A while back I had asked for anyone who might know how to sew cancer caps for children, and I received a few very beautiful replies. I just wanted to thank those ladies who were so kind and caring to offer their assistance. I know our Marco Island Kiwanis Club was thrilled to receive their help! I’m sure many angels have sent kisses to those ladies for their loving kindness. Also, on the other side of the bridge, Annie Riffle and lady friends sewed for the East Naples Kiwanis Club. Annie and Skip Riffle even brought their sewing machines to Stan’s and to the club meeting to show how to make the hats. It’s a very special procedure.
- It’s been so very busy this year for all of us. As we see the traffic thinning, we thank all who stayed with us during the winter months, and wish them well when they get back to their northern homes.
- This past week I was in Tallahassee for a Florida Association of Counties conference. While up there I met with the person who is second in command for the FDOT. We spoke about a number of things that are of importance to the people in this part of the county. One of them was the entrance signs for communities along State Road 951/Collier Boulevard and U.S. 41 E, east of Collier Boulevard. Although I’d spoken to the Bartow office before, and they said the “street” signs (meaning not community names but entrance street names) are acceptable, they never told us how to apply for them, who pays for them, who installs them (although the State wants them installed to a certain standard) and who we could speak with to order them. So, I asked the questions once again, but this time in Tallahassee. They said I would get the answers in writing. When I do, I will let the communities most interested in these signs know who to correspond with. Then we talked about one of the most important safety issues: street lights! I have inquired, and received answers, but nothing in writing – and that is SO important! The FDOT said they would contact the right people to get the answers back for us “in writing”. When I get those answers, I’ll let everyone know when the lights will be installed. Then we spoke of the speed limit on U.S.41E, which increases to 60 mph right before the developments! I’ve talked to everyone I know and even those who would not listen, to try to get that speed reduced to 50 mph through those communities, but always received a NO answer. Not sure where it will end up after my little visit, but I’m waiting for a reply, and will still keep trying until the door is slammed in my face. With marvelous communities like Reflection Lakes, Naples Reserve, Imperial Wilderness, Paradise Pointe, etc., the Habitat communities, and the churches along that route, that speed is just not safe…especially with no street lights! Keep your fingers crossed that we prevail. And lastly, we talked about the “washboard” effect we have on SR 951/Collier Boulevard between Fiddler’s Creek and Mainsail Drive. I mentioned it to the FDOT a couple years ago, and actually took them for a ride to experience it for themselves, and they were surprised at the road condition. I know it takes a while to get plans in place, money appropriated, designs approved, bids taken, and construction plans approved and awarded, but I thought it was about time we discussed it again. I was very encouraged by their response.
- Very shyly I want to tell you that recently I was honored to receive an award for accomplishments from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, who read the information into the Congressional Record in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and then presented me with a plaque that memorialized the reading at a surprise announcement in the commission chamber. Would you believe I was flabbergasted and couldn’t find words to say? I heard the clapping, so I’m guessing it was because I was speechless!
- Have you noticed how beautiful the fountain is now in the little pond next to the Fuller Funeral Home? It’s so peaceful and graceful. I love it.
- You’ve probably heard about my complaints regarding self-storage units and the preponderance of them looking for permits to build along U.S. 41E. I’ll never understand why they want main street front and center locations when they are not an impulse purchase like a Culver’s or Dairy Queen or even a dress shop. Does anyone ever drive by a self-storage unit and wonder if they have something in the car that needs a storage unit immediately? They take the best land, and then the places that are truly needed in this area, such as restaurants and retail stores, are left to locate in other areas. Who wants to be located close to a storage unit? They are not good for employment because they have very few employees and little overhead. People can’t shop there. They don’t create an atmosphere of a neighborhood community. These self-storage units are not a draw for shoppers, yet there are now over seven of them prepared to come to U.S. 41 East with three story buildings to store stuff! They’ve taken up the best lands, in most cases, which leaves bits and pieces of land to try to create a shopping plaza or something else to draw our community together; to have an ice cream, eat a nice meal, shop for shoes, buy kids school clothes, etc. One man who wanted to build another self- storage facility actually found out how many were seeking permits and decided the market was already overcrowded and withdrew his offer.
- Coming up quickly is the 2nd U.S. Open Pickleball Championship games, starting on April 21st as the introductory day, and then “let the games begin” on April 22nd. There are 41 states participating this year, and 16 countries! Over 1,300 players are registered to play. There is already excitement in the air as the huge Shade Structure is being erected. Did you know that this “Pickleball Park,” with 44 pickleball courts now has more pickleball courts than any other park in the world? Right here in Collier County! That’s a thrill. You don’t want to miss the excitement. The newspaper reporters and TV stations will be there, including CBS Sports. There will be food available when you get hungry and music to listen to while eating. Last year people were even dancing to the great entertainment. Do you know where East Naples Community Park is located? It is off U.S. 41E, down Thomasson Road (which is across from Rattlesnake Hammock Rd), and then about one mile to the park. By the way…if you would like to volunteer a little time, there are always car parkers needed. If you’d like to participate, just call my office at 239-252-8601 and we’ll get your name to the right person in charge of car-parkers. See you soon!