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Emotions High at MIA Graduation

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:59pm

By Roger LaLonde 

More than 400 family and friends packed the Family Church for the Marco Island Academy (MIA) graduation on June 3.

Laughs, cheers and tears made for a special occasion.

Valedictorian Stephen Vale brought about the first jolt of laughter when he told of “Not having a normal high school experience.”

He chose to go the dual enrollment path his junior year, going to Florida SouthWestern State College.

“It was definitely tough the past two years, missing out on all the fun and experiences at MIA.   Due to his youthful looks, Vale said, “On the first day, of every class, the college students were wondering why a middle-school student was sitting next to them.”

He showed them. He graduated with an associate degree in psychology before his high school graduation.

Salutatorian Haley Havemeier caught the attendees off guard, describing her feelings when she found out that Melissa Scott would become MIA’s principal, saying, “I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.” Then a sigh of relief and laughter when she said, “I heard students talk about how fun and engaging her English classes were and I wouldn’t have that experience. It is clear that she cares deeply about our school and students.”

It became sentimental and more when Kirby Rients, English teacher, took the podium. He was among the first teachers at MIA and is returning to Minnesota.

He fought back tears, as did others, as he spoke on the experience.

“This is where it all started and where it will conclude,” he said. Family Church was the first home for the school’s opening days.

He recalled how students had lunch in the church auditorium where graduation was held. How MIA crammed five classrooms in confined quarters.

“Now, here you are, ready to move on to the next level that is all part of life,” he said. “I am proud of each and every one of you. I love you. You are all part of my life and I am a better person for it. This is the best gig I ever had.”

Motivational speaker Bobby Petrocelli followed, speaking on “You Matter.”

Petrocelli’s life changed forever when a drunk driver plowed into his bedroom, killing his wife. He spoke of being in an abyss when others showed him that he mattered.

“Anger corrupts your heart. Let go of those who wronged you,” he said. “Give a hand up, not a handout.”

Chris Zumstein, school counselor announced students’ names as they received their diplomas. Once completed he said, “It (the tassel) goes from right to left over your heart, it will remind you of your alma mater.”

Principal Scott thanked the students for “Teaching me more than you learned. You learned about your true selves and allowed me the same.”

Marriott Construction – Collier Boulevard Closures

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:56pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Upcoming construction at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa, will cause three scheduled road closures in front of the hotel’s location at 400 South Collier Boulevard.

Marco Island residents are advised that the southbound lanes of Collier Boulevard directly in front of the Marriott will be closed on the following targeted dates:

• Thursday, June 16

• Monday, June 20

• Monday, June 27

On each of these days, weather permitting, starting at 4 AM the Marriott will begin staging for construction, and will shut down the southbound lane of Collier Boulevard. Beginning at 5 AM, 75 concrete trucks will activate the pouring of the third floor of the new ballroom. The southbound lane will remain closed for a 12-hour period while construction takes place.

On each of these construction dates work should be completed by the afternoon of the same day. It is anticipated that both lanes of Collier Boulevard will be reopened for normal vehicle traffic at 4 PM.

The Marriott is in the process of a $250 million expansion and improvement project that began last May. Work is expected to be complete by the end of this year, and the Marriott transformed, in January 2017, to the more upscale J.W. Marriott brand. This will be the J.W. Marriott brand’s first beachfront resort in the continental United States.

Some of the projects already completed include renovations to the Marriott’s lobby and guest rooms, an expanded pool deck, improvements to the Hammock Bay Golf Course, the addition of Menchies frozen yoghurt, and the Maia and Ario restaurants. Also opened recently is the Kane Tiki Bar and Grill, which readers can learn more about in this issue of Coastal Breeze News.

Since the JW transformation project began last year, the Marriott has made efforts to keep Marco Islanders informed of any impact that its construction may cause to the community. However, plans can change based on weather or other factors. In the event of any significant rain delay the Marriott will communicate the new road closure dates. For the latest on traffic and road closures on Marco Island, follow the City of Marco Island @CityofMarcoISL and the Marco Island Police Department @Marco Island PD on Twitter.

Winged Foot Award

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:53pm
Marco Reps Patrick Michel, Jonathon Irigoyen Stephanie Paul wins Winged Foot Award

By Roger LaLonde

Photos by Roger LaLonde
MIA’s Patrick Michel (left) and Lely’s Jonathon Irigoyen, two of the 13 finalists, were outstanding representatives for the 27th annual Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award.

While judges chose from a wide range of outstanding athletes, the decision came down to Community School’s Stephanie Paul, winner of the 27th annual Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award on May 26.

As allowed in Florida, private schools can have middle school players in their high school sports program. Paul played high school sports from eighth grade. She completed back-to-back state titles in discus and shot put this year.

A huge basketball star, being named Area Player of the Year the past two seasons, Paul will play basketball at the University of Georgia next season.

She received her Winged Foot Award from guest speaker and former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, who now serves as an ESPN college football analyst.

Two candidates with Marco Island backgrounds were Patrick Michel, Marco Island Academy and Johnathon Irigoyen, Lely High School. Each received $5,000 scholarships. Paul earned a $10,000 scholarship, spread over four years.

Michel is going to Florida State and Irigoyen, University of Central Florida. Neither plans to play in college.

MIA Principal Melissa Scott, Roger Raymond, basketball coach and Kelly Monnot, athletic director.

Shannon McGregor, formerly of Marco Island, won the award in 2001, representing St. John Neumann. The last Lely winner was Eric Beights in 2002.

This year’s Winged Foot finalists, in alphabetical order, were:

Tommie Chavez, Golden Gate, Paul Costain, St. John Neumann, Tyler Dean, First Baptist Academy, Alex Farrow, Seacrest, Evan Goldenbaum, Barron Collier, Jonathon Irigoyen, Lely, Kelly Kramer, Naples, Lukas Masterson, Gulf Coast, Patrick Michel, Marco Island Academy, Joey Nadotti, Palmetto Ridge, Stephanie Paul, Community School, Alejandro Ruiz, Immokalee and Tawny Wood, Everglades City.

Savvy Women Seminar

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:28pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Seminar attendees were advised to “Stay educated.”

