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Feature Stories

A Spamtacular Night

With attention to some cool details, the second place winner, Spam Idle Hour, stood out. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

By Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com In the weeks leading up to Saturday, June 28, my Facebook news-feed confirmed that time had run out. While my local friends had been diligently shopping and preparing, I had procrastinated. The nasty rumors claimed Bealls had completely sold out of pajamas. I chalk my ill-preparedness up to the fact that, until now, it never occurred to me to wear my night-shirt on a night out, but I’m always up for a challenge. I had been looking forward to this party of legendary status since February, and after all my anticipation, the Little Bar’s 22nd Annual ... Read More »

Marco Community Lights Up Sky

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By Noelle H. Lowery  noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Marco Island did it again! The city government, community businesses, civic groups and residents came together to raise $44,000 for this year’s fireworks spectacular, and what an incredible show it was. Each year, the city of Marco Island contributes half of the expense to fund the fireworks. The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce’s Sandi Riedemann, along with Joey Oliveria of Joey’s Pizza and Pasta House, team up to raise the remaining half from local businesses and residents. The fireworks display is the grand finale of MICA’s Fourth of July on Residents’ Beach event — ... Read More »

Marco’s Real Estate Round-Up

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Real estate is the largest single industry in this area. It is the topic of conversation for hundreds of our neighbors, friends and family. Whether it be industry news, agent information, technology updates or new designations and awards, those involved in real estate want to know. Below is a compilation of real estate news items received by Coastal Breeze News: Marco Island Specialist Certification Jon Busch, Kathy Hunt, and Susan LaGrotta of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty have received the new Marco Island Specialist Certification from the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors (MIAAOR). They ... Read More »

City to Revamp Farmers’ Market Formula

Bella Maria was among  many food venders who participated in the Marco Island Farmers Market last season. PHOTO BY JAMIE BOZICNIK

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com What started out as a budget discussion about raising the vendor rates for the Farmers’ Market from $775 per booth to $950 turned into a debate about changing the overall vendor composition of the market, even limiting and excluding certain types of vendors, such as arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing, prepared foods and open-air food concessions. At the heart of the discourse during a recent special meeting of City Council were the size of the market and the reported rising concern from local restaurants about the market’s “food court,” where a number of restaurants from ... Read More »

Warm Hearts and Willing Hands: San Marco Youth Serve the Poor in Tampa and Belize Youth in Tampa-service and smiles

The group visited Mayan ruins. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Stephanie Shiller San Marco Church Youth Group, under the direction of Kim Adamson (DRE), sent two groups of young people on mission trips this summer with Catholic Heart Work Camps. The goal of these missions is to “share the love of Christ as we serve the neglected, brokenhearted and the marginalized in any way needed. Equally, to inspire participants to live as disciples of Christ through serving others as a way of life.”   Tampa This summer marks the third year of participation for the San Marco Youth Group in the Tampa mission trip. This group gave its all ... Read More »

Litha Berger to Run for City Council

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By Noelle H. Lowery Litha Berger has announced her candidacy for the Marco Island City Council. Elections will be held Nov. 4. In a letter sent to local media on Tuesday, July 8, Berger wrote: “The opportunity has been presented to me to serve on the Marco Island City Council. I am overwhelmed by the support and faith placed in me by residents, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities to work with the City Council members, the city manager and the Marco Island city staff.” Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Berger is a product ... Read More »

William G. Morris P.A. Earns Accolades

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff The Law Offices of William G. Morris, P.A. has been named a member of The Fund President’s Circle and a Top Contributor by Orlando-based Attorneys’ Title. The Fund supports and promotes the success of attorneys’ real estate practices by providing expert underwriting counsel, legal education, title information and products and services to preserve and facilitate the real estate practices of its members in their protection of the public. The Fund President’s Circle is comprised of an elite group of leaders within the legal profession. These top-tier law firms have received this statewide recognition because of ... Read More »

