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Once Upon a Time…Camp Able 2015

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:18am

By Steve Gimmestad
(with Alexandra Diaz)

I’d like to tell you a story. Clean off your glasses, grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. It’s a good story, and it begins something like…


…in a land called Marco Island, there was an event. It was more than an event, it was an adventure. And it goes by the name of Camp Able.

For five days, 55 campers with special needs and diverse abilities, join 110 counselors and numerous volunteers to experience a week of inspiration, joy, self-discovery and exploration that instills a sense of awe for all those involved.

Camp Able began on Marco Island nine years ago, and was initiated by a team lead by Father Kyle Bennett. Its home base is St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, but the experience extends throughout the community. This year the camp ran from July 15-19.

Campers arrived Wednesday and the energy was palpable. The drums were playing and songs resounded through the hallways. All that was but an accompaniment to the laughter, cries of greetings and tears as the campers unload their gear and met up with friends, both old and new. If you could harness that type of energy, it would light the entire night sky and be seen from the moon.

There is a 2-1 ratio of counselors to campers. This creates the opportunity for a very safe and meaningful experience for all the campers, who range in age from 10-46. The environment fosters a strong buddy system which creates many opportunities for the campers to explore their abilities.

Every day is filled with wonder as the campers explore all the activities open to them. Fishing, scuba diving (in a pool), shotgun target shooting, kayaking, biking, swimming, a day at the spa, and even making chocolate (more on that in a bit). They expressed their artistic abilities, their communication desires, and explored their spirituality in ways they did not think possible. And every day they practiced for the final night Talent Show. A perfect way to explore their individuality.

Let’s add a little magic to our tale; The Marco Island Chocolate Company. This is a venture established to help provide funding for Camp Able. Wade Mundinger leads the way for this endeavor and has been involved with Camp Able for eight years.

“We’re learning as we’re earning,” says Wade, as he demonstrates the process. “Campers get a chance to learn how to make chocolate and, in turn, they earn financial credit toward their Camp Able experience. We also sell the chocolate online and in local retail stores. We want to change the world one heart at a time and one chocolate bar at a time.”

The Marco Island Chocolate Company has three blends available, with three more coming soon. Local retailers include Wake Up Marco, Scuba Marco, Rookery Bay and Island Bike Shop. Go online: All their chocolate bars are made with 60% dark cacao and a whole lotta love. Which makes for some very magical enjoyment.

The Camp Able experience has spread and can be found in Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi. In the beginning, Father Kyle expresses his vision in true Southern style: “[Camp Able] is a sacramental gumbo where the diversely abled are baptized in a spiritual roux of dignity-driven love. It is a place where you are invited to be yourself, set your soul free and change the world.”

Callie Bennett is the Camp Coordinator and a focal point in bringing together the myriad components that make up the Camp Able experience. “Camp Able is the highlight of my year. It has been so motivational in my life. I am currently pursuing a master’s program in speech pathology. I have developed such a passion for working with special need children and adults as a result of my Camp Able experience.”

Callie continues: “This was the best year yet. There is no comparison to this week of the summer. It is just awesome! Thank you to the entire community of Marco Island for opening their arms to Camp Able. It warms my heart to hear, right from day one, that they are already looking forward to next year.”

The halls of St. Mark’s are quieter now. Campers and counselors have left our fairy tale world. But, in each, the story lives on and is passed along to all who will listen. The echoes linger here on Marco Island, and are strong enough to keep the memories intact until another tale can be written next year. This is where I will leave you. There is a chocolate bar on my counter I would like to experience. And while the story never truly ends, I will say farewell for now with something like…



“I want to thank all the people who make Camp Able possible, because coming here has really helped me to grow my faith. Every year when camp is over, I can’t help but look forward until next year. Camp Able is truly a home away from home.”

  • DJ Burlingame, Camper


“Sometimes, I feel down about myself. At times, I felt like taking my life. But if I were to die, I would have died in that car accident. I believe God created Camp Able for people like me. To make me feel happy again.”

  • Jeffrey Smith, Camper


“It is just amazing! You can not ask for a better place or better surroundings to send your children. The socialization here is fantastic. The counselors even stay in touch after camp. At home, Louis creates stories using the pictures from Camp Able. It really makes you teary-eyed because he loves it so much. This is by far the best place for anyone.”

  • Joseph & Cynthia Pampena (Campers Louis and Heather)
    Joe takes some pictures, Cynthia is seated with yellow sweater.


With So Many Thanks

Rick’s Island Salon

Marco Island Water Sports

Pro Fish in Sea Fishing Charters (Mike Kenzer)

Weis Guy Fishing Charters (Jody Weis)

Island Bike Shop

Capri Fish House

Scuba Marco

Marco Movies

Rock Star Gym

Rookery Bay

Marco Island Civitan Club

Collier County Health Department

Gulf Coast Clays at Port of the Isles Shooting Club (Corey Rugg)

Skin Renewal Systems

Scott and Deb Needles

Duncan Wheeler (Music)

Anne and Gary Landis

Wayne Carmignani

John and Jean Esposito

Scot and Pat Kaufman

Lights Out and Watch Your Step on the Beach!

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:08am

By Steve Gimmestad

It’s nesting time in the Marco area, but don’t look up. These nests are under the white sands of our beaches and belong to Caretta caretta, fondly known as our Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

Last issue, Coastal Breeze reported on the record-setting 101st nest. Now we have come to learn there are 114 nests. The previous record was 93 a few years ago. While this type of achievement merits some type of award, most sea turtles don’t have a mantle upon which to display a trophy. But we do have a couple people that deserve our most humble thanks.

Mary Nelson and Beverly Ann Shipe have been patrolling our beaches for over 20 years. Thanks to their passionate interest and concern, we know a lot about our sea turtle activities, along with a few ways we can co-exist with our oceanic brethren during their time on the beach.

“Sea turtles return to their natal site to lay their eggs,” says Mary Nelson. “That means that the turtles now laying their eggs were hatched on these beaches about 15-20 years ago. It’s a healthy sign to see so many nests this year, and there are probably a number of reasons including natural cycles, mating maturity of previous hatching and more responsible care of the nesting activities by beach goers.”

For over 20 years, Mary Nelson (left) and Beverly Ann Shipe have monitored sea turtle nests and activities on the beaches of Collier County. They are standing next to a nest on popular South Beach of Marco. With a little help, sea turtles and people can share the local beaches. And that’s pretty cool.

Officially hired by Collier County in 1995, Mary monitors, records activity and helps protect each nest to minimize the impact of human beach activity. She loves doing it and she’s very good at her job.

There is a lot of information about sea turtles and it makes for great rainy-afternoon reading from many sources online. Yet, Caretta caretta is a mysterious creature and there is much yet to learn.

Early on, they tried a tagging program on the hatchlings, but the tags would come off and proved an ineffective way to monitor the turtles from such a young age.

Accompanying Mary for the last couple decades has been volunteer Beverly Ann Shipe. Both Mary and Beverly Ann were happy to let me know that Beverly Ann has recently gained official status and is now a seasonal employee of Collier County. Her official title is Collier County Parks and Recreation Assistant/Environmental Technician. She much prefers Sea Turtle Monitor.

“Thinking of the early ‘90s when my husband and I first started vacationing in Marco in the summer- everyone said I was crazy to come to Florida in the summer,” says Beverly Ann. “But it was the only time I had off from work. We found the quiet of the island and peacefulness a treasure as we walked and ran the beach at daybreak, and enjoyed in other leisure pastimes. As I passed crawls and their resulted nests on the beach – one after another – it was natural to become more involved in protecting this species and volunteered in any aspect of sea turtle conservation efforts available.”

Why lights out? Good question. “One of the ways sea turtles, after hatching, find their way to the water – is light,” says Mary. “They crawl over the sand towards a light source, which is the stars, moonlight and horizon glow over the water. Artificial light sources confuse them and they end up going the wrong way. It’s not good.”

There are many other obstacles that make it difficult for the sea turtles. An increase in auto traffic on the beach packs the sand, making it difficult to dig a proper nest. The route to the beach can be impeded with litter or other man-made debris. Humans digging or walking on a nest can break the eggs. The list is long.

Says Mary smiling, “I remember an occasion where I saw a mother using the roped-off nest area as a playpen for her baby. It was a funny sight, but she complied when I reminded her it was unlawful. Guess we should add that activity to the signs posted by each nest.”

As members of this vast ecosystem known as Earth, we do have a responsibility to live in harmony with our non-human neighbors. Sharing the beach is one of them.