It is undeniable that women’s roles have changed dramatically over time. Often heads of their own households, many women today are busy working while taking care of their children or aging parents. Women face many issues, some arising from widowhood, divorce or second marriages, some from their roles as parents and caregivers.

Planning for their financial future has become challenging for many women.

On May 19, a seminar on Marco Island entitled “Savvy Women, Smart Investors Take Charge of Their Financial Future” tackled these issues with presentations and discussion.

Speakers included Kevin O’Fee, a financial planner with Edward Jones, attorney Jessica Hernstadt, and David Garrett from Amada Senior Care.

The seminar offered strategies for investing, estate planning and caring for elderly parents. Although geared towards women, the advice was applicable to both genders, and men as well as women were in attendance.

Kevin O’Fee discussed strategies for investing, taking into consideration the challenges that are unique to women.

Kevin explained, “With the ramifications of people living longer than ever before, it’s essential to have a well thought out retirement income strategy. Otherwise you’re relying on hope, and hope is not a strategy.”

Coleen Hodsdon and Kristina Lambros take a break.

Jessica Hernstadt focused on estate planning tools, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Jessica said, “Staying educated is the most important thing you can do for your future. Whether you are married, single, widowed or divorced, it is up to you to take charge of your estate- the assets and the plan.”

David Garrett discussed caring for aging parents, including both understanding care options available and their financial ramifications. David suggested that, “Planning for parent’s potential needs and understanding options before a situation becomes critical is a wise course of action and helps in making better decisions long-term.”

Keeping informed and proper planning was the unifying theme of all three speakers. An open format encouraged audience questions and active discussion.

If you missed this event, don’t worry; plans for the next seminar are already in the works. At the close of the evening, Kevin O’Fee said that in the future the presentation would be offered again on Marco Island.

For more information about “Savvy Women, Smart Investors” and other upcoming seminars, contact Kevin O’Fee at 239-642-0071.

Rotary Essay ?Contest Winner

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:26pm


The Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club honored Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) 8th grader, Christopher Kimble, for being the Rotary District 6960 Comprehensive Essay Contest Winner this year.

Christopher earned the award “For his essay applying the ‘Four Way Test’ to relationships with friends or family, and exemplifying its application through golf.” 

The certificate was accompanied by a gift card, and both were awarded at Rotary’s May 5th luncheon, during which Christopher delighted the Rotarians, their guests and his parents with a reading of his winning essay.


The Rotarian Four Way Test Essay
By Christopher Kimble

The Rotarian Four Way Test is an important part of every person’s life. It can improve the way you feel and treat others. The four main aspects of the Rotarian Four Way Test are: is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and better friendship, and will it be beneficial to all concerned. These four elements can help you improve certain things about yourself, such as what you think, say, and do. The Rotarian Four Way Test is an important part of everyone’s life.

To begin, the Rotarian Four Way Test can help you in many ways. One of the significant beneficial aspects of the test is that it can aid you with your communication. Being able to communicate is a crucial part of everyone’s life. It enables you to have the ability to talk to others and help each other with problems you may encounter. The text from Communications states that “communication is very important to your life. If people did not communicate, we wouldn’t be able to know what others wanted, what to do, or where to go.”

Playing the game of golf is a good example of how the Four Way Test and communication can improve your life. Two aspects of the Rotarian Four Way Test that apply to golf are the concepts of is it the truth, and is it fair to all concerned. When you play golf, you have to be truthful when you tally your scores and only hit the ball when it is your turn.

Additionally, you need to be fair by obeying the rules and treating your fellow players with courtesy and respect. It is essential that you communicate with your fellow players to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that the game is being played in a way that is fair to everyone. Applying the principles of is it the truth, and is it fair to all concerned improves your life by ensuring that you treat your friends with respect and fairness, and enhances the quality and depth of your friendships.

The third part of the Rotarian Four Way Test is whether it will build goodwill and better friendships. This concept also applies to golf. When I play golf with my friends, we treat each other with respect. We are always trying to encourage and compliment each other’s swings and performance. We also help each other by finding balls, and discussing the best way to play each hole. Additionally, we have the opportunity to become friends with players from other teams.

An example from the text “Ethics” states that “will it be beneficial to all concerned? This question relates to a greater good for humanity. It is a summary of the first three questions because if we can adequately answer, is it the truth?, is it fair to all concerned, and will it build goodwill and better friendship?; whatever decisions we make should be for the greater good and be beneficial to all concerned.” Building goodwill and better friendships improves your life by ensuring that you think of the needs of others, act in a selfless manner, and do what is in the best interest of your family and friends.

The fourth element of the Rotarian Four Way Test is whether it will be beneficial to all concerned. This fourth element can also be applied to the game of golf. When I play golf with my team mates, we build team spirit and work together as a team. This helps all of us develop more confidence as a group, as well as improving everyone’s lives in the process. We can also share our accomplishments together and mentor younger players on the team. Considering how something will be beneficial to all concerned improves your life because you grow and mature as a person when you consider the needs of others.

The Rotarian Four Way Test is an important aspect of every person’s life. The Four aspects are: is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build good will and better friendship, and will it be beneficial to all concerned. One of the ways the Rotarian Four Way Test can improve your life is through the game of golf. Golf helps team mates and friends interact as well as giving more experienced players the opportunities to teach the newer ones.

Writers Mid Year Meeting

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:24pm


Thanks to everyone who made the potluck social on May 11, 2016, a success and shared their “One Happy Memory.”

Our next meeting, June 8, 2016, will be an interesting one. It is mid year and time to assess ourselves. We will be sharing information about our group’s structure. In addition to the monthly meeting which is open to everyone, our subgroups meet separately. These subgroups are geared towards individuals’ interests, such as Periodicals, Poetry, Critique, Memoir Writing, etc. Visitors and members alike will get more information about the subgroups available, as well as their meeting times and places. If there is an interest in forming a new subgroup, that is great! Each officer of the MIWI will explain their role in the organization – president, secretary, treasurer, publicity chair, anthology chair, farmers market chair. The tone of the meeting will be conversational, with hopefully lively participation from everyone generating ideas and/or innovation.

