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Updated: 18 hours 41 min ago


Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:10am

Good Afternoon,

I am writing as a concerned citizen and hoping that you will help spread public awareness for our state’s most valuable resource. Please note the recent events of Lake O discharges, the sink hole that has led to millions of gallons of radioactive waste into an aquifer, fracking and the Sabal Pipeline in the horizon. The water in the SWFL beaches of Fort Myers, Captiva, Sanibel and Bonita Beach are brown. The beaches are filled with dead marine life. Most Collier county residents are unaware of the dire situation of our state’s water because it is not evident in these locations yet. Without our clean water, Florida will cease to exist. We don’t want to be know as the cesspool that breeds zika. In reading about the spraying of zika, we have to be careful. Some of the arial sprays after landing in our swimming pools may break down into known carcinogens. I am following the candidates who are running to be in charge of the arial spraying in Collier county. It amazes me that the current state of events doesn’t reach national attention. Please get help get the public educated so that we may ban together and protect our water.


Donna Niebauer



Letter to the Editor: Ann Sepe and Alfred Marchand

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:09am

Which Plan: Midtown Development Plan (2012) meets Veterans Community Park Master Plan (2009)?

As past board members of Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO) we do not know where to begin with regard to city sponsored Plans. We have reviewed the Veterans Community Park Master Plan, as well as, recommendations and options brought forth by the Park and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) to date. The 2009 Master Plan offered many scenarios including band shell, restrooms and parking with sensitivity to maintaining green space.

We also were intimately informed by city staff of the Midtown Development Plan (2012) as members of MIPO. Today we understand the city manager will act as agent to seal the deal in a recently disclosed public/private partnership to assist a developer build a hotel within the Midtown Development Plan in exchange for city selling Veterans Community Park development rights (density credits) and granting waterfront easement/access.

Our first outrage: the Midtown Development Plan (2012) clearly shows there would be NO transfer of development rights from Veterans Community Park as shown on city website. (See document page 12).

The city under Mr. Hermstadt disregards the will of residents regarding growth management as applied to Veterans Community Park. A few months ago he personally informed citizens his recommendation to build municipal facilities at Veterans Community Park; today we have a formal public/private partnership proposal providing the developer waterfront access and retention pond. The developer also gets development rights the city is willing to exchange for a band shell, perimeter parking and restrooms.

Do we really have a Midtown Development Plan? Are the city and some councilors willing to secure a deal at a grossly discounted value of development rights to fund the Veterans Community Park Master Plan? If this is the course council wishes to pursue, then seriously consider the fair market value of 10 acres of commercial development rights in the Midtown District. The valuation of development rights is NOT predicated on what the developer can afford or based on the construction cost of park enhancements. If the city manager continues promoting this deal, he is grossly deficient in meeting his fiduciary responsibility to the owners (citizens) of Veterans Community Park.

Some councilors, once citizen advocates held in high regard, have now forgotten the specific intent of Veterans Community Park development rights discussed in 2006 and reflected in the Midtown Development Plan of 2012.

This represents a basic disregard of city endorsed plans and more importantly a bad deal.

Ann Sepe and Alfred Marchand

Marco Island

Letter to the Editor: Response to Rios’ White Paper

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:07am

Councilman Rios’ white paper presented at the August 15, 2016 City Council meeting recommended approval of a $6 million assessment to be levied just to the customers of Marco Island Utilities (MIU) at Marco Shores along Mainsail Drive and Isles of Capri to build two pipelines. As explained herein, if and when the pipelines are ever needed, the $6 million dollar assessment represents an action that results in the Marco Shores and Isle of Capri customers paying the $6 million twice.

Councilman Rios stated that if the $6 million dollar assessment is not approved, customers on Marco Island would have to pay about $333 for each residential unit (about 18,000 residential units). Councilman Rios is ignoring the revenues from impact fees previously paid to the City by Marco Shores and Isles of Capri customers, plus impact fees from future developments, and potential revenue generated from the sale of the sites of the former water and wastewater treatment plants on Mainsail Drive. These revenue sources should provide most, if not all, of the $6 million to build the pipelines.

Also, potential grant funding may be available to pay for a significant portion of the cost of the pipelines, if not all the funds, to build the pipelines.

