Syndicate content
Updated: 21 hours 44 min ago

CBN 08-19-16

Sun, 08/28/2016 - 10:22pm
#book_40750 { /*width: 3252px; height: 2400px;*/ top: -20px; } #book_stage_40750 { width: 100%; height: 2400px; ; } #book_shell_40750 { height: 2360px; } #book_40750 .page-main-content { padding: 0px; } /*Pages will be just white for now*/ #book_40750 .page { ; } .dpsTdShell_simple.colorset .btnTbMain i.fa:hover, .dpsTdShell_simple.colorset .dpsTbZoomOutShell a.dpsTbBtn i.fa:hover, .dpsTdShell_simple.colorset .dpsTbSearchShell a.dpsTbBtn i.fa:hover, .dpsTdShell_simple.colorset .dpsTbExportShell a.dpsTbBtn:hover { color: #D6D6D6 !important; } .dpsTdShell_simple.borderset .btnContainer:hover { background-color: #D6D6D6 !important; } HTML PDF

On the Run to Recognize Raymonds

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 2:39pm

By Roger LaLonde

Kyle Grucci and Dr. Patty Poling are on the run for Roger and Karen Raymond.

The Raymonds have announced that they are leaving Marco Island for Orlando, due to family health reasons. After being leaders in their fields for 18 years, the Raymonds will be leaving Marco Island Charter Middle School.

Due to a short time frame, Grucci and Poling have been hustling to put together a “Raymond Going Away Run” at Mackle Park, beginning at 8 AM on Sunday, August 28.

Grucci, who coaches basketball, along with Poling and husband Dr. Bob, who have had four children experience the Raymonds’ cross country and track programs, started by creating an Evite email.

In their email, they recognize the Raymonds’ contributions to the children of Marco Island are immeasurable, in and outside the classroom. They ask that, “If you, or your children have been lucky enough to have Karen and Roger influence your lives, please join us for a run around Mackle Pack, followed by a light breakfast.”

A “what to bring” list is attached to the invitation, and an RSVP is requested.

If you have photos of Roger and Karen with their students, in sports or in musicals, please send them to Patty Poling at [email protected]. Letters from students are also requested for a memory book, which is being put together by Ellie Poling and Kristen Pertonzio.

In the email recipients are asked to “spread the word.”

The email link for the invitation is or share/message it on Facebook.

For further questions call Grucci at 413-244-6014 or Poling at 239-248-2886.

The Oldest Realtor in Town Art Calvert Sells Goodland

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:55am

Goodland Life 

By Barry Gwinn

Art Calvert’s real estate office, March 2004. All clippings and pictures appear to be more than 30 years old. Most recent is Art’s Florida Real Estate License (top left), renewed on 2/26/04, less than two months before his death at age 90. He was indeed,
Goodland’s oldest real estate broker.

In the spring of 1945, when Art Calvert returned to the States from the South Pacific, his children didn’t recognize him. He had been taking Atabrine for his malaria, and it gave him a yellowish hue. He resettled the family in Miami Springs and resumed his electric supply business. He also got involved in politics and the newspaper business, chairing the Dade County Democratic Executive Committee, and publishing (and editing) the Dade Democrat. In 1961, after helping Doyle Conner to be elected as Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner, Art was appointed as Southern Regional Director of the Florida Department of Agriculture, where he served until his retirement in 1978.

In the mid-20th century, Miami was a magnet for those who shivered through Northeastern and Midwestern winters. It was a boomtown full of business opportunities, plus beaches and fishing. It seemed to have everything. Dade County was by far, the most populous county in Florida – just under 500,000 people lived there. (Florida’s total population was 2.7 million.) Directly across the peninsula was one of Florida’s smallest counties, Collier County, with only 6,488 souls. It was insignificant and a backwater in the scheme of things. Except, it had some of the best fishing in Florida. On the east coast, it was common knowledge that the 10,000 Islands and adjoining Gulf of Mexico were teeming with fish. Now a new fishing village was being developed and settled – right smack in the middle of all this. A friend took Art over for a fishing trip in the late 1950s. By the 1960s, Goodland had been developed enough that it could accommodate increasing numbers of visitors. It had a trailer park, a motel, and a couple of restaurants. Ted Cursie, another Miami transplant, was about to start building model homes and offer building lots. “We were a fishing family,” Bev Boggs, Art’s youngest daughter told me, “And we fell in love with the sleepy fishing village of Goodland. The images of soaring eagles, nesting ospreys on channel markers, snook, captivating sunsets, spoonbills and the white unmarred beaches [of Marco Island] were calling to all of us.”

Submitted Photos
After Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 eponymous #1 hit song, Art replaced his old sign with this one, perhaps hoping to spread the joy among prospective buyers.

In 1961, Art found a three-room stilt house on the Marco River, which he was able to rent for $25 a month. It was located next to where the Old Marco Lodge now stands and dubbed, “The Fish House” by the Calvert family. That the seven-member family was willing to be crammed into this lodging for a few months each year was evidence of their love for the Island. “There was no water back then,” said Bev, “The only water was a cistern on the property. If it didn’t rain, there was no water. We had to bring drinking water in large jugs from Miami. Showering was GI style – get wet, soap down, and a quick rinse.” In 1977, he built a larger home at 101 Coconut Ave. E. He and Dottie finally moved into it permanently in 1978. Beverly Calvert Boggs, Art’s youngest daughter, still lives there. She is the music director at the Goodland Baptist Church and plays the piano there on Sundays. She is also active in the Goodland Civic Association (GCA). The Calvert family continues to contribute.

Art Calvert’s first real estate sign, erected on the northwest corner of Goodland Road and Sunset Court, c. 1978. Stan’s at middle left. Village Inn Motel at middle right. Art would have been about 65 years old.

The family can recount 28 different jobs that Art held during his lifetime. One of those jobs was selling real estate; another was editing newspapers. In 1978, there were a lot of vacant lots in Goodland. Art, sensing opportunity, got his real estate broker’s license and opened an office in the basement of his home. Never one to do things half way, he promptly commissioned a sign to be posted at the entrance to Goodland (at Sunset Court) welcoming visitors and announcing that (at 65) he was “Goodland’s Oldest Real Estate Broker.” “I have views for you,” the sign said. The “Welcome to Goodland” sign of today, positioned in the same area, is eerily reminiscent of Calvert’s first “Welcome” sign. To further advertise his business, Art composed what he called an “Introduction to Goodland,” which was published in the Marco Islander, our local paper at the time. It was a clever, earthy appeal to those who wanted a simpler, less complicated way of life. Published in about 1978, it could easily be included in a promotional brochure today, nearly 40 years later. “Hell no, it ain’t cheap,” wrote Art, “It just looks that way. But if you’re looking for the best location in Florida for fishin’ and relaxin’…you’ve found it, right here in Goodland.” Advising prospective buyers that they better hurry, Art continued, “There ain’t much left to sell, and them that’s got it, don’t want to sell.” Suggesting that the obituaries might be the best way to find listings, Art went on, “The most general way something becomes available here is when someone dies or gets run out of town.” “Most people like it here,” Art concluded, “and just want to stay and enjoy the ‘good life’ in this mixed up little village.”