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

Great Migration of the World

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:23pm

Bob McConville
Master Naturalist

Planet Earth is on the move! Every day, somewhere around the globe, some type of animal is on a migration route. Whether the need be food, water, warmth or finding a mate, there is a constant pattern of motion on our planet. Let’s talk about the migration of the largest number of land animals.

This event takes place on the continent of Africa. In the springtime nearly two million wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and impala follow an annual pattern in their search for fresh grazing lands. The trail taken by these animals is now very predictable, but the timing of the journey may vary from one year to another based on rainfall.

In November or December the animals will arrive on the short grass plains when the rainy season begins. Wildebeest and zebra can be seen everywhere feeding on the fresh sprouts of grass.

This is also birthing season and by mid February or March both the adults and the calves are ready for the start of their great migration.

Seeking fresh grazing lands and water, a northern route is established. Sometimes hectic, these moving columns now number in the hundreds of thousands. The Grumeti River and the Mara River can sometimes pose a problem along the way. The animals seem to gather on the western banks of these rivers prior to crossing and then launch a mass swim to the opposite bank. They possess a “Swarm Intelligence” that allows the herd to overcome such obstacles by acting as one large body.

In July and August the herd spreads out on the northernmost leg of their trip, seeking new grass produced by more rainfall. In September and October the migration continues along the Serengeti National Park, eventually leading them back to the fresh shoots on the short grass plains where the process begins again.

Although it is not the longest migration on the planet, millions of these animals travel 1,800 miles annually in order to assure the survival of these species.

There are many more fascinating stories such as this one that takes place on Earth. Even here in the Marco Island area we have least terns and swallow tail kites that have come from South America. Some species of terns travel 44,000 miles in a year!

Join me on June 7th to learn more about these journeys!

Bob is the owner of Stepping Stone Ecotours and also a naturalist on board the Dolphin Explorer.

He is a member of the Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism. Bob loves his wife very much!

The Jewelry Genius

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:22pm

Richard Alan
[email protected]

It’s the beginning of the end of the 2016 seasonal madness. It’s nice to look around and take a breather, maybe sort the things out in your life that went on the back burner – or maybe you completely forgot about them all together, like the fact you can no longer fit an automobile in your garage or your yard looks like a category three hurricane passed through it. It’s time to get the simple things done that were impossible to do the past few months.

It’s also that time of the year for inspection and cleaning of your fine jewelry. Inspection of prongs that hold your diamond(s) and whatever else you hold dearly should be checked, and better yet, cleaned and polished. Diamonds and gemstones get loose, chip, break or just plain fall out. Prongs, bezels and channels that hold valuable gems wear out or break off. For all you Marco and Neapolitan mermaids out there that wear their precious gold jewelry in the chlorinated pools day in and day out…You are most prone to prong and clasp disintegration.

The chlorine attacks gold jewelry and literally causes corrosion, then the prongs become porous and brittle and fall off, resulting in catastrophic stone loss. It also dissolves the steel springs that are inside most chain clasps, such as spring rings and lobster claw styles, resulting in the clasp not functioning properly, and subsequently, the loss of your chain and whatever valuable is hanging on it.

I’m originally from Beantown, where most New Englanders have about a two month, one day and four hour window for swimming in an average unheated swimming pool, so jewelry eaten by chlorine is near non-existent up in the great white north. But here in paradise I never performed so many repairs that resulted from wearing gold in the swimming pool. It’s a fact that even the water coming out of our faucets contributes to discoloring, tarnishing and damage to most fine jewelry. (Leave a piece of silver jewelry in a glass of Marco water overnight and what you see the next morning is not pretty.)

I hate to preach, (No actually, I quite enjoy it) but in general, people don’t listen or take good advice from an overly experienced jewelry genius such as myself. (And humble too!) If you don’t want to heed good advice, fine…I can’t wait to see you in my shop, and your husband’s face when I present him with a hefty bill to repair the ring and replace that cherished diamond that just happened to “fall out.” (You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed twenty half submerged derrieres searching for a lost white diamond at the bottom of a shimmering swimming pool.)

Just simply removing all your jewelry before a dip in the pool or the Gulf of Mexico will extend its life expectancy and keep it out of the repair shop. Besides, wearing all that glitter in the water makes you a possible snack because it attracts barracuda and most species of shark, even worse…it may also attract the dreaded poolside Homo sapiens gold digger.

The jewelry inspection and cleaning experience I perform is nothing like going to the dentist, it’s really quite painless. You can actually leave your jewelry, where it will be cleaned and examined for no charge.

For a nominal fee you can get The Full Monte where your pieces are boiled out, all your dings, dents and scratches get polished out to look like a brand new piece again, and you can pick it up later in the day or next morning.

My inspections include pointing out areas of wear and tear, non-workable or faulty clasps, worn links or jump rings, worn out or missing prongs, show you insecure diamonds or gemstones, and point out chipped, cracked or missing gemstones. Check for worn or split ring shanks, and it’s also a good time to get rings that don’t fit made the proper size.

The loops or bails on pendants and religious medals wear out and need to be replaced to prevent loss.

And don’t forget your watch(es) may need a new battery or strap and a good exterior cleaning. Now is as good a time as any to get it done, and take advantage of the repair coupon on this page.

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith at Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at 239-394-9275 or [email protected], or visit his informative website at

Social Skills for Children

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:20pm


Manners and Dance with Ms. Laura is pleased to announce brand new summer activities.

Beginning July 2016, Laura Spell will bring her brand of life and social skills, as well as modeling and charm, to Venetian Village.

A long-time Naples resident, Spell is offering two-hour workshops on select Saturdays this summer to teach children ages 6-12 valuable life and social skills. These include: self-confidence, poise, presence, introductions, dining etiquette, hygiene and basic sewing.

Children will learn time-honored life and social skills as part of additional two-hour workshops on select Saturday afternoons. Workshops in introductions and polite conversation, dining etiquette and guest manners, and basic sewing will be provided for two hours on Saturday afternoons in July.

