FWC Law Enforcement Collier
Officer Plussa responded to an overnight callout involving a 10-foot alligator that had entered a residential garage and was damaging property. Officer Plussa and Nuisance Alligator Trapper Ray Simonsen responded to the residence to find a crowd of people and several local deputies in the street and driveway. Officer Plussa cleared the area with the deputies and assisted the trapper in removing the 8.5-foot alligator and securing it for safe removal from the sceneOfficers Plussa and Knutson were conducting federal fisheries off load inspections on a commercial vessel in Naples, where they observed violations relating to the subject’s federal and state commercial fishing license. The violations were addressed and the appropriate law enforcement action was taken. Officers Plussa and Knutson were assisting with an evidence seizure for a subject arrested for multiple trap violations. Officer Plussa recognized the suspect in Monroe County. Officer Plussa found that three citations for this subject had been returned undeliverable for three different addresses. The suspect admitted to owning the derelict vessels in the Keys and that he had been living on Marco Island for the last seven months. Officer Plussa served him the three unclaimed Monroe citations and criminally charged him with failure to transfer interest or address on vessel registration. Additional charges are pending for the subject in Monroe County with Lieutenant Cox. Big Cypress Campgrounds Reopen
Big Cypress National Preserve facility conditions are steadily improving. Burns Lake, Bear Island, Pink Jeep, and Gator Head Campgrounds will all reopen effective immediately. Visitors may expect one or two campsites that are not yet fully open within the units. Monument Lake Campground remains open. Mitchell Landing, Pinecrest, and Midway Campgrounds remain closed due to higher than normal ground water levels.“I’m pleased to welcome visitors back to our campgrounds in time for the busy winter season. Camping in Big Cypress beneath our dark night skies is an experience every family should enjoy,” said Superintendent Tammy Whittington.
Loop Road remains closed to all nonlocal and through traffic. Although teams have completed vegetation and debris clearing along the scenic road, high water levels continue to make the road impassable. Staff will continue to update signs along the roadway and reopen by press release as conditions allow.Improving resource conditions have also lead to reopening Zones 1 and 2 of the Stairsteps Unit to all recreational use, including hunting. Currently, Zones 3 and 4 of the Stairsteps Unit remained closed to all use.
To learn more about camping in Big Cypress National Preserve, visit https:// www.nps.gov/bicy/planyourvisit/campgrounds. For up to the minute closures, updates, and program information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at “BigCypressnps.”
Suncoast Credit and Champions Scholarships
The Suncoast Credit Union is partnering with Champions For Learning to offer five (5) $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2018. Class of 2018 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.Applications are now open and are available. Click here to download the application or visit championsforlearning.org/apply/.
All applications must be received by 5pm on January 12, 2018 at the Champions For Learning office, 3606 Enterprise Avenue #150, Naples, FL 34104.
Rookery Bay Field Trips, walks and rides
Mark your calendar for field trips and lectures during the Festival of Birds, Jan. 12-14, 2018! Field trip registration opened to Friends of Rookery Bay members. Join the Friends today to have the first pick of field trips. Registration opens to the general public on December 1, 2017.
Formerly known as the Southwest Florida Nature Festival, this event still invites you to explore the local environment through dozens of guided field trips to wildlife hotspots around Southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. This year we have a new emphasis on birds.
Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are still being offered in conjunction with local partners. Field trip prices range from $20 – $140, and registration is required. This year, field trip registration includes admission to the Environmental Learning Center and lectures on Saturday.
Lunch & Learn Lecture Series
Hear from expert speakers, and enjoy a meal during the Lunch & Learn Lecture at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Registration fee is
$15(includes lunch). Friends of Rookery
Bay members receive a 10% discount.
This month’s featured speaker is Gary Mormino, who will recount Florida’s recent history in “The Florida Dream: from the 1940’s to present.”
Tuesday, Dec. 12
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. with lecture from noon to 1 p.m.
Contact Rookery Bay for more information (239) 530-5940 or make a reservation at rookerybay.org
Saxophone Recording Artist Eirinn Abu
On Wednesday, December 20th, masterful soprano saxophonist and recording artist Eirinn Abu will be performing a Christmas concert at 6:30pm in the main sanctuary hosted by Wesley United Methodist Church, 350 S. Barfield Dr. Marco Island Florida.
Eirinn Abu will be performing selections from his “Saxy Christmas” album along with selections from “Ten Love Stories” and a new album released this year titled “HYMNS.”
The artist is now known for giving his instrument a new voice and sound, full of soul and emotions, his peers call him the instrumental version of Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli. His talent has warranted Dolly Parton’s singing her “I Will Always Love You” on his CD’s, “A New Creation” and “Forever In Love.”
Abu and his wife Brandy Doyle moved from Nashville, Tennessee, to Rockledge, Florida over six years ago with their ministry, Music for Life Ministries. Recently they relocated to Venice, Florida from which they continue to share their music ministry with churches around the country as they have for more than seven years.
A freewill love offering will be taken during the event.
Visit www.soundcloud.com/eirinn-abu to sample the music of Eirinn Abu.
Why are burrowing owls not at their burrows?
While burrowing owls use burrows to nest in, it’s not unusual to find them hunting or roosting away from their burrows, especially in fall and winter months. Outside the nesting season, burrowing owls can be found taking shelter in culverts, gardens, trees, and around houses and garages. If you find a burrowing owl in an “unusual” place, don’t be alarmed – it should return to its burrow before the start of the nesting season in February. You can help your burrowing owl neighbors by giving them space to rest and by keeping curious pets a safe distance.
For questions or advice, contact Audubon of the Western Everglades at OwlWatchMarco@gmail.com
If you suspect an owl is injured, contact the Von Arx Wildlife Hospital at (239) 262-2273
The Story of Barron Collier
Local author Marya Repko digs into the life of this amazing man who created a successful advertising business and then invested in Florida. He became the largest landowner there, bought hotels, operated telephone systems, published newspapers, and undertook a roadbuilding project across the swamps of the Everglades. At the same time, he was keeping up his New York interests as a civic leader, generous with his creativity and wealth.
This is the third in a series of History for Younger Readers and is based on the author’s research for the adult version Everglades Entrepreneur. It is profusely illustrated with historic pictures.
Order online at www.ecity-publishing.com