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Fate, Love and Choice

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:48pm

Laurie Kasperbauer
[email protected]

When I was 16, I worked as a clerk in a grocery store in my Iowa hometown. I earned about $2.35 an hour, and over the course of a week, I might clear twenty bucks. I liked the independence of having money in my pocket and in my bank account. But mostly I loved the other “kids” I worked with. In my town there were two grocery stores and two high schools. I went to the “uncool” public high school, but I worked at the “cool” grocery store with kids from the Catholic school across town. It was a pretty good gig.

At 16 I was also dating my first boyfriend. He was from a neighboring town and he drove a sweet Dodge Charger. I’m pretty sure I had a bigger crush on the car than the boy, but at sixteen that wasn’t immediately clear.

One night while working my grocery store shift, a guy walked in. He was about my age and handsome in a way that elevated my heart rate. He brought his soda and candy bar to my check-out lane where we barely made eye contact and spoke only minimally. But as I watched him walk out the door, the butterflies of self-consciousness remained, and I was smitten. A few days later, he called me for a date, and I accepted, subsequently dumping the Dodge Charger. At 16, I didn’t necessarily have finesse in the area of love, but I did have instinct. The boy I met in the grocery store has been my husband for 37 years.

Four decades is a long time to be acquainted with another human. Excluding the family you are born into, there aren’t many relationships that can withstand the metamorphoses that accompany 40 years of life. Our bodies change, our attitudes adjust, goals are reevaluated, and stuff happens. In order to maintain any relationship that time has presented, and love has accepted, it takes a large dose of conscious intent to keep the relationship animal well-fed.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, and we celebrate this day of love, I won’t offer any marital advice, but I would like to share a few words of wisdom I’ve learned through my yoga practice that might fan the flame of your love light this year:

  • Be flexible. All perspectives are worthy of consideration.
  • Let go of anything that doesn’t serve you. Release what’s unnecessary, and retain what is vital. Only love is vital.
  • Honor your body. Move it, nourish it, cleanse it.
  • What we think, we believe. What we believe, we become. What we think and believe of others, they will also become.
  • Be truthful with yourself and others.
  • Be present in the moment. Be present in the moment with the person you are with.
  • Use your voice for kindness toward yourself and others.
  • Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
  • The only person you can change is yourself.
  • Love, like yoga, is a daily practice.

Time decides who comes into our lives. And if we’re listening, our heart tells us who we want to keep in our lives, but it’s our behavior that ultimately determines who will stay. If you love the people in your life, display the behavior that tells them so. This Valentine’s Day, choose love.

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

Marco Island Woman’s Club: Tres Chic Fashion Show

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:42pm

By Maureen Chodaba

The Marco Island Woman’s Club (MIWC) can trace its roots back to 1966 when a group of sixteen friends got together to help support the island’s people and nonprofit organizations. Today, MIWC has over 200 members who work diligently to raise funds that contribute to many services for the benefit of our community. MIWC recently held their annual Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Hideaway Beach Club. Co-chaired by MIWC members Sharyn Kampmeyer and Anne Marchetti, “Très Chic” featured fashions by Chico’s and drew an audience of 247. The event offered a sensational silent auction and vast array of door prizes and raffle items donated by local businesses.

Gracing the runway with glamour and elegance, eight members of MIWC could have been mistaken for Paris models. NBC-2 anchor Stacey Deffenbaugh moderated the show as the ladies sashayed
in style.

Carol Ann Anzelone helped the audience get in touch with their “inner wild” as she modeled a three quarter cardigan in a bold animal print tribal design worn with leg slimming pants and a microfiber
knit tank.

Austine Frawley got things sizzling with girlfriend ankle pants in the season’s hottest color – brown sugar – topped off with an indigo duster jacket.

Debbie Silvestri gave a fashion salute to the military in a double breasted high fashion jean jacket while Bonnie Calvin showed us that it’s all about the lace in a truly feminine ecru split neck top layered with an attached cami.

Judy Kenney was indeed Marco Island’s cover girl as she redefined denim in a slim ankle jean paired with a lace trench jacket. The outfit is featured on the cover of Chico’s February catalog.

Caitlin Robinson was elegant in a soft ruffle jacket accessorized with not one, but two necklaces. A single-strand necklace from Chico’s Kalani collection was paired nicely with a bold and sexy tassel neckpiece. The Chico stylists always say, “One necklace or bracelet are good, but two
are better!”

Ronda Balham struck a pose in black and white as she modeled a top styled with two tone sleeve detail. Black palazzo pants completed the look.

Joanne Patterson made all heads turn with a faux suede jacket paired with an enamel blue tank. The vibrant hue was electrifying as Joanne lit up the runway!

Even the husbands of the event co-chairs got in the act. Paul Kampmeyer and John Marchetti served as model escorts, assisting the ladies on and off the runway.

Each model wore three different outfits in the show. All fashions and accessories are available at Chico’s, an in kind gold sponsor for the event.

The models were movie star gorgeous with hair and make-up by The Salon – JW Marriott Marco Island, also an in kind gold sponsor for the fundraiser.

But their beauty was merely enhanced by the chic fashions and cosmetics. The real beauty of the models and all members of the MIWC surely comes from the goodness of their hearts. Jackie Pierce, MIWC president, said “Events such as this fundraiser have enabled the Club to fund or contribute to many agencies and services which include the library, the Health Care Center, the Marco Island Cemetery, the Center for the Arts, Veterans Community Park, the Marco Island Academy, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, and the Shelter for Abused Women and Children. In addition, the Marco Island Woman’s Club Educational Foundation has annually provided numerous scholarships for Marco Island students.”

