Saturday, January 29, 2022

There’s More To The Story

Major Renovation for Campbell Lodge

On Monday, November 5th, St. Matthew’s House staff, along with community and civic leaders came together with the Campbell family for a special renaming and groundbreaking ceremony for Campbell Lodge at 2001 Airport Road, South in Naples.

The groundbreaking and renaming celebration marked the substantial renovation of the existing St. Matthew’s House shelter. The facility was renamed Campbell Lodge in honor of longtime board member Don Campbell and his wife Ruth, who made the renovation possible through their generous donation.

The existing shelter was built in 1993 and since then it is estimated that over 25,000 residents have been served. However, the need is still far greater than the capacity of the current facility with a wait list for women, men and children. The expanded facility will help narrow the gap. It is estimated that the new shelter will serve over 1,200 men, women and children per year.

For over thirty years, St. Matthew’s House has provided innovative solutions to fight homelessness, hunger, substance abuse, and poverty in Southwest Florida. St. Matthew’s House is a 501(c)(3) that does not depend upon government funding. The organization also has a 100% donation model that allows all operating expenses to be covered by unique social enterprises. For more information visit

Melissa Blazier

Melissa Blazier Honored

Melissa Blazier was recently honored with the “Distinguished Fundraising Volunteer” Award for her service to CCCR on National Philanthropy Day, November 8, 2018. National Philanthropy Day is a day set aside each year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy, and those people active in the philanthropic community, have made. Melissa Blazier, Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections in Collier County, has served as CCCR’s Board Chair for almost two years and was also the Co-Chair of their signature fundraising event in 2017.

Niccole Howard, Executive Director/CEO of Collier Child Care Resources said, “The best word to describe Melissa Blazier is “game-changer.” In the nearly two years Melissa has been CCCR’s Board Chair, she has completely transformed CCCR’s Board of Directors, guiding them to deeper engagement, generosity, governance and fundraising. She has given a huge amount of her personal time to us. She is an unstoppable force for good in our community!”

Migrating Manatees

Look out and slow down for manatees in November to help them as they begin migrating to warmer waters.

November is Manatee Awareness Month. Florida has more than 6,600 manatees swimming in rivers, bays and coastal waters. These large aquatic mammals can weigh over 1,000 pounds.

As the weather cools, manatees are on the move, searching for warmer waters to survive the winter. Remember: Disturbing manatees at warm-water sites may cause them to leave those areas at a time when it is critical for them to remain there.

Seasonal manatee protection zones also go into effect in the fall, depending on the county. The zones are marked by waterway signs, and maps of local manatee protection zones are available online at by clicking on “Data and Maps.”

How can you help manatees?

  • Wear polarized sunglasses to spot them moving, grazing and resting in the water. Keep a lookout for the circular “footprints” or ripples they leave on the surface of the water.
  • Follow posted manatee zones.
  • Observe manatees from a distance to limit disturbance. Disturbing manatees at their warm-water sites may cause them to leave these areas during the winter.
  • Report injured, entangled, orphaned or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on your cellphone or text
  • Access and share A boater’s guide to living with Florida manatees and  Guidelines for successful manatee watching in Florida that focuses on paddlers.
  • Purchase the manatee decal and license plate, and tell everyone how the decal and license plate  support the FWC’s manatee conservation efforts.
  • Contribute to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s Marine Mammal Fund by visiting and clicking on “Support Us,” “Funding Priorities” and “Marine Mammal Fund.”

Want to see a manatee? Go to and click on “Where Can I See Manatees?”

ATV Tickets to Ride Tickets

ATV Tickets to Ride program tickets are now available at Max Hasse Community Park, 3390 Golden Gate Blvd. W., Naples, Florida 34117. Collier County residents must be aged 18 years or older and show proof of Collier County residency with a valid Florida driver’s license.

Each resident may receive two tickets per week (Sunday through Saturday). Tickets are valid for 90 days from date of issue. Tickets are non-transferable.