Spell will also offer two-hour modeling and charm workshops at Fish Restaurant, with a special emphasis on self-confidence and awareness. Children will meet for four consecutive weeks to learn and practice runway modeling in preparation of the Fashion Show on the final day. Children will model clothing from All About April.

Spell says,  “Families in the area will have the convenience of shopping or relaxing on the water while providing their children with a helping hand in learning life and social skills as well as self-confidence and poise.”

Venetian Village is located 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples. All About April and Fish Restaurant are located on the north side of Venetian Village.

For more information, please visit or contact Laura Spell at 239-438-2987 or [email protected]

Fishing the 10,000 Islands in June

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:15pm

Capt. Pete Rapps
[email protected]

As May makes way for June, the season for summer fishing begins, bearing entrance into our four warmest months of the year. Midday air temperatures hover around 90 degrees every day, making the shallow flats in the early morning – before both the peak heat of the midday sun and the almost daily afternoon showers – your best bet for fishing.

Looking at moon phase, tides, and solunar calendar, I like what I see around June 3rd-7th on the new moon and the 18th-22nd on the full moon. These are the peak solunar days and the days where the tides will be the strongest.

At this point in the year, we are mostly fishing on the outside flats and shorelines, leaving the farther backwaters behind for the summer. You can find the snook feeding along the beaches and near shore troughs, where you can “match the hatch” and throw them live thread herring or pilchards. You can fish both soft and hard artificial bait that resembles these live baits as well.

Redfish tend to roam the outside oyster bars looking for little crustaceans on the bottom; try throwing them a live shrimp on a 4/0 circle hook under a popping cork, and keep ringing that dinner bell by popping the cork every 5-10 seconds.

Be on the lookout for tarpon in the shallow grass flats, as they are looking to eat during the coolest hours of the day – morning and evening. I like to toss out a small, live ladyfish or large pilchard or thread herring on a bait runner reel. For this I like to use 40 lb. braided line tied to 6’ of 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader and a 60/0 circle hook. You’ll want to set that reel into bait runner mode, wait for the strike, and remember to point your rod tip at the tarpon as it jumps. The idea is for the fish to be able to pull drag when it’s out of the water, otherwise the hook will pull out.

In addition to these fish, trout are also around in good numbers. You can fish the flats on the incoming tide with your favorite bucktail jig when fishing for these; they also like Gulp shrimp, and just about any other soft plastic jig tipped with a small piece of shrimp. While out, once you’ve found a couple of nice fish, you can throw a marker out and anchor up on the spot, or continue to make drifts past the same spot, if you want.

Mangrove snapper are also in decent numbers, and can be found primarily around mangrove roots. All you need to bait them is some live shrimp threaded on a small 2/0 hook. The trick to hooking these snapper is to let them take the shrimp for a few seconds before reeling in.

Contact Capt. Pete Rapps by email at [email protected] or by phone 239-571-1756. Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year round expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and springtime tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our vast knowledge and experience of the area, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class website for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more at 

Ask the CFP

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:11pm

Darcie Guerin
[email protected]

“All men by nature desire knowledge.”

– Aristotle

5/29 is National College Savings Day

Question: I hear a lot about 529 Plans but I’m not really sure what they are. Could you explain what makes them special?

Answer: May 29th is more than the day before Memorial Day or the day when the Indy 500 is held, 5/29 is National College Savings Day. The term “529 Plan” refers to Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code that deals with specialized college savings accounts. These plans may provide tax benefits to the contributor, owner, custodian and beneficiary.

The rising cost of higher education is fairly well known, yet most people aren’t sure what a 529 Plan is or how it relates to saving for higher education needs. There are many perks to 529 Plans, one of which is that they’re a tax-deferred way to save for higher education for yourself, a child or grandchild.

These plans typically have a small impact on financial aid eligibility. Because the assets belong to the account owner and not the beneficiary, they’re assessed at a smaller rate when determining aid. Also, there are no income or age restrictions on who can contribute.

Like almost everything else, college costs are increasing. The Department of Labor reported that between 2003 and 2013 the relative costs for clothing rose 5.6%, housing costs were up 22.8%, food and beverage expenses increased 31.2%, medical care soared by 43.1% and college tuition jumped 79.5% over that ten-year period.

A 2015 Sallie Mae (Student Loan Marketing Association) study found that 89% of parents believe college is an important investment in their child’s future. Not surprisingly, they find it challenging to save for college. This is why preparing early is crucial, but not at the expense of funding for your retirement. There are loans and grants for school, but there aren’t loans for retirement.

Some 529 Plan Benefits:

Funds may be used to cover tuition, books, room and board, and computer expenses.

Anyone can contribute and contributions grow in a tax-deferred environment.

State tax deductions are available in some states.

529 Plans may be opened for yourself or anyone else as they aren’t limited to relatives. The important point is that a 529 Plan isn’t a custodial or “kiddie” account. The owner/participant is always in control of the account. 529 Plans typically charge an enrollment fee, annual fee or both. Program descriptions detail additional fees that may apply. There are options to select investments according to the plan design.

With “accelerated gifting” (a larger up-front investment), five-year’s worth of gifts may be made at one time per beneficiary. This could significantly lower someone’s estate tax liability. Taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion amount (currently $14,000), an individual can contribute up to $70,000 (5 x $14,000), or $140,000 per couple, in a single year per beneficiary without gift tax consequences, provided that donor doesn’t gift any more to the same beneficiary over the next five years (IRS form 709 must be filed to elect the five-year accelerated gifting). If the donor doesn’t survive the five-year period, a prorated amount reverts back to the donor’s estate. Certain other conditions may apply.

Some 529 Plan Reminders: 

Maximum contribution limits are established by each state’s program rules and may change each year to reflect increasing education costs, and when reached (by either contribution or appreciation) no additional contributions are allowed.

Contributions may be made to an education savings account and a 529 savings plan for the same beneficiary for the same tax year, as well as to a state-specific 529 prepaid plan.

529 Plans typically charge an enrollment fee, annual fee or both. Program descriptions detail additional fees that may apply. There are options to select investments according to the plan design.

Investment changes are limited to twice per calendar year, including rebalancing.