One pipeline (at a cost of $2 million) is to transport potable water from the North Water Plant on Marco Island to MIU’s customers at Marco Shores. Currently MIU purchases about 70 million gallons per year from Collier County (at a cost of about $3.85/1000 gallons) for resale to its Marco Shores customers (with about a 50% markup). Since the incremental cost of water production on Marco Island is about $0.95/1000 gallons, not having to buy the 70 million gallons per year would give MIU an additional $200,000 per year profit.

The second pipeline, at a cost of $4 million, would transfer wastewater from Marco Shores and Isles of Capri customers to the wastewater treatment plant on Marco Island. This would allow MIU to shut down the Marco Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant (MSWWTP) on Mainsail Drive and reduce its labor and operating costs.

Marco Island Customers Not Marco Shores Customers are the Primary Beneficiaries of the Potable Water Pipeline

Florida State law requires that an assessment for a service area must provide a benefit to that area. The potable water pipeline provides every customer on Marco Island with a backup supply from the very reliable Collier County Water Treatment Plant located 10 miles from the coast. Marco Shores customers are already supplied by that Collier County plant and would be backed up from the Marco Island plants. Based just on the location of the plants, the Marco Island customers are the primary beneficiaries of the pipeline since they get a more reliable backup than the Marco Shores customers. Clearly, State law would require that Marco Island customers along with Marco

Shores customers pay the cost of the water pipeline that might not be covered by other revenue sources (about $0 to $50 per residential unit).



MIU customers at Marco Shores and Isles of Capri have paid a greater percentage of the total revenue than the percentage of services they consume, and the impact fees and revenue from assets at Marco Shores should provide all of the funding needed for the pipelines. Marco Island customers should not expect to pay for these pipelines even though they would get the primary benefit of the potable water pipeline.

Dr. Bruce Weinstein

Former Senior Project Engineer for the City of Marco Island and Marco Island resident


Letter to the Editor: Amadeo Petricca

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:06am

Dear Marco Island Voters and Residents,

I am a candidate for re-election to the Marco Island City Council.

I continue to challenge the City on financial matters greatly affecting you — the taxpayer. For months, the City has been negotiating with a developer to build a hotel (165 Rooms) near Veteran’s Community Park, where by, the City will transfer 131 Density Credits (Developer has 34 Densities Credits) to the developer and in turn, the developer will develop Veteran’s Community Park. As a Councilor, I was not aware of the negotiation, and was shocked when I read this in the local newspaper. The first thought that can into my mind was, here we go again; a back room deal is being made and the transparency we speak of is lacking.

I am not a staunch supporter of a private-public partnership, because in most instances the public ends up being short changed. This is a public park and it belongs to the taxpayers of Marco Island. We ask for the citizens input for development of the park and then we pull the rug out from under their feet. The developer’s design of the Park is more of an amenity to the hotel than it is for the benefit of the citizen

The current process by the City Manager to form this alliance is being done without the support of the Marco Island voters as well as the support of all of the current City Councilmen. There are many questions that have to be answered and based on the facts that are available, I cannot support this project.

I am seeking your support for re-election to the Marco Island City Council. If I receive your support and I am re-elected, my goal is to continue my Financial and Executive experience to work on your behalf to control City Spending on Essential and Non-essential Projects. I will continue to work with Councilors and City Staff to reduce Operating Expenses in the General & Utility Funds and maintain Essential Services.

I believe that fiscal Responsibility, Transparency, Honesty, Fairness and Quality of Life are essential to the people of Marco Island.

To discuss this issue or any other issue with respect to the City, you may contact me at [email protected] or 239-394-5464

Respectfully submitted,

Amadeo Petricca

Marco Island


Letter to the Editor: Open Letter to Dr. Swiacki

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:05am

Dear Dr. Swiacki: You have gone to great length and great pains to try to convince Marco Island voters that you cannot take a position on the Veterans’ Park Hotel issue due to guidance that you have received from the City Clerk who received the guidance from the City Attorney. As this issue is one of the most important, if not the MOST IMPORTANT, issues that will come before City Council, I feel that each and every candidate should express their opinion on how they would vote.


