shell in color and shape. For the prize, you need to find, an Alphabet Cone with a #3 or #5 (or both) on the shell, in honor of our 35th year. Or, a Right-Handed Lightening Whelk (an aperature/opening is on the right). Bring your anomaly to the show on Saturday, March 14th at 1PM.

The Marco Island Shell Club offers workshops and sessions in season to those interested shell craft and jewelry items created to be sold at the show. Prizes will be awarded.

Judges for the show are Dr. Jose Leal of the Bailey Matthews Shell Museum; Dr. Gary Schmelz Marine Biologist and Paleontologist, Bill Jordan a respected shell artist and Phyllis Gray, a shell show exhibitor and judge. Trophies in 19 categories will be awarded.

For more information on the Marco Island Shell Club, their workshops or the 35th Annual show, go to: or

Not Just a Lady…an Arlington Lady

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:41pm

By Steve Gimmestad

“I am an Arlington Lady because I care and consider it an honor and privilege. It is important for the families to know that

the sacrifice their loved ones have given in the service of their country, will never be forgotten.” - Nella Neary


The Arlington Ladies is a group of volunteers with the purpose of representing the Army Chief of Staff, his wife and the “Total Army Family”, during funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. Its origins trace back to 1948. In 1973, Julie Adams, wife of General Creighton Adams, initiated the Army version and soon thereafter it was established as an independent organization.

Nella Neary is an Arlington Lady and Marco Island resident. She spends the summer months in Virginia honoring her duties at Arlington National Cemetery for Army personnel funeral services. “Every funeral is important,” says Nella. “And I have never missed a day of my duty. Even Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, could not keep me from attending a service.”

Nella became an Arlington Lady in 2004. She was attending services for a personal friend, General George S. Patton, son of famous WWII General George Patton. The chaplain at the service recommended her to the Arlington Ladies. A recommendation is the only way to be introduced to the organization. She was thrilled and honored at the opportunity to make such an impact. After a few days of training, Nella Neary was a full member of a very small and prestigious organization. There are only about 65 members of the Army Arlington Ladies today.

Each Arlington Lady attends up to three services a day. Two Ladies are scheduled for each service. Nella describes her duties: “Before each service, I learn as much as I can from the Chaplain about the service member and their family. I then write a card on behalf of the Arlington Ladies, include it with a card from the Army Chief of Staff (currently General Raymond Odierno), and the total Army Family. I then present them to the family.”

Going above and beyond, Nella always tries to do something extra for the families. “During one service, I asked my Escort to collect the shells from the rifle salute so I could give them to the family.” At another service, Nella offered the wife in attendance her coat because it was so cold. The wife responded “Thank you, but my husband never had a warm coat during his time in battle. I can go without, too.”

Nella volunteered to read names during the recent visit of the Vietnam Memorial. SUBMITTED photos

The Arlington Ladies attended 1,864 services in 2014. While Nella can only guess at the number of services she has personally attended, she quickly adds: “Each service is important. It’s not about numbers. It’s about the families and service members who have sacrificed for this country. I take each service personally.”

Nella is also active during her time in Marco. She is a very enthusiastic member of the Marco Island Shell Club. On her shelf, under glass, is a rare shell estimated to be 3.8 millions years old. Another passion is the Florida Gulf Coast University Girls Basketball team. “I have baked them cookies before every home game,” she says proudly. “And they have never lost a home game since!” As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution – Marco Island Chapter, Nella volunteered to read names during the Vietnam Wall ceremony earlier this month.

In April, Nella will return to Arlington Cemetery to continue her duties. “I am honored and blessed to be part of the Arlington Ladies. I feel it is the least I, and the rest of us, can do for our soldiers.”

Into Africa, Part Two: The People

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:52pm

By Carl and Joan Kelly

South Africa.

Zulu men and women welcomed us into their circle with dance. The men followed the dance with a mock battle.

As we considered our trip to South Africa we thought of some of the people and places: Zulu, Bushman, Dutch, English, Afrikaner, Johannesburg, Cape Town. As we traveled to South Africa those words were gradually filled by personal names, histories, stories and details. We came away richer for the experience.

We met Jonathan in Johannesburg, Joberg to the locals. Jonathan is a Bushman, the grandson of a chief. He learned herbal medicine from his grandmother, has an herb garden at home. As we walked and he named plants, he noted their medicinal value, headache, upset stomach, muscle cramp. We learned and forgot a lot.

The Bushmen were the original native people of South Africa. The other tribes came later, migrating in from central and western Africa. We noted a hint of pride when Jonathan spoke of the Bushman’s priority in the country.

Eleven languages are spoken in South Africa, nine tribal languages plus Afrikaans and English. Most people speak two or three of them. English is spoken everywhere. The guides speak several South African languages and some foreign languages. There is something we find impressive about that.

Zulu men and women welcomed us into their circle with dance. The men followed the dance with a mock battle.

Michael was our guide to an abundance of animals. I counted more than 200 species we identified. A game guide needs many skills and is tested prior to his licensing. The final test is tracking the big 5 on foot. The Big 5 are South Africa’s most dangerous animals: lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, cape buffalo. The guide must track and sight all five to pass. And, he must return alive.

Every week to 10 days Michael drives about 200 miles to go home to his house on tribal land that he keeps possession of by continuing to live there. His home and land are an essential personal link to his heritage. It is important. He sees his job as part of the larger conservation effort in South Africa, and that is also important. So, he drives 200 miles.

In Swaziland we visited with children in the Fontein Social Care Center. Funding for the center is not dependable, so with Jonathan’s leadership we shopped for groceries in a people’s market. Then we bussed to the center, prepared a meal and ate with the children.

