Friday, January 21, 2022

Paradise Reef Premier




Donna Fiala

Has anyone noticed how much traffic there is out there? It’s as busy as during season! Sometimes we can’t even get out of the government parking lot! For the last few years the Governor has been working on growing jobs, jobs, jobs everywhere. Well, with jobs come people and cars and housing and more children. What IS the perfect world? Let’s face it – our unemployment rate is very low, so it looks like that is good for the people living here, but surely it must have also brought people who are new to the area to fill more jobs, so there is more year-round traffic.

• Many people came to watch the barges being filled with clean construction debris like concrete blocks and abutments, etc. They had many, many tons of this material stored at the landfill just waiting for the right time to begin. It took two years before they could even begin the process, but when they started they worked night and day filling the barges and pulling/pushing them with a tugboat. The Paradise Reefs are now in place and some people have even purchased naming rights for a few of them. I’ve seen some pictures of all the marine life and growth taking place on them already. It seemed the fish were just waiting for new hiding and spawning places. It was explained to me that our near shore waters were just about “fished out” and there was no place for the fish to hide so they went elsewhere. These reefs are not near the shore, but about 10 miles out, which is perfect for the marine life. I saw some pictures of cement structures that kind of looked like a tent, which they used near the top of these reefs. One goliath grouper seemed to be looking right in my eyes! This new reef – the largest reef in the Northern Hemisphere – will be an attraction for scuba divers as well as fishermen, which could add another whole realm to our already popular tourist activities. With this new Paradise Reef and the Pickleball games, we have two new tourist attractions focusing on sports, which didn’t exist before. The company hired experienced Hollywood filmmakers to film the entire process, and the film’s premier showcases the beauty of the Southwest Florida environment and the symbiotic relationship to the Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico. You will see the amazing growth and abundant marine life on the artificial reefs with Clyde Butcher, the iconic Everglades photographer, Dr. Hayward Matthews, professor of oceanography, and experts from NOAA, Rookery Bay and more. The Paradise Reef premier will be June 30th at 8 PM on PBS/WGCU HD, TV 30.1 – Cable 3/400. Mark your calendar so you don’t forget. The greater number of people who view the premier will lead to a greater likelihood of the film being picked up by other television stations and networks around the country. And – you are close to the refrigerator and sofa, so you’ll have all the comforts of home.

• We received an email from the president of the Collier County Dental Association saying they would be happy to help Marco Island add fluoride to their water and get this safe and effective benefit shared with the residents of Marco Island, if the city is interested. The dentists in Collier County have recognized that their patients from Marco Island have more tooth decay than those folks with the benefit of water fluoridation. There might even be some funding available to help them get started, they say. The Public Health Department noticed that the children at Tommy Barfield had more cavities than the children from Manatee or the farm workers housing or poorer sections of the county, but they quickly point to the fact that there is no fluoride in their water.

Here’s hoping you are having a wonderful summer so far. It’s very easy to get into the stores and restaurants right now. Speaking of restaurants, one of our favorites, Eurasia, will be closing for three months starting June 11th and will open in September.

• Congratulations to Mac Chaudhry’s daughter Areesa on her outstanding grades and graduation from Lely High School. Mac is one of our favorites on Marco Island, and I’ve met his lovely daughter a number of times, along with his son and wife. What a wonderful family! I wish I could have been there to see the graduation and the honors she received. I bet Mac was happier and prouder than anyone else in the auditorium. For those of you who don’t know Mac, he is the general manager of the Marco Hilton, which is under a little construction right now to upgrade some of the restaurants, etc. Mac hopes to be in full operation by October. If the weather works with them, he should make it.

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