Thursday , April 24 2014
Home » Feature Stories

Feature Stories

Students Take Center Stage

This watercolor of ‘Oak Leaf Hydrangea’ was done by Wanda Coady.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Student artists — young and old — took over the galleries at the Marco Island Center for the Arts during the month of April. Works from adult students who have taken classes at the Center as well as some completed by students of the Marco Island Academy are on display now throughout the Center and in the La Petite Galerie through April 24. For the Center students, this was a juried exhibit, giving them an opportunity to “strut their stuff” to show their friends and relatives what they have learned and how far they have ... Read More »

Facts, Fiction About Lightning


By Coastal Breeze News Staff It’s that time of year again — peak time for thunderstorms and lightning strikes — and living in the lightning strike capital of the United States, it is important for Floridians to know fact from fiction when it comes lightning. Recently, Coastal Breeze News sat down with Mark Huber, head of safety for J2 Engineering and Construction, to separate the facts from the myths about lightning. According to Huber, an average of 60 people are killed each year by lightning in the U.S., and hundreds more are severely injured. Often, these injuries and deaths are ... Read More »

Marriott to Renovate Rookery Golf Course

The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort has two championship  golf courses — The Rookery and Hammock Bay. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Noelle H. Lowery Later this month, the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa will begin a six-month, $4 million renovation to its award-winning Rookery Golf Course. The course will close until November. The project announcement comes on the heels of a number of accolades for golf on Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. First, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) — which held its annual meeting at the Marriott — selected Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades as its 2014 Golf Destination of the Year for North America. Additionally, ... Read More »

Tour de Marco 4 Draws 180 Riders

The serious bicyclists lined up at 8 AM to begin their 30-mile route. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

By Scott H. Shook Riders in Tour de Marco 4 were treated to Chamber of Commerce weather as they traversed the island on 30-, 15- and 5-mile routes. Tour director Jeanette O’donnell reported that 180 riders participated in this year’s tour that benefits the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s child care program. Riders also were encouraged to donate used bikes to Bikes for Tykes, which takes the donated bikes, rebuilds them and gives them to underprivileged children in Collier County. O’donnell donated six bikes to the cause. Bob Phelan, an event volunteer, said another goal of the ride is to show ... Read More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

2014 Marco Island Wildlife Photo Competition

By Natalie Strom The Seventh Annual City of Marco Island Wildlife Amateur Photo Contest showcased incredible talent from residents and visitors. Overall, 55 photographers entered 188 photographs. Those who sent in digital copies can now view their entries online along with the rest of Coastal Breeze’s readers. Watch the new video featuring the winning photos and many other excellent images. Categories for the contest included: black and white, marine animal, land animal, bird, insect, tree or landscape and creatively altered. Check out the video now and be reminded once again of the beauty of Southwest Florida in all its ... Read More »

26th Annual Easter Sunrise Service

Larry Krejci and JoAnn Criss Krejci model their backpack beach chairs.  This is the first year the two will attend the Easter Sunrise Service as a married couple. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Coastal Breeze News Staff The Easter Sunrise Service evokes a joyful sense of community for some and a sacred pilgrimage for others. “It was pure joy, something I wished I experienced sooner,” said Islander Rosemary Tolliver who was overwhelmed the first time she attended six years ago. Tolliver tries to gets there early to watch as the people stream down the beach. She enjoys seeing the different collections of people from various walks of life, families and neighbors gathering and discovering each other in the crowd. “It’s dark when you get there,” she said. “The boats have lights on ... Read More »