Money withdrawn from a 529 Plan not used on eligible expenses will generally be subject to income tax and an additional 10% federal tax penalty on earnings. Exceptions may be made if the beneficiary receives scholarship money.

Because there are a variety of choices and important nuances to be aware of, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable and trusted advisor to help simplify the process; someone who understands your family’s needs and the unique characteristics of each plan.

These plans can be a great way to reduce tax impacts and benefit overall estate planning while helping to cover the growing cost of higher education expenses. In addition to giving gifts to those we love, we set up 529 Plans and give the gift that keeps on giving—education! Knowledge is power. Stay focused and plan accordingly.

Consider the investment objectives, risks, fees, and expenses associated with 529 Plans before investing. More information about specific 529 Plans is available in each issuer’s official statement, which should be read carefully before investing. Before investing, consider whether your state offers a 529 Plan that provides residents with favorable state tax benefits. There is the risk that investments may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Changes in tax laws or regulations may occur at any time and could substantially impact your situation. Discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. 

* An eligible education institution is any postsecondary educational institution such as a college, university or vocational school, including many schools abroad that are eligible to participate in a federal student aid program administrated by the U.S. Department of Education. 

“Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.” 

This article is provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. Call or email Darcie at 239-389-1041 or [email protected] with questions or suggestions for future columns. Visit her website:

A Carefully Constructed Village

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:09pm

Laurie Kasperbauer
[email protected]

“You are a piece of the puzzle of someone else’s life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill holes in their lives with pieces of you.” 

– Bonnie Arbon

In 1996 a book was published by none-other-than, Democratic presidential hopeful, Hilary Clinton. The title of the book is “It takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us.”

The phrase, “it takes a village,” is thought to be an African proverb, built on the premise that raising a child is a collective effort that extends beyond the mother and father alone. In her book, Ms. Clinton suggests that successfully raising a child is influenced by the collaboration of not only immediate family members, but also, neighbors, friends, clergy, teachers, business leaders, and doctors, to name a few. I suspect this is an overwhelming concept to many parents who spend the bulk of their child-rearing energy manipulating who will influence their offspring and running interference to keep them on the chosen path. I was certainly one of those parents. Nonetheless, I think there is truth to the idea that we are all influenced by our “village.” In fact, I think health of body, mind and spirit is dependent upon who we include in our circle.

The deeper I dip into the wellspring of yoga, the better I understand the concept of connectedness, and the more I realize that I have just skimmed the surface of a powerful flow of energy. Energy that travels from universe to earth, from earth to life, and from life to universe, in a spontaneous web of inclusion and balance. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, our decisions, and our relationships are the mesh of conduit for this flow of energy. When we connect with others, that energy is either deflected or accepted.

The attached photo is, without question, an iconic image to me. I took the picture in the backyard of our home in Iowa. It was a warm, summer day and the neighborhood kids had gathered to slide down the slope in our yard on a long piece of plastic, hydrated by a garden hose. The picture represents a neighborhood. Eight children. Eight distinct personalities. Eight growing bodies. Eight developing young minds and eight different life stories. Each child left an impression on the other seven. The parents and families of each individual in that image, held a degree of influence over the others. There was a connection, there was energy, there was acceptance and there was deflection.

I think it does take a village to raise a child. I believe we carry that village with us through life and it is a malleable creation of our own life experiences. We make connections with others, we exchange energy with our environment, we give, we take, we accept and we eliminate. Through our thoughts, our actions, our words, our decisions, and our relationships, we carefully construct the village we live in. In the end, we dwell within the walls we build; constructed of the materials we gathered along the way.

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.

Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:07pm

Maggie Gust
[email protected]

Charlie Mike: 
A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home
By Joe Klein
Simon & Schuster,
October 2015 – 320 pages
Genre: Biography
Collier County Public Library: Yes

“Charlie Mike” is not the name of any person, but military shorthand for “continue the mission.” This is the story of some veterans from America’s 21st century wars and their reorientation to civilian life.

Navy veteran Eric Greitens was the initial driving force behind the organization that grew to be named “The Mission Continues.” His life had been filled with a desire to achieve excellence in all things, academics, sports, martial arts, leadership, and service, military and otherwise. That innate urge led him to carve a way for veterans of his generation to transition back to the civilian world. Eric’s ideal of “warrior” and all that entailed convinced him that veterans needed not only to be of service, but also needed the camaraderie of fellow veterans while doing so. Many felt isolated from the civilian population and struggled to fit in. Give them a mission/purpose with other vets and they could heal each other and hopefully decrease the astronomical rate of suicide and emotional dysfunction among the men and women who had served.

Jake Wood, a Marine veteran of Afghanistan, and his buddy Clay Hunt, were on their way back from volunteer service in post earthquake Haiti, on a plane to Miami, when they found Eric’s advertisement in “Outside” magazine. He was looking for veterans who wanted to be part of a force that used their military skills for service to others. Jake and Clay had just completed a remarkable experience in Haiti and both knew they wanted to help at another disaster zone in the future. To their surprise, they found the Haitian people gracious and grateful for the help that they brought. They saw no evidence of the havoc that was described on broadcast TV and in other media.

That was the opening for Jake and Eric to join forces. Team Rubicon, focusing on disaster response, and The Mission Continues, the larger organization with a wider scope of service projects result. The Mission Continues has its own website and presently has a large number of corporate sponsors, celebrity board members, and thousands of veterans in its membership. Klein documents the beginning and the extraordinary lives of the men and women involved in this project.

I found this book eminently readable. Klein writes well, packs a lot of information into these pages, and his deep respect and admiration for the people involved in this organization are evident. At times I found him a bit too emotional, but that is just a matter of opinion. It is a book about people who have been to hell and back, some still with one foot in hell, so know that you will alternately cheer and tear when you read their stories. Not all make it back to civilian life. There are undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress (which one psychiatrist refuses to call a disorder because PTS is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation), and the incredible stress of dealing with the Veterans Administration and their byzantine application process. There are broken relationships among the veterans as well as veterans and their loved ones. There is also heroic generosity of spirit backed up with action. The biggest surprise to me was to learn how these combat veterans felt about the people and places where they were deployed.

