Thursday , July 31 2014
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COASTAL COMMENTS

Donna Fiala

donnafiala@colliergov.net

Just a little heads up – starting June 24th, Alligator Alley (I-75) toll fees will be increasing, according to Johnny Limbaugh from FDOT. The fees for the SunPass will increase to $2.75 and with cash the fare will be $3.00.

Eagle Creek Golf and Country Club hosted a “Sports Camp” for the sixth year in a row for 24 students from Parkside Elementary School in Naples Manor. This heart-warming two-week event was the dream and creation of Sally Lam of Eagle Creek. Each year 24 qualified Parkside students are bused to Eagle Creek every day for a few hours of supervised golf, tennis and swimming, where a paid-pro will instruct and guide these young people. Volunteers by the scores assist the pros, help instruct, encourage and celebrate successes. I was amazed at how far some of these young people could hit the golf ball once they learned the correct stance and hold on the golf club.

A few of these young people hit the golf ball farther than some of the seasoned volunteers! Everyone cheered when a great hit was accomplished. A number of husband/wife teams (including Sally and Lowell Lam – who beam with pride over the accomplishments these young people achieve), as well as single volunteers assist in all aspects of the camp’s events including setting up lunches, all of the preliminary work needed for a successful Sports Camp, purchasing gifts, shirts, hats, etc. Every day the kids are served a great lunch and receive gifts. Upon graduation each student receives his or her own special tennis racket. Rules are strict, but the students learn quickly. The residents reach into their own pockets to pay the pros, buy the t-shirts, hats and gifts, pay for the lunches, and purchase the tennis rackets. It’s seldom you see private enclaves reach out to help the less fortunate kids in their own East Naples community, but Eagle Creek never forgets! Thank you Sally & Lowell Lam, and all the caring residents of Eagle Creek.

This past week I attended the Florida Association of Counties Conference in Orlando representing Collier County. The liveliest subjects were the new Medicaid Bill and its ramifications, which I will explain in more depth once we (the Executive Board of FAC) receive all the facts. Also, Amendment 4 was a concern on everyone’s lips. In my next column I will tell you of FAC’s concerns and how it will affect us here in Collier County. We won’t be voting on this amendment until November. Since it will surely undergo changes between now and then we will review the final document closer to election time.

BUT, one thing is for sure – - and you need to remember this! When you fill out your absentee ballots, I don’t care whether you stay in town or you are up north or visiting a friend and take it with you. Make SURE you sign the outside of the ballot envelope where you are instructed, and write in your address. Please note! – The Ballot inside the envelope will not be counted unless your signature on the outside of the envelope matches your signature on file in the elections office! At times people print their names, or their spouse signs it for them (and that will not match your signature on file, so it will not be counted), or they use return address labels, thinking it is easier to read, or even includes a note that says they are signing for someone else because that person is sick or out of town, or in a hospital, but then the vote inside that ballot envelope will NOT be counted.

I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing and happy summer!


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