We found the children to be typical children, bright, energetic, eager. But, we know their future may not be so bright. These children are considered at risk because they have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS. The rate of HIV infection in Swaziland is 26%.

So, we wrapped our arms and hearts around them, we sang with them and cried inside.

Entering Cape Town we see substandard housing beside the highway for several miles. This is typical of the large cities in South Africa.

At Hluhluwe (SHLOO-shloo-wee) we were introduced to Zulu people and some of their culture: shield making, spear making, pottery and beadwork, traditional dress customs. Shields are small or large. The large are for the warriors. The small are for children and for the wedding gifts to one’s wives.

Yes, a man may marry as many wives as he can afford, so long as they all are gifted, dressed, and housed equally. Few men in the modern world can afford more than one wife. But it is legally permitted to the tribes that traditionally have practiced polygamy.

The Zulu welcomed us with a fermented grain drink served in a ceramic bowl. A few of us took more than one sip. Then, they danced and held a mock battle.

They taught us a few words and phrases. The most useful was Yeabo baba. Think of it as Yes with an exclamation point.

We ended our time in South Africa as we began, in big cities, Johannesburg and Cape Town, the homes of Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu. We visited Mandela’s home and Tutu’s cathedral and were reminded that it has been roughly 30 years since those two men led the country to dismantle apartheid.

The people of South Africa have dealt well with racial relations in those 30 years, but not with the extreme poverty of a large segment of the populace. We passed miles of tin shack slums as we entered the larger cities. The Mandella administration built thousands of low cost houses for the poor, so much so that they are now called Mandela Homes. But, that is just a beginning.

Would we return to South Africa, you ask. Yeabo baba!


A Great Day for Bocce!

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:49pm

By Don Manley

Ricardo Parducci focuses on the action, as his wife Giovanna, left looks on.

The thrill of victory had Jim Guilford and his teammates beaming at the conclusion of the Bob Ray Memorial Bocce Tournament.

He, along with Peter Pereene, Joe Deo and Jerry Leeman captured the championship, outpointing 15 other four-person teams in the single-elimination contest held Feb. 28 at Mackle Park.

They also captured the crown and the trophy that goes with it, in 2013.

How did it feel to win again? “Wonderful, wonderful,” said Guilford. “This is the highlight of the year.”

The annual tourney is sponsored by the Marco Island Italian-American Society and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

It was standing room only as the tournament unfolded under partly cloudy skies, without the slightest hint of rain.

“We’ve got a beautiful day,” said tournament director Joan Ray. We weren’t allowing any rain. No rain.”

The tournament and the championship trophy are dedicated to the memory of her late husband Bob.

“The people are wonderful, Ray added. “They help referee the rounds. It’s just a good, good group of people.”

Cheers, applause and encouragement were heard frequently from the crowd during the course of the day. Fausto D’Andrea brought along a laser measurer that he and a friend jerry-rigged to use for accurate measurements.

As the championship and runner-up matches were taking place, Julia Omahen sat contentedly watching her husband Joe and his teammates play.

“I was in the tournament, but we lost by two points,” she said with a chuckle. “But it’s still fun.”

Peter Pereene said he hopes more bocce courts can be added at the recreation center so that the tournament can expand to include everyone interested in playing.

Superheroes Glide Into Goodland

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:45pm

By Steve Gimmestad

“Juke Box Heroes”, John, Lauren and Jack Ritchie, rock out to a great song.

One of the safest places to be is Goodland? At least it was on February 21st, as the 19th Annual Goodland Boat Parade brought in the superheroes.

“This is so cool,” said Sarah, a visitor from New York. “Floats that float and they all look great!” The boat parade is part of the Goodland Mardi Gras celebration and the turnout was fantastic with $17,000 raised for Avow Hospice on this day.

Fifteen boats entered the parade with numerous variations on the superhero theme. As each boat passed through the harbor, judges had a tough decision ahead of them. In the end, “American Sniper”, Jack Miller and Vicki Wood, was awarded top honors with 89 points. They were followed closely by “True Heroes: Freedom isn’t Free”, Chuck and Sue Thomas, for second place with 87 points. “Calusa Indians”, Greg Bellows and GCA, won 3rd place with 81 points from the judges.

Along with a fantastic visual presentation, each boat blasted related songs and music to accompany their chosen theme. Combined with the wafting aroma of great food, it was a true spectacle for all the senses.

Mike Duncan and friends on the “Superhero”. Yes, those wings actually do flap.

Carolyn Roth won the $5,000 50/50 Raffle receiving half the prize with Avow Hospice receiving the other half. “I thought it was an early April’s Fool joke when they called me,” she laughed. “I couldn’t believe it!”

“It was a great day for the spectators and the boaters,” said Elaine Ritchie, parade organizer. “Avow is thankful for both the money and the awareness that we raise through this event.”

Avow Hospice provides care and comfort for seriously and terminally ill patients. Over the years, the Goodland events have raised over $300,000 for their programs. For more information, or donate, go to

Filbin’s Commendable Action

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:43pm

By Don Manley

Bill Filbin learned well the lessons of his youth where extending a helping a hand is concerned.

The long-time Marco resident and realtor is well known for his tireless efforts on behalf of Special Olympics Collier County and the St. Matthew’s House homeless shelter and food bank in Naples.

Altruism was both preached and practiced by Filbin’s family during his formative years in Detroit. As a case in point, he cites an act that was a routine part of their post-church visits to his grandmother’s apartment. Those trips invariably included his father, Bill Filbin, Sr., pulling over to help a down on his luck panhandler who was a regular sight along their homeward route.