Art Calvert’s Real Estate Office at 101 Coconut Ave. E. Note sign on front steps. Office was in converted utility room under the steps. House was built in 1977, Art and Dottie moved in in 1978.

After devoting a few paragraphs to the eclectic “mixed up” Goodland residents, Art felt constrained to deal with the no-see-ums and mosquitos in two lengthy paragraphs, intimating that living with them was a Goodlander’s badge of honor. Art ended his piece with a peroration that well could be our motto today, as we continue to welcome visitors and new residents in to our community. “It’s a Good Land,” Art said, “and they keep a comin’ down that twisted little road that leads in to town.” Yes they do Art. Thanks for that.

Art was a charter member of the Goodland Civic Association (GCA), incorporated in April 1978. Another of his incarnations was that of fireman. In the early 1980s, he along with other Goodland leaders wanted to bring a firehouse to Goodland. It was spearheaded by the recently formed GCA. The Marco Island Fire Control District agreed to raise money for the erection of a firehouse (They did raise $115,000), if the GCA would make a suitable building lot available. Thereafter the GCA raised $18,000 for purchase of the lot on which the Community Center stands today. Art Calvert was one of the main movers and shakers, giving both his time and money for this effort. His name, along with 18 others, is memorialized in a bronze plaque affixed to the front of the Community Center. The building didn’t last as a firehouse, but became instead, the home of the GCA, which has been meeting there for 30 years.

Photo by Barry Gwinn
Beverly Calvert Boggs at home in Goodland with some of her father’s memorabilia. Art Calvert saved almost everything and Bev has faithfully kept his collection. She is holding Art’s WWII warrant officer’s cap.

Perhaps Art’s greatest accomplishment was as the beloved patriarch of his family, which at the time of his death, consisted of his four children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. They all adored him. Art died of cancer at the age of 90 on April 22, 2004, ten years to the day after Dottie died. Two months before his death, Art posted his final real estate license renewal to his office wall. It was dated February 26, 2004.

Barry was a practicing attorney before he worked as a Special Agent of the FBI for 31 years.  Barry worked for several government agencies another ten years before retiring to Goodland in 2006. Barry is presently the Secretary of the Goodland Civic Association.



Living & Learning

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:36am

Richard Alan

Strong words, “I can do most anything,” not exactly like Nike’s catch phrase, which is “Just do it!”

Problem with “Just do it,” is that you do it and fail or fall on your face, that can be a problem. Failure can cause you embarrassment, or worse, your money. But it is said: It’s better to try and fail than never try at all. (Or was that about the subject of love?)

In my case, as a young learning goldsmith, I was instructed to “just do it,” the problem could be a tough repair or a completely from scratch custom ring or pendant, and if it did not pass inspection by my masters (I had two) I would be told to tear it down and start again. Live and learn, and fast forward 40 years…boy did I learn.

I find myself saying jokingly I can do most anything, like performing a simple adjustment on a clasp that won’t clasp on an expensive diamond tennis bracelet. It took me three seconds to remedy. “How did you do that so fast?” I can do most anything.

“I need this antique ring that belonged to my great grandmother sized to fit my finger. I tried several other jewelers, they won’t touch it, and they all said it was too old and delicate.” Leave it with me; it will cost $75 to size the ring, and you can pick it up this Friday. I can do most anything.

“I changed the watch battery myself and the watch still doesn’t work. Can you look at it for me?”  I check the watch at my bench, a couple of minutes later the watch is working perfectly. I can do most anything. (I didn’t have the heart to tell the do-it-yourselfer he put the battery in upside down.)

You might now be thinking, “Wow! This guy is more than just quite sure of himself; he’s almost arrogant.” I’m not arrogant, I just have tons of experience which happens to make a person quite sure of oneself.

I have great pride in the fact that my son and I, on almost any given day, will do what is considered by most of my peers impossible, only to complete the impossible task in a matter of minutes, hours or days. Experience, more experience, then even more experience is the secret. Taking calculated risks is a regular occurrence at the goldsmith’s bench. What has the piece of jewelry been through in its lifetime, be it short or long? Poor cleaning habits such as using bleach or caustic chemicals can make most precious metals brittle, causing catastrophic results when working with the piece at the bench. A poorly repaired piece of jewelry becomes a complete teardown to repair it properly, requiring skill, experience and a will to push the envelope. Cheap hollow jewelry is more than a challenge; try welding a hollow rope chain that weighs the same as a butterfly’s eyelash.

To me the impossible is a challenge we rarely fail at, but many of our miracles can take a bit longer. This is where you notice I said, “most anything.”

I like to look at jewelry challenges in terms of what percentage are the chances of failing miserably or completing the seemingly impossible.

I’m reminded of a couple who had presented a beautiful diamond and platinum ring they purchased at an auction hall up north. They paid close to ten thousand for the ring. Problem was the ring was five sizes too large for the new owner. Big problem, in fact, truly impossible. Even if I brought Cellini, the world’s greatest goldsmith back from the dead, he would say “no way!” (In Italian of course!)

Reducing the ring required removing too much metal, requiring bending the ring past the point of high risk. The result would loosen every diamond and cause all the important diamonds to fall out. The diamonds would never go back in a distorted ring. You see, platinum bends and gives a little, only diamonds and precious gemstones don’t bend, they chip or break. This job was past the point of high risk…100% failure factor. I apologized but there was no way I would accept this hand grenade with the pin pulled out. I told them it was not possible even with help from above. Best advice: return the ring.

Fast forward one year later. Same couple, a pile of loose pieces of what once appeared to be a diamond platinum ring, the loose burnt diamonds were beyond recognition. This was the ring I saw a year ago. They had ignored my warning and found some clown in New York City who said he would do it for $100. He did it all right, and he did say he was sorry. I gave the ring last rites and told them their $9,000 estate ring was now worthless and impossible to put back together. This was worse than trying to put humpty dumpty together after he was cremated.

I recently re-pronged an estate ring that required over thirty new tips, on gemstones that will explode if near a high temperature jeweler’s torch – a bench jeweler’s nightmare, besides being risky (70 % risk factor) and mucho labor intensive. I charged nowhere near what I should have, and now the ring is 100% restored and wearable for another 100 years. So now there is one happy customer, and a neurotic, near-blind bench jeweler. I can do most anything.

The sense of satisfaction I receive when a customer is overjoyed by the finished results of a seemingly impossible restoration or repair never gets old, and it can really make your day, especially if you have one of those days that seems like everyone walking in the door is cranky and impossible to please.

Last year I began to refuse doing labor and time intensive work during the seasonal months. Now it’s my turn to get irritable and cranky. It’s just not possible to concentrate or truly focus on tedious work in a carnival atmosphere, and if you have ever been in my store in season you’ll notice the only thing missing is the shooting gallery and cotton candy. Now that I am older and wiser I refuse to burn the midnight oil unless it’s worth my while.

