We will be losing a very special Marco person and hotel manager and Tourist Development Council member when Mac Chaudhry moves upstate soon. I just finally learned to spell his name and there he goes! After 28 years with the Hilton Hotels, he and his wife are moving to northern Florida to be with their beloved son and daughter. Life wouldn’t be the same without them close by, they say. What a beautiful family! We will miss them!
- If you have the opportunity and you love live plays, you must see “My Fair Lady” at the Sugden Theater! The Naples Players outdid themselves. The play was amazing, the actors were so talented, the costumes were so professional, the voices were wonderful, and I just had to see it one more time because I couldn’t get enough. There were 35 actors all doing a terrific job of making the play come to life. Oh, by the way, the Naples Players were awarded the second best community theater group in AMERICA! If you can still get tickets, don’t miss it.
- Many people who receive this marvelous newspaper will be extremely proud of the “Ladies of Naples Lakes” for all they do to reach out and help others. Each year they hold fundraisers for an identified charity and then work to make a difference in the lives of the people that charity helps. This year their charity works with hundreds of underprivileged children in the East Naples area who have no charity to reach out and touch them. Being that there is a concentration of these children, the Ladies of Naples Lakes identified them as their charity of choice this year. They chose the East Naples Kiwanis Club to identify those children and become the “pass-through” to the schools whose guidance counselors really know which ones are hardship cases. These ladies worked hard for months to accomplish “the impossible” and won! Although there are about 150 of them who all pull together for the betterment of the community, I want to name a few who seem to be the leaders of the project: Susan Lawson who plans and organizes, never gives up and always has her heart in the right place; Deborah Dyson (domestic goddess) who looks like a movie star and has loads of energy and lots of smiles; and Barbara Casey, the sweetheart who is also donating over 1,000 books she will be bringing down from “up north” where her daughter lives and is just retiring as an elementary school teacher. They dynamic trio were the leading edge to many, many more terrific ladies who are all about helping others. I just couldn’t let this opportunity to spotlight them slide by. This community is truly a very special place filled with special people.
- Texas Roadhouse Restaurant will be flinging its doors open soon in Restaurant Row along the 951 corridor in the Freedom Square Shopping Center in front of Lely Resort. The opening day is March 20th – still in time to catch a little of seasonal visitors and residents (but I’ve noticed more and more people are just moving here and visiting back up north for a couple months a year) before many leave to go back “home.” The last two restaurants (Skillets and Palumbo’s) to open in that corridor cannot keep up with the business, as we know from the Outback and Carrabba’s restaurants’ experience. I keep thinking the numbers couldn’t keep up, but they keep increasing! When you have a “restaurant starved” community, and you bring quality food, atmosphere and service to the area, they can’t miss!
- The Seafood Festival is coming up quickly on Marco Island, presented by the Marco Island Kiwanis Club and the two Marco Island Rotary clubs! This combined effort is always a smashing hit. The food, entertainment, ice cream and activities are always outstanding. Please mark your calendars for March 24th, 25th and 26th at Veteran’s Community Park. Just go every day so you won’t miss anything! You’ll meet all of your friends and neighbors.
- We are thankful that the fires we just recently saw or read about right here in Collier County didn’t take anyone’s life. Sadly a few homes were lost, and one of them had just finished paying it off and had no insurance, but I’ve heard his attitude is positive. God bless him, and He did! I was able to tour the ruins and smoking trees and mobile homes so close to the fire that some parts melted, with our Governor Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (who just might run for Governor after Governor Scott’s term is up next year), plus a whole host of firefighters, forestry people, the “cavalry” from FP&L who came ever so quickly to fix the electric poles before we lost electricity that could have caused so many more problems, the Sheriff’s office, County Manager and personnel, emergency operations staff, and so much more. I felt humbled to be included in this dynamic group of important people.