The Museum of the Everglades will be celebrating its biggest one-day event of the year on Saturday, April 27th; the 85th Anniversary of the opening of the Tamiami Trail in 1928. The Museum will also be observing the arrival of Ponce de Leon to Florida as a part of the “Viva La Florida 500” celebration as well as Collier County’s 90th anniversary and the 60th Anniversary of Everglades City.
After a free pancake breakfast at the Everglades Airpark, the Friends of the Museum have planned a great program, starting with a parade highlighting the Barron Collier High School Band, antique cars carrying dignitaries, a mounted police patrol, swamp buggies, the Sarasota Sailor Children’s Circus, and much more.
There will be arts and crafts, face painting and fun for the whole family as well as a barbeque and a fish fry (for just $10 each). After lunch, Jeff Klinkenberg of the St. Petersburg Times, will be the guest speaker, followed by old timers’ storytelling and a walking tour. A complimentary tea at the historic Rod & Gun Club and birthday cake will be served by the Friends of Fakahatchee. Later in the day a free movie and popcorn will be served.
The following is the schedule of events:
- 10:00 AM Pancake Breakfast Fly-In at Airpark
- 11:00 AM Parade around Town and Pavilion open with Arts & Crafts
- 12:00 PM Opening Ceremony
- 12:30 PM Barbeque/Fish Fry
- 1:30 PM Speaker Jeff Klinkenberg at the Seafood Depot
- 2:30 PM Old Timers’ Story Telling
- 3:30 PM Guided Walking Tour of Historic Sites
- 4:30 PM Afternoon Tea at Historic Rod & Gun Club
- 5:30 PM Movie and Popcorn
Don’t miss the festivities in Everglades City! For more information about this celebration, call the Museum of the Everglades at 239-695-0008. To learn more about Everglades City, visit website www.evergladesmulletrapper.com.
About The Author Patricia Huff has lived in Everglades City for the past 18 years and is the Publisher of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper. To learn more about events and activities in the Everglades City area, visit website www.evergladesmulletrapper.comNote: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Monte Lazarus – Bengoshi@comcast.net
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate, enjoy and possibly choke up a bit, when you see “42.” It’s the story of 18 months in the life and career of Jackie Robinson. As with the few outstanding “baseball movies,” e.g., “Bull Durham,” “Bang The Drum Slowly,” “42” is not simply about baseball. Rather it is a fascinating study of a chunk of American society around the middle of the Twentieth Century, and some reflections on the inner workings of two of the movie’s main characters, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey.
When World War II ended and America again embraced baseball as the National Game, society was changing. A few racial barriers had come down as a result of the exposure of different races during the war. However, baseball still maintained its 60 plus years of the white man’s wall. It was well known that the baseball commissioner, Judge Landis, and one of the sport’s heroes, Ty Cobb, were blatant and unapologetic racists. Enter Branch Rickey, owner and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that struggled in mediocrity for many years (with the notable exception of 1941 when “Dem Bums” as they were lovingly known, won the National League pennant). Rickey, a cigar chomping, pious bible quoter and baseball lover, was also acutely aware of the need to improve the Dodgers and bring more people to tiny Ebbets Field. But, Rickey was much more. He devoutly wanted to breech the barrier against black players.
This is where the film starts. Jackie Robinson, a talented athlete, graduate of UCLA, Army Lieutenant, is searching for a career and joins the Kansas City Monarchs, an all-black team in the then Negro League. Robinson is accurately and seriously played by Chadwick Boseman, who not only captures Robinson’s personality, but also his mannerisms – even the unusual way he batted and ran the bases. Rickey was looking for “the right negro” to bring into the major leagues. Landis was gone, and the time was finally appropriate to test the system. After extensive research and scouting, Rickey settled on Robinson as his candidate because of Robinson’s education, bearing and athleticism. He brought Robinson to Brooklyn for an interview. Harrison Ford, in an unusual role switch, plays Rickey to perfection. Ford is wonderful. He captures Rickey’s piety and dedication, and tells Robinson that he wants a player “who has the guts not to fight back” against the inevitable hatred and abuse that will come Robinson’s way just because of the color of his skin.
Robinson accepts and proposes to his beloved Rachel (Nicole Beharie). She accepts, and the challenge is underway for both of them. Robinson reports to the Dodgers’ top farm team – Montreal, where he immediately got a taste of the widespread racism he would experience in the next few years. In his first season, he burned up the International League and Rickey brought him up to the Dodgers in 1947 as a first baseman. The movie really takes off at this point, showing the vitriol Robinson experienced, even from his own teammates, including Kirby Higbe and Dixie Walker, two heroes of the 1941 team.
Boseman expertly shows Robinson as he struggles to honor his vow to Rickey not to fight back for the first year or so, as he proves himself as a true major leaguer. He also depicts the loner Robinson was throughout his career, and does it in a straightforward, moving way. Robinson was beaned by Pirates’ pitcher Fritz Ostermueller; spiked by Cardinals’ Enos Slaughter, and subject to some incredible verbal abuse by the Phillies’ blatant racist manager, Ben Chapman. He was subjected to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of threatening letters, and proposed strikes by some of his own teammates, as well as other teams.
The movie lingers on the oft reported moment, purportedly in Cincinnati, when Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers’ shortstop, a southerner from Kentucky, took time to walk from his position at shortstop to put his arm around Robinson and say to him “Maybe someday we’ll all wear 42” (Robinson’s number). The scene is moving and superbly played by Boseman and Lucas Black as Reese. (NOTE: It’s not clear that the scene actually happened as shown in the movie; more likely it occurred in 1948 when Robinson shifted to second base, but a bit of poetic license is particularly appropriate in this otherwise completely accurate film).
Other true characters are well played: John C. McGinley as Dodgers’ radio maestro Red Barber; Hamish Linklater as Ralph Branca and, to a lesser extent Andre Holland as Pittsburgh sportswriter Wendell Smith. Director Brian Helgeland expertly guided the cast in a memorable movie.
By the way, Pee Wee was a prophet. Every season major leaguers wear number 42 on one day in the season, and the number has been retired for all active players.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
It would be difficult to come up with a better scenario… the old south, 75 degree weather with rich beautiful blue skies, no wind, track meet nearby, excited fans ready to watch two closely contested tennis teams ready to battle for the next three plus hours. Adding to the excitement, college tennis offers a unique scoring concept; three different doubles matches square off at the same time but each team will gain only one point toward victory.
In other words, the university or college who wins two out of the three matches wins just one point. During my tenure, we played three doubles matches and each one counted toward the final result, therefore one of the teams could be ahead 3-0 after doubles play and the matches, shortened to eight game pro sets offer pure adrenaline and fast play.
Now most kids are approximately 19-21 years of age with plenty of testosterone and emotional outbursts to add to the electric atmosphere. I see nothing wrong with teammates encouraging their buddies between points but there is a limit. So, when there is a stoppage and one views his teammate ripping a winner, it is fine to yell words of encouragement. However, there are always going to be a few overly enthusiastic kids veering over the line, screaming at the top of their lungs, “Go Cats,” which is not only annoying but inappropriate. Too often, guys are yelling as others are about to hit a serve or return and clearly will disrupt their concentration.
One cannot help but think of the PGA Golf Tour as officials carry signs that read, “Quiet Please,” as a player is about to tee off. Imagine if a fan screamed “Go Tiger,” right before he hit his ball? How many times have I witnessed a golfer, stop and walk away (he heard a sound in the distance) before he gathered his concentration to prepare to hit again? Whether we agree or disagree with the old golf and tennis rules, one must adhere to the idea of allowing the player to focus while striking the ball.