“My father would give me a quarter and I’d hand it out the window to the man,” said Filbin. “He’d roll the window back up and he’d explain to me that this man was in trouble. I remember in those days, how important that was to me that we did things like that. I don’t think that has ever left me. If I have a dollar, I’ll give part of it to someone else.”

That mindset wasn’t forgotten when he served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1973, first as a U.S. Navy enlisted man and later, as a protocol officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. It was while stationed at a South Vietnamese naval base outside Saigon that the depth of his impulse to help those in distress overwhelmed his military training and even his instinct to survive.

Filbin was a volunteer, both in joining the military and in serving on the ground in Vietnam, where he was part of a small, elite advisory group charged with training South Vietnamese naval personnel.

Bill used this jeep as his regular transportation. courtesy photos

Petty Officer Third Class Bill Filbin’s duties were largely non-combative duties and away from the frontlines, but a certain element of stress and danger is inherent in a war zone, he said. The Viet Cong could be anywhere – intermixed with a crowd of civilians or secreted away with a sniper rifle in hopes of picking off an officer. As a precaution, the advisory group wore no rank insignias and traveled in unmarked Jeeps.

“You would take different paths every day,” Filbin said of venturing into a village near the base. “I mean, there were Americans who disappeared in villages. You were in a war zone. You had to be careful. You didn’t want to stop your Jeep. You didn’t stop at red lights. Traffic jams, you would try to scoot around them. You tried to keep moving, as an American because not everybody (in South Vietnam) was pro-American. There were a lot of people who didn’t like us.”

On Aug. 22, 1970, Filbin hopped in a Jeep for a trip through a village to the Ben Hoa naval base where there was a commissary. His mission: to pick up lunch for his shipmates. As he drove, he saw a South Vietnamese Army truck strike a young boyriding a small motorcycle, driving over his left arm and leg, and continuing on its way without stopping.

Despite the instruction he received at the U.S. military’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) School, where trainees are taught to avoid situations where they could get in trouble or be captured or killed, Filbin felt the tug of the training he’d received from his family.

“My first instinct was to drive by because I had just graduated from SERE School,” he said. “But my second instinct was to pull over, so I pulled over.”

He ran to the victim, who had blood gushing from compound fractures of both his arm and leg. Seeing that, Filbin ripped off his uniform shirt and tore it into strips to use as tourniquets, in hopes of preventing the young boy from bleeding to death.

As he knelt by the injured man, Filbin also quickly tucked the two .45s that he wore in holsters, cowboy style, in between his thighs, as a safety measure.

By that time, a crowd of 50 to 60 villagers had gathered. Seeing only the Jeep and a foreigner there, their angry shouts quickly turned into violence.

“They knocked off my beret and now they know that I’m an American,” said Filbin. “They started attacking me because they saw a Jeep next to a wounded boy and a motor scooter lying in a dirt street. They thought I had done it. The crowd got bigger and bigger and they kept hitting me in the back and the head with whatever they had – sticks, stones. But my adrenaline was pumping so high that I just kept working on this kid, hoping I could stop the bleeding.”

Everything moved at warp speed in a chaotic situation that left him questioning, for a split second, why he had stopped and whether that decision would be a fatal one.

Filbin said the rapidly escalating danger was defused when two Vietnamese policemen arrived and tossed tear gas grenades near him and the crowd. The noxious fumes affected his vision, but Filbin maintained the pressure on the tourniquets as the policeman approached him.

He helped the policemen carry the injured and unconscious young boy to their Jeep, before they drove off, leaving Filbin to his own devices. With that, the crowd that had begun to disperse began re-forming. So he ran to his Jeep, hopped in and sped away, his vision fogged by the young boy’s blood and tear gas.

“I looked like had been wounded because I had blood all over my face (from rubbing his eyes due to the tear gas), all over my body,” said Filbin.

Upon arriving at the naval base, he blew through the guard station without stopping because he was unsure of how badly he’d been injured. Base personnel then took him to the infirmary, where his wounds were treated and he was kept overnight for observation.

When Filbin arrived at his office the next day, his commanding officer instructed him to file an incident report. After reading it, the officer said he was going to recommend him for a lifesaving medal.

At that point, the identity and condition of the youth, whom Filbin placed at about 14 years old, were unknown.

Roughly one week later, Filbin’s commander informed him that the higher-ups had weighed in on the incident.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but the brass aren’t going to give you a medal,” he recalls the commander saying. “They should have given you a reprimand because you never should have stopped. You almost got killed and it would have caused an incident. You should have driven by. I said, ‘I’m sorry, that’s not in my makeup to drive by somebody who’s lying in the street. Nobody else came up to help.’ So I basically forgot about it (the medal).”

Everything changed about three weeks later when Filbin was ordered to report to the commander’s office. As he walked through the parking lot, he noticed a South Vietnamese government staff car and a South Vietnamese police motorcycle, but thought nothing of it. Upon entering at the commander’s office, he found a South Vietnamese policeman, a well-dressed Vietnamese gentleman and an interpreter were also there.

“This (well dressed) man introduced himself and said, ‘The young boy that you saved was my son and I work for the Vietnamese government. I want to make sure we thank you,’ ” said Filbin. ‘What are they (the U.S. Navy) doing to show their appreciation?’ ”

Filbin said his commander promised the man that the U.S. Navy was going to recognize his lifesaving efforts.

Ironically, it was the tourniquets that enabled the South Vietnamese officials to track him down. One of the strips of fabric was emblazoned with “W.R. Filbin” on a U.S. Navy nametag,

“Now the U.S. Navy is in a predicament,” said Filbin. “I’d already gotten the letter saying they weren’t going to give me a medal. So that’s how it happened. There’s actually some humor in it. To me, I was in the right place at the right time. To the Navy, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In the end, he received a commendation for outstanding performance of duty from Vice Admiral J.H. King, Jr., commander of U.S. Navy forces in Vietnam. The award recognizes Filbin for actions that “were highly commendable and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Navel Service.”

