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Equipment Donated to Special Olympics

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:52pm


The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation recently donated $8,000 worth of sports equipment to Special Olympics Florida – Collier County. The equipment will be used by Collier athletes who participate in tennis, basketball, track & field, bocce, soccer, golf, aquatics, and flag football.

According to Special Olympics County Director David McKenzie, “We are so thankful for this generous donation. We currently have more than 700 athletes and unified partners who participate in our year-round sports training and competition programs, and that number continues to grow quickly. The equipment donated by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation will help us serve these individuals for years to come.”

On Thursday, June 9 at the Greater Naples YMCA, McKenzie presented a plaque to Flynn Burch, Senior Director of State Initiatives and Programs for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, to thank the organization on behalf of the local Special Olympics organization.

Special Olympics Florida – Collier County, a volunteer-driven organization, offers a year-round sports program that includes training and competition in aquatics, golf, bowling, basketball, track and field, cycling, soccer, bocce, tennis, flag football, and standup paddle for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, all at no cost to the athletes and their families. All individuals with intellectual disabilities are welcome, with no upper age limit.

The organization also offers two additional programs specifically for younger athletes. The Young Athletes Program, for 2- to 7-year-olds, helps teach basic movement and sports skills to children with intellectual disabilities and to their siblings and peers without disabilities. The second program, Project UNIFY, is a school-based initiative that encourages all young people, with and without disabilities, to participate in athletic and leadership activities together.

Special Olympics Florida – Collier County’s programs are possible because of the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who organize, coach, publicize, raise funds, and administer the organization. All financial support for Special Olympics Florida – Collier County comes from local businesses, organizations, and individuals.

To become a volunteer coach for any sport or to sign up to participate as an athlete or a Unified Partner, please call Special Olympics Florida – Collier County at 239-775-1991, or go to The organization is on Facebook at

Stroke Care Update: Please Be Prepared

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:51pm

To Your Health
Scott Lowe
CEO, Physicians Regional Healthcare System

If you—or a loved one—are one of nearly 800,000 Americans who will suffer a stroke this year, it’s important to know the warning signs and where to go for immediate care.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes.

Closer to home: the average age citizen in Collier County and Lee County is over 50—after age 50, stroke risk doubles every ten years.

Due to Southwest Florida’s “Stroke Belt” location, of critical importance is understanding the National Stroke Association’s Act FAST (Face Arms Speech Time) warning signs:

FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

In fact, it can be easy to miss a stroke symptom; however, if you feel a loss of balance or experience any other warning signs, you may need immediate attention.

Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge and Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard are Primary Stroke Centers committed to acting quickly when it comes to treating strokes and preventing complications.

Recognizing signs and symptoms can save a life and decrease the chances of permanent disabilities.

“Currently, less than 10% of people seen for stroke present in a timeframe which would allow them to be candidates for interventional treatments. The great bulk of stroke treatment is in identifying the patients’ needs, making the diagnosis, administering the appropriate medication, and determining if additional care is needed,” says Aileen Staller, DNP, ARNP, CNRN, and Stroke Center coordinator.

In the small percentage of cases where interventional neuroradiology treatment is required, patients are transferred—often times via air transport—to a nearby, more comprehensive treatment facility.

Our ability to act quickly and effectively in stroke-care scenarios has also led to recent national recognition.

Physicians Regional Healthcare System recently received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

The award recognizes our commitment and success in ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

They focus on appropriate use of guideline-based care for stroke patients, including aggressive use of medications such as clot-busting and anti-clotting drugs, blood thinners and cholesterol-reducing drugs, preventive action for deep vein thrombosis and smoking cessation counseling.

According to Staller: “A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed. This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely.”

Physicians Regional Healthcare System continues to strive for excellence in the acute treatment of stroke patients. The recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke further reinforces our team’s hard work.

“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognizes Physicians Regional Healthcare System for its commitment to stroke care,” says Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

Primary Stroke Center care is located at: Physicians Regional–Pine Ridge, 6101 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL 34119. For information, please call 239-348-4000.

Physicians Regional–Collier Boulevard, 8300 Collier Boulevard Naples, FL 34114. For information, please call 239-354-6000.


Prevention is Key to Avoiding Heat Stroke

Ironically, the first sign of dangerous heat stroke or heat-related illness is often the absence of sweat. As the temperature rises, your body’s natural cooling mechanism – perspiration – evaporates and helps to cool your body. But on those really hot and humid days, evaporation is slowed and your body runs a higher risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“Virtually all heat-related illnesses are preventable,” said James Roach, D.O., and Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician at Physicians Regional Healthcare System. “Be extra careful when the heat index is 90 degrees or above, and always drink plenty of water or fluids with electrolytes when the heat index is high. If you must be outdoors, take frequent breaks inside or in the shade. Heat stroke can affect people of any age or fitness level – don’t underestimate the danger.”

Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke. If you experience any of these symptoms, get out of the heat immediately and to a cool place, and slowly drink water or other fluids with salt or sugar:

• Pale skin

• Fatigue or weakness

• Dizziness or nausea

• Profuse sweating

• Rapid pulse or fast, shallow breathing

• Muscle weakness or cramps

Do NOT drink caffeine or alcohol, and if you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, seek medical help. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke if not treated. These more dangerous warning signs can indicate heat stroke is imminent:

• Skin that feels hot and dry, but not sweaty

• Confusion or loss of consciousness

• Throbbing headache

• Frequent vomiting

• Trouble breathing

“Heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion, and it can be life-threatening,” said Dr. Roach. “If you or someone you know experiences signs of heatstroke, remember NOT to attempt to bring down the temperature too quickly. Don’t use ice or ice water. Attempt to bring down the temperature gradually with cool spray or mild air conditioning, and dial 911 or proceed immediately to the nearest ER.”

Certain groups of people are more vulnerable to heat-related illness. Babies and young children, the elderly or infirmed, and people on certain medications are all at increased risk. So, be an alert and informed neighbor this summer. Check on elderly neighbors regularly, and take action immediately if you see children or pets left in vehicles.

Documentary on Artificial Reef Debuts

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:49pm


Thirty-six new artificial reefs, each comprised of 500 tons of concrete, were deployed in six offshore locations near Naples and Marco Island in Collier County, Florida over the past year. During deployment missions and in the months afterward, Pure Image Productions of Naples was stationed with cameras on boats and underwater to record not only the sinking of the new reef structures, but the ensuing growth of new reef ecosystems.

The result is a 56-minute documentary called Paradise Reef: The World is Watching that showcases not only the development of life on and around the underwater reef structures, but also the beauty of the Southwest Florida environment. The documentary gets its Florida television debut at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 30 on WGCU-TV (TV channel 30.1; cable channels 3 and 440; DirecTV channel 30).

Documentary producers are working with programming officials at WGCU-TV to get information about the program out to other PBS/APT (American Public Television) stations.

The reef project was accomplished by a joint effort between Collier County and the Cities of Naples and Marco Island along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Funding for the concrete and deployment came from a grant received from BP’s Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund and from private donations. Reimbursement funding for the Paradise Reef: The World is Watching documentary is provided by the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau through the Collier County tourist development tax.