One particular kid was so obnoxious that a fan thought he had “Cats’ Tourette Syndrome” because at a moment’s notice he kept yelling his incessant mascot comments. Not only was he disruptive but more importantly he was not acting like a good sport. On the other side of the net, the players were totally under control and primarily attentive to their match. Occasionally, one of the competitors would encourage his teammate with a firm but polite, “great shot.” The home crowd was also respectful of their opponents and did not lower their standards and stoop to such antics. The coach of the home team has always stated that he wants to recruit “high character” young athletes. As they face adversity, he wants his young adults to be well-behaved, classy athletes on and off the tennis court. The coach is so adamant about well-mannered young athletes that each player on his team had to read Dr. Jim Loehr’s new book, “The Only Way to Win.”
It is Dr. Loehr’s contention that if the going gets tough and the athlete is truly tested, his true inner-self will come out. Therefore, it is essential for this group of young men to practice good behavior throughout the week before the match so it is engrained in their psyche. Despite the tacky behavior of this one team, there is something so special about watching college sports; amateurs giving their heart and soul on every point as they literally dive for balls to keep the point alive! If I could design my perfect scenario, at least 300-400 fans would line the courts as the crowd cheers on outstanding shot-making. The competitors on each court are running after every ball and uplifting one another. No one is using gamesmanship to alter the outcome of the match. The most important point I wish to convey is there is a delicate line between tasteful exuberance and boorish behavior.
Winning with class and dignity is the only way to go.About The Author Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing a tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback. email@example.com
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Many flats fishermen have their boats set up for efficient casting. This involves minimizing items in the boat that can create obstacles and snags. Most of us fishing out of flats boats do not have bimini tops or T-tops for this reason. Because of this, there is no shade or any way to duck out of the direct sun. We have to dress properly to stay cool and prevent sun exposure.
Out on the water, the sun is baking us from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about reflection. The reflection from the water and the white deck of a boat can be equally as strong as direct sunlight. It is imperative to completely cover up if you want to beat the heat.
Many of us are wearing “Buffs” which are thin tube-shaped sun gear made for your neck, face, and head. They are made from a light weight quick-dry wicking material that offers UV protection from the sun. If you are not sure what they are, you have probably seen fishermen wearing them and wondered why they looked like a bandit. Silly as they may look, they work great!
Wear light colored and light weight clothing. Have you ever worn a black or dark colored shirt in the sun? You heat up really fast right? I personally wear long pants, long sleeves, and a wide rimmed hat all year round, especially in the summer. People ask me “aren’t you hot wearing all of that?” Truth be told, I am a lot cooler in the sun than you are in a tank top and shorts.
This is why… As the sun bakes on you, it heats up your skin which holds in the heat. Wearing light weight breathable clothing shades your skin not only from the damaging sun, but also from the direct heat it creates. Columbia makes a fantastic line of clothing made for our extreme summer heat that actually keeps your body cool. Yes, you will still sweat, but that sweat is what keeps your body temperature cool as it evaporates. Without protection, the direct sun on your skin will dry out your perspiration before it has time to do what Mother Nature created it for.
If you can, break up your day and get out of the sun during the middle of the day. We all know it’s going to be brutally hot by noon. Many of the fish feel this heat too, and will stop feeding at the peak heat of the day. Your best bite will be early morning until maybe noon – if you’re lucky. We also know that the summer afternoon rains are going to occur, which will cool things down a bit. The fish feel this too, and will begin to feed again late afternoon and into the evening. With this in mind, make a plan to get out fishing early, maybe from 7 to 11 AM. Plan on getting off the water by noon so you can swim, eat, nap, and cool off. Then get back out on the water after our usual summer showers for some fantastic late day action.
Drink a lot of water! It is also imperative to remain hydrated before, during, and after a day on the water. Hydration must occur on an ongoing basis, not just when you are feeling thirsty. Drink water before heading out. Be sure to pack a cooler with lots of ice and be sure to drink at least 12-16 oz of cool water for each half hour. It may sound like a lot to some, but drinking that much water is necessary for your body. If properly hydrated, you will not feel as exhausted after your day in the heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as this will dehydrate you even more!About The Author Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
s a lover of food stories, and one who is always looking for new and creative ideas, I happened upon a collection of typical American foods at not-so-typical pricing. So, if you’re looking to spend a little bit more for a bit of the same, take a look at some of these out-of-the-way places with tremendous prices.
The Philly Cheesesteak – $100
This popular Philadelphian street food has made its way all across America. This version, although is only served at the steakhouse, Barclay Prime in Philadelphia. It comes on a ciabatta roll with wagyu ribeye steak, foie gras, truffles and fontina, and includes a half bottle of champagne. Perhaps they only serve on average two per night, those that try it love it!
Mac and Cheese – $95
Available only during white truffle season (October through December), this popular dish gets a major upgrade at the high-end Los Angeles restaurant Mélisse. It’s made with fresh tagliatelle pasta that’s covered with melted parmesan, grated white truffle, and brown butter truffle froth. The $95 price tag, however, doesn’t include the health care costs you’ll likely incur from digesting it.
Ice Cream Sundae – $1,000
Treating a date to an ice cream sundae could get a little pricey if it’s at Serendipity 3 in New York City. Its “Golden Opulence” dessert comes with three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream made with Madagascar vanilla beans and chunks of Venezuelan Chuao chocolate. It’s then drizzled with melted chocolate from Amedei Porcelana, and topped with candied fruits, gold-covered almonds, chocolate truffles, marzipan cherries, and… Grande Passion caviar. The garnish, however— a 23-carat edible gold leaf—is really what puts the dessert over the top. And it’s all served in a Baccarat crystal goblet (yours to take home) with an 18-carat gold spoon (which, unfortunately, will cost you extra).
Hot Dog – $1,501
The average price of a New York hot dog from a cart is $2, but for an extra $1,499, you could opt for the world’s most expensive hot dog in Little Rock, Arkansas. Unveiled in May at a farmer’s market, this limited-offer dog contained a 1/4 pound of premium beef and was topped with lobster tail, saffron aioli and gold flakes. Now thats a Hot Dog!
Pizza – $1,000
The country’s most expensive pizza can be found at Nino’s Bellissima Pizza in Manhattan. A mere 12 inches in diameter, it’s topped with crème fraiche, Maine lobster tail, $820 worth of caviar (six different kinds, including Beluga and a Black Russian Royal Sevruga), chives and wasabi paste. Just a small one-eighth slice will set you back $125. Owner Nino Selimaj, says he’s received hundreds of orders since the pie’s debut in 2007, and that it’s “worth every penny.” Anyone want to go out for pizza?
Hamburger – $295
Again, found at Serendipity 3 in Manhattan, “Le Burger Extravagant” isn’t your typical hamburger.
The bun – a campagna roll – is dusted with gold specs, spread with white truffle butter, and topped with blini, crème fraiche and caviar from Quzhou, China. Inside the bun, you’ll find Japanese Wagyu beef that’s infused with 10-herb white truffle butter and topped with black truffles, fried quail egg, and James Montgomery cheddar cheese from England that’s been cave-aged for 18 months. Oh, and it’s all held together by a solid-gold, diamond-encrusted toothpick – to pick those gold specs out of your teeth.
Summer is on its way with vacation just around the corner. Let me know your take on any of these delights you happen to go eat. They are not in my budget, but they make for quite the story!About The Author Chef Annie and daughter Lauren began their journey together at The Chefs Express in Olde Marco in 2004. After 6 years of developing strong customer relations and a solid name in the restaurant and catering business, they have moved to the forefront of Marco Islands’ service business at The Esplanade. The new venue called for a new name…thus Mangos Dockside Bistro at The Esplanade. Our family invites you to experience the best food, the best views, the best drinks…with THE MOST FUN! Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
Like most artists, I’m frequently asked about the mysterious whereabouts of that elusive creature, inspiration. Nothing mysterious about it, I can’t speak for all artists, but I am surrounded by it (and those of you familiar with my work will get this). So why is it you see a palm tree in your front yard and I see magnificent swipes of blues and greens? Part of it certainly owes to my artistic temperament, but a great deal is owing to the fact that your tree is new to me, and to you it is routine, like visual white-noise.