Sponsors for the event included Physicians Regional Healthcare System, Sunshine Booksellers, Lynn H. Orr Capital Management Group Inc., Megan A. Welker DDS; Living Styles by F.H.D. Interiors, Integrity Insurance International Inc., the GFWC Illinois Women’s Clubs Executive Committee, Ronald S. Webster, Counselor at Law; Condee Cooling & Electric Inc., Evelyn McDowell (MIWC Past President), Mutual of Omaha Bank, Classic Transportation, Coastal Breeze News, and WVOI Radio 98.1 FM.

The general theme of the day can best be embraced with the words of the Club motto, “Why you were born and why you are living depends on what you are getting out of this world and what you
are giving.”

MIWC will be hosting their next fundraiser on March 7 with their annual home tour. Coastal Breeze News will keep you informed.

For more information about the Marco Island Woman’s Club, please visit

There’s Nothing Like the Joy in Helping a Child, Agreed?

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:32pm

Rumination from the Rock and Beyond
Jory Westberry

When is the last time you noticed the shoes that a child was wearing? Or the way he or she walked? Or whether the shoes were appropriate for the activity?

Often, we’re too busy, distracted and we have minimal eye contact, but nothing else; we really don’t look at the whole child and see the pain.

Several years ago, teacher, Jeanne Nara Nealon drove a student home after a school performance to find he lived in a hovel, a migrant camp out in the woods with no normal comforts that the rest of us take for granted. The children in the family shared the shoes that they had because that’s all they had. It became her focus to provide clothing, shoes and hope to kids that had nothing. She collected those things from friends and family members and gave them to the students in her middle school after school from the back of her car. They were always appreciative and often took clothing for family members so they could stay warm on those cold days without heat.

So began an organization called “Laces of Love,” devoted to providing new sneakers/tennis shoes/athletic shoes to needy students so they could participate in school activities, walk without blisters, wear the correct size shoes and not be humiliated by their peers.

Jeanne recounts the real stories of children who taped their shoes with scotch tape, masking tape and glue to keep them together so the flopping of the soles was not witnessed by their peers. Some hid their shoes under their desks and hoped fervently that no one would notice. One boy wore his father’s shoes because he had no others. Another boy tried white glue to hold his shoes together, which was not effective. A high school girl wore slippers to school because that’s all she had and another girl wore high heels that her mother’s friend gave her because she had no other shoes. They didn’t fit and she broke the heel off before school even started. Imagine the pain.

“Laces of Love” began with Jeanne, her sister, Mary Myrmo, and Susy Warren, who was experienced with non-profits and philanthropic donations and has grown from providing 23 pairs of shoes in their first year to 65 pairs in the second year. By 2015, 9,912 students in Collier and Lee Counties had received shoes. Now, there have been 100,000 shoes distributed to needy students.

Are you asking, “Where are these students?”

They’re all around us, in our own backyards; in migrant camps, middle class families who have hit hard times and have to choose between feeding their children or paying their electric bill or getting another pair of shoes or children who are fending for themselves because a parent has abandoned them.

Jeanne experienced two very talented girls who wanted to try out for the middle school track team, but one girl’s shoes were stolen and she couldn’t afford to replace them. Her friend offered to share hers. The problem was that one girl had a size 8 shoes and the other wore a size 7. They shared them anyway, no matter the limping and secrecy. The coach noticed near the end of the season and contacted “Laces of Love” who provided shoes for the girls, both for track and for school.

“Laces of Love” receives calls from many schools in Southwest Florida and works hard with their 100% volunteer board to meet the needs of the students. Donations make up the majority of their purchasing power and they work with shoe stores to take advantage of sales and purchasing in bulk to provide as many shoes as possible to students.

On one delivery to a school, Jeanne had the privilege of delivering shoes personally to a student with threadbare socks and sore toes popping out of the torn material on the top of her worn shoes. Jeanne’s excitement turned to tears when she put new socks and shoes on the little girl’s blistered feet.

The girl was puzzled. “Why are you crying? This is the happiest day of my life!”

There have been many notes received by “Laces of Love.” One mother expressed her relief when her three children had been given new shoes at school. They hadn’t been able to pay their bills due to being out of work and, with her cancer treatments, new shoes weren’t the priority.

Former Chicago White Socks pitcher, Chris Sale, is a strong supporter of “Laces of Love” along with his wife Brianne. They recognized that students who couldn’t play sports only because they lacked the funding for shoes was intolerable and they made great strides to help.

Jeanne Nara Nealon is an educator, motivational speaker and was named Teacher of the Year in Collier County in 1994 and is a Golden Apple Recipient. “Laces of Love” has provided shoes to Tommie Barfield, Manatee Elementary and most of the schools in Collier and Lee Counties, but efforts like this aren’t successful without donations.

Imagine if it was you without shoes. Contact or call Jeanne personally at 239-591-1172 to help with this amazing project that helps to focus our kids on learning, not on their painful feet.

Her book, “Laces of Love; New Shoes for Needy Kids” is a compilation of true stories about our children and is available by donation; 100% of which goes to purchase new shoes for needy kids.

