There are always good things to mention in this column. Recently, I went to Tallahassee to represent Collier County at the Florida Association of Counties Legislation Week. I am on the board of directors for the FAC. While there, I called on a number of our local legislators to tell them of our county’s concerns and priorities.
One of the items especially important to Marco Island is the beach and continued renourishment dollars. The county’s Coastal Management Director, Gary McAlpin, had requested state dollars to help with funding needed for renourishment. While in Tallahassee I happened to notice that for some reason the Marco Island South Beach portion had been split off and moved farther down the list for funding. I quickly called upon Rep. Kathleen Passidomo and Senator Garrett Richter with my concerns. They promised that they would work on it and follow it closely. When I left Tallahassee I noticed it was back on the funding list in a much better position. The Representative and Senator will continue to keep their eye on the funding as it moves from the House to the Senate. When we know more I will keep you informed. As you well know, Rep. Passidomo has a special place in her heart for Marco Island, so we can be assured she will keep a watchful eye on the issue.
*Another newsworthy item that I have been working on is asking our median landscaping department if they would please request grant money from the FDOT to do the next portion of SR-951. FDOT has awarded us grants in the past, except during the economic downturn, so I was hoping their financial situation was improved enough to ask for another grant. The grant has been submitted to cover all the portions left without landscaping, from Capri Road all the way to Fiddler’s Creek. Hopefully, that grant will be approved and the county (who will contract out the job) will be able to move forward with the next phase. Again, I will let you know through this Coastal Breeze column.
*And now, for the fun part of the column. I’d like to tell you about the Crab Claw Dinner hosted by the Marco Island Kiwanis Club. There is a group of worker bees amongst them that are always working on fun events, always with smiles on their faces, and always making each and every event better than the last. Then there is a group of helper bees who also work very hard and come to almost every event to work and assist the worker bees. In fact, I don’t know of a member who isn’t part of one of these two groups. I guess that is why, no matter what this Kiwanis Club does for the community, there is fun and laughter involved with a lot of camaraderie. It’s all about friendship and a true spirit of giving. You know… you ought to stop by for a visit to the club! They meet every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. at Stonewall’s on S. Collier Blvd. The food is great, the service is superb, the atmosphere is lively, the meetings are fun and the people are the salt of the earth.
*Recently, we hosted our last tour for this season at the Conservancy. We learned so many interesting things as we traveled through each department. The newly expanded Conservancy had so much information about our environment, animals, sea life, protected species, plants and more. We had 40 people in our group, and many had never been to the Conservancy before. We all learned so much that we felt a need to go back to visit again and again to take it all in. We saw where they keep animals in recovery before returning them into the wild. If you are looking for something to do, now that most of the season activities have concluded, visit the Conservancy. You’ll be glad you did.