Friday, March 5, 2021


Start of Season



It’s that time of year again when we get ready to welcome our neighbors back from their travels far and wide. We will wait to hear about their adventures over the summer months and see the latest pictures of grandchildren who are quickly growing up and becoming young men and women on their own.

Yes, the traffic will increase a little on the island, the wait may be a little longer at our favorite restaurant and the tee times will have to be gotten a little sooner during the week. Yes, I laugh a little about what we consider to be our terrible “little inconveniences,” but overall we are very lucky.

Some are coming back and dealing with the aftermath of Irma. Yes, although the island is cleaned up and looking pretty good, some of our neighbors are still fighting with the insurance companies, as others continue to be frustrated with promises by contractors to be there, “next week.”



According to Police Chief Al Schettino, his personnel are working diligently to insure homeowners and residents are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors or conmen. “If you suspect something, say something,” is Schettino’s advice to residents.

Our friends in the food and beverage industry are ramped up for a great season. Curt Koon, who with his wife Jacquie, own the popular Star Bar and CJs on the Bay at the Esplanade are looking forward to another great year. “All the indications show that we should have another great year,” said Curt Koon.

The popular Dolphin Tiki Bar has also reopened after being severely damaged due to Irma, and not too soon according to many of its regulars.

Some restaurants, such as the Snook Inn have changed hands. We wish the former owners a little rest and the new owners continued success.

The Island Country Club has just finished up the major rebuild of their 18-hole course, which started last spring. All that have ventured out onto it are singing its praises. Other courses around the area have finalized their preparations for the 2018 season and are looking forward to welcoming back their regulars and new visitors.

As with the beginning of each year, first time visitors and new residents will be looking for you and me to give them a little help in showing them around and being patient, especially if they seem a little confused or lost. I always have to chuckle a little when I hear someone complaining about those situations, when just a year or two ago it could have been them.

I did get a chuckle the other day when at the grocery store one night I overheard a little boy begging his dad to buy the cookies with the “three layers” of filling. He would beg his dad at least three times to listen to his request.

Finally the little boy raised the palm of his hand to his forehead and exclaimed, “Dad, sometimes you slay me with your logic!” I almost lost it in the middle of the aisle, but I composed myself and questioned the dad as to his son’s age. “He’s six going on sixty,” said the dad with a smile, as we would stand in the middle of the aisle and just laugh.

They were here on vacation; he, his wife and three children. They had rented a car at the Ft. Myers Airport and after loading everything into it had a mechanical issue. The rental agency quickly assisted them to move their belongings into another vehicle and off they went to Marco Island at 1 AM in the morning.

When they arrived they found their daughter had left her “special blanket” in the other vehicle and back they would go to the airport. They recovered the blanket to the little girl’s delight and drove back to the island. As they crossed the bridge they were not aware of how fast they were going as they met one of our officers.

After explaining the plight of the “lost blanket” to the officer, the gentleman was very pleased when the officer returned his license and wished him a good evening, while asking him to watch his speed.

Now it wasn’t the perfect way to start a vacation for that family, but it was a perfect example of why we are a great community to live in or just to visit.

Welcome back folks and have a great stay!

Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced awardwinning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at

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