The U. S. Open Pickleball Championships are coming to town! This will be the first ever Pickleball U. S. Open and it will be held right here in town at the East Naples Community Center located on Thomasson Drive, which is an extension of Rattlesnake Hammock Road going south, next to Avalon Elementary School. The games begin on April 26th and will end on May 1st with the final championship games and grand prizes awarded at the end of the games. CBS Sports will cover the entire five-day event. Make plans to attend and enjoy. Food and beverages can be purchased at the event. It will be the first of its kind. You won’t want to miss it!
• Our Firefighter Foundation did it again! ! ! It was a GREAT Pancake Breakfast this past Sunday, and it seemed the whole town turned out in support. That’s one of the best qualities of people living on Marco. They turn out in support of all the groups, clubs, benefits, events, etc., to cheer them on and donate to a good cause. There is no place else like it! Residents are so lucky to live on Marco Island.
• The Marco Island Kiwanis Club, who work so hard to earn funds to help the children in this area, are now distributing money to many agencies that need help in doing something for the children. So far the Kiwanians are donating to Camp Mackle, Dottie’s Ducks (at the YMCA), Youth Haven, Safe & Healthy Child Coalition, Teen Court, Bayshore Education Center Football Camp, Christmas in July, Meals of Hope, YMCA Summer Camp, Grace Place, Habitat for Humanity, Teachers Supply Closet @ Tommie Barfield, and Teachers Supply Closet @ Manatee Elementary. So…all of you out there who have come to a Kiwanis event like the Car Show or Seafood Festival (shared with the Rotary Clubs), and so many other events…this is what you are donating to! It takes a whole village, and we have the BEST village! There are still other donations pending. Not sure what they will be yet, but this week we heard from the Child Protection Team – a very worthy organization, and last week we heard from Project Help – a rape and crisis center. Who knows who will be the lucky recipients of future dollars?
• One of our own teachers from Tommie Barfield Elementary School was a Golden Apple winner! Only five Golden Apples are given out to the best of the best teachers at the award ceremony, although there were about 25 people who were nominated, and each was the very best and a pride to the education system. Teacher Nancy Garousi, from Tommie Barfield was our winner. Her introduction by one of her 3rd grade students was priceless and that darling 3rd grader really brought the house down! There were also many supporters in the audience from Tommie Barfield. I’m glad I don’t have to pick among those marvelous teachers. They all seemed so wonderful.
• There is talk about a group wanting to build a tent city for the homeless on U.S. 41 E. out a little further east of 951/Collier Blvd. I’m looking for comments from others on their thoughts of something like that coming to Collier County. They mentioned that they were looking for comments from people about the idea. Do you have any comments about it coming to our area? Please let me know. I’ll keep track of all comments that come to my office.
• And I’m sure you’ve all read about a possible baseball stadium coming to this area. My comments are: We’d LOVE a baseball team coming to Collier County, as long as it is located in an area that will not tie up traffic or disrupt communities. There are areas, in my opinion that would be well suited for something like this, where the interstate converges with major local roadways, yet away from already developed residential neighborhoods. Anything in the middle of existing neighborhoods wouldn’t be suitable, but I’d like to hear from you on that as well. I’ve already been getting quite a bit of mail agreeing with the concept, as long as it is in an area that can accommodate all the traffic that would be generated from concerts, a major shopping center and a stadium that would be used all year ‘round for many sporting events besides a spring training stadium.
• Thursday, April 21st, the East Naples Civic Association will be holding their monthly luncheon meeting at Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club. All are welcome, but an RSVP would be helpful in order to plan for the food preparation. Kite Realty will be there, the group that owns the Shoppes of Eagle Creek where the Fresh Market, Burger Fi and Panera is located, and also the newest shopping center, Tamiami Crossings, where the Stein Mart and Marshall’s and Michael’s are now located, and a few more to come, including another restaurant. They will also tell us of other developments about to take place. If you’d like to attend, please call 239-434-1967 to RSVP.
• Hopefully you’ve noticed the beginnings of a new store being built behind the Outback Steakhouse on U.S. 41 E – it’s a Hobby Lobby! Lots of good things coming our way – which means a lot less traveling to other parts of the county to purchase things we are looking for.