Syndicate content
Updated: 15 hours 33 min ago

Pet CPR Training

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 3:16pm

City Hall Staff Changes and Challenges

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 1:04pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

Since the departure of former City Manager Roger Hernstadt a number of changes have occurred within City Hall, with departures of personnel and some shuffling of the chairs on the deck to insure the functions to service residents’ needs are still being met.

Guillermo Polanco was assigned the responsibilities as Interim City Manager in February, in addition to his responsibilities overseeing the city’s Finance Department.

Ms. Tammy Scott who oversaw the operations within the Growth Management Department resigned in February, and late in March Polanco assigned Lina Upham, who was working in finance, temporary duties overseeing that department. From 2010 to 2013 Upham had worked in zoning and planning for the city. In addition to Upham, Jason Smalley and Paula Roldos work within Growth Management on day-to-day activities assisting residents and builders.

The city is presently interviewing for the position of Growth Management Director and two interviews were held the week of April 3rd, with another scheduled for the week of April 10th.

In the meantime, the city has contracted with the services of LaRue Planning and Management Services of Ft. Myers to assist with any large proposals being brought forward for review by the city.

Polanco also reassigned Samantha Malloy to a new position he created, Supervisor of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Events for the city. She had previously served as the Special Events Coordinator for the city. Since that reshuffle, Alex Galiana, who had previously served as the Facilities Manager for Parks and Recreation has resigned, and that position is open with active recruiting underway for a replacement.

Important LDC Review Continues

Chairman of the Planning Board Eric Brechnitz, along with Interim Growth Management Supervisor Lina Upham are encouraging residents to become involved with the Planning Board’s review of the Land Development Code, as the board meets on the third Friday of every month in a workshop session to review language and issues within the document.

“We need the input from all sections of the community, whether a resident, businesses, commercial property owners or a builder. The code represents an important segment of the building blocks for how our community will look moving forward,” said Brechnitz.

The Planning Board will meet on April 21st at 9 AM in council chambers at 51 Bald Eagle Drive to continue its work on the document, and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.

Council Wrestles With Roadways

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 1:02pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides 

Photo by Steve Stefanides | Public Works Director
Tim Pinter

At their last city council meeting members heard Public Works Director Tim Pinter speak to his plans to continue with the Annual Street and Roadway Repaving Program, which Pinter had budgeted just over $600,000. That program in 2017 would be able to pave approximately five miles of roadway in the area west of Collier Boulevard and off North Barfield Drive.

There are approximately 120 miles of paved roads on the island. 57 miles of those same roads were repaved during the infamous STRP (Septic Tank Replacement Program), while other areas such as the repaving of Collier Boulevard, Bald Eagle and sections of San Marco Road have been done. This would leave approximately 29 miles of additional roads left to be paved.

When former City Manager Roger Hernstadt brought his first budget forward in 2014 he devised a “bucket plan” which would fund ongoing capital projects such as the repaving of roads. 2015 and 2016 began the first of those applications of funding for a regular repaving of city streets. The 2017 budget included monies for the third year of that program, and would have involved the repaving of streets in one of the earliest developed areas of the island, which encompasses 4.2 miles and would have cost in the area of $665,000 this year.

Council however would balk at following Pinter’s recommendation due to so many complaints from residents about roadways that were redone in the former STRP Districts and other poor thoroughfares and feeder roads around the island.

Pinter did bring forward an alternate plan which would have involved repaving Kendall, Tigertail Court and some of San Marco Road to deal with those troubling thoroughfares.

Councilor Roman considered the roadways on the island to be the number one issue regarding quality of life on the island. “It’s important to me how we balance the repair of our failing roadways versus the resurfacing program you have,” said Roman. “Would it be different if you went out and prioritized the worst roads on our island?” inquired Roman.

“I question whether we are getting the best bang for our buck from our contractors. I want to know how we can insure we’ll be getting better results,” said Councilor Rios.

Council requested a more robust set of statistics regarding roadways, their usage and condition so they could make a more reasoned approach regarding funding for roadway repairs.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence in the engineering that brought us these roadways,” said Council Chairman Larry Honig.

Pinter stated that the roads did not have adequate time to settle or compact after construction. “The problem was the poor compaction and materials used to do the project,” said Pinter.

Some councilors and citizens have wondered aloud regarding the oversight by the city of these projects going back over a decade ago.

Pinter was requested to return to council with a more detailed analysis of the condition of the roadways and other information at a future meeting.

Fires Still Burn in Big Cypress

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:58pm

Submitted

Fast Facts: The Cowbell Fire is currently 15,889 acres and 11% contained. 246 personnel are assigned to this incident. Equipment resources include seven helicopters, two single engine air tankers,  and 19 engines.

Current Fire Situation: The Cowbell Fire is approximately three miles north of I-75, 1.75 miles south of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and two miles west of the L-28 road. The fire perimeter has remained unchanged during the past four operational periods.

Planned Action: Structure protection is ongoing for all private properties with structures east of the fire perimeter in preparation for today’s change in weather conditions. Heavy fuel reduction continues along established containment lines. Crews continue to use low-impact suppression tactics to protect threatened and endangered species such as the Florida panther, Florida bonneted bat and red-cockaded woodpecker. Aviation resources are also maintaining containment lines and patrolling and monitoring hot spots.

Fire Weather: A Red Flag Warning was in effect at press time due to very low humidity and gusty northwest winds. Critical fire weather conditions will persist into the weekend with relatively cool temperatures.