As you know, I have spoken with Laura Litzan, our Marco island City Clerk. And she has informed me that if you resign your membership on the Parks and Recreation Committee, even for a couple of months, you can freely express your opinions about many subjects, including Budgets, Mileage Rates, and Projects, like the Veterans’ Park project.

Your wife temporarily resigned her Presidency of MIPO to make the Organization and its’ membership more transparent as far as your Candidacy in the upcoming Election. If you want to let Marco Voters know about you and what type of City Councilor you would be, you have to be able to openly express your positions on ALL matters facing our Community.

I have the utmost respect for you and your wife. But temporarily resigning your Parks and Recreation Committee membership is a 5 minute task and will not impact the Committee in the least, at this time. Failure to temporarily resign will indicate that your position on the Hotel is the same as that of your good friend and our City Manager, Roger Hernstadt. And that is a position that will destroy Veterans’ Park and is a position that the voters need to know about.

I can assure you that “Pro Park” is NOT a position for a City Council Candidate. Our City manager is “Pro Park” also, but is willing to sell it off and destroy it in the process.

To all the residents that have Swiacki signs in their yards I can only ask that you suggest to Dr. Swiacki that he put himself in a position where he can tell the citizens his position on important Marco Island issues, including the Hotel. Otherwise we have no choice but to look at him as the fourth “YES” vote when it comes to the 165 Room Hotel issue. And, in that case, should NOT be elected to City Council!!

Again, now that Dr. Swiacki has come out in favor of destroying Veterans’ Park as we want it, for the sake of a Hotel, I suggest that all followers re-evaluate their support of this candidate !!!

Ed Issler

Marco Island

Letter to the Editor: Out the Park, but Not in Secret

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:04am

My wife and I live directly across the canal from Veterans Community Park. When you’re in the park, you might see us in our family room or grilling on the lanai or chilling on our dock. We have a front-row seat at the Seafood Festival and all the other wonderful events. It’s a real pleasure to live near the park, where we can open our storm doors and let the music flood our house. I would love to see the park built out – but not in secret, and not until the community is brought into the discussion the proper way.

Many months ago, I asked my colleagues on city council to allow me to present a plan for park development, and they agreed to let me do so, but it has not yet happened. I also asked – and my colleagues on city council approved – that we spend money to get a qualified city planner to review the 2009 Park Master Plan and update it to reflect improvements constructed by our veterans’ organizations and also to provide professional planning on how the park might fit into the city’s overall development.

So it was with great surprise that I read in the paper that Marco Island has been negotiating with a developer to build a gigantic hotel near the park – that requires city property in order to be constructed – without first bringing it up with city council, which is legally in control of all of the city properties. This is amazing, and it’s unacceptable.

The city/hotel negotiations involved the city’s selling some of our “density credits” that specify how many people can occupy a certain amount of space. There is a major disagreement about whether the city has any density credits from the park to sell in the first place! So that’s an unknown. But even if we assume there are credits to sell, the next question is, what are they worth? We don’t know! The city’s plan – not approved, not reviewed, and not even discussed by city council, nor ever disclosed to or discussed with the citizens of Marco Island prior to the deal being cut – is to sell the density credits for what the developer is willing to pay for them.

This is obviously wrong. It’s like selling your house for what a buyer says it’s worth, regardless of what your appraiser says. In fact, we don’t have any appraisal – none – on the value of this property. The hotel developer also wants water rights on the canal, to put in dinner cruise boats and to rent kayaks and so forth. We are asking zero, nothing, for those rights. This is wrong. Where is the public purpose in doing that? Water access rights are valuable on Marco Island, as every boat owner knows.

It was only last summer that the city was on the verge of putting a government building in Veterans Community Park, under a ruse that veterans would somehow be served, all in the vain attempt to get a building, paid for in part by the State of Florida. I thought we had learned our lesson then, but apparently not. Here we go again – secret negotiations, with zero attention to what the citizens who voted for the purchase of this property want, just to “get something done in the park.”

Marco Island deserves better much than this. We deserve what I proposed, and council approved, which is an update to the 2009 Park Master Plan before we proceed. The community deserves full, open, and deliberate discussions about how and when we want our park to evolve. Input is also needed regarding if we want to sell this density to fund park improvements or would our citizens prefer that the density be eliminated (as some thought had happened).

