Saturday, April 17, 2021




Donna Fiala

Kudos to the third grade class at Tommie Barfield! These young people sang their hearts out at the Arbor Day presentation at Veterans Park. It was so cold I had to wear gloves, and these little ones didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the weather. They were so beautiful! Then, we were entertained by the band from Marco Island Charter Middle School. I couldn’t even imagine how they could move their fingers on their instruments, much less perform so beautifully! Three city councilors were there, and the new city manager, interim city manager, fire chief, chief of police and many more. We ended with planting a tree, as in the past, thanks to Affordable Landscape Service, while Steve Reynolds oversaw the sound system. It was such a nice event.

* One of my favorites at the beginning of each year is the Change of Watch with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 95. Arne Kelsey will be the Flotilla Commander for the coming year with Keith Wohltman the Vice Flotilla Commander. A lovely evening was had by all, speckled with lots of humor and friendship.

The Flotilla’s four main cornerstones of service to our community are: recreational boating safety, teaching all phases of safety to young and old; operations and marine safety, which includes security (being a part of the Homeland Security Department); environmental protection; and finally fellowship, which was loud and clear the entire evening. To drop a few names, Chief Randall Keller of the U.S. Coast Guard conducted the Oath of Office with Commander Walter Jaskiewicz as the master of ceremonies.

Do stop by the Flotilla’s office sometime and talk with them. The county offers them the “home” they use at Caxambus Park, and they maintain it as if it were their own. Hopefully soon the county will be able to replace the facility for a little larger unit.

As a side note, a project I am working on is called “Kids Don’t Float,” which should be announced on Feb. 5th. The program will provide life jackets on a loan basis at all beaches that have no lifeguards and are open to the public. A drowning at Sugden Park was the catalyst for this program with NCH Pediatrician Dr. Todd Vedder lead on the project. The Collier County Parks and Recreation Department designed and built the racks that will hold the life jackets, which will be provided free of charge and will remain at Tigertail and South Beach, along with Sugden and Loudermilk Park, round the clock for use by children and anyone who does not swim or who feels safer using a life jacket. Our own Flotilla will check on these life jackets regularly to make sure they are in safe condition and report back to us if a new one is needed for any reason.

* The Tarpon Club Marina on Isles of Capri was honored recently by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for achieving the “Florida Clean Marina Designation.” The Marina is owned by Gulf Bay, and they have worked diligently to earn this award. Congratulations to all for earning this honor! You don’t see this award very often.

* As you probably know, Mamie Street has been saved from destruction, or at least it is safe for now. I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear from the company who blocked access for more than a year to Smallwood’s Store on Chokoloskee as well as to a resident’s home. The company has a lot of money and probably won’t accept the vote, but as it stands, the county commissioners voted unanimously to preserve the history of this legendary store by not vacating the road that leads to it. Stay tuned for further information as it becomes available.

* There is so much building taking place on the other side of the bridge that I’d like to tell you about, but I’d better wait until the next edition for that.

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