Monday, December 6, 2021




Donna Fiala

An application for a TIGER VII Discretionary Planning grant application has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Collier Boulevard Corridor Improvement Project. This project, if awarded, will complete a 15 year, $200 million reconstruction effort to upgrade 15 miles of Collier Boulevard. The project will include construction of transportation infrastructure improvements along the Collier Boulevard corridor from Green Boulevard to I–75. The past growth, plus forecasted population growth, necessitates this expansion, and is planned to connect growing neighborhoods to the established commercial and employment areas. The project will not only expand Collier Boulevard, but also increase the bridges within the area, and include new bike lanes, pathways, sidewalks and transit facilities. The county will be required to pay a 20% match if the grant is approved.

*Hopefully many of you have read about the new Collier Identity Fraud Task Force which has established an Official Advisory Council within the Identity Fraud Institute of Hodges University. The co-founders of this task force are Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Dr. Michael Reagen, along with Dr. David Borofsky, the President of Hodges University, and are the driving forces behind the Identity Theft Task Force. Our own Keith Dameron has been working with this task force to shine the light on their work and give them community exposure. Hodges University Identity Fraud Institute will serve as the hub for all identity theft and fraud related information through the State of Florida, as well as provide victim assistance programs. The Institute includes a research center, which will be comprised of a network of businesses that will collaborate in reporting tips and trends of identity fraud. For further information please call 239-598-6281.

Those people wondering what is going on with the cleared area near the entrance to Fiddler’s Creek will be interested to know that the traffic light, which had been requested for many years by the Fiddler’s Creek people and had never met FDOT’s “warrants,” was finally approved for construction. Fiddler’s Creek will be paying for that light. Once approved, FDOT needed an engineering company to design that site for a light, then the traffic light had to be fabricated according to FDOT’s requirements, permits needed to be obtained, etc. You are now seeing the project in its final stages before being installed.

*This summer has been a wonderful adventure, and I hope yours has also been relaxing, enjoyable and peaceful. My adventure has mainly been with my Amish “family.” We had a wedding in July – the first in the family. This couple, who were born and raised Amish, decided to become very conservative Mennonites – sometimes referred to as Beachy Amish. The woman still wears a head covering, but now it is shaped like a round black doily. She still wears Amish clothes, but they both can own and drive a car and they have electricity in their home. The man doesn’t wear Amish trousers. The first thing a young Amish woman does when she marries is leave her job. Her home and husband (and future children) become her main focus. This bride is a graphic design artist for a printing company, and being that they have electricity in their home, she can still work on her computer to earn a little extra income. Her place of employment was happy she would stay on, even if she wasn’t there physically. Her husband is a timber woodcrafter. He and the bride’s father built the dad’s new home together, which looks like a magnificent hunting lodge. The husband did all the open beams with wood pegs. The wedding was in a Mennonite church. There were 480 guests, with about 80% Amish, 20% Mennonite, and two English (non-Amish), with me being one of the two. The family all got together the day before to prepare some of the food. The caterer brought the rest. Then afterward, everyone at the wedding who wanted to help – about 150 of us – washed dishes, folded tables and chairs and returned them to their proper place, took down decorations, cleaned everything, packaged food, and with all the help, we were done in no time! Team work. It works so well. The gifts to the newly married couple included a wheelbarrow, shovels, lawn mower, lawn trimmer, tools, electric small appliances, ice cream maker, byler (sorry, don’t know the English word for this type of cooker), and so much more. If I ever get my hands on some of the pictures taken by the professional photographer, I’ll ask to publish a few of them in the Breeze.

There are two Amish weddings coming up next – such fun!

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