A framed copy of Admiral King’s letter has occupied a space on a wall in Filbin’s home for the last 44 years, yellowing with the passage time. Aside from the occasional visitor noticing it and asking for an explanation, he hasn’t discussed the incident with many people.

Filbin’s openness about the commendation and what occurred that day are motivated by two factors.

“When Vietnam Vets came home, no-one wanted to talk to us about the war or our experiences for many years, not even my family or close friends,” he said. “As time as gone by, I have noticed people are more curious and talking to us vets more and I have been a little more open about my experiences over there.”

Filbin’s strong humanitarian streak has also left him alarmed at the recent spate of hit-and-run accidents involving motorists and pedestrians, or bicyclists in Collier and Lee counties.

“I started thinking about that and wondered ‘how could somebody do that,’ ” he said. “I think it subconsciously moved me to do this. I just want to let people know they shouldn’t do that (fail to help an injured person).”

Despite the passage of time, he hasn’t stopped thinking about the severely injured young boy he stopped to help, putting his own physical well being at risk.

“I would love to know how his life turned out, but there’s no way to know that,” said Filbin.

Remote Controlled Sailboat Regatta Attracts Competitors

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:40pm

By Don Manley

Jim Kaighin, winner of the 2015 RC Laser Midwinter Championship Regatta, is flanked by Rocky Cale, left, and Dave Brawner. photos by don manley

Mackle Park’s lake was recently transformed into a platform for friendly rivalry that saw competitors slowly striding to and fro along one shore with eyes locked on small craft slicing through placid waters.

It’s a scene is that’s been repeated there for the last 12 years during the first weekend in March when the annual RC Laser Midwinter Championship Regatta takes place.

Each year, the event attracts participants from near and far, some hailing from as far away as Canada and Great Britain, as well as a host of Northeastern and Midwestern states. The 2015 Regatta was won for the fourth consecutive time by Bahamas resident Jim Kaighin.

Held, this year on Feb. 28 and March 1, the regatta is sponsored by the Marco Island Model Yacht Club and the Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department.

Encouraged by a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, the participants raced their remote control sailboats around a circuit marked off by buoys, trying to log the best time during multiple heats held over the two-day period. They were divided into two classes, based on their times, with the top five finishers in each class receiving trophies at the competition’s end.

Rocky Cale, chairman of the 2015 RC Laser Midwinter Championship Regatta.

“This is the longest standing RC laser regatta in the country, said the event’s chairman, Rocky Cale. This is our 12th annual midwinter championship. We have 29 boats and we had a limit of 30, so we’re real pleased with the turnout.”

A “laser” is a 15-foot, Olympic class sailboat and the remote control version is a 1/8 scale version. They are operated from a console that enables hobbyists to control miniature’s rudder and its main sheet sail. Operators also have the option of selecting from three different sails, to suit varying wind conditions.

“It’s about as simple rigging as you can get,” said Cale. “It’s easy to sail. It’s a lot of fun to sail.”

Dave Branning, of Tilghman Island, Md., was taking part for the eighth year. “I’m on a month’s vacation and I’m sailing in five different regattas and three different classes in Florida and Charleston, S.C.,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, a lot of great people. Some of these people, we know from the Northeast and the Midwest. A lot of snowbirds too.”

Bill Ewing, of Red Bank, N.J., a first-time participant in the regatta, described it as a wonderful experience.

“I had a very good yesterday,” Ewing said on March 1. “I was in second place at the end of the day. I didn’t have such a good day today. I don’t know where I ended up. Probably not in the top five, but it’s a very stiff group and I feel lucky to be here, especially with the weather back East.”

The regatta director was Dave Brawner, also of New Jersey. This was the fourth year that he has served in that role. Brawner is a former president of the American Model Yachting Association and the organization’s current model racing champion,

A scene from the 2015 RC Laser Midwinter Championship Regatta

“It’s a great club, so it’s fun to come (to the regatta),” said Brawner. “You’ve got this great location, Mackle Park. It’s fabulous as so far as the set up of it, the race bank, the way the park treats us. They make it wonderful for us and Florida in the winter doesn’t hurt.”

This was the last year that MIMYC Commodore George Domenech will be involved with organizing the event, as he and his wife are moving from Marco to Florida’s east coast. Domenech is one of the MIMYC’s cofounders, along with Tom Schwartzburg, John Moulten, Jim Karter, Nic Nicolson, John Gerig and Mark Crooks.

Domenech said that although he’s moving, he may still return to compete in the regatta.

“This has become quite an event,” he said. “Everybody’s very happy about it.”




1 Roger Baldwin

2 Theresa Rae Gay

3 Henry DeWolf

4 Joel Krissoff

5 Don Harthorn

6 Rick Hellyar

7 Ray Szulczewski

8 Herb Glesmann

9 George Domenech

10 Peter Rotch

11 Tom Kramer

12 Jim DeSeno

13 Leonard Redon

14 Jim Craft



1 Jim Kaighin

2 Jon Luscomb

3 Mike Kaighin

4 Chuck Weaver

5 Bill Ewing

6 Dave Branning

7 Nick Mortgu

8 Hank Buchanan

9 Bill Bentz

10 Rocky Cale

11 Frank Vella

12 Doug Hawksworth

13 Steve Lippincott

14 Tom Lucke

15 Steve Moyer

“Discover Tigertail” – Delightful and Educational FOT Event

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 5:41pm


Jeannine Windsor from Rookery Bay – Sharks

Susan Kubat and Fran Huxley, co-chairs of “Discover Tigertail”, organized and executed a delightful and successful Friends of Tigertail Beach event on Saturday, February 21, 2015.

