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Arbor Day

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 2:56pm

By Maria C. Tobin

The beautification committee of Marco Island spearheads the Arbor Day Celebration every year.  On January 20, 2017, Marco Island city officials and citizens will gather at Leigh Plummer Park located at 400 N Barfield Drive at 10AM to celebrate Arbor Day.  A Tabebuia tree was selected this year.  This highly ornamental tree grows between 20 and 30 feet.  Each Tabebuia differs in flower colors.  They lose their leaves during winter adding beauty and color during other times of the year.  Tabebuias are somewhat drought resistant once they are established and only require fertilization 3 timed a year.  Marco Island Citizens and visitors are welcome to join us for the 2017 Arbor Day Celebration.  Music and refreshments will be provided.

What is Arbor Day?

“Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. The tree has appeared throughout history and literature as the symbol of life.”

“J. Sterling Morton and the First Arbor Day The idea for Arbor Day in the United States originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Among the pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was Julius Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife, Caroline, were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs, and flowers. Morton was a journalist and soon became editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper. Given that forum, he spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to a receptive audience. His fellow pioneers missed their trees and needed them for windbreaks, fuel, building materials and shade from the hot prairie sun. A visit to Nebraska today wouldn’t disclose the state was once a treeless plain, yet it was the lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s.”

“Morton wrote and spoke about environmental stewardship and the interrelatedness of life. He encouraged everyone to set aside a specific day to plant trees. In 1872, the State Board of Agriculture accepted a resolution by J. Sterling Morton “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.” The Board declared April 10 Arbor Day and offered prizes to the counties and individuals that properly planted the largest number of trees on that day. More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. With this first tree planting holiday observance, J. Sterling Morton became known as the “Founder of Arbor Day.”

“The Spread of a Good Idea Shortly after this 1872 observance, other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day each year with appropriate ceremonies. By 1920, more than 45 states and territorial possessions were celebrating Arbor Day. Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in all fifty states. Throughout the world, people of all ages are planting trees, caring for them and learning their value.

• In the United States, this tree planting festival is called Arbor Day.

• In Israel, it is called the New Year’s Day of the Trees. • Korea has a Tree-Loving Week. • Iceland has a Student’s Afforestation Day.

• Yugoslavia holds an Arbor Day in the spring and an Afforestation Day in the fall.

• India celebrates a National Festival of Tree Planting.

Most holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering like the day someone was born or a religious holiday celebrating a past event. Arbor Day reflects a hope for the future. The trees planted on Arbor Day show a concern for future generations. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow and, some day, provide wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shelter from the wind and sun, beauty, and inspiration for ourselves and our children.”


Injured Great Blue Heron RESCUED!

Sun, 01/08/2017 - 4:04pm

Boros Family, from Manhattan, Illinois (l-r) Bob & Kristen Boros
with Carter and Kelsey – Rescuers of GBH.

Submitted by: Maria Lamb

On Friday at midday, the injured Great Blue Heron was rescued.  Friday was the last day for the Boros family to enjoy the beach and do some fishing and shell collecting before heading back to Illinois.  They headed to the gulf side of Tigertail Beach where they found the injured Heron just hanging around looking for handouts.  It was a rescue of opportunity.  Bob Boros gently snagged the injured heron with his fishing line while his wife Kristen covered the bird with the towel to keep it calm.  Bob carefully removed the tangled line.  From the gulf-side, one of the beach goers called The Conservancy and they in turn called Park Ranger Carol Buckler from Tigertail Beach.  She came along with her large crate and transported the injured heron to the Conservancy’s wildlife clinic where they removed the 9” lure fishing from its neck and took x-rays to see if it swallowed anything foreign.  Thanks to many concerned citizens and the help of the Boros family from Illinois, the injured heron is at the Von Arx Wildlife hospital getting the care it needs.  Bob Boros has this to share on his rescue experience, “I really do feel like we saved his life and that makes me feel good about my life.”

Hopefully this heron will survive to participate in the courtship/nesting season at the lagoon.

Free Seminar on Traffic Citations

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:53am


The Clerk of Courts Traffic Division is holding a free public seminar explaining everything you need to know about the traffic citation process. The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Collier County, Dwight E. Brock, is the speaker for the event.

Seminar topics will include:

  • Traffic citations and their classifications;
  • Traffic Options: Pay, school or court hearing;
  • Affidavit of defense;
  • Proof requirements;
  • Points on license;
  • Fees;
  • Documents;
  • Florida Statutes and DHSMV; and
  • Teen Driving: Licenses, laws and parent oversight.

Although the Clerk’s Office is not able to provide legal advice, this seminar is designed to educate and inform the public about traffic citations.

The seminar will take place at the Collier County Courthouse in the Administration Building F (7th Floor), 3315 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. Register by calling 239-252-8437. Space is limited.

