Update from Donna: Fresh Market is coming to Shoppes of Eagle Creek

Hot off the presses! Guess what is coming to our part of town!

A fresh market! We’re being discovered, folks. Yup, it is going in the old Winn Dixie store in Shoppes of Eagle Creek. It will occupy about two-thirds of the old store, with the remaining part going to a Staples office store.

What a great addition to our area of the county!

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Sad to see Au Paradis sold. I’ll have to stop by and see what the new place is like, called Chez John Classic Cuisine. If any of you get there first, give me a call at 774-8097 and let me know what you think.

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I was invited to a Drug Free rally recently to present a Red Ribbon Week proclamation from Collier County government to Lely Elementary School, located on Lely Cultural Blvd. I never expected what came next.

There were tents set up outside. The well-behaved children were decked out in red shirts. Excitement filled the air, deputies were everywhere supporting the effort and meeting the kids. The Marco Island Charter Middle School had its jazz band playing great music. There were face painting and clowns, and the most enthusiastic staff and children I’ve had the privilege to enjoy in a long time.

Happiness filled the air and the beautiful faces of the children were a joy to behold.

Then Lely Elementary music director Craig Gruesel was introduced. He started to sing with the kids and I got goose pimples a mile high. The children knew every word of these “get rid of drugs” songs. Every time Mr. Gruesel started a new song, they all jumped in with excitement. I just wish someone from a TV station had been there to catch this great performance.

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School Board members Linda Abbott and Steve Donovan were introduced and spoke briefly, then I read parts of the proclamation (it was a little too lengthy for the young ones). All these kids sat there respectfully, listening attentively to every word. I was just amazed. They didn’t miss anything as the program continued.

Then Mr. Gruesel stepped up again, started to sing with all the children, and the principal, Carrie Stewart, started dancing in the isle, to the delight of the children — and the adults as well.

Every time the children were asked a question about what to do when approached by someone with drugs, or seeing someone else using drugs or experiencing it closer to home, they shouted out the answer with exuberance.

With such background in their school, these children have a better chance to avoid the drug pitfalls that affect our society today.

When I left that day, I was thrilled to the core with this wonderful school, with the very caring staff and the happiness on the beautiful faces of these children.

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Did anyone notice? The Sonic drive-in sign is up on the property that was once used by the Shell station on U.S. 41 and the entrance to the Glades, and in front of the new Beall’s. I can’t wait to see what that wonderful, popular drive-in restaurant will look like and how it will recharge the Town Center shopping area. I’ve heard people will drive many miles to get to a Sonic. In fact, I know a person who drives to Tampa once a week with her fiancé to eat there!

Hopefully, Sonic will bring along many more good retail stores and restaurants and give the sagging shopping center some new vitality. There are already some great places that need a good, fresh shot in the arm to stimulate business. This should be that booster.

Now I just hope the owners of the shopping center will give it a good facelift to greatly improve the appearance of the center for all those really nice stores already there to be able to better attract new business.

That’s all for now! Have a great Thanksgiving!

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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