Extensive underwater footage by world renowned cinematographer Andy Casagrande shows the amazing growth and abundant marine life on the new artificial reef sites. Interviews with prominent leaders in area conservation including Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher, professor of oceanography and reef expert Dr. Haywood Matthews, and officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and others tell the story of the reef and how its development and success are tied to the ecology of the entire Florida’s Paradise Coast region. This diverse part of Southwest Florida includes Naples, Marco Island, the western portion of Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, the Ten Thousand Islands and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuges, Fakahatchee Strand and Collier-Seminole State Parks, the Picayune Strand State Forest, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and more natural areas that provide important water-filtering pathways to the Gulf of Mexico.

PAWS to Hold Freedom Celebration BBQ

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:46pm


Join PAWS Assistance Dogs of Naples in celebrating America and supporting our nation’s veterans on Saturday, July 9 at its first ever Paws Freedom Celebration Barbecue.

PAWS, along with community partners, Post 9/11 Veterans Corp. and the City of Naples Fire-Rescue, will hold the BBQ at the PAWS Center at 3173 Horseshoe Drive, Naples between noon and 3 p.m. The cost is $20 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Admission includes food and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Advance reservations are required. Call 239-775- 1660 or go to for reservations. All proceeds will benefit PAWS and Post 9/11 Veterans Corp. There will be a silent auction and raffle. Food will be provided by Naples firefighters who will be holding a chili cook-off featuring their famous Fire House Chili and Texas Tony’s.

PAWS dogs-in-training, as well as dogs who are already placed in homes with veterans, will

be on hand at the BBQ. PAWS service dogs will be hard work at this celebration so we ask that you leave your family pets at home.

Founded and incorporated in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, PAWS Assistance Dogs, Inc. provides fully-trained and certified service dogs to combat-wounded U.S.military veterans and children with disabilities. Preference is given to those living in Collier

County and throughout Southwest Florida. PAWS is proud to say that our dogs are always placed at no cost to those they serve. Since PAWS receives no government funding of any kind, we are dependent on the generous support of organizations, companies and individuals to provide the financial means needed to accomplish our mission.

PAWS dogs promote independence and enhance the quality of life for veterans and children. PAWS dogs are also out in the community in several PAWS canine-assisted therapy programs, working with children in local schools and libraries and with women and children at risk at the David Lawrence Center and the Hazelden Addiction Center.

To learn more about donating to PAWS or how to apply for a PAWS dog, please visit their website at

Cat Adoptions Are $10 All Month

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:45pm


Collier County Domestic Animal Services (DAS) is running out of space to house cats and is asking the public for help.

To help put it in perspective, Collier County DAS currently has 202 cats in its inventory, 22 that came into the shelter last Friday. That is 135 cats at the Naples shelter, two cats at the Immokalee shelter and three cats and 44 kittens in foster care.

Any cat that is adopted or any person who can volunteer to be a foster family for these cats will make a huge difference. We have everything from kittens and nursing mother cats to seniors and adult cats.

“We want to have the best outcomes for the cats and kittens that come into the shelter. We want to give them all the chance to find loving, forever homes,” said Darcy Andrade, director of Collier County DAS. “To do that, we need help from the community.”

Currently, Collier County Domestic Animal Services is reducing its adoption fees on cats and kittens during the month of June to help make space in the shelter and to celebrate National Adopt a Shelter Cat month. All adoptions of feline friends are only $10 (regularly $60).

Adoptions include spay/neuter surgery, Homeagain microchip, vaccinations, flea treatment, FELV/FIV test for cats, rabies vaccination, county license and 30 days of free pet insurance. That’s a value of more than $400!

Come to the Naples shelter, located at 7610 Davis Blvd., between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or to our Immokalee shelter, located at 405 Sgt. Joe Jones Road, between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and find that special cat you’ve been waiting for.

Can’t adopt? Help us by becoming a foster family to a cat or two. Reach out to Volunteer Coordinator Katie Sibert [email protected] information on becoming a foster for cats and kittens. Collier County DAS will supply what you need to care for them. You just need to supply space and love.

For more information, contact Collier County DAS at (239) 252 PETS (7387).

Beat The Heat

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:35pm

Wayne Clark
[email protected]

Earlier this season, I had a column called “Dress Code Required,” in which I discussed being properly equipped and protected when competing in outdoor sports activities.

Summer is here and the days are long and hot. Staying cool and keeping well hydrated is an important daily requirement when living in the Sunshine State. This is even more important when we participate in outdoor activities like tennis and pickleball. So, I would like to review and remind everyone on how important it is to stay safe and healthy and not get beat by the heat!

There are several simple things we can do to protect ourselves from heat exposure. Making wise choices as a part of our daily routine will help us to not succumb to getting overheated. These wise choices should actually be part of our strategy to allow us to play at our highest level of performance when competing.

Always be sure to read the ingredients.


First and most important is water! Be sure to stay well hydrated on an hour-by-hour, daily basis.

Feeling thirsty is not the only sign of preliminary dehydration. Early signs of dehydration can include experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness, having a feeling of anxiousness or confusion. Minor dehydration can also lead to sleeping problems.

Extreme dehydration can lead to fainting, heart palpitations, and a possible shutdown of our abilities to pass fluids. Our body’s cooling system will actually shut down and we will quit sweating.

Our body’s natural cooling system is sweat, which evaporates from our skin and cools our body. The problem our natural cooling system has to deal with here in South Florida is more the amount of humidity that our body is dealing with.

I recently returned from a vacation in Northern California, and I had the pleasure of playing pickleball while I was there. The daily high temps were pushing 90 degrees, but the humidity was down around 40%.

I noticed a significant difference in how my natural cooling system functioned and how my body temperature remained more stable. I simply just did not feel as hot as I do when I play here in Florida.

However, even though I did not feel as hot and sweaty, I made sure I stayed well hydrated.

As for staying well hydrated, I believe regular consumption of plenty of good old H2O is best.

Along with regular daily hydration, we also need to do recovery hydration after sports activities. I do not really care for sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, because they actually contain high amounts of sugar and are not really the best choice. So how do we know what is the best choice for sports drinks? Read the ingredients!

I recommend a product called Emergen-C. It can be purchased at places like Walgreens or Walmart. It is a powder, which you mix with water, and it comes in several different flavors. I personally like the raspberry flavor. Since Emergen-C contains less sugar than traditional sports drinks, you do have to acquire a taste for it, because it is not as sweet- tasting as traditional sports drinks.

Another good choice for hydration recovery is a product called Pedialyte. Pedialyte is actually formulated for babies and infants who become dehydrated. Pedialyte can be consumed as a liquid or as a freezer pop. As with Emergen-C, you must acquire a taste for the product. I find the freezer pops to actually be very flavorful and refreshing.

Both Emergen-C and Pedialyte are available in generic brands for a few dollars less.


It is also important to be properly fueled with food.

If you plan on being out on the courts for more than an hour, you should plan on snacking while you are competing. Just like a Formula 1 or Indy Car race driver, you want to be sure you have a proper amount of fuel to get you through the race to the finish line.