It’s true I’ve become choosy on which miracles I want or don’t want to perform. If the person in need is nice and understands that the impossible does not always come cheap, and that miracles can be a bit more costly, I’ll most likely do it.

We do nice work for nice people. Push all my wrong buttons, and find I’m not interested and will walk away, even if I know I can do it.

A man has to know his limitations, and I know mine. I don’t mess with electricity, plumbing, roof or car repair. But put me on my jeweler’s bench and I can do most anything.

Richard Alan is a master goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island at Island Plaza. He welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Email him at [email protected] or visit  

What Does “Back to School” Mean to You?

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:34am

Jory Westberry

What memories do the words, “Back to School” tickle in your head? An end to goofing off and feeling so free that when the wind blows through your hair it erases any schedule you had? The time to play was paramount to even eating lunch or dinner when you were called; you dutifully looked apologetic when reprimanded for being late, while in your heart you wanted to keep playing forever.

“Back to School” means many things to many people.

For the retailers it’s a much needed lift after the sultry summer with clothing sales, school supplies, backpacks and whatever cool new advertised must have item that’s been on TV all summer.

Health care services are up to their collective headaches with physicals, paperwork, immunizations and verifications.

To parents it’s a respite from the summer schedule of activities, enrichment and trying your best to keep your child(ren) reading and reviewing to prevent that two-month decline in skills that occurs when the brain atrophies from lack of practice. (*Note, that’s not true, the brain always keeps learning, but the word ‘atrophies’ was just too dramatic to pass up!)

For many parents it’s also the relief that professional educators will be caring for their child, which gives them some time to meet their own creative needs whether working, volunteering or working out.

For bus drivers, responsibility rings loudly in their memories. Transporting students safely from home to school and back with drivers, apparently in la-la land who don’t stop for the bus signals, and student spontaneity that many of us remember, but may be unwilling to admit that we were ever participants.

For the working public and retirees, it means more traffic, longer driving times and school bus routes to avoid.

For the teachers and administrators who have been “Back to School” for a week or many weeks, it’s a time of preparation, professional development and excitement. Anticipation of your new group of students is paramount with questions like: Will we all mesh as a learning community? How will I effectively meet all their learning needs? Will I be able to challenge and inspire them to be their personal best and follow their dreams?

And, not too long ago, YOU were the student who was heading off to a new grade, a new school, a new level or new challenges. Remember how you planned your outfit for the first day of school? You couldn’t sleep the night before it started because of your excitement/anxiety. Thoughts somersaulted through your brain. “Okay, I have my supplies, my lunch money, is there anything I forgot? Think. Breathe. Keep calm. Will I have friends in my class? Can I make new friends? Will I like my teacher? Are the things I heard about her/him true? Will he/she be patient? How will I remember all the new procedures and names?”

“Back to School” produces varied thoughts from a wide range of people, but the best thoughts and actions come from all of us working together. No matter who you are or what your profession, it’s your opportunity to support the outstanding students in our community and ensure they have the best “Back to School” memories ever for the 2016-2017
school year.

Jory Westberry has been a dedicated educator for over 40 years, the last 14 as Principal of Tommie Barfield Elementary, where she left her heart. Life is rich with things to learn, ponder and enjoy so let’s get on with the journey together!


Condo Mortgages

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:31am

Gary Elliott & Sandy Elliott

The Princess. Photos by Gary Elliott

One third of condo buyers on Marco Island use mortgage financing to buy their condo. The rest pay for their condo using a bank wire transfer from existing funds. A mortgage provides personal benefits such as a mortgage interest tax deduction, leveraging your money, and historically low interest rates available in today’s market. However, in addition to the buyer, a condo also has to qualify for the mortgage.

Before approving a condo for a mortgage, a lender will forward a condo questionnaire for either a limited review or a full review to the Home Owners Association. If you plan to use the condo as your primary residence and put down a minimum of 25% or if this is going to be a second home with 30% down, the lender will conduct a simple limited review. If you are buying the condo as an investment or you do not meet the above minimum down payment criteria, then the lender will conduct a full review.

A limited review looks at the master insurance policy, any pending litigation and some other minor information. A full review looks at the master insurance policy, any pending litigation, the condo financials, and submits many other questions. A recent concern for lenders is that some condos on the island with substantial reserves have elected to reduce the 10% annual contribution to the reserves. Condos without the 10% annual contribution to reserves will not meet conforming guidelines and cannot qualify for a conforming mortgage. Other full review questions confirm that more than 50% of the units are owner occupied and that no more than 15% of the owners are delinquent. Passing either the limited or full review allows the condo to qualify for a conforming mortgage. If the review process determines that a conforming mortgage is not available, then the condo becomes non-warrantable with fewer and more expensive options available for buyer financing.

Waterway Pointe

International buyers tend to pay for their condo using a bank wire transfer, but mortgages are available using foreign national loan programs.

Potential buyers should begin their search by working with a local lender. Your realtor has a list of lenders that are members of the Marco Island Realtor Support Network. The lender can determine the amount of loan the buyer will qualify for based on the buyer’s income and debt. The lender can also determine if a limited review or a full review is necessary. Local lenders have experience with the local condo market and can provide a prequalification letter to accompany any offer.

Marc Creach, lender with Marketplace Home Mortgage 239-236-1276, contributed to this article.

Am I a Bag Lady Yet? Don’t Let Short-term Risk Dominate Your Investment Strategy

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:25am

Ask The CFP® Practitioner
Darcie Guerin
Question: Do I need to worry about becoming a bag lady yet?

Answer: This is the question a friend asked me on Saturday morning at the gym, while we waited for our class to start. Doomsday concerns aren’t uncommon, especially in response to recent market volatility and current political and economic events. Between our warm-up stretches, and cardio, I reminded my friend that there’s a long way between her and a zero, so the likelihood of becoming a bag-lady is quite remote. It’s easy though to understand why people feel emotional and frightened; just turn on the television for confirmation that the end is near.

My friend and I agreed to meet the following week. We’ll discuss her concerns and revisit her financial plan, reminding her of why she owns the investments in her portfolio while assessing the mix between stocks, bonds and cash. Based on her needs and comfort levels we’ll determine together if any adjustments are necessary.

Most people are interested in short-term market predictions, which are difficult to provide with any certainty. Case in point, the U.K. Brexit vote outcome (see the July 22, 2016 Ask the CFP® Practitioner column “Resilience is the Key” for details) was a surprise to many intelligent people. The market fell for two days and then bounced sharply upward, surprising experts yet again. This is one reason why it might be best to avoid discussions about “how will stocks perform before and after the election?” Investors, who typically look for quality in long-term investments (in contrast to traders…) may find it more constructive to focus on financial planning rather than trying to time the market.