Cooperators: National Park Service, Big Cypress National Preserve, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Forest Service, Seminole Tribe of Florida, Florida Highway Patrol and Collier County (Florida) Office of Emergency Management.

Restrictions and closures: The following closures are effective as of press time, due to wildfire activity in portions of the Big Cypress National Preserve:

  • The road leading into the Sanctuary except to residents
  • Nobles Grade Trail north to include the Florida Trail north
  • All trails east of Nobles Grade to include the Blue Trail, Red Trail and Yellow Trail
  • All lands west of the L28 Canal from the Sanctuary road north
  • All lands east of Nobles Grade
  • All lands south of the Preserve boundary and east of Nobles Grade

The following adjacent areas will remain open: Private lands in the designated area shall remain open; residents should use caution. These areas are closed to all recreational use, including off-road vehicles (ORVs), hiking, camping and commercial activities due to safety concerns related to wildfires in the area.

In addition, portions of the preserve, including Monument Lake and Burns Lake Campgrounds and some trails, remain closed due to the Parliament Fire. A temporary flight restriction remains in place over the Cowbell Fire.

For additional information on the Cowbell Fire, please contact the Fire Information Line at 305-204-6659 or by email at [email protected] You can also find the most up to date information on InciWeb at inciweb.nwcg.gov or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BigCypressNPS or Twitter at twitter.com/BigCypressNPS.

Scholarships Available for Local Arts Majors

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:55pm

Submitted

Each year the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts awards scholarships to high school seniors and college students who will be majoring in an area of the arts. Since 2007 the non-profit organization has been awarding scholarships to local students who plan to major in visual arts, literary arts or performing arts. With the cost of a higher education beyond high school continuing to rise each year, The Foundation for the Arts awards scholarships to help local students pursue their dreams in the arts. Students living on Marco Island, the Isle of Capri and Goodland or attending school on Marco Island are eligible and encouraged to apply.

We are looking for hard working high school seniors and college students who plan to major in music, photography, art, movie making, the theater or dance. The scholarship application offered by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts can be found on their website, www.marcoarts.org. Applications are also available on the Collier County Schools list of available scholarships. Completed applications must be returned no later than April 30th for the student to be considered for a scholarship. Students and their parents are welcome to call Carolyn Burger for more information at 239-389-0280.

A special luncheon to honor students and award scholarships will be held by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts on Saturday, May 27th. Watch for more information as details become available.

Relay’s Battle Against Cancer Continues

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:52pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

For the last 30 years the American Cancer Society has brought cancer survivors, families and friends together to walk hand in hand to fight for awareness regarding the ravages of cancer and the toll it takes on families and those fighting the disease.

This year will see over 5,200 communities, spread over 20 countries come together to support Relay for Life events around the world as the organization continues its battle against the disease.

The Relay for Life event itself is a combination fundraiser and an effort to raise awareness within the communities where it is sponsored. Such was the case on April 1st when the Marco Island community came together to help accomplish those two goals, as many organizations came together to raise much needed funds for continuing research and education.

The Relay for Life event is held all around the nation and is one of the most moving and genuinely emotional events you can attend. Today one in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer, so early awareness of symptoms is very vital in the effort to save lives.

Early diagnosis of cancer is one of the best weapons in helping to defeat the disease until we can learn more about its origins and find a way to prevent it. Education is one of the best tools the healthcare community can launch against this disease. Making individuals more aware of the symptoms and early signs of the disease can go a long way to creating a positive outcome in the fight against cancer.

The Knights of Columbus Color Guard

This event is a grassroots effort to continue to make a difference in those efforts. It allows all aspects of a community to come together to do what we can to make residents aware of the need to stay engaged.

Julie Broxson, a survivor of a recent battle with cancer received the Sandy Holdgate Award, which was presented to her by an emotional Samantha Malloy, a co-worker of Broxson at the City of Marco Island. That award recognized Broxson’s commitment to a positive and uplifting attitude during her recent battle with the disease.

A second Caregiver Award was presented to Joan Hackbarth in honor of her mother, Janet Whitebook, who recently was lost to cancer. Whitebook had been extremely involved with support groups around the island and mentored many caregivers. She had been a caregiver to her own sister who battled the disease and then she herself was diagnosed last year and unfortunately lost her battle. Joan Hackbarth flew in special to honor her mother. That award was presented to Hackbarth by Donna Cottrell, who is also a cancer survivor.

The Marco Island event saw all age groups and organizations come out on that Saturday to join in that effort. From the Marco Island Academy that invigorated the attendees with their high energy levels, to the JW Marriott who cooked burgers for the attendees, to DJ Steve Reynolds who kept attendees informed and the music flowing.

After opening remarks, purple shirted survivors took to the field to follow a color guard made up by the Knights of Columbus to begin the ceremonial walk around the field. Walkers would continue to walk for the cure until about 9 PM when the luminaria bags would be lit to honor those that had passed from cancer as family and friends would take a moment of silence.

Survivors of cancer who attended the event’s opening ceremonies enjoyed a dinner provided in their honor by the following restaurants on the island: Café de Marco, Capri Fish House, Chop 239, Ciao Bella, Cocomo’s Grill, CJ’s on the Bay, DaVinci’s, Doreen’s Cup of Joe, Joey’s Pizza, La Tavola, Little Bar, Marco Prime, Oyster Society, Ne Ne’s Kitchen, Pinchers Crab Shack, Snook Inn and Verdi’s.