Knights Honored for 60th Flag Day

All pose for a group photo after the Flag Day ceremony.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff In recognition of the 60th anniversary of Flag Day, the Marco Island City Council gave the Knights of Columbus a Proclamation. The proclamation was given during a City Council meeting and read during a brief ceremony held by the Knights of Columbus after mass on Flag Day. Knights attending were in full regalia. The ceremony was held in the Memorial Garden of San Marco Catholic Parish and was presided by Father Tim Navin. The National Anthem was sung by Pat Ettensohn. The proclamation by the City Council stated: “By an Act of Congress in 1949, ... Read More »

A Golden Reputation

Owners of new Marco Island business, Golden Gate Jewelers, Annelie and Amir Kathein. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

By Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com I love my job; it’s the vehicle through which I’ve met some of the most wonderful people since I’ve been here. Getting to know people is inherent in interviewing them for a story, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting, and interviewing one such family. The Katheins opened Golden Gate Jewelers of Marco on June 3, and contrary to what the name might suggest, they are not from Golden Gate, but rather Florida’s east coast. They are very excited that Marco Island is the location of their second store; owning a jewelry store here has ... Read More »

Villa at Terracina Grand Tops Out

Aerial view of Terracina Grand. PHOTOS BY GIOVANNI PHOTOGRAPHY

Submitted Villa at Terracina Grand in East Naples just reached a key construction milestone with the “topping out” of their two-story, 55-apartment building. When complete in early 2015, Villa at Terracina Grand will focus on care for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory impairments. The Goodman Group, the development and management company for the new community and Terracina Grand, hosted a topping out ceremony on Thursday, June 19. The event featured a “hard hat” barbecue lunch to thank the construction crew and commemorate the completion of the building’s exterior.  According to Peter Hendrickson, executive director of Terracina Grand: “Celebrating ... Read More »

Final Semester Honor Rolls

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Collier County School District released the final honor rolls for the last quarter of the 2013-14 school year. Listed below are students from schools which fall into the Coastal Breeze News distribution area. Congratulations to all the students below! Best wishes for continued success in the 2014-15.   Everglades City School Elementary Straight A Honors Alexis Hendrickson   Lely Elementary School Elementary Honor Rolls Amar Ahmed, Katira Davis, Angel Diaz, Kyler Howard, Sarah Lucrecio, Taylor Savage, Sebastian Serna, Jacob Simmons-Rosen   Parkside Elementary School Elementary “A” Honor Roll Ruby Armas, Alondra Bautista, Jonathan Garcia-Lopez, Fabiola ... Read More »

New Board at Marco Urgent Care Center

Submitted The NCH Healthcare System recently announced the election of new officers and board members for the Marco Urgent Care Center Board of Trustees. Incoming Chairman Kevin M. Fitzgerald said, “It is a privilege and an honor to serve as the chairman of this dedicated group of community leaders who strive to ensure that quality-driven, patient-centered care is provided to patients at the Marco Urgent Care Center.” In addition to Fitzgerald as chairman, Jack Patterson is the newly elected 1st vice chairman and Dick Adams, 2nd vice chairman, as well as the secretary/treasurer. Newly incoming trustees are Lisa Gandy, David ... Read More »

Planning for the Future at MIA

Jane Watt and Melissa Scott are all smiles these days and rightly so. The leaders of Marco Island Academy are celebrating the testing gains their students made in 2014 — both in the end of course tests and the FCAT-2.0. MIA’s first-time test-takers made the largest gains of any high school in Collier County in Algebra and the second largest for both U.S. History and Reading. Overall, in learning gains, MIA ranked first amongst all Collier County high schools in Biology and U.S. History, second in Geometry and third in Algebra. “This really sets us up for success,” says Scott, ... Read More »

Celebrating July 4th in Southwest Florida

A bird’s eye view catches a glimplse of the crowd lighting up under the sparkles in the sky. PHOTO BY VAL SIMON