“Discovery Tigertail” is a free family program that addresses the marine life and other wildlife that inhabit the Tigertail Beach lagoon. Specialists were from Rookery Bay, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Marco Shell Club.

Two hundred participants enjoyed the weather and the expertise of the naturalists manning the nine information stations: shells, egg casings, turtles, butterflies, plants, sharks, birds, seining and wildlife rehabilitation.

Both adults and children participated in the scavenger “Question Quest” hunt relating to the event topics. Prizes were awarded to all participants who turned in their completed questionnaires. Bright green back-packs with FOT logo were awarded to adults, while the children selected their winnings from a basket of fun prizes. Thank you to all who attended and hope you join us again next year!

Many of the adults who enjoyed the experience decided to become members of Friends of Tigertail Beach. All tax deductible membership fees are allocated to summer science scholarships for children. If you are interested in membership and would like to investigate FOT activities, kindly visit the website at


Jean Hartmann Conservancy – Wildlife Rehabilitation

Tigertail Information Stations:

  1. Egg Casings – Dan Orfan
  2. Shells – Joan Robbins – Marco Island Shell Club
  3. Turtles – Mary Nelson
  4. Wildlife Rehabilitation – Jean Hartman – Conservancy
  5. Butterflies – Linda Colombo
  6. Plants – Ken Kubat
  7. Sharks – Jeannine Windsor – Rookery Bay
  8. Birds – Beverly Anderson – Rookery Bay
  9. Seining – Jennifer Bobka – Rookery Bay

Conservancy of SW Florida’s Good Fortune II

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 5:33pm

Pontoon boat offers lunch and sunset cruises through Rookery Bay


The Conservancy of Southwest Florida now offers cruises through Rookery Bay aboard the Good Fortune II, a 33-passenger pontoon boat. Leisurely Lunch and Classic Sunset Adventure Cruises are available daily, weather and tides permitting.

The Leisurely Lunch Cruises runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and offers a relaxing, two-hour cruise through Rookery Bay, plus a one-hour stop for lunch on Isle of Capri. The Classic Sunset Adventure Cruises leave two hours before sunset and offer a spectacular view as hundreds of shorebirds roost for the evening in Rookery Bay’s mangrove islands. Passengers are welcome to bring snacks and beverages to enjoy as they watch the Florida sunset. Trained guides point out assorted wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals that thrive in this unique habitat.

“The Good Fortune II offers residents and visitors a very intimate and personal way to learn about Southwest Florida’s environment,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “Taking a ride through the mangroves, guests might spot a dolphin, manatee or a bobcat. It’s a great adventure and you really gain an entirely new appreciation for Southwest Florida’s natural environment.”

The Good Fortune II sails from the Conservancy’s dock in Rookery Bay off Shell Island Road, which is located three miles south of U.S. 41 off of Collier Boulevard/Florida State Road 951. The cost is $32 per adult and $14 per child for members, or $42 per adult and $19 per child for non-members. Reservations are required, and specialty cruises and private charters are also available. The Good Fortune II and all captains are Coast Guard certified. To make a reservation or for more information, call 239-403-4236 or visit


Marco Teens Among JROTC Senior Staff

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 5:31pm


JPA Inspection

Since August 18, when the halls of Lely High School were reintroduced to its students, Lely JROTC cadets have been tirelessly working toward preparing their program for the all new JPA Formal Inspection. JPA is an acronym standing for JROTC Program Accreditation. The Army JROTC program is accredited by AdvancEd as a Special Purpose Program and as such is committed to continuous improvement. AdvanceEd requires that the Army JROTC program meet five standards of quality. The purpose of the school visits is to gather information and evidence to support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in the JROTC program. The Trojan Battalion is mentored by Army Instructors CW4 (Ret) Michael Harp and MSG (Ret) Laureano Santiago.

Lely High School JROTC staff are committed to establishing a legacy of excellence as they strive to accomplish their mission- “to motivate young people to be better citizens.” They prepare high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens. The program is a stimulus for promoting graduation from high school, prepares the student for post- secondary education, and it provides instruction and rewarding opportunities that will benefit the student, community, and nation.

The 2014-2015 Senior Staff is led by the Battalion Commander Megan Hine and Deputy Commanding Officer Xavier Vecchio. The Senior Leadership Staff was responsible for organizing and executing the requirements of the JPA Formal Inspection. Different than any other year, the JPA Formal Inspection is the U.S. Army’s new standard of judgment in evaluating JROTC programs. Lely High School JROTC was a pilot program to be evaluated by the JPA standards, and the first program in Collier County to be scored. The score on the JPA inspection is the determinant factor in which schools can keep and continue to grow their JROTC programs. After a very successful inspection, Lely JROTC scored a 98.6%, which will truly set the standard for Collier County schools as well as other programs in the state.

The JPA Formal Inspection included components of Continuous Improvement Project Briefing delivered by the Senior Staff, Service Learning Project Briefing delivered by select cadet underclassmen, Battalion open ranks uniform inspection, Drill Team and Color Guard Evaluation, Cadet Portfolio Inspection, and S-1-S-6 Operations check.

The Continuous Improvement Project Briefing was on the topic of successful transitions for seniors onto post-secondary ambitions. The Lely JROTC program utilizes a unique organizational device called the Cadet Five-Year Plan, which is a tool which allows cadets to constantly create, update, and revisit goals. The Five-Year plan allows for cadets to create goals from their freshmen year of high school all the way until the freshman year of college or their chosen post-secondary education. Cadets regularly update and track their goals which will assist them in achieving their goals toward graduation and post-secondary ambitions.

