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Al Bismonte

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By Maureen Chodaba Upon entering the Marco Island home of Al Bismonte, you are greeted by a garden ornament with the message “All Things Grow With Love.” That is a theme that lives and flourishes in the heart of this man of many talents. This “retired” pediatrician from Waukegan, Illinois enjoys a home that is filled with more than one hundred orchid plants. “They are not my hobby, they are my therapy,” says Bismonte with a smile. Surrounded by their beauty, Bismonte explained his secret in caring for these thriving plants. “Sometimes people think an orchid has died, but it ... Read More »

Can Orlando Happen Here?

Lt. Jay Mulholland speaks to a packed crowd on June 16. Photos by Roger Lalonde

By Roger LaLonde  Can Orlando happen here? Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is pondering that question like so many law enforcement agencies across the country. The question to him, “Does the FBI alert the Sheriff’s Office on potential terrorists or terrorist activity?” “No” was the sobering response. Rambosk spoke at the East Naples Civic Association luncheon on June 16. It was five days after the horrific shooting and killing of 49 people at The Pulse in Orlando in the early hours of June 12. Rambosk followed by saying that the county has forged a relationship with the FBI and does ... Read More »

Mackle Park – A New Beginning

The water spray park at Mackle Park.

By Maureen Chodaba  Mackle Park, located at 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island has been a hub of community activity for many years. This oasis of recreation has served Marco Island’s residents and visitors of all ages with its outstanding programs and facilities. Whether attending a “Be Fit Over 50” class, taking a stroll around the lake, or attending Camp Mackle, it has been one of the best places to be for fun on the island. Soon Mackle Park will be going through some changes. And these changes appear to be good ones for this community. August 5, 2016 will bring ... Read More »

Meals of Hope – Feeding Those in Need

Meals of Hope volunteers (from left): Dianna Dohm, Donna Niemczyk, Bill Morris and Catalina Vallejo with Erik Condee (seated). Photos by Maureen Chodaba

By Maureen Chodaba  The Snook Inn was the place to be for happy hour on June 13 as 91 people enjoyed great food, fellowship with friends and the musical sounds of Rosetta Stone. But this was not just any happy hour. This was a Happy Hour for Hope supporting Meals of Hope (MOH), a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity supporting the needy families of Collier County. Did you know that Collier County has the largest concentration of migrant workers in the eastern United States? The county is also unique in that it lacks the manufacturing resources of other larger cities. Thus, local ... Read More »

Marine Habitat Project Growing

David Wolff, Ocean Habitats, and one of the standard-sized artificial 
dock habitats he invented. Photo by Don Manley

By Don Manley A pilot project designed to revitalize the cloudy waters of Marco Island’s canals to restore their function as sustainable marine habitats teaming with a diverse array of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life, has caught on with residents. At the request of their owners, six of the artificial dock habitats were installed in March behind six homes that abut a canal that runs between Elm and Perrine Courts. Since then, 19 more have been deployed, all of them purchased by the city for the pilot project at a cost of $10,000, which includes installation, as well as ... Read More »

Old Glory Flies Again Over Goodland Post Office New postal clerk gets it done

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By Barry Gwinn Judith Pritchard was Goodland’s last postmaster. She was popular here and served faithfully for eight years until her retirement on July 31, 2012. Due to budget deficits, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has since cut back on personnel and closed some offices. Goodland was spared, but instead of a postmaster, a series of postal clerks ran our post office. They were Shannon Mitchell, Marie Thompson, Rhonda Joyce, and our current clerk, Asiel Rodriguez. A sprinkling of substitutes, filled in at times. At some point, the American Flag was taken down, likely for a coming storm. Due to ... Read More »

Floral Design, Worms and Summer Camp

From left: teacher Patti Thorsen, Sandra Nava and Marianne Foley. Sandra received a campership scholarship.

