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Wildfire in Big Cypress


By Coastal Breeze News Staff One of the compelling reasons we live in Southwest Florida is the beauty of the natural environment around us. One nearby national treasure is the Big Cypress National Preserve. Big Cypress is a protected area of over 725,000 acres, bordering the Everglades National Park to the south, and reaching into Collier, Monroe and Miami Dade Counties. On May 12, a few lightning strikes resulted in the ignition of wildfires, in what is called the Mud Lake Wildfire Complex. Initially, about 2,000 acres were affected. As of Memorial Day, the fire had consumed some 35,300 acres, ... Read More »

Policeman of the Year: Granneman

Curt Koon, Jack Patterson and Colin Brown. PHOTOS BY VAL SIMON

By Coastal Breeze News Staff There was a full agenda at the recent Lunch with the Chief sponsored by the Marco Island Police Foundation. First order of business was a scholarship presentation by Foundation member, Jack Patterson, to high school senior, Colin Brown. Colin’s father is auxiliary policeman, Alan Brown. Colin will be attending Nichols College, majoring in Business. Chief Al Schettino thanked the audience for the support showed to the department. He then began to tell the audience about the officer selected as the ‘Officer of 2014’. Schettino stated, “On one of the officer’s very first calls, he responded ... Read More »

MICMS Students Get Glimpse into the Role of a Legislator

MICMS students participating in the Youth in Government After School Club.

By Don Manley Weighty topics were discussed with suitable gravity, except for the occasional giggle, by the six Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) students seated at the dais in Marco City Council chambers. They were gathered there as mock legislators, debating self-penned and introduced bills, as part of the Youth in Government After School Club, which is a partnership between MICMS and the Greater Marco Family YMCA. Held recently, the event was led by Zac Caldwell, Youth in Government program director for SKY Family YMCAs, which has branches in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Englewood and Venice. Caldwell also has ... Read More »

Naples YMCA & Collier Area Transit Announce Partnership to Create YMCA Stops in Collier County


Starting this summer, Collier Area Transit (CAT) will offer five stops throughout the county that will be YMCA stops. At four of those stops, children enrolled in YMCA’s Camp Wyhoway summer camp can ride the bus with a YMCA Camp Counselor to and from the Naples YMCA. A fifth stop will service the Marco Island YMCA. In addition to the YMCA-specific stops, a drastically price-reduced Paw Pass will be offered to make the service affordable all summer. “This is a huge step in helping us reach kids and families who otherwise could not attend camp. Our partnerships with organizations like ... Read More »

Attorney Approves Rental Ordinance Petition

SUBMITTED The Committee seeking repeal or referendum on the recently adopted Marco City Rental Ordinance received approval from the City attorney late Friday May 22, 2015. What’s Next? What is the Petition All About? The Committee will start circulating petitions this week for signature by registered Marco voters. The petition seeks to compel Marco City Council to repeal the controversial Rental Ordinance 15-01 adopted then modified by City Council to include house and condominium owners who rent their property for less than a year. If Petition drive is successful and City Council does not repeal the Ordinance, then it must ... Read More »

Marco in Bloom Winners Announced

Bill Filbin (left at podium) and Bill Poteet introduce RPAC award recipients of the $99 Club. PHOTOS BY STEVE GIMMESTAD

By Steve Gimmestad The annual Marco in Bloom contest came to a close, as winners received their certificates at the city council meeting on May 18. This year saw a record number of entries for the contest, which recognizes those who go above and beyond for their landscaping efforts. It is not just a beauty contest, although beauty is a major component. It also uses a criteria based on the use of Florida-friendly components, which helps save water and blends in with our natural environment. Donna Kay headed up this year’s contest, which is part of the City’s Beautification ... Read More »

MIAAOR Holds Informative Membership Meeting

Bill Poteet (center) with Anne McDonald (left) and Shirley English.

By Steve Gimmestad The Marco Island Area Association of Realtors® held a membership meeting on May 19 at Hideaway Beach Club, which included some special guests of honor. Susan Ackerson, President, opened the meeting and welcomed the guests: Kathleen Passidomo, Florida House of Representatives Jack Greacen, Florida Realtors® Senior Political Representative Bill Poteet, Florida Realtors® District 5 RPAC Trustee Anita Colletti, Florida Realtors® District 5 Vice-President Ron Webster, Law Offices of Ronald S. Webster, introduced the RSN members in attendance. RSN stands for “Realtors® Support Network,” and are a group of professionals that support our local Realtors® in their daily ... Read More »

SoapFest 2015

The day’s paintings dry in the early afternoon sun.