Lady Rays Banged Up, But Hang In Against First Baptist

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:51am

By Barry Gwinn

On December 20, in their last game before Christmas break, the Marco Island Academy (MIA) girls soccer team (8-6-1) stood toe-to-toe with First Baptist Academy (12-2) the division’s second ranked team, and gave as good as they got. This action-packed game was witnessed by over 50 spectators, an unofficial record crowd. The final score was First Baptist Academy (FBA) 4, Rays 1, but it showed the Rays’ toughness in facing off against a team which had only lost twice, both times to Evangelical Christian (14-0), the division leader.

The game was rough and played hard by both teams. Kayla Kladis was knocked out of the game late in the first half, after colliding at full speed with an onrushing FBA midfielder. Both were going for the ball, which was heading for the goal. Kayla got there first but had to be carried off the field. Danya Zarate, one of MIA’s top scorers, had to play the rest of the game in goal. Early in the second half, Lexi Harrington, who had scored the Rays only goal on a nifty corner kick by Lauren Faremouth, and who seems to be everywhere at once on defense, had to be carried off the field after twisting her ankle. She was out for the rest of the game. Olivia Watt, the Ray’s gutsy midfielder also limped off with a twisted ankle, but was able to return. Despite the injuries, the Rays hustling defense once again kept them in the game. It was 2-0 at the half, and 3-1 with just five minutes to go in the game. During the entire game, center midfielder, Olivia Watt was pestering the First Baptist defense with a salvo of shots on goal precise passes to MIA’s offense. Watt is, by design, in the middle of everything and often is the also the first to break up an opponent’s attack.

Photos by Jenny Cartwright
Lauren Faremouth on offense. A stalwart on defense, this precocious freshman is also an offensive threat because of her accurate booming kicks.

Once again, the girls left it all out on the field. “First Baptist was one of our toughest games of the year,” said Coach Watt, “They were tough and aggressive, but I feel like our girls rose to the challenge. We impressed the FBA coach enough that he came up to me after the game to compliment our game and improvements from last year.” Coach Watt took satisfaction in that the Rays goal came off a previously drawn up corner kick. It was a perfect execution of the play, he said. Freshman Lauren Faremouth makes all the team’s corner kicks and sends most of them into the crease of the opponent’s goalie. She is also able to bend an occasional kick towards the goal itself.

Next up for the Rays is a return bout with FBA (at FBA) on January 6, too late for this edition. Coach Watt will hold practices over the break specifically to prepare for this game. “I think with a revised strategy, we can compete,” says the glass half full coach. Boy can they compete! There is only one more regular season game after that, at home, on January 10, against Community School.

Photo by Barry Gwinn:
First Baptist and MIA join in a postgame prayer for the quick recovery of the injured MIA players.

Kiwanis Car Show Coming to Town

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:44am


The Marco Island Car show hosted by the Kiwanis Club is scheduled for February 19, 2017 from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Marco Healthcare Center. The Kiwanis Club would like to thank all those drivers that brought their cars to the previous shows and hopefully will be back this year. You make the show! The Kiwanis Club has been able to do so many things with the proceeds from these shows. The club has awarded scholarships to deserving high school seniors, computers have been purchased for preschool programs, and sports teams have been given assistance.

This year the Irish Dancers are back as well as the Marco Island Charter Middle School band and the Marco Island Academy cheerleaders. Food will be prepared by the Kiwanis Club Chefs and will include hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausage and peppers. The Italian American Club will be back preparing Italian Zeppolas and other fresh baked goodies. NAPA will be at the show with a full line of auto accessories. Oscar’s Jewelry from Miami will also be back with fine jewelry.

Steve Reynolds, who has been with us since the first show, will return as guest MC. Trophies will be awarded in 20 different classes and we will also have a 50/50 ticket sale.

Entrance fee for spectators is a $5 donation and as usual drivers of show cars are free. Come out and help us help kids. Call John DeRosa at 239-272-0816 for more information.


Master Gardener Clinic Returns

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:42am

The Master Gardener Walk–in Plant Clinic has returned to Lowe’s, ready again to offer advice and answer all of your gardening questions. Having difficulties with your shrubs? Don’t know what kind of insect is attacking your plants? It is time for you to pay a visit to the Master Gardener Walk–in Plant Clinic for help.

Master Gardeners can provide you with valuable information on pruning, fertilizing, soil and water testing, pesticides and other subjects related to home gardening and landscaping. Please bring bugs and infected plants in a sealed bag, or bring a photograph of the problem, in order to to better diagnose the issue.

The clinic is open on Tuesdays from noon until 3 PM, and will run through April 18th. Lowe’s is located at 12730 Tamiami Trail E., on the corner of 951 (Collier Boulevard) and US 41.

First Anniversary for Moore Docks, Lifts and Seawalls

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:39am

By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Tom Moore came to Marco Island and immediately recognized a need. Having the proper experience and initiative, Tom started Moore Roofing to fulfill the roofing needs of area homeowners. That was more than twelve years ago. Since that time, Moore Roofing has installed hundreds and hundreds of roofs. Tom didn’t stop there however….

