Another veteran has passed on to a better place. He was our own Walter Tucker — whom I considered one of my very special friends. Sadly, I didn’t know of his funeral until after it had taken place, as I was in Tallahassee when the obit was in the paper, or at least I assume it was in the paper. Walter was one of the few survivors left from Pearl Harbor. Even in his 90s, he never forgot a thing. He was always willing to offer a helping hand to his friends, and was as feisty as ever. I really loved the guy! He had 15 children that he cherished and adored. I felt fortunate to have met a few of them. His wonderful wife passed-on a couple years ago, which left a big emptiness in his heart. Walter had many stories, and he would entertain you with them at the first asking. What a great guy! Rest in peace, my friend.
• A short time ago while driving to Goodland, I noticed that the “osprey discs” were removed from the electric poles they sat on for such a long time. I used to love watching Mr. and Mrs. Osprey prepare their nest, and then greet their new family, feeding them constantly as they grew. It was fun watching the new little ones peer over the edge to see what the outside world was all about. I checked with Brad Cornell from Collier County Audubon, who then checked with Nancy Richie, Marco Island’s environmental specialist, and she confirmed that LCEC had removed the discs for pole equipment and maintenance. No news yet on their status or if they will be reinstalled.
• There is a lot of talk right now about the expansion of the intersection at 951/41 and new things that are coming our way. I hope you’ve noticed that east of the intersection U.S. 41 East is being expanded to six lanes to Joseph Lane and then to four lanes to Greenway Road, where it will drop back to two lanes. Lots of activity in that corridor, but so far the construction hasn’t held anything up to a great extent. The construction plans include bike lanes and sidewalks on all quadrants of U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. A 10-foot wide pathway for bikers and walkers is being planned on the east side of Collier Boulevard that connects to U.S. 41 E.
The intersection improvement will NOT contain an overpass at this point, in case you were wondering. It is designed and will be built to accommodate an overpass in the future. Thanks to careful planning, the taxpayers are saving a great deal of money that would have been spent tearing up this road when the overpass is installed. Thanks to all that made that happen! You know who you are. There will also be a resurfacing project on Collier Boulevard south of Fiddler’s Creek Parkway to south of U.S. 41 East. (I really wish the FDOT would go all the way up to Mainsail Drive and eliminate the “washboard” effect we now experience each time we drive it.)
• While talking about that intersection, I understand that Kite Realty is moving forward with plans to have Panera Bread build on their last out-parcel in the Shoppes of Eagle Creek, in front of the Fresh Market along the sidewalk area. I am sure there are many people who will be happy to read that news! In the same shopping center, where Maria’s Restaurant was located near Hoot’s, a new restaurant will be taking its place. It is called Burger Fi! I had never heard of them before, but some of my friends from the east coast are saying they are located in many areas there and are very popular. I love a good hamburger, so I’m looking forward to welcoming them. Their sign is already up, but the last time I checked, there was no activity. They are probably waiting until the end of season to build so they’ll be ready for the fall seasonal rush.