The American Cancer Society’s chapter here on Marco raised their goal of $275,000 through the work of the 27 teams that participated in this year’s event.

JW Marriott Awarded for Community Service

Photo by Jessica Hernstadt

For 15 years the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has actively participated in Relay for Life, ranking #3 in Florida and #30 in the U.S. for fundraising. In addition to Relay for Life, the resort has supported local beach clean ups and recycling efforts, the Collier County Adopt-A-Road Program, Tommie Barfield Elementary School, Marco Island Charter Middle School, Marco Island Academy, Harry Chapin Mobile Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, and more. The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s Spirit to Serve program donated a total of $238,499 in 2016. For its extraordinary volunteering and fundraising efforts, the resort has been selected as a Hall of Honor recipient of the Alice S. Marriott award for Community Service.

 

Tragedy Lingers From Picayune Fire

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:44pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

Submitted Photos
Remnants of the Waldecks’ home.

It’s hard to believe that about a month ago the scene along Benfield Road was one of an inferno, rather than the serene and quiet area that Todd and Monique Waldeck had fallen in love with close to 30 years ago. The only evidence one could see from the narrow single lane road was the charred bark on trees from the terrible fire that raged throughout this area of the county last month.

The Waldecks had built their dream home on their piece of paradise almost 17 years ago, but Mother Nature would play a cruel trick on them after living in the peaceful and tranquil area of the county that few are aware of.

The fires last month that consumed approximately 7,500 acres in the Picayune Strand destroyed their 1,700 square foot stilt home, which they had personally built themselves. “What was ironic was the fact that the fire had supposedly moved away from our area on Monday and forestry personnel had removed some of the larger equipment used to cut firebreaks and relocated to other areas to battle the blaze.

However, the winds changed and on that Tuesday we were forced from the house. I actually had to drive through the fire, that’s how quickly the fire moved. I was lucky to get out.”

On Tuesday night, around 6 PM Waldeck worked his way back through old back roads to reach his house, to find it still burning.
“I took my neighbor with me and we worked our way back; his main house was fine but ours was gone,” said Todd Waldeck.

When the Waldecks say everything was gone, they weren’t exaggerating…everything was destroyed, and they’ve been attempting to work on putting their lives back together since that fateful day.

“We love this land and one way or another we will rebuild on this property,” said Monique as she sifted through some of the debris piled on a six-foot table. “It’s really too bad you couldn’t see how beautiful it was before the fire.”

On top of the challenges presented by the loss of the fire, Todd Waldeck had only been out of the hospital for two weeks and was recovering from a serious heart attack, but he wasn’t about to let his two setbacks get him down. “Like Monique said, we love it out here and will do our best to recover and enjoy the rest of our lives without feeling sorry for ourselves,” said Todd Waldeck.

A contractor has been brought in and the ruins of the home have been removed and the old concrete slab has been broken up and sits in a dumpster. That dumpster holding the concrete was one of four which was donated by YAHL Mulching and Recycling, and has helped the Waldecks to clean up their site to be able move forward with their plans.

Todd Waldeck is employed by Marco Glass and has been in the glass business for 37 years. Monique works for the Ritz Carlton in Naples.

Two separate Go Fund Me accounts have been set up to help the Waldecks rebound from their horrific loss. Should you wish to donate to help them recover you may go to www.gofundme.com/waldeck-house or www.gofundme.com/monique-and-todd-waldecks-home. 

Local Airman Injured, Fund Established

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:29pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides 

For members of military families, thoughts of deployment always immediately run to praying for the safe return of their loved ones, no matter where their deployments might bring them.

For longtime residents Tony and Teresa Dorris those thoughts have raced through their minds on numerous occasions, as their son Staff Sergeant Cory Vosburgh, a six year veteran of the United States Air Force, has been deployed three times. His latest deployment took him to Greece to support aircraft stationed there. He had earlier in his career been deployed into Afghanistan on two separate occasions.

On March 31 the vehicle he was riding in was involved in a serious accident, injuring Cory and the three other riders. Cory’s injures were serious, and he has been placed in a medically induced coma to help deal with the swelling to his brain from a traumatic head injury. He also suffered numerous other injuries, and is being stabilized with his wife Ann by his side. She made her way to Greece upon being notified of his accident.
As of April 6, Cory was cleared for the move to Ramstein Air Force Base in Southwest Germany, with two of the other injured airmen. His wife Ann will be traveling with them, while his mother Teresa is making her arrangements to meet them in Germany sometime over the weekend.

Because of the expenses involved with travel and loss of income from Ann’s job, neighbors and friends have established a Go Fund Me account to help defray some of those expenses. That account can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/corys-military-medical-fund for donations.

Another fund is being established at the Sun Trust Bank on Marco Island, and Coastal Breeze News will provide further details as they become available.

Teresa Dorris is the longtime manager of the Collier County Tax Collectors Office on Marco Island, while Tony Dorris served four years in the 1st Marine Brigade from 1975 to 1979 and is employed by Walkers Hideaway Marina.

Cory Vosburgh is a graduate of Marco Island schools and Lely High School. As more information becomes available, updates will be provided at coastalbreezenews.com.

