Friday, December 3, 2021

COASTAL COMMENTS: A Christmas Message



By: Donna Fiala

It looks like the long awaited improvement and upgrading to a business for the “Skeleton Building” will have to wait longer. Although we all heard that BJ’s Wholesalers was in negotiations with the shopping center owners to bring that outline of a business into a fantastic business in just the right area, there was one catch. They wanted a dedicated traffic light and entry off of Davis Boulevard, a state highway, but the state said no, it would impede traffic flow in an already congested area. BJ’s said we need that or we’ll move on. The state said no, we will not approve it, so… BJ’s closed up their portfolio and ended the negotiations. You will probably hear about this, but I wanted you to know how that all came to be. Looks like we’ll just have to wait a little longer for something big to come to that area. Let’s hope it isn’t as many years as we’ve waited up until now! It will take a special kind of business to fill that huge spot.

Water has always been an important topic for Florida, and when I received this report from the South Florida Water Management District, I thought I’d just copy it from their newsletter right to you. Here goes:

Much of South Florida saw virtually no rainfall during the past 30 days, leading to the driest November on record from Orlando to the Florida Keys since record keeping began in 1932. South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) meteorologists reported today that only 0.14 inches fell District-wide, representing just 6 percent of average, or 2.15 inches below average. All SFWMD basins recorded below-average rainfall.

Water managers reported regional water levels are still adequate and reminded residents to follow South Florida’s Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Conservation Measures. An explanation of the measures by county can be found on SFWMD’s website at:

“During the same year, South Florida moved from record wet conditions in January to record dry weather in November,” said SFWMD Chief Engineer John Mitnik. “This fluctuation of extremes showcases the challenge of achieving the delicate balance needed to manage the region’s water resources.”

I found this so interesting that I wanted to share it with you. Most people don’t see these reports. It’s good to know that even though we’ve had quite a dry November, our water sources are healthy.

One of the things we learned at the Florida Association of Counties during the recent conference was that we need to prepare financially for the effects of medical marijuana. Colorado, California and Washington states, who are already dealing with the effects, have advised us of their financial pitfalls because they were not aware of what could happen, and so were not prepared financially, and had to borrow from other sources like road construction, to cover the costs and so were giving us fair warning.

*In the last edition I mentioned that Naples Reserve was the last large development in East Naples and someone was kind enough to ask why, so I’d like to explain. Most of the large developments have hundreds and hundreds, if not a couple thousand, acres in which to build. Other than 6 L’s Farms, there is no land of that size left in this area. The large swaths of land you see along U.S. 41 E., east of 951, is mostly all in preservation: Rookery Bay, Picayune Strand, Fakahatchee Forest, Collier Seminole State Park, Big Cypress National Reserve, Everglades National Park, etc. You will now see “infill” building, where they have small lots still vacant or abandoned buildings that can be upgraded or demolished and improved. Small developments can be built, something like the one going up on Davis Boulevard, and County Barn Road – The Avalon, which looks lovely by the way, and looks like condos with amenities. But large developments like Fiddler’s Creek, Lely Resort, Naples Lakes, VeronaWalk, Isles of Collier Preserve, Forest Glen, etc., take a lot of land, and we are all out of that type of land (except 6 L’s Farms). I hope that answers the question, and so glad you asked!

*Here we are, almost Christmas and the end of the year. How did the time pass so quickly? It feels like I just took my tree down and I’ve got it back up again! Oh but what fun! I just love this season.

*There are always people who say they would like to reach out and help children in the community. Not every day, but at least reach out to help for different events. Have you ever thought about being a Kiwanian? This is what Kiwanis members do – help the children in our own community! The Marco Island Kiwanis Club makes sure the children at Manatee School have a nice Christmas, one that their families might have a problem financing. They work to gather toys and dollars, then go on a shopping spree, and what a delight they have! You might want to consider visiting the Marco Kiwanis Club on Thursday mornings at 7:30 AM at Stonewall’s Restaurant. What a happy, vivacious, outgoing, fun group this is! Come by any time. You are always welcome. And, if you are on the other side of the bridge, there is another Kiwanis Club waiting for you: the East Naples Kiwanis Club, which meets every Friday morning at 7:30 AM at IHOP on Davis Boulevard near the Gordon River Bridge. This club focuses on two other schools – Shadowlawn and Parkside Elementary Schools. There are so many opportunities to help and the rewards you receive personally are hard to describe. You can actually SEE the effects you have on these children. The Ladies of Naples Lakes actually adopted the East Naples Kiwanis Club to reach out to the most needy in the community, and with their help, will make some very deserving children very happy this Christmas. So, what I’m encouraging you to do is to visit one of these clubs. Once you do, you’ll feel a need to become a part of their friendly atmosphere. So, my Christmas message is to carry the love in your heart to a meeting and share it with many others. You’ll meet new friends and enjoy new volunteer opportunities where you can actually SEE the difference you make. You can even read to the children in the media center or tutor a child. It feels so good. Now you know where to find them. Hope to see you there.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!

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