By Don Manley Kathy and Kelly Manha were a happy mother – daughter duo as things were winding down in the activities room at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. It was their first time attending the Art 4 Autism portion of the annual SoapFest Charity Weekend, and the Manhas were indeed glad they decided to spend their Saturday morning in that way. “It’s been wonderful,” said Kathy Manha, as her daughter sat at a table behind her, putting the finishing touches on a painting. “We feel blessed that so many people would volunteer so much of their time. The actors will ... Read More »

Woman’s Club Donates Wigs to ACS

Penny Weidner, Sue Olszak and Sharyn Kampmeyer in ACS resource room. PHOTOS BY JESSICA HERNSTADT

By Jessica Hernstadt “Why you are born and why you are living depends on what you are getting out of this world, and what you are giving.” This is the motto of the Marco Island Woman’s Club, and the women clearly live up to its sentiment. The Woman’s Club recently made donations to a multitude of educational and charitable organizations which benefit Marco Island residents. Marco Island’s American Cancer Society office was a lucky recipient of one such donation. With the Woman’s Club’s generous donation, the American Cancer Society purchased 27 wigs, 12 turbans and 40 wig caps, all to ... Read More »

Marco Students Benefit from Chamber Scholarships

Marco Island Chamber of Commerce scholarship recipients.

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Ten Marco Island high school graduates were made very happy by the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce. The ten were chosen to receive scholarships thanks to the Chamber’s Leadership Marco committee which hold events such as Wet Paint Live to fund the scholarships. Students from Lely High School, Marco Island Academy and St. John Neumann applied. The Education Committee is tasked with reviewing the applications and interviewing candidates, then naming the recipients. The 2015 scholarship winners and their families were celebrated at an event held at CJ’s on the Bay on Wednesday, May 20th. Dick ... Read More »

Breathing Life into History

Steven Smith, commander of VFW Post 7721 in Naples, and Mary Ellen Cash, scholarship chairman for the post’s ladies auxiliary, flank MIA history teacher Lori Galiana.

By Don Manley Lori Galiana’s approach in the classroom at Marco Island Academy (MIA) has led to her being recognized by district 13 of Florida’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. As her world history class looked on, the history instructor recently received the district’s Teacher of the Year award from Steven Smith, commander of VFW Post 7721 in Naples, and Mary Ellen Cash, scholarship chairman for the post’s ladies auxiliary. Cash said Galiana was selected for the award, which encompasses Collier, Lee and Hendry counties, because of her focus on bringing the study of history alive for her students. ... Read More »

Condos with a View!

One of many beautiful Marco Island views. PHOTOS BY GARY AND SANDY ELLIOTT

CONDO REPORT Gary & Sandy Elliott Views from your condo are everything on Marco Island! These memorable tropical views bring you back to the island year after year. Daily views from your condo kindle emotions and allow quiet wandering thoughts. They change with the season, time of day or night and the weather. Window fashions help enhance the natural beauty of the view you see and feel. All of Marco’s 11,000 plus condos have views – some are better than others. Interestingly, one-third of Marco Island condos have views facing west, one-third have views to the south, southwest or ... Read More »

Rotary Awards Unsung Hero to Jada Shigley


Submitted The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise recently presented its Unsung Hero Award for First Quarter, 2015 to Jada Shigley. Jada is recognized for her service to the Marco Island community and placing “service above self” consistent with Rotary’s aspirations. Jada works full-time at the Marco Island Marriott but unselfishly gives her time to the American Cancer Society, Chamber of Commerce and Golisano Children’s Hospital. In the words of Debra Shanahan, the Rotary member nominating Shigley “Jada never says no, always goes above and beyond and never looks for personal recognition. She is terrific!” As the Sunrise Rotary’s Unsung ... Read More »

Briggs Boardwalk

Roughly midway on the trail, Briggs Boardwalk visitors  stop to look for water birds in the brackish marsh. PHOTOS BY JOAN AND CARL KELLY