He discovered another need. Tom had been referring clients to other companies for their docks, lifts and seawall needs. He soon realized he could offer his own solutions to these issues with the quality workmanship, fair prices and prompt responsiveness homeowners deserved. Tom opened Moore Docks and Lifts. That was one year ago. He now offers solutions to docks and lifts and seawalls that are aesthetically pleasing with cutting edge technology.

Moore Docks, Lifts and Seawalls has designed some of the most beautiful state-of-the-art docks in the area using Fiberon composite decking. “We love using the Fiberon. It makes creating and designing your ideal deck space simple,” Tom noted. “It will not rot, warp or splinter and it is easy to maintain. A 25-year warranty makes it an easy choice to make. Just take a look at some of the docks we have built.”

Zuri is another upscale, beautiful composite decking Moore Docks installs, and can be easily seen at The SpeakEasy restaurant on the water at 1106 N. Collier Boulevard, Marco Island.

At just one year into this venture, Moore has added cutting-edge technology again! This time with new engineering feat in building seawalls. “In the marine construction industry, we saw a need for an option to the common concrete seawall. After studying numerous types of seawalls being installed all over Florida, we believe Truline Reinforced and Protected concrete walls are the best the industry has to offer. Truline walls have a life expectancy of 75 plus years. Truline consists of an 8” U-shaped vinyl interlocking 16’ forms in which we pour full of concrete and the vinyl forms remain to protect the concrete from crystallization and decay brought on by salt water. It is the least disruptive seawall construction system and can be installed behind your existing house and in front of your existing failing wall. We will be happy to show you the Truline walls we’ve installed in the area, as well as the engineering specs and testing reports which say it all!”

So stop by and visit Moore Roofing or Moore Docks, Lifts and Seawalls. They’re at the corner of Front Street and Marco Lake Drive and Bald Eagle Drive. Get ideas on a new roof, or learn about the newest seawall technology available, lifts or docks. Wish Moore Docks a happy anniversary, and check out their new showroom!

New Year, New You

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:28am

By Samantha Husted 

As many Americans will attest, 2016 was a strange year. Sure, there were some good times. Remember when Leo finally won his Oscar? Or when the Cubs broke their 100-year curse and won the World Series? Or when Simone Biles dominated gymnastics at the Rio Olympics? But there were also some bad times. Lots of them. Whole busloads of bad. Between our divisive, seemingly endless election and the onslaught of celebrity deaths, the most recent being Carrie Fisher best known for her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” many citizens felt that 2016 could not end soon enough. But now it has and here we are. Welcome, 2017.

The start of the New Year should act as a sort of tabula rasa or a clean slate. It’s a time for change. Setting a New Years resolution can help propel that change into existence. Creating a resolution is easy. Actually attaining it? Not so much. The best way to reach a goal is to make it specific. Instead of having a resolution to lose weight, why not have a resolution to cut red meat out of your diet? Or visit the gym three times a week? If your goal is to eat better, try introducing a salad into your everyday diet.

If your goal is to be more social or to make new friends why not join a club? Marco Island and Naples has a plethora of clubs for every day of the week that reach any and every interest. Check out our calendar page at the back of the paper and see if anything tickles your fancy.

While it’s good to be specific, abstract resolutions aren’t all around bad either. Besides a resolution to maintain your diet or find a mate, or to finally take that trip to Spain, why not also try to be kinder and perhaps even a little more empathic to your fellow person? As we enter into 2017 a country divided, those are things that we will need most in order to succeed in the years to come.

Here are a few resolutions from people around the community.

         Carlos Ramos, 22, Pre-med, Naples, FL                                  Christy Pagoni, 26, choreographer/                               dance instructor, Naples, FL         Jennifer Anne, 35, food service, Naples, FL                                  Jesus Calo, 25, Freelancer, Naples, FL

Marco’s Pioneer Era on Exhibit

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:23am


The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) announces that “The Pioneer Era: A Tale of Two Villages” opens to the public on Thursday, January 26, from 5-7 PM, at the Marco Island Historical Museum (MIHM). Reservations are not required, and there is no admission charge.

According to Museum Curator of Collections Austin Bell, “The museum is going high-tech to engage visitors in a decidedly low-tech period in Marco Island’s history. Pioneer Marco bridges the gap between the Museum’s Paradise Found (Calusa) and Modern Marco exhibits, marking an important milestone for the museum.”

The Pioneer Era allows visitors to time travel to the early 1900s when Marco Island could only be reached by boat, and the island had no roads, bridges, ferries, electricity or infrastructure of any kind. It was under these challenging conditions that Marco’s early pioneers, including James and Tommie Barfield, the Olds family, Colliers, Burnhams, Doxsees and others made Marco Island their home.

The interactive exhibition chronicles the evolution of the pioneer villages at Marco and Caxambas, and offers visitors an in-depth look at the people, industries, and lifestyles on Marco Island during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rare photographs and objects are brought to life in dynamic and engaging displays.

The most prominent feature is an immersive Florida “cracker cabin” where visitors can sit and view films about Marco history. Other exciting elements include digital projections, original animations and artwork, a replica Collier City archway, and digital displays for viewing materials from the MIHS collections.