Change is not only good, it’s necessary to the health of our nervous systems. Most things disappear through routine. If the art in your hallway never moves, you stop seeing it – but hang it by the front door and it suddenly becomes a new purchase. If you play the same CD in your car along the same route to work every day, you stop hearing it – the sameness of your route, as well as the sounds, will contribute to the overall numbness of the trip. And that’s when our alertness can begin to plummet.
A professor I knew, when lecturing on the importance of change in composition, used to explain it this way: remember when you were very young and just starting to take interest in romance? Remember sitting in the dark theater and tentatively holding hands with the boy or girl next to you? (I have no idea if this still goes on today.)
After a while, too afraid to move, you not only stopped feeling your sweetheart’s hand, but yours as well. Much like the shirt you’re wearing, you may feel it when you put it on, but after a few moments your brain simply stops receiving those nerve sensations.
Last week I was a passenger on a ride to Cape Coral on Interstate 75. After about half an hour I was jolted out of my stupor by the realization that my usually active mind hadn’t had a cognizant thought in all that time. Interstates have such an homogenized look, that quite often we get the feeling that we could be on a highway anywhere – Ohio, California, Georgia. There is little to no stimulation, so we have little to no mental reactions.
On the other hand, take the road less travelled and all sorts of things may inspire you to think of all sorts of things: see that group of gnarled trees, that old farmhouse, that twisting creek? Smell that wood smoke? Hear those birds? Perhaps they awaken a sleeping memory, or inspire a creative vision. Perhaps, with your brain fully activated, you find a solution to a persistent problem. All things are possible when we are fully engaged.
Change your music, your art, your garden. Change your route of travel, your food choices, your furniture arrangement. Change any routine, or any number of routines and you are likely to stir your imagination and become truly inspired. After all, an artful life exists on the ability to see things in a new perspective.
About The Author Tara O’Neill, a lifelong, award-winning, artist has been an area resident since 1967. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida and is currently represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery on Marco Island. Visit her at www.taraogallery.com.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
Every once in a great while you come across one of those people who just amaze you with creativity. It almost seems like they have a never ending supply of that stuff that everybody wants: inspiration and motivation.
Always exuding a positive attitude is a tough thing to do, but if anyone does, it’s Daniel Argote. A self-proclaimed “music junkie” and tattoo artist, he puts music into every piece he does. From the JBL speakers in “the shop,” also known as Webbworks Tattoo, Danny blares his mix of rock, metal, country, blues, indie, hip-hop and whatever the flavor of the day may be. One would be hard pressed to sit through a tattoo session and not hear at least a handful of new tunes, and likely sprinkle in some “band history” between tracks. His combination of talent and tough work ethic makes Danny an extremely bright star on the new horizon of musical art. Not satisfied to be merely a local legend, he maintains a professional online presence on Facebook, Instagram, and his website, where people have begun to seek him out for his portraits of pop Icons like Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley and Dave Grohl. His tattoo masterpieces are properly worn from Southwest Florida to New Jersey, and as far as his planned future home, Colorado, where he plans to someday have his own art studio.
Apparent to anyone who ventures down to Pine Ridge and Yahl in Naples, and drops by the “Noon to 9” Webbworks, his personality is as vibrant as the colors he paints on canvas.
Danny began his journey four years ago as an apprentice to Webbworks owner, operator and veteran tattoo artist, Jason Webb Raleigh. Since then, he has maintained a residency at Webbworks Tattoo Studio. These days, multiple private offices are the make-up the new storefront. “The shop,” as they call it, looks and smells far more like a doctors office than a “shop.” Along with Danny and Jason, the complex includes artist and mentor, Timothy Gilman, who specializes in “traditional-American” style tattoos and flash design. Also a longtime resident of the Naples area, Tim, has encouraged Danny’s indulgence into multi-media arts. Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator routinely render a final product of his artwork, but good ol’ fashion pencil, pen and marker are never far away. Interchanged with watercolors, oil, charcoal and airbrush, Danny’s computer is a vital tool, not only to enhance and finalize the art, but to reach out beyond the obvious local and regional restrictions.
The things he is doing outside of tattooing are really getting noticed. The “fan art” he has made and presented to touring acts, The Deftones, Coheed & Cambria, and Queens Of The Stone Age, at their shows, and the positive on-stage responses from all, continue to point to his connection with music. Album covers have always been high on Argote’s list of mediums. Danny has quite successfully (at least if your askin’ me) designed the album art for two CDs… Gladezmen: Big Ol’ Monster (2011), and GatorNateAugustus: OnlyChildFamilyBand (2012). As you might have guessed, the “fountain of creativity” is back at it again, deep into production of his loftiest venture to date. Due out early summer, GatorNate & The Gladezmen: Alligator Radio (2013), will have Danny heading up the full custom layout and design including a multiple page foldout poster, logos, countless characters, photos and even some extra vocals in the studio.
In his mid 20’s, this lifelong journey to blend art and music has merely begun. Who knows what’s in store for tattoo collectors, music lovers or art buffs… I don’t even think Danny knows… You can check out more of his art, and that of his partners, Timothy Gilman and Jason Webb Raleigh, at WebbworksTattoo.com or facebook.com/danielargote
About The Author Nate Augustus is a native “Florida cracker” and a singer/songwriter from the Marco/Naples area. His band, “Gator Nate & The Gladezmen” and his “One-Man-Band” can be seen at many local venues. He has released multiple albums on his record label “SwampSong”. For more info on Nate and his musical doings, go to www.Gladezmen.com or facebook.com/NateAugustus His latest CD “Gator Nate Augustus-Only Child Family Band” is available on CDBaby and Itunes.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Natalie Strom
In honor of the Second Annual National Everglades Day, April 6th, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) was ready to throw a party. Just last year the date was chosen as it is the birthday of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, a champion of the Everglades, known best for her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.” She was at the forefront of the fight towards redefining the Everglades as a treasured river rather than a useless swamp.
Much has been learned about “The River of Grass” since Douglas wrote the book in 1947, but the devastation to the Everglades had already begun. As people are beginning to understand the need for proper water flow throughout the Everglades and Florida as a whole, steps are constantly being taken to protect what is left of the anything but useless swamp.
It can be assumed that what took place at RBNERR on the Second Annual National Everglades Day would have certainly pleased Ms. Douglas. The public celebration that had been initially planned turned into an intimate gathering of some of the most influential law makers and heads of state and conservation societies along with a number of concerned citizens. All were there to not only recognize the special day, but to discuss the restoration of the Everglades, especially the Southwest portion.
Among the guest speakers of the day were Gary Lytton, Director of RBNERR, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of District 25, Zach Zampella, Regional Director for Senator Marco Rubio, Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala of District 1, Lisa Koehler, Administrator for the Big Cypress Basin, SFWMD, Brad Cornell of the Audubon of Florida and Captain Will Geraghty, a charter fisherman in Naples.
Brad Cornell led the day, introducing speakers such as Donna Fiala who Cornell described as, “one of the first leaders in Collier County to recognize the importance of participating in the Gulf Restore Act.”
Ms. Fiala briefly spoke on her memories, recalling Rookery Bay when her children were young; bringing them out to see the birds and the habitat. “Of course it looks much different today, but this is a very special place for me,” she stated.
