The Marco Island Center for the Arts held its annual Golden Gala at Hideaway Beach Club and it couldn’t have been more spectacular! Hideaway Beach Club was in its usual form… outstanding. They don’t know how to prepare a filet any other way but perfect, and their service people are really professional! I’ve never seen so many people at Hideaway before, but you could tell the Arts are a major mover and shaker in the community. The Arts are a topic that is not controversial, and always accepted and admired. There was a special tribute to the recent President, Rosemary Wick, who passed away a short time ago, who had also been their most staunch supporter. I’ve enclosed a picture of their Executive Director, Hyla Crane, who is wearing one of Rosemary’s outfits to show she was there with us in spirit. Hyla explained to the audience the need for a major upgrade to the facility they now occupy and why they hope to raise funds to do it. It was inspiring! So many opportunities were presented to improve the arts and the surroundings for those who have a talent, for children who are creative, and for all of us to enjoy. Why not stop by and see for yourself all the ways in which you can participate?
*Hey Volunteers! You are needed now for the Vietnam “Wall That Heals” to set up, staff the exhibit, guide visitors 24 hours a day, take down, publicly read the names of the thousands of Floridians who died during the Vietnam War. At 11 AM on February 18th, hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to escort the wall from the I-75 rest area on exit 131, arriving at 12:30 PM at Veteran’s Community Park in Marco Island. Set up will start at 8:30 AM on February 19th and will open to the public one minute after midnight on February 20th. A welcome ceremony will take place at noon that same day, February 20th. An Honor’s ceremony will begin at 10 AM on February 22nd, and a closing ceremony will begin at 1:30 PM on February 23rd, followed by the taking down of the wall starting at 2 PM. The wall honors more than 3 million American’s who served in the U. S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the 58,276 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. The American Legion Post #404 is honored to bring The Wall That Heals to Marco Island for its third visit, said Lee Rubenstein, American Legion Post Commander. He said, “We have the privilege of bringing the very first city visited by The Wall in the 2020 national tour, plus we are the only city in Florida to have the ‘The Wall That Heals’ this year!” If you are interested in volunteering, please call Ray Rosenburg, volunteer coordinator, at 239-877-4206. This is one job you won’t want to miss!
*Please note: The Big Cypress National Preserve will be looking to conduct a few prescribed fires from February 9th through February 22nd. The Big Cypress has one of the most active fire management programs in the National Park Service and the fires are an essential component of the Big Cypress ecosystem. In the long term, the fire will benefit the ecosystem by renewing habitat and promoting ecological diversity. If you have scheduled activities in the treatment areas, please inform the Fire and Aviation staff. Feel free to contact Orlando Genao at 239-695-9280 ext. 1316, or the Big Cypress Duty Office 239-719-0241.
*We were all disappointed when Bill’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant on U.S. 41 E and Lakewood Blvd. closed. It was so popular, and it was a great place to let your hair down, eat a dinner, dance, sing and meet friends. A real neighborhood restaurant and entertainment center and bar—and what a bar! Well, someone just moved into that same facility, fixed it up and modernized it a little bit, kept the huge bar, reduced to a smaller entertainment venue, and changed it to a Seafood Restaurant called Fish 41. It just opened days ago, but on Super Bowl Sunday, people really found it quickly, even though it was just a few days old. I stopped by, as I do with any new restaurant or business in this area, and found it to be updated a little, and the wait-staff was very friendly and accommodating. AND, what I liked best was that it didn’t smell like fish when you opened the door, but just a nice clean smell. The food was good, and that’s tough for a new restaurant. They haven’t graduated up to the cloth napkin stage yet, but I’m sure they’ll get there soon. Our waiter Gene had the nicest smile and was ever so friendly. My shrimp was delicious and very fresh tasting. Hildegard said her dinner was outstanding, as was the New England Clam Chowder. If you’re in the area, stop by and visit. The owner was there the entire evening, greeting guests and getting to know his clientele. I didn’t see a dessert menu, but we had to hurry home for the “game.”
*I received a few notes from people regarding the need for restaurants in our area because recently I suggested Fleming’s, but these notes/e-mails wanted to add to that idea, and I loved them! First, they suggested we had plenty of steak houses, but we needed an upscale Oriental Restaurant: and P. F. Changs was mentioned a few times… and you know? They are right! We definitely need a P. F. Changs. How I wish Commercial Realtors would be reading this column and acting upon it! Also, another suggestion was Season’s 52. That’s another good idea! If only I knew how to get through to the decision–makers! Who knows, just maybe someone who is related to someone will tell them about our need and move it forward. Thank so much for the suggestion Folks! I loved hearing from you! Perhaps those commercial realtors don’t realize the huge success the restaurants in the area are experiencing! Just take a look at 21 Spices and the great Chef Assif! What a tremendous business he has, and a great asset to the area! Then Bistro La Baguette, which hit the ground running on the day he opened and has stayed there ever since, and by the way, they are now offering a French Farmer’s Market every Saturday Morning from 8 AM to 11 AM, featuring the finest baked goods—the kind the French are so well known for! Their address is 3560 Tamiami Trail East, across from The Glades Country Club or Beall’s. The selection is quite amazing! They also offer a nice selection of Ready to Go Packed Dinners! I think you’ll want to stop by and see this one for yourself!
*Thanks to Connie Nagele, who volunteered to redo the Butterfly Garden at Sugden Park, and a small group of volunteers, they pulled all the overgrown and neglected plants from what had once been a garden, and has planted a new garden full of butterfly–attracting plants. The garden is planted around a pretty pond, complete with a waterfall! Actually, I never knew, nor did Patty Dillon who brought this to my attention, that the garden even existed! Thanks so much for sharing, Patty. Sugden Park is now enjoying a new Butterfly Garden! And thank you Connie and her dedicated volunteers who made this happen!
*Just an FYI: There is a Town Hall Symposium regarding Water Quality 2020 being held on February 18th from 5 PM to 7:30 PM at the Commission Chambers in the government center on U. S. 41 E., 3rd floor. It will be a science-based panel discussing the challenges of Red Tide and Green Algae along our coastline. Panelists will include FGCU, Sea Grant, and King Ranch regarding Best Management Practices for Agriculture. Commissioner Penny Taylor will be the Moderator.