Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A New Season Has Begun




My goodness time flies by quickly. It seems it was only a couple months ago that I was saying Happy New Year to you in my column, and here it is again! So, as I write and listen to the celebration on TV, I will say Happy New Year and I hope this year is the best year ever! May you have good health, lots of love, much joy, and a family that fills your life with happiness.

• I know some of you were able to attend the Night Lights at the Botanical Garden. What a marvelous display of lights, plants and singing! I ran into a number of people from Marco Island, Isles of Capri and East Naples. I went with my son, T.J. who was visiting from Albany, N.Y. He stayed nine days and got back to Albany just as the temperature was dropping drastically, from 73 degrees to 14 degrees in just a few hours. Meanwhile I heard from some of my friends in Ohio who have decided to drive down here early and leave that 1-degree weather, and also from my Amish family who have decided to take an earlier bus and get down to Pinecraft (an Amish/Mennonite settlement just outside of Sarasota) earlier than planned. If you’ve never been to that little settlement, you’ll find it interesting to visit and enjoy, but you really won’t need more than a day unless you want to go to the beaches, etc. I think I might be having houseguests as well.



• On a personal note, please pray for Gil – a 48-year-old man with three children who has been diagnosed with deadly brain cancer. We’ve seen miracles happen before through prayer, haven’t we! Maybe we can help that miracle happen together with prayer.

• Not much development is happening right now because we’ve been cleaning up after the hurricane and trying to decorate and celebrate the holidays instead of focusing on the problems we have encountered. Tara O’Neill said it so beautifully. Her Goodland home was hit by a 2-foot tidal surge from Irma right before a 50-foot tree landed a crushing blow to her roof, but with the help of family, friends, church and civic organizations from around the USA, the property is secured and they are looking for a mighty rebuild in the coming year. “I have seen the best that humanity has to offer. May you be as blessed as I.” These were her words; I just copied them because they were so beautiful.

• The county is working and pushing very hard to get all the permits in place, and the bids received and equipment reserved to dredge the damage the storm caused in Collier Creek. We are hoping to have the job completed by the end of February if all goes well. We are devoting our resources to make this happen as quickly as possible.

• The East Naples Merchants Association will be holding their regular monthly networking event on Thursday, January 11th at Fuller Funeral Home on US 41 E. Please note that the building will not have any other events going on during that time. Donna Fiala will be the guest speaker and will be presenting her annual update. Guests are always encouraged to attend. Heavy appetizers and refreshments will be provided, $10 for members, and $20 for non-members. Be sure and RSVP so we can get you into the headcount for the food and beverages. For information email Sandra Simmons at:

• The Cultural and Performing Arts Gala will be held at the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club at 896 River Point Drive on Monday, January 8th at 6 PM. This group is focusing on building a performance hall soon in the Bayshore area. For information or tickets, you may call 239-775-2800.

• A Happy Birthday to Al on January 7th.

• The Marco Island U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be holding their Annual Change of Watch ceremony on Saturday, January 13th at the Marco Island Yacht Club. This is always such a lovely evening! They are working hard with the county to build a permanent home (building) at Caxambas Park. We are all wishing the process would go faster, but at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

• The Marco Island Kiwanis Club will be presenting Barry Williams as their guest speaker on Thursday, January 8th at 7:30 AM at Stonewall’s Restaurant, 551 S. Collier Blvd. Barry will be addressing the county owned parks on Marco Island: South Beach, Tigertail and Caxambas. The Kiwanians would LOVE to have you join them to hear his speech. These Kiwanians are the greatest group of people, and you will feel so happy to be there!

• Project Help, the rape crisis center, will be holding their famous Annual Chocolate Extravaganza Gala fundraiser on January 20th at 6 PM at Hodges University, White Community Room. They would love any support you could offer, from volunteering for the gala, to buying tickets, to eating chocolate until you look like a candy bar! It’s a fun evening, and it’s a worthwhile cause.

• The San Marco Columbiettes will be holding a dinner dance on Saturday, January 20th at 6 PM at the Parish Hall. There is plenty to do this evening! Don’t sit home! Go out and have a nice evening. No matter which event you choose, you will be warmly welcomed. That’s for sure.

• Oh yes, and the East Naples Civic Association will be holding their Annual Banquet and election of officers on Thursday, January 18th at 6 PM at The Arlington. You won’t want to miss this event. It’s always lots of fun.

• A new season has begun with all the banquets, balls, events, galas, and fun you could ever want. This is the time of year our charities look forward to. It’s a fun time for all of us.

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