(The name “Laces of Love” is a registered Service Mark. It may not be used by any individual or organization without the expressed, written approval of the “Laces of Love” Board of Directors.)

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

A Study of Human Nature: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 11:24pm

Marisa Cleveland
“The date I had in mind was December tenth, but would you prefer the ninth or the eleventh?” Hello and happy February! I’m super excited to be here, because even though I rarely make resolutions, this new year I’d already vowed to read one published book a week when this opportunity to share my book remarks with you appeared. It’s like a book club where I get to choose the books, and I hope we find some great new authors and some fabulous reads in a wide range of genres along the way.

First up is the book that helped define me. I’ve reread this book many times over the years, and it’s such a study in human nature and the many facets of what makes people motivated to believe they are living the life they are meant to live. It’s a little political, a bit stereotypical, and absolutely indulgent in the way an author has the liberty to mold characters’ actions and reactions, but that is precisely why this book earns five stars on my radar.

Not to sound cliché, but this book is a page-turner for anyone interested in society’s elite, politics, or reading about hard-working, true-to-nature individuals. Even if you don’t agree with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, the author makes the reader – me – think about issues that I might not have taken the time to ponder had she not crafted the underlying message in such characters as Dagny and Hank.

The relationships formed throughout the book gave me a clearer perspective for why people might have the ideals that they have, and though I hated the Dagny-Hank interaction, it made me realize that people of logical intelligence would be drawn to and appreciate in others those same traits. All the characters stayed true to their personas, and I loved and hated them for being who they were. My favorite character is Francisco d’Anconia for his stubborn resolution to follow through on his values, even if it meant destroying everything he’d created. I wish Cherryl Brooks had a bit more uniqueness to her character, but unfortunately I think her character is a bit too common in today’s society – the one who seeks to find a role model but doesn’t quite know how to recognize the sheep from the wolves. Still, though these two characters, Francisco and Cherryl, might not take center stage, they are perfect examples of how Ayn Rand used strong personality traits to define her cast.

While it’s a heavy read in regards to understanding John Galt, I think his approach to the value of his mind is what made me appreciate this book the most. It’s not just about them versus him, it’s about the value of a human mind. The first time I read this book was the first time I remember understanding the difference between being told to do something and doing it versus being told to do something and questioning not why but whether or not I found value in doing it.

The fact that this book made me think is why it’s beyond five stars in my opinion. Sometimes I read for enjoyment, sometimes I read to escape a tough day, and sometimes I read in order to gain a greater perspective of the world. This book hit all three of my targets, and I laughed, scoffed, and cried my way through the thick brick of a book.

I’d love to hear your opinion! Did you read and love this book? What’s a book you’ve reread over the years? When choosing a book, how important is the cover and back cover copy to you?

Want to read my next book with me? Since it’s February, and I love Valentine’s Day, I’ve just downloaded Lauren Layne’s “Someone Like You.” I’m a sucker for romance and happily ever after, but even though I already know the couple has to work through their issues to end up together in the end, it’s the journey that I can’t wait to read.

As always, thanks for your time!

Coastal Breeze News is pleased to announce Marisa Cleveland is our newest Book Remarks columnist. Marisa, an avid reader, enjoys reading a variety of genres, from all different eras. Read along with her and join in the discussion via our website or Facebook.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marisa Cleveland loves to laugh, hates to cry, and does both often. She has a master’s degree from George Mason University and joined The Seymour Agency after she ended an eight-year career teaching students language arts, grades 6-12. Previous to teaching, she worked as an assistant director for a graduate school in Washington, D.C., before settling in Southwest Florida over a decade ago. As a former gymnast, cheerleader and dancer, she understands the importance of balance, and she encourages everyone to stay flexible. Though she’s a painfully private introvert, she can be reached through her website: or follow her journey on Twitter: @marisacleveland.

Lely falls to Naples in Double OT

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 9:32am

By Scott Shook

Round three of the Naples-Lely basketball rivalry was not for the faint of heart. After splitting their first two meetings of the season with each team winning by just two points, the rubber game took two overtime periods to decide. Naples High left the Trojans heartbroken on their home court Friday night, January 27. The final score was a deceptive one, 98-88.

The teams were tied at 73 at the end of regulation. At the end of the first overtime it was 83-83.

“In critical moments we ended up turning the ball over,” Lely assistant coach Taylor Bell said, “and when that happens Naples tends to take advantage of it. Critical turnovers.”

It was a game of runs. Naples jumped to an 18-7 lead before the Trojans were able to settle down. After only two Trojans scored in the first quarter, Oliver Dumel caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 16 of his 24 points—including four three pointers. 

Lely eventually took the lead at 40-39 with 6:13 left in the third quarter. The Trojans led by as many as 10 points when they went up 64-54 on a Rudge Hyppolite steal and breakaway dunk.

Lely looked like they were on their way to a win until Naples scored seven straight to tie the game 67-67 with 2:20 remaining in regulation.

Lely answered back and again looked in charge, leading 71-67 with a minute left. But Naples would not be denied as Sevin Brown, who led all scorers with 37, nailed a three. 

Lely’s outstanding point guard Hyppolite did all he could, scoring 36 points in addition to running the offense and playing aggressive defensively.

“Sometimes Rudge feels like he has to do it all himself—and he can, he’s done it before,” Bell said.