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Want to know where to watch the “rockets red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” next Friday, July 4? Well, search no more. There are plenty of festivities planned throughout Southwest Florida communities to keep everyone busy all weekend, celebrating the United States’ birthday. The Marco Island Civic Association will continue its Residents’ Beach tradition with Uncle Sam’s Sand Jam beginning at noon, Friday, July 4. There will be music, games and food throughout the day, culminating in the city of Marco Island’s annual fireworks display at 9 PM. While a Residents’ Beach identification card ... Read More »

The Next Generation of Explorers

Community members and MIA donors attended a special VIP reception before the presentation. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

By Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Friday, June 20, the Marco Island Historical Museum hosted “Cousteau: Past, Present and Future,” a presentation by Dr. Richard C. Murphy, director of science and education at Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. Set to a slide show featuring mesmerizing images of our earth’s underwater world, he talked about the Cousteau family legacy and briefly touched on some present and future endeavors. The event was co-sponsored by the Marco Island Historical Society and Marco Island Academy, and it highlighted one of those present endeavors: The Marco Island Academy/Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment (AOTE) Summer Camp, the ... Read More »

School Board Candidate Forum Held on Marco

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com During the last week of June, the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance (SWFLCA) held two of four planned candidate forums for those running for the District School Board of Collier County in the Nov. 4 election. The first was held on Marco Island at the Marco Island History Museum on Monday, June 23. Eight of the nine candidates participated in the Marco Island event, which was moderated by Jared Grifoni, the host of “Resistance Radio” on WGUF-98.9, and Marco Island Academy junior Marcus Daffner. Composed of five members from five districts, the Collier County School Board ... Read More »

Follow Your Dreams — To Africa

This crocodile is reason enough not to swim in the river — or dangle a hand!
Photo at left, ‘Roughing it’ while on safari

By Carol Glassman Have you ever decided, spur of the moment, to take the trip of your dreams? I did, and it was the absolute best travel decision I ever made. I thought I was fully travel booked for the year 2014 when last June I received via e-mail a virtual tour of a South African trip: I was hooked! I did the groundwork beforehand, visiting an infectious disease doctor for the necessary shots and medications. All I needed was a typhoid shot, part one of a Hepatitis shot with part two to follow in six months, and malaria pills. ... Read More »

Bob Brown to Run for City Council

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com On June 17, Marco Island City Councilor Bob Brown sent a letter to the Coastal Breeze News offices. The content of the letter: He intends to run for City Council during the November 2014 election. Marco Islanders will remember that Brown took over the City Council seat vacated by Larry Magel on Aug. 14, 2013. Magel had 14 months remaining on his term, and during the Aug. 18 regular City Council meeting, councilors voted 4-2 in favor of Brown, who was sworn in on Sept. 3. Since then, Brown and his fellow councilors have handled ... Read More »

Focus on Utilities Budget

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Nearly two months after proposing a new — and aggressive — general city budget plan for FY 2015, City Manager Roger Hernstadt and Finance Director Guillermo Polanco were at it again during a special-called Marco Island City Council meeting held on June 19. This time, the Marco Island Utilities budget was under the microscope. The usual scrutiny was given to the Utilities’ perceived “spend-spend-spend” mentality, especially in light of the 7 percent rate hike that took effect on Nov. 1, 2013, and the news that $2 million of the $6.9 million the city received last ... Read More »

The Question of a Public-Private Partnership

Bob Olson addresses the Marco Island City Council during the June 21st  reading of the Marriott’s PUD amendment. Olson spoke frequently against the Marriott PUD amendment in the months leading up to its final approval on June 16. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com During its June 16 regular meeting, the Marco Island City Council put to rest the debate over the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort’s $150 million renovation project, approving the PUD amendments by a vote of 6-1. Even so, new questions rose about the Marriott’s offer to give the city $1 million to expedite the renovation of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Marriott General Manager Rick Medwedeff made the offer during the project first appearance before City Council on June 2. The $1 million contribution to will cut the construction schedule by eight months, eliminate any potential ... Read More »