Rating: 4.75/5.0.

Wishing you all a beautiful Memorial Day observance! Congratulations to all the Collier County high school graduates – well done – celebrate safely!

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

Boaters and Condos

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:05pm

Gary Elliott & Sandy Elliott

View of the Jolley Bridge from the Marco Island Yacht Club.

Of the 356 condos for sale on the island last week, 126 of them (35%) referenced a boat dock in the listing. These condos feature either assigned or leased boat docks, or are adjacent to marinas with boat docks for lease or for sale. Twenty-nine of these listed condos with a dock have an assigned dock that transfers with that unit when it is sold. Most condo associations own and maintain their docks and lease them to owners and renters when available.

The lowest priced condo for sale last week with a leased boat dock is a one-bedroom condo at Angler’s Cove for $185,000. Pier 81 has a $1.6 million, four-bedroom/three bathroom penthouse condo for sale overlooking The Marina at Factory Bay. Boat slips at this marina start at $42,900 for a 39-foot boat. The Esplanade offers three-bedroom condos from $695,000 to $965,000, with boat slips starting at $79,000 for a 38-foot boat.

The new 142-boat storage facility under construction at Rose Marina.

Most condos on the island with boat docks limit boat lengths to 20 to 30 feet. Shipps Landing is an exception, and allows boats up to 33 feet LOA. Only 18 of the 126 condos with docks listed for sale come with boatlifts, and these are rated for between 8,000 pounds and 15,000 pounds. An example of a condo with leased boat docks is the South Seas Club. Here residents can lease a 30-foot dock overnight, weekly, monthly, seasonally or annually. Lease rates for this type of boat dock are $725 per year, $450 for the season or $75 per week. Many condos in the south end have docks for lease. Docks at condos rent for as little as $200 per year to over $1,200 per year.

The Marco Island Marina, seen from the dock master’s office. Photos By Gary Elliott

Condo owners and renters along the beach, or those with inland condos, can store their boats at places like Walker’s Hideaway Marina, Rose Marina and others on the island or nearby. Certain kinds of power boats up to 43 feet can be stored and launched at these convenient, centrally located marinas. A simple phone call initiates the launch service and your boat is ready when you get there. Services include an engine flush and hull wash after each use to keep your boat salt-free. Fuel, provisioning and professional maintenance services help make boating hassle free.

Larger boats can be docked at The Marina at Factory Bay adjacent to Pier 81, the Esplanade Marina at the Esplanade, the Marco Island Marina Association adjacent to the Marco Island Yacht Club, Rose Marina and at Port of the Islands Marina. Last week the Marco Island MLS listed 26 boat docks for sale from $42,900 for a dock that accommodates up to a 39-foot boat to $399,000 for a dock for a 60-foot yacht.

Storage facility at Walkers
Hideaway Marina.

Many condo owners are members at the Marco Island Yacht Club. This is an active, member owned club, offering power and sail boating camaraderie, day cruises, extended cruises and sunset cruises. In addition to their social and party schedule the club has an excellent restaurant overlooking the marina and Jolley Bridge.

MICMS Teams Recognized at Sports Night

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:00pm
The annual Marco Island Charter School Sports Night honored all teams on May 20.

Photos by Roger LaLonde

MICMS Top Student Athletes

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 2:48pm

By Roger LaLonde

Katie Miller, outstanding athlete in girls basketball, with coach Kyle Grucci.

Ryenn Hart and Michael Mertens parlayed their academics and athletic abilities into winning the top student athlete award at the annual Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) Sports Night on May 18.

Trent Fetzer and Lauren Faremouth won the other top award, the Michael “Mickey” Mendel Sportsmanship Award.

Some 400 relatives and friends packed the MICMS gym. Not only was it the largest crowd, but the highest number of athletes to be recognized.

While many played more than one sport, the number of participants in all sports totaled 271.

Roger Raymond, athletic director, extolled the virtues of all the winners.

“Ryenn works hard at everything she does,” said Raymond, who coached Hart in cross country and track.

“To be good you have to put in the miles like the successful runners that came before her. She does the same in the classroom.”

Hart, who doesn’t seem to realize how outstanding she is, took the low road in acknowledging the award.

Michael Mertens, boys outstanding student athlete in track, with assistant coach Scott Hurley.

“It means a lot, it is very nice to get recognized,” she said.

Hart, who said it will be Lely or Marco Island Academy for high school, expects to only run cross country.

“I really enjoy it and know that I will need to stay focused to do well, she said.

Of Mertens, Raymond said, “He does everything above his age. He is extremely talented academically and in athletics.”

Mertens moved here three years ago from Germany. He said the award “inspires me to continue in sports. It has been a good experience and taught me a lot about patience and hard work.”

Raymond said of Faremouth, “She lets her abilities do the talking in almost all cases. She is a fantastic student athlete on the field and in the classroom. I expect her high school career to be outstanding, although trying to decide where to dedicate her energy will be tough. She is very talented in volleyball, soccer and tennis, but also is a fabulous swimmer. She will be a force on the field and a top-notch scholar in the classroom.”

Outstanding team member Kylee Mitchell with her sixth grade basketball coach Jaime Thomas.

Of Fetzer, Raymond said, “Trent Fetzer was a small boy when he came to MICMS. He was always trying to keep up in cross country races and could easily have become discouraged. He wasn’t in the top 20 when he started here. His attitude remained steady as he matured and grew into a tall, outgoing eighth grade young man. He went from a follower to a leader with his work getting him on the team that competed in the state meet and won the GCAC Championship. He works hard in the classroom and almost always has a kind word and a smile on his face.”

Raymond said it is no accident that athletes do well in academics.

“Coaches set the tone by the way they work with student athletes,” he said. “There is a lot of one-on-one and team structure to help them be successful. There are seven new championship banners hanging tonight that came from hard work by coaches and athletes.”

Boys soccer won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC), while the girls soccer team did one better, winning the GCAC and the Collier County Athletic Conference.

The remaining GCAC titles were won by the girls track and cross country teams and the boys cross country team.