Lisa Koehler spoke next with some interesting words on the work going on in the western Everglades. In particular, Koehler discussed the work going on in Picayune Strand. Once slated to be “East Golden Gate Estates,” canals were dug and roads put in, but the development never took place. Since the 1960’s the land has been forever altered, misdirecting the natural flow of water through the Everglades. Lisa discussed a number of other projects in the works for the Big Cypress Basin, all which would consist of redirecting to balance the salinity of the many bays within our areas.
To understand more of the science behind the question of the importance of managing where and how fresh meets salt water in the area was Water Quality Program Manager Christina Panko Graff of RBNERR. After the speeches, all made their way out to the boardwalk where Panko Graff gave a demonstration on water salinity.
“One of our main research projects is to study how canals and other water control structures that have been put in place due to urban development have effected the amount of freshwater that comes into our estuaries as well as when it comes into the estuaries. Because estuaries are where fresh and salt water meet, we can study this question pretty easily by monitoring how salty is the estuary.”
Using equipment that collects real-time data, RBNERR monitors a number of its estuarine bays to attempt to understand how and where the fresh water needs to flow.
“What our research has found is that in this Picayune Strand area and sort of below it, we have found sort of a “Goldilocks” effect where in this estuary here it’s getting too much fresh water at the wrong time, where this one is not getting enough at all, but this one here is ‘just right,’” explained Panko Graff, pointing to the specific locations on the map.
The Picayune Strand project should effect water flow to the areas Panko Graff explained which means that, “our data is going to be critical in determining the success of this large-scale restoration project.”
This one project alone demonstrates the necessity for the local, state and federal governments, private organizations, companies, land managers and fisheries to come together and work as one for the sake of the Everglades. The Picayune, the estuaries, the sawgrass, mangrove trees and big cypress knees are all a part of a master plan that once flowed and moved together.
And on April 6th, National Everglades Day, the thought and spirit of saving the Glades was alive, flowing between the people in the room like a tidal surge, giving hope to the thought that this once perfect treasure, now so damaged, may one day be healthy again.
A Week In Winter By Maeve Binchy
Knopf, November 2012
The Irish speak English with a musical lilt, softening even the harshest words and syllables. The best Irish authors bring this magical musical lilt to their written word. In my opinion, Maeve Binchy is in that class of authors.
Some paint pictures with their words, but Maeve paints life with her words. The reader cannot just “see” her characters in her mind’s eye, but experiences life right along with the characters. The soaring giddiness of falling in love, the deep delight of parental pride, the pathos of betrayal, the comfortable silences of long-married couples, the crushing grief of a loved one’s death, the regenerating spirit of genuine friendship, the seeming impossibility of just carrying on – these are guaranteed in Maeve’s books. It’s why millions of us love her. We know every book will be packed with human frailty and strength, that there will be a happy ending despite all the travails and that we will feel better about our own lives. Reading a Maeve Binchy book is like getting a lovely hug from your favorite auntie.
It was raining the day I read “A Week In Winter,” Maeve’s final book. The weather was a stark contrast to that of the day when I was introduced to Maeve Binchy through “A Circle of Friends,” reading it in full sunlight at the beach in New Smyrna Beach. It underscored to me, that in some way, I had come full circle with one of my favorite authors. I opened this final gift from Maeve, eager yet reluctant, knowing it would be the last journey into her world of Irish hamlets, villages and of course, Dublin.
“A Week In Winter” is set in tiny Stoneybridge, on the west coast of Ireland. Geraldine “Chicky” Ryan is the protagonist, but as in all Binchy books, the “secondary” characters take over the story. Chicky’s nickname derived from her childhood job of feeding the chickens on the family farm. She brings disgrace upon the family when she leaves for New York City with visiting American, Walter Starr, only six weeks after meeting him at the knitting factory where she works in the office. Walter never marries her and in fact, slinks off to California after a few months. Chicky is determined not to go back to her judgmental parents and bleak tiny Stoneybridge. Her letters home have been novellas, fictionalized accounts of her wedding and life with Walter in America. Over the next two decades, she makes annual visits to Stoneybridge with colorful excuses to explain Walter’s absence. Eventually, she decides to return to her roots when the opportunity to renovate the old Sheedy place into a bed and breakfast presents itself. Chicky’s “widowhood” is explained by Walter’s fatal (fictional) car accident.
Once Chicky is back in Ireland, things really start to happen. The secondary characters we have already met, a few degrees of separation from Chicky, make their way to Stoneybridge or strengthen their ties to it. The tribulations and setbacks of getting Stone House ready for opening, including attracting guests, are all met. During Stone House’s renovation, Maeve weaves the back stories of the characters whose lives will intersect during this week in winter.
The guests include an American actor who believes he has disguised his identity, an engaged woman and her mother-in-law to be, a couple who won the week-long holiday as second place in a contest, a recently retired bitter school principal, a young Swede who loves music but is expected to take over the family accounting firm and a psychic librarian frightened of her “visions.” At the same time, we are kept abreast of what is going on with the Stoneybridge folk, even those now living in Dublin.
Predictable but delightful, Maeve weaves all these story threads together during this week in winter. Her diverse cast of characters has experienced bitterness, disappointment, disgrace, betrayal, doubt, and fear. Somehow, in this seemingly godforsaken remote part of Ireland, an old battered mansion has been the catalyst for their redemption, renewal, and rejuvenation. And most find their way back to courage, love, friendship and generosity.
As Maeve fans know, her latter books are full of recurring characters, and it’s comforting to learn that Brenda is still running Quentin’s, that familiar comfortable restaurant in Dublin. We catch glimpses of a few others familiar to us through Maeve’s previous books.
Some people say this isn’t Maeve’s best work. That’s a judgment best left to each reader. She delivers a great cast of interesting, credible personalities whose predicaments she resolves with trademark humor, warm-heartedness, and keen insight into human behavior. I found it an extremely satisfying read. From “Light A Penny Candle,” published in 1982, to “A Week In Winter,” published 30 years later, Maeve Binchy has been warming the literary world with her love letters to Ireland otherwise known as her novels. She will be missed.
About The Author Maggie Gust is a life-long avid reader whose career path has included working as a teacher and in various positions in the health care field. A native of Illinois, she has lived in Florida since 1993 and presently works from her home here on Marco Island. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgNote: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” - Winston Churchill
By Darcie Guerin - email@example.com
The coffee maker didn’t work, that’s why your coffee isn’t ready.” I had to laugh as I heard those words fall out of my mouth one morning when Pete returned from walking the dogs. The truth was that I had been watching “Downtown Abbey” on Netflix the night before and had forgotten to set the timer on the coffee maker. For better or for worse, I took responsibility for my actions– regardless of external circumstances–and prepared his coffee, no excuses. This same premise applies to financial matters as well.
Prior to the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, there was plenty of legitimate uncertainty concerning tax matters. Now we have policies in place and know how they may affect our investments. Rather than procrastinating and blaming the coffee maker, politicians, or the stock market, let’s look at 13 timely and actionable ideas that may reduce 2013 taxes and help you obtain your financial objectives.
1. Various types of income are taxed differently. Consider rebalancing your portfolio to reduce the tax burden created by your investments and perhaps include more tax-advantaged investments such as municipal bonds or dividend paying stocks, especially if you’re in a higher tax bracket. While the tax treatment of income is important, don’t lose sight of your risk tolerance and your long-term goals.
2. Review the tax efficiency of your portfolio. The goal is to keep as much of the gain and income generated on your investments as possible. Certain investments generate more tax liability than others do. Work with your tax advisor to evaluate your investments and after-tax returns.
3. Match investments to account type. From a tax standpoint, some investments are better suited to certain account types. Traditional brokerage accounts may correspond best with tax-advantaged investments like municipal bonds or stocks held long term, while income-paying stocks may belong in tax-advantaged retirement accounts.
4. Tax-deferred growth is even more important in a high tax environment. Qualified plans, individual retirement accounts, and annuities may offer opportunities for tax-deferred growth on assets.