Larry Honig

Marco Island


Letter to the Editor: Bill Harris

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:03am

When another during-the-break backroom deal hired King Roger, you could see the conspiracies that would follow.
King Roger negotiated behind doors to build a 165-room hotel near Veteran’s Community Park, and to add 131 Density Credits to the developer’s 34. Then develop portions of the park. City Council was not aware of the back room negotiation, and were only made aware by local newspapers.
Here we go again; another back room deal! Where is the transparency they keep promising?
I oppose Public-Private partnerships because taxpayers always lose. This is a public park belonging to Marco Island taxpayers. Citizens provided input on its development. Then King Roger pulls this shady deal, and says we’ll loan them $1Million for five years, plus another quarter million, out of our pockets! $1.25 Million, for what; and from where?
Councilors say the City Manager’s attempts in this are being done without the support of the Marco Island voters and without their support.
It’s time to reel in King Roger and his obscure and high-flying ways. And his ardent supporters. Get onboard or get out!
What happened to fiscal Responsibility, Transparency, Honesty, and Fairness for the people of Marco Island?
I keep saying, it’s time for a change! A real change!
Out with the old; in with the new!
Vote Grifoni, Reed, Roman, and keep incumbent Honig!

Bill Harris

Marco Island

Letter to the Editor: Jared Grifoni

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:00am

Marco Island is a wonderful place to be whether you are raising a family, retiring, making this your permanent home, or stopping by for a short or long-term visit. This island is unique, beautiful, and brings our residents and visitors so much shared joy. We have all found a piece of paradise here in southwest Florida.

We are a successful year-round residential community that supports a wide variety of locally owned and operated small businesses outside of our thriving tourist season. We truly have a lot to be thankful for. So much of our local success is due to the environmental uniqueness of Marco Island, including the crown jewel: our beautiful beaches. The beaches are a tremendous part of the economic engine that keeps Marco Island’s local restaurants, businesses, hotels, and property values strong by attracting new and returning visitors, investors, and residents who decide to make this island their permanent home.

I have made it a priority to attend with my family many of our local beach cleanups. These events, led by our Beach Advisory Committee, are a wonderful opportunity to volunteer, educate ourselves and our children about the importance of a healthy and clean beach, and protect local wildlife.

We all remember that first moment when we crossed over the Jolley Bridge and stood in awe at the sunset from our beaches. That is an experience that we want to ensure is always available for future visitors, current residents, and Marco Island’s next generation.

We love our beach!

Jared Grifoni

Candidate for Marco Island City Council

Letter to the Editor: Notice of Malpractice

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:59am

A few Marco Island citizens are feverishly circulating a mass email falsely and maliciously stating that I (and certain councilors) support the proposed hotel project near Veteran’s Community Park. This is a shameful smear campaign to prevent me from being elected.

For the record, I do NOT have an opinion on this hotel proposal, nor have I ever communicated to these writers that I have an opinion on this project. At this point in time, I do not possess enough factual information regarding the project to personally make a proper and informed decision. In my 47 years as a practicing physician, gathering all factual information and assessing all the appropriate diagnostic studies were imperative before making an appropriate plan for treatment. I think City issues deserve the same practice.

As Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC), at our August 16th meeting, the Committee elected NOT to address the subject (prematurely) until after the developer makes formal presentations and NOT until Council directs PRAC to review this matter. Additionally and most importantly, as long as I am serving as the Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, I am NOT allowed to state an opinion on this matter.

What I have observed is this:

On September 2, 2016, the developer presented the proposed hotel project before the Planning Board. The Chamber expressed its support of the project, some citizens expressed their concerns about this project, and the Planning Board had questions and concerns. The Planning Board directed both the developer and City Staff to come back to the next Planning Board Meeting (October 7) with more details and answers.

I will keep my ears open to hear ALL the facts first so I make the most informed and appropriate decision. I will attend all future Planning Board Meetings, Council Meetings and any public presentations (if any are held) regarding the proposed hotel project so that I will be as informed as possible. I will also keep my ears open to listen to the citizens as their concerns do matter.

