Our Kiwanis Club is looking for people who can knit or crochet hats for children who have cancer. We’ll do a fundraiser to pay for the hats if we can find the people who can knit them. Who knows? Maybe someone will even want to donate yarn for a knitting group or church group to knit them with.
Coming up quickly, the famous Marco Island Kiwanis Car Show on Sunday, February 19 with a fabulous array of cars from exotic, to antique, to stunning, to unusual, etc.! Cars for the show – entry fee is FREE, and for those of us who love to enjoy a day with fun, food, cars, and wonderful neighbors, come to the Healthcare Center on Heathwood Drive across from City Hall. Entry fee is $5.00.
- Don’t forget the Everglades Seafood Festival three-day event coming up on February 10, 11 & 12 in Everglades City. Organizers have been busy all summer preparing for this event. This is always a very busy festival, so get there early.
- As many Marco Islanders know, Collier County has been busy working at trying to renourish the central portion of Marco Beach for the last decade, but we must seek and receive permission from the FDEP and also the Army Corps, so there will be positive drainage, but the job is only partially done. Once the correct permits are received, the county plans to finish the job, but sometimes those permits seem to linger just beyond reach. While talking of beach sand, Hideaway Beach and the JW Marriott Hotel donated 37,000 cubic yards of fill material, which was placed on the beach just north of MICA and south of Sand Dollar Island to address the worst drainage areas. This was the first and second phases of a three-part program to correct the drainage on the beach. The third and most significant phase will place 140,000 cubic yards of material from the intertidal zone on the beach to correct the drainage, which appears to be rather deep gulleys at this time. The county is now in the process of permitting the final design with the federal and state regulators, but the permitting will probably not happen for another year or so because the USACE and FDEP are backed up issuing permits. In the meantime the county is aggressively grooming the beach to minimize as many of the impacts to the residents as possible.
- The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA) held their 50th Annual Change of Watch this past weekend and what a nice celebration it was! I think this was my fifteenth Change of Watch ceremony, and they get better each time. Walter Jaskiewicz, PDCO 7th District USCGA was our Master of Ceremonies. It’s always a pleasure watching Walter lead us in the ceremony. We were honored to have Thomas Bamford, USCGA Commander Division 9, District 7 as part of this momentous occasion. Kathleen Reynolds and Rhonda Gloodt, from the Power Squadron were there to support the new officers. City Manager Roger Hernstadt and his wife Jessica were also in attendance to congratulate the organization, along with Police Chief Al Schettino and others from the City of Marco Island. I enjoyed conversation with Mike and Marian Harris (what fun people they are) and Doug and Marie Johnson. I got to have some special time with Laurie and John Harris who, on top of staying so busy with the Auxiliary, volunteer at the Domestic Animal Services for the county and Laurie exclaimed over and over how happy she was to volunteer there, and the joy these animals brought to her and John whenever they volunteered. She said she used to feel sorry for the animals until she actually went to “work” there, and since then they are a great part of her happy life. I also had a chance to talk with John Montville and Joe and Judy Riccio. What wonderful people make up this organization, and what great service they provide to our community! They continue to dedicate their time and talent to helping others. Thank you one and all!
- Bonnie Woodworth gave me a cutting from her vanilla bean orchid a couple years ago, and that huge plant is now growing up to the top of my tree and blooming like crazy. Every time I look at it, I think of Bonnie. I wish it would grow some vanilla beans, but Bonnie said you have to propagate it with Q-tips. If only the bees could do it, but they are pretty scarce nowadays, and I can’t climb trees.
- You probably heard about the moratorium I asked to have placed on the US 41E corridor until a study could be made to determine what should be built along that corridor, but some of the commissioners didn’t like the idea. One mentioned that he will always vote for property rights – but what about the property owners who already live along that corridor? What about their property rights? Who wants a 100-foot tall self storage unit in front of their community? Yes, you heard me right! Do the people who have paid for their home know that a PUD was obtained so that this ten-story monster could be built there? I’ll never stop believing we must first protect the residents who already live there and have been paying taxes all these years. They should have rights too! Do they want a truck-stop type gas station 100 feet from their home? Yes, our zoning is very outdated – especially along that corridor where the zoning was established in the early 1980s when no one ever dreamed of all the growth that would take place or gas stations that belonged on the interstate being built at the entrance to their communities. I truly feel we need an up-to-date plan before we move forward. Yes, lots of people came to the meeting, but they were mostly representing out of town investors who are not concerned with our community. Sorry…enough of that.
- Affordable housing is being spoken of a lot lately, and for some reason everyone thinks affordable housing is low income housing, but it isn’t brought out that moderate income housing for young college graduates is needed, or for skilled workers, and certainly for our first responders, teachers, nurses, etc. However, these people do not qualify for low income housing. I wish we could actually put qualifiers into the type of housing we need so we can get it right! Here’s another interesting fact, according to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. representative, they are not aware of any Florida county that restricts eligibility for financing with respect to citizenship status. The State Housing Improvement Program statutes (Section 420.9071) do not specify any restricted citizenship requirements.