Happy New Year, One and All. It’s been a tough year, and we’ve lost a number of great friends because of this awful COVID, but we (the citizens) haven’t given up, and we’re still fighting to get to the better side of this horrible disease. I have a paramedic son who is working with a team of paramedics in other areas giving inoculations, but then again, that’s what is going on now, and let’s hope that they all can get to more people before it gets much worse. I belong to the East Naples Civic Association, the oldest Civic Association in Collier County (it was one of the first places settled in Collier, and the Civic Association was approved in Tallahassee in 1950). After the devastating Hurricane Donna wiped out most everything in Everglades City, the elected officials designated the County Seat as East Naples. One of our wonderful members, who has lived here since the 1960’s, and has been a thriving part of the East Naples community, has just died from COVID! ! He was the kindest, gentlest man who looked like a large Santa Claus, always wore a smile, and reached out to help anyone who looked like they needed a friend. His name was Steve Alander. Recognize that name? Yes, his Dad owned Spanky’s on Airport Rd. I pray that God watches over his wife and family in their sorrow. He’ll be a tremendous loss to this community!
*On to better things: Anyone who knows me pretty well knows that the computer and I are not best of friends. At work I had “Mike” doing everything computer for me while I attended meetings and stayed connected to the community. When I retired from office, I was asked to sit on a board for Rookery Bay. Well, with this COVID, they are only meeting via Zoom. Without Mike, that was truly a challenge! And I didn’t do any better than a kindergartener (in fact, the child would have been better than me) on Zoom. With more time now, and Ted DeGroot, he showed me what camera to buy and what speaker to use, and installed it for me. Jeanie came over to make sure it all went well, and THEN, through the holidays, my computer stopped working. It was probably something I didn’t do right. Well, I’m back on line and getting ready for the Board meeting in the next few days. The FORB (Friends of Rookery Bay) now understand they have a kindergartner on board, so they have patience.
* I hope you each had a really nice Christmas. We sure did over here! Two of my kids live here in Collier, another lives in Ft. Lauderdale, another lives in Orlando, and the last one lives in Albany. Those out–of–towners all moved into my house, the house they grew up in. But they were smaller and didn’t take much room. You’d think with all these people here, and staying over two weeks, it would have been havoc, but we had so much fun! Lots of laughs. Everyone pitched in, and there was never a cross word. One thing I noticed almost immediately though: just like when they were little, when I’m in the kitchen cooking, they are in the kitchen hanging around. It was almost like a group movement going on. I’m cooking, we’re all talking, I step aside to get something, and everyone steps aside with me, then we all get back to where we were, never skipping a beat on what we were saying. I laughed so hard. They grew up, taller, more knowledgeable, but there we were, all in just that one part of the house. There was also a wedding the week after Christmas, hence the longer than usually vacation. Brooke and Laurie had a lovely wedding, and got married in their pool, and they all had appropriate clothing, no bathing suits, but it was so much fun! By staying outside, some in the pool (but it was cold out there) we weren’t too close to anyone, there was plenty of distance, and it was just family and close friends. They live in Collier Reserve behind Reflection Lakes. It was lovely.
*Now I want to apologize to all of you who were part of the TidBit’s network. When you entrusted me with your personal e-mail addresses, I promised you I would never give them away, and it stayed like that for years. I did all my work on TidBits at home, and then sent them to Mike to add some professionalism to the appearance. When I retired, I was asked by a staff member for the private list, but told them it was not for sale or rent or distribution. I had given my word not to distribute that information. I understand a person then went through the County Attorney’s office and demanded, through a records request, that they have that private information. They got it. Just a few days ago I heard about it when one of the TidBit people called me to say he was surprised, after all these years, that I would give them away. I guaranteed I would never have done that, but the County Attorney said even though we did all the work at home and never worked on county time, when Mike brought the finished product into the office to send to the members (our computers at home were not big enough to handle that work load), they became a matter of public record. All I can say is I’m sorry………………..I would have never broken my promise, but if someone went through the legal process, regardless of promises, they legally could do it. If they contact you, and you don’t feel you want to receive messages, you can always opt out. Again, I truly apologize. It worked for us for many years, but things changed.
*Have you noticed there is construction equipment being moved to the old K-Mart building? You are seeing the beginning of a new commercial building: Home Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, and Planet Fitness. We need to welcome them to our area, once they arrive. I’ve been blocked from getting any development info that I can pass on to you, so I’ll start riding around to construction sites and asking questions. You all can do that as well and get back to me too, and we’ll share the info to our friends and neighbors. Marco Island is always interested in new stuff coming, so we welcome any news they can pass along as well.
*Something I’ve been thinking about recently, but should have thought about before: East Naples is broken up into three distinct commission districts, and no one really knows who they belong to. The redistricting will be coming up soon. Let’s start talking about it. Capri knows where they “live”, Marco of course has an enviable position, totally self-enclosed, always supporting each other, and Goodland knows exactly where their boundaries are. We should start talking about it now. It would be nice to be a whole community like others! Watch Marco Island: they support each other, turn out for their events, and work together as a team! That is so admirable. We’ll never be lucky enough to be one contiguous piece of land, but we could be more united. Just because you live a few hundred yards from my yard, doesn’t make me different!This is food for thought. Who knows? Maybe our new Commissioner can settle on that as one of his goals? I know it’s difficult, but I think he can do it!
Stay Safe everyone, and see you next week. Donna