The magic of the night touched all student athletes as each team member received medals. Each team’s top student athlete also was recognized with trophies.

Lauren Faremouth and Trent Fetzer, Michael “Mickey” Mendel Sportsmanship Award winners.

In boys basketball the top JV member was Mason Ascetta, while the varsity award went to Humberto Trejo.

In girls basketball Kylee Mitchell won JV honors and Katie Miller got the varsity nod.

For volleyball the JV outstanding player was Madison Champeau, while sister McKinley Champeau was named for varsity. The boys varsity tennis recognition went to Hunter Delgado.

In track and field, Michael Mertens and Dayna Dorestin were honored.

For cross country it was Ryenn Hart and Johnny Watt.

In soccer Victoria Alvarez and Jose Aguilera took their bows.

Megan Brown was recognized in cheerleading.

In co-ed golf, honors went to Rachel Drake.

Recognized for coed tennis was Diego Britt-Alvarez.

Outstanding football teammate was Stuart Endres.

MICMS was packed and revved for its annual Sports Night.

In the program it listed the 11 MICMS student athletes who went on to be nominees for the prestigious Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award.

This year the nominees are Patrick Michel for Marco Island Academy and Jonathon Irigoyen for Lely High School. All Collier County public and private high schools each nominate one outstanding student athlete. The winner will be announced at the end of May.

Previous nominees include Natasha Sciallis, Jessica Raymond, Ben Gillenwaters, Sabrina Carrender, Christian Tateo, Jasmine Vecchio, Brandon Black, Gage Wheeler and Jessica Ragan.

For more photos go to

Let’s Talk About Veins

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 2:35pm

To Your Health
Scott Lowe
Market CEO,
Physicians Regional Healthcare System

Submitted Photos
Dr. Vivian Torres

Safe to say, those of us in Southwest Florida tend to show more skin. Though our weather is wonderful and our pools are open year-round, there is no doubt that shorts and swimsuits become even more popular during the summer months. The result? Our veins are even more exposed than usual.

And yes, this can be an unsettling thought for those who wish to keep their less-than-appealing veins under wraps.

That said, it’s surprising how little the public knows about vein care and vascular surgery—specifically, the technological advancements in the various treatments for vein issues.

According to the Society for Vascular Surgery: “As we age, our arteries tend to thicken, get stiffer, and narrow. This is called arteriosclerosis. A form of arteriosclerosis is atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque and cholesterol in large and medium-sized arteries.

“A narrowing of the arteries from the build-up of plaque can lead to coronary heart disease, and can cause a heart attack when this occurs in the blood vessels leading to the heart.”

“The same situation in the arteries leading to the brain can cause strokes. Narrowing of the arteries in other places, such as your legs, can cause what is called Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD. PAD can lead to sores, pain with walking, or amputation. When the smaller arteries are affected it is called arteriolosclerosis.”

“A big part of vascular disease is venous disease; it is also typically hereditary,” says board-certified vascular surgeon Vivian Torres, M.D. from the Vein Center at Physicians Regional Healthcare System. “If you have severe venous disease, you can have other problems such as skin ulcers, instantaneous wounds and/or a thickening of skin. A clot in your veins can be dangerous.”

In layman’s terms, vascular medicine involves blockages in the arteries and veins throughout the body—in the brain, the legs and other organs.

For Dr. Torres, a focus on vascular surgery matched her desire to work with her hands; she enjoys the immediate gratification associated with the quick results that often accompany her work.

As vascular treatment often extends over time, Dr. Torres takes advantage of the time invested to nurture and develop mutually beneficial relationships with her patients. Plus, her fluency in both English and Spanish provide a benefit to both patients and co-workers each day.

However, as vascular issues are often confused with other disorders, don’t be surprised if you have been previously referred to, for example, an orthopedist for what may actually be a vascular issue.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as leg fatigue, leg heaviness, and/or large veins under the skin, you should visit a vein care specialist.

Physicians Regional Healthcare System understands the importance of top-quality vein care. The Vein Center at Physicians Regional offers a multidisciplinary team approach to treating venous disease providing the most modern, medically advanced treatment options.

The center is conveniently located in the clinic building at Physicians Regional – Pine Ridge.

Plus, if you wish to get rid of those unsightly—and potentially unhealthy—veins, The Vein Center at Physicians Regional is offering a $99 vein screening through the end of 2016.

The screening also includes a 30-minute sclerotherapy treatment as required. “Sclerotherapy destroys some of the smaller veins that have reflux and/or unsightly veins that are closer to the skin such as spider veins,” explains Dr. Torres.

However, the screening is especially important if you are experiencing painful standing or walking. The Vein Center features:

• Modern, medically advanced treatments, including laser therapy and sclerotherapy, with minimal to no downtime;

• Safe and effective with cosmetically superior results;

• Enjoy privacy and comfort with the reassurance and security of being treated within the hospital;

• Majority of procedures covered by insurance plans, including Medicare.

As patient results may vary, please consult your primary care physician about the benefits and risks of any procedure or treatment.

And Dr. Torres’ advice for ongoing vein health? “Maintain an active lifestyle, such as walking and exercise. And avoid long periods of sitting without moving.”

A $250 value, our $99 vein screening is valid for one treatment and limited to new patients only. Please note: Multiple treatments may be required for best results.

To schedule an appointment, call 239-304-4900.

Botox Questions Answered

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 2:33pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Dr. Josephine Perez Submitted Photo

Some people just seem to age better than others, leaving the rest of us to wonder, is it genetics? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. These days, people are taking advantage of a variety of products and procedures that promise a more youthful appearance.

Which leads us to Botox, one of the most readily available cosmetic procedures commonly used. But when it comes to Botox, it seems like everyone is doing it, but no one is talking.

That leaves many of us with questions.

Shedding some light on this little secret is Dr. Josephine Perez, a cosmetic dentist with Island Dentistry. Dr. Perez has been part of the faculty at the Aesthetic Enhancement Institute in Fort Lauderdale for 10 years. She graciously spoke with Coastal Breeze News and answered all our questions.

What is Botox?