The Service Learning Project was delivered on the JROTC programs primary service learning project. Each year the JROTC program coordinates with the Collier County Public Health Department to plan Health/Vision Screenings in the Collier County Public School System. As a Battalion, Lely provides support to over 8 feeder elementary and middle schools by supplying cadet volunteers to carry out the health/vision screenings. The project saves the Collier County government over $9,000 of taxpayer money and each family approximately $300 by providing this service free of charge.

Senior Staff Inspection focused on operation checks on several different areas. Examiners inspected how operations are ran at Lely High School, showing the efficiency and requirements of each. It was required to show each major JROTC event and all the major risks depicted and controlled.

This year, the inspection of the supply areas; weapons, clothing, and equipment, was one of the major areas of the LHS JPA Inspection. The focus of inspection in the supply areas was the cleanliness, orderliness, and supply control within the JROTC program. In conjunction with the supply areas was the corresponding entries into JUMS automated system. The accountability of drill team practice dummy rifles and the security of the JROTC supply, accuracy of personal data records, and system check of cadet information was also inspected. Event records were also shown, including articles posted on school website and local newspapers. The JROTC digital and hardcopy scrapbooks were also shown to illustrate the activity of the JROTC program.

Battalion Commander Megan Hine commented the following on the Formal Inspection “In the beginning of the school year, the staff was presented with this new standard, and we all believed we were way in over our heads. We were all new to our positions as staff members, and now, so suddenly, it became our responsibility to lead the battalion through an inspection that we have never experienced before. As for me, the Battalion Commander of our program, I was fearfully anticipating the arrival of the JPA Inspection, unconfident that my own performance as a leader could successfully complete this Inspection and demonstrate the standard our program truly does set, as the ‘Lely Standard’. But over the course of months and months of preparation we became more and more confident that the Lely Standard could be met and implemented. It was a rigorous task that we worked non-stop on and improved from the first day of school, until the day of the inspection.

As the inspection went on, and we all shook in our shoes, answering inspector’s questions, and presenting our briefs, it became more and more apparent that not only passing the JPA Inspection seemed possible, but scoring in the top percentile of JROTC Programs in the Nation was achievable.

In the end when the inspectors returned to the classroom to tell us our final score, we were more than pleased to discover we achieved an overall score of 98.6%. We, not just as staff members, but as an entire battalion, proved to the county, the Nation, and ourselves, that we are an above average program with above average cadets. We showed that every single cadet in our program is a leader, and is capable of achieving great things. Our 98.6% set the Lely Standard and we are all so thankful to be given this opportunity to succeed and show what we are capable of. I am proud to be the head of such wonderful cadets.”

With help from Lely Principal Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli, school guidance office, and L.H.S. teachers and administrators, the program was able to lead as a premier program in the state of Florida. Instructors and senior cadets from all other JROTC programs in the county came to observe Lely High School in the first JPA Formal Inspection. The JPA Formal Inspection will be held in December of next year again led by the new incoming seniors.

The purpose of our program is to efficiently train/educate JROTC students as effective communicators, global citizens, and users of information technology to be enablers to the students’ advancement of required skill sets in preparation for either advanced levels of education or vocational success. The JPA Formal Inspection has definitely aided us in doing just that!




Marco’s DAR Honors MICMS Patriotic Essay Winners

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 5:30pm


Marco Island Charter Middle School students were given the chance to compete in a patriotic essay contest sponsored by Marco Island’s Daughters of the American Revolution.

The three contest winners were honored at the chapter’s February 19th meeting at the Hideaway Beach Club. Language Arts teacher, Bill Badger, accompanied the students, Kirra Polley, Ittay Cisneros and Brandon Johnson.

The assignment was to write a 600 to 1,000 word essay entitled “A Child’s Journey Through Ellis Island.” The essay was supposed to be written as a child’s letter to a cousin describing his or her personal experience as an immigrant passing through Ellis Island. After reading their essays aloud to the group, the winning students each received a certificate and the DAR American History Medal.

The Marco Island Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution holds its monthly luncheon meetings at 10:30 AM on the third Thursday of each month. It welcomes potential members and members from other chapters who are living in or visiting the area. For more information, please call Karen Lombardi at 239-394-0028




MICMS Open Enrollment

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:47pm


Marco Island Charter Middle School announces the Open Enrollment Period for admission to the school for the 2015-16 school year, is now in effect until 3:00 PM on March 13th. Applications to enroll in next year’s sixth, seventh and eighth grades can be obtained either at school or by going on the school’s website at

On March 13th, when the Open Enrollment Period closes, should the number of applications exceed the number of seats available in a grade level, a lottery will be used to determine which students get admitted to the school, as per state law. After the Open Enrollment period expires, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis, if a lottery was avoided.

Submitting the paperwork early during the Open Enrollment Period to Mrs. Vergo, will be beneficial because if there is some information missing from the application, you will have time to present that information prior to the close of the Open Enrollment Period.

Applications must be submitted in person and can only be submitted by the parent or legal guardian.

For additional information or questions, please call the school at 377-3200.