Participants shall pay the vendor any amount over the $20 Tickets to Ride ticket amount toward a ticket purchase at Florida Tracks and Trails, 39450 Bermont Road, Punta Gorda, Florida 33982; or 74 Family Fun Park, 44800 Bermont Road, Punta Gorda, Florida 33982.

For more information about the ATV Tickets to Ride Program, please contact Max Hasse Community Park at 239-252-4200.

Collier County Snowfest

Join Collier County’s Parks & Recreation Division as it hosts the 33rd Annual Snowfest – welcoming thousands of people who want to see snow in Southwest Florida.   No matter what the “real” weather is that day, snow will be in the forecast to celebrate the winter holiday season.

100 tons of snow will fall at this Winter Wonderland.  It’s going to be SNOWMAZING! The 33rd annual Snowfest, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, December 1, at the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, Florida 34116, promises to be the best holiday event in Southwest Florida.  Admission is only $2 per person, with children three and under admitted free. 

Snowfest Parking

The Golden Gate Branch Library, 2432 Lucerne Road, Naples, Florida 34116, will close at 1 p.m., Saturday, December 1, to accommodate parking for the 33rd Annual Snowfest being held at the nearby Golden Gate Community Center.

Patrons are encouraged to visit the nearby Headquarters Library, 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples, Florida 34109, or the South Regional Branch Library, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples, Florida 34113. Both those locations are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, please call (239) 252-4542 or visit us online at

Conservancy’s ‘Little Explorers’ program

Little Explorers, which is geared toward children ages 18 months through 5 years, features all-new themes this fall and winter. Children will learn about animals and insects native to Southwest Florida through a variety of multisensory, interactive programs, stories and crafts, and even have opportunities to interact with the Conservancy’s beloved animal ambassadors.

Each session in the 2018-19 Little Explorers series begins at 10 a.m. on the following dates:

  •   I Love Bugs: Tuesday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 6
  •   Small Green Snake: Tuesday, Jan. 8 and Thursday, Jan. 10
  •   Ladybug Trails: Tuesday, Jan. 22 and Thursday, Jan. 24
  •   Creaky Crickets: Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Thursday, Feb. 7
  •   Bugs, Bugs, Bugs: Tuesday, Feb. 19 and Thursday, Feb. 21

Little Explorers is free for Conservancy members and is included with the price of Nature Center admission for non-members. The Little Explorer Play Zone inside Ferguson Learning Lab is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on days the Nature Center is open.

For more information about Little Explorers or other Conservancy programs, please visit or call 239-262-0304.

Apply for a 2019 Scholarship

The Suncoast Schools Credit Union Foundation is partnering with Champions For Learning to offer five of $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2019. Class of 2019 high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.

Applications are now open and are available at

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children. Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $22 million including more than 600 student scholarships valued at nearly $1 million.

All applications must be received by 5pm on January 11, 2019 at the Champions For Learning office, 3606 Enterprise Avenue #150, Naples, FL 34104.

Virtual Dementia Tour

Oasis Senior Advisors are working toward better care and education to help those with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. As part of its recognition of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Bonita Springs-based franchisor invites the community to participate in an educational Virtual Dementia Tour on Friday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Landmark Hospital in North Naples. Call Landmark Hospital at 239-529-1800 to reserve a space.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is a one-of-a-kind sensory experience that provides critical insight into what it’s like to live with dementia and related disorders, including Alzheimer’s. Tour participants wear gloves that impair the use of their hands, headphones that affect their hearing, and glasses that blur their vision. They’re asked to perform common tasks that are much more difficult than they otherwise would be to simulate side effects of memory loss disorders.

The idea is to foster a greater understanding of, and empathy for, seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

For more information about the services Oasis Senior Advisors offer for free to seniors and families across the country, visit For more information on the Virtual Dementia Tour, call 239-449-9289.

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