“As you hear from many people now, the ‘secret’ is out and Marco is no longer a quiet respite in the summer, but shares its beauty with many more vacationers than ever in the past during this ‘off’ season.” Says Beverly Ann. “However, the Caretta caretta sea life returns year after year still dependent on our collective community effort to protect her nests and care for her young. As we know, only one out of 1,000 will survive to adulthood.”

While Mary Nelson holds iconic status as The Turtle Lady, the job has become larger than one person. I predict an image showing the Dynamic Duo of Mary and Beverly Ann will someday be seen on t-shirts worn by teen Loggerheads all over the world. It would be a fitting homage.


Marco Karate School Brings Home the Gold

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:04am

By Don Manley

Chase Polley, right, lands a kick during the kumite portion of the 2015 AAU Karate National Championships.

The Shima Dojo Karate School made a strong showing at the 2014 American Athletic Union Karate National Championships by capturing three gold medals.

But this year, the small karate school, based at the Greater Marco Family YMCA, truly made its presence felt on a big stage by coming away with 10 gold medals in three categories at the AAU championships in just its second year of competing at the tourney.

Marco residents Logan Terreri, Chase and Kirra Polley, Bryant Martinez, Ben Warnike and Connie Rausch all earned gold medals for the dojo, the Japanese term for a martial arts school. Rausch was the only adult on the Marco squad, with the remaining members ranging in age from 6 to 12. All are members of the dojo’s Competition Team.

“They exceeded my expectations,” said Nick Lemke, the dojo’s “sensei,” Japanese for martial arts instructor, of the team’s performance in Raleigh, N.C., the location of the 2015 AAU tournament.

At the 2014 tournament, Chase Polley won two gold medals and Laurie McCardle earned one, as well as a silver medal. Lemke said the experience of attending a national tournament with more than 1,000 competitors, was an eye opener for the dojo.

“We got enlightened last year,” said Lemke. “We did really well throughout the state, but the nationals, it was rough. I always tell my students before a tournament ‘Don’t expect anything, just go and do your best. We’re just here to pay these people to train with, so we have someone to spar against.’ We go into tournaments with that attitude and I think that helps a lot.”

Chase and Kirra Polley demonstrate their form at
the 2015 AAU Karate National Championships.

2015 has been a banner tournament year for the dojo.

Rausch, Martinez and Chase Polley all ranked No. 1, overall, in their age groups, in Florida after the state AAU karate tourney, held in late May. Kirra Polley and Mason Mullen finished in the top five. Allison Horchler and Ben Warnike were ranked as the top performers in kata – an exercise consisting of several of a martial art’s specific movements.

Their performances qualified them for the national AAU tournament, but Horchler and Mullen were unable to attend because they were traveling on family vacations.

Rausch, 51, took gold in the kobudo – the Japanese term for the Okinawan karate weapons system, in senior-beginner division at the national championships, just 13 months after taking her first karate class.

Her expectations were minimal going into the competition.

“I just wanted to do well,” said Rausch. “I was really happy that I got gold in kobudo and I was happy that I had a competitor, because at this age, there really aren’t too many beginning women who take karate or even compete.”

Despite winning a gold medal in kata in 2014, Chase Polley, 9, also had his sights set low because of the tournament’s national scope. But he captured gold medals in kobudo, kata and kumite (sparring).

“I felt proud of myself and surprised that I won, and excited,” he said of his performance.

Chase Polley poses with the three gold medals he earned at the 2015 AAU
Karate National Championships.

Chase Polley has studied at the dojo for about five years and he credited Lemke with being behind his success in the martial art.

“My sensei, if he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have won because he coaches me really well and he pushes me to go to class,” he said. “He helped me with all the categories to win gold. He’s a really good person because he always corrects us when we need it so we can win.”

Rausch also praised the quality of Lemke’s instruction.

“He’s very well respected,” she said. “We go to tournaments and see competitors from other schools and you can really see the difference in our katas, in our focus, in our punches, everything. He’s very detail oriented.”

Lemke founded the Shima Dojo Karate School in 2010, with a specialty in the Okinawan karate style known as Seibukan Shorin-Ryu. The dojo offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, six days a week, for students from age 6 through senior citizen.

Since beginning serious karate study 22 years ago, Lemke has studied in Okinawa several times on the way to obtaining a third-degree black belt in karate and a second-degree black belt in kobudo.

He patterns his classes and standards after the instruction he experienced in Okinawa, an island located about 400 miles south of Japan.

“I don’t just give out belts like other school’s do,” said Lemke. “You really have to come in and train. I pride myself on that because it’s exactly how they would do it in Okinawa. When you finally get it, you know that you earned it. I would hate for anybody to leave my school thinking, ‘Wow, that wasn’t hard.’ ”

Bill Polley, father of Kirra and Chase, was thrilled with the dojo’s performance at the nationals, as he is with the school itself.

It’s a really good dojo here,” said Bill Polley. “It’s quality, not quantity. They’re not giving out belts just because you’ve been here a certain amount of time. It’s all about the effort and the skill, and the lifestyle.”

Lemke and Rausch said the dojo had to raise $2,600 to cover expenses for the trip to Raleigh for the nationals. Fundraising continues in preparation for the annual summer and winter training camp trips, next year’s AAU nationals and a weekend-long seminar, set for January on Marco and conducted by Lemke’s mentor, Sensei Dan Smith of Coal Mountain Karate School, in Forsyth County, Ga. To help, contact Rausch at or 317-753-5203.

For more information about Shima Dojo Karate School at the Marco YMCA, please call 394-9622 or go to, click on Programs, Youth Sports.


Local Couple Visits Cuba

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 11:51pm

By Coastal Breeze Staff

John Lennon Statue located in the park bearing his name, guarded by Juan Gonzalez.

The door to American travel to Cuba is opening wider, and locals Lana and Roger Withers are among the lucky few to walk through.

The Withers took part in an educational “people to people” tour through Friendly Planet Travel, called the “Understand Photography Havana Tour.”

Lana grew up in Florida. She vividly recalls the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the air raid drills experienced as a child in elementary school. Lana always had a curiosity about Cuba, and when her husband Roger’s 70th birthday approached it presented the perfect opportunity for the trip.

Lana’s breathtaking photographs give us a glimpse into this beautiful country, which for most Americans has been off-limits for over fifty years. President Obama recently announced his plans to resume normal diplomatic relations with Cuba. Travel restrictions, although eased, are still in place.

The six day trip took the Withers to Havana, Cojimar and Callejon de Hamel. They were guided throughout the tour and presented with amazing photo opportunities each day.

Ladies using a pay phone.

In Havana the streets were lined with classic American cars from the ‘50s. Lana tells us that she didn’t see any vehicles dating after 1958.

Her Havana photos also show buildings lacking maintenance and upkeep; paint is seen peeling in large strips from the facades. Creature comforts were absent. People waited in line to use pay phones.

Despite hardships, the spirit of the people was strong. Lana describes the people she met as “open, friendly and kind.” Her pictures capture that spirit.

Little known is the fact that John Lennon is revered in Cuba- so much so that he has a park named after him. Parque John Lennon, located in the Vedado district in Havana, is also home to a bronze statue of the former Beatles member. The statue, sculpted by Cuban artist José Villa Soberón, is guarded round the clock by Juan Gonzalez, in order to prevent people from stealing Lennon’s trademark glasses from the statue’s face. Juan, a retired farm worker, took it upon himself to guard the statue after hearing about the repeated theft of Lennon’s removable glasses.

Trees line the path to Hemingway’s house in Cuba.

Lana and Roger’s tour took them to Cojimar, a small fishing village ten miles east of Havana, and Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. They visited Hemingway’s Cuban home, Finca Vigia (“Lookout House”), which was filled with memorabilia and personal effects. The house was the site where Hemingway wrote both The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. After Hemingway’s death in 1961, the Cuban government took ownership of the property and opened it to the public.

Lana took more than 700 photographs during her six day trip. She tells us that she wants to go back again. New rules make it easier for her to do that. Old rules required Americans travelling to Cuba justify their trip under one of twelve permissible categories, and sometimes required a license from the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control. New rules eliminate the need for licenses to certify the travel under a permitted category. Commercial flights to Cuba have already begun.


The Wright Brothers

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:34am

Maggie Gust


By David McCullough

Simon & Schuster 2015, 303 pages

Genre: Biography

Collier County Public Library: Yes


“Gentlemen, I’m going to fly.” – Wilbur Wright to onlookers at Le Mans, France, 1908

All American kids learn about the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in very early grade school. We think we know them and their importance to aviation. Turns out we know nothing.