Friendship through Flowers Exhibit

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:45pm


The Naples Ikebana Chapter is holding its Annual Exhibit, “Friendship Through Flowers” on March 12 from 10 AM to 5 PM and on March 14 from 10 AM to 4 PM, at Moss Hall, Moorings Presbyterian Church, 791 Harbor Drive in Naples. The exhibit includes work from members of the club who represent all locations from Marco Island to Fort Meyers. During this true floral art exhibit, in addition to the exciting Japanese flower arrangements assembled by the various schools of Ikebana flower arranging, there will be ongoing demonstrations of the art and club members available to answer questions. Admission is $8 and children are free. For more information, see the website:

Historic Century Old Smallwood Store

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:43pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

The Smallwood Store stands much like it did when it was established in the early 1900’s. Originally a trading post and post office, the store is now a museum on the National Register of Historic Places. A walk through the door is taking a step back in time.

Many of the original goods sold or traded still line the shelves in this Everglades landmark. There are educational exhibits throughout the store. The setting is a serene spot on Chokoloskee Island where it is easy to imagine what it must have been like to row up in a boat for needed supplies many years ago.

In an effort to preserve the Smallwood Store for the future, Coastal Breeze News has collaborated with William Hughes Productions to produce an informational video on Ted Smallwood and the century old Smallwood Store. The video contains Ted’s granddaughter, Lynn Smallwood McMillin, interviewed by Marco Island’s own Skip Merriam, where she describes her grandfather’s life and the history of the store, including the Killing of Mr. Watson, and much more.


The Smallwood Store is Collier County’s first national historic site. “It is important we preserve this bit of history while we can,” said Coastal Breeze News publisher, Valerie Simon. “It is one of my favorite places, every nook and cranny holds something interesting.” All proceeds from the sale of the DVD’s will go to the Smallwood Store, a 501c3, to help pay legal fees for their battle against developers.

DVD’s are available at the Coastal Breeze News office at 1857 San Marco Road, Ste. C-216, Marco Island, FL 34145 for $12.95. For more information on the Smallwood Store, see

Waterways Committee Addresses Invasive Lionfish

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:34pm

By Pat Newman

Wanted! Lionfish! Dead or alive! This invasive species has been spotted in canals around Marco Island, as well as in off-shore waters. The city’s Waterways Committee, chaired by Jim Timmerman, brought the issue before City Council in February, alerting members to the problem fish, and was given the go-ahead to “move forward” in creating a solution. Waterways member Rodger Parcelles pointed, out the “unique situation” being in the 10,000 Islands and the threat of this non-indigenous species taking hold, at the Waterways Committee recent meeting. Raising public awareness through informational signs, obtaining information from other Florida cities and Florida Fish and Wildlife experts and inviting members of local fishing clubs were several ideas suggested by Waterways member to jumpstart the initiative.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has information on its website regarding the lionfish and advises anyone who sees or catches one, to report it to their agency using the Florida Lionfish App on their “smart device” or by visiting and clicking on lionfish.

While beautiful to look at, lionfish pose a serious threat to saltwater fish and wildlife. Conservation agencies encourage divers, fishermen and commercial harvesters to remove lionfish from Florida waters to limit negative impacts on marine life and the fragile ecosystem. They are currently found in the waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic waters. The first sighting of lionfish was in 1985 near Dania Beach in Broward County. By 2000, the species were regularly spotted off the Atlantic coast. Today, they are common in the Bahamas and Caribbean and have been noted in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Lionfish are native to reefs and rocky crevices of the South Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife experts. Some say they may have been introduced here in an aquarium release. Nonetheless, controlling their growth is tantamount to the future of Florida’s native fish. Lionfish have no known predators in Florida waters, leaving man to be the predator. They can grow to an average of 15 inches and should be caught with care as they possess 18 venomous spines. The striped fish are legal to eat and are served in a number of Florida restaurants. Cooking neutralizes the venom and many consider them a tasty dish.

In other business, the committee will take a look at the language in the code for replacing new docks and lifts. While there is one instance now involving Dale Roble of 1133 Whiteheart Court, committee members acknowledge that the problem of new construction impacting a neighbor’s dock access will surely be repeated. Roble explained that his existing dock and his neighbor’s new dock meet city setback rules, but that the space between the two limits his ability to “dock without help.” The committee acknowledged that there is room for clarification in the wording, and that the code may not include the consequences of infringement on a neighbor’s property when a new structure is installed.

The condition of many channel markers within the city’s water jurisdiction is also on the docket for discussion March 19. Marco City Councilman Kenneth Honecker declared them “awful” at its February meeting and also suggested posting street signs at the ends of the canals. Tim Pinter, the city’s liaison to the Waterways committee, noted that an annual inventory of signs and markers used to be conducted by the waterways group, noting that it had not been done in four years. Committee members agreed that addressing the “marker issue” was pretty straightforward and was extremely valuable to boaters.

Welcomed to the Waterways Committee were new members Walter Jaskrewicz and Steve Fleischer. Jim Timmerman was unanimously re-elected chairman and Ben Farnsworth was elected as vice chairman. The committee meets on the third Thursday of the month. Next meeting is March 19 at 9 am.

LTE: Marilyn Mancuso

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:30pm

The Proposed Rental Ordinance has no valid reason to include condominiums. To protect the quiet peacefulness of single family homeowners next to or nearby home rentals, I sympathize with their concerns. However, condominiums already have their own rules and regulations that are enforced daily on owners, guests and renters. At the Royal Seafarer, there is weekday staff on duty plus nightwatchmen every evening who are very effective in keeping the peace if need be. Because of their presence there are never any serious issues. Each potential renter is required to submit a “Lease Application'” with references and other pertinent information so we always know who the renters are.


As to the fire inspection, that too is already being done in the building common areas and each individual condo, as mandated by the fire department. Why should we be subjected to yet another fee to do what is already being done?


Based on the substantial amount of additional bookkeeping, time, in house policing and expense, I feel the proposed ordinance is an undue burden for condominium associations and condo owners.