This means knowing when to refuel and what to refuel with. You want to eat a healthy medium-sized meal approximately one hour before you plan to compete. I personally like to have some pasta and a salad.

You need to continually top off the tank while you are playing. I recommend staying away from processed foods like granola bars or power bars, and sticking with natural foods like fruits and whole grains. For instance, a wheat bagel and some cheddar cheese provide for a good blend of carbs and protein and you can never go wrong by just having a couple of bananas in your tennis bag.

Take few bites during changeovers. Remember, you want to be refueling as you go – it’s not a good idea to go out to play on a full stomach.


Unfortunately for consumers, most sunscreens are marketed for the convenience of their applications and a pleasant scent. Sunscreen should actually be odorless and should apply like a thick paste. It should not make you smell like coconut and should not apply like creamy hand lotion!

Some sunscreens do not necessarily provide the amount of protection they claim. Recent studies have shown that 47% of the sunscreens on the market today do not actually provide the SPF stated on the bottle,

So how do we know for sure how much protection we are actually getting? Once again, read the ingredients!

Forget the SPF number, you want to choose a sunscreen which has a zinc oxide content of as high as possible (which is 14.5%). You also want to choose a sunscreen that has as few other ingredients as possible.

You should apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going on the court to compete. You should also apply sunscreen to parts of the body which are not directly exposed to the sun, because a shirt that does not contain an SPF fabric, that is soaking wet from sweat, provides very little protection from the sun.

There is a website called which provides independent testing and ratings of sunscreens. You can enter your sunscreen and it will show you the rating on its actual UVA and UVB protection. I found the information provided at to be very enlightening in regards to how many sunscreens were not actually providing the protection they were claiming to be providing!


Tennis clothing was traditionally all white; a tradition that is carried on to this day at the Wimbledon Championships. I have noticed over the last several years, that both men and women players on the professional tennis tour have been wearing darker colored coordinated tennis clothing. While these color-coordinated outfits can be very fashionable, remember, darker colors attract and absorb the sun more than light-colored material.

Several manufacturers, like Nike and Adidas, make their clothing out of moisture-wicking materials, which are cut to fit tighter and are designed to pull the sweat from your skin and allow it to dry quicker by evaporating through the lightweight material. A theory which works well in most climates, but can be challenged here in Florida because of the amount of humidity we are dealing with.

I prefer a loose fitting 100% white cotton shirt, because once it gets saturated (which only takes about 15 minutes in summertime) and we are beyond the point of evaporation, it actually helps our body’s cooling system to work more efficiently. The slightest breeze blowing on the wet shirt actually helps cool the skin.

Cooling towels help keep body temperatures down.

Cool Towels

Companies are now manufacturing towels you can soak in cold water and will retain a cool temperature for up to 30 minutes. Take the towel and drape it over your head, neck and shoulders in between games. You would be amazed how this can dramatically reduce you body temperature.

Other simple and smart things we can do to protect ourselves are to always be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses. It is also a good idea to try to spend as much time as possible in the shade during changeovers and in between games.

So while you are working on a strategy to beat your opponents this summer, make sure to work on a strategy to beat the heat.

Wayne Clark is a certified professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction. He has been the head instructor at the Marco Island Racquet Center since 2001. The Racquet Center offers clinics, private and group lessons for both tennis and pickleball. Coach Wayne’s Island Kids Tennis juniors program runs year-round, and has classes for players from kindergarten through high school. 

Contact Coach Wayne by email [email protected], by phone or text at 239-450-6161, or visit his website at 

Letter to the Editor: DUH?

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:36pm

I’ve just read the Planning Board chairman’s explanation of why city council ignored the PB’s vote, (Marco Eagle, 14 June, 2016). I’m wondering if I have this right:

1.  An applicant came before the PB wishing to start a disallowed business in a specific Marco locale. The PB stated that the disallowing ordinance would have to be changed in order to lawfully permit the business.

2.  The applicant pleaded that they didn’t have time to wait for the ordinance to be changed.

3.  With Board member Charlette Roman as the sole dissenter, the PB sympathized and voted 6-1 to recommend City Council approval of the application. The PB felt they could hold hearings later to change the ordinance. The PB reasoned that, after all, other well-known, not permitted uses are already unlawfully in place there, i.e. real estate, dental, chiropractic.

4.  Somehow, somewhere and presumably-someplace-in-the-sunshine, City Council decided it might be smarter to first amend the ordinance before approving any business application that would be otherwise unlawful.

Now, if I have the PB chairman’s “explanation” correct, I understand why an old truism still survives, namely:


Russ Colombo

Marco Island

Letter to the Editor: Swiacki Addresses Goodland Road

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:29pm

At the June 6th Marco Island City Council Meeting, our Council discussed how to respond to Collier County Commission Chair, Donna Fiala’s May 25, 2016 letter. The letter requested that the City of Marco agree to escrow $2 million in County money owed to Marco Island for road maintenance. It also requested a renegotiation of the 2002 Inter-local Agreement. In that agreement, Collier County agreed to pay the City $1 million a year for 15 years. In exchange the City agreed to MAINTAIN all the roads in the City and take ownership of Collier Blvd, San Marco Rd, and Goodland Rd (the portion of Goodland Road that is within the City’s boundaries). The key word is “maintain”. Until the present time, the City of Marco Island has spent over $52 million on all roads.

For many years, the citizens of Goodland have complained about their road that frequently floods and becomes impassable. The worse part of the road is that which the County still owns in Goodland. In good faith, the City agreed with the County to pay for a $70,000 hydrologic study to create an elevated road. So far the County has not paid their share for this study. During discussion at Council, Councilor Honecker reviewed the history behind the Inter-local Agreement and pointed out many environmental issues. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has consistently maintained that they must have a vote on the future of the road. Further, there are “right of way” issues that come in to play during construction which are very complicated. The expected cost of building an elevated road will exceed $4 million. This cost as well as clearance from numerous state agencies and environmental organizations will increase the cost and delay the project for years.

Initially, Councilors Honig and Rios spoke in support of being conciliatory with the County and to negotiate a new Inter-local Agreement in which the City would forego the $2 million owed to the City in hopes that the County would assist in building a new elevated road. A motion to do this was defeated 5-2. Councilors Batte, Honecker and Sacher then proposed that the City Manager and the City Attorney draft a letter to the County in response to Commissioner Fiala’s letter in which the City agrees to abide by the 2002 Agreement to maintain all roads, including “MAINTAINING” Goodland road. It also requests that the County pay the $500,000 that is presently holding in escrow and to complete payment of the $1.5 million owed to the City in the future. This motion passed 5-2. I support this motion.

Improving relations with the Collier County Board of Commissioners is one of my key platforms in my candidacy for Marco City Council. As many know, the City is preparing an application for its’ own COPCN with Collier County. The City presently experiences 3,500 emergency 911 calls each year. The County, because of its’ control of EMS, stations one full time ambulance on Marco Island and a second part-time ambulance for only five months. According to Fire Rescue Chief Murphy, there are frequently four emergency calls at the same time, requiring off-island departments to respond and frequently exceeding the County’s goal of 8 minutes or less.