Who Let the DOGS OUT? | Mutts & Martinis at the Esplanade

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:23pm

By Maureen Chodaba 

Who let the dogs out? Marco Island, that’s who, as dozens of gussied up canines and their well dressed owners recently took to the stage at the Esplanade! The event was a benefit for the Greater Marco Family YMCA. Awards were given to Lori Harris and Isabella for Best Dressed, Best in Show to Paige Wood of Upbeat Canine and border collie Dallas, and a tie for the owner-dog lookalike category went to Candy Seward and Bentley as Catwoman/Batman and Jim Borris and Zoey as pirates. DJ Steve Reynolds was the host for this hot diggety dog of a good time!

ICC Prepares for Golf Course Renovations

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:15pm

By Samantha Husted

Photos by Samantha Husted | ICC member pretends to tee off of a fake alligator. The alligator was used as a realistic prop on the course as part of the demolition theme.

The Island Country Club (ICC) recently held a “Demolition Day” themed golf tournament event and BBQ to celebrate its upcoming golf course renovations. The ICC golf course will be closed from now until December 1, 2017 as it undergoes a complete modernization and refurbishment initiative.

Golf course architect Dave Wallace designed the original course over 50 years ago in 1966, making it one of the oldest greens in the Southwest Florida area. With the help of the “Squire” himself, Gene Sarazen, the course was redesigned in 1991. Again, in 2001, all 18 greens—including the chipping and practice greens were rebuilt. Throughout the years the golf course has been continually upgraded to maintain its elegance and practicality. Now in 2017 it will once again go under the knife, so to speak, under the direction of Kipp Schulties.

In a 12-month period, plans were put in place by Schulties and his team for the redevelopment of the course. Schulties explained that each hole was scrutinized extensively in order to address the “needs of all players.” Talk of a better irrigation system was a point of concern for the Greens and Grounds Committee members as well as the ICC members.

According to Schulties’ Golf Course Master Plan the renovations will include a subsurface drainage system as well as the removal of the 50-year-old organic layer under the fairway. This will elevate the lower parts of the course. They also plan on “rebuilding select greens as well as renovating those greens that have no issues, enlarging and leveling tees, rebuilding sand bunkers, reducing maintained turf to reduce water usage which entails modifying the irrigation system.”

The day of the final golf tournament was overcast and humid with the early signs of spring. The grass on the course was brown, having been treated in preparation for the forthcoming renovations. Large construction machinery scattered the course as well as other props, enhancing the demolition day theme. Members made their way around the 18-holes, saying their final goodbyes for the summer and paying their respects to the greens. The mood was playful and fun as golfers teed off, side stepping fake alligators and other various props meant to distract.
After the tournament, members were treated to a BBQ lunch where they discussed their performances on the course, razzing one another and poking fun. Guitarist Steve Napp provided the music for the afternoon.

“The Demolition Day (D–Day) golf outing was a fitting tribute to the grand old course that has served the membership and community so very well for so many years,” said ICC General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Peter Cizdziel. “The excitement and fun of the event was a fitting tribute to the many years of entertainment the course has provided. Now the “tired” golf course undergoes a wonderful transition into one of the finest and certainly the newest renovated golf course in Southwest Florida. The excitement is already building amongst the members anticipating its unveiling in December! The very best of the Islands’ golf is yet to come!”

For more information on the Island Country Club check out www.island-countryclub.org or call 239-394-6661.

 

The Spring Fling It’s A Lollapalooza

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:11pm

Photos and Story by Barry Gwinn

As we do every year (this will be our fifth), on Saturday, April 1st, the Goodland Civic Association threw a party to show our appreciation for the overwhelming support we get from our neighbors and friends here. Everyone was invited, everyone helped, and virtually everyone came. In the beautiful setting of Collier County’s Margood Park Pavilion, well over 200 came to enjoy the food and camaraderie, the likes of which can only be found in Goodland. These are some of the people who came.

Marco Republicans Enjoy Boehner Reception

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:45am

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

In hockey they call it a “hat trick” when three goals are scored by a single player in one game. Last Friday evening the Caxambas Republican Club scored a “hat trick” of its own when they celebrated the contributions of former Republican Speaker of the House, and part time island resident John Boehner. In addition they also recognized the contributions of their outgoing Caxambas Republican Club President Litha Berger and introduced some of the new Board of Directors for their organization with incoming President David Rice.

The sold-out event was held at the Marco Island Yacht Club with Boehner as the featured speaker for the evening. The personable former Speaker of the House, at one time the third in line for the most powerful job in the world, was right at ease as he and his wife Debbie greeted islanders and engaged in lighthearted conversations with his neighbors.

Probably the most uncomfortable moment came when Boehner realized that his good friend, fellow islander and Ohio native Ed Adams would be introducing him to the assembly that evening. The comedic back and forth set the stage for an enjoyable evening for all in attendance.

Boehner and his wife have been coming to Marco Island for over 40 years. Two years ago they purchased their own home to take advantage of the fishing and golf opportunities, which John Boehner relishes between speaking engagements. His permanent home is still in his native Ohio, which he represented in the U.S. House of Representative from 1991-2015.

Marco is a far cry from his upbringing in Reading, Ohio, where as a child he grew up one of 12 children of a working class family. Boehner has never forgotten his roots and he reflected on that childhood and his pride in making his way on his own, including mopping floors at his father’s bar at the age of 10. He worked several jobs to help put himself through college. At one of those jobs he would meet the love of his life, Debbie, his wife, who he married in 1973.

Boehner turned around a struggling enterprise and turned it into a successful business. He applied some of those same lessons to help him guide his way to the Speakership of the United States House of Representatives several years later.

