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Author Archives: Mint Design Co.

A Final Salute to Walt Tucker

Walt at Erin’s Isle. FILE PHOTO

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Walter Francis Tucker (Walt) died of natural causes in his Naples home on a Sunday evening in late March. Walt was 92 years old and will be missed by all who knew him. Walt was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He spoke candidly with elementary students about his experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor after a Veterans Day tribute a few years ago. “I saw the pilot (of a Japanese plane) stick his head out of the cockpit and sort of smile at me, he had on goggles and a leather hat. He came back ... Read More »

Nominate Your Sir Galahad Today

Captain Chris Crossan, right, and Carole Roberts, congratulate  Bid Bakkar as the 2013 Galahad Award Recipient. PHOTOS BY NATALIE STROM

By Natalie Strom The Third Annual Galahad Award is fast approaching. It is a chance to honor members within the community for their acts of courage, bravery and compassion. Coastal Breeze News and the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation are now accepting nominations for the next Galahad Award recipient. What exactly IS the Galahad Award? Named for Sir Galahad, the most gallant and pure of King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table, Sir Galahad did not shy away from danger; he confronted it head on. He rescued those in trouble and was modest about what he accomplished. The award ... Read More »

Protecting Beach Birds

Least terns lay eggs in sand scrapes right on the beach.  Eggs and young are extremely vulnerable to sun and heat when adult birds are flushed by people, dogs, or vehicles approaching the nest site. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in cooperation with the Flor-ida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has posted a small por-tion of beach on the south tip of Keewaydin Island and part of an emergent sandbar one mile southeast of Cape Romano to protect nesting habitat for least terns, black skimmers and Wilson’s plovers. These areas have been posted an-nually since 2001 to protect beach bird nesting season April-August. “Protecting Florida’s wildlife and natural resources is our first priority,” said Rook-ery Bay Reserve Director Gary Lytton. “Taking steps to protect the least tern on Keewaydin Island during its ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Announces 2014 Summer Calendar

Art by Linda Soderquist. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has released its schedule of events for the summer 2014. The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 10 miles from downtown Naples, on the way to Marco Island. From May 1 through Oct. 30, the center is open 9 AM-4 PM, Monday-Friday, adding Saturday hours for Nov. 1 through April 30. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities. DAILY PROGRAMS ... Read More »

2014 Spirit of Marco Awards Announced

Bruce Graev, Rachel DeHanas, Rosemary Wick and Linda Sandlin are pictured with Wick’s 2014 Spirit of Marco Island Award. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Coastal Breeze News Staff The Rotary Club of Marco Island has announced the recipients of the 2014 Spirit of Marco Island Award. They are Al Bismonte, Curt and Jacquie Koon, Ed and Kathy Miracco, Allyson Richards and Rosemary Wick. This is the sixth year the Rotary Club of Marco Island’s The Spirit of Marco Island Award has been given to individuals and organizations that are civically involved through their contribution of time, talent and financial support of community causes.   Al Bismonte  Bismonte received his award in front of a large group at the Knights of Columbus monthly social ... Read More »

Dreamlander Tours Making the World a Better Place

Steven spending time with Leonarda and Roberto Uriostegui on a recent trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Coastal Breeze News Staff With a mission statement that reads “To build a business that blesses others in hopes that our business will be blessed,” it becomes obvious that Dreamlander Tours of Marco Island is not your ordinary for-profit business. Owners and operators, Steven and Kieu Banks, built this eco-educational tour company with a vision of building a sustainable foundation to be the economic engine to help them change lives all over the world, as well as locally. As Kieu is proud to point out, “We are a small family-owned, philanthropy-based corporation. Our inspiration is not how much money ... Read More »

Re/Max Affinity Plus Celebrates

Breanna Anderson, Chris Sullivan and Bonnie Zaikov.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff An awards ceremony for agents and employees at Re/Max Affinity Plus was held at the Marco Beach Ocean Resort. Rocky Farhat, co-broker/owner of Affinity Plus joined in the festivities. Honored guests Teri Blanco and Bryan Williamson came from the Re/Max corporate headquarters in Denver, CO, presented the awards. Rocky personally presented the 2013 Realtor of the Year award. “Bill, you’ve received this award twice in five years?” Bill Filbin humbly held up three fingers. “Bill won two times in the last three years.” Bill also won Realtor of the Year for the Marco Island Association ... Read More »