David McCullough brings Wilbur and Orville to life in his inimitable style, fleshing out the rather stern looking men in the old black-and-white photographs. This biography gripped me within the first few pages as firmly as the last political thriller I read. It was hard to put it down.

The boys apparently inherited their mechanical prowess from their mother, Susan Koerner Wright, the daughter of a German wagon maker, who constantly encouraged her sons’ curiosity and saved everything the boys tried to make, putting each “invention” on a shelf in the kitchen. She realized they had something special. Apparently so did she, as she was said to able to make old toys or odd scraps into better than new. She was also her husband’s intellectual equal and their household included one library of theology books and another comprised of novels and books on every conceivable subject. Susan tragically succumbed to tuberculosis in 1889 on the Fourth of July. The Wrights never again celebrated that holiday.

Their father Milton Wright was a minister in the United Brethren Church in Christ, achieved the position of bishop. He joined this church as a young man largely because of its stances against slavery, alcohol and freemasonry/secret societies. In the early 1880s, a liberal movement within the church was eating away at some of these policies, especially the policy against joining secret societies. Bishop Wright had been an itinerant minister his entire career, but sensed that this dissension within the church was coming to a head and he wanted to be in the middle of it. Hence, he decided to move the family to Dayton, Ohio. At that point, they had lived in 12 different places.

In Dayton, Orville was born in 1871 and three years later, Katharine came along, giving Orville a baby sister on his third birthday. (The two would share not just a birthday but a very close bond that would remain unbroken, although severely strained later in their lives.) The Wright family was now complete, with three older sons, Reuchlin, Lorin and Wilbur, all born in Indiana. No middle names in this family – the bishop gave his children distinctive first names.

When I first read a blurb about this book mentioning that the Wright brothers’ father was a minister and they grew up in a house with no indoor plumbing or other conveniences, I thought this was going to be another dysfunctional family where the genius kids somehow make good. Instead, the Wright children lucked out, won the parent lottery. Susan and Milton loved their children, saw them as individuals, and encouraged them to develop their own personalities and intellects. Although Milton was an ordained minister, he encouraged his children to read Robert Ingersoll, an avowed agnostic, to examine their own convictions and come to their own conclusions. After doing so, Orville and Wilbur announced they would not be going to church anymore. Bishop Wright accepted this without one syllable of reproach. He and Katharine continued to attend church on Sunday. The Bishop was also not strict about school attendance. If the children were deeply involved in a book or a project of their own, they were allowed to complete that instead of reporting to the classroom. With that sort of familial environment supporting intellectual curiosity, problem solving, and self-reliance, it makes sense that the boys turned out to be giants in their chosen field of aviation.

Katharine was no slouch, either. She was the only one in the family to get a college degree, after which she returned to Dayton to teach Latin at Steele High School. She was a great assistance to her brothers and her father in many ways and they all supported her pursuit of a college education. In later years, Orville would brag that Katharine had flunked many of the boys who would later become Dayton’s leaders. It was Katharine who kept the home fires burning and supervised the operation of the bicycle shop when the boys started their experiments with gliders at Kitty Hawk. She was communication central when the boys were in one location and Bishop Milton in another.

Although Bishop Wright loved all his children, Wilbur was his clear favorite. He admired his son’s intellect, precision, focus, and sterling character. Everyone in town including his teachers, felt sure Wilbur would be off to Yale after high school graduation. However, there was a horrible accident that altered Wilbur’s life in his senior year. While playing a pick-up game of hockey, he was hit in the face with a hockey stick, causing facial injuries and knocking his upper front teeth. Wilbur suffered excruciating pain for weeks, had to get false teeth and continue to have pain and digestive problems. He stayed for three years, during which time he helped nurse his dying mother and read voraciously.

Orville meanwhile, still in high school, built himself a printing press in the shed in back of the house and printed a neighborhood newspaper. It included poems written by his friend and classmate, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was to become a substantial influence in African-American literature before dying very young at 33 of alcoholism and tuberculosis.

Around 1890, bicycles were very popular. Physicians wrote articles about the benefits of biking. Though there were those with moral objections, naysayers who saw the devil in those contraptions. Instead of children staying close to home, they could be miles away in a matter of minutes, not paying attention to their books and seductions were transpiring on those bicycle trips to secluded areas, you betcha. Nevertheless, the rage for bicycles continued to grow. The boys opened their bicycle shop on West Third Street in Dayton in 1893 and enjoyed huge success at first. But as more bicycle shops opened in Dayton, business slacked and Wilbur thought about pursuing another career. Eventually, the boys decided to move to another shop which was bigger and starting making their own model of bicycle, available to order.

When Orville contracted typhoid in summer 1896, Wilbur began reading about gliding, inspired by the recent death of German engineer Otto Lilienthal, who expired from a fractured spine after a glider accident. His younger brother often joined him in his gliding experiments. Perhaps this piqued the boys’ interest. Wilbur began reading Lilienthal’s writings aloud to Orville as he recuperated. His past intense interest in birds was rekindled by Lilienthal’s analysis of birds and his effort to duplicate their flying ability.

Orville recuperated. Business remained good. Wilbur continued to learn as much as possible about flight. On May 30, 1899, Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian Institute and asked for information on publications and articles on the subject of flight, reassuring them that he was not a “crank.” With the list of books and SI pamphlets provided to them, the boys began to study in earnest and that summer began to build a glider in a room above the bicycle shop. By August, they were testing it in an open field. Happy with the results, they were decided to build a man-carrying glider. By the following May, the boys were looking for a place to test their manned machine. It had to a place with no rain or inclement weather and winds of about 15 mph. Wilbur wrote to Octave Chanute for advice, who suggested sand hills such as those in South Carolina or Georgia might be a good location. Wilbur had also written to the National Weather Service for information about prevailing winds. After studying that data, the boys decided Kitty Hawk, North Carolina would be the testing site for their manned glider. Thus began a new era in history.

This book is a must-read for history buffs and a delight for anyone who loves an intriguing story. It is full of the Wright brothers’ encounters with other inventors of that time as well as the politics of getting funding for research. Most striking to me was the Wrights’ self-confidence and quiet persistence in overcoming obstacles to satisfying their intellectual curiosity. At that time, most people simply felt man could not fly and should not try. The people of Kitty Hawk initially thought they were crazy, but so did almost everyone else in the country.

David McCullough has given us another masterpiece. Using primary sources including thousands of letters written by the Wright family members to each other and others, diary entries, newspaper and journal articles, he has written a concise history of the men who solved the problem of flight. A mesmerizing tale, to be sure. Included in the book are many photos, as Wilbur had the foresight to bring a camera to Kitty Hawk and subsequently to every flight thereafter.

My rating is 4.75/5.0. This would make a great gift for just about anyone for any occasion.


Maggie Gust has been an avid reader all her life. Her past includes working as a teacher as well as various occupations in the health care field. She shares a hometown with Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, but Florida has been her home since 1993. Genealogy, walking on the beach, reading, movies and writing, are among her pursuits outside of work. She is self employed and works from her Naples home.




Marco Island Condo Inventory Shrinks

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:33am

Gary & Sandy Elliott

This week there are 269 condos for sale on Marco Island, down 28% from this time one year ago. During the last 12 months 581 condos sold on the island resulting in an overall sales rate of 48 condos per month. If this rate of sales continues with no new inventory coming on the market the island has less than 6 months of condo inventory for sale, which is generally considered a seller’s market.

However, a closer look shows that each condo price segment has a different characteristic. For instance, there are 140 condos listed for sale under $500,000. 394 condos in this price range sold during the last 12 months at a rate of 33 condos per month. This represents two thirds of all the condos sold. Dividing the number of active listings by the rate of sales means there is a little over 4 month’s supply of condos in this price range – a definite sellers’ market but still plenty of condos to pick from.

There are 77 condos listed for sale between $500,000 and $1 million. During the last 12 months 131 sold in this price range. This is a rate of 11 condos per month or a 7 month supply – a buyer’s market.

From $1 million to $2 million there are 37 condos on the market. During the last 12 months 42 condos in this price range sold for a rate of 3.5 per month. That means there is an 11 month supply, a definite buyer’s market.

And over $2 million there are 14 active listings and 9 sold at a rate of .75 per month so there is a 19 month supply of these condos but very few choices.

This shrinking condo inventory trend continued in June 2015 when 73 condos sold, up 87% from a year ago. 51 condos are pending and only 39 new listings came on the market.