In 1979, Business Week ran a cover story titled “The Death of Equities.” The article said, “The old attitude of buying solid stocks as a cornerstone for one’s life savings and retirement has simply disappeared…The death of equities is a near permanent condition.” (Forbes: “6 Doomsday Predictions That Were Dead Wrong About the Market”). Three years later, stocks began an 18-year bull run.

“But it’s different this time, we just reached new highs!” This proclamation is usually heard right before two types of emotional investment behavior. The first type of individual is usually frightened that they may miss out and are willing to abandon their plan to chase what’s “hot.” The second type have decided that a new market high is a good time to cash out and sell everything! One big problem with this approach is knowing when to reenterthe market.

Since the bull market started in 2009, there have been forty-five record highs in 2013, fifty-three in 2014, and ten in 2015 (LPL Research). Just during the month of July this year there were six more highs. By itself, a new high isn’t a reason to sell. This is why regularly reviewing and monitoring your portfolio and making decisions based on your personal investment policy statement is recommended.

When fear is high, some investors become uncomfortable with stocks. This even occurs with garden-variety corrections that “only” push markets down ten percent. If this sounds like you, it may be time to revisit your tolerance for risk and your portfolio breakdown between cash, stocks and bonds. Also, any changes in your personal situation may warrant updates to your financial plan and call for a conversation with your advisor.

A Look Behind The Rally

The upward move in stocks comes at a time of immense uncertainty. Worries about the global economic outlook linger, China is still a concern, and Europe’s slow economic recovery and fragile banking system are problems that won’t soon go away. However, the U.S. has been and remains the nicest house in a bad neighborhood providing a perceived safe-haven for funds. It’s somewhat counterintuitive, yet after Brexit, nervous cash in Europe may actually be seeking safety in the U.S., helping our markets. A cautious Fed has also been a plus for equities simply because low interest rates create less competition for stocks.

What’s a Gal To Do?  

Undoubtedly, there is plenty of political and economic uncertainty. We’re climbing the proverbial “wall of worry” as we enter the eighth year of a slow economic recovery (National Bureau of Economic Research). This expansion is no longer young, global uncertainty is high, we’re in an unusual election cycle, and at best, this has been a substandard recovery. Eventually we will enter a recession, which usually leads to a downturn in stocks. No one knows when this could happen but it will. Declines in the major averages are unnerving, yet historically they’ve run their course, often setting the stage for another upward cycle.

To diminish the fear of becoming a bag-lady it is helpful to establish and regularly monitor a personalized financial plan (that you understand). Know what you own and why you own it as you stay focused and plan accordingly.


Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. The opinions expressed are those of the writer, but not necessarily those of Raymond James and Associates, and subject to change at any time. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. All investments are subject to risk. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  

“Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.”

This article provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC, 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. She may be reached at 239-389-1041, email [email protected] Website:

Call to Artists

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:16am


The Goodland Arts Alliance (GAA) is celebrating its 5th Annual Harbor Arts & Music Festival by way of making it a two-day event, March 11 and 12, 2017. Formerly a one-day outdoor arts festival, 2017 promises more great art, more great music, a wider variety of food, and even more wide-spread advertisements and promotions reaching into art communities throughout the country.

Held in picturesque waterfront MarGood Harbor Park, juried by a selection committee of five professional artists, with musical line-ups coordinated by JRobert Houghtaling and Tom “Cello Man” Porter, this event has garnered great praise from past participating artists.

Application may be made online at,?or you can contact Tara O’Neill at [email protected]

The Goodland Arts Alliance, a 501(c)(3), is dedicated to the mission of “preserving, promoting, and advancing, the cultural presence in the Village of Goodland, through art, history, and education. This event benefits the GAA’s ultimate goal of preserving four historic fishing cottages and repurposing them as a permanent home for the organization. Membership is open to the public and donations are always welcomed.

Noontime Rotary Supports MICMS

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:15am


At the August 11, 2016 Noontime Rotary Club meeting, Pat Ettensohn was proud to present a check for $5,200 to the Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS).

Each year the Marco Island Sunrise and Noontime Rotary Clubs hold a golf tournament as a joint fundraiser for their clubs. Traditionally, the Noontime Rotary Club dedicates their portion of the proceeds to MICMS. Rotarian Tarik Ayasun, who is also the MICMS board president, received the check on behalf of the school.

For information regarding membership in the Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club, contact Pat Rutledge at [email protected]

Frontier Grit The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:14am

Maggie Gust

This little nugget is a delightful find and carries quite a punch for a small book. The stories of 12 fascinating women will captivate you while exposing you to the history they did not teach us in school.

The author purposefully chose 12 women of different nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status, to illustrate the diversity of the American West. Contrary to what our history textbooks and the Hollywood movies claim, white males were not even half the true story of the West much less the whole story. Monson wants to help correct that distortion. She hopes that by understanding the severe restrictions on women in the 19th century, modern women will understand how much we owe those who came before us, and understand what they were risking by pursuing their goals. They faced physical hardships and legal barriers that no longer exist for us. They endured unfathomable personal losses but clung either to faith in God, in life, in themselves, or simply refused to give in and give up.

I would love to summarize the story of each of these remarkable women for you, but the publisher wouldn’t give me the entire page! Some were authors who used their way with words to tell a female perspective on topics; some were illiterate but found other ways to make themselves understood. Some were political firebrands, bent on the women’s vote, against the women’s vote, for property ownership, for temperance, against temperance, etc. Just like today, women of the West were varied in their interests, concerns, and viewpoints.

Mother Jones, one of the most famous women of the frontier, endured the loss of her entire family – all her young children and her husband within a very short period of time. Instead of giving in to depression and despair, she set about to make her life meaningful. Abigail Scott Duniway was a staunch suffragette and insisted that “obey” be removed from her marriage vows.

Martha Hughes Cannon was also a women’s right activist, a medical doctor, and the fourth wife of a Mormon polygamist. She ran on the Democrat ticket against him on the Republican side to become the first female state senator of Utah. Martha had to resign in her second term because her third pregnancy gave away the fact that she was still engaged in marital relations with her polygamist husband, which was by then against federal law. She was full of contradictions.

Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton was an upper class, educated, proud Mexican woman, who nevertheless defied her family and her church and married a “white man” in a Protestant church. She became the first Mexican-American female novelist. She was a bit conflicted, however, as her writing showed the Mexican viewpoint of American expansion, but from an aristocratic bias, minimizing the Mexican workers. The last years of her own life were spent trying to repel dozens of squatters who were staking claims on her own vast ranch.

Aunt Clara Brown was born in a slave cabin in 1800, month and date unknown. She was given no last name and no one recorded her birth. As a teenager, she married the very handsome new slave acquired by the farmer. When times got tough, he had to sell Clara, her husband and their 2 children. The family was torn apart. Clara’s unquestioning faith in God and ceaseless prayer guided her life. She eventually brought her own freedom, made her way West to St. Louis where she earned some money cooking and doing laundry. After the Dred Scott decision, St. Louis was not safe for blacks and she moved to Kansas. The freedom and tolerance of the West called to her and she talked a wagon train master into letting her accompany his train of 26 single men as a cook and laundress. Blacks were not allowed in the wagons, so she walked next to the wagons during the day and at night cooked, did laundry and slept in the open air. In 8 weeks, she reached her destination of Colorado, bought a cabin for 25 dollars, opened a laundry business and in a few years, was one of a handful of women who owned property in the state and was one of the wealthiest with 10 thousand dollars in cash plus her property. She used her money to help her community and her church and continued to pray to be reunited with her daughter. By this time she knew her husband and son were gone.