5. For younger investors, ROTH IRA and 401(k) conversions may be appropriate. The advantage of making the conversion now is that you pay the taxes today for a tax-free distribution later in life when you presumably could be in a higher tax bracket or taxes may have risen further. Investors should consult a tax advisor before deciding to do a conversion.
6. Deferred compensation strategies are an excellent way to defer or minimize income taxes over the long term. These plans move wages into future years when income may be less, you may have more deductions, or tax rates may be lower due to legislative changes.
7. Donor advised funds permit charitably inclined investors to reduce their tax burden and benefit favorite causes because generally speaking, donations count as itemized deductions for that tax year. This includes cash, real estate, goods, or other assets. The deductibility of gifts is based on factors such as the donors’ income, nature of the donation and the charity receiving the gift. Outright gifts may help avoid capital gains taxes. Donor advised finds allow you to make future donations and claim the current income tax deduction. Again, always consult with your tax advisor before making the gift.
8. Review cost basis information regularly to ensure accuracy and avoid paying more capital gains tax than necessary. Starting January 1, 2011, financial institutions are required to report this information directly to the Internal Revenue Service.
9. Manage short-term cash flow needs such as college tuition payments or large tax bills. Have a plan on how you’ll provide for upcoming expenses so you don’t have to sell assets at an inappropriate time.
10. Consider the advantages of your mortgage. For many investors, their home is one of their most significant assets but also one of the most illiquid assets. There is no one right answer on how to fund your home purchase, it will depend on your tax bracket, mortgage amount and interest rate. The overall limitation on itemized deductions, sometimes called the 3 percent haircut, has been reinstated, reducing the value of total allowable itemized deductions for individuals with income greater than $250,000 or joint filers with income in excess of $300,000.
11. Review estate documents, beneficiary designations, and wealth transfer strategies to make sure your intentions are properly outlined. Essential estate planning documents include a living will, power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, revocable living trust and a last will and testament. Important life events such as births, deaths, marriage, divorce, retirement, or inheritances are often smoother if these documents are already in place.
12. Beware of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Higher income investors may find themselves subject to this nuisance tax calculation. The 2013 AMT exemption is $51,900 for individuals and $89,800 for joint files. Factors that may influence your AMT exposure include exercising incentive stock options (ISO’s), deferment, or acceleration of deductable expenses and claiming AMT credits and refunds.
13. Work closely with your advisors to review how the new tax environment may affect your investments. Financial planning is an ongoing process that includes much more than building an investment portfolio.
There’s always a reason to postpone doing something. Yet with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 now in place, it’s time to address your financial objectives and goals making 2013 the year to review and document your financial plan. Stay focused and invest accordingly.
As federal and state tax rules are subject to frequent changes, you should consult with a qualified tax advisor prior to making any investment decision. Material obtained from sources believed to be reliable, is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and the possible loss of principal invested. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and subject to change at any time. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame logo), which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements. Diversification and strategic asset allocation do not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
Darcie Guerin, CFP®, is Associate Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. She may be reached at 239-389-1041, email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.raymondjames.com/Darcie
I recently turned 11 years old. Yes, mathematical wizards, that means I’m the human equivalent of 77.
Of course, we’re never too old to stop learning. More importantly, we’re really never too old to learn something new about ourselves.
Let’s take a look at the last year, for example. Our family added a second dog. I subsequently “learned” that I did not like having another dog around. Specifically, I “learned” I really don’t like Chihuahuas.
However, I also discovered that my daddies were smart enough to see through my plan to return the “Chihua” to our local Taco Bell on the South Trail.
“Hey Chihua, they aren’t looking. Quick, jump in that window and round up our food. We’ll wait for you—TRUST me.”
The result: the Chihua got an extra Cinnamon Twist to appease his “pain and suffering” and my “selfish” actions are apparently the reason Taco Bell permanently removed the coveted Chili-Cheese Burrito from the menu.
Truth be told, I have spent my life living with a big secret—so big, in fact, I didn’t know it myself.
You see, I don’t look like a “traditional Airedale:” brown ears, wiry hair, supermodel legs. I have black ears, Danny DeVito stumps and—dare I say it—Poodle-esque fur.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m super HOT and I certainly turn some heads and wag some tails but I have also been subject to taunts and jests from the other dogs at the Marco Dog Park: “Tony is a POODale, Tony is a POODale!”
They tend to shut up though after I go pee pee in their portable water bowls.
My overly sensitive daddies have always assured me I was a purebred Airedale—though they never could quite manage to serve up the papers to prove it.
Having spent the majority of my life living with the suspicion that my mother was a bitch of questionable morals, I still couldn’t bring myself to believe that any self-respecting Airedale would stoop so low as to schtupp a Poodle!
Finally, after all these years, my Facebook Friend, Lily Airedale, gave my life brand new meaning: it turns out I am a “Sheepcoat Airedale.” I’m legit!
Having since then joined an online Support Group for Sheepcoats—uh, that’s not a joke—I have learned that the Sheepcoat is a very rare, very special coat type.
But what’s more, I am not alone.
Yep, we all get older, but that does not mean we have to stop living and loving and learning and licking ourselves inappropriately in public places.
My Short Daddy (the emotional one) is 50 and is determined to focus a part of his career on helping people (www.rediscovercourtesy.org). And though he gets discouraged and constantly complains that “no one really cares,” at least he cares enough to try.
My Tall Daddy (the fun one) is 51 and never met a party he didn’t like. Of course, as the sidewalks on Marco Island roll up every night at 9 o’clock, he’s able to explore his inner party animal yet still be home by 9:15 for a quick Downtown Abbey re-run before going to bed.
As for me, now that I’m secure in my Airedale lineage, I am trying to be a better being.
Just last week I resisted the urge to raise my leg on the squatting Chihua in our side yard. (Baby steps. Baby steps.)
But the best part of the illustrious group of Sheepcoat Airedales is that we apparently don’t show our age.
You know, I may be 11 now but, with the perpetual Fountain of Youth genetically situated at my side, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what I look like when I’m 22!
Tony Wakefield-Jones is an 11-year-old psychologically gifted Airedale. He is on Facebook at facebook.com/tony.wakefieldjones and his complete body of work can be found at attackbunnies.com.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Crystal Manjarres - Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com
I just wanted to say that there is nothing better than living on Marco Island—except being pregnant in paradise! I have to say that life just doesn’t seem to be able to get any better than this (and yet I know that the best is still yet to come).
I am blessed with a loving family, wonderful clientele and awesome readers. Thank you to all who have shared their blessings with me and my family—it is truly appreciated and will not be forgotten.
As my second trimester began, I got an amazing surge of energy! I went from zero workouts to working out six days a week, even having a few days of extra cardio and walks in addition to my regular fitness regime! I went from eating no vegetables to juicing, salads and veggie lasagnas. I went from utter exhaustion, to unlimited pep in my step. What a wonderful blessing that second trimester is!
I began my nesting urges early and every weekend my husband and I do major spring cleaning to prepare for the baby. We’ve already gotten rid of furniture, added new baby furniture, and are working on the house, section by section, top to bottom. It’s amazing how an infant has so much stuff and needs so much space!
After avoiding food during my first trimester, all I want to do is eat—and preferably have something different for every meal, every day. That’s not too much to ask, is it? I’ve learned that I can go to virtually any restaurant on Marco and have my needs accommodated. It’s so easy to eat healthy, people! We just have to know how to ask.
If you eat animal protein, most restaurants are happy to prepare your meat in any way you prefer it. Don’t be afraid to ask for a grilled chicken breast sans butter instead of the fried. I usually start off with a salad and have lots of veggies and either a plain baked potato, sweet potato, or grain as my side. Since I do not eat animal protein, I will usually have my plant based protein prior to the meal. Of course, I could always have beans and rice, or corns and beans, or add chickpeas or another bean/legume to add some protein as well. I never even have to check out a menu ahead of time anymore, as I know how to “clean” up any food.
