Well, Folks, this is our last edition of the Coastal Breeze for this year, so we’d better make it interesting! I’ll try to do my part.
- The County publishes an employee newsletter written by its employees about employee experiences and interesting facts. One story brought a tear to my eye, and I just couldn’t put it aside until I shared it with you. I’ve sought and received approval to rewrite it without divulging the name or location of the happening, but I’ll tell you it took place a short time before Thanksgiving, and I’m sure this gentleman had a nice Christmas. Here’s what the writer said: Collier County Code Enforcement received a complaint regarding a bug/rodent-infested occupied dwelling with no water or electric in a gated community in this area. The case was assigned to a Minimum Housing/Property Maintenance Investigator, who made contact with an elderly gentleman occupant at the property and started a conversation about the complaint. The elderly man began explaining that his wife had passed away and that he had a water leak in his garage. The Water leak ran up the water bill and the water was eventually shut off! The gentleman invited the investigator into his home, where the investigator observed severe violations of the Collier County Property Maintenance Code to include unsanitary conditions, no water, no cooking equipment due to a small grease fire, non-working bathrooms, rodent and insect infestation, an unmaintained pool, and other serious life-safety concerns. The investigator held off an enforcement action and coordinated with Agency Partners instead. On November 26th & 27th, before the Thanksgiving Holiday, a large-scale community service effort was coordinated. Between the two days and with the assistance of Collier County Solid and Hazardous Waste Departments, two 30-yd. dumpsters were filled with debris, infested furniture, appliances, infested bedding, infested clothing, toilets, mattresses, etc. The team of Code Enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office staff didn’t stop there! The home was cleaned with donated cleaning supplies, and coordination with small businesses and local organizations, allowed for the donation of new mattresses, bedding, a new water heater, new toilets, a new stove, refrigerator, microwave, other household necessities, and the electric and water were restored. At the end of the day on Wednesday, November 27th, the elderly man, with tear-filled eyes, made a comment that none of us will ever forget, “You all saved my life by giving me a new start and I am forever grateful.” Now THAT is community outreach and service at its finest! Thank you to the Investigator and the entire code team, the Sheriff’s Office, and all the others that helped this gentleman! It’s a beautiful story.
- Very soon Collier County’s first official piece of Public Art will be gracing the median near the intersection of 951/Collier Blvd, and U. S. 41 E. The County has already begun the preparation for its entrance to the county. It will be public art but not paid with tax dollars, but instead, developers of assorted communities in the area who have combined their efforts to enhance the roadway. The masterpiece, carved by world-famous sculptor Marton Varo, was carved in Italy and will soon be loaded on a ship to come to the U. S. Meanwhile a platform will be installed to withstand a Hurricane category 5 storm. The County is not sure yet when it will arrive by boat from a 3-week voyage, and then transported to our area, unloaded carefully, and installed even more carefully, but once it is in place and the surrounding area is replanted there will be a public presentation with the donors present so we can thank them. This is a major step for our community, and hopefully, one that can be repeated many times once the rules are in place. We want to invite everyone who would like to attend by way of ads in the newspapers and hopefully even radio ads, and emails. It should be some time in the February/March time frame. I’ll make sure to mention it in this column, and possibly in the TidBits as well. Somehow the Coastal Breeze thankfully keeps up with everything happening in this area!
By the time you see this column, Christmas will have passed, so I’d personally like to extend a wish that you had a marvelous Hanukkah or a Merry Christmas! I hope you were able to enjoy time with family and friends and share love and happiness! See you next year!