Charley Parkhurst, the most celebrated stagecoach driver in the West, was a woman who passed as a male from the age of nine. Her gender was discovered upon her death in 1879.

I think you’ll enjoy the stories of these wonderful women. There are immigrants from Ireland, New Zealand, and Wales, a black born into slavery, middle class white women with almost no education to unusually high levels of education, some who pursued their professions while having families, some who went West in a wagon, an Hawaiian who converted to Mormonism and moved to Utah with her family, a young woman who at age 19 devoted herself to fighting the enslavement of Chinese girls in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Also a Mexican aristocrat, and a Yankton Lakota whose father was white.

Each chapter is the story of one of the women, followed by about two pages of the author’s interpretation of why that woman’s life story was chosen. She is very clear about her purpose in writing this book and if you aren’t interested in reading her plug her viewpoint, just skim through it. She offers an excellent appendix at the end of each story with suggestions for books to read on that person, as well as excellent annotated footnotes.

This book is available now for preorder at the major vendors. I was given a galley of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My rating is 3.75/5.0.

Maggie Gust has been an avid reader all her life. Her past includes working as a teacher, as well as various occupations in the healthcare field. She shares a hometown, Springfield, Illinois, with Abraham Lincoln, but Florida has been her home since 1993. Genealogy, reading, movies and writing are among her favorite activities. She is self-employed and works from her Naples home.  Contact her at [email protected] or 

Sandlin Real Estate Team Welcomes Matthew Mann

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:10am


RE/MAX is known for having outstanding agents who are among the most productive in the industry. The Sandlin Real Estate Team is consistently among the top producing teams in all of RE/MAX. During 2015 the Sandlin Team was recognized as the #1 producing RE/MAX Team on Marco Island, in Naples and throughout Collier County. The team finished #4 in sales within the state of Florida for RE/MAX Teams. The team has successfully closed over 1,800 real estate transactions over the past 15 years. That’s one sale every three days! For 15 years…

The only way to sustain and improve upon this level of excellence is to provide unequalled professionalism and customer service. That is why we are extremely pleased to welcome Matthew Mann as a new sales associate. Matt is an excellent realtor who has valuable experience as a licensed mortgage professional for more than seven years. He has proudly served our country in the United States Army and was awarded a Purple Heart during a tour in combat. Matt is an outstanding addition to our team and he is ready to help customers buy and sell real estate in Naples or on Marco Island. Matt can be reached at 317-258-8278 or [email protected]

People like Matt make the difference and that’s why during 2015 the team sold over $67 million in real estate and successfully closed over 115 transactions. If you need help buying or selling property in Southwest Florida call 239-642-4450 or visit today.

5 Tips For Boaters To Beat The Heat

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:09am

Capt. Pete Rapps

Breathable long sleeve shirts, long pants, and hats are a must to beat the summer heat. Photo by Capt. Pete Rapps

The mid-summer heat has arrived, but that doesn’t keep the fish from biting. Still, with the heat can come the risk of sunburn and skin damage, dehydration, heat stroke, and more. So before you head out into the boat, here are a few ways you can stay cool in the summer heat.

Tip 1: Stay Hydrated 
Staying hydrated is more than just being in or on the water. When you are swimming, it can be tempting to feel like you are more hydrated than you actually are. You may assume the same thing when you are out on the boat for tubing, waterskiing, or even fishing. However, exposure to water does not hydrate you. You need to drink a clean source of it.

Tip 2: Drink More Than Just Water 
Don’t get us wrong, drinking water is important in order to stay hydrated. However, it should not be the only liquid you are consuming, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outside. Why? Because when you sweat you aren’t just losing water, you are losing electrolytes too. So make sure to have a couple sports drinks handy and some snacks in order to replace any electrolytes you may have lost.

Tip 3: Don’t Forget The Sunscreen
Before you even think about hopping onto the boat, you should make sure to lather up with sunscreen to protect you from getting a nasty sunburn later. Even if you are planning on fishing in the early morning, you shouldn’t skip out on the protection. Additionally, you need to make sure you bring some with you and reapply every two hours or so for effectiveness. This is especially important for any children you may have on board on your fishing trip.

Tip 4: Wear Light-Colored Clothing 
White is the best reflector of light, but lightly colored clothing can do the job just as well. That’s why lightly colored hats, shirts and shorts are easily found during the summer season. Additionally, you should make sure your clothing is made from a cooling and breathable material like cotton. Columbia brand offers a huge variety of lightweight breathable fishing shirts and pants that have built in SPF protection. I wear their products every single day.

Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid To Take Breaks 
If your boat happens to have a T-top or canopy, this can do wonders for helping you keep out of the shade. If your boat does not however, you shouldn’t be afraid to take frequent breaks if you need to in order to enjoy a few minutes in the shade and cool off. The symptoms of dehydration can often sneak up on you so a break can be a good chance to check in with yourself.


Contact Capt. Pete Rapps by email at [email protected] or by phone 239-571-1756. Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers year round expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park, and springtime tarpon-only charters in the Florida Keys. Capt. Rapps’ top-notch fleet accommodates men, women and children of all ages, experienced or not. Between our vast knowledge and experience of the area, and easygoing demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class website for booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and more at 

Everglades Seafood Festival

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:05am


Everglades City celebrated another glorious Seafood Festival in February this year when an estimated 40,000 people visited this historic rural town, the first seat of Collier County.

The organizers, the not-for-profit Betterment Association of the Everglades Area, are pleased that so many people from all over the state helped to make it a success and are distributing proceeds to needy causes in the local community.

They are already planning the next Festival. Mark your 2017 calendars for February 10th through 12th.

For information and to see snapshots of the 2016 event, see To become a sponsor, phone the organizers at

A Boat, a Nap and a Bug

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:02am

MIND, BODY And Spirit
Laurie Kasperbauer 

A picnic lunch in the shade with Boone, Howie and Penn. Photos by Laurie Kasperbauer

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I flew to Iowa for a long weekend. The agenda was full. We were celebrating two birthdays, a baptism and two family reunions in the span of two days. And while it was exciting to know I would see my kids, grandkids, mom, siblings and assorted nieces, nephews and cousins, I was anticipating my first full day in town most of all. On that day I had volunteered to take care of three of our grandsons for the day. That would be two boys about to turn 4 and an unpredictable 2-year-old.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon and I made a quick dash to the grocery store to pick up the necessities. A few years ago we bought a small condo in our hometown. It’s a simple two-bedroom, two bath unit that cost less than most cars here on Marco, but it provides us a place to land on our frequent visits, and a gathering spot for our family. When I’m in town I like to cook most meals and bake a lot of cookies which serve as incentive for the big kids as well as the little ones. On Thursday night I made tacos which would seem to be too much information but is oddly significant to the rest of this story.