So what does this shrinking inventory mean? For those owners of condos valued under $500,000 now is a good time to list your property. Your condo will sell quickly close to your asking price. For those with a higher priced condo be sure you price it right in this buyers’ market segment.



Graze Your Way Around the World

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:31am

Vickie Kelber

Japan’s marketplace. Inset: Spicy Hand Roll with tuna and salmon. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

Before settling in for the heat and humidity of summer in Florida, think about planning an activity for the more temperate weather of fall.

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival in Orlando will take place September 25-November 16, 2015. Featuring foods from around the world, this year will be the 20th for this annual event. If you have never been to Epcot or are an Epcot fan and don’t have an opportunity to frequent a lot of ethnic restaurants, you might want to plan a visit. With the exception of Columbus Day weekend, this is a good time of year to see Epcot. The weather is cooler and the crowds not as bad as other times of the year. I went the third week in October last year, and it was lovely. We started the morning wearing jackets, shed them during the day, and needed them again for the evening concert, libations, and fireworks.

In addition to the usual diverse restaurants at Epcot, booths, called marketplaces, are set up around the World Showcase enabling a leisurely stroll from one to another trolling for food. Booths have both food and beverages (including wine and beer); many include desserts. All of the items, of course, have to be purchased and these appetizer sized portions typically range from $2 to $12. At Australia’s Marketplace which featured garlic shrimp and roasted tomatoes, the person in front of me complained about the number of shrimp she received. The worker had to remind her that all of the offerings at the Festival are considered “small plates”.

There are special free events throughout the day including evening Eat to the Beat concerts featuring music from the 70s to the 90s at an outdoor stage. Last year, some of the artists were Jo Dee Messina, The Commodores, Christopher Cross, Air Supply, Sister Hazel, Billy Ocean, Boyz II Men; we were there for Jim Brickman. Most of the performers are announced well in advance, but some not until close to the performance dates. Seating is usually available, but if there is a particularly popular entertainer, guests can line up early, receive a wristband, and go back to eating until the designated time.

There are demonstrations from professional chefs four times a day in the Welcome Center where samples of Ghiradelli chocolate were also available. Some additional culinary demonstrations and seminars cost extra. There are premium dining experiences that can be purchased ranging from events such as the $55 five course Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing at the Morocco building to the $295 five course Italian White Truffle and Wine Pairing dinner. For anyone interested in a special dining experience, it is best to do some research in advance as some have a dress code such as last year’s no shorts rule for the Party for the Senses which included acts from Cirque de Soleil. There are celebrity chef events including book signings and meet and greets. There are also wine, mixology, and cheese seminars.

In planning our visit, I researched the marketplace selections ahead of time and had a list of items I thought I might want to try. My list included a combination of some of my favorite foods and some that I wanted to try for the first time. Many were familiar such as mahi mahi or salmon, but prepared in a way archetypal of a particular country.

One problem at the Food and Wine Festival is a lack of places to sit and enjoy the food. Some of the booths have stand up tables to the side and of course there are always benches. We found only one place, adjacent to Brazil, that offered a patio with tables and chairs. There also was some seating near the African Outpost area. All this means that is good to be hands free. Shoulder bags or backpacks are recommended.

Visitors can pay for their food purchases with cash, credit card or a prepaid gift card. The prepaid gift card is convenient as it can be worn around the wrist and easily accessed for payment.

A cooking demonstration by Pam Smith author of The Energy Edge.

There were some marketplaces that did have lines, but the lines moved rather quickly. Typically, visitors order and pay for their items and are given a receipt to take to another window to pick up their food/beverage. On busy days, I’ve been told, the wait can take up to 30 minutes. Not one to wait in lines for food, I was glad I didn’t have to stand any more than a minute or two.

Sponsored by Chase last year, there was a Chase Lounge, accessible only to Chase credit/debit card holders and their guests. Above the American Adventure Pavilion, it provided somewhat of a respite with seating, air conditioning, complimentary Coca Cola products, and a phone charging station. Chase has a multi year sponsorship for this festival, and the Lounge will be available again this year.

One booth last year, Terra, served solely vegan foods. About two dozen of the booths offered some vegetarian and/or gluten free options. Disney publishes a listing of the foods, by country on their website and in their Marketplace Discovery Passport with those options noted. The Passport also has information about the concerts and shopping opportunities and is available at the information and festival centers, as well as most marketplaces.

On the path chosen by my friends and I as we traversed the park, Greece was one of the first kiosks encountered. I was glad, because two of their items, chicken gyro with Tzatziki and spanakopita, were on my list. Very familiar dishes to me, the gyro was good, the spanakopita not so.

I tried Brazil’s Mocequa de Pescado, tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice, as well as pao de queijo (cheese bread) but avoided their crispy pork belly with black beans, onions, avocado and cilantro, and the cocados (coconut candy). I was disappointed with their frozen caipirinha, a muddled lime and rum drink. I also passed on the Polish Marketplace with its sauerkraut pierogies and pork goulash, as well as New Zealand’s venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula, and black currant reduction and Scotland’s vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties (rutabaga and mashed potatoes).

Australia’s Pavlova, a merinque shell with berries and vanilla custard, was wonderful, but difficult to eat seated on a bench. The baklava from Morocco was one of the best I ever tasted. All of China and Japan’s choices intrigued me and I decided on the Japanese Spicy Hand Roll, tuna and salmon with Kazan volcano sauce. It was so good, I went back for a second one. There was a wide selection of wine and beers; alas, I sampled none of them.

Epcot reminds me (and many others) of a world’s fair. During the festival, we used our time between grazing to revisit favorite “pavilions”, catch some I’d missed before, see those that have been updated and, of course, shop. Much of Epcot is a shopping mall.

Fast passes are available for the more popular attractions. If has been a few years since you visited Epcot, the Fast Pass system has changed drastically. Now called the Fast Pass+, I found it much more involved and confusing than the old system. I’m not even going to attempt to explain it. For anyone interested, my advice is to research it online before your visit on the Disney World website.


Vickie is a former member of the Marco Island City Council and Artistic Director of the Marco Island Film Festival, and has been a volunteer for many island organizations. She is presently on the board of the Naples Mac Users Group. Prior to relocating to Marco, Vickie served as a school psychologist, Director of Special Services, and college instructor and also was a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education.




Summerfest at Mackle Park

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:29am

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Once again, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office will hold Summerfest a fun filled evening open to all Collier County students and their families! The Hot Summer Nights themed event will be on July 17th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. The evening is a FREE event held in a SAFE place!

Plenty of fun for all ages is planned with music, karaoke, Wii games, a movie station, a bounce house and a rock climbing wall. Enjoy snow cones, popcorn and MORE!

For more information call Mackle Park at 239-642-0575.


Uncomfortable Practice

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:28am

Todd Elliott

If you do not play golf for a living, making time to practice can be difficult. There is a limited amount of time to practice beyond the time spent playing golf. If practice time is limited what is the best way to grow your game. A golfer who puts themselves in uncomfortable situations, will make mistakes more often, but growth happens quicker than those who practice in comfortable situations. Hitting 7 iron after 7 iron on the range at the same target, or the same distance has some benefit. This technique of blocked practice is what most do during all of their practice time. Golfers need to practice in a manner that helps develop skills that make them successful under pressure.

There was a grounding breaking studying on reactionary kinetic movements by John Shea and Robyn Morgan in 1979. Each subject practiced three different tasks (A, B and C) that involved responding to a stimulus light with a correct series of rapid movements of the hand and arm, with each task having a different predetermined sequence. One group of subjects practiced the tasks in a blocked order, completing all task A practice before moving to task B, which they completed before moving to task C. A second group practiced in a random order; no more than two consecutive trials could occur for any one task. The two groups had the same amount of practice on tasks A, B, and C and had the same amount of total practice, they differed only in the order in which the tasks were presented. They graph pictured is the result of the study.

Practicing golf has parallels to this research on many levels. Golf is a reactionary sport. A golfer evaluates the situation at hand, then produces a shot that is required for that specific situation. Success in the game of golf is based on the ability to evaluate and react. How many times does a golfer have a full 7 iron on the golf course, or an exact putt that they have had before? Your 7 iron carries 130 yards, and the shot requires you to carry the ball 132 yards over the bunker in the front of the green. Take the numbers away from the equation. How many golf shots in a round visually look the same, trees, bunkers, water hazards, hole turns right, hole turns left, etc. The tee shots on Par 4’s and Par 5’s might be the same full swing shot from round to round, if a golfer plays the exact same set of tees every day, and the exact same course every day. We need to structure our practice by making these visual and dynamic adjustments more difficult than in a regular round of golf. Have you practiced hitting your 7 iron 120, 125, 130, and 135 yards? Have you practiced hitting it all these distances mentioned with low, mid, and high ball flights? Have you practiced hitting your 7 iron all these distances with the ball above, flat, and below your feet at address? How about out of good lies, bad lies, out of sand, I can go on and on with these examples.