These two issues reflect the importance of “home rule” for Marco Island. We need to determine what is best for our citizens. We should co-operate with the County but NOT at the expense of our community.

Dr. Jerry Swiacki

Marco Island

Happy Fourth of July America So, What Can You Do For Me Today?

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:27pm

By Roy Eaton

John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Honorable words that were meant to unite Americans and reawaken our national pride and love for country embedded in the soul of every person who enjoys the liberties extended to all who call America their home.

Sadly during the past 56 years, the content and spirit of those words have been ignored by many of us who have opted to alter and interpret the exhortation for personal gain. An unacceptable number of leaders in both the public and private sectors of our economy have chosen to do so in order to accumulate wealth and consolidate power. Politicians and elected officials too often have blindly and subversively diminished one of the most admired quotations in history to, ‘Ask not what our country can do for you, ask what you can do for me.’

Since those who hold high offices in our land have been well compensated for their skewed interpretation, others among us have emulated their example to broaden power and increase their bottom line. Within the business sector of our economy corporate and small business leaders seem to have modified the wording to, ‘Ask not what our business can do for you, ask what you can do for our business.’ This skewed philosophy of unilateral loyalty has trickled down to all levels of America’s social structure in a further erosion of President Kennedy’s words, ‘Don’t ask me what I can do for my country, I want to know what my country can do for me.’

Unfortunately we have evolved into a society where a growing number of us seem to share a common thread. The privileged feel exceptionally entitled, as do increasing numbers of our citizens who depend on government services and benefits, some of whom have yet to contribute. Ironically, this pattern is occurring at a time when senior citizens, who have contributed to the economy their entire adult lives, see their right to entitlements threatened with reduction or complete elimination.

Surely President Kennedy did not envision a country of such selfishness and inequity. He did not dream of a land where the super rich, large banks and conglomerates could hijack the entire political process to expand their own influence and threaten the American Dream for a growing number of Americans. Nor could he have envisioned a country where lobbyists and special interest groups would turn Congress into panhandlers seeking money for massive campaign spending and personal wealth accumulation.

Power, greed, selfishness, corruption, apathy and overindulgence can destroy a nation as it has so many worthy empires of the past. As in any society, most working Americans are vulnerable to the whims of higher governing authority. But not since the era of the major barons of the industrial revolution has greed become such a dominant determining factor in governance. Current titans in the private and public sectors of our economy also reflect greed in their disregard for ethics, loyalty and work history. There is a diminishing regard for the contribution of long-term employees reflected in another version of the president’s words. ‘So, what can you do for me today?’

As a society we too often punish public and private employees who consistently accept responsibility because they are visible to authority and most often held to task. Sadly, we reward those who hide under the radar and function in their jobs only when it benefits them or when their contribution can be observed by superiors who can bestow rewards.

Yes, we are all pawns in a desensitized and seemingly rigged system, which has produced an elite class of bureaucrats, many of whom have little concern for their fellow man. However, whether we admit it or not, often it is our own greed that has made us as disposable as the “treasures” we seek to acquire in life.

We have allowed avarice, indifference, selfishness and apathy to replace generosity, empathy, concern and selflessness. Too many of us place our own concerns above those of our neighbors, our communities, even our country. We should be much better citizens and recognize that almost everyone is reaching for the American Dream.

It does not matter whether we are Republican, Democrat or Independent. Above all else we are Americans and should reflect on our shared history as an example of a diverse nation, which has lived through adversity and triumphs. We live in a nation which once held the admiration and respect of most other countries in the world. We will always have cynics and usurpers among us who pervert and manipulate our system. It is our responsibility to heed Kennedy’s words meant to inspire, and aspire to be honorable citizens and help to restore our image here and abroad.

As we celebrate this revered holiday think not of what separates us but of what unites us. Think of the men and women in uniform who gave their lives defending America and never sought to ask, ‘what their country could do for them.’ Pray for our service men and women who currently serve and only ask, ‘what can I do for my country?’ And, remember the many American families who have lost a loved one and the families of our “Wounded Warriors.”

President Kennedy gave us good advice in 1960, which still resonates in 2016. Let us recommit ourselves to our country and our values on this Fourth of July day and every day thereafter.

Daniel Hodsdon on the Pipes

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:24pm

By Samantha Husted

[email protected]

Terry McCreanor (center) with Daniel Hodsdon (right) and his brother Cooper Hodsdon at the Bill Rose Memorial Clay Shoot.

Last month the Coastal Breeze News sat down with 18-year-old Marco Island resident, Daniel Hodsdon and his grandfather Terry McCreanor. Hodsdon, now on the verge of beginning his freshmen year of college, has been playing the bagpipes since he was in middle school. The bagpipes have allowed Hodsdon a world of opportunity, both as a musician and a performer. Over the years he has been asked to perform for private parties as well as local events such as Relay For Life and the annual Christmas Parade.

Inspired by Jonathan Davis, lead singer of metal band Korn, Hodsdon, then in 8th grade, decided that he would like to pursue the bagpipes. “Their singer played the bagpipes on a couple songs and I was like ‘hey, I want to learn that,” said Hodsdon. “I told my grandparents and about two weeks later he [McCreanor] calls me and says ‘We’re going to Bonita, we have a bagpipe lesson.’ That night we went up and met Don Goller, world champion bagpiper and Harp & Thistle Band’s Pipe Major.”

For three straight years he and his grandfather would drive an hour up to Bonita for lessons. “Three years, every Tuesday, for three hours,” said McCreanor a mantra he would repeat many times throughout our conversation. And though he repeated it somewhat begrudgingly, he said it with a twinkle in his eye. It was during those drives that he and Daniel were able to bond over their love of music. As McCreanor drove he would instruct Daniel to look up different artists and songs to play on his cellphone. In doing so he was able to introduce Daniel to the music of his generation and the two were able to find common ground. They would play everything from the Everly Brothers to Jan and Dean to McCreanor’s favorite song, “Sleepwalk.” “We had fun going on the drive, out and back,” said McCreanor.

Over the years as Hodsdon’s reputation as a bagpiper grew, strangers began asking him to perform at events on Marco. “People would call and be like ‘Oh, I hear you play the bagpipes,’ said Hodsdon. “I was in the Christmas parade and I learned ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ on the bagpipe. Santa wore a kilt that night.” For the past two years Hodsdon has also performed at the Naples Relay for Life during the Luminaria Ceremony. “That’s probably one of my favorite things to do,” said Hodsdon. This past Relay for Life was the best performance I’ve had. It’s a very powerful moment during that event.”

Daniel with Dick Shanahan after performing in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Besides the bagpipe, Hodsdon also plays the bass guitar, guitar, piano and the trombone. It seems that he is into all things music, a quality he attributes to his grandfather. “I’m into literally any genre of music,” said Hodsdon. “In my car I’ll hit next and it’ll go from death metal to jazz to rap to classical music. There is no in between with me, I will listen to anything.”