Boehner is extremely proud of his success in bringing Pope Francis to Washington to address a Joint Session of Congress, the first time ever for any Pope. A devote Catholic himself, Boehner reflected on the emotional roller coaster associated with the visit and how moved he was in the Pope’s down to earth and unpretentious nature.

He is unapologetic in regards to “wearing his emotions of his sleeves.” An emotional Boehner reflected on the Pope’s visit to the Capitol. Taking out a handkerchief, he recalled the Pope standing by him in a private moment and saying, “Speaker, pray for me.”

The former Speaker discussed several topics of the current political landscape. He voiced support for President Trump’s recent military action against Syria for their horrendous chemical attack against innocent civilians. He also reflected on the need for Republicans to come together to deal with the lingering issue of health care reform, sooner rather than later, as it is linked to many other larger issues such as the upcoming budget debate and growing the economy.

Well-known artist Malenda Trick was beaming from ear to ear when Boehner stopped by her patriotic mural and signed the eye-catching presentation that greeted attendees when they registered for the event.

“This was a wonderful event and I’m so pleased that the Speaker took the time to attend with his wife,” said Litha Berger after the meeting. “What a great night. Litha didn’t tell me she was going to set the bar so high,” said David Rice, jokingly.

New Team Adds Flavor to the Hilton

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:41am

By Samantha Husted

The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa has recently announced the appointment of Executive Chef Corey Hepburn and Food and Beverage Director Joseph Fisher.

The two will work together as a team to oversee all facets of food and beverage on the Marco Island property. This includes seeing new dining options for the resort, such as The Deck at 560 Bar and Restaurant and 560 Market, come to fruition.

Chef Corey Hepburn has been cooking professionally for about 28 years. He got his start in the culinary arts in high school working for a Holiday Inn hotel. Originally he had plans to pursue a career in aeronautics, but was convinced by his chef to continue cooking. By the age of 20 Hepburn earned the title of Sous Chef and by the age of 28 he became the Executive Chef.

“I spent 14 years at this property honing my skills,” said Corey Hepburn. “I found my passion when I was introduced to ice, fruit and vegetable carving.”

Corey has since held the title of Executive Chef for a country club, restaurants, and several resorts throughout the Pennsylvania (his hometown) and New Jersey areas.

According to Corey, who grew up in an Italian household, most family gatherings were centered around food. This had a huge influence on him in terms of his relationship to cooking and eating. While Italian cuisine will always be a huge inspiration, Corey is also interested in creating bold flavors and fusion recipes and loves to expose himself to “different cultures and regional ingredients.”

An example of Hepburn creative amalgamation of dishes can be found in his Salt and Pepper Shrimp and Grits—a recipe he has innovated as part of the Hilton team. Corey explains that he took a traditional dish, shrimp and grits, and added sea salt and Sichuan pepper, a commonly used spice in Chinese, Tibetan and Indian cuisines.

“Sichuan intrigued me because for a very long time the import was banned here in the United States,” said Corey Hepburn. “Also, when you consume Sichuan pepper it has a unique aroma and flavor that is not hot or pungent like black, white, or chili peppers. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth.”

In terms of his future plans at the Hilton Marco Island, Corey says that the “sky is the limit.”

“The Olshan family has reinvented their brand in Marco Island and have committed to the success of this beautiful property,” said Corey Hepburn. “As employees of this company, we have been granted an opportunity to be a part of that and help grow that brand. I’m here to help support their vision.”

Food and Beverage Director, Joseph Fisher got his start in the culinary world in 2001 as the Assistant Food and Beverage Manager for a five-star, five-diamond Four Season Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. He then moved on to the Four Seasons Hotel in Brickell, Miami. Over the past 16 years, Joseph has held leadership positions at various hotels in the South Florida area. Most recently Joseph held the position of hotel manager for the Marco Beach Ocean Resort & Tarpon Club on Marco Island.

Together Joseph and Corey will oversee all aspects of food and beverage for the resort as well as collaborate on new initiatives. This includes the Deck at 560 Bar & Restaurant. Chef Corey created the concept, which focuses on providing local and sustainable seafood and produce to guests using seasonal ingredients.

“Chef and I are thrilled to join the team here at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa,” said Fisher. “It’s been an exciting experience to bring these news concepts to life and bring our backgrounds and passions to these new menus.”

Saving One Brown Pelican at a Time

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:38am

By Maria Lamb

Brown Pelicans are always looking for an easy meal and often times they’ll swoop in on a catch just as an angler is reeling it in. According to Jonee Miller, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, “Pelicans are very adaptable birds and for this reason, they get themselves into big trouble as they associate humans as their source of food.”

Jonee Miller, along with volunteer staff from the von Arx Wildlife Hospital of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, held a training seminar at the Caxambas Coast Guard Station on March 28th on what to do if you hook a pelican.

A common encounter of the deadly kind is fishing line entanglement, which can be fatal for a pelican. When it goes back to the mangroves or its nest to roost for the night, the fishing line gets entangled. The more the pelican struggles to get free, the more it gets tangled and eventually, it will dangle and starve to death. This is a slow painful process of starvation for the helpless pelican.
The three prongs of the treble hook is another common cause of pelican death. The hooks get stuck in their wings, and while they use their foot to get it off, their foot gets stuck and they use their heads to get it off, and the head gets stuck, which is triple trouble for helpless pelican.