Visitors also can take a rare peek into life on Marco Island during the early 1900s through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl. One of the three daughters of early Marco settlers, Drs. Mary and Louis Olds, Saloma Olds, began writing a diary in 1913 and chronicled life with her family in great and charming detail.

The Pioneer Era permanent exhibition gallery was developed in collaboration with Collier County Museums and the Marco Island Historical Society. Creative Arts Unlimited, Inc. produced the exhibit renderings and served as the design and fabrication team. Creative Arts also produced the Museum’s Modern Marco Island and award-winning Paradise Found: 6,000 Years of People on Marco Island exhibits in 2014 and 2015.

“The completion of the Pioneer Marco gallery represents a major benchmark in the Marco Island Historical Society’s mission to preserve and present Marco Island’s unique history for residents, visitors and posterity,” notes MIHS Executive Director Patricia Rutledge. “Pioneer Marco is the Museum’s third permanent gallery and exhibition to be completed in just three years. Its completion is another important step in achieving our vision for the Marco Island Historical Museum to be known as a world-class museum,” she adds.

The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM – 4 PM. Admission is free and the site is handicapped accessible. For general information visit or call 239-642-1440.

Renderings by Creative Arts Unlimited, Inc.

Gulfshore Opera Comes to Marco Island

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 1:12am

On January 11, 2017, Gulfshore Opera brings to Marco Island an opera scenes program with five nationally recognized soloists and piano/chamber ensemble. Due to the expected demand for seats and request for a chance to meet with the performers at the following reception, the performance and after performance reception for premium ticket holder will take place in two locations.

“Great Act Twos” will be performed at 5 PM at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, 991 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island, and the reception after the performance will take place at the Marco Island Center for the Arts, across the street at 1010 Winterberry Drive.

The opera event will feature scenes from a variety of operas, such as “La Traviata,” “La Boheme” and “Tales of Hoffmann.” Each scene will be presented staged and in costume and will be introduced by local actor John McKerrow. McKerrow is founder of Southwest Florida’s Shakespeare in Paradise. He has worked Off Broadway, on tours, in regional theatre, and national commercials.

Gulfshore Opera is not only excited to begin the professional residency of five artists, but also to share this performance with Marco Islanders. “Gulfshore Opera are thrilled to bring great young talented professionals to perform some of the most beloved acts from opera for Marco Island at accessible ticket prices. This is a unique opportunity to see Grand Opera on the Island and we hope it will be a beginning of a new tradition,” said Stephanie Schwetz, Marco Island resident and a member of the board of directors of Gulfshore Opera.

The Marco Island performance will be part of a tour of Southwest Florida for this production. Rosemary Wick, President of Marco Island Center for the Arts, stated, “the fact that this performance will feature visiting opera artists adds even more excitement to this great event. Acts from different operas is cornucopia for opera fans and will be a great way for the opera novice to sample a variety of this great genre.”

The professional artists and residents performing in Great Act Twos are well known in the opera community. Jonathan Tetelman, tenor, served as lead tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem in Lake Como, Italy. He was recently awarded First Prize in the 2016 New York Lyric Opera Competition at Carnegie Hall.

Tyler Putnam, bass, is quickly gaining national recognition. 2016 engagements include Jose Castro in La Fanciulla Del West with Opera Omaha and Chief of Police in Evangeline with The Longfellow Chorus. He won prizes from The Sullivan Foundation and The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Sarah Nordin, mezzo-soprano, has received critical praise for her skills in numerous roles. Her recent roles have included Dorabella Cosi Fan Tutte with Opera Tampa and with title-role Carmen in concert with the Livingston Symphony Orchestra.

Christopher Holmes, bass-baritone, has performed more than 35 opera roles with noted companies including Austin Lyric Opera, Phoenix Opera, and Utah Festival Opera. His Germont with Opera del Sol was praised as being “truly polished, controlled, professional and superb….”

Shana Grossman, soprano, is a recent graduate of the Brooklyn Conservatory. Ms. Grossman recently sang the role of Tylan, the witch in the world premiere of João Macdowell’s new opera The Seventh Seal. She made her New York debut, to acclaimed, with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program singing Adele in Die Fledermaus.

Tickets for this event may only be obtained through the Gulfshore Opera website at and by calling 239-529-3925. For further information concerning Marco Island Center for the Arts activities, classes, or upcoming exhibits, please visit www.marco

Fiala to Speak at ENMA Meeting

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:43am


The Next Business After Business Networking Event will be on Thursday, January 12, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at Fuller Funeral Home (Community Social Room), 4735 Tamiami Trail E., Naples. Fabulous food and wine will be provided, and the building will not have any other events but ours going on.

Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner, will give her annual update presentation on what is happening in East Naples at this event so be sure to be on time so you don’t miss her news!

Come out and network with our business owner members and make new business connections. The cost for members is $10 per person, non-members is $20 per person. To attend, RSVP no later than Monday, January 9, to: [email protected]

Pay on the website by credit card or by check in advance. Check must arrive in our mailbox no later than January 9. Make checks payable to East Naples Merchants Association and mail to: East Naples Merchants Association, 8595 Collier Blvd. Ste. 107 PMB #35, Naples, FL 34114

The ENMA is to enhance the image, and profitability of member companies through networking opportunities, marketing opportunities, and support of local community programs.