Currently Hodsdon is enrolled in a six week program where he is learning how to build guitars. This fall Hodsdon will begin his freshmen year at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media in Georgia. He plans on studying the bass guitar as well as recording and audio engineering. “They teach you to be an instrument. You become extremely versatile and valuable to anybody who needs you. At the end of this, if I really buckle down and do it, I’ll be able to be called in to be a studio musician,” said Hodsdon.


Galiana Shines at MIA, ?Governor agrees

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:18pm

By Barry Gwinn

MIA Cheerleaders and Coach Galiana.

Lori Galiana is the go-to person at MIA. Since 2013, she has been teaching World History, U.S. History (except this year), Government, Economics, and her favorite, AICE Global Perspectives to the kids at MIA. She is also the cheerleading coach, Key Club advisor, and National Honor Society advisor. Right now, she is coordinating a student travel group, which she will guide through Europe, this month. “Lori is one of our top performers, and she literally gives her all to us on a daily basis,” says Melissa Scott, MIA’s Principal, “She is one of the most dedicated individuals that I have come across in my eighteen years in education.” On March 4, 2016, Galiana was one of four MIA educators who personally received Governor Scott’s Shine Award, given to those educators who have proven inspirational to their students. The G.overnor actually came here to present the awards, which were given to the recipients in their classrooms, in front of their students.  The awards are doubly meaningful as they result from nominations by the recipients’ peers. The Shine award was only the latest of Galiana’s accolades.  In 2015, she was named Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 2014 and 2015, she was recognized by the Collier County Supervisor of Elections as having achieved the highest percentage of high schoolers registered to vote.

And, in 2015, she was made an Honorary Kiwanian for her service with the MIA Key Club. The Marco Island Kiwanis Club has given more than 32,000 books to area students through their Reading is Fundamental program.

The Galiana Family.

Lori is married to Alex Galiana (28 years), Recreation and Administrative Facilities Manager of the Marco Island Parks and Rec Dept. as well as Manager of the Farmers Market in the city owned Veterans Park. They are both Florida natives. They have two sons, AJ, age 26, and Max, age 23. Both went to Florida State and graduated with degrees in Information Technology. Lori grew up in Inverness, FL, where, in 1982, she was a graduate of Citrus High School. She met Alex at the University of Florida, where she was pursuing a degree in Business Administration. Despite her mother’s entreaties, Lori had no desire to become a teacher.  Interrupting her education at UF, Lori and Alex moved to Chicago in 1986, where Alex had gotten a job as a commodities broker. While devoting herself to her children and volunteering at local schools, Lori got her degree in Business Administration from DePaul University. After 15 years in Chicago, homesickness for Florida and family brought the Galianas back to Florida. A friend recommended Marco Island where they have lived since 2001. Then things started to move fast. As a way to get to know the community, Lori began substitute teaching at Tommie Barfield Elementary and Marco Island Charter Middle School. Little by little, the schools called her in more often, until it became almost a full time job. “The more time I spent with the kids, the more I enjoyed it. It allowed me to build relationships and have an impact,” Galiana told me, “I started thinking about actually going back to school to get my teaching certificate.” She has since become certified in Social Studies, Business Administration, Marketing, Reading, Gifted, and Special Education. In 2002, MICMS offered her a fulltime position as History teacher and six years later, it was followed by five years at Gulf Coast High School. In August 2013, she began teaching at MIA. Things have never been the same.

I visited Galiana’s classroom on an April morning, this spring.  She was presiding over a junior and senior AICE Global Perspectives class. AICE, or Advanced International Certificate of Education, is written and overseen by the University of Cambridge in England, ranked as one of the world’s top five universities. As with honors courses, these classes cover more in depth and require individual research and initiative. MIA has incorporated the entire AICE curriculum. Galiana loves this particular class. “It opens the students’ eyes to the world,” she says, “They must find global issues, defend their sources, and write ‘true’ research papers. To top it all off, they must present an eight minute live presentations to an audience, explaining how and why their perspectives have changed.” That is what senior, Austin Estremera, was doing when I walked into the classroom.  He was in the midst of a power point presentation on the impact of Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Lori Galiana (L) Governor Rick Scott’s Shine Award recognizes outstanding and inspirational contributions made by Florida educators.

Estremera was answering classmates’ questions, while others added comments on their own research and viewpoints. The resulting questions and discussion were facilitated by Mrs. Galiana. There was no arguing or attempts to win points – just an exploration of all sides of the subject being presented. I knew little about this subject and learned quite a bit in the short time I was there. I was puzzled by the fact that fully one third of the desks in this class were vacant. I learned that those students were taking AICE exams in another classroom (for which they would receive college credit upon passing). “The whole AICE program is based on critical thinking and writing using credible evidence, Galiana said, “It is so much more valuable in teaching kids to communicate and not just repeat the nonsense they hear in social (and broadcast) media.”

This sounded like a lot of work to me. I can think of only two teachers who inspired me to such efforts. In my day (Nifty Fifties), I watched the clock and dozed through social studies classes.  I noticed no furtive clock watching in Galiana’s class, but I did see a lot of raised hands. Later, her students were eager to tell me what they thought.

Nate Snow is a senior and will be attending FSU next year as a Business or Actuarial Science major.  He has had three prior classes taught by Galiana and is now enrolled in her Global Perspectives class. It is one of his all-time favorites. “Global Perspectives was by far the most enjoyable and edifying class I have taken in my High school career,” Snow told me, “I learned to analyze documents, write college level papers and reports, and to critique and recognize credibility.” Nate likes the respect Galiana gives to her students and her insistence that they, in turn, treat each other with respect. “She lets everyone share their opinion. She makes students consider [and compare] other viewpoints, [while mostly withholding her own].”

Caitlin Smith is a junior, having taken both U.S. and World History from Galiana. She is currently enrolled in Galiana’s Government and Economics class and hopes to go to M.I.T. or Georgia Tech to major in Aerospace engineering. “Mrs. G has a passion for world cultures and has a way of intriguing students with her lessons,” Caitlyn noted, “She sparked my interest in history and taught me more effective ways to study. In Cheerleading and Key Club she helped me to grow as a person and has been my most beloved mentor.”

Dylan Demkovich is a junior. He hopes to major in physics at the University of Chicago. He has taken Galiana’s World History course as a freshman and is currently enrolled in her Global Perspectives course. He says that Galiana’s classes have changed the way he looks at world events and has shaped the way he processes and compares information. “She is one of the best teachers I have had,” says Dylan, “She is really invested in the class and makes concerted efforts to make the students care about the work that they do.”

Joey Politi is a junior. He hopes to major in Mechanical Engineering at Florida Polytechnic. Joey proudly told me that he has taken at least one of Galiana’s classes every year. He is now taking Global Perspectives and Government and Economics. He rates Galiana as “one of the most influential and impacting teachers I have ever had. Not only did I learn about history and global events, but she has also taught me some valuable life lessons of which I have incorporated into my life.”

Patrick Michel is a senior who will be attending UCF in the fall. He has taken four of Galiana’s classes. He brings a different perspective. “Mrs. G was always able to teach the information as if it were a movie,” Michel says, “This made it unbelievably easy to learn and remember.” Michel, like me, often found Social Studies to be boring. “Mrs. G, holds [our] attention by asking questions, which keeps us on our toes,” Patrick added, “I find her humorous and kind (and caring about us). (This makes us) just want to pay closer attention and not let her down.”