The two teams duked it out in the first overtime, scoring 10 points each in the four-minute period. But the Trojans were outscored 13-3 after big man Matt Talko fouled out early in the second overtime. Talko, a 6’6, 260 pound sophomore, finished with 15 points, all after halftime. Perhaps, most importantly, he was a force around the basket.

Lely falls to 13-10 for the season, while Naples improves to 14-7.

New Season for “ART FLICKS” Film Program

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:46pm


The Marco Island Center for the Arts has announced the launch of its fourth annual, highly successful “Art Flicks” program, featuring foreign, independent and “art” films. To be shown at Marco Movies, 599 S. Collier Blvd at 10 AM, the series features free theme-based films, refreshments and lively discussions for both residents and island visitors who are interested in the art of film. Nick Campo, owner and operator of the Marco Movie Theater, donates his time and the largest theater at the complex for the Art Flicks program.

The theme for 2017 is “The Power of Song,”

“The Art Flicks program has been very popular since we launched it in 2014,” commented Jo-Ann Sanborn, Art Flicks committee chair. “Our group spends all summer researching and watching films, discarding some, until we finally come down to a select few that we feel are good enough and interesting enough for this program.”

“Art Flicks” was designed to help create a more well-rounded appeal for an already robust art, instructional classes, and exhibit schedule for the Art Center. While the movie and refreshments are free, donations are happily accepted at the end of each film, after the discussion, with 100% of the donations presented to the Art Center to continue their important work here on Marco Island.

The first film in this year’s series will be: “Alberta Hunter, My Castle’s Rockin’“(1988). This music biography portrays the life of the legendary blues singer and songwriter Alberta Hunter. “My Castle’s Rockin’” traces Alberta’s remarkable career, incorporating her best live performances from New York’s famous downtown night spot, The Cookery. The irresistible Ms. Hunter opened her personal archives for this film, sharing never before seen photos and other mementos from her celebrated career.

The Art Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5PM, and opens its doors the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7 PM to launch a new month of art exhibits. Wine and hors d’oeuvres are served.

For more information about the ART FLICKS program, classes, exhibit schedules or Second Tuesday, call 239-394-4221.

The theme for 2017 is “The Power of Song,” and will feature the following movies:

  • January 24: “Alberta Hunter, My Castle’s Rockin’”
  • February 7: “Good Ol’ Freda”
  • February 21: “Pete Seeger, The Power of Song”
  • March 7: “Hear My Song”

JCMI Hosts Accident Prevention Program

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:38pm


On Wednesday, February 22, 2017 from 1 and 3 PM The Jewish Congregation of Marco Island (JCMI) will host an accident prevention program. The presentation, by “Step Smart Collier,” will include a free injury prevention briefing, as well as an exhibit for seniors focusing on preventing falls, the leading cause of injury and death to seniors in Collier County.

The program will include, among others things: a presentation at 1:15 PM on steps easily taken to mitigate the risk of falling; complimentary balance testing with a written report; displays by Walgreens Pharmacy and Ace Hardware; an attorney specializing in senior law to answer legal questions; and an expert in Tai Chi to explain the benefits of programmed exercises.

This program is sponsored by Walgreens, Iberia Bank, Lutgert Insurance, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Community Foundation of Collier County, NCH, Solaris, Comfort Keepers, Blue Zones Project, Naples Senior Center, AUGUST Contracting Services, Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest and Cross and the Collier County EMS Department.

The JCMI is located at 991 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. Bring your prescription list for an evaluation of possible causes of falling. No registration is required.

Brushes & Paint Outdoor Art Shows Begin

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:37pm


The first Brushes & Paint Outdoor Art Show for this season, sponsored by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, will take place on Saturday, January 21 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Marco Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

This unique art show is the only show in the county that highlights painters from our local area. You will find these local artists displaying their beautiful artwork, which can decorate your home or office. You can talk with the artists, perhaps about a special art piece or a wall mural you might want in your home, and you will get a chance to see them creating artwork.

New artists as well as experienced artists who use oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, mixed media, and pen and ink are welcome to participate. For more information call 239-389-0280 or go to the website,

Acclaimed Artists Share Their Vision

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:35pm


Lilac-breasted Roller by John Agnew

If you have a passion for art and an appreciation for nature, drop by the gift shop at the Marco Island Historical Museum and see the paintings of DeVere Burt and John Agnew, two acclaimed artists from the Naples area. Longtime friends and colleagues, Agnew and Burt have much in common. Both share a similar vision of the natural world, as well as similar subject matter: wild landscapes and wildlife. Both also left successful careers in the museum world to establish themselves as full-time artists.

Although lacking formal training, DeVere Burt got his start in the art world working as a biological illustrator while in graduate student. In 1996, Burt retired from his position as president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History to pursue a career in painting, his strong background in the natural sciences providing him with artistic inspiration. “After many years in a museum environment,” he claimed. “I chose a new path and now allow my fervor for art and the natural world to take center stage. It’s exhilarating, and I love it.”

Exposed to art at an early age (both his parents were artists), John Agnew was more interested in dinosaurs and reptiles and at one time planned on becoming a zoologist. As a high school student, he landed a job as a junior curator with the Dayton Museum of Natural History, taking care of the live reptile display. When his natural artistic abilities were discovered, he moved to the museum’s exhibits department, making models and painting diorama backgrounds.