Submitted “Young plants and minds growing together” sums up the Junior Gardener’s after-school program under the leadership of the Calusa Garden Club. Tommie Barfield Elementary School: Third, fourth and fifth grade students had fun creating their own floral design using flowers from the Marco Island’s Farmer’s Market. These masterpieces were recently displayed at the Calusa Garden Club’s annual flower show in March. Worms are also a top favorite for the young students – the red wriggler kind. Each year the students prepare a home for the worms in a plastic tote box using shredded newspapers, wet peat moss, some vegetable ... Read More »

Jeans for Troops

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MICMS participants in the “Jeans for Troops” fundraiser.

Submitted Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) teachers and administrators participated in the “Jeans for Troops” program in an effort to raise money for our country’s veterans as we celebrated Memorial Day. This tied in with the school’s “Salute to Veterans and Active Military Personnel” band concert, which was recently held on campus to an overflow crowd of more than 400 people. The school hopes to repeat their participation in the “Jeans for Troops” program for Veteran’s Day in the fall. Read More »

Governor Having Love Affair with Goodland? It sure looks that way after second visit in two months

Photos by Barry Gwinn
Patty and Kelly Kirk

By Barry Gwinn On March 4, 2016, Governor Rick Scott paid a visit to Marco Island Academy (MIA). He was there at the invitation of founder and board chairman, Jane Watt, to confer awards on four of the school’s outstanding educators and to see for himself why this school was doing so well. It was about noon when he concluded his visit to MIA. Before leaving, he asked directions and distance to Goodland. The Governor had made the acquaintance of Patti Kirk eight years before, when both worked out at the same Naples fitness center. He had enjoyed meals at ... Read More »

Art at the Marco Library

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Submitted  The Marco Island Public Library and the Marco Island Center for the Arts work cooperatively to provide monthly art shows at the Marco Island Library on Heathwood Drive. The months of June, July and August will feature the photographs of Marco Island artist Joseph Parisi. For more than 30 years, Joe has been a practicing veterinarian, which has fostered a passion for photographing Southwestern Florida’s unique wildlife. His other interests include scuba diving and travel, which are reflected in original underwater photography, street portraiture and landscape. He incorporates both color and black and white in his prints. He has ... Read More »

Rotary Supports Project Graduation

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Submitted At the Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club meeting on May 26th, President Lynne Minozzi presented Mr. Olbrich of the Greater Naples YMCA with a check for $1,500 to support Project Graduation, a YMCA initiative. On June 3rd, the YMCA celebrated the 31st anniversary of Project Graduation, one of the nation’s longest running drug and alcohol-free celebrations. “The Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club is proud to sponsor a worthwhile project like Project Graduation,” said Lynne Minozzi. “The program makes such a difference in the future of our graduating seniors by giving them a place to have fun, celebrate and be ... Read More »

A Night of Jazz on Marco

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Submitted  Renowned trumpet player Bob Zottola returns to the Marco Island Center for the Arts on June 15. Zottola performed to a sellout crowd early this year, and rightfully so. He has performed with the Maynard Ferguson and Duke Ellington bands and has accompanied such stars as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé. Hyla Crane, the Center’s executive director, says Zottola is one of the most exciting entertainers the Center has had. According to Crane, “Everyone will love this show.” Zottola will be performing with his group, Jazz Sympatico. As the name implies, these jazz musicians involve ... Read More »

Freedom Fountain’s Latest Improvements

Submitted Photo The Freedom Fountain, centerpiece of the veterans memorial in Marco Island’s Veterans Community Park.