High praise indeed from Mrs. G’s most critical audience.

A Hobby Lovingly Displayed

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:10pm

By Don Manley

The 350 cubic inch, small block engine that powers an all-original, 1955 Chevrolet pickup.

Steve Garske has been a car lover since he was a kid.

“I grew up with them,” said the Marco Island resident. “When I was 16, Mustangs and Camaros were all showing up. I couldn’t wait until September when all the new models came out. My first car was a ‘67 Mustang.”

College, marriage and then having a family kept him from fully indulging his interest by becoming a collector, but that all changed in 2000 when he purchased a Porsche and then a 1964 Chevy Malibu.

“And then I kind of got hooked,” said Garske, who recently erected an almost 12,000-square-foot building along S. Barfield Drive, across from the Shops of Marco, to house his collection, which now includes 14 cars, a rail dragster – sans engine, the exterior shell of a NASCAR racer and more.

A 1953 Chevrolet 3100 pickup truck.

The vehicles had been housed in a building in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., where he and his wife had been living before purchasing a condo on Marco in 2010. He also keeps a couple of his treasured cars in Minnesota, where they’ve retained a home.

But unlike some collectors, the cars are more than show pieces that rarely touch a roadway. “I also like to drive them all,” said Garske. “That’s the beauty of Florida versus Minnesota.”

The collection is dominated by cars from the good old USA, aside from two Porsches. There are two Fords and the rest rolled off the assembly lines of General Motors. But the GM-heavy isn’t indicative of any preference on Garske’s part.

“I don’t know if I have a favorite,” he said. “I like them all.”

The exterior of Steve Garske’s auto storage facility, which sits off of S. Barfield Drive.

Garske said he built the building because he and his wife Charlotte have increasingly found themselves spending most of the year on Marco and he wanted to have the cars nearby. “It’s only three miles from the house so I can get in there anytime I want, very easily,” he explained.

He refers to the structure as his private “man cave,” a place where he maintains an office for his golf course accessory supply business, also space for his auto and sports related memorabilia, as well as a lounge area, complete with an expansive, flat-screen TV, that is ideal for, well, lounging.

While under the construction, the building, its exterior unadorned by signs, had some inquisitive residents speculating about its purpose.

“People have been curious and I guess word got out,” said Garske. “I’ve heard that people thought it was a museum.”

Letter to the Editor: From Victor Rios re. Marco Island Veterans’ Park

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:05pm

Several months ago, the issue of Veterans Park came to the forefront when plans were put forward by MI City Manager and others, to build a multipurpose building in Veterans’ Park with the guise that there would be a facility for Veterans. Veterans were the “Hook” to get $2.5 million from the Florida legislators, then requiring the City to borrow another $5 million and further increasing the city debt. This fell apart quickly after every Veteran organization in the island objected to having their name associated with a structure that was going to do very little for Veterans. At the time, I wrote a Guest Commentary objecting to the process. There was also a very good expose of the issue by Sue Keller in her article in the Sun Times. Then the City Council was flooded with e-mails opposing the multi-purpose building and the effort died. Since then, I have been approached by a number of citizens concerned with the future plans for the Park.

MICA (Marco Island Civic Association) did the best job on the island of surveying a large group of people as to what they wanted for the Park. They received 2600 responses to the question of the future of the Park. That survey indicated that 82% do not want more development of the Park. They want it to stay as “green space”, essentially in line with their vote for the $10 million purchase of the Park property by referendum a number of years ago.

Other so-called surveys on Veterans’ Park claimed that there was “a majority support for the Park to be further developed”. These surveys, however, had a limited number of respondents, was statistically invalid and used confusing questions that muddled the result. The MICA survey questions were straight to the point and gave a clear answer much more representative of the pulse of the island; that is, “keep the Park as open greenspace”.

The original study for the Park considered building a Band Shell and restrooms. That may be something desirable, however, that study was done several years ago and the question is, maybe the next step would be a referendum with simple and clear questions on the future development of the Park. I for one feel that, for the time being, we should follow the desire of the majority and postpone any development actions at the Park.

There are also major financial concerns associated with proceeding to develop the Park at this time, which would be another multi-million dollar project.

City Council recently approved plans to proceed with the new Mackle Park facility, an expenditure of over $ 3 million. This expenditure was approved by referendum of our voters and was funded from available funds. No additional borrowing was needed. Some have argued that we should now borrow money to pay for the development of Veteran’s Park. They justify this by arguing that borrowed money is currently “cheap” (i.e. low interest rate). Additional debt at this time would be in conflict with the so-called City Manager’s “Bucket Plan” where taxpayers were required to pay increased property taxes to pay off existing debt and try to “pay as you go” with available funds and avoid any further debt. In addition, the City has many financial challenges ahead of it. For example, there are on-going financial issues with the County over SR92/Goodland Rd., which could seriously impact our finances.

This is not a time for the City to take on any more financial burdens that will require further increases in property taxes for our residents. Our seniors have not received a raise from Social Security this year and private pension funds, not indexed to the cost of living, remain stagnant. Many of our citizens are on fixed income for the rest of their lives and continue to experience decreasing buying power.

To some people building a band shell in Veterans Park would be nice – but it is still a “nice to have”. Before proceeding to do anything with the Park property we must get the support of the real majority of our residents – either via referendum approval or more extensive and reliable polling. Given the fact that over 80% of the people recently surveyed wants to keep Veterans’ Park as Green space, we need to heed that and move cautiously. Our Budget workshop is coming on July 8th and we need to understand all of the priorities before we commit to a “nice to have”.

A Marco island citizen wrote a letter to City Council back in April and explained his recommendation of “What should we do with Veterans Park?” He said:

“We should plant flowering trees- as a Veterans Memorial Forest with red, white and blue, purple and yellow flowering trees. Red, white and blue for all veterans, purple for wounded service and yellow for Vietnam service. It would be beautiful and make Marco unique with the only Veterans Memorial Flowering Tree Forest in the country. As an attraction, it would rival the cherry trees of Washington, DC. People could then walk from the Esplanade, go under the Savage Bridge and walk through the Veterans Memorial Forest as they now walk along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. It would make Marco one of the most unique, beautiful, patriotic cities in the United States”.

A wise recommendation that is totally in line with the reason the Veteran’s Park property was initially approved and why it was named after our great veterans.

Victor N Rios

Marco Island

Letter to the Editor: Veterans Community Park Counterpoint

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:04pm

Mr. Rios, the name of the park is Veterans’ COMMUNITY Park, NOT Veterans’ Park.

The Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO) Board of Directors would like to remind you that it was the community that purchased this parkland, and 18 community members created a Master Plan for community use. A portion of the park was then designated for a Veterans’ Memorial.

The MICA survey offered one, broad question, regarding development of the park. In the MIPO Board’s opinion, the absence of specificity left the respondent’s imagination to wide open speculation and fear as to what might be developed on the property resulting in a knee jerk 82% vote against further park development.