By JOAN AND CARL KELLY Briggs Boardwalk, founded in 1960, is one of oldest trails in Collier County. It is located on Shell Island Road off Route 951, south of US 41, on the west side of the road. This walk is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. It is a short, well defined, self-guiding trail with a diverse landscape. Starting off, you will walk through oak scrub, then pine flatwoods, a hammock and some fringe marsh. In the marsh look for the mosquito fish. About mid-way on the walk there is a roofed birding station overlooking a brackish ... Read More »

New Farmer’s Market a Great Summer Experience

Fresh produce is a signature of a great farmer’s market. There is plenty available at the new market. PHOTOS BY STEVE GIMMESTAD

By Steve Gimmestad Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so it seems we miss our market. A new farmer’s market experience awaits just down the road at the Naples Outlet Center on Collier and Manatee Roads. It in its fourth week, this new farmer’s market offers a lot of homemade items, produce and wares available only through the market venue. With 17 vendors, they are looking to grow and make Wednesday mornings a reason to get out and shop in an open, fun environment. Shopping, in general, is a fun activity. I know many people who would make it a ... Read More »

Friends of Tigertail Beach Awards Campership to MICMS Student Lola Wesson

Lola Wesson with Ken Kubat. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Submitted “As the rigors of testing continue to become more demanding it’s delightful to have a reprieve from the monotonous testing schedule,” stated Jerra Minning, an 8th grade teacher at the Marco Island Charter Middle School. This past month, the 8th grade students at Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) participated in a writing competition sponsored by The Friends of Tigertail Beach, Inc., a non-profit organization that is solely funded by memberships and donations. Ken Kubat explained that the goal of Friends of Tigertail Beach, Inc. is to preserve, protect and enhance the treasure of Tigertail Beach, which is a ... Read More »

The Marco Bay Yacht Club’s Abaco Islands Adventure Continues

John and Dianne Kernan, trip organizers. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Debbie Schroeder After a week of cruising the Abaco Islands, eight (we’ll call them land cruisers) joined members in Treasure Cay, about 21 miles from our last stop in Marsh Harbor. The spectacular sandy beaches are widely recognized as being among the top 10 beaches in the Bahamas. Collecting such treasures as seashells and sea glass was a great pastime. Treasure Cay also has the most romantic restaurant, Treasure Sands, where you can enjoy the most amazing food and breathtaking panoramic views with the most colorful sunsets. Next stop, Hope Town, a little town in Elbow Cay, home to ... Read More »

Booty Barre Benefit Works Out

Left to right, front row: Bob Cholka, Margaret Peters  Lamp and Kyle Cholka, pose with the Booty Barre workout participants. PHOTOS BY KYLE CHOLKA

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Tutus were flying high as the spirit of camaraderie and community was abound at the recent Booty Barre benefit. This creative fundraising was the effort of Booty Barre guru Margaret Peters Lamp, who then enlisted the help of Marco Fitness Club. The benefit included ongoing sessions of Booty Barre workouts and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event went to the aid of local resident Jada Shigley, who is undergoing cancer treatments. “Jada is one of those rare kind souls. She was the first person I met when I moved to this area 21 years ... Read More »

Feeling Family at Marco Fitness Club

Left to right: Jean Cholka, Diane Saywell and Bob Cholka.

By Diane Saywell The family that stays fit together, remains knit together. We are of body, mind and spirit, but when it comes to presence, while we are apart from one another, the spirit comes through the strongest. It is the spirit that loves on, remains strong in direct correlation to the depth and experience of the relationship. Follow me?! Another thing, notice that I didn’t mention time spent in the relationship? Simply because I bet each of you can recall individuals you have known for very short periods of time, or for short periods of engagement (dental appointments!) over ... Read More »

MIFA Awards Scholarships and Artist of the Year

From left – Karen Swanker, 
Carolyn Burger, Tara O’Neill, Sandi Johnson, Allie Ellis. PHOTOS BY STEVE GIMMESTAD

By Steve Gimmestad   It was a great Saturday luncheon on May 23 at Wesley United Methodist Church, as the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts introduced their 2015 scholarship winners and presented their Artist of the Year. The scholarship winners were Joseph Byrne (Theater, Vocal Performance, Writing), Livia Lenhoff (Motion Design, Illustration), Tyler MacDonald (Business, Photography, Art) and Theodor Schimek (Illustration). Tyler was unable to attend due to a photography show in Hilton Head, SC. His mother, Priscilla, was on hand to accept in his stead. Attendees got a chance to view their works during the initial meet and ... Read More »