A portion of the profits from ENMA events and the annual member dues funds higher education scholarships and program donations to the Collier County Public Schools’ Entrepreneurship Incubator Program [INCubatorEdu] and other community organizations in need of help in East Naples.

For more information visit 

Top Musicians to Play at Smallwood Festival

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:41am


Another amazing musical event will take place during the White Pelican Celebration on January 7th and 8th at the Smallwood Store in Chokoloskee when we welcome these gigantic snowy birds to their winter home in our backyard.

A line-up of top Florida musicians donating their time to entertain us includes the Florida Boys, Raiford Starke, J Robert & The Walkin Trees, The Chief Jim Billie Band, Valerie Wisecracker, Cindy Hackney, Bonefish Johnny, Frank Thomas & Eroc Hendle, Rita Youngman Band, James Hawkins and special guests. The artists will play in the afternoon Saturday and Sunday, next to the historic Smallwood Store.

Master of ceremonies will be famed American Indian entertainer J.R. Battiest, whose sons, the Battiest Brothers wrote and produced “The Storm,” which garnered numerous national awards, including first place for “Best Music Video” at the 36th Annual American Indian Film Festival held in San Francisco, California.

The White Pelican Celebration focuses on boat trips out to see the rare avians, the largest in America with a wingspan of nine feet, plus arts & crafts, Native American foods, raffles, auctions of donated artwork, informative talks, and guided walking tours

The highlight of the weekend is the Gala dinner on Saturday at which Seminole leader James E. Billie is guest of honor for an exclusive private screening of his life “Wrestling Alligators.” Before that, musician Spencer Battiest will show the award-winning video “The Storm” and give us a few tunes.

It’s a family-fun weekend for music lovers as well as bird-watching enthusiasts.

For information and to reserve your places, see or phone 239-695-2989.

Tapas and Live Tunes

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:40am

By Don Manley

Tapas anyone?

For Marcoites, answering in the affirmative to that question likely meant a drive off-island to enjoy the Spanish dining style. That is until last September’s opening of Mermaid Blues, located in The Collection at Olde Marco.

Tapas are the assortment of appetizers in traditional Spanish cuisine that has evolved into a sophisticated style of cuisine in Europe. It’s also the specialty at Mermaid Blues, which is owned by the husband and wife duo of Amaury and Vinnie Garcia.

Mermaid Blues is a small bistro with largely outdoor seating that features live music, beer and wine, flatbreads, a kid’s menu, tapas and entrees that have a true international flair.

Traditional Spanish Tapas was a jumping-off point in creating the menu, which is the domain of Amaury, the cook in the family and Mermaid Blues’ head chef.

“The first month was all trial and error,” said Vinnie. “He tried a bunch of different things. It started as more of Spanish tapas, because of our love for smaller, appetizer-sized bites where you don’t have to have a huge meal. You can have a glass of wine and enjoy something small.

“It’s evolved into something more international,” she added. “Now we offer a Cuban sandwich, we offer an arepa, which is a very traditional Venezuelan corn pattie (filled with pork or shredded beef).”

Vinnie said the Cuban sandwich and the arepa are their biggest sellers on most nights.

“People are enjoying the food and the flavors,” she said. “So it’s not what you would call a traditional Spanish tapas place. It’s more international cuisine, just a very good fusion of flavors.”

The Garcias also takes pride in their selection of internationally sourced wines from Spain, Portugal, France and locales.

Mermaid Blues’ menu includes such traditional tapas delectables as the charcuterie and cheese platter, which is a mix of manchego, goat and iberico cheeses, Spanish and kalamata olives, prosciutto, serrano ham, bacon, sundried tomatoes, crackers, and a mango-pineapple tequila jam.

Diners can also enjoy such nontraditional tapas selections as mini crabcakes, the bacon-wrapped beef and blue cheese meatball or the Greek, which is prosciutto, kalamata olives and feta cheese.

There is also an assortment of flatbreads, including gluten-free and meatless options. Aside from the Cuban, the entrées also include another sandwich, the Chori-Pan, which is a Spanish chorizo sausage sandwich, as well as pork sliders, arepas, tacos and burritos.

First-time business owners, the Garcias are Marco residents who first met in Miami, where both worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Vinnie still works in the field, but Amaury’s career was interrupted last March, when his job was part of a major national layoff.

That displacement led the couple to decide to pursue a long-held dream of Amaury’s, to open a restaurant.

“I’ve always been passionate about food,” he said. “I’ve always been the cook in my family. We’ve traveled a lot and I’ve incorporated different things into the things that I make at home. It’s been a passion.”

An ideal spot for the venture was found within walking distance of their home, the former location of the now closed Joe’s Hideout, where the Garcia’s were occasional customers.