Submitted The Freedom Fountain in Veterans Community Park has received a facelift that further enhances and preserves its beauty. Commemorative inscriptions on the black granite panels gracing the crown jewel of Marco Island’s veterans’ memorial recently received a coat of gold sealant, adding luster to its personalized messages honoring America’s military service men and women. At the same time, the bronze, 9-foot tall, in-flight American eagle that crowns the 10-foot-tall fountain was cleaned and treated with clear-coat sealant. The work was performed by Chris Holloway, owner of Marco Island Painting, and his staff. Lee Rubenstein, chairman of the all-volunteer Veterans ... Read More »

Large Turnout for Evening Beach Clean-up

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Submitted “Our beach is so beautiful and it’s sad to see the trash people leave behind.” Cristina Leske, beach clean-up volunteer. Trash was expected on the beach the day after Memorial Day. The Beach Advisory Committee coordinated the evening clean-up and was joined by over 25 volunteers from Marco’s Sail and Power Squadron. Long-time residents and frequent beach volunteers, Jean and Paul O’Neill, came to make sure our sea turtles have a clean beach to welcome them ashore. Per Mary Nelson’s weekly report, the number of turtle nests was down for the month of May. Mary McIntosh of the Calusa ... Read More »

Jo Bromley – Goodland’s Multi-Talented Duck Lady Ducks and friends bringing ducks always welcome at Jo’s

Photos by Barry Gwinn Jo B proudly poses in front of her residence. If you’re a friend or a rubber duckie, you’re welcome here. If you’re neither, just bring a rubber duckie and you can probably get in.

Goodland Life  By Barry Gwinn When driving into the Village of Goodland, the first residence you will see is the brightly colored yellow and royal blue mobile home of Jo Bromley. It is occasionally photographed by tourists, and a painting of this residence recently sold for $400. (It is hanging in the Little Bar Restaurant.) This gaily appointed residence was prominently shown in a recent NBC2 newscast concerning Goodland Road. As it turned out, this residence has set the tone for the many bright pastel colors, which have become endemic here in Goodland. It is what’s inside Jo Bromley’s home, ... Read More »

Tia Nielsen Awarded Summer Scholarship

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Tia Nielsen, seen here in NYC, will spend the summer attending Cooper Union.

Submitted    Lely Sophomore Tia Nielsen has been awarded a full scholarship this summer at the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union in New York City. Tia will attend the summer (STEM) program, studying digital logic design for six weeks during her summer break. Her parents, Pat and Tresa are ecstatic, stating, “We’re not quite ready for her to head off to college for good yet, but the path she is paving for herself is very impressive.” Cooper Union’s summer program prepares high school students to pursue undergraduate careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. It ... Read More »

Senior Safety Fair

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Submitted Step Smart Collier and the South Regional Library will host a free Senior Safety Fair from 1 to 4 PM on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the South Regional Library, located at 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway in Naples. This free Senior Safety Fair focuses on fall prevention – the leading cause of injury and death to seniors. The program will feature table displays and demonstrations by the Supporting Partners of Step Smart Collier in addition to a formal presentation on the steps seniors can take to reduce the risk of falling. Guests will have the opportunity to visit table ... Read More »

Patriotism Reigns in Memorial Day Ceremony

Photo by Don Manley
Dave Gardner, commander of Marco’s VFW Post 6370, addresses attendees.

By Don Manley The sacrifices of America’s military men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving were honored in word and song at Marco Island’s Memorial Day ceremony. Dave Gardner, commander of Marco’s VFW Post 6370, served as master of ceremonies for the event, which included music from the Marco Island Strummers, the Marco Island Academy Singers and Craig Greusel, music director for the Marco Lutheran Church. Color guard duties were performed by members of the Marco Island Police Department. The keynote speaker was U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Lambert (retired), who began his military career as an ... Read More »

Chamber Raises Fireworks Funds

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Each July 4th Marco Island residents and visitors enjoy a spectacular fireworks display on the island. This year, the total cost for the Independence Day fireworks display will be $52,000, a $10,000 increase from prior years. Marco Island City Council voted to contribute $26,000, half of the expense, with the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce paying the other half. The Chamber of Commerce has successfully raised the balance of $26,000, and at the June 7th city council meeting Executive Director Sandi Riedemann and President Alex Parker presented a check for $16,000 to Marco Island City ... Read More »