After graduating in 1976 with a fine arts degree and all the science electives he could manage, Agnew’s first job was as curator of exhibits at the Science Museum of Palm Beach County. He left his museum position and began painting full time in 1983. His paintings are detailed and photo-realistic, much like the dioramas he still paints for museum and zoo clients nationwide. “Since I come from a background in scientific illustration, I have a need to depict my subjects as absolutely true to life,” Agnew said.

Both DeVere and Agnew have won numerous accolades and awards, and their paintings can be found in public and private collections around the world. Here is your chance to acquire a very special piece of fine art from these renowned artists as well. Proceeds from the sales of these paintings will go to benefit the Marco Island Historical Society.

The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Randall Kenneth Jones Empowers Newcomers

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:32pm

By Maureen Chodaba

Newcomers President Jodi Pree introduces Randall Kenneth Jones.

Writer and self-described “professional storyteller” Randall Kenneth Jones recently wowed the audience at the January luncheon of the Newcomers Club of Marco Island. This dynamic speaker, renowned journalist and author of the newly released bestseller, “Show Me,” inspired the Newcomers with messages of empowerment and positivity from many famous women.

The book includes interviews and words of wisdom from Carly Fiorina, Hoda Kotb, Vanessa Williams, Janet Evanovich, Erin Brockovich, Pat Benatar, Suze Orman, Cynthia Rhodes, Sue Monk Kidd and many others. Jones wrote the book on the platform of looking for the best in all people. Through his writing, he found not only that, but so much more. He learned the importance of a sense of humor, the power of language and the value of recollections. He urged the audience to capture their memories and put them in writing to preserve them for future generations.

Some of Jones’ most memorable stories of the day included his “ethereal” description of Marco Island’s Sue Monk Kidd and his humorous calamity on the TV set of Hoda and Kathie Lee. But perhaps the most touching tale was that of the unexpected gift of laughter for his 85-year-old father, the caregiver for Jones’ mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. According to Jones, his dad was never much of a reader, but was blessed with life-changing comic relief from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, an effect that neither his dad or Evanovich ever expected.

Following the luncheon, Jones graciously signed copies of “Show Me” for the audience. The book is currently available for purchase at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.

The Newcomers Club of Marco Island believes in empowering women through friendship. Membership is open to women who reside on Marco Island, Goodland or the Isles of Capri for at least six consecutive months of the year. For more information, please contact Donna Dubey at 239-682-0454, Kim Heinemann at 612-387-4747 or visit

Two Speakers, Two Stories

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:26pm


The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) has planned two upcoming lectures that are not-to-be-missed. Each speaker will engage the audience with a fascinating story that offers a glimpse into a unique piece of history.
January 24: Florida’s Fleet, A Boatbuilding and Fishing Legacy from the First Coast 

Submitted Photos: Brendan Burke

Maritime archaeologist Brendan Burke, who works for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, tells the story of a new type of boat that was built in Northeast Florida during the early 20th century. The Florida-style trawler became one of the most important boats in the history of the state. From 1919 until the mid-1980s, Florida supplied the world with these trawlers, and building these boats became a multi-billion-dollar industry.  Burke’s presentation brings together the stories and photos from the days of catching shrimp and building boats in the Sunshine State.

January 31: Adventures of a WWII “American Red Cross Girl” 

Kathleen Cox

LeOna Kriesel, the mother of professional speaker and author Kathleen Cox, spent 1943-45 working as an “American Red Cross Girl” running enlisted men’s social clubs in Northern Africa and Italy. Cox grew up listening to her mother’s stories—about falling in love in Constantine, getting married in Rome and sharing electricity with the Pope so that an organ could be played at her wedding—more times than she cared to remember. But when she found a box containing her mother’s original wartime letters, detailing her many adventures with her beloved GIs, Cox knew she had to write the book Destination Unknown, Adventures of a WWII American Red Cross Girl. Cox brings these stories to life with a great deal of humor and a fresh look at a rarely examined aspect of wartime life.

Lectures are held in Rose History Auditorium, starting at 7 PM, and are free to members of the MIHS, and $10 for nonmembers. Rose History Auditorium is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive, across from the public library. For more information call 239-642-1440 or visit

Protecting Marco’s Waterways

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:16pm


Being an island, we on Marco are surrounded by water. Water is our way of life, with over 100 miles of man-made canals. We have the Marco River, Factory Bay and Big Marco Pass to the north; Barfield Bay to the east; the Gulf of Mexico to the west; and Roberts Bay and Caxambas Pass at our south end. Marco Island has approximately 6,500 lots, of which about 4,700+ have been developed. In our current building boom – and with more development planned – we should ensure that our waterways are protected from pollution. Are we doing enough to protect Marco’s waterways?

Some naively believe that storm water is clean. During a heavy rain, rainwater lands on rooftops, parking lots, streets, and driveways. The polluted runoff flows into the storm grates, storm inlet skimmer boxes (more on these below), swales, and ditches located all over the island. The runoff carries pollutants such as gasoline, pesticide, fertilizer, pet waste, oil spills, grass clippings, even tobacco spit. Some of these chemicals enter the food chain and end up in the fish we eat.

Everything that goes into our storm drains flows to the nearest canals, bays, and rivers. Anything that floats, is dissolved by water or can be swept by moving water ends up untreated in our storm water drains. City staff has confirmed that we have 1,864 drain inlets. While 1,324 are fitted with carbon filters, 540 drain inlets are without filters.