Since I fill my palate with a big salad (and usually no dressing unless it is fresh and preservative/artificial flavors/dyes free) and lots of vegetables, I do not have to worry about portion sizes. Now, if I poured lots of creamy dressing on top complete with croutons (my least favorite food in the world) and lots of other unnecessary “fillers,” then yes, it is a calorie bomb waiting to explode, so I don’t (and plus that grosses me out). I do only eat half of my starch, however. If it is a baked potato, then I’ll have half, if it is brown rice, maybe a quarter cup to a half cup and so on.
One powerful and overlooked way of eating is the act of chewing. Most of us are either chowing down because we’re famished or aren’t paying attention (i.e. watching T.V. or dining with friends). This causes us to eat quicker than usual and consequently more than we should as well. When we combine this fast eating with gulping down the beverage of our choice (even water), we mess up our delicate digestive system. Food is meant to be chewed until it is in particles small enough for our digestive system to utilize. After food passes from your teeth, it does not get “chewed” again, so your body has a difficult time breaking down these large particles of food; this coupled with drinking liquids during our meal wreaks havoc on our gastrointestinal tract. By taking smaller bites, chewing each bite thoroughly, and avoiding drinking anything until after your meal time, you will not only improve your digestion, but you will also be more mindful. This will enable you to stop eating when you are satisfied and before you are full. You will also stay fuller longer (provided you are eating a balanced, healthy meal), which will prevent you from mindless snacking and overeating at your next meal.
These tips can apply to every meal, every day—pregnant or not. Remember to start each plate with a clean slate. You can do it! If you need help, I’m just an email away: Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com.
About The Author Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Mike P. Usher - email@example.com
Once a year, it’s always nice to revisit the Southern Cross, technically known as Crux, as a reminder of just how far south Marco Island is located. Although the Cross rises above the horizon every day of the year, it is usually hidden by daylight, clouds or the ungodly lateness of the hour. Only at the end of April to mid-May can the Cross be seen by casual stargazers at a reasonable time.
An additional problem with Crux is that while it is visible to Marco Islanders, it is just barely visible. The constellation is quite bright, it’s just so low in the sky; the top three are still pretty easy to see, the problem is the bottom star Acrux. Just barely one degree above the horizon a stargazer must have a completely flat horizon and haze free skies. Although one of the brighter stars in the sky, Acrux did not receive its name until comparatively recently when navigators in the southern hemisphere gave it a shortened form of it’s Bayer Catalog designation of Alpha Crucis.
Just above and to the left of Crux is one of the wonders of the sky, Omega Centauri – the largest globular cluster visible in Earth’s sky. (It is marked w Cen on the chart.)
How large is it? Omega Centauri is larger in apparent size than the full Moon! Wait for a moonless night and view it with your binoculars; then you will see what ten million stars look like all gathered in the same place. Without binoculars, Omega Centauri is still faintly visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy spot.
See you next time!
Mr. Usher is President of the Everglades Astronomical Society which meets the second Tuesday each month at 7 PM in the Norris Center, Cambier Park, Naples.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
The Marco Riders have been religiously meeting on Sunday mornings for over 20 years. Age, style, color or size, every bike and everyone is accepted. The Marco Riders isn’t so much of a club, but a loosely organized group of motorcycle enthusiasts, explains Carmen Dasti.
“We meet at CVS on Sundays at around 8:45 AM and we decide where we want to go to breakfast. We usually have anywhere from 10 to 40 people.” The Marco Riders roster, however, boasts over 100 names.
“Thank God they all don’t come at once,” jokes Dasti who is the current “leader” of the “club.” His duties involve leading the quickly decided breakfast location discussion and calling ahead to let the chosen restaurant know how many bikers to expect.
On the morning of April 7th, Dasti made the call to Island Cafe in Everglades City.
What, did you think they would just drive two blocks to go somewhere close by? These are riders we’re talking about! Often, they’ll head as far as Fort Myers for an omelette and some O.J.
In all seriousness, the Marco Riders, while not necessarily considering themselves a club, do have a mission. Every year, they take part in The Joy of Giving, raising close to $10,000 last year by way of a Poker Run.
Last year, they started at Porky’s, drove about 100 miles between destinations and ended up back at Porky’s where they also raised money through an auction.
And next year the 100 plus members will do it all over again. But until then, they’ll stick to Sunday morning meetings at CVS.
Whether riding for fun or to raise funds, the Marco Riders are all about enjoying time on their bikes and with their fellow bike enthusiasts and friends.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
Don’t be late for this very important date! The Mad Hatter and Alice have invited you to join them in Wonderland on May 11th, for a morning filled with the puzzling nonsense and the maddening fun that is the Mad Hatter Tea Party.
Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, neighbors, and friends are encouraged to celebrate the day before Mother’s Day by taking part in this once a year day. Ladies and the youngest of ladies will spend time designing necklaces, sipping tea and socializing. They will also design picture frames to surround their special Mad Hatter photo. This reintroduction to an old-fashioned tea party will be complete with tea sandwiches, scones, cupcakes, fresh fruit and an assortment of teas.
The tea party takes place from 10 AM until noon at Mackle Park. The cost is $20 per person. You must pre-register at Mackle Park by Wednesday, May 8th to avoid missing out on this morning filled with curiosity and wonderment. Please note that space is limited. For
more information about this program please
call Mackle Park at 642-0575
By Noelle H. Lowery - firstname.lastname@example.org
People thought Andrew Delgado was crazy when he opened his custom home building company — Andrew Hunter Homes LLC — in 2010.
“That is what I heard from everyone,” quips Delgado.
One look at the depressed real estate and home building markets of the time coupled with a global economy trudging through “The Great Recession” was proof enough for Delgado’s detractors back then.
Fast forward three years, though, and the latest home sales and building permit activity on Marco Island may prove Delgado was crazy like a fox. In fact, anyone driving around the island today notices an uptick in home construction activity, and one only needs to open a window to hear the almost ever-present tune of pile-drivers hammering throughout the island. Andrew Hunter Homes accounts for 12 homes under construction right now, and has at least a half-dozen more in the works.
“We hit it right,” Delgado says with a big smile on his face. “We built four houses in the first year. We were hoping to catch the market on the way up. We ended up becoming part of the avalanche of new home building activity.”
Could it be that the Marco Island real estate market is on the rebound?
To be sure, the numbers provide some proof. According to the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, home builders pulled 74 permits for new homes and 28 permits for demolitions last year. That is more than double the permitting activity on both fronts in 2011. In the first quarter of 2013, permits were issued for 18 new homes, five demolitions and four model homes.
Further, the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors reports that 178 residential properties were under contract in March — 65 homes, 30 lots and 83 condos. That is a nearly 60 percent increase from February’s pending sales of 111 residential properties and a 30 percent increase over January’s pending sales figures.
“The market is healthy, robust and active,” says Gerry Rosenblum, president of MIAAOR. “It is building upon itself.”
It appears the real estate and home building markets as a whole have been playing a numbers game for some time now.
“Business is up. Permits are up. There has been a steady, significant increase in new home builds and sales — steady increase over the last six months,” explains Kathy Curatolo, Executive Vice President of the Collier Builders Industry Association.
Market statistics from Washington, D.C.-based Metrostudy confirm this sentiment. In Collier County alone during the first quarter of 2013, 305 new homes were started and a total of 486 already were under construction. That is an increase over the first quarter of 2012 of 53 percent and 82 percent respectively.