In anticipation of the day I got to spend alone with my grandsons, I thought up activities that would keep them occupied. Without a vehicle that accommodates the three car seats it would take to transport the boys, we were grounded to the condo or a destination within walking distance. I made plans to build a fort in the living room, which we did, shortly after they arrived. They crawled under it, relocated it, tore it apart and rebuilt it at least three times, and were bored with the whole concept in less than 15 minutes. Instead, our grandson Boone made a boat out of a serving tray. The tray sits on an ottoman and is a “catch all” for the TV remote and newspapers. But in Boone’s mind, this 18” X 24” platter was floating on an imaginary sea and I thought it was really cute until he invited me to join him. “Nana!” he said, “come sit in my boat with me!”

I looked at the small space that already held Boone, a stick flag, and a few toy cars and decided it was going to be a challenge for me to step aboard without difficulty. There must have been just enough hesitation on my part to trigger Boone’s next comment. “Nana, how big is your butt?”

Now the funny part here is that it wasn’t my backside I was concerned about, although Boone had legitimate cause for concern. My hesitation had more to do with my legs that don’t fold as compactly as they once did. So to prove my point I sat my whole butt in the boat/tray behind Boone with my legs hanging over the side and we sailed on an imaginary journey through the living room.

From there I took the boys on a short walk to a nearby playground to run off some steam. My sister decided to join us for this adventure and she brought along her phone loaded with Pokémon Go. In case you haven’t heard about the Pokémon craze, it’s an app that shows little cartoon critters who pop up in all sorts of places. On the screen of your phone, you locate the critter and throw an imaginary Poké Ball at it to score points. Or something like that. I’ve never played but my sister was a big hit with my grandson, Penn. So our short walk to the park took a considerable amount of time and it was lunch and nap time when we returned to the condo.

The unpredictable 2-year-old is named Howie. He is the exact replica of his daddy who was a very unpredictable 2-year-old himself. Howie prefers things in his life to follow the order of his choosing, and he did not choose to take a nap at Nana’s condo. He had a bit of a meltdown; working up a sweat and crying big tears. One thing Howie does like is tractors. So after several failed attempts to lay Howie down, I scooped up a tractor for comfort and I held him tight to my chest. Then we laid down together; me, Howie, the tractor and the tears, and he fell asleep. And as I lay there awake with this little boy tucked in close, I decided that no matter what happened the rest of the weekend, the trip was worth it for that moment when Howie fell asleep in my arms.

That night, the parents came to collect the kids and we ordered pizza for dinner. It was an early night and the kids scattered to rest up for the big day that followed: breakfast at the condo, lunch and a birthday party, followed by a trip to my mom’s house for the first reunion and more eating.

My husband and I woke early Saturday morning with stomachs that roiled and headaches that gained quick momentum. I went ahead and made two coffee cakes in anticipation of our family’s arrival for breakfast, and once the cakes were out of the oven I texted the kids to let them know it was time to come over. The first text back was from our son. “We’re sick.” He said. They had been up all night fighting for space in the bathroom. Our daughter responded similarly. Their two boys had showed the first signs of sickness shortly after they left us the night before. It was the pizza, I decided.

That day, we continued with our plans at half speed. The birthdays were celebrated, but the enthusiasm was tempered. It was decided that those who ate pizza were not all sick, but everyone who had eaten my tacos fell ill 24 hours later. Was it the taco meat? The lettuce? Bad cheese?

That night we continued on to my mother’s house for a reunion with my siblings and their families. Some of us ate, others avoided the smell of food. And while we weren’t the best company, we blamed our delicate state on the tacos we had consumed nearly 48 hours earlier.

On Sunday morning we attended church where our youngest grandchild was baptized. We met with our son-in-law’s family and many acquaintances from our old place of worship. We shook hands, we hugged friends and we continued to curse the taco meat that made us feel so awful. That afternoon we completed our weekend at a massive reunion of my mother’s family. The extended family numbered more than 100 aunts, uncles, cousins and other assorted relatives. I hugged them. I leaned in close to hear funny stories above the din of lively conversation and laughter. And I chastised myself for not browning the hamburger long enough to kill the bacteria that unleashed itself on my family.

It wasn’t until that afternoon when our son-in-law got sick on his four hour drive home that our taco theory was regurgitated on the side of the road. He wasn’t with us for taco or for pizza. Obligations made him late to the party and the only thing he was exposed to was us. A few hours later my sister caught the bug. Then her son. And my brother.

Early Monday morning my husband and I ducked out of town. We caught our flight home weighing a few pounds less than when our journey began. No one knows where the “bug” originated, but it’s toxin spread far and wide in a very short span of time. And I thought of all the people I encountered that weekend. Family I haven’t seen in years. All the hugs and the handshakes and the crowed spaces. I felt guilt for unknowingly perpetuating sickness on the unsuspecting. But at the same time I realized that it was more than a virus that ran rampant that weekend. There was love and happiness; there was acceptance without judgement, at every gathering.

At the end of the day these are the memories that stay with me. I held babies, I hugged my brothers. I laughed with cousins and I ate tacos with my kids. I sat in a serving tray boat. And I held my grandson while he napped.

Bug or no bug, it was worth it.

Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.

Olympic Golf

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:00am

Todd Elliott

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are finally here, and for the first time since 1904 golf will once again be a featured event. So beyond the usual fare of swimming competitions, track and field, diving, judo, gymnastics and many other sports less popular to the general American audience, golf will be part of the Olympic extravaganza on a world-wide stage. When the decision to add golf to the 2016 Games was announced by the International Olympic Committee, jubilation flowed throughout the world of golf. The decision, many of us felt, would help introduce more young men and women to the game, creating a fairytale sense of happiness among all of us concerned with the future of our favorite game.

But that euphoria was short-lived as real problems in the real world came to light. The first obstacle was overcoming environmental concerns in building the golf course. The Olympics committee brought in eight of the world’s best course designers to evaluate the piece of property designated specifically for the Olympics event. The land originally was zoned as a protected Atlantic Forest, but the committee was given approval to use the land over the objection of environmentalists. This decision did not sit well with all the people from the surrounding area. Many have questioned whether the public will support the course financially after the Olympics event, and wonder what will happen to the land if the golfing experiment fails.

Other problems followed in rapid order, including toxic drinking water, transportation to the site, public safety and the Zika virus among others. Initial reports on these issues predicted doom and gloom, but current reports from those on the scene in Brazil are slightly more optimistic. The concerns are still troubling, but on a much smaller scale than originally thought.