Come Experience Marco Island’s Living Beaches

Marty and Debbie Roddy. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted The Marco Island Historical Society presents “Marco Island’s Living Beaches,” a presentation by Debbie and Marty Roddy, on Tuesday, May 6 at 7 PM at the Rose History Auditorium. There is no charge for members; non-members are asked to pay $5. The Roddy’s will provide a virtual tour of Marco Island’s living beaches for interested beach goers. Learn about the critters, plants and formations that make the coastline a vibrant place. You’ll also learn how the Calusa Indians used local natural resources to live. Debbie and Marty are permanent residents of Marco Island and have devoted a majority of ... Read More »

Easter at Marco Presbyterian Church


Submitted Marco Presbyterian Church will hold a 6 p.m. service on April 18 for Good Friday. The message is entitled “No More Nails” and will include the choir. “A Rose, a Seagull and an Empty Grave” is the title of the 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday Service on April 20 and will include the handbell and choir. Sunday school and the evening worship service will not be held on Easter. Beginning April 27, Sunday school classes for all ages will meet at 9 a.m. with one worship service at 10:30 a.m. Marco Presbyterian Church is located on 875 West Elkcam Circle, ... Read More »

And the winner is…

Richard’s mother is blindfolded to pull out the winning entry.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff A drawing was held on Friday, April 11 in front of dozens of hopefuls at Harbor Goldsmith. The prize? A green diamond ring valued at $10,000. Richard Alan, owner of Harbor Goldsmith, came up with the idea for the contest earlier this year. His plans included a treasure map and a series of five clues. Each clue was written in limerick form and the answers resulted in five numbers. Over 240 people entered the contest for the valuable ring. Of those entered, 40 had the correct sequence of numbers. The correct entries were put into ... Read More »

Fakahatchee Award Given

Bill Mesce (left) is paid tribute by Fakahatchee biologist Mike Owen (right) who said jokingly that the greatest tip photographer Mesce ever gave him was ‘hold the camera still.’ PHOTO BY MARYA REPKO

Submitted Bill Mesce was given the prestigious Mel Finn Award at the Friends of Fakahatchee Dinner on April 13 for “for reflecting the spirit of the Founding Father of the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.” Mel Finn, a Miami attorney who identified 43 different orchids in the Fakahatchee, campaigned to make the territory a preserve. That finally happened in 1974. The award in his name is given by the Friends annually if an appropriate winner is identified. Mesce certainly deserved it this year. He is a founding member of the Friends, has led swamp walks since they were initiated, and ... Read More »

Bringing Honor through Physical Fitness

Mr. Matt and the elementary-age class at Island Montessori Academy.

By Noelle H. Lowery Squeals of delight and giggles float through the air. Children’s voices raise to chant the names of their classmates as they cheer for them. Little feet blaze through the grass, jumping over short hurdles and short-stepping it through a rope ladder. Each one dives under a noodle arch with abandon. These are the sights and sounds of a physical fitness class at Island Montessori Academy. This is not your average, run-of-the-mill P.E. class, though. This one is run by Matt Gordon of Nationwide Honor Guard, and “Mr. Matt’s” class builds the bodies, minds and spirits ... Read More »

FOT Nabs 240 lbs of Debris at Clean Up

FOT member Susan Lagrotta gives a first-time  volunteer the lay of the land. PHOTOS BY JOSEPH PARISI

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Friends of Tigertaill Beach are wrapping up season with a flurry of activity. On March 24, FOT hosted its annual Membership Appreciation Dinner, with more than 50 attendees, including three of the founding members. Then on Saturday, April 12, FOT held the Annual Bay Days Beach Clean Up. A whopping 240 lbs. of trash and debris were collected in a total of 22 large garbage bags by some 70 volunteers. “Keep Collier Beautiful” provided the volunteers with garbage bags, plastic gloves, water bottles, item tally boards and event T-shirts. It was an astonishing mix of ... Read More »