What is commonly known as “Botox” or Botox Cosmetic, is a refined protein of the botulism toxin by Allergan. Botox is a brand, and there are other brands in use, such as Xeomin and Dysport.

Can you explain how Botox can make someone appear more youthful?

Factors such as age, stress, sun and genetics can produce wrinkles and frown lines, which can give a more aged and tired look to a person’s face. Botox works by smoothing out these wrinkles and frown lines, almost instantaneously giving a more youthful and relaxed appearance. 

What is the procedure and does it hurt?

The procedure involves injecting small amounts of Botox to specific muscles of the face and neck. The correct amount of solution is expertly placed in strategic areas using a tiny needle. 

Some patients describe it as feeling a “quick prick.” Many times, to help make the patient feel even more comfortable, a topical anesthetic is applied to the area prior to the procedure.

Does it matter who administers the Botox? 

Legally, Botox can be administered by any doctor trained and certified in the procedure. However, skill and experience, as with any medical or dental procedure, makes a huge difference. 

The professional should be comfortable and experienced with injections to the face and neck, know the anatomy of the muscles and surrounding structures, be able to treat any complications that could occur, and have an artistic touch to enhance and correct, producing natural-looking results.

My training and experience includes over a decade of using Botox and dermal fillers. Being a cosmetic dentist also means that over the years I have given thousands of injections, and I have developed a very light and comfortable touch.

How much is it?

Pricing for Botox varies. As with any cosmetic procedure, you should find a professional who is experienced, gentle, and produces great results. Often, the difference in cost is insignificant when you consider the final result.

What kind of results can be expected and how long will it last?

Botox has been clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing specific muscles. The effects vary from person to person depending on age, amount of photodamage, type of skin and particular habits. Genetics also play a role. 

Depending on the patient and the individual procedure, the effects of Botox generally lasts 3-4 months, but can last as long as 6 months.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Josephine Perez at 239-394-1004. Island Tower Dentistry is located at 606 Bald Eagle Drive, Suite 200, Marco Island. Visit their website or Facebook page (Island Tower Dentistry). 

MIA Student Athletes Honored

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:10am

By Roger LaLonde

In the months that followed sports seasons, Marco Island Academy (MIA) held separate award presentations.

“We have a tremendous group of student athletes,” Kelly Monnot, athletic director, said. “They are well-rounded students who work hard in the classroom and in athletics.”

Monnot thinks the school is headed in the right direction in academics and sports.

“The school student numbers are increasing and we are seeing more sports participation. We have many multi-sport athletes,” she said.

Monnot is proud of how the students are adapting to the school’s culture.

“We expect our athletes to excel in the classroom and in their sport,” Monnot said. “I am excited for what the future brings for MIA athletics.

Each sport gave three awards. In some instances a student won in more than one sport.

Below are the sports and the winners.

Fall Awards


Coach’s Award: Lauren De’Hooghe

Leadership Award: Chelsea Casabona

Outstanding Player Award:
Shannon O’Regan


Cross Country

Coach’s Award: Teagan Havemeier

Leadership Award: Olivia Watt and Cameron Zuck

Outstanding Player Award:
Julia Wagner and Juan Patino



Coach’s Award: Tyler Wallace

Leadership Award: Patrick Michel

Outstanding Player Award:
Andrew Fowler



Coach’s Award: Susan Faremouth

Leadership Award: Kasey Bersh

Outstanding Player Award:
Lisa Cottage-Ramnick



Coach’s Award- Duneshka Cruz

Outstanding Player Award:
Hunter O’Neill

Winter Awards:

Boys Basketball 

Coach’s Award: Brandon Estremera

Leadership Award: Andrew Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Cole Stretton


Girls Basketball

Coach’s Award: Gianna Rose

Leadership Award: Cayla Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Shannon O’Regan


Girls Soccer 

Coach’s Award: Julia Wagner

Leadership Award: Olivia Watt

Outstanding Player Award:
Abi Meredith


Boys Soccer 

Coach’s Award: Cameron Olguin

Leadership Award: Omar Rodriguez

Outstanding Player Award:
Colin McMullen



Coach’s Award: Blake DeHooghe

Leadership: Haley Havemeier

Outstanding Cheerleader:
Meagan Reisinger


Spring Awards:


Coach’s Award: Bon Deese

Leadership Award: Andrew Delgado

Outstanding Player Award:
Matt Grille



Coach’s Award: Nicole Brunson

Leadership Award: Katherine Felipe

Outstanding Player Award:
Raul Rodriguez



Coach’s Award: Anna Chamberlin

Leadership Award: Andrew Fowler

Outstanding Player Award:
Olivia Watt

Deputy Chief Chris Byrne Retires

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:02am

By Samantha Husted

Submitted Photo
Fire Chief Michael Murphy (left) and Deputy Chief Chris Byrne.

On May 31st the City of Marco Island Fire Rescue Department will bid farewell to longtime employee Chris Byrne. Chris started with the fire department as a firefighter in 1983 and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Deputy Chief. Chris has dedicated himself to the citizens of Marco Island, Collier County and the State of Florida. He has held leadership roles through various task forces, such as the State Coordinator of the Collier County Hazardous Materials District Response Team, the Collier County Marine Emergency Response Team Coordinator, as well as the Commander of the Collier County Strike Team Task Force.

“For the last 33 years the City of Marco Island and its residents have been blessed by the commitment and leadership of Deputy Chief Chris Byrne,” said Fire Chief Michael Murphy. “He is one of the best leaders, professionals and friend that I, and our fire department family have had the honor to work with. He has dedicated the majority of his life to saving lives and property and making our hometown a better place. He will be missed. Both the Fire Department and I thank him and his family, Julia and Joey, for their giving and wish him well in his retirement.”

On May 16th the Marco Island City Council recognized Chris’s many accomplishments with a proclamation declaring May 16th as “Chris Byrne Day.”

Chris’ retirement party will take place on May 27th at the Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island. The party begins at 1 PM, with presentations and a ceremony at 2:30 PM.

Coastal Breeze News will provide full coverage of Deputy Chief Chris Byrne’s career and retirement in the next edition, which will be on newsstands June 10.