It is very important to mix up the situation on every shot when practicing, but we also must spend time making practice harder than playing in a regular round of golf. We need to produce failure when we are practicing. We learn much more from our failures than our successes. Play games, with others, or unaccompanied, that challenge a golfer more than a traditional round of golf. This can have great benefits when it comes time to perform under pressure, whether it is a golf tournament, or trying to beat your friends for pride. An example is playing games like “worst ball”. Instead of playing a two ball scramble, like many do when practicing on the course, play the worst of the two golf balls from each position. Another example is playing golf with only 3 clubs. This will make course strategy paramount, and force a golfer to hit different shots they are not accustom to with the 3 clubs. Play cross country golf, which is played by playing each hole backwards or teeing off from a spot that is not usually used. Play a set of tee you are not accustom to, the very forward tees, the very back tees, whatever changes your visual perspective and course management. As you notice all these examples are performed on the golf course.

Second, put pressure on yourself while practicing. Examples, if you are a bogey golfer 18 handicapper, if you make bogey on the first hole you can move on the next hole, you make par you move two holes ahead, you make double bogey you go back one hole. During this challenge every putt attempted must be pulled a putter club length away from the spot that is lay before putting. Enjoy the challenge, it will make playing golf that much easier. We learn much more from our failures than our successes.

Go see your local PGA professional to help you obtain practice ideas and games that produce failure. Then have them help you evaluate, learn, and grow from those failures.


Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is also a Coutour-certified putting fitter, a Titlteist-certified fitter and a Titliest staff member. Follow Todd on Twitter @elliottgolfpro or for any question or comments email





Curcuma: Tropical Flower or Medical Miracle

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:27am

Mike Malloy

Curcuma cordata (pastel hidden ginger)

Curcuma although tropical in origins, mostly from (Southeast Asia, India and Malaysia, does not like to be in sun all day. A filtered morning or afternoon sun is best, like most plants in southwest Florida the summer sun is deadly. The plants in the curcuma family are often called gingers but are really Zingiber and the Curcuma longa species is solely used for the harvest of the spice turmeric. The rhizomes are ground into a dried power which is turmeric. Not only is this one of the most tropical oriental looking flowers I have ever seen but the foliage when not in bloom has truly a tropical appeal. Curcuma is grown from either rhizomes or can be purchased as potted plants.

Curcumas are a hardy perennial here in south Florida Blooming from spring to fall. They curcumas sold in the box stores are usually the dwarf varieties (Siam tulip) which mean they stay low, really I mean it. The large full sized curcumas are larger sometimes growing to 3 feet with a larger flower and shower foliage. My Favorite! Both dwarf and regular size curcumas will die back to the ground in the fall and reappear next spring. Mark the area where they are planted- So you don’t dig them up in the late fall or better yet a great tip from Brian Galligan (Head Horticulturist at the Naples Botanical Gardens plant them in ground covers so there no problems ,when they die back.. The new foliage in the spring appears like needles protruding from the earth that unfurls into the beautiful tropical foliage. When planted together in mass curcumas make for a spectacular flower show in any garden. Remember curcuma likes well drained soil, in Florida we have a lot of sand in the soil, which is a must for them. Also curcuma likes organic material which we know we don’t have. So it should be added. Curcuma also makes a great container plant or just plant the whole container in the ground at a depth of the rim of the pot. So when fall comes and you’re not fortunate enough to live in zone 10 you can over winter the curcuma in the garage and replant it in the garden next spring.

Curcuma Panama ribbon

Curcuma foliage and flowers also provide a long-lasting source of cut flowers for your arrangements. The tropical foliage some light green and some with red veins in the leaves, also are great in arrangements.

Turmeric is a plant (Curcuma longa). It is the main spice in curry. Used to Color and flavor Butter, Cheese and Mustards for a few. It is used as a medicine for many different aliments. The oil is used in the fabrication many perfumes and soaps.

In the past years, numerous studies have showed the medicinal benefits of turmeric and its anti- cancerous properties. KEEP BUTTERFLYING!!!


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

Coaches Must Ditch Tradition Right Away

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:21am

Doug Browne

The back leg drives through the ball.

Jumping groundstrokes, back leg moving through the air, say it isn’t so, right?  Perhaps I’m a tad liberal, but I absolutely encourage talented tennis players to buck the odds and ‘go for broke.

It’s my line of reasoning that the great game of tennis never really appealed to the masses from the first exposure to the game to about 1975 because of the conservative coaching methods. In particular, I firmly believe that coaches stifled the then new players with either the Continental or Eastern grips; as it was not comfortable for many beginners.

Whereas in today’s world, we offer a Semi-Western or Western grip which is user-friendly for the masses and thus the player may taste early success.  When a beginner is able to jumpstart his or her progress, he or she will often find the desire to play more. As a result, he or she will likely improve rapidly.

Not only did coaches limit our then new players with grip choices but they also wanted the player’s follow-through to stop at a given point and control the player’s stance during the stroke.  If we break it down, the player had a confining handle on the racket, a fixed finish with both their racket and their feet. In other words, players appeared almost robotic, limiting their natural athletic ability.

This antiquated approach did not allow enough flexibility to truly develop outstanding, unique tennis players.

Nowadays, innovative coaches continue to incorporate new methods which enhance the game for both the beginner and the experienced competitor.

When I’m coaching well coordinated youngsters to hit their approach shots, I urge the athlete to drive through the stroke and shoot the back pivot leg forward.

Is it good to have the leg fly. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

In other words, instead of slowing down the hard-charging tennis player so he or she can retain his or her balance and finish in normal fashion, I encourage the competitor to pick up the back foot and let it come through. So, if I have a right-handed tennis player, he or she is allowed to finish on his or her right leg – – it will be preferable to highly ranked participants.

Additionally, I strongly support my rising stars to jump and accelerate for their forehand blast.


All things considered, we have to make the game as fun as possible.  In this fast paced world where kids learn information with one quick click, it’s imperative to be creative, entertaining, and emotionally exciting to keep their interest.

On the whole, my coaching style is to allow players to express themselves with their distinctive athletic ability. I am a believer that there is often more than one way to do something, so why not let rising tennis stars explore their creative minds?


Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.

Keep an Eye on the Moon

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:19am

By Mike P. Usher

We usually ignore the Moon in this column, but in many ways it is the most interesting object in the sky. It is the only celestial object whose surface can be examined in detail from your back yard for example. Although the Moon appears blindingly bright to dark adapted eyes, in reality it reflects hardly more light than old asphalt does.

Intuitively one would think the Full Moon would be the best time to observe surface features, but this is quite wrong. Compared to Earth the Moon is a relatively colorless world; its surface appears to consist mostly of grey rock of two different shades. This means surface contrast is very low. Combined with the fact the Sun is straight up (from the Lunar viewpoint) and no shadows are being cast makes the Moon look very flat and mostly featureless during its full phase. The best time to observe surface features is just after the Sun rises over the region you wish to examine. Crisp, dark shadows give the Moon a three dimensional aspect completely lacking during the full phase.

On July 24th the moon will be at First Quarter and will blot out the lesser stars until well past midnight.   With the naked eye you can clearly see the Moon has two types of surfaces – the darker maria and the lighter highlands. The maria (mare is singular) have been given colorful names in Latin and are generally referred to as “seas” although they are merely dry lava flows. The circular sea in the middle of the northern hemisphere is Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity), just to the southwest of Mare Serenitatis is Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). To the east of Mare Serenitatis is the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). The Sun has not yet risen over the mostly hidden Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), but the crater Copernicus lies on its western shore. South of Copernicus is Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds). Several other seas are listed on the photo.

The photo above is labeled with features commonly visible through binoculars (albeit the photo is considerably more detailed); but the maria are plainly visible even to the naked eye. If your binoculars are held steady, several of the larger craters can be seen. Look again at the Full Moon and you will see they have all “disappeared”! One big exception to the craters disappearing is Tycho. During the few days surrounding the Full Moon the large crater appears to emit rays covering half the surface of the Moon drawing your attention towards it. These rays are debris thrown out by the impact that created the crater.