“We just knew the location was perfect for what we wanted to do, between making it a small restaurant with really good food and better wines than what they offered before,” said Vinnie. “We decided that it’s such a special place, a special little courtyard, a small restaurant, we decided that if we were going to own something for the first time, this was just perfect in terms of size.”

As the name implies, live music is an important part of the Mermaid Blues formula. The restaurant is open six days a week, with performances every evening. The lineup includes such artists as Ferguson and Rogers, Billy J and the Big Easy, Havy Rodriguez, the Edith Diamond Band, the Hot Damn Duo and the Hipnauticals. There are also open mic nights.

“Living on the island, we always look for live music, even if it’s something in the background,” said Vinnie. “Not something loud, but live music that you’d enjoy with a glass of wine. We wanted to incorporate that into our restaurant because we think it’s part of the enjoyment. We have a variety of music for the people who come and enjoy the food here.”

The Garcias credit the customer service skills of head bartender Jahdea Gildin with being integral to the eatery’s success thus far.

“The front of the house is the most important because the food has to be awesome, but if you have a bad experience, if you come here and nobody looks at you or gives you a menu, you are going to have a terrible experience even if the food is amazing,” said Vinnie. “He brings with him a lot of experience in bartending and catering and just overall, his demeanor as a genuine person has been instrumental for us.”

The Garcias have lived many places. He was born in Venezuela and raised in Miami. She is from San Juan, Puerto Rico, but has resided in the U.S. to attend college. They both traveled extensively for their jobs which saw them based in Miami, Chicago and Mexico City. But Marco Island is where they’ve chose to put down roots.

“We love Marco,” said Vinnie. “For us, we are at home here and we are so happy. Our kids (Luca, 8, and Ana Luna, 7) go to Tommie Barfield and it’s where we want them to grow up, on an island like this, that’s calm and peaceful.”

Mermaid Blues is located at 172 Royal Palm Drive. The restaurant is open from 12 PM to 9 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and from 4 PM to 9 PM on Sunday. For more information, including the menu and entertainment schedule, visit

Everglades Seafood Festival

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:38am


Mark your calendars for the 2017 Seafood Festival in Everglades City, February 10 through 12. In addition to a variety of delicious seafood, visitors will enjoy music, arts and crafts, and a fun fair for all ages.

Last year’s Seafood Festival saw an estimated 40,000 people visiting Everglades City, a historic rural town, and 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 the event a success and are distributing proceeds to needy causes in the local community.

For more information go to To become a sponsor, phone the organizers at 239-695-2277.

Jr. Firefighter of the Year Named

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:34am

By Samantha Husted

Fourth grade TBE student Jesse Cox was named Jr. Firefighter of the Year.

Each year the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department celebrates National Fire Prevention Week by naming one student from Tommie Barfield Elementary School (TBE) the Jr. Firefighter of the Year. That special student is chosen by the firefighters based on their ability to write the best essay on any given fire prevention topic. This year the theme was, “Don’t Wait, Check the Date.” Fourth and fifth grade students were asked to write a 200-250 word essay on why it’s important to check and replace smoke detector batteries.

The contest took place in October and the winner was announced at the beginning of December via TBE’s daily announcement show. Although it was difficult for the firefighters to narrow it down to just one victor, they eventually came to a consensus: fourth grader Jesse Cox took home the title and was able to enjoy all the perks that came with it.

On the morning of December 15th, firefighters boarded their big red fire truck in order to pick Jesse up from his home on Marco Island and transport him to school. His classmates gathered around excitedly as he exited the truck and made his grand entrance at TBE. Later that afternoon, the firefighters returned to TBE and had lunch with Jesse. After school day was over, Jesse made his way to the fire station for a party that included cake and awards.

Finally, Jesse was asked to ride aboard the fire truck once again for the Christmas Island Style’s annual street parade. Jesse, his younger brother Jackson, and their parents sat with Santa and made their way down San Marco Road.

Congratulations Jesse!

As part of his prize, Jesse was picked up from home in the fire truck and dropped off at school.


Collier County Embraces Kindness Awareness

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:22am

By Jory Westberry

Bob reads to children at St. Mark’s Preschool.

Having a conversation with Bob Latruba, the supporter of One Million Acts of Kindness and The Kindness Bus is like looking into a gentle heart, filled with compassion and dedication to his cause: Stop Bullying – Be Kind.

His mission, ever since the shooting at Virginia Tech on April 17, 2007, is to touch as many lives as he can and encourage each to perform One Million Acts of Kindness in their lifetimes.

Bob and his traveling buddy, Bogart, a Boston terrier, visit schools, communities, colleges and public events to bring awareness of his One Million Acts of Kindness mission. He has been on the road for five years with the Kindness Bus and recently added a bike with signage to be more visible and reach more people.

“Most of us think that changing the world is impossible. The world is too big…too many people in it…too many problems to solve. Do you often feel this way? While it’s understandable, be assured that it is not true! Let’s start smaller. How many kind thoughts of others can you have in a day? How many people can you encourage? How many people can you help in a small way? Now we’re onto something…”

Bob Latruba, holds the Kindness Awareness Celebration proclamation, granted by Collier County Commissioners.