Storm inlet skimmer boxes filter the runoff before it enters our waterways. The filtered storm water passes through a skimmer tray and a hydrocarbon absorption boom. Storm water and solids find their way into the lower section of the skimmer box where a smaller sieve-size filter captures the solids and allows the storm water to pass through storm drain outfall pipes into the nearest waterways, and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, much of the storm water entering our waterways is polluted. Polluted water is harmful to plants, marine life, wildlife and humans.

How to Protect Our Waterways:

  • Floating slimy scum, oil discharge and grass clippings under Winterberry Bridge.

    Encourage the city to test for Water Quality on a monthly basis.

  • Encourage the city to add back the testing for fecal coliform (it was removed in February 2016).
  • Encourage the city to make sure all grate skimmer boxes are regularly maintained.
  • Encourage the city to install filters on the 540 drain inlets currently without filters.
  • Enforce the new Fertilizer Ordinance.
  • Pick up pet waste and keep yard waste out of storm drains.
  • Report spills, discharge of grease, oils, solvents into our storm drain to: MIPD non-emergency number 239-389-5050.

Top Pollutants of Our Waterways:

  • Fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals from gardens and homes.
  • Waste discharge by boats anchored in or around Marco’s waterways.
  • Trash from construction sites.
  • Oil, grease, metals and coolants from vehicles and boats.
  • Bacteria from pet waste and old septic systems.


Bargain Basket Fashion Show

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 8:11pm


Mark your calendars for the annual Bargain Basket Fashion Show on February 16, 2017. Preparations are underway to bring a unique fashion show to the United Church of Marco, with all clothing selected from the Bargain Basket thrift shop.

This fun event is a seasonal favorite among locals and visitors. This year attendees will enjoy a French themed runway show, entitled “Couture du Jour.” As with prior fashion shows, expect to see stunning clothes from the Bargain Basket. Fanny Frugal will make an appearance and entertain the audience.

The fashion show will take place on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 2 PM at the United Church of Marco, 320 N. Barfield Drive, Marco Island. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Bargain Basket during regular business hours. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Liberty Youth Ranch.

The Bargain Basket is located at 750 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 AM to 4 PM. For more information go to

Meals of Hope Kicks Off 2017

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:55pm

By Maureen Chodaba 

From left: Margie Alberti and Phil Chodaba with Karen and Alan Bernthaler.

Back in 2007, when Naples resident Stephen Popper was asked to help ship food to a poor school in Haiti, he willingly and enthusiastically accepted the endeavor. But Popper felt a strong urge to help those in his own backyard. In August 2007, a food packing event was held where Popper and a team of volunteers packed 135,000 meals for Southwest Florida families in need. Popper, now the executive director of Meals of Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has taken the mission further. The organization has helped to feed millions of hungry people from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina to Ohio, Illinois
and Michigan.

On Marco Island, Meals of Hope has become a foundation of charity and volunteerism while engaging the community spirit of fellowship and fun at the same time. The Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, the Noontime Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club have joined forces to help feed hungry and needy children and their families in Collier County. The three clubs have set a goal to raise $50,000 in order to package 250,000 fortified meals on November 11, 2017. Throughout the year, the clubs will be diligently working to raise these funds.

Each month, local restaurants will take turns hosting a Happy Hour for Hope. The events are open to the public and offer great food, happy hour drink prices and entertainment, all for your $10 donation.

The first Happy Hour for Hope of the 2017 season was recently held at CJ’s On the Bay. Over 100 people rocked to the sounds of Marco Island’s Rosetta Stone while enjoying delicious food from CJ’s set amidst the breathtaking view of Smokehouse Bay from the Esplanade.

A 50-50 drawing is always the highlight of each Happy Hour for Hope. At CJ’s On the Bay, the lucky winners of the draw were Roger and Jessica Hernstadt who readily and generously donated their winnings back to Meals of Hope.

Marco Island attorney Bill Morris, aka Captain Happy Hope, is serving as the chair of Marco Island Meals of Hope for the second consecutive year. Morris, extremely grateful for the community’s dedication and commitment in 2016, once again asks Marco Islanders for their help. “We are always accepting donations. It will cost about $50,000 to buy the food products for our packaging event. Our Happy Hours only pay a part.”

Those raw food products will be packaged to create a beans and rice casserole and macaroni and cheese. The meals are nutritiously balanced and fortified with soy protein, vegetables, and 21 vitamins and minerals. The Harry Chapin Food Bank and Collier Harvest are part of the distribution network that assures the delivery of the meals to those in need.

Morris urges participation in another Meals of Hope fundraiser, Korks for Kids, a project of Marco Island’s Susan Ackerson. Participants are asked to save corks from wine bottles. Ackerson then sells the corks on eBay with all proceeds donated to Meals of Hope. Morris thanks Ackerson and all who helped last year, saying, “You brought me thousands of corks! But we always need more! Please save your corks and bring them to any Meals of Hope event, to me at anytime or to Susan Ackerson at Anchor Realty.”

Becoming a member of Friends of Hope is another way to aid in this mission to feed the hungry. Membership in Friends of Hope is $500 ($650 for businesses) and will purchase 2,500 meals. Friends of Hope members are honored at every Meals of Hope function, receive free admission and even receive an honorable name badge.