Your comment, “so called surveys”, was inflammatory. The Marco Island Property Owners Newsletter Survey included factual historical, information on the purchase of the park property and the 2009 Master Plan. Our survey offered the respondent seven to eight questions, specificity, and choices on what they desired for the future of Veterans’ Community Park.

Green-space was a first priority to almost all MIPO respondents. Additionally, the majority of the respondents favored a band-shell building containing restrooms and a vendor area.

It is true that council received many emails, primarily from MICA members, expressing their concerns for green space. On April 19, 2016, these concerned people attended PRAC’s last meeting for public input regarding Veterans’ Community Park. That meeting ended with most of these citizens relieved to hear that building a band-shell facility still left the park with 94% to 95% green-space. Unfortunately Mr. Rios, you did not attend this meeting.

13 years ago, citizens voted to purchase the “Glon Property.”

8 years ago, 18 citizens began developing the Master Plan.

7 years ago, the Master Plan was approved by City Council.

18 months ago, PRAC began seeking community input for Veterans’ Community Park development at their monthly meetings and from community organizations.

1 month ago, a council consensus of 6-0 agreed to move a modified plan forward for discussion at the July 8th Council Budget Workshop.

Directed by council, all seven members of PRAC are to be commended for their time and their due diligence.

We do not need a referendum. We do not need to drag this issue on any longer. The people have spoken and they want green-space and a band-shell. With the PRAC’s recommended modified plan, the community will still have 94-95% green-space to enjoy. Victor, this is not just a “nice to have.” It is a benefit for Marco Island; an enhancement of the park with a protected venue that can earn money while the community safely enjoys the facility. Think Cambier Park in Naples or Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.

Enough! Let’s get on the bandwagon and move forward.

MIPO Board of Directors,

Linda J. Turner, Chair

Steve Gober’s Surprise

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 12:03pm

By Barry Gwinn

Photo by Barry Gwinn
Steve Gober with his father’s restored Huffy Bicycle. Obviously delighted, Steve didn’t have to be coaxed into a smile for this one.

Steve Gober took over the reins of Stan’s Idle Hour Restaurant, upon his father’s death four years ago. By all accounts, he has done admirably in maintaining and burnishing the reputation and tradition at Stan’s. His dad, Stan Gober, would be proud. Last week, Steve showed me a bicycle, which he said had a large dose of sentimental value. It was a balloon tired old Huffy, with no gears. “It was my dad’s,” he said, “One of my cooks just gave it to me.” We were interrupted by an NBC-2 reporter who was doing a piece on Goodland Road. A week later, I caught up to Steve as he sat at the rear of Stan’s waiting for the customers to show up. It was Saturday, June 18th and Steve was in a pensive mood. I asked him to tell me the story of the bike. “You know,” Steve reminded me, “this is exactly four years to the day that my father died.” One of the many responsibilities Steve took on at that time was clearing out the stuff from his father’s Goodland home of 30 years. A lot of stuff had accumulated since the family moved there in 1982. An old rusted bicycle in the garage was one of the many items that ended up in the dumpster. “My dad bought that bike in the mid 80s,” Steve said, “He was proud of his brand new Huffy and rode it over to the restaurant a couple of times a week. He put a basket on it, so he could pick up the mail on the way over.” When health problems intervened, the bike was relegated to the garage where Goodland’s salt air took its toll.

The bike was forgotten until it resurfaced on June 10, 2016. On that date, Angel, one of Steve’s line cooks, presented him with the refurbished and shiny of edition of Stan’s old bike. “Angel was helping us clear out Dad’s house in 2012,” Steve said, “He had repaired bikes as a sideline and wanted to see what he could do with this one.” Unbeknownst to Steve, Angel came back and fished the bike out of the dumpster. For the next four years, Angel worked on it when he could. Then June 10th, he presented it to his boss. “I was flabbergasted and delighted to see that bike again,” said Steve, “It was moving to me that Angel would do something like this.” As a memorial to his dad, Steve plans to display Stan’s bike in the upper room of the restaurant. There it will be safe, he says (and not likely to disappear again).

Girls in Science Slumber Party

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:49am

By Samantha Husted 

During the turtle obstacle course the girls had to pretend that they were turtles navigating the sea.

The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center had been transformed. Pink sleeping bags littered the floor, green ribbons were strewn about decoratively, and in the background the musical styling of Taylor Swift could be heard. On June 11th over 20 girls, ages 8-14, trickled into the Environmental Learning Center ready for a night of learning and fun. This was Rookery Bay’s third slumber party event.

The Girls in Science Slumber Party is Rookery Bay Education Specialist Jeannine Windsor’s “brainchild.” After much research, she and fellow Education Specialist Dita O’Boyle discovered that there was a lack of sleepover-styled events for children in Collier County. “We did a big report looking at what kind of offerings were available for children,” said O’Boyle. “We realized that there was a big gap for sleepovers and overnight options for middle school-aged students.”

Sleepover events have long been popular in big cities nationwide as well as other areas of Florida. When O’Boyle and Windsor realized there was a market for it, they decided to bring the fun to Naples. “I come from a strong background of doing programs with kids,” said Windsor. “I’m always looking to do something new and something that’s not out there yet.”

After finding a clue a slumber party goer marks it off her checklist.

The event works as a means of promoting stewardship and education for the younger population. It combines fun activities with educational exercises in order to create a sense of community for children interested in the environment. At each event participants are presented with research conducted by the Rookery Bay staff, allowing them to gain a better understanding of how environmental centers work. Previous events have even included dissections.

“We have an awesome facility,” said Windsor. “We said, ‘we should really try and do a sleepover because this community deserves it.’ We love working with the kids.”

The theme for Saturday night was all about the changing seasons. “We’re talking about nesting turtles, why the frogs are calling, and also about the wildflowers that are blooming,” said O’Boyle. “Those are our three main topics.”

Pink sleeping bags were scattered across the upper level of Rookery Bay’s Environmental Learning Center as the girls settled in for the night.

The night began with an icebreaker. The girls gathered in a large circle and were asked to mimic a specific creature or plant life that they were given on a card. Each girl had to find others who also had that same creature. It was like a very chaotic game of charades. After finding their kin the girls settled into their new small groups. They were given clipboards and free reign of the Center and asked to complete a scavenger hunt.

Afterwards it was time for the much anticipated turtle obstacle course. The lecture hall was fitted with long tubing meant to mimic the netting sea turtles often have to navigate. There was also a fishing line portion that the girls had to crawl through and currents they had to work against. The night continued on with snacks, more games and activities, and special guest speakers.

Rookery Bay is offering “Kids Free Fridays” through August 5th. The popular education program offers free admission to children 12 and under.

Event organizer Jeannine Windsor (left) assisting a group during the scavenger hunt.

For more information check out:, or call the center at 239-530-5940.


Bully Book Read by Burton

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:47am


Hot off the press, Dr. Dolores Burton read her new book, “Bully Billy is Back: Burrowing Owls are Worried,” at the Marco Island Public Library recently. The audience of young children with their parents listened attentively to the new story. Jo-Ann Sanborn, a local artist, illustrated the new book. The book is a delightful story of Manny, a diminutive burrowing owl, who has difficulty learning new things, and Bully Billy, a great horned owl. While bullying Manny, Bully Billy is injured and Manny saves the day by flying to his assistance. Bully Billy is saved and the experience changed his mind about being a bully.