According to Bob, “One Million Acts of Kindness is a goal for each person to individually perform in their life. Can you imagine a greater goal for one’s life? It is a constant mind-set of kindness every day of your life for the next fifty-five years. Doing for others and kindness in your heart for everyone. It is my wish that you will dedicate your life to a charity…and find the passion in your heart for something or someone in need.”

A 13-year-old honor student, named China Howard, killed herself recently in Chicago after being severely cyber-bullied and bullied at school. She kept it a secret and shared her trauma only with her sister. China was a smart, wonderful girl and just couldn’t take the abuse anymore. Her parents want to make other parents aware so they will talk to their girls and listen to them. Losing any child to the cruelties of bullying is tragic. If our society changes to model kindness and live positively, think of the lives that will be saved.

Bob has met many parents and children through his travels around the United States including many visits to Collier County. He’s listened to and spoken with countless students, staff and parents at almost all of Collier County Schools and, because of the tragic stories, he motivates all to be kind and save lives.

Bob gets a friendly greeting from the Lely cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders from Lely High School in Naples did a cheer for the Kindness Bicycle as Bob rode by at the Swamp Buggy Parade. They agreed that all schools should be bully-free.

Saint Mark’s preschool on Marco Island invited Bob to come and visit to read Bogart’s new book, “It’s Always a Good Time to Make a New Friend.” There were many smiles and giggles in the crowd. “It’s very clear that Bogart has a big hit on his hands…I mean paws,” laughs Bob.

Bob and Bogart with WWII veteran Walter, in Naples.

On December 12, 2016, the Collier County Commissioners declared that Collier County would observe Kindness Awareness Celebration, January 8 – 15, 2017 to raise awareness about kindness. This event is not limited to Collier County, it just originated in this very caring community. Schools, businesses and organizations are asked to do something very creative on this day for the benefit of families, individuals and those in need of a helping hand.

How to Participate in the 2017 Collier County Kindness Awareness Celebration

Schools, businesses, organizations, individuals, families, neighborhoods can take part. Decide what type of act(s) you will do between January 8th and 15th. Register and email your kindness plan and group’s name to [email protected] You’ll receive a personalized poster of your planned actions to hang in your window(s). Last, act upon your kindness plan!

For more information, go to Talk about stomping out bullying and adolescent suicide. Go to Facebook: CollierCountyKindnessAwarenessDay and embrace kindness. 


JCMI Cultural Series Opens

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 12:17am


Submitted Photo: Dr. Steven Derfler

The Saul I. Stern Cultural Series opens its 23rd season at 7:30 PM, Saturday, January 21, 2017, with a program entitled “The Dead Sea Scrolls” to be held at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, 991 Winterberry Drive.

What are the scrolls? Who wrote them? What do words written more than 2,000 years ago say today?

The speaker, Dr. Steven Derfler, is an international archaeologist, historian, researcher, teacher and writer. He has been uncovering the histories of ancient civilization for over 40 years.

The former Professor at the University of Wisconsin, he received his BA in Archaeology/Jewish studies from Tel Aviv University and PhD in classics and archaeology from the University of Minnesota. He has been affiliated with Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Negev Museum of Beersheba.

Dr. Derfler has become an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The discovery of the Scrolls is considered one of the most important archaeological finds made in the 20th century

The Scrolls had been hidden in caves along the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, dating to the 3rd century BCE – 1st century CE. Learn about the isolated, ascetic community that created and secreted these documents long ago. The speaker will emphasize the impact the scrolls have had on both Judaism and Christianity.

Tickets for the program and coffee/pastry reception following are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. The event is open to the public. For further information contact the Synagogue office 239-642-0800.

Marco Police Urge Caution

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 4:17pm

By Steve “Stef” Stefanides

Captain Nick Ojanovac of the Marco Island Police Department urged residents and visitors to be especially alert now that season has arrived and the roadways are much busier. “Our motorists and others riding bicycles, motorcycles and other recreational means of transport, in addition to pedestrians, need to be aware that the intensity of traffic and potential for accidents has increased.”

Captain Ojanovac’s comments were made immediately after a motor vehicle/bicycle collision at the intersection of Elkhorn Court and Bald Eagle Drive. Marco Island Police Department and Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to that accident scene at 10:15 AM on the morning of January 3.

“We were fortunate that no serious injuries resulted from that accident, but that will not always be the case,” said Ojanovac. “Drivers, pedestrians and cyclist all have a responsibility to ride and drive safely to insure we can avoid any tragedies during 2017.”

That was not the case early Monday morning, January 2, at approximately 4:46 AM when a single car crash caused two individuals to be critically injured and airlifted to the trauma center in Ft. Myers. Their vehicle struck a utility pole on San Marco Road north of the Goodland Road intersection. One of those individuals was ejected from the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt.