See you next time!


Mr. Usher is President of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets the second Tuesday each month at 7:00PM in the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples.

150 Pound Tarpon Caught In The Marco River

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:18am

Bob McConville
Master Naturalist

Sister and brother Mattie and Matt Stark show off their catch before releasing it back into the Marco river.

On June 25, 2015 a trio of guests from Randolph, NJ joined Captain Ted Naftal on board the Miss Nancy II for a day on the waters around Marco Island. Brother and sister Matt and Mattie Stark were joined by their grandfather Jim Grecco, with hopes of catching something good for dinner. Little did they know what was in store for them.

Not too far from the Rose Marina basin and working the sand bars and mangrove treelines, Mattie had a catfish for bait on her line.

Using 40 lb test line, she felt a pretty strong tug on her rod and attempted to set the hook on the unknown predator. She did it.

Once the fight was on, her brother Matt took over and the combo eventually brought the fighter to the side of the boat. Their prize… a 6 foot long, 150 pound tarpon, one of the most fun sport fishes to catch in our area!

These prehistoric monsters date back millions of years and they sure can provide a workout for any able-bodied fisherman. I can recall walking the 7 mile bridge in the Florida Keys and watching fishing boats below me hook into a tarpon. A small boat took nearly 45 minutes to bring one in, with the fish literally pulling the boat back and forth across the waterway.

Also known as the Silver King because of its size and color, the tarpon is extremely strong, has plenty of stamina and, therefore, is able to put up a battle for quite a long time. Since records are broken often and since many fishermen practice a “catch and release” program, it is not really clear about the largest tarpon ever caught in Florida but some stories tell “tails” that they can reach 8 feet in length and approach 300 pounds in weight.

One of the most beautiful sites to a fisherman is when the Silver King breaks the surface, taking a huge leap out of the water. Coming to the surface in this manner may actually be a strategy for the tarpon. A unique feature of this fish is that it has a bladder. They have 4 gill arches on either side of the body and these are the major respiratory organ. This is utilized in the same manner as other fish. However, their bladder contains a spongy tissue and has a duct leading to the esophagus and the tarpon can fill this directly with air that is gulped at the surface. This definitely helps their stamina and fighting ability.

There are a lot of tarpon in the area right now. Although evidence exists that they may spawn year-round, the typical period for this activity is May thru July. They will migrate offshore and the currents will gently move the larvae to nurseries inshore. Amazingly, one female can be responsible for producing up to 12 million eggs.

One study by FWC showed that only about 37% of all hooked tarpon make it to the boat. Why so few? It all has to do with structural anatomy of the head. Unlike many small, fleshy fish, the silver king has an extremely boney head and just setting a hook into this behemoth is an accomplishment!

So congratulations, Matt and Mattie, for a job well done! What an exciting way to spend your time here in the Marco Island area! I’m sure your friends in New Jersey will not get tired of hearing about your adventure. Anyone else up for a challenge?

Captain Ted Naftal can be reached at 239-775-3344. The Miss Nancy II is docked at Rose Marina on Marco Island.


Bob is the owner of Stepping Stone Ecotours and a Naturalist on board the Dolphin Explorer. He is a member of Florida SEE (Society for Ethical Ecotourism). Bob loves his wife very much!




Slowing it Down

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:13am

Laurie Kasperbauer

“The bad news is, time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler

Mondays are not my best day. Work seems to multiply and time accelerates on Mondays. I sit at my desk at 8:00AM and the next time I look up it’s always 2:30 and I wonder how I missed lunch and why there’s still so much work to do. I know I’m not alone. Everyone is catching up on Mondays. Phone calls pile up, the mail explodes, and anything that can break down will break down over the weekend, creating a mad scramble for the attention of service people on Monday morning. And so, I admit, one recent Monday, I was cranky. A phone call to my husband ended in a verbal volley over who was having the most challenging morning. I let him think he won.

Something else happens for me on Monday. I have the honor of teaching beach yoga on Monday nights. And when I say ‘Honor” I mean it full-heartedly. Sometimes it’s the promise of knowing I get to step out on the beach and share sun salutations and stillness with other yogis that gets me through the day. No matter how my Monday fast-forwards, I know that I get to slow down at 5:30. I give myself permission to stop everything else and connect to the mat. It is a true reward.

So on this particular Monday, when I was feeling harried and grouchy, I decided to really slow everything down. I thought I’d incorporate a bit of yin into my yoga class. Maybe we’d spend some extra time on the breath and incorporate some meditation. I packed up my gear and headed to the beach with one eye on the northern sky and one ear to the rumble of distant thunder. When I reached the beach I took one look to the north and saw this gray goliath of a cloud. I waited on a bench, contemplating the cloud and watching the beach-goers scrambling to fold umbrellas and beach chairs in anticipation of the cloud’s arrival. With 2 minutes to go before the start of class I had no students; no surprise under this menacing sky, when a mother and daughter walked up with yoga mats tucked under their arms.

I explained to these brave yoginis that I wanted to practice a bit of “yin” yoga and they were open to the idea. Yin yoga incorporates fewer poses, but requires longer holds. You truly s l o w things down and have more time to marinate. That is, tune in to the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your head, allowing them to meld together until the purest and best presents itself. So, on this particularly manic Monday, with the blackest of all clouds hanging over our heads, we elongated in dragon pose and stewed in half-pigeon. And somehow, over the next 60 minutes I completely forgot about the work still piled on my desk. The dark ceiling of clouds rolled away, and clarity was ours.

This is yoga. This is the power of tapping in to what already and always exists within us. It starts with getting on the mat and taking a full breath. No matter what precedes your mat time, no matter what looms over your head as you practice, the stillness and focus are available. If only we give ourselves permission to slow down long enough for the peace to rise up.


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.



Naomi’s Training Table

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:11am

Naomi the cat and
Karina Paape

Dear Fellow Felines:

On Sunday, October 4, the island will be aswarm with spandex-clad athletes competing in the Marco Island Fitness Challenge Triathlon. As supervisor here at For the Love of Cats, I have thrown our whiskers into the ring with my team “Meow Power”. The three-discipline event is comprised of a quarter-mile open-water swim in the toasty waters of the Gulf, a 15-mile bike ride through the island’s few hills and fewer dales, and a 3.1-mile run on the steaming hot white-sand beach. Survivors are awarded medals.

I hear my loyal readers out there now, questioning the sanity of such an undertaking. Why not stay indoors watching “I Love Lucy” re-runs? Who cares about a Fitness Challenge? Well I, for one, care. Sammy Miller, Karina Paape, and Maria Lamb care, and most important of all, the cats and kittens at For the Love of Cats care. My selfless team of cat ladies are generously donating their athletic prowess for the sole purpose of raising $5,000 for For the Love of Cats. All monies in the kitty (ha ha) will help us continue our mission of rescuing abandoned cats and kittens, and finding furever homes for each and every one. No cat left behind is my credo.

As shelter supervisor and acrobat extraordinaire, yours truly was the obvious albeit dubious choice to coach team Meow Power. I’ll be giving up my long afternoon naps in my tempur-pedic cat bed. But rest assured, I will be a paws-on coach. Joining me on the coaching staff (don’t forget: dogs have owners, cats have staff) is our beloved mascot, the late Mr. Kitt, a 21-year-old Maine Coon cat who, before crossing the rainbow bridge in 2013, was the shelter’s assistant kitten manager for five years.

Kitt’s paw prints have recently been filled by Felicia, a 13-year-old Maine Coon cat who came in similarly burdened with a litany of health issues and mind boggling medication schedules. Like Kitt, Felicia has become a permanent resident at the shelter. Poor girl came through the shelter doors as a starving sack of skin and bones. She’d been abandoned at the Esplanade and I was receiving calls daily about a starving cat. A two-man team of my best feral trappers donned their camo gear, night vision goggles, and three traps baited with yummy albacore tuna. Under cover of a dark and moonless night, I sent my trappers in. For the first hour they worried about whether Felicia would fall for the trap trick. As the trappers took up their positions, Felicia slowly made her way past the traps, then kept on walking until she was standing eye to eye with my trappers. Brave soul that he is, and contrary to all of his training, said fearless trapper reached down and, bare-handed, picked up the very weak fur ball who immediately started purring. Mission complete.

