It’s been a terrific week here in Collier County. There were so many things going on. One of the good news items, which came from someone in the weather field at the Florida Association of Counties, was the announcement to an open meeting that the reason we don’t see the mosquitos as much this year, and probably won’t next year either, is because we had a visit from Irma, and she blew them and their larvae away. They’ll return, but it will probably be another year before we notice a lot of activity. I liked hearing that!
- Friday was the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the new water park (they call it the aquatic park) at Eagle Lakes Community Park. What a celebration it was! The county staff set up tents and chairs, and in attendance were the Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Department, the EMS Department, Father Tim Naven of San Marco Catholic Church, County Manager Leo Ochs, Commissioner Bill Mc Daniel and Commissioner Donna Fiala, plus we had tropical music by J. Robert! They had people cooking up rice and beans and many other delectable items, plus they served cake, soda and chips. We were introduced to all the many people who made this aquatic center come alive! There were hundreds of children there with parents and neighbors, and two creatures who appeared to be a fluffy alligator and a darling duck that slide down the water slide to start the festivities. The kids were just thrilled with all the wonderful things for them to do. Even God payed us a little visit to keep the rain and lightning away while we celebrated the opening. There are four parts to this aquatic center: One small pool about six inches deep for the toddlers still in diapers (this will be their own personal pool), then two slides for the kids to slide down and into a small water area (not a pool) and then climb out and run back up the stairs and do it again, one family pool (this pool is a marvelous, large pool, but not too deep, for the young people to play in with all the water toys that delighted them so much), and finally the big pool – the one built for everyone to enjoy (except if they are in diapers) including a regulation lap pool for swim teams to use (our marvelous Lely High School Swim Team teacher-Adam-helped us with all the criteria needed to build that pool so the Lely High School Swim Team and others could use it to practice) with two diving boards, and an area built for adult pool exercising, an area where kids can play water-basketball, and more. You should see those kids going for the diving boards! They were just thrilled with all the fun things built for them. The thing that really warms my heart is that these kids will have a safe place to go (when the pool is open) that is wholesome and happy, rather than looking for things to do and hanging around the streets. The County couldn’t have done anything nicer for them. Now we’ll see if we can’t build a facility in that park that kids will enjoy when they can’t play outside. I know the County people see the tremendous need, and I think they want very much to try to answer that need.
- Another thing a few friends of mine and I did was go to dinner at the Sugden Theater to see “Chicago”! It was one of the best musicals I’ve seen. When people were leaving, they were talking with one another saying that they haven’t seen anything better on Broadway than the Naples Players offered right here in “Chicago.” I have season tickets, but I need to buy another ticket and go again because once was not enough! If you have a night you are looking to fill, or even if you were planning on reading or sitting in front of the TV, please go see this one. The audience reacted with cheers and ovations continuously! They should be performing for three weeks from the time you see this in the paper. You don’t want to miss this one. I can’t tell you how many performers were in the play, but my guess is at least 30 actors, singers, etc., plus an orchestra dressed in tuxedos! This was also the 65th anniversary celebration for the Naples Players! Some of the old timers remember when the Naples Players performed at the Kon Tiki Theater, located in Central Mall. Central Mall is now the location for Bayfront. I had a maternity store in there and used to go to Pappy’s for his marvelous hot dogs and peanut butter pie (nothing like you ever see in restaurants or bakeries, but I have the recipe!) Anyway, I thought I’d throw in a little nostalgia there.
- Saturday was a new and happy experience when many people went to Everglades City for the July 4th celebration with a parade and food and more! This was also the day they officially greeted the new, refurbished Everglades City Fire Department with a nice ceremony and dedication. The Mayor did an outstanding job, and City Councilwoman Elaine Middlestadt was busy making people feel welcome and taking care of people’s needs. The parade was the largest that they remember! The parade was led by the Honor Guard of the Sheriff’s Office and another Honor Guard contingent from the Fire Department. The Sheriff’s Office Mounted Horse Patrol was greeted with cheers and delight. Greater Naples Fire Department had many people and fire trucks marching in the parade. The nostalgic Volkswagen campers/vans plus antique Volkswagen cars were right there to the delight of the audience. The American Red Cross had a few entries in there including a pickup truck with a huge Red Cross hoisted in place to stand tall during the parade and their volunteers walked and rode in other cars. Crystal Kinzel also had an entry in the parade with cars and volunteers waving signs and fans (those fans were a life saver in the heat) saying Crystal Kinzel for Clerk of Courts – “The Crystal Clear Choice.” Cute slogan! There was the Araba in their little cars and also in the Shriners’ Flintstone cars and outfits, and folks from the Historical Society were there to portray parts of our history including Deaconess Bedell and our own Tommie Barfield. Elected officials included State Rep. Bob Rommel, County Commissioner Bill McDaniel, and yours truly, County Commissioner Donna Fiala. As always, little Marya Repko was right there in the thick of everything, always helping! And then there was the great food…lots of food, and after the festivities they had a fireworks display to thrill everyone. Everglades City, you did a great job! Thanks for including
all of us. For photos click here – Community Scene.