Hopefully, this season has helped many of our business owners partially recover from this COVID last year! It’s only a couple months of recovery so far, but at least they can keep their doors open and their staff working. It’s been a strain on everyone, but at last we are trying to move forward, and many are out supporting the businesses by eating out, buying gasoline, buying groceries, and maybe even shopping in actual stores for Christmas. There was really no way to prepare for this devasting blow around the world, but most made it, thank God. I’ve done my part to shop and eat and drive…well, maybe a little smile with that statement. We’ve noticed that most businesses are sticking to the mask request and trying to keep their establishments outfitted for safe distancing. All that helps all of us.
*The Ben Allen Band is back on our turf again, after appearing in front of the TV cameras on “The Voice”, at Dolphin Point in Isles of Capri. Those poor guys had to perform on Friday night when the temperatures dropped so low it felt like we would turn into a popsicle, but they sounded outstanding! Just amazing! AND on top of that… it RAINED! Kim Mitchell braved it all to hold the event anyway. She donated the money to the Republican Club 2020.
*The time is approaching quickly now! It’s been a tough year for many businesses and events and also attractions. One of those businesses is an extremely important business to all of us here in this part of Collier County, especially those who depend on the water for business such as fishermen, boating, restaurants, boaters, nature, kids’ activities, and the home of amazing birds of all species! It’s the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve and is our coastal jewel right here at our doorstep! They encompass over 40-percent of the Collier County Coastline and is in constant threat! This very important organization oversees the 10,000 Islands we have all heard about over the years, and if you look out many of your windows you will see it! Most of their income is derived from boat rides, guided kayak tours, protecting our mangroves, and the amazing world that exists within the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest and uplands, coastlands, and waters at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands. Programs at Rookery Bay are not flourishing right now because of the COVID restrictions, and at times like these there is practically no income, as other businesses are experiencing as well. So, the Friends of Rookery Bay will be working to help keep the home fires burning by holding a virtual “BASH for the Bay 202ONE” to help augment the funding and keep it “alive”, and I am a member of that Board! We are pleased to state that our renewal memberships are standing strong, and that’s a plus! Now we have the everyday expenses and testing needed to do the job for the waters, the fishermen, the estuary, the mangroves, etc., which is what we are needed for, year-round! This is where the Friends come in; to help find the funds to keep our doors open! And if you are admiring all that this organization does for our waters, our fishing, our boating, and would like to support this organization, please go to their website at www.rookerybay.org and register to become a member for only $35, which automatically includes you as a member of Friends of Rookery Bay (FORB). The BASH will be held “virtually” on March 20, 2021. But more about that in our next edition of the Coastal Breeze.
*A HUGE thank you to Steve and Trish Gober from Stan’s in Goodland for all the community support they offer, free of charge! They just helped the East Naples Kiwanis Club raise funds to buy football helmets for the Lely High School Athletic team! They badly needed replacing, and Steve (Stan’s proud son) and Trish stepped in and helped us raise funds. We still need many more funds because helmets aren’t cheap, but we have a good start! There are so many things needed at Lely High School in the Athletic Department and also the Band Department. Lely is a great school, and kids that go there can earn their pilot’s license while still in high school, or they can closely examine the medical field in classes dedicated to many fields of medicine – they can experience these to decide which field they feel would be best suited for them. I believe they have more Marco students at Lely than at MIA. They have classes designed so the student can experience the different categories before selecting which they would want to study in college, like dentist, veterinarian, surgeon, orthopedist, etc. Their engineering class it very popular, as is the economics class. They have so much to offer for students who want to grow to be a success in a certain field. But funding is needed for some of the extracurricular activities like music, football, basketball (they have winning teams in both!), and help is always needed. (Foxboro has been a great supporter of Lely High School, I might add!) I’m not a fund raiser, but I feel the need to reach out and help Lely High School. Maybe because all five of my children graduated from Lely.