Oftentimes you’ll hear an angler say, “the hook will rust out and the stomach acid will take care of it.” All shorebirds admitted to the Von Arx Wildlife Hospital get an x-ray to check for ingested items. Once they admitted a pelican with seven hooks inside its stomach. The hooks don’t rust out and the stomach acid will not take care of it – hooks can cause extensive internal damage.

Another very common sight is a well-meaning angler cleaning his catch at the end of the day while pelicans congregate waiting for freebies. This is a behavior they’ve learned from humans. Cuttings contain lots of bones which pelicans cannot swallow. The fish they catch off shore are usually three-five inches long. Just because they have a large pouch does not mean they can swallow large cut-up fish.

According to Jonee Miller, “Diving behavior is a learned behavior.” Juveniles have to watch successful adults dive for fish. By humans feeding them fish, we are preventing them from learning how to dive for fish. We are harming pelicans with kindness when we feed them.

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital treats over 3,500 injured, orphaned or sick animals each year. If you encounter a sick or injured animal please contact the von Arx Wildlife Hospital 239-262-CARE (2273). They are open from 8 AM – 8 PM seven days a week.

News From The Nest Three Times a Charm!

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:33am

By Linda J. Turner,
Communications Director 
Marco Island Nature Preserve & Bird Sanctuary

Photo by Rosemary Tolliver | A peek at the eaglets in their nest.

In the bald eagle nest at the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary are, not one, not two, but three eaglets! This is the first time in many years that more than two eaglets have hatched on this property. All three eaglets appear to be healthy, eating well and getting along peacefully together in their nest under the watchful guard of the adult eagles. The adult eagles were named Paleo and Calusa in 2011 by the Tommie Barfield Elementary fifth grade class.

The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation is the parent organization for the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary. The Preserve is located at 665 Tigertail Court on Marco Island. The Foundation is currently fundraising for Eagle Cams to be installed on the preserve this summer before the next eagle-nesting season begins. In the second week of the Foundation’s fundraising campaign, a local citizen has offered as a memorial tribute, to match Eagle Cam donations.

Donations for this worthy project are tax-deductible and may be made by credit card by visiting www.MarcoIslandNaturePreserve.org and clicking on the “Eagle Cam Fundraising” button, or by check payable to the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary and mailed to P.O. Box 983, Marco Island, Florida, 34146. Please indicate “Eagle Cam Donation” on your check.

For additional information, please call 239-269-1754.

Claus Discoveries

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:30am

By Don Manley

Photo by Don Manley | Anthropologist William Marquardt addresses his audience.

William Marquardt asked his audience to engage in visualization at the outset of his lecture on Calusa Indians who once dominated southern Florida, from coast to coast.

“Just imagine for a minute the villages that were here on Marco Island,” he said before asking them to conjure images of cooking fires, canoes and their occupants returning home and fishing nets being expertly tossed into nearby waters teeming with the shellfish and fish that were Calusa dietary staples.

Marquardt reminded everyone to remember that the primary difference between these indigenous peoples and us isn’t intelligence, but only the times in which we live.

“These were real people, with a functioning society, belief system and history,” he said during his recent presentation at Rose History Auditorium before members and guests of the Marco Island Historical Society.

Entitled “Calusa Connection: Recent Research and New Surprises,” the lecture reviewed information about the tribe’s lifestyle and practices learned since 2013, as well the latest discoveries made at Mound Key and the Pineland shell mounds in Lee County. Those findings include information on the connection between those archaeological sites and South Florida’s other Indian tribes.

Once numbering as many as 10,000 people, the Calusa lived in Southwest Florida, but controlled an empire that stretched across the state’s southern tip for many centuries, before fading away in the 1700s. Spanish explorers gave them the name “Calusa,” a native word they understood to mean “fierce and warlike,” in the early 1500s.

Calusa culture included huge shell mounds, engineered canals and an ability to sustain its population largely by the fish and shellfish found in the estuaries west and south of Fort Myers. Mound Key and Pineland are but two of the remaining shell mound sites between Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands that are still in existence and being studied today.

Marquardt is an anthropologist, researcher and University of Florida anthropology professor who has studied the Calusa for 25 years. He is curator of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Collections at the Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. He also directs of the university’s Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies.

He is also the founder and director of Pine Island’s Randell Research Center, a permanent facility dedicated to learning and teaching Southwest Florida’s archaeology, history and ecology.

In his roughly one-hour lecture, Marquardt began with an overview of Calusa history, focusing on their interaction with the Spanish explorers whose travels to Florida in search of riches and slaves ultimately led to European settlement.

Citing Juan Ponce de Leon’s first excursion to this land 540 years ago, he said, “American history began here in Southwest Florida.”

The explorer first sailed to the St. Augustine area from Hispaniola, but didn’t land, and then proceeded to the Miami area, said Marquardt. From there, de Leon’s ship was transported by the powerful Gulf Stream, abound Florida’s southern tip, and deposited in the area near Sanibel and the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River.

After landing to make repairs to the vessel and resupply, the sailors, for the first time, encountered the Calusa, who’d sent a small party to trade with them. But the Spanish took four Calusa women prisoner, which resulted in the Indians sending reinforcements. Violence ensued, resulting in deaths on both sides.

De Leon then returned to Hispaniola, present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where he reported that the Indians spoke Spanish, probably because of previous Spanish attempts to enslave Calusa and the fact some Cuban Indians had escaped the island and found refuge in South Florida. Marquardt said de Leon returned to this area in 1521, but was repulsed by the Calusa and he died in Cuba after those battles.