Ojanovac also cautioned drivers to be aware of a no-tolerance philosophy regarding DUI, not only on the island, but throughout Collier County and the State of Florida. “Unfortunately we still see alcohol related crashes and resulting injuries and deaths on the highways. Cabs are cheap on the island and many of our restaurants offer complimentary transport if one thinks they might be smart to come back for their vehicle the next day,” said Ojanovac.

Ojanovac also pointed out that a typical DUI could cost a driver upwards of $10,000 and result in other penalties. “A $7 cab ride is a smart choice, rather than face the potential consequences.”

For more breaking news on Marco Island and the surrounding areas log onto the Coastal Breeze News website at


Letter to the Editor: The Grinch is Alive and Well on Marco

Mon, 01/02/2017 - 9:58pm

Four days to Christmas and after weeks of greeting residents and visitors to Marco Island, Merry Christmas signs were removed from city right of ways. Up steps the Grinch, Mr. Ray Netherwood who used his political influence and friendship with fellow Libertarian Jared Grifoni to force his view and opinion on our residents.
Official emails indicate that the signs were removed after Mr. Netherwood communicated his displeasure and opinion to Council VP Jared Grifoni. His email stated “we now have the City tacitly Condoning a religious and exclusionary message on public property.”
Apparently, Mr. Netherwood’s nor Mr. Grifoni’s opinions were not reviewed by other council members or our city attorney to determine if the signs violated anyone’s rights. The signs purchased by a private citizen and cost the city nothing. However, in fairness, the signs were never approved by the city and are assumed to be in violation of our city signage code. A proper review should have been conducted by the city’s attorney and not Mr. Grifoni.
As long as I can remember, Merry Christmas signs convey a message of joy, good will and peace to all, [and] was never exclusionary.
I am amazed that a Libertarian would use government intervention to subjugate the rights of others. I can hardly wait to see where the political aspirations take him and Mr. Grifoni. Buyer Beware.
A more interesting note is that not a single Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, etc. complained about the signs, only Mr. Netherwood.
Merry Christmas Marco Island and to you Mr. Grinch, Bah Humbug.

Fire-Rescue Shoots Way to the Top

Fri, 12/23/2016 - 7:45pm

By Don Manley

For now, Marco Island’s Fire-Rescue Department can claim bragging rights over their police department brethren where a certain shooting sport is concerned.

A team of firefighters and paramedics outscored a squad from the police department in a head-to-head sporting clays competition to win the inaugural Marco Island Public Safety Challenge. Held recently at Gulf Coast Clays in Port of the Islands, the event pitted four-to-five member teams from each department against each other to determine which was most proficient in hitting flying clay pigeon targets at multiple stations arrayed over a laid-out course.

“We wanted to do something nice for police and fire so we set it up,” Terry McCreanor, of Morgan Stanley Financial on Marco, who created the contest, along with his business partner, Brad Bersh. “Then it became a question of how do we fund the thing, so we contacted F-Troop. It was just a fun event that we put on for the police and fire departments to show gratitude for their services,” said.

Terry McCreanor, right, offers tips to Scott Sterrenberg of American International Group, which sponsored one of the teams taking part in the Marco Island Public Safety Challenge.

The Challenge also included two teams of shooters not affiliated with the public safety departments. One was comprised of members of the overall event sponsor and co-organizer, a contingent known as the F-Troop.

“F Troop is a bunch of guys who get together and play golf at Island Country Club,” said member Michael Hook. “We named ourselves after the old (late 1960s) TV show.”

Hook said that when McCreanor, who’s also a member, approached them about supporting they event, the group was glad to step up.

“We shoot recreationally so we enjoy the sport of clay shooting and it gave us an opportunity to support our first responders,” added Hook, who was part of a squad that included fellow “F-Troopers” Aldo Palombo, Ron Myers and Jack Green. “Not only do we play golf and shoot together, but we do a lot of charitable work on the island. It’s a bunch of guys who think the same way and not only want to enjoy the island, but we want to help those on Marco Island who are a little less fortunate.”

Also taking part were students from Richie Stoltenborg’s Marco Island Boxing club.

The results were determined by combining each team’s three best scores. The Fire-Rescue Department tallied 250 points, while the police squad finished with 233. The top overall finisher was a civilian team comprised of Wes Blackwell, Scott Kaufman, Tom Horton, Don Henderson that accumulated 255 points.

The Public Safety Challenge was a hit with the participants.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Lt. Robert Mayberry of the fire-rescue department. “Everybody knows that police and firemen are competitive with each other. We enjoy it.”

For police Sgt. Hector Diaz, the competition marked his first time shooting clays. “I think this is a blast,” he said of the sport. “I think everybody should get involved. This is great for kids. It’s a great weekend for the family.”

Diaz also praised the Public Safety Challenge itself.

“It’s camaraderie,” he said. “We get along great together. We see each other on calls and now we’re seeing each other not in the field and we’re getting to talk to each other and getting to know each other. It’s great.”

McCreanor said he anticipates the Public Safety Challenge becoming a yearly event that serves as a warm-up for the public safety department squads taking part in the annual Bill Rose Shootout fundraiser, which is set for Jan. 21 at Gulf Coast Clays.