Dr. Jerry Swiacki

Candidate for Marco Island City Council

Letter to the Editor: A PUD is PUD When You Own the Property

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:58am

After reading Lisa Conley’s article, Veterans Community Park Hotel Project in Fridays (9/27/2016) edition of the Marco Eagle I became more disenchanted than before. For one, this is the Hotel’s Elkcam Circle PUD, not the Veterans Community Park PUD. Let’s not muddy the waters.

The City Manager stated that everyone has followed proper procedure. I agree with his assessment, had this been a submission by a petitioner who owns all of the property necessary to meet there needs. In this particular instance, the petitioner only owns 1.32 acres and must purchase 5.04 acres of density credits from the City; if they are available.

The City Manager likened this Hotel PUD to the Marco Walk project in which PROPERTY OWNER (which re-enforces my point above) city staff and attorney put together an agreement. That is the normal procedure!

Here in lies the problem; the City Manager offered these credits to the petitioner without first getting permission from City Council that these credits were available and they are for sale. He took it upon himself to offer these credits for sale and let it go through the normal procedure. Had he followed the prudent and transparent path we would not be in our present predicament.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amadeo Petricca

Marco Island


Letter to the Editor: Never Forget

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:57am

Sunday, September 11, 2016, the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation and Marco Island Fire Rescue Department hosted a very moving 9/11 “Remembrance of Our Heroes” Ceremony. Guest speakers Police Chief Al Schettino, Fire Rescue Chief Mike Murphy, and a 9/11 survivor, spoke of the horrors of that unforgettable day, the loss of lives, and the sacrifice of the first responders who walked through death’s door to rescue others.

We are all so fortunate to live here on Marco Island. We are well protected, we have well trained police and fire rescue departments, and we Marco Islanders feel safe. We should also feel grateful and never forget.

Many thanks to Dianna Dohm, President of the Marco Island Fire Rescue Foundation, and to Jim Curran for organizing “Remembrance of our Heroes”. Well done.

Linda Turner

Marco Island

Letter from the Editor: Clarification

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:56am

Recently, two former Marco Island Property Owners (MIPO) Board Members submitted an LTE regarding the Veterans’ Community Park development rights.

This notice is to clarify that the opinions they expressed were their personal opinions, and that they do not currently serve as MIPO Board Members.

For the record, at this point in time, the MIPO Board of Directors does not yet have an opinion on this matter. It is MIPO Board policy to obtain as much complete and factual information as possible before taking a stand on any issue. We will closely follow all future meetings and presentations.

Theresa Rejrat,

Interim Chair

Marco Island Property Owners

This Saturday! MICMS Eagles/MIA Rays Invitational at Mackle Park

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 8:42pm

The Marco Island Charter MICMS Eagles/MIA Rays Invitational will be held this Saturday, October 1st at Mackle Park. Twenty-four schools from Collier, Lee, Charlotte, and Hendry counties will be sending high school and middle school teams to compete in the 3000 and 5000-meter races. The races (10 in all) will begin at 8 AM with the high school varsity teams leading off. An awards ceremony at 10:45 AM will conclude the event.

Events: 3000 meter, 5000 meter

Event Limits: 10HS/7MS



High School Coaches Meeting 7:30AM

Middle School Coaches Meeting 8:30AM

Girls HS Varsity Race 10 Runners Allowed 8:00AM

Boys HS Varsity Race 10 Runners Allowed 8:35AM

Girls Middle School Top 7 9:10AM

Boys Middle School Top 7 9:35AM

Open Middle School 10:00AM (No Team Scoring)

Open High School Race 10:15AM (No Team Scoring)

Elementary School 10:30AM (No Team Scoring)


Medals for top 10 in all races except open middle school which will have ribbons for top 25 Boys/Girls 1st Place Trophy for scored races.


Awards Ceremony 10:45AM

Halaschak, Harris Named Lely Homecoming King, Queen

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:47pm

By Roger LaLonde

Lely Principal Ryan Nemeth and Vice Principal Ellen Keegan show off the crowns that went to Homecoming King Teaker Harris and Queen Kelsey Halaschak during half time. Photos by Roger LaLonde

The competition was close as Kelsey Halaschak and Teaker Harris were named Lely Homecoming King and Queen at half time of the football game on Friday, September 16, 2016.

