First, I must mention: COLLIER COUNTY NEEDS LIFE GUARDS FOR ALL COUNTY POOLS. Without the proper number of life guards for each aquatic center or pool, they cannot open the pool to the public. If some of our readers are looking for part time, or even full time work for the summer, please contact Barry Williams at the County Parks & Rec. Dept. or call my assistant Mike at 239-252-8601 (he will connect you to the proper person). We need you now! Thanks… I hope we can reach enough people to help. I believe they need seven people at Eagle Lakes alone. Although we already have some people working, we need more.
- Someone mentioned to me the other day that the Pro-Watercross events would not be happening, but I’ve checked with the people in the know (mainly Jack Wert, the head of our Tourism Department working with the sports tourism people) and they are definitely still a very important event at the Sugden Park facility taking place late October/early November. We’ll let you know when the next Pro-Watercross events are about to happen again later this year. Boy, that area is really teaming with sports! Between the handicap sailboat classes at the Sugden, to the Pro-Watercross, to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships (I would add World Championships), to the Pickleball Academy, to Pickleball tournaments throughout the year; sports are alive and happening in that area. Soon Youth Baseball will be happening at the Sports Complex they are building right now off 951 near City Gate. Who knows, maybe they’ll be ready to have some initial games before the end of this year?
- Bayshore is another place that is bursting with excitement and activity, as you’ve probably read repeatedly. Well, the other day I dropped in to talk with the owner/manager of the new Ankrolab Craft Beer establishment on Bayshore which is just about to open (I stopped in at the soft opening) and the place was buzzin’ with activity. As I walked in the front door, immediately someone walked over to say “Hi,” and I was so surprised to see an old friend who used to come to my house with his sister when they were little; Mike Richardson (a guy who has worked with kids at the Little League field for many years) and his wife Paula! What a nice surprise, and now I didn’t have to be alone in this lovely new place. Well, we sat down, and their friends started walking in to join them, so I got to meet many people. One of their friends, Leslie, went to school with my son TJ at Lely High School (all five of my kids went to Lely High School). I have to tell you, these people were all long time East Naples residents, and very much young professionals. Mike works at a construction company while Paula, his wife, works as a teacher at Lely High School. Then Leslie (who went to school with TJ) is in the banking business, and her husband Mark works for Florida Fish & Wildlife. Then there was Patrick, an investor extraordinaire and is wife Heather, a wellness trainer for NCH, and another person walked up from my church: Mitch Norgart. There was a very nice crowd there, which appeared to be more young professionals in the 40-year age range. Yes, there were a few older people as well, and a few younger, but I was impressed with the quality of people enjoying this new facility. Adam, the owner, makes their own beer and they also offer a selection of wines. Being that I really don’t drink beer or wine, I was wondering if they had soft drinks, but when I talked to the owner, he said they make their own root beer, so that’s what I had, and it was delicious! I bet if they had ice cream, it would have made a terrific root beer float, but that probably doesn’t fit in with a craft beer establishment. When you have a chance, and now that season is past, there is more time to spend enjoying where we live, so drop by and see for yourself. It’s a great place!
- A cute story taking place at the Government Center on U.S. 41 E in the eight- story tall building that houses the County Manager and his team, and the commissioners and the state elected officials, etc. Mrs. Muscovy Duck started laying eggs a few months ago, of all things in the second story storm runoff drain! Sadly, shortly after she would lay an egg it would roll off the end, just as the water runs off the end. After losing a few, she looked so sad, but kept on trying to lay one egg that would stay there. When she stopped laying eggs after about six eggs, a maintenance guy got up there on a ladder and installed a wooden strip across the opening, so water could still run off, but an egg couldn’t roll off. I don’t know if Mrs. Duck understood what happened, but a couple weeks ago she started laying eggs again, but this time they didn’t roll off! She looked so happy (at least I thought she looked happy) so a few people started helping her by putting a dish of clean drinking water up there every day, and another lady brought some straw from home so Mrs. Duck could make a nest. She immediately went to work, and kept laying one egg after another, one each day, and covering them with the straw. As of last week (we can sneak a peek from a window above that area) she had laid 10 eggs, and she’s guarding them carefully. We watched as she tried to get all the eggs under her wings and feathers, but as she’d get them all under her feathers/wings on one side, others would slip out the other side, so back she’d go to try to cover them all up. One of our gals thinks the first egg should begin to hatch in the beginning of June. Now we’re wondering how she’ll get them down! Usually a duck hatches the eggs, and walks the little chicks over to the water for their first swimming lesson, but there is nothing to walk on to even get them down off the second floor, and they won’t have wings yet. I’m sure someone will figure out something. I was thinking of taking over a large Longaberger basket to gather the chicks in and carefully take them down without touching them so the Mom will still take care of them, but I’ll have to ask someone if they think that will work. I’m afraid though, that she’ll come back there every time in the future when she wants to lay eggs, and we might miss getting them off and down in time. Well, it adds a little something special to the job that we didn’t count on.
- Most Marco Islanders were well aware that there was a major beach renourishment going on at the south end of the island, but not many people could understand what the county was doing, and especially during season, when all the people were here to use the beach! We got many angry letters asking why we didn’t use out heads and wait until the tourists left for the summer, but the simple answer was, we were under pressure to get the job done between November 15th and April 15th because turtle season starts on April 16th, and we were required to be off the beach and out of there before that date! Not one day later…PERIOD! Once we could explain it, most people would understand. The reason we were doing this major project which took years to get permitted through the Army Corps, was to build the dune side of the beach higher, and level the gulley’s on the beach where water puddled and became a problem. We were trying (and succeeded) to build the dune side of the beach three feet higher, and then slope down, so water would naturally drain toward the Gulf. One of the amazing things that happened during construction was that these eagle eyed people working those huge machines noticed a tortoise hole had been built during their construction, so they roped it off so that no one would harm it, and then somehow, someone found a burrowing owl nest just built on the beach (who ever heard of a burrowing owl building its home near the water?), so they called the owl people and cordoned the area off so no one would mistake it! We were so proud of them to be so caring for nature. Just thought you should know. The job was finished and was finished on time! Whew… that was tough. BIG congratulations to Gary McAlpin and his team for a job well done. Where did they get all the sand to do this job? They dragged the sand in from the Gulf, where it had drifted off shore from the beaches! Perfect! Just perfect.