Monday, January 17, 2022




Donna Fiala

The Annual Kayak Festival was held this past weekend on Isles of Capri. Over 150 people attended on Saturday and 300 on Sunday! Quite a nice showing for these Paddle Craft experts. That’s a lot of people in our restaurants and hotels! And along with kayaking on the Isles, there was a Hot Air Balloon Show in Immokalee and the Harvest Festival.

Here’s a question for you! People love to move to Florida because it is still quaint and practically unspoiled. The tropical atmosphere is so relaxing. The weather is gorgeous for most months. And the Florida architecture is lovely. So my question is – why don’t we use Key West or Old Florida architecture, or Tropical or Island style? Why do so many use Mediterranean or Italian style? They come to Florida for the tropical beauty, but make it look like another country. Maybe someone can help me with an answer to this. Write Maybe I’m just partial, so please forgive.

Well, all the events and celebrations are coming to an end as our Winter Residents leave for their Northern homes. It’s okay for a little while, but after a time, we wish we had fun things to do again. So – there’s the challenge! Let’s plan a few things to keep us busy during the summer. Yes, the major part of our volunteer force has left, but we can manage until they return. We have Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs thinking of things to do and ways to get together. Maybe we ought to have a party to think about things to do! Yeh, that’s the ticket.

Speaking of Kiwanis and Rotary, they are joining forces again to help the community raise funds for “Food for Hope.” Their goal is $30,000 in six months. They are planning an enormous 50/50, which would mean they have to raise $60,000 so they can donate half to “Food for Hope,” for Harry Chapin Food Bank, and the other half will be won by some VERY lucky “investor”. Barbara Prigge is in charge of the Kiwanis portion of the 50/50. And you know Barbara! When she sets out to do something, she’ll leave no stone unturned until she reaches her goal. If you’d like to call her to help sell tickets, or better yet to buy a few at $10 each, her number is 389-0512. Her co-ambassador for Kiwanis is Lorraine Corva. Both Rotary Clubs are also selling tickets, and I’m sure you know many Rotarians because they are always active for the good of Marco Island. Neil Schneider and Rebecca Hodges are co-chairmen of the entire event. The winning ticket will be drawn on November 17th. That gives you plenty of time to buy a few tickets each week. They add up to possibly………….a winner!

This past week I spoke to the Council of Catholic Women. It was a great audience, attentive and happy, and SUPER bakers as well. Father Tim even joined us! He also likes their cooking! Lynne Minozzi, the gracious lady who is dedicated to the church and all its people, invited me and made the introductions.

Everyone has been concerned about the ponds at the zoo. It looks like they have been rescued. Thanks to Paul Arsenault who brought it to the public’s attention, and the public totally supporting the effort to protect the pond and the trees and water lilies, the issue is moving forward in the right direction. I brought it up under commissioner comments at the 4/10 BCC meeting, Paul and Zoo supporters spoke in favor. I had asked to bring the subject back to the next meeting (we cannot vote on anything unless we have two weeks’ notice to advertise the subject to the public) and until then direct staff and the zoo officials to work out a solution, working with the City of Naples and FDOT. No sooner did I leave the BCC meeting and walk to the car when my cell phone rang in the car. It was Andrew McIlwaine, the Exec. Dir. of the Conservancy, who said “I think I have the solution!”. He suggested that the Conservancy and the Zoo have a dual entry, with a road branching off to each facility. He stated there would be a few kinks to work out like the traffic light, but it can be done. I immediately called John Sorey, the Mayor of the City of Naples to offer the plan. He loved it and said I’ll take care of the next step. He contacted FDOT and the school to suggest moving the light to the new location. He suggested the school could use the other side of its parking lot as the exit from their facility at the new traffic light. It looks like it is moving forward to everyone’s satisfaction and relief. It will be presented to the BCC on Tuesday, April 24th. Stay tuned.

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