Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Three Finalists for Marco Council Seat


Council went through many agenda items on Monday, choosing first to narrow the field of five candidates to three finalists to fill the vacant seat once held by Sam Young on the seven-member board. Young resigned his seat in April after serving 18 months of a 4-year term. His temporary replacement will serve five months, while a permanent replacement will be chosen during the November 2020 election to finish the 2 years of his term.

Between five candidates, the City Council has narrowed the field down to three for interviews later this month. The five applicants were:

  • Richard Blonna
  • Gregory Folley
  • Ronald Goldstein
  • Phares Heindl
  • Joseph Rola

The Council has chosen Gregory Folley, Phares Heindl and Joseph Rola to interview for the interim position.

Marijuana Referendum Approved

By a 7-0 vote, the City Council has moved to allow citizens to vote on whether they wish to approve an ordinance banning the sale and distribution of “recreational marijuana” on Marco Island during the Primary Election on August 18th. 

During the meeting, City Manager Michael McNees read an email from a group that announced it would be creating a Political Action Committee to oppose such a referendum, claiming it was an abridgment of their constitutional rights.

During the summer of 2019, the Council approved an ordinance allowing the sale and establishment of medical marijuana outlets on Marco Island. To date, none have been established.

July 4th Celebration Debated

The only fireworks that residents will be seeing during July 4th may be by Mother Nature, similar to the ones going on outside the council chambers as a line of strong storms caused a momentary loss of power. Power was thankfully restored in less than a minute as the debate continued.

The contracts have to be signed immediately to ensure the availability of the barge from which the pyrotechnics would be shot.

Councilor Rios didn’t want the historical event to be rescheduled or cancelled. Councilor Grifoni suggested an alternative date be scheduled to do an overall celebration of the community’s resilience over the recent challenges.

The Marco Island Civic Association had announced its plans to operate the day like any other and close the beach at sunset. Residents Beach has always been a focal point of the island’s activities that day they have chosen, as many communities around the country will scale back or cancel events out of an abundance of caution for safety. 

No Memorial Day Ceremony to Be Held 

Long time veteran affairs activist Jim Lang came forward to announce that the organization, Marco War Veterans, would not be carrying on the long tradition of the Memorial Day Tribute to Veterans which was previously sponsored by the VFW Post on the island, out of an abundance of caution.

They will be lining Collier Boulevard with flags to honor those veterans lost in combat.

Coastal Advisory Committee Vacancies Filled

Councilor Charlette Roman nominated Robert Roth to fill one of the three seats on the Coastal Advisory Committee for Collier County. The second seat, historically held by a councilor, will be filled by Erik Brechnitz.

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