Halaschak, of Marco Island, said she knew that a lot of students were voting for her, but wasn’t sure if she would have enough.

Harris, of East Naples, said, “Wow, I am in awe. There were so many good candidates. I am so happy.”

Candidates included: 9th grade, Matt Desir and Brielle Penzo; 10th, Gary Vincent and Lareesha Clercira; 11th, Nelson Charelus and Selena Sanchez; 12th, Whitney Petit, Shelby Davis, Deasia Nicolas, Gina Jean-Francois, Irnice Charelus and Halaschak; Marco Celus, Oliver Dumel, Robert Garcia, Jason Francoeur, Aiden Kerchner and Harris.

The crowning was part of a very active Homecoming week with events every day.

Lely Homecoming Win over Dunbar

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 11:33am

By Roger LaLonde

Lely fans were breathless at the end of the Lely Homecoming win over Dunbar, 27-24 on Sept.16.

The noise card that was supposed to inspire the Trojans, was left laying on the ground that in the first half as Dunbar built a 16-0 lead.

Only a miraculous pass-catch play of 53 yards from quarterback Jacquez Carter to Jean Joseph in the second quarter left the Trojans down 17-6, but that started the comeback.

In the third quarter the Trojans pounded the Dunbar defensive line while Carter went to the air. Joseph and Taejon Wright each caught TD passes to give Lely a 20-17 lead.

In the fourth quarter it was again Carter and Joseph hooking up for a 35-yard TD that gave the Trojans the leading edge at 27-17 with 7:16 into play.

Dunbar, rated eighth in the state in Class 5A, found its own Hail Mary with 5:29 to go to cut the lead to three.

Lely went 4-and-out and Dunbar made its last gasp attempt. But a Dunbar penalty cost the Tigers a chance for a touchdown.

The Lely defense took over, causing three rushed pass attempts to go incomplete.

Carter took a knee twice to end the game.

Not only was the upset a great start in Class 5A-District 7 play, it gave the district favorite a loss.

Should the two end up in a first-place tie in the district, Lely will get top seed in the playoffs because of this victory.

Lely coach Maurice Belser was more than pleased with his team’s performance.

“We played 48 minutes of football,” he said. “We knew that they were explosive, that we needed to hold them to four or less big plays and we did. We never stopped playing.”

Dunbar quarterback Darius Johnson tossed two touchdown passes of 53 and 47 yards, totaling 203 yards on 11 of 23 passing . Carter matched that and more with 225 yards passing on 10 of 19 and rushed for 83 yards.

Lely is on the road at rival Barron Collier for a 7 p.m. game on Sept. 23.

Collier and Lee Building Industry Hosts the 6th Market Trends

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:50pm

The Collier Building Industry Association (CBIA) and Lee Building Industry Association will host the joint 6th Annual Market Trends on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at Miromar Design Center in Estero, Florida. The program will begin at5:30 p.m. with networking, immediately followed by Land Solutions’ presentation “What is Really Happening in New Home and Land Sales in Southwest Florida.”  The presentation will include detailed statistics and trends specifically related to the new housing development industry in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

Early registration is encouraged as seats are limited.  Tickets are $35 for members and $55 for non-members and can be purchased online by visiting: or by calling  239/436-6100 or239/936-5525.



FWC Law Enforcement Collier County

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:49pm

While driving through the Picayune Strand State Forest, Officer Arbogast observed a vehicle returning from a non-designated trail without proof of paying the day-use fee. During the vehicle stop, it was discovered that all three occupants were never issued a driver license, including the driver. Officer Kleis arrived on the scene to assist with the investigation. During the investigation, the driver was showing several obvious signs of impairment and Officer Arbogast decided to perform field sobriety tasks on the driver. It was apparent that the driver was impaired and was subsequently placed under arrest for DUI as well as driving without a valid driver license. The driver was transported to the Collier County Jail. Citations were issued for driving off designated trails and not paying the appropriate day-use fee.