Why I love Marco Island


Marco Island Writers and the Marco Island Library Branch of Collier County collaborated on a writing contest for non-published writers. The topic: “Why I love Marco Island.” In no particular order, the finalists are Shirley Woolaway, Elaine Lancaster, E.J. Noyes, Maureen Chadaba and Anna Marie Smith.  Their entries can be viewed online at The April meeting of Marco Island Writers was held at Mango’s in the Esplanade to celebrate the group’s upcoming third anniversary. A special thanks goes out to Kristine Wruk for organizing the event. Good times were had by all. The May meeting will resume at the Marco Lutheran Church at 525 N. Collier Blvd. on May 14. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. to network ... Read More »

Iberia Bank Donates to the Police Foundation Scholarship Fund

Pictured are Lou Prigge, Keith Dameron, Al Schettino, Barb Prigge, Kurt Coon, Joe Granda, Ed Stenzel and Dick Adams. On hand to share in some heavy lifting, but not able to make the check presentation, were Chief Don Hunter, Bill Morris, Steve Reynolds and Harold Kendall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Deemed a shredding success, Iberia Bank recently held its 14th Shred Party. “This was our best to date,” said Keith Dameron, manager of Iberia Bank. “Over 6.6 tons were shredded. Over 740 boxes or bags of documents were shredded. We had nearly 200 vehicles come through to drop off documents to be shredded.” The Marco Island Police Foundation helped with the party and received a check for $2,260 for their scholarship fund. “We always donate the proceeds to a worthy cause. The success of the Shred Party is spreading. Our other branch locations have started ... Read More »

Area Financial Advisor Recognized

Submitted Roger A. Hubley has been named in Conquest Press LLC’s “2014 America’s Select Financial Advisors Book.” The nation’s top financial advisors were invited to apply for acceptance in this book, and had to meet strict criteria to be included in the book. The process included an extensive personal interview and a rigorous regulatory background check. Applicants were screened against state governing bodies to verify that licenses are in good standing and that there are no pending disciplinary actions. Conquest Press is a publishing company founded for the primary purpose of acknowledging and rewarding professionals and businesses from various industries ... Read More »

FWC Launches New Gopher Tortoise App


By Coastal Breeze News Staff Springtime in Florida means the sight of gopher tortoises strolling across a road or through a backyard or field. They leave their burrows in search of green plants to eat and a tortoise to become their mate. From now through May, females will be laying eggs the size of ping-pong balls in the sandy apron outside their burrows. This activity, however, makes them vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed. Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has launched a new smartphone app to report to the FWC when and ... Read More »

Boater’s Local Knowledge: Backwater Edition

Familiarity with navigational charts is just the first step in having local knowledge. Vice Flotilla Commander Keith Wohltman looks over a chart with a class participant.

By Noelle H. Lowery My husband is a blue water kind of guy, but since we moved to this area two years ago, he has been itching to explore the backwater passes complete with their mangrove forests, shallow depths and shifting sands. So, when I heard the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 95 was offering a new Local Boater’s Knowledge: Backwater Edition class, I jumped at the opportunity to take it, and found the information from the class to be priceless. The Boater’s Local Knowledge: Backwater Edition concentrates on six popular backwater routes through the 10,000 Islands, and was ... Read More »

MIPS Conducts Vessel Safety Checks

Moe’s sailboat gets an inspection by Jim Fahrbach....

Submitted Moe Bishop smiled as both his sail and power boats received a free Vessel Safety Check conducted by United States Power Squadron Certified Vessel safety Examiner Jim Fahrbach. Ted Reiss also of the Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron accompanied Jim during the free safety check. Bishop received the 2014 US Coast Guard safety stickers which can only be issued by Certified US Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons VSC examiners. These decals, placed on Bishop’s boats, signal that he is a careful and responsible boater, committed to his personal safety and to the safety of his ... Read More »