For more information about Meals of Hope, including a schedule of upcoming Happy Hours for Hope and other opportunities to volunteer and donate, please visit

Coleman Book Signing

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:50pm


“Marco Island, Florida’s Gulf Playground” author Michael Coleman will be hosting a book signing and presentation, “Marco Island Inc.: Building a Paradise One Era at a Time,’’ on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 7 PM at the Marco Island Historical Museum, Rose History Auditorium. The time of the presentation coincides with modern Marco Island’s 52nd anniversary. The number one local best seller, two years running, Coleman will be signing the book’s second edition.

Garrett Richter Promoted

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:48pm


First Florida Integrity Bank has promoted President Garrett S. Richter to Chief Executive Officer – President.

With his term as Florida state senator complete, Mr. Richter will now lead the day-to-day operations of First Florida Integrity Bank. His promotion to Chief Executive Officer will provide consistency in the leadership direction of the bank. Mr. Richter is one of the founders of First Florida Integrity Bank, which was organized in June 2008. Gary Tice will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors for TGR, Financial, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Florida Integrity Bank.

“Garrett and I have been long time business partners,” said Tice. “This is a familiar position for Garrett as he led the growth of the former First National Bank of Florida as its president and CEO from 1994 to 2004. During this period, the bank, with headquarters in Naples, Florida, grew from a $264 million bank with four offices in Collier County to a $5.4 billion bank with 77 offices located throughout the state of Florida.” Tice continued, “I am looking forward to having him return to lead our bank on a full-time basis after serving a successful eight year career as our local state senator.”

Headquartered in Naples, Florida, First Florida Integrity Bank currently has seven full-service offices and $1.2 billion in assets as of December 31, 2016.

For more information, contact First Florida Integrity Bank at 239-348-8000, or toll free at 877-763-0244 or visit the bank’s website at First Florida Integrity Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of TGR Financial, Inc. Common shares of TGR Financial, Inc. trade on the OTCQX market under the ticker symbol “TGRF.”

MIYC Welcomes New Bridge at Commodore’s Ball

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:46pm


The Marco Island Yacht Club (MIYC) will hold its 15th annual Commodore’s Ball and Change of Watch ceremony on Saturday, January 21, 2017, followed by the gala ball.

The formal program includes the traditional Colors Ceremony and Change of Watch. Lois Dixon will be sworn in as the new commodore, taking over the leadership role at the Club as Bridge Officer and boating events. The outgoing commodore, Randy Harris, successfully lead the Bridge through 2016. He will welcome Ms. Dixon as the new commodore. “It is great to see our Club growing and preparing for a successful future.”

The ceremonies with Special Colors, when the American flag is lowered and booming cannon shot, is followed by the Change of Watch presentation in which Mr. Harris’ rectangle Commodore’s burgee flag is lowered and Ms. Dixon’s is raised. Approximately 90 members and guests plan to attend.

Ms. Dixon and her husband, Ed, are avid sailors and currently hold the Multihull Boat of the Year Award in Southwest Florida. They represent MIYC in the race schedule of local regattas hosted by Yacht and Sailing Clubs from Naples to Marco Island.

In addition to Commodore Lois Dixon, the incoming Bridge Officers are Vice Commodore  Bob Winterhalter, Rear Commodore Jeff Comeaux, Cruise Fleet Captain Chip Pittman, Sailing Fleet Captain Chuck Downton, Port Captain Kathy Hershberger, Safety & Training Officer Jim Olmes, Chaplain Richard Blauw, and FCYC Director Gary Riss.

Island Country Club Promotes and Hires

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:43pm

By Samantha Husted

Island Country Club has seen extensive changes over the past year. The newest change comes in the form of both a promotion and a new hire. Dedicated employee and longtime Southwest Florida resident, Heather Hall, has been promoted to the Director of Membership and Marketing. New hire, Courtney Stevenson of Bonita Springs, has taken on the position of Executive Assistant to the General Manager.

Originally from New Jersey, Heather moved to Marco Island as a young teenager. In 2010, she graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations. After graduation, Heather began working at Eagle Creek Golf and Country Club in Naples, Florida. Ultimately, she made the move back to Marco Island, which Heather describes as “coming home.” Heather has spent the last two years working at Island Country Club as their Membership Assistant. Heather brings to her new role a passion to serve the Island Country Club community and an exuberance to provide creative and innovative ideas.

“Island Country Club’s membership is second to none,” said Heather Hall. “Our membership is a place where friends become family. It’s a fantastic environment for members and staff alike!”

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Courtney Stevenson graduated from Niagara University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Destination Management. In 2009, Courtney decided to make the move to the “hospitality driven mecca” that is Southwest Florida and began working in the country club circuit. With hard work and dedication, Courtney accepted a position at the well-known Arnold Palmer Signature Designed Golf Course, Wildcat Run Golf & Country Club in Estero, as the Executive Assistant to General Manager, Peter Cizdziel, prior to making the move to Island Country Club in August 2016. Peter began at Island Country Club last June as the General Manager/Chief Operating Officer.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before Courtney would be joining our team, said Peter Cizdziel. “I have had the good fortune to work with Courtney at my previous club and her experience, professionalism, outstanding team approach and infectious positive attitude is exactly what this club needed. Her impact on the membership and staff of the Island Country Club was immediate, profound and is ongoing.”