Many of the top golfers in the world backed out of the Olympics because of these concerns, or so they say. Many, like me, think that the golfers who backed out did so for other reasons. The main reason, in my opinion, is that none of the qualified golfers grew up dreaming of winning a gold medal at the Olympics. Rory McIlroy, former #1 and presently the #3 ranked golfer in the world, expressed publicly that he had no desire to win a medal. Further, he said that he felt no obligation toward helping to build interest in the game. He was very blunt about the topic. Others avoided expressing their real feelings publicly, with most using the Zika virus as an excuse.

The PGA tour schedule, along with other worldwide events scheduled in close proximity to the start of the Olympics, also helped make golf at the Rio games a tough sell. There are two majors just before the Olympics and the Ryder Cup after the Olympics; events that are all much more important to the current crop of world-class golfers. While tour scheduling may not have been the main reason, it was almost certainly part of the decision for many players in deciding to drop out.

The strength of the field — or the perceived weakness of the field — was also a consideration in the minds of many players. Who was selected to play in the Olympics event was largely based on the description of the official qualification system, which reads as follows:

“Qualification for Golf at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is determined not by any form of qualifying tournament, but by the rankings maintained by the International Golf Federation.”

Qualification based on world ranking (Official World Golf Ranking for men; World Golf Rankings for women) as of July 11, 2016, resulted in a total of 60 players qualifying in each of the men’s and women’s events. The top 15 players of each gender qualified, with a limit of four golfers per country that can qualify in that fashion. The remaining spots went to the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified, with a limit of two per country. The IGF has guaranteed that at least one golfer from the host nation and each geographical region qualified (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania).

The qualification system based on IGF rankings has resulted in the weakest golf event field of the year. While this system is equivalent to that used in selecting participants for other individual Olympic events, one must keep in mind that amateur Olympic events draw a weaker field than professional events that happen annually. But golf differs greatly from swimming for example, where there are only a select few who have a realistic chance to win. In golf, many of those who qualify to participate in a major or any of golf’s other worldwide events, have a chance to come out on top. To many of the world’s great golfers who are left out of the Olympics because of the inadequate qualifying standards established by the IGF, the system is a tough pill to swallow. In the end, after all, it’s the Olympics, and it is in fact a big deal.

Questions remain about the future of golf as an Olympics event, and how much Olympics golf will help grow the game worldwide. For me, golf in the Olympics is a huge deal, and the event will gain traction in coming years. As I see it, young stars will have grown up dreaming about playing golf in the Olympics. Let us hope they keep the golf event going, and let us hope this year’s event is a success.

Todd Elliott is the Head Golf Professional at Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island, Florida. Todd is a PGA and CMAA member. Todd is Titleist Performance Institute Level 3 Golf Certified. To contact Todd email him at [email protected], or on Twitter @elliottgolfpro.

Crocodiles in South Florida

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:57am

Bob McConville
Master Naturalist

Close-up of croc’s teeth and snout.

Quite often when I’m talking about dolphins on my tours someone will ask the question regarding alligator sightings. I am always happy to respond that gators primarily stay in fresh water or brackish water habitats, and then I mention that brackish and saltwater areas of South Florida are home to many crocodiles and that this area is one of the few where gators and crocs share the same habitat. Lots of visitors are unaware that we do have crocs here, but it is true.

Found in Central and South America and specific areas of Mexico, the crocodile does call Southern Florida its northernmost home. There is a consistent population here and they can be found from Sanibel Island, along the 10,000 Islands and Florida Bay, and into the northern Florida Keys.

Their primary habitat would be the coves, creeks and ponds of brackish waters in mangrove swamps.

The salt content of the water here would be less than those of direct gulf and bay areas and there would be less wave effect on their homes as well.

They build their nests in soil that is usually well drained, but close to water. This prevents flooding but still allows for easy access to feeding areas. Right around March of each year the female will begin to build her nest, and six to eight weeks later she will lay an average of 40 eggs. These eggs are covered to protect them from predators and the female will return to the nest after a few months to uncover the eggs, assist with the hatching process and carry them to water.

Even though gators and crocs do share similar habitats within brackish water, it is rare to find a gator in saltwater areas. They do not have the gland to secrete salt like a crocodile has. I say this as a matter of fact but I have seen gators, very rarely, in saltwater habitats.

The number of crocodile nests throughout South Florida has increased since the 1970s, but an understanding of their ecology and hope that the Everglades restoration program will continue to retain a proper habitat for them will assure that this rare but beautiful creature will continue to call this area its home.

Bob is the owner of Stepping Stone Ecotours and a naturalist on board the Dolphin Explorer survey program. He is a member of Florida SEE (Society for Ethical Ecotourism). Bob loves his wife very much! 

Busy Afternoon for First Responders

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 8:54pm

by Steve ‘Stef’ Stefanides

Mid-afternoon on Wednesday emergency personnel on Marco Island were dispatched to two unrelated incidents; one of which resulted in the death of roofing contractor on Marco Lake Drive and a lightning proximity strike at the south end of the island to a teenager walking on the beach.

Units from Marco Island Police, Fire/Rescue and Collier County EMS were initially dispatched to Front Street on the island for a possible lightning strike. The actual location of the incident was on Marco Lake Drive and involved two workmen from a roofing company, one of which brought an aluminum ladder into contact with live wires above him.

Initially bystanders believed that lightning had struck the ladder, but an employee of a local firm witnessed the actual event and the contact with the wires. One of the workmen, a 30+ year old male was killed as result of the incident and another worker received minor injuries.

“Workers have to be cognizant of their surroundings, especially in regards to electricity and making unintentional contact with lines and other devices to prevent terrible incidents such as this,” said Marco Fire/Rescue Chief Mike Murphy.

At the same time an incident in the area of 600 South Collier Boulevard involved a lightning proximity strike of a visiting 15 year old from Michigan in the area of the Marriott Vacation Resort which is under construction near the Winterberry Drive and South Collier Boulevard intersection.

The teenager and his mother, brother and friend were walking up from the water’s edge to seek shelter when a bolt of lightning hit in their vicinity. That strike rendered the 15 year old unconscious for approximately 25 seconds; “when the son regained consciousness he immediately jumped up and ran for the boardwalk and in the direction of the 7-Eleven and never stopped until he reached there with the other members of his party pursuing him,” said Sergeant Matt Goetz who responded to the call made from the nearby store.

“He was very shaken up and somewhat confused,” said Goetz. Marco Fire/Rescue treated him there and Collier County EMS transported him to a local medical facility for further evaluation. No one else was effected by the strike.

Due to the intensity of the lightning in the area Sergeant Goetz requested assistance for additional personnel to clear the beach. “We did received some initial resistance from beach concessionaires and others but all would comply eventually comply,” said Goetz.

“We will always err on the side of caution when it comes to safety and Sergeant Goetz and our personnel did an exceptional job at great risk to themselves to protect those on the beach. All reports we had detailed numerous strikes in that area which would have endangered lives,” said Chief Al Schettino of the Marco Police Department.

Check for more information regarding this story and more breaking news.