While on patrol at night in the Picayune Strand State Forest, Officers Lugg and White observed a swamp buggy driving very slowly down the roadway. The buggy was not registered and was not allowed to be on the roadway. The officers stopped the buggy and observed many signs of impairment from the driver and open beer cans in the vehicle. When asked to perform field sobriety tasks, the driver claimed that he had a hip replacement which prevented him from doing the walk and turn as well as the one leg stand. Therefore, the officers administered seated field sobriety tasks. The driver was arrested for DUI and supplied a breath alcohol sample of 0.138.

While on night-time water patrol, Officers Lugg and White observed a vessel with improperly installed navigation lights. When they stopped the vessel to address the violation, they observed that the operator showed many signs of impairment. The operator consented to perform field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. He was arrested for BUI, but refused to provide a breath alcohol sample.


Conservancy hosts Fracking Summit

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:48pm

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity will host the Florida Fracking Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 2at the Florida Gulf Coast University Cohen Center in Fort Myers. Free and open to the public, the summit will address hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” and its impact on the environment and Southwest Florida’s natural resources.

Current oil and gas laws allow hydraulic fracturing, acidizing and other chemical treatments that present a risk to water supplies, to occur with minimal regulations and without a permit. Florida’s first Fracking Summit will educate guests on the potential risks involved with fracking, and what preventative steps can be taken to avoid endangering the environment.

The summit will feature expert speakers from around the U.S., addressing the effects of unconventional oil extraction on air, land, water and human health. Additional topics will include current oil and gas laws, examples of local government actions and the future of fracking in Florida. Cornell University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Dr. Anthony Ingraffea will provide the keynote address. Ingraffea is a national expert on hydraulic fracturing techniques and has authored more than 200 papers and books on the subject, and was selected by TIME magazine as “People who Mattered” in 2011.

For more information or to register for the Florida Fracking Summit,

Gatsby Gala to benefit FGCU students

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:47pm

Young professionals in Southwest Florida are invited to a ball to benefit Florida Gulf Coast University students who have overcome major life obstacles.

The Great Gatsby Gala will be the first fundraising ball held exclusively for Southwest Florida’s young professionals. The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 7 p.m. until midnight at The Knickerbocker of Naples, 2225 23rd St., S.W., Naples.

In addition to raising funds for the students through the FGCU Foundation’s Dr. Bart S. and Peggy I. Cuderman Endowed Scholarship, the event will include the presentation of a Young Professional of the Year Award.

Sponsorship opportunities are available and range from $500 to $5,000. In addition, the organizing committee is accepting donations of prizes ranging from gift baskets to golf outings, gift cards and hotel accommodations.

For more information, visit the gala’s Facebook page at Order tickets at


2016 America’s Favorite Places survey

Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:47pm

Travel + Leisure, one of the world’s leading travel publications, lists Naples, Florida at No. 3 on its list of “Favorite Beach Towns In America” and No. 27 on the list of “America’s Favorite Towns” within its 2016 America’s Favorite Places survey. The six-month survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks.

The magazine’s editors noted in the beach towns ranking that the “tiny resort town on the Gulf Coast has long been a favorite destination for the jetsetters that prefer quiet relaxation over the glitzy see-and-be-seen parties of Miami.” Naples was the highest rated Florida city on the beach towns list, beating out other popular beach spots including Sarasota (#8) and Sanibel Island (#4).

On the list of America’s Favorite Towns, editors noted that Naples ranked for “being quiet, safe, and relaxing. Plus, it scored perfectly for two non-stressful activities – boutique shopping (like the galleries and shops along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South) and spas.”

The world’s most influential travel brand, Travel + Leisure, offers insider access to destinations around the globe with a signature mix of smart advice, immersive photography, expert reporting, and award-winning coverage of hotels, food, design, style, culture, and trends.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by such a travel-savvy readership as one of the country’s best beach towns and as one of the best towns overall” said Jack Wert, Executive Director of Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. “Not only do travelers appreciate our world-class beaches and diverse array of cultural offerings, but also the overall relaxing vibes that only Naples can offer.”

Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Places survey opened on 10/8/2015 and closed on 04/15/2016. It was open to everyone, and ran alongside a sweepstakes. The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks. After discarding incomplete ballots and cities that received less than 20 votes, each entry was ranked according to an average score.