The Calusa controlled the entirety of South Florida through a patronage system and that they traded throughout the state and into other parts of the American Southeast, he said.

Marquardt has been involved in archeological digs at Pineland and on Mound Key, located in the Estero Bay, along with Mike Savarese, a marine science and environmental studies professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, faculty from the University of Georgia, students and volunteers.

Among the discoveries of the last 30 years is the location of the Calusa’s capital, known as “Calos,” on Mound Key, located in Estero Bay, he said.

The presence of 16th Century Spanish artifacts and technological advances, such as ground penetrating radar, have enabled researchers to confirm Calos’ existence on the island and that it once contained a round building large enough to contain 2,000 people. The island later became the site of the first Jesuit mission in North America.

Another discovery is the fact the Calusa evidently built “water courts,” large enclosed areas on both sides of the mouth of Mound Key’s great canal, to store fish and shellfish for consumption when times were lean.

The water courts were large and built about 1200 A.D., with large earthen ovens situated nearby, said Marquardt.

He said the Pineland and Mound Key digs have both involved excavating below sea level and provided rich evidence of Calusa culture.

“All have very well preserved deposits at the bottom,” Marquardt added.

For more information about Marco Island Historical Society, visit themihs.info. 

Never Give In, Never Give Up

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:10am

By Don Manley

Don Camplese personifies the concept of resilience in the face of difficulty.

Rather than quitting after cancer cost him the use of his left arm, the avid golfer has adapted and is again enjoying the game, only in a one-handed fashion now.

In fact, the Hideaway Beach Club resident is displaying some of the same skill he’d demonstrated prior to 2012 when he had surgery for chondrosarcoma, a cancer that causes malignant tumors on bones and soft tissue. Don, 82, notched his second hole-in-one, his first since the surgery, in January on the community’s nine-hole executive golf course.

“One with two-hands and one with one hand,” said the retired college professor.

“I’m shooting in the thirties again and par here is 32,” he added, “ I try to come in at about five over because it’s hard to get on the par-fours with one arm. I can’t get on (the green) in two a lot of times. I try to do it in three. Driving is the easiest part, but it’s the next shot that is more difficult with one arm.”

He utilizes forward tees now to compensate for not being able to generate the same power as before and he’s had to learn how to generate lift and accuracy with just one hand.

“I don’t hit a lot of golf shots,” Don said. “What I do is I try to hit the ball up and towards the hole. It’s about strategy more than it was before. I know where to hit the ball. I’ve developed a strategy where I hit the ball to more opportunistic places.”

Ironically, he’s become a better putter with the new approach.

Submitted Photo | The Campleses on the putting green, their house in the background.

His wife, Kay, provided the nudge that got him back on the golf course in June of 2012, five months after surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. “I said to him, ‘Honey, you can play golf again,” she said. “‘As good as you are you just leave this hand and go like that. You can do it.’”

So they went on a golf outing with another couple and he began working to find a new way to play.

“If you’ve got the grit and courage and you don’t fear looking silly or being humiliated, you can do it,” said Kay.

Don said he’s enjoying golf just as much as he did prior to the cancer’s appearance.

“It’s probably the safest thing I can do other than walking and it’s competitive,” he said. “I love competition.”

Cancer is not the only daunting health challenge he has had to surmount over the last few years.

The Campleses were attending a social at the Hideaway Beach Club in February of last year, when he decided to rest after they’d taken a turn on the dance floor. That plan was interrupted when he went into cardiac arrest.

“I sat down to eat and I keeled over,” said Don.

Fortunately, the affair was also attended by three of his friends, all physicians, who, with the assistance of two Beach Club staff members, were able to revive him and keep him stable until paramedics arrived.

“Good thing I’m a good putter because I had played golf with those guys earlier that day and I’d made the winning putt,” he said.

A lifelong fitness buff, Don played basketball at West Liberty University in his native West Virginia and later became an accomplished racquetball player while teaching psychology, along with Kay, at Bloomsburg State University in Pennsylvania. He also taught at nearby Bucknell University.

“It was a shock because I had been an athlete all of my life,” he said of the cardiac event.

Kay said her husband had trouble regaining his strength after the cancer surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

“Little did we know that the anterior artery was totally blocked, practically, and that his heart had built another anterior pathway around the widowmaker, and that the other two arteries bringing blood down to the heart were also blocked,” she said. “We had no idea.”
Open heart surgery, which involved harvesting a vein from his leg to rebuild the affected artery, soon followed. His recovery was complicated by a staph infection two weeks after the surgery, which required another hospital stint.

Like her husband, Kay is also an avid athlete; tennis is her specialty, but she has also become an ace golfer since the couple moved to Hideaway in 1993. That is also when Don began golfing.

“We got a little bit better and a little bit better,” she said. “I’ve been a club champion a couple times and so has Don. We’ve been couples champion a couple times too.

And like her husband, she has experienced the euphoria of the hole-in-one, six in her case, the last occurring two weeks after her husband’s January feat. Kay had her first hole-in-one about two weeks after Don’s first, in 2003.

“We had our hole-in-one parties together,” she said.

Todd Elliott, the Hideaway Beach Club’s golf pro, has known the Campleses for almost four years, and that they are very popular in the community. “I know that the members have a lot of fun when they’re around,” he added.

Elliott credited Don with demonstrating what it means to overcome.

“Last year, when he wasn’t playing as well, he didn’t give up and he just kept working to perfect what he was doing,” said Elliott. “He didn’t let frustrating times prevent him from working and trying to get better.”