Now let me introduce my team Meow Power athletes: Swimmer Sammy Miller is already busy doing multiple laps a day in the Y’s Olympic size swimming pool in preparation for her quarter-mile, open water swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Biker Karina Paape is braving the open roads of Marco Island and dodging the hundreds of drivers who hate spandex and cuss at her daily. She tells me that she was under the impression that Marco Island was a bike-friendly city with designated bike lanes. But not to worry, she only has to ride 15-miles, out to Key Marco and back. And last but not least is marathon runner Maria Lamb. Since she recently completed the Boston Marathon, it would be brazen of me to offer her any training tips. This is a huge relief to me because I hate running and would have advised her to just sit that leg out in an air conditioned spa. A lot less sweating.

This next part of the story is a bit confusing so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Triathlons come in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors. You have your Ironman format at one end of the spectrum and your “sprint triathlon” at the other. The Marco Island Fitness Challenge is a sprint marathon meaning the course is relatively short (what’s short to Sammy, Karina, and Maria is like climbing Mt. Everest to me). Team Meow Power is competing as a “relay” team so each team member does only one of the three disciplines. So, you ask, how does that work? Do they throw each other a baton when the respective team member has finished their leg? That’s what I thought too. But Sammy the swimmer set me straight and explained that instead of a baton, the relay athletes hand off a timing chip that wraps around the athlete’s ankle and calculates the team’s cumulative time.

As Meow Power coach it is imperative that I taste-test every dish on a specific day’s menu. After all, if I hate it, my team will hate it. It is an open secret around the shelter that I’ll eat anything that crosses my lower dentures. But I do have a lifetime subscription to “Gourmet” magazine owing to my discriminating feline palette. Unless, that is, it’s beets in my salad or anchovies on my pizza. My Meow Power training table includes a delicate combination of protein (no red meat) and high quality carbs like fruits and vegetables. Cupcakes are not permitted, nor is wedding cake. I am, however, allowing my weary ladies a glass of red wine on days they complete their respective workouts. And once a week they can indulge themselves and have a heaping bowl of cat-nip flavored sorbet. My ladies need to be lean, not anemic. Who wants to drag extra weight through the Gulf, or across the broiling sand, or up the hills of Key Marco without using supplemental oxygen.

Training and healthy eating started on July 1. We are 14 weeks out from the event so every Friday for the next 13 weeks I will distribute weekly workout sheets. Week 14 is the week of the event so the gals will be in recovery mode that week, probably getting pedicures. My goals are to turn Sammy into a mermaid so she can swim really fast without coming up for oxygen. Karina will train in Europe because that’s where the top cycling sprinters hang out. If she doesn’t get that plane ticket to Europe she wished upon a shooting star for, she’ll have to ride up and down Indian hill 20 or so times a day. Rounding out team Meow Power is runner Maria Lamb who plans to train with a group of Kenyans she met at this year’s Boston Marathon. So I have every reason to think we’ll win. It’s okay if we come in second or third, just so long as we meet our $5,000 fundraising goal.

Shelter founders Jim and Jan Rich have agreed to install an under-water treadmill in their pool so that my team can maintain muscle tone when the elements turn against us, i.e. hurricanes and tropical storms. Remember, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Wilma, the last hurricane to roar across our shoreline. Specialty vets use underwater treadmills to rehab cats and dogs who’ve suffered traumatic injuries. Because I don’t like to get my paws wet, I will use the recently patented “Pet Petter” to massage my team’s aching muscles. When your feline darling stands on the motion sensor platform, pet petter goes into action. Even the most high maintenance of felines won’t be able to resist. We’re talking 8-10 hours a day of being petted by a robot.

I received another love letter from two of our most recent adoptees: Zen and Panthera. “Hello Jan and Jim…Zen and I give thanks to you and all the wonderful people who work with you and who have given so graciously of their time and love. We are ALL HAPPY TO BE TOGETHER. We thank you for the rescue work you do. HOW LUCKY WE ARE!!! We will never forget you. We spend many evenings bunched around the dining room table debating: “Who saved who?”

Please check out our way too cool website:

You’ll find a link to team Meow Power which includes instructions for making a donation to our outstretched paws.

Love, purrs, and nips…


Naomi is a 6-1/2-year-old Tortie and a permanent resident at FLC. She is the shelter supervisor and takes her salary in food. She would love for you to learn more about For the Love of Cats at its website,



Core Metrics for Better Health

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 9:06am

Allen S Weiss, M.D.
President & CEO NCH Healthcare System

It can be difficult to understand all the new healthcare metrics that sometimes add confusion, not clarity, for patients, families, physicians, health care systems and payers. So it’s important to remember that all those metrics are designed to realize one goal—namely, better outcomes at lower cost, which is the value equation defined as outcome/cost = value.

This equation was at the heart of discussions last week in which I participated as a member of the Regional Policy Board of the American Hospital Association (AHA) for Region 4, which extends from Tennessee south and Alabama east and includes Puerto Rico. A group of about 45 of us discussed issues of common concern, shared best practices, and learned of national healthcare trends.

First we reviewed AHA’s strategic planning assumptions, which include a strong interest in retail health, digital strategies, consumerism, and other “market disrupters.” There are many creative partnerships of physicians, healthcare systems, and insurers, all of which benefit patients as we adapt to the changing health care landscape.

We then discussed the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report from the Committee on Core Metrics for Better Health at Lower Cost, entitled Vital Signs.

Vital Signs seeks to remedy this problem of confusing healthcare metrics with a set of 15 priorities that best measure progress toward realizing the value equation: (1) life expectancy, (2) well-being, (3) overweight and obesity, (4) addictive behavior, (5) unintended pregnancy, (6) healthy communities, (7) preventive services, (8) care access, (9) patient safety, (10) evidence-based care, (11) care matched with patient goals, (12) personal spending burden, (13) population spending burden, (14) individual engagement, and (15) community engagement. Interestingly, these 15 priority measures overlap significantly with those of our Blue Zone Project.

Next up at the AHA meeting was creating a new delivery system based on seven principles:


  1. Patient centered—where patient needs and access precede practitioner needs and convenience.
  2. Empower patients with technology—ensuring that technology supports quality and safety.
  3. Build care management and coordination systems—embedding an organized process to simplify better outcomes for all.
  4. Integrate behavioral health and social determinants of health with physical health—mind and body are intimately integrated and should be treated as such.
  5. Collaborative leadership and governance—trust, shared goals, and accountability are necessary throughout the care continuum for everyone to be successful.
  6. Integrate care delivery into the community—most of health is controlled in the community, outside the hospital, with everyone being responsible for his/her own health outcomes.
  7. Create a safe and highly reliable health care organization—organizations can create a culture of safety by managing and avoiding risk.

The value of these Policy Board discussions is captured in something my parents used to say, “Nothing happens when you stay home.” Or to put it another way, “In our turbulent healthcare waters, learning from other ships at sea is both comforting and instructive.”


In September 2006, Dr. Allen Weiss was appointed president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare System, a 715-bed, two-hospital integrated health care system. NCH is one of only twenty hospitals in the country affiliated with Mayo Clinic, and has been named three times by “U. S. News and World Report” as best in the region and among the 50 best cardiovascular programs according to Truven. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his training at both the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University. He also had a solo practice in Rheumatology, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics for 23 years, and is board certified in all three specialties. He is recognized both as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology. His wife, Dr. Marla Weiss, is a writer and educator, and they have two daughters who are physicians.


Banana Moon Helps the Beat Go On!

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 1:30am

By Steve Gimmestad

Ray Nesbitt lays down his track as Shirley looks on.

While you may not have heard OF local Shirley Lorene, there’s a good chance you have HEARD Shirley Lorene before.

Banana Moon is the latest CD released by Marco Island resident Shirley Lorene. Shirley has been a commanding voice in the music industry for almost four decades. Banana Moon is the fourth CD Shirley has produced recently and will be a fan favorite for long time followers. It’s also a great introduction to her musical talents for those unfamiliar with her previous works. She has also produced many early records on the nostalgic 45 rpm vinyl.

“My goal at this point is to market the music that I’m writing,” says Shirley of her latest release. “I have so much music written, now I’m getting it recorded. It’s going out to LA and all the places where it can be heard. I’m working with the top musicians in their field and it’s all come together in a great way.”


Since she was born, music has played a driving force in her life. Shirley learned to sing at the same time she learned to talk and would accompany songs playing on the radio. She picked up the guitar at age 10 and by 17 she was playing with the same guitarist Cher used during performances. She received a standing ovation during her first on-stage performance and that provided the impetus for launching a career.