Further, according to the Florida Association of Realtors, home sales across the state were up 6.4 percent last year to 4,720 when compared to 2011. The median sale price also grew by 10.6 percent to $260,000. Townhouses and condos proved to be even hotter commodities with 5,256 sold. That was a 9.1 percent increase in one year. The median sale price jumped 12 percent to $185,000.
FAR also reports big market gains in the first quarter of this year for the combined Naples-Marco Island markets. Sales of existing single-family homes between January and February jumped from 280 to 344 and prices from $266,500 to $290,000. Townhouse and condo sales increased 331 to 420, and prices were up from $190,000 to $209,950.
By the same token, the overall inventory of existing and new homes for sale has been steadily declining. Countywide, Metrostudy reports the inventory of finished vacant new homes was at its lowest point — 123 — in years last quarter. Take Marco Island where January inventory of homes was down 14 percent to 335 homes. Condo inventory was down 21 percent to 526 condos, and lots were down by 20 percent to 277.
“The market is up very substantially from a year ago, and huge from two years ago. Three years ago the market was still in decline,” explains Brad Hunter, Chief Economist and National Director of Consulting for Metrostudy.
Leading the charge
What’s more is that it appears the Naples and Marco Island combined markets are at the forefront of the market turnaround on a national level. At the end of 2012, Metrostudy reported that the largest gains made last year were in the hardest-hit bubble real estate markets, including Naples/Ft. Myers with a nearly 92 percent jump. The local market growth was only second to Las Vegas at 96 percent.
“We are a leader in some sense,” remarks MIAAOR’s Rosenblum. “Our market started coming back here before a lot of places. Last August, you could sense it was getting better here everyday, but I would talk to others in other markets and hear differently from them.”
Hunter concurs: “This area was famous for having been clobbered by the downturn. People are surprised at how quickly it is recovering.”
So, what is at the center of this turnaround?
Hunter attributes this surge in market activity to three elements. First, builders really cut production back when times were the toughest. Second, investors came in and bought up the for sale supply, turning them into rental properties. Third, people who want to sell now simply have been waiting for stronger vertical pricing pressures.
In the case of Marco Island, there is one more key reason: concentrated wealth. According to Rosenblum, the market upswing began with investors coming into the area. “There are always people with money, and they see what is going on. They sense when the market hits bottom. They start to buy, and get the great deals,” says Rosenblum.
“People with money stimulate the market,” he notes.
Now, though, end-users are in the driver’s seat, Rosenblum continues. “People are buying houses now and keeping them off the market. They are looking at retirement 5, 10, 15 years down the road. They missed the boat last time, and they are locking up their piece of paradise now,” he adds.
Still, despite the numbers and the gains, cautious optimism reigns thanks to continuing economic uncertainties and a frustratingly cumbersome government.
“I think you are going to see a nice, normal, steady sales pace (for the rest of the year),” predicts Rosenblum. “Right now, we have our big season upon us, but you will see a steady climb. It will be back to normal.”
Hunter anticipates “a strong increase in starts and prices as well.”
Curatolo is holding her optimism close to the vest. “There are signs of recovery,” she says. “Let’s see how the next quarter goes, and then how the next six months goes.”
Market-watchers may bolster their confidence with the results of a recent report by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness. The reason: The report indicates the Naples-Marco Island regions will show stronger economic growth than nearly a dozen other metropolitan areas in Florida in 2013.
According to the report, employment in the Naples-Marco Island area will grow more than in any of the 12 metros studied. The expected 2.7 percent increase in employment will drop the current local unemployment rate to 8.3 percent.
As a result, the area also will see a 5.7 percent increase in personal income — the highest in the state — as well as a 2.7 percent jump in the average wage and close to a 2 percent population growth spurt.
Add this information to local real estate and home building markets already on the upswing, and everyone gets a little excited.
“Unarguably, increased economic activity is always a good thing,” says Lina Upham, a planning and zoning technician with the city of Marco Island.
“The American people in general are resilient and their attitudes adjust,” asserts Rosenblum. “I can’t say things are that much better in the economy, but people rebounded. It is stronger here than in the economy as a whole. We adjusted to the bottom.”Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Natalie Strom - email@example.com
Only weeks ago, BuzzFeed.com came out with its list of “The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World.” Just after the underwater Christ of the Abyss in Italy and the Kolmanskop ghost town in the Namib Desert, is listed, in third place, the “Abandoned Dome Houses in Southwest Florida.” A photo and nothing more accompanies the third place title.
With well over 1.5 million views on BuzzFeed.com and over 60,000 Facebook shares, it seems that the dome home of Cape Romano is no longer Southwest Florida’s secret treasure. Many may recall the September 8, 2012 issue of the Coastal Breeze which featured the history of the elusive white rounded home.
In honor of its recent third place victory, Coastal Breeze News has temporarily made the Cape Romano article a feature story on the front page of its website. Read about the family that built it, how it was made and how it became one of “The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World.”
The Dome Home of Cape Romano
By Natalie Strom
Published September 8, 2012
The mystery of the “dome home” on Cape Romano has been solved! Coastal Breeze readers asked for it and we’ve delivered. After an intense search, the family of Bob Lee, the brainchild and builder of the dome home, has stepped forward to tell their story. The oddly eccentric home has been a topic of conversation and lure since it was built in 1980. Many far-fetched tales have been spun about the futuristic bubbles, but right here, right now, the stories are put to rest.
Bob and Margaret Lee’s daughter, Janet Maples, laughs when she recalls the crazy stories she’s heard about her family’s old vacation home. “I can remember one time, we went to the drug store on Marco and some people in the row behind me were saying, ‘Have you been by those dome houses?’ And the other one said, ‘Yeah, but I hear they guard that with machine guns!’ Somehow it got a reputation of being a scary place.”
The way the domes look today is much more reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic scene than in their heyday of the 1980’s. The domes that have slowly drifted apart and into the Gulf were once a fully functioning home equipped with satellite television and even a hot tub.
“Building it was the fun part for my dad, but he also loved the seclusion of living on the island; fishing, shelling and watching the weather.” An independent oil producer, Lee retired at the age of 44 and, “he started doing these other things that he loved,” continues Maples. “He loved inventing things. He invented a heat source for under the floors of our house and had an invention that would bring logs in and drop them on the fireplace that came through the wall of our den. Kids loved him. He was just fun to be around; a really adventurous guy way before his time.”
The futuristic look of the dome homes is incredibly fitting. In 1980, Bob Lee began work on a home that would be completely self-sufficient; a rather unusual idea during a time of excess in the United States. Lee spent the years of 1978 and 1979 purchasing lots on Cape Romano from four different owners in order to build his dream home. But before he set to work on the property, he built a prototype on the family’s land in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
“It’s still standing but nobody uses it because it had a moisture problem. But he perfected that before he built the next one. We still have that house and the forms that shaped the domes. He used these giant metal forms that fit together like pieces of a basketball. There was an inside layer and an outside layer and you would pour the concrete between the two layers of the form to build the domes.”
In order to get the necessary supplies to Cape Romano, Lee purchased a barge which hauled everything including two concrete mixers, the metal dome forms and fresh water to mix the cement with. “He took sand from the island to a cement-testing lab in Skokie, Illinois and found it to be the perfect aggregate, so he mixed the concrete from the sand of the island,” adds Maples.
But why domes? According to Lee’s grandson, Mike Morgan, “My grandfather designed it so that when the rain would hit the domes, all the rainwater would wash down into a gutter system that he built around the domes. That would all lead into a 23,000 gallon cistern under the center dome. The water would run through filters and that’s what we would use for showers and dishwashing; things like that.
“The house was totally self-sustaining. He had several solar panels for power along with backup generators if it was cloudy for several days.” The solar panels provided free electric to the 2,400 square foot home which featured air conditioning, two hot water heaters, ceiling fans, a refrigerator, a satellite dish, hot tub, gas barbecue and two lighted wooden walkways; one leading to a lagoon, the other to the ocean.