Marilyn Mancuso

The Royal Seafarer


LTE: Lola Sinelli

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:30pm

I am upset that City Council wanted to help the home owners adjacent to transient rentals on the island, however are lumping Condos in that group.

1.  We have our own governing boards
2.  We can deal with our own loud renters
3.  Our taxes are very high and adding an additional burden on us, when it’s the home owners who have the problems with the renters, is not acceptable
4.  We don’t need redundant fire and code inspections.

Please exclude Condominium owners from this enforcement.

Lola Sinelli, Condo owner

LET: Michael Wagenbrenner

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:29pm

As one who has been in the real estate business for 40+ years as both a broker and a developer, I have never heard of such an unusual ordinance. You are  asking property owners to be the first line of defense to deal with unruly tenants. If the tenant challenges the owner and things get out of control. Who is to stop them? The owner cannot evict without just cause and going to court.
Marco Island has a police force on duty 24/7. They should be the 1st line controlling the noise level. The property owner should be notified that the police were called to quiet the tenant and the owner would then have a valid reason to evict.
Michael Wagenbrenner
Columbus Ohio
Marco Island Florida


LTE: Richard Meadows

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:28pm


Apparently, some members of the Marco Island City Council seem to have confused an issue that concerns short term rentals at private homes with regulated rentals at condominiums. Consequently, the City Council has drafted a proposed rental ordinance with a scope and complexity that far exceeds the regulation needed to solve the original problem. Although there may not be confirmed statistics on the number of complaints received concerning noise, litter and parking issues at some short term rental residences, many neighbors and police officers seem to agree that there is a problem. Perhaps an ordinance is needed to address those issues at single family residences, but there seems to be no need to include condominiums in the same ordinance. Condominiums, especially those that enforce minimum rental periods of 1 month or longer, already subject tenants to numerous rules and regulations controlling maximum occupancy, noise, parking, trash and general behavior.

Unless the proposed ordinance is substantially modified to exclude condominium properties that do not offer short term rentals, the City will be creating another unnecessary bureaucracy that will be targeting the wrong population. Perhaps condos that rent by the week or condotels that rent by the night need to be included with the short term rentals at private residences. However many condominiums, like my own, limit rentals to one month or more and already have pages and pages of rules and regulations concerning rentals which are strictly enforced by the management and the board of directors.

Some members of the City Council seem to believe that the condominiums are being given a way out of the proposed redundant regulation by the City via the “blanket registration” clause. Unfortunately, “blanket registration” is not the equivalent of “exclusion” and does little to benefit condominium associations. As currently written, “blanket registration” may make it a bit easier for condominium owners who rent their units, but shifts considerable liability and responsibility to the association, its board of directors and its management. Furthermore, it does not eliminate all of the unnecessary fees, does not eliminate redundant inspections (that are already required of condos) and does nothing to better enforce the condominium’s existing rules and regulations. City Councilors need to understand that most condominiums have rules and regulations far more comprehensive and stringent than those proposed in the ordinance. In essence, we are not the problem and do not need to be included in this ordinance.


Richard Meadows
Sandcastle II Condominium Association

LTE: Richard R Riegler

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 3:27pm

I am writing re: the subject rental ordinance , representing the views of the Prince Condominium Association , its owners ,the Board of Directors , and our on site Manager. I serve on the Board and have been a resident for 12 years . I do not rent my unit .

Our Association has a three month minimum rental policy , along with By-laws and Rules and Regulations , including enforcement provisions which address the issues stated in the proposed ordinance .

Relating to the proposed Ordinance’s purposes as stated in the ‘whereas’ paragraphs , it is abundantly clear that this ordinance should not apply to the Prince Condo Assoc. And based on what I know about other Condo Assocs. , it should not apply to Condos at all . At least not to those with extended ( 1 month to 3 months and beyond ) rental policies .

Addressing specific language of the proposed ordinance .

  1.  1st Whereas . It is not true that the Prince rental properties “are not being properly maintained or managed”
  2.  2nd Whereas . Our rental policy is 3 month minimum —(not “short term rental ” )
  3.  3rd Whereas . Our property is not ” inadequately maintained and operated affecting surrounding         neighborhoods” . We have an on site Manager and active Board members who ensure that all rules and regulations , including noise control , are obeyed .    Further , The Prince Condo building has been subject to numerous and regular inspections , ensuring compliance with all codes including fire codes .
  4.  4th Whereas . Our Assoc . already has a program ( By laws and Rules and Regulations ) to “educate” owners on compliance with codes . Any work done in a unit is subject to review and inspection of the Mgr. and often , city code enforcement people . So , there’s no need for unnecessary , duplicative  , and costly inspection services .
  5. 5th Whereas . “The intent of the Ordinance to collect information regarding properties to protect general safety…” is already being carried out as noted above .


Recognizing that the provisions of the proposed Ordinance is to address the above Whereas statements , and recognizing that these statements and purposes are already being fulfilled , there is no reason for this proposed ordinance to be applied to the Prince Condominium nor other such condos .


Relating to Section x.2 , I want to make it abundantly clear that the Prince Condo. Assoc. has no intent to obtain a “blanket registration” should this intrusive and over-reaching proposed Ordinance be adopted . The city and its staff will have to deal with individual condo owners who rent their units . Recognizing the costs and Council’s desire for managing the City in a fiscally responsible manner , this additional cost burden should not be incurred, and would be fiscally irresponsible .


Lastly , this proposed Ordinance suggests that there’s a problem with renters only . Is Council suggesting that owners themselves do not contribute to problems cited ? Should the proposed  Ordinance apply to all property owners ?  Surely a significant intrusion of government .


Thanks for your consideration.

Richard R Riegler