During the late 60s and early 70s, she was a big part of the music scene. She has appeared with a veritable who’s who list of a generation: Moody Blues, Three Dog Night, J. Geils Band, Edgar Winter, Steppenwolf, Hendrix (in Spokane, Wa.), BTO… and the list goes on.

Shirley did four concert tours with Eric Burdon and the group War. “I was there when he caused a riot at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma in 1969. I performed first, and was all about peace and love. Then Eric came on and started a riot. I was 18 years old, hiding in the dugout of the stadium, hoping to make it out alive. Although Eric was done after that, I got to play with War three more times on tour. They were truly happy for me when the crowd gave me a standing ovation, even though they were the lead act.”

Shirley’s career would be the envy of almost anyone in the music industry; the history, the names, the memories. These would satisfy most anyone, but not Shirley. At age 65 she’s going strong. She dares to cross genres with authority. Two of her CDs are inspirational in nature (“God music,” as Shirley calls it) and the vocals, as well as the musical score, will truly take you places. The flute, played by Kat Epple, really stands out. Much of it is blues, rock, Caribbean, and even a waltz-style tune thrown in – all in one place.

Shirley’s inspirations come in many forms. “Twice in one day, I was run off the road due to road rage. The second time I was shaking so bad and just grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down everything I was feeling. That song is ‘Shoot your Dream’ and is on Banana Moon just as I originally wrote it that day.”

In the studio recording Banana Moon

There’s more… a lot more. But that is saved for another time when word count is not at a premium. To get your own Banana Moon CD, you can visit Shirley’s website (, go to CD Baby, Amazon or iTunes. Or just type “Shirley Lorene” into your favorite search engine. You’ll find a lot of information, including some great videos on YouTube.

When your Banana Moon CD arrives, grab your favorite beverage, get in your comfy chair, close your eyes and listen to the first track. You’ll swear you’re in the front row of your favorite venue, jamming along with Shirley and the band. “The beat goes on,” as Shirley likes to say. And what a beat it is.


Join the Souper Bowl Paint Party

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 1:07am

By Coastal Breeze News Staff


Graduates from the Leadership Marco class, an in-depth course put on by the Chamber of Commerce, take their commitment to community seriously. Their mission is to raise funds for scholarships for local students heading off to college. This year, through their efforts, the Chamber was able to award $25,000 to ten local high school students.

Although the group holds a series of events throughout the year, two major fundraising events which produce the majority of the scholarship funding. The first is Wet Paint Live, where a number of local artists set out to paint their chosen subject in a days’ time. The community gets a chance to see its premiere artists in action and the day culminates with a live auction in the evening. Often the paint has not yet fully dried on their creations, hence the name, Wet Paint Live. The event has grown in popularity since its inception.

Another important fundraising event for Leadership Marco is the Souper Bowl. Students from each of the area schools and summer camps paint ceramic bowls with their custom designs. The bowls are then fired at the Marco Island Center for the Arts by the Pottery Guild. In early February, the day before the NFL Superbowl, top chefs from around the island converge on Mackle Park with their best soup creation. Attendees, select a bowl and eat soup to their hearts content. The event is priced right with families in mind at $12 per wristband which includes all the soup you can eat and a bowl to take home with you.

It is highly popular event and hundreds of bowls are needed. The painting and designing of the bowls is already well underway. Painting parties will take place monthly at Mackle Park. The next one takes place on July 11th at the Mackle Park Teen Center. Desiree Buhelos, chair of the Souper Bowl event said, “We need the community’s help in producing enough bowls for this event. It is great way to enjoy a few hours painting and contribute to what we consider our future by providing scholarships for our youth.” Painting is open to the public (of all ages) and will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 AM. For more information call Donna at the Chamber of Commerce at 239/394-7549. If you can’t make this event, attend next month’s painting party August 1st.

101st Sea Turtle Nest

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 1:04am

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

It is a record breaking year for sea turtles! Marco Island’s 101st sea turtle nest was found this week. The prior record was set at 93 nests.

Mary Nelson, affectionately referred to as The Turtle Lady, patrols the Marco Island beaches as she has done since she saw her first turtle nest hatch in the early 1990s. She begins checking turtle nests at 6:00 AM.   As someone dedicated to her mission, she was quite relieved over the recent holiday the nests were respected, even though there were plenty of Independence Day revelers.

A sea turtle activity update is put out by Collier County each week. The report shows how many nests have been laid, how many have hatched and how many ‘false crawls’ are made, each category compares numbers to the prior year. During season, which is May 1st through October 31st, the beaches are closely monitored by the Collier County Parks and Rec Sea Turtle Protection program. Overall, the numbers are looking up. Although only three nests have hatched so far, 101 nests far surpasses the 55 nests we had last year.

Unfortunately, Black Skimmer nests along the beach were decimated recently by black birds. With turtles, typically only one in 1,000 will make it to adulthood. Predators such as crabs, sharks, large fish and birds and other obstacles such as dehydration on land and eating plastic bags and tar balls in the ocean, are all factors leading to premature deaths of sea turtles. Please be mindful of the nests along the beach. Ordinances require lights to be turned off, be of low wattage or covered. Even the light from a cellphone can disorient hatchlings looking for moonlight to make their way back to the ocean.

Remember, sea turtle nests are protected by law. To report a dead, injured or disoriented sea turtle on Marco call: 239-289-9736 or 239-289-9687.

Bill Hughes Wows the Crowd with “Marco in the Making”

Sat, 07/11/2015 - 1:01am

By Steve Gimmestad

Bill Hughes and BJ Henning look on as the film is about to begin.

Due to technical difficulties, we now bring you…a song!

That was how the evening started out at Rose History Auditorium Tuesday, July 7. The technical glitch was solved but not before Bill Hughes, creator of the film, “Marco in the Making”, entertained the crowd with a short, fun monologue.

“That was great,” said Lyzz Tinges, a very pleased audience member. “Bill’s talk alone was worth the price of admission (which was $5 for non-members). And then you get the song. That was over the top!”

The song was God Bless America, and the leader was Herb Savage. Herb Savage is an architect that, in conjunction with the Mackle brothers, translated a vision into what Marco Island is today. An amazing person in his own right, the presence of Mr. Savage on this night was an exclamation point to the great film created by Bill Hughes.

The 30 minute film was created by Bill Hughes and his company Hughes Productions. Using historical photos, video footage, and some wonderful aerial photography, all from the mid-1960s, showed how Marco Island was transformed into the paradise we enjoy to this day.

Bill Hughes introduces his film “Making of Marco”.

What got me hooked right away was the soundtrack. Mr. Hughes incorporated some incredible songs about Marco Island including the Marco Island song by Stan Gober. That name should be familiar to anyone in these parts (Think Stan’s Idle Hour on Goodland). Frankie Ray and his Marco Island song was also prevalent. The songs used in the film should be part of everyone’s backyard BBQ party.

The film also include interviews with Joe Garagiola, Ara Parseghian, Gene Sarazen, Jack Paar and more. It was the perfect fit as they talked about what made Marco so special. And that was 50 years ago. The film does an exceptional job of depicting the vision people had for our paradise and how that translated into the Marco Island of today.

Also presented was a film by Hughes Productions of Jane Hittler. In his introduction, Mr. Hughes says of Jane: “When you look at your roads and you see those beautiful medians and all those tree plantings, you think of Jane, and the original Marco Island Beautification Committee. This is Jane Hittler.”

It was close to a visual diary as Mrs. Hittler talked of settling Marco in the early part of the century. Jane Hittler is also the person who gave the first $1,000 to help build the Marco Island Museum. Jane Hittler Park is dedicated to her memory and contributions to our community.

Rose History Auditorium was full on Tuesday night, and more chairs had to be brought out to accommodate the enthusiastic crowd. “Wow, I didn’t think there were this many people left on Marco this time of year,” said Mr. Hughes laughing.

Bill Hughes has fun with Herb Savage during the technical glitch. PHOTOS BY STEVE GIMMESTAD

If you weren’t part of the crowd Tuesday night, you can purchase a disc of the “Marco in the Making” for your home use. It is available at the History Museum. Just stop in. It will be a valuable and entertaining addition to your home collection.

You can get in touch with Hughes Productions through their website: Or call: 239-435-1188. You can view some of their other films and find out how they can work with you for any event or special occasion. They are located in Naples, and serve the Digital Media Market in a very personalized manner to aid in all your projects.

Staying with the theme of the night, BJ Henning, event coordinator, announced a special evening coming up. On November 14th, there will be “1965 Shindig” at the Rose History Auditorium. Mark you calendars and stay tuned for details.

Marco in the Making