Finished in 1982, the Lee’s and their family enjoyed the home for just two years before selling it in 1984. They repossessed the dome home in 1987 when the current owner got into financial troubles. Bob and Margaret remodeled the interior and kept the home until 1993, one year after Hurricane Andrew. Morgan, who helped with repairs after the storm, adds, “Andrew didn’t do a ton of damage, really. The main structure’s design is very high wind resistant because there’s no sharp edges or flat surfaces for the wind to catch on. That was another thought process that my grandfather had when he built them. But the windows, obviously were not, so that was the main damage.”
Both Maples and Morgan called Cape Romano their permanent residence in the early 90’s. “My daughter turned one while we were living there,” adds Maples. Back then, “it was totally different. There were two other homes; one on stilts and a pyramid-shaped house. They had horses, dogs and turkeys. How they got a horse out there, I’ll never know!”
Over time, the shape of the island has changed, washing the other homes into the water. Now, it seems, the dome home is next. “I remember when it was actually an exhausting walk to the beach,” says Maples. “When Daddy started noticing that the island was going to have what he called the “teardrop effect,” he told the man who purchased the home that they had to put a seawall in. At that time, you could do that. Now you would probably have all kinds of trouble doing that.”
The current owners of the property know this all too well. Purchased in 2005, by the John Tosto family of Naples, plans were to renovate the home, making it functional once again. Up against the Department of Environmental Protection and the Collier County Code Enforcement Board, the family was told the domes must be removed from the island in 2007. Two years later, fines were issued to the family by Collier County due to lack of removal of the domes.
As the sands shift, it seems that Mother Nature may do the job for them. “It was just beautiful at one time,” reminisces Maples. “It would break Daddy’s heart to see it like it is, but what he always said before he died was that it was worth it for the time he had it.“
Those who have seen the domes for themselves certainly agree.
What are your memories of the dome home at Cape Romano? Share your photos with Coastal Breeze on Facebook! Don’t forget to “like” us as well as Cape Romano’s own Facebook page! Special thanks to Margaret Lee, Janet Maples and Mike Morgan for sharing their story and photos and to Mila Bridger for providing current photos of the dome home.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
Marco’s own Alessio Luna, a local seventh grade student at Manatee Middle School, successfully passed a bill through the House and Senate. “I loved the debate! It was realistic and you felt as though you were really in Congress.” Alessio was among local students from Marco Island Charter Middle School, Manatee Middle School and St. John Neumann attending the 8th Annual YMCA Youth in Government Junior State Assembly held in Haines, Florida. This was Alessio’s second visit to the assembly.
Students develop legislation and present their bill to their peers at the assembly, modeling the state legislature. These delegates serve as Representatives or Senators. They work to pass bills as they mirror government in action. Delegates also participate in a Civics Challenge, a competition designed to prepare students for the Seventh Grade Civics statewide EOC (End of Course) Assessment that will go into effect next school year.
Only three Southwest Florida bills passed the House and Senate at the Assembly and were sent to the Governor. Among those achieving this honor was Alessio’s bill, an Act relating to a State Ban on Assault Weapons. His arguments were to not ban all guns, only those that shot 30-45 bullets or more per minute. These weapons were not necessary for home protection or hunting. The bill was a total of four pages long.
Marco Island Charter Middle School students attending the assembly included Andrew Buhelos, Daniel Fireman, Kyle Ginther, Howard Jordan and Hunter O’Neill. St. John Neumann High School students were Kyle MacDonald, Paula Martin and Walker Suddeth.
Alessio hopes to possibly pursue a career in politics one day but first would like to serve the country in the Air Force.
The Youth in Government program is a YMCA program coordinated in the schools by Derek Summerville. Derek covers South County YMCA (Fort Myers), Greater Marco Island YMCA and the Charlotte County Family YMCA.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
By Natalie Strom - firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Sean and Nathan O’Donnell. Identical twins, living on Marco Island, each married with three young children. By trade, the brothers run a painting company, Ace Performance Plus, where they specialize in painting and power washing. But by passion, they mold mahogany into statuesque pieces of art.
Every Wednesday, at the Marco Island Farmers Market the O’Donnell twins set up their booth and listen to the “oohs” and “aahs” coming from those who pass by – but most people stop. They stop to admire the beauty of the wood, the intricacy of the carving – or to ask if the product was made in China.
A sign given to them by a Farmers Market friend hangs above their tent, proudly stating that these designs are NOT made in China. In fact, they are made right here in the mens’ studio/garage in Naples. (It’s hard to call it a “studio” when their main tool is a chainsaw.)
An endangered species of tree, all of Sean and Nathan’s mahogany is “rescued wood.” In order to cut down one of these trees, a special permit is required, and when someone acquires that permit, whether it be due to root problems or proximity issues, somehow one of the O’Donnell’s is always there. “We just happen to be at the right place at the right time,” says Sean. “By law, the wood has to be removed from the property that day, so if we aren’t there while the tree is being cut down, we miss our opportunity.”
If not for the saving grace of Nathan and Sean, the beautiful mahogany would be turned into mulch. Instead, it is sculpted into dolphins, sea turtles, tarpons and more.
They first use a chainsaw to bring out the initial design. Sanding, chiseling, sanding, more sanding and sanding again brings a finished product. Each piece is as smooth as a baby’s bottom and as shiny as a brand new silver dollar. Sometimes, the men go for a burnt look and use a blow torch, but that’s quite rare. Usually, it’s simply the men, a chainsaw and their wood.
Being their “break-out” year at the Farmers Market, Sean and Nathan have enjoyed their time seeing what’s popular and what’s not. “Sea turtles were our biggest seller this year. Between the two of us we
made probably 18 to 20 different sea turtle carvings and they’re all gone. Last year, it was dolphins that everyone wanted.”
Sean has been learning the process of carving mahogany for over five years in a form of apprenticeship through artist Michael Von Schroth.
Von Schroth no longer sells within the Marco and Naples market so Sean felt comfortable starting out on his own without stepping on any toes. Nathan learned mostly by watching Sean, but was taught certain techniques by his brother.
Each piece is a different size and a different shape which means each piece ends up becoming something different. “Our style is surrealistic with a borderline animated look to it,” explains Sean. “As we sand and smooth it, the wood starts to do the talking. It takes on a life of its own.”
Take Nathan’s tarpon for example. “It’s probably my favorite piece. I had never made one before but it just sort of happened. I’m pretty proud of it. But honestly, I love all of them, he says. “It’s like they’re all my kids and I’m putting them up for adoption.”
Adopt one of the O’Donnell’s “kids” at the next (and last of the season) Farmers Market on Wednesday, April 24th at Veterans Park.
If you miss the Farmers Market, find the O’Donnell twins and their wood online at www.facebook.com/IslandChainsawArt or call Sean, 239-404-3652 or Nathan, 239-216-2097. For Ace Performance Plus Painting, call 239-394-3621.Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.
James C. Riviere, PhD. announced today that he will be retiring from serving as the Marco Island City Manager at the end of the current fiscal year, September 30, 2013.
Dr. Riviere was appointed as the interim city manager in April 2010, and became the permanent city manager in August 2010. Prior to serving as the city’s chief operating officer, Dr. Riviere served as Chairman of the Marco Island Planning Board, Chairman of the Charter Review Committee, and held numerous civic positions with the Collier County School Board. He is a full member of the Florida City & County Management Association.
Council Chairman Joe Batte highlighted Dr. Riviere’s management of city operations, “The citizens of Marco Island have benefited from Dr. Riviere’s extensive management experience. We will certainly miss his sensible solutions to complex issues which were the hallmark of his tenure with us.”Note: There is an email link embedded within this post, please visit this post to email it.