Election 2016: Learn the Facts Before You Vote

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 8:26pm

More Straight Talk 
Steve “Stef” Stefanides

2016 continues to be an election year that has Americans shaking their heads as to the choices they have at the ballot box. This year we will have the opportunity to elect office holders that range from the highest office in the land, in addition to candidates for some of the more local, state and federal offices which are up for election.

It was Winston Churchill that said; “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Those words just seem to come back to echo in my ears as the incessant drum beat of political slogans and robo calls continue to inundate our everyday lives. All of this before we vote in the primary election the end of this month.

Here in Collier County we are not immune to this constant barrage of political messaging. Those running for office are out on a daily basis attempting to maneuver for endorsements from media outlets, well known community members and fellow office holders.

We are constantly barraged by mailers, social media postings, along with TV and radio ads promoting individuals running for office. Many times these mailers and ads have little to do with the job they are seeking to hold on behalf of their citizens. Unfortunately they are also aimed at the “fear factor,” and mask what might be expected from an individual if elected.

Many of the issues facing Floridians are lost in the wave of ads concerning immigration, terrorism and protecting the right to bear arms. These are important issues, but for the most part must be worked on at the federal level.

Issues I want to hear discussed include:

• Ensuring Florida has adequate clean drinking water supplies.

• How to deal with the dumping of pollutants into the Kissimmee Watershed that contributes to the problems plaguing Lake Okeechobee.

• Working on a joint state and federal solution to the problems which surround the dumping of pollutants from Lake Okeechobee into the waterways on both the east and west coast of Florida.

• How to support local law enforcement to deal with what appears to be a rising demand for services in the state.

• Dealing with educational issues by applying a common sense approach to insure our kids graduate with a strong foundation of basic skills to enter the work force or seek higher educational pursuits.

• How to insure all young men and women in Florida have access to higher education without saddling them with back breaking student loans.

• Protecting our elderly as the need for additional healthcare and social services continue to rise.

• Providing an atmosphere for a more diversified economic platform that provides growth in good quality paying jobs in clean industry throughout the state.

• Protecting the valuable ecosystem which provides a base for our tourist industry around the state.

• Protecting the rights of communities to deal with issues within their own municipalities.

• Limiting the influence of special interests over citizen interests in Tallahassee.

• Develop better long range planning for improved mass transportation within the state to meet the growing pressure on roadways.

Florida surpassed the 20 million population mark in 2015, and there are an additional 1,000 people a day moving into our state. With that growth comes challenges, and we must be prepared to deal with them in a forthright and intelligent manner.

Dealing with those challenges will require a sensible and cost effective approach. Simply throwing money at an issue is not the answer, but instead we must have leaders that are prepared to sit down from both sides of the isle and deal with the challenges in an educated and reasoned fashion.

Your votes during the primary may well decide who will be going forward to tackle these thorny issues on your behalf. Whether it be for the clerk of court, school board seats, state representative, state senate, county commissioners or a myriad of other offices, your vote is important.

I believe FDR said it best when he said; “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

Take the time and effort to study the facts, not just the brochures. By exercising this right, which many around the world don’t have the opportunity to do, you will have a say in how our lives and the lives of your children and grandchildren may look in the years to come.

Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email [email protected]

Betty Kimble Shares Art of Calligraphy

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 8:15pm

By Samantha Husted

Gina Roberts thanks Betty.

While some may consider it a dying art form, it seems that calligraphy has found its home on Marco Island. All thanks to artist Betty Kimble.

Each year for the past 12 years that she’s lived on Marco, Betty has held a two-week calligraphy workshop in her condo. Space is limited and only the most serious of students need apply. This year, due to popular demand, Betty held two separate classes. The first round of students consisted of: Gaby Porter, Gina Roberts, Mona Anderson and Anthony Cosentino.

“They all have their own style. I try to teach them the way I print to get them going. If they want to add to it or change it in any way, they can,” said Betty Kimble.

Betty, who just celebrated her 92nd birthday back in July, can usually be found at Keep In Touch where she sells her customizable greeting cards. For the past 70 years she has studied the art of calligraphy and is considered a master of the craft.

“Betty imparts her knowledge, experience and wisdom unselfishly,” said student Anthony Cosentino.

Student Anthony Cosentino holds a poem he wrote using calligraphy.

Each of the students brought with them their own unique reasons for wanting to learn calligraphy. Mona Anderson for instance, a grandmother, wanted to learn so that she could write personalized cards to her grandchildren, and maybe even teach them if they were interested. Anthony Cosentino, a creative writer, wanted his poetry to look as good as it read. And for Gaby Porter, calligraphy simply seemed like a good form of therapy and stress reduction.

“We didn’t feel criticized, we felt encouraged,” said Gina Roberts. “Betty’s example is so contagious.”

During the two-week class the students became close. Together they would sit at the round table and talk as they practiced their writing. Anthony even wrote a poem for each member using calligraphy.

“We became a pretty close knit group in a hurry, which is rather unusual,” said Mona Anderson. “But I think the positive energy that Betty brought to the table was just contagious.”

They started with the basics, the alphabet. After they had become familiar with letters they moved on to words and spacing. Then they practiced addressing an envelope, which is more difficult than it sounds. They also learned how to write numbers.

Betty Kimble, in front of her closet filled with her cards. Photos by Samantha Husted

“Each time they walk in they do not know what to expect,” said Betty Kimble.

While Betty may be done teaching for the year you can still find her at Keep In Touch:
Keep In Touch, 135 S. Barfield Dr.
Bettys Notes

Obituary In Memory of John Alexander Burback

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 8:13pm

John Alexander Burback passed away on July 28th, 2016.

John is survived by his wife Barbara, mother Marilyn, daughter Jennifer, her husband Bid and their son Lane, son Larry and his wife Debbie, and three brothers and five sisters in Minnesota.

A memorial service will be held at the Marco Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island on Saturday August 27th at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in John’s memory to Avow Hospice Naples ( or For The Love of Cats Animal Rescue (

In October of 1983, John Burback was hired in the Fire Prevention Division and became Fire Marshal. His responsibilities were tremendous as the beginning of high-rise and multi-family structures were on an accelerated path. As Fire Marshal, John was responsible for ensuring that all buildings conformed to the fire codes. In addition, the division was responsible for conducing all fire investigations and coordinating education and outreach to both elementary and charter middle schools.

Because of John Burback’s leadership and in the interest of customer service, the Marco Island Fire Control District kept the right to do their own fire plan review and inspections.

Fire Marshal John Burback at work.

As cityhood approached, Burback assumed a leadership role of the administration and was promoted to Assistant Chief. In the early stages of cityhood John continued with customer service as a key priority, working with residents and business owners. In the early 2000s, after the public safety issue was resolved, Assistant Chief Burback wished to resume his duties as Fire Marshal and was made Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal. The Fire Prevention Division then had two employees, one full time inspector, Ray Munyon who is the current Fire Marshal, and Burback. Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Burback set the standard of an excellent working relationship with builders, contractors and business owners as the city and the island went through its tremendous growth.

In 2005 Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Burback retired. In addition to his devotion to the fire service, John was well known for his love of fishing.