It was a tough week as we prepared for the Collier County Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 22nd. The Board of County Commissioners addressed a few very hot issues and each issue holds importance to a certain segment of the community. One of the most emotional issues on the agenda was the Marco Island COPCN (Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity). It’s worked itself into somewhat of a frenzy. (Ed. Note: Coastal Breeze News has reported the results of the County Commission vote in this issue and on coastalbreezenews.com)
- Another item is the land use change for Fiddler’s Creek. That is another issue that has a heightened interest within Fiddler’s Creek. The developer is asking to rezone some acreage within the PUD to remove some commercially zoned property off 951/Collier Boulevard, and move it to the entrance of Fiddler’s Creek off US 41E. Not mentioned within the agenda packet is an unconfirmed explanation of what they want to do with that property, but most everyone already thinks it is destined to become a grocery store, the furthest one east on the East Trail. Most of Fiddler’s Creek are very positive about wanting this project to move forward, but there are a few who disagree. Again, we won’t know of the outcome until after this column is written and at the printer. The commissioners will do their best to vote for the best possible outcome.
- Oh yes, there is another emotional issue: medical marijuana. People have very strong opinions one way or the other. One of the toughest parts of this issue is the state legislature has ruled that if you allow even just one dispensary, you have to allow those who request to also open one, except if it’s near an elementary or middle school, but they can open one near a high school where the kids have the money to buy it. There are dispensaries as near as Lee County that can and will deliver in Collier County, by the way. Many people talk about the pain that this treatment can help, but the people in pain can have it delivered right to their door, rather than try to drive to a location to buy it, so we would not be depriving them of getting the medical marijuana. Other states have contacted the State of Florida, telling them of some of the problems this issue has caused in their state, and the expenses they incurred because of it. If we don’t vote to allow it, the people who have a prescription can still get it and get it delivered right to their home. If we do allow it, then dispensaries can pop up all over Collier County wherever there is a pharmacy. From what I have learned when attending the Florida Association of Counties in Tallahassee, the medical part of the marijuana quickly becomes a step up to “recreational.” We talk about the opioid epidemic around Florida? What do the users start with? What is happening to our country?
- Have you noticed the Eagle Lakes Aquatic Center going up on US 41E? Actually, I don’t think you can miss it. It has slides for the children to play on, water toys, a tot-pool (for diapered kids who can’t really get into the bigger pool because an “accident” could require the pool to be drained, and it is easier to drain a tiny pool), and then there is a great pool for the Lely Swim Team, and for adult exercises among other things. It even has diving boards! It looks like it will be a nice answer to something we’ve never had before in this part of the county. It is planned to open in June, if all goes well, and it looks like it is going that way. It should be a nice area for all ages. I believe they will be offering swimming lessons for kids, as well as adults. It will be a great summer job for the high schoolers who have the right credentials to be a lifeguard or other jobs that need to be filled at the park.
- Summer certainly came early this year, and so did the rainy season! I’m already seeing streets flood, and it’s only May! I know the county people have been busily working to clean the storm drains and storm water canals. Remember folks, start getting ready for Hurricane Season! As I’ve mentioned in most previous years, it never hurts to be more than prepared. Here’s what I do every year. I first make sure my generator is working well, and during the year I have my son fire it up to keep it primed and ready to go. In June I buy fuel just for the generator and place it there in case I might need it. Then I buy many gallons of water when no one really is looking for it, so that when (or if) the time comes, I’m ready and won’t drain their source of bottled water. Also, it’s a great time to buy new, fresh batteries; find your battery operated radio and all of your flashlights and put them with the batteries. I always buy some canned and/or boxed food to have on hand, such as macaroni and cheese, tuna fish, dried beef, Spam, etc. Each year I fill the car with gasoline if I plan on going away for a little in the summer, and also I fill my five gallon, my three gallon, and my one gallon containers with fuel. If I don’t need them, they go in my gasoline tank on the car. This year I even bought a grill, and I’m about to buy a hot plate. At the end of the year, as has happened more years than I can remember, when no hurricane has bothered us, I use the water to make coffee and cook with, the batteries never go to waste, the canned goods (if I feel I won’t use them) I give to a food drive. Once I have that all done and I’ve gotten prepared, it gives me a secure feeling. If I hear of a storm coming, I immediately close all of my storm shutters and get prepared on the outside of the house. Closer to the storm, if it is still coming, I move the plants into the house and off the porch, along with anything else that could be used as a projectile in high winds. Being that all the other preparations are in place, I can concentrate on the outside of the house. If you are leaving town, make sure you prepare your home for anything that might come your way. I had someone criticize me one year when I gave my usual suggestions, saying I was scaring people, but we all know now how important preparation is just in case.