The book is easy to read, beautifully illustrated and makes a perfect pairing to Dr. Burton’s first owl book, “But You Don’t Look Like Me.” Books are available for purchase at Jo-Ann Sanborn’s Sunshine Studios at the Esplanade and at Dr. Burton’s website at

Embree Retires From Tennis

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 5:24pm

By Roger LaLonde

Since she was five years old, Lauren Embree has played tennis, smashing her way to her dream of playing professionally.

At 25 she is stepping back, looking to see what else her life will hold. “I wasn’t enjoying the experience, my heart wasn’t in it anymore,” she said.

In her two years of professional tennis it wasn’t like high school or college. She won a bit more than she lost. It was a bumpy road, yet she fought through it mentally.

On tour, she played in about 25 tournaments a year. She was constantly on the road, in the states and other countries.

“Being constantly on the road was difficult, particularly after a loss,” she said. “It was something you had to accept and learn to embrace,” she said. Conditioning was not a problem. She had learned through her Junior tennis days, and at the University of Florida, what it took to reach another level.

Embree was welcomed with open arms at Florida.

She brought outstanding credentials as a top Junior player and Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A state tennis singles and doubles champion. She earned those titles while playing her sophomore year at Lely High School. That summer she played as a wild card entry in the U.S. Open.

Her active Junior tennis play caused her to miss her last two years of Lely tennis.

She led Florida to two NCAA tennis titles, ending her college career as the NCAA Player of the Year.

The professional game was a contrast from college play.

“There is not a lot of difference from being ranked 150 to 250,” Embree said. “It’s just the small differences, everybody hits the ball well.”

She was ranked 232 at the end of the 2015 season.

Embree knows she made the right decision to retire.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management and looks forward to using the degree in some manner.

“Sports has been a big part of my life. I expect I will do something involving sports,” she said. Embree lives in Santa Monica, teaching tennis, and she travels to Carson, teaching tennis to underprivileged children.

With her tenacity her future is bright.

Through the years she has remained very close to her family and friends. She still has the same cell phone number and cheery message to all who call.

And how many of her friends can say they are in Wikipedia?


BAC Priority: Keep Our Beaches Clean

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 5:22pm


BAC’s monthly beach clean-up.

The mission of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee is to keep the City Council informed of current conditions of Marco Island’s seven miles of Gulf Beaches; advise the City Council of environmental matters, recommend future services in order to maintain the high quality of the beach for residents, visitors and the valued natural resources. The seven-member board of citizen volunteers, appointed by members of the City Council, have a daunting task.

Who speaks for our beaches? How can we ensure that Marco Island’s crown jewel remain the number one attraction for visitors to our island. Worldwide, our beaches are referred to as “first class with miles of soft sugary pristine sand,” and in economic terms, it is the Number One economic engine for the community.

The County, City, law enforcement, beachfront businesses, condominium community, local businesses and all the residents of Marco Island share in the responsibility of keeping our beaches clean.

Central Beach re nourishment project currently underway

Coming Together to Make it Happen: 

Local Businesses: Under the coordination of the Beach Advisory Committee (BAC) local businesses sponsor monthly beach clean-ups. Beachfront businesses, vacation rentals and the condominium community are active participants in addressing the issue of trash on the beach and in finding alternatives to using plastic straws.

Residents: The LOVE YOUR BEACH monthly clean ups have become a community event for the BAC. More and more local residents and their families participate at the monthly beach cleanups.

Environmental groups such as Audubon of Florida and Rookery Bay are very active in an education outreach to teach the beach-going public about the protection and preservation of migratory shorebirds on our beaches.

Audubon has partnered with a JW Marriott and is in the process of adding the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Hilton and Crystal Shores to the list of businesses promoting this environmental message to their staff and guests. The BAC, in partnership with the Collier County Shorebird Stewardship program and Audubon of Florida, are active participants in an ongoing education outreach on the protection of migratory birds on our beaches. Most of the members of the committee are trained as shorebird stewards.

Trash has no place on Marco Island’s pristine beach. Photo by Jesse Rodriguez

Partnership with County and City: Citizens usually look to their government to enforce existing beach ordinances, ensure a clean and safe beach and take the lead in environmental issues. The County is currently in a re-nourishment project for Hideaway and Marco’s Central Beach. Code Enforcement on the beach is a top priority for the City Council and MIPD.

Volunteer Beach Stewardship Program: The BAC successfully re-launched the Beach Stewardship Program 2016, which is a group of friendly volunteers, who received their training on the beach from ordinance from MIPD and beach etiquette from BAC member, Tony Ferrara. The volunteers will be highly visible on our beaches with their orange shirts, walking, talking, educating and monitoring the beach going public, serving as extra eyes and ears and providing much needed feedback to the BAC and to MIPD.

Beach Stewardship Program training session with BAC member Tony Ferrara. Submitted Photos

It is important to keep our beaches clean for its aesthetic and economic value and by doing so, we are also protecting its unique ecosystem and the diversity of its wildlife.

Our beach is a very precious resource that deserves our full commitment.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer Beach Steward; if you would like to sponsor a Beach Clean-up, please call city staff, Samantha Malloy at: 239-389-3917 or email: [email protected]

Real Estate Steady

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 5:19pm

Dick Shanahan 

MIAAOR® President 

MLS statistics have been released by the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors® for Marco Island only properties comparing January – May of 2016 to January – May of 2015. According to Dick Shanahan, President, total sold volume dollars for all property types was $278,119,440 for the period January – May 2016 v. $389,607,765 for the same time frame in 2015 as the market continues to stay steady.

Inventory Up

The number of new listings for all property types that came on the market in the January – May comparison 2016 to 2015 increased 7.87% (959 v. 889). New single family listings coming on the market in the January – May comparison of 2016 vs. 2015 increased 8.62% (340 v. 313). The number of new lots coming on the market in the comparison increased 12.57% (179 v. 159). The number of new condo listings coming on the market increased 5.37% (412 v. 391).

The total number active listings for all property types is currently 1025. Total active single family properties 333; active lot listings 347 and active condo listings 345.

Prices Up

In the five-month year-to-year comparison, median sell price was up 9.26% from $480,500 to $525,000 for all property types, said Dick Shanahan, President. Median sell price for single family homes was up 3.80% from $722,500 to $750,000. Median sell price for lots was up 24.62% from $329,000 to $410,000 while median sell price for condos decreased 0.82% from $423,500 to $420,000. (Median sale price means 50% of sales were above and 50% of sales were below.)

Closed Down

Total number of closed for all property types was down in the January – May 2016 v. the January – May 2015 comparison as the market stabilized (420 v. 565). Single family closed was down from 195 to 150; lots were down 87 to 39 and condos were down 278 v. 221.

It is always a good time to buy your piece of Paradise on Marco Island! As always, please contact a local Realtor® professional if you have any questions.

Dick Shanahan is President for the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors®. Call 239-394-5616.