Marco Cruise Club Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:39pm

By Samantha Husted

Photos by Samantha Husted: The new MICC bridge. From top: 2016 Commodore Tom Dines, 2017 Commodore Lynn Stiles, Vice Commodore Carol Bryant, Treasurer Betty Thacher, and Secretary Marlene Marchand.

The Marco Island Cruise Club (MICC) celebrated its 40th anniversary recently with a Commodores Ball. The event was held at the Hideaway Beach Club on Marco Island. Members dressed to impress for the symbolical ceremony, which included saying goodbye to the old bridge and welcoming the new. The event also included the time-honored tradition of the Changing of the Watch.

The evening commenced with appetizers and drinks. The atmosphere was genial as members enthusiastically greeted one another. Musician Jerry Pellegrino provided the music, playing oldies and other classic tunes. Atop each table was a floral centerpiece meant to mimic a boat, created and donated by the Calusa Garden Club. As the sun set, members settled into their seats for dinner.

After everyone was well fed and coffee and desserts had been served, it was time for the Change of Watch Ceremony. The ceremony symbolizes a change of command from one commodore to the next. 2016 Commodore Tom Dines officiated the ritual, relinquishing his title to the 2017 Commodore Lynn Stiles.

“It’s been a wonderful year and as we all can stand and sit we can thank ourselves for good health,” said outgoing Commodore Tom Dines in his opening address.

The 2017 bridge was also welcomed to the stage where they were officially sworn into their new positions. The incoming bridge includes 2017 Commodore Lynn Stiles, Vice Commodore Carol Bryant, Treasurer Betty Thacher, Secretary Marlene Marchand and Rear Commodore Deena Procopio. While the 2016 outgoing bridge included Neil Blaauboer, 2016 Commodore Tom Dines, Vice Commodore Carol Bryant, Treasurer Betty Thacher and Secretary Palma Klein.

The ceremony ended in dance. Commodore Lynn Stiles and his wife Vivian danced together before the floor was opened up to the rest of the members.

The Marco Island Cruise Club was initiated in 1977, back when Marco Island was barely on the map. Members of the club meet to discuss boat handling, social events and other group activities such as overnight boat trips. The object of the club is to promote sociability, friendship and competent boat handling.

For more information check out:

A Smallwood Step in History

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 7:34pm

By Jesus Calo

The Historic Ted Smallwood Store and Museum held its much-anticipated first annual “White Pelican Celebration” with a considerable number of attendees and entertainment. Cars lined up on the lot at the entrance of the water’s edge location. A little rain and chilly breeze over the weekend was not enough to disrupt the three-day event. In fact, it is even in accordance with the infamous bird the event is named after and its migration patterns – the cooler, the better. What makes this museum unique is having authentic displays of its days as an outpost general located in what is known as one of Florida’s last frontiers. Today, it continues to connect cultures by bringing the community together.

Local merchant stands lined the path leading to the Museum. There were jewelers, homemade jams, and various pieces of Seminole culture to be purchased. Most importantly, the food stand had a continuously growing line. There were large pots over an open flame that allowed for fry bread to be made in sizeable batches. The food was fresh and delicious, having a variety of Seminole cuisine, Indian tacos, gator nuggets, five pounds of stone crab and Key lime pie.

Visitors had the opportunity to partake in boat tours and to walk through the general store that contains over a thousand artifacts dating back to the early 1900s. It is a wonder that the store still stands strong even after weathering hurricanes and our tropical weather for over a century.

Underneath the Smallwood Museum, an instructional wildlife presentation was facilitated. White pelican specialists Dr. Tommy King and Marsha Sovada described what makes up the habitat of the American white pelican, as well as its migration patterns. After learning that the American white pelican migrates over 3,000 miles each year, you may very well have seen this bird up north before visiting the Southwest Florida area.

This event was more than a gathering of the local community; it was an opportunity for fundraising the museum’s survival. Locals know the legal battle the Museum and owner Lynn and husband Gary McMillan endured over the last four years. Corporate land developers Florida Georgia Grove tried running the historic landmark out of business to repurpose the land and blocked access of the only road leading right to the museum. In March 2015, the battle closed with the county declaring “Mamie Street” a public road. Part of the settlement involved the county agreeing to maintain the street going forward.

A song performed by Native American song writer Rita Youngman and JRobert recounted the situation and cleverly titled the epic “Bonehead” in direct regards to the land developers. Narrating the effort it took to keep the Museum standing today, the song had a hint of humor and truth behind each verse. You could hear the music from inside the museum throughout the entire area as you walked around.

Although the court case won in favor of the museum, the battle drained its financial resources. Even with the special rates offered by the attorney handling the case, the McMillans still have ways ahead with covering up to $140,000 in legal bills and fees. They are counting on the community to continue visiting to make up the funds required. “February and March are the busier times of the year for us.” Malory, daughter of Lynn McMillan said. “It’s our time we see the public visiting more frequently.”

As the weekend came to an end, next year’s event is already in the works. There were many musical guests, as well as local community leaders in attendance that were true gift to the cause. A few names among the list were: Chief James Billie, JRobert, Raiford Starke, Pete Gallagher, Cindy Hackney, Rita Youngman, and Frank Thomas.

The Smallwood Store, established in 1906, is the first registered historical site in Collier County now standing as a museum, located on Chokoloskee Island. This historic landmark is also home to the American White Pelican. For more information about the Smallwood Store and Museum visit or call 239-695-2989.