Marco Players Deliver with ‘Driving Miss Daisy

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:07am

By Scott H. Shook

The Marco Players tackled a popular and familiar subject when they took on “Driving Miss Daisy” this winter.

“Driving Miss Daisy” won four Academy Awards in 1989, including Best Picture and Best Actress (Jessica Tandy). Taking on a subject your audience is so familiar with could have backfired on the local theatre group.

But the three thespians who carried the play certainly earned the respect of the sold out audience during their March 31 performance at the Marco Players Theater in the Town Center Mall.

Marco Players veteran Marilyn was convincing in the role of Miss Daisy. Newcomer Don Manley, in just his fourth play, was a terrific Hoke Coleburn—delivering a performance that would have made Morgan Freeman proud. Jay Terzis, who has worked as a Broadway play critic, would have had to give himself a good review for his job as Daisy’s son Boolie Werthan. Terzis is a retired orthodontist. Both Terzis and Manley are Marco residents.

The players enjoyed enthusiastic applause after every crisply-performed act throughout the evening. Virtually every scene brought back memories of the heartwarming movie for the audience.

“One of the reasons that I fell in love with this play and wanted our audiences to experience its message was because it touches every aspect of our lives,” said director Beverly Dahlstrom, who is the president of the board of directors and artistic director for the Marco Players. “It is the story of our lives.”

Volunteers Shine at Spirit Awards

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 12:03am

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

The 9th Annual Spirit of Marco Island Awards drew a sellout crowd to the Bistro Soleil restaurant on a recent Sunday evening, as friends and co-workers assembled to pay their respects to the six recipients of the Noontime Rotary’s selections this year.

Each year the Rotary Club of Marco Island recognizes individuals within the community who contribute to making Marco Island a better place to live by their commitments to the community and its organizations.

This year’s recipients were Louise Russell, Bruce Graev, Scott and Jayme Lowe, Gayle Thawley and John DeRosa.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Rotary Club, which contributes funds raised through its various functions back to the community and other worthwhile philanthropic efforts.

Attendees were also invited to participate in a silent auction as part of the evening’s activities. From facials to fishing trips, to a stay in a luxurious suite on the beach or a cooler full of adult beverages, the bidding was hot and heavy.

Recipients reminded all in attendance of their special commitments to the organizations they hold close to their heart.

Louise Russell, a volunteer at both the Marco Island Historical Society and the United Church’s Bargain Basket, kept the attendees thoroughly entertained. She reminded guests of the great treasures found at the Historical Society’s Museum and the other types of valuables that could be found at the Bargain Basket down the street.

Bruce Graev is one of those “stealth” volunteers. “He works quietly and gets the job done,” said Al Diaz, the master of ceremonies for the event. He has served on a number of boards and committees and has been a past president of the Noontime Rotary Club. In addition, he is a founding member, vice president and director of the Marco Island/Goodland Cultural Alliance. He also finds time to serve as the president of the Marco Island Historical Society, in addition to being an active member of the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island.
The Lowes were recognized for their contributions to both the Marco Island Charter Middle School (MICMS) and the YMCA. Scott Lowe, who is the CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, is a director of the Marco Island Charter Middle School board, where Jayme Lowe also generously volunteers her time as the MICMS nurse. In addition, both serve on the board of the YMCA. Jayme is the 2018 president elect of the YMCA board and both have contributed a great deal of their time to both organizations, as well as other civic activities.

Gayle Thawley is a local Kiwanian, and her commitment to children and education shines through whenever she speaks about her life’s passion. She has given countless hours of her time to efforts by Kiwanis, has served as a past board member of the Marco Island Academy and started the Educational Theatre effort by the Historical Society. Her passion for the success of the Marco Island Academy was very evident as she spoke fervently about their accomplishments and made a pitch for their latest fundraising effort to build a gymnasium for the school, to the delight of all attending the event.

John DeRosa is a proud 31-year veteran of law enforcement from New York. The demands of his job and his commitment to excellence in his field didn’t leave him with much time to be involved in many community activities. However, when he moved to Marco he was committed to making that change in his life and got involved within the community. If you enjoy the annual Kiwanis Club Car Show each year, thank John and his dedicated band of Kiwanis volunteers. He helped to start it and made it one of the most anticipated events on the island.

John is also very involved with the Knights of Columbus, board member of the Marco Police Foundation, a past president of the Italian American Society and a board member of the popular Marco Island Senior Softball League.

Marco Island can be proud of her volunteers, and during this annual event the Noontime Rotary Club of Marco helped to shine a little light on those that do so much and ask nothing in return.

Rib Cook-Off Showcases Talent

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 11:57pm

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

The Marco Island Brewery is once again hosting the Annual Rib Cook-Off, offering Marco’s talented chefs the chance to show off their barbeque
skills.

The event will take place on Saturday, April 22 from 12-6 PM. There will be music, raffles, and prizes. The judging will take place at 5 PM, and the competition promises to be fierce.

Interested in entering your ribs in the competition? Contact Frank LaCava, Marco Island Brewery, at 239-970-0461 for contest entry information.

Tickets are $25 for a full, served meal. All proceeds from the 6th Annual Rib Cook-Off will benefit the Marco Police Foundation Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)(3) corporation.

The Marco Island Brewery is located at 1089 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

For ticket information call Curt Koon 239-389-4511, Joe Granda 239-389-2823 or Dick Adams 239-285-9683.