Brent Batten: Year in review 2011: Summer better than others



1 — A new state law goes into effect that requires clinics to post their prices. Doctors take advantage by offering specials such as, "Buy one appendectomy, get the second one half off," and "Free colonoscopy with every knee replacement."

3 — A lawsuit threatens the Jolly Cricket restaurant with eviction. The owners rename the establishment the Embittered Katydid.

8 — Code enforcement officers sue an East Naples nursery over compost heaps reaching 15 feet high. The judge calls the suit the biggest pile of crap he's ever seen.

11 — Lee County officials announce weekly flights between Denmark and Southwest Florida International Airport. The flights promise to bring an increase in tourism, to promote open trade between the two countries and to finally have someone explain to us what the heck a Zuiderzee is.

14 — Lines of costumed moviegoers form for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Fans say the event gives them one last opportunity to see a Harry Potter movie, an occasion to connect with like-minded friends and a chance to see what the world looks like beyond their mother's basement.

17 — The diocese bishop accuses the embattled priest of St. Leo Catholic Church in Bonita Springs of misusing $1 million in church funds. The bishop alleges the priest channeled money to friends, overpaid for repairs to the rectory and paid blackout jackpots for regular Bingos on casino night.

21 — The Hungarian artist who created a $3 million sculpture of the Virgin Mary for Ave Maria University sues his business partners over nonpayment. The artist says if he isn't paid, he will take his marble and go home.

23 — After Portland, Ore. authorities decide to drain a 7.5 million gallon open-air reservoir because a man urinated in it, Collier officials say they are confident local water supplies are not prone to tainting. Safety measures include superior treatment facilities, tight security and an ample supply of "We don't swim in your toilet, please don't pee in our reservoir," signs.

25 — A Golden Gate Estates man is shot in the arm while doing dishes. Investigators say the case is baffling because there is no apparent motive, the shot came from an unknown location and a man was actually doing dishes.

28 — Environmental sleuths search for clues to the cause of recent fish kills along Collier County's beaches. After several tries, the detectives arrive at Professor Plum, with a dagger in the library.

29 — A bank robber making his escape leaves his pants, containing his ID, in the woods near the bank. The suspect is charged with armed robbery, grand theft and first-degree criminal stupidity.


1 — As a money-saving move, Collier County officials consider postponing the purchase of vehicles. They relent in the face of the car salesman's reasoning of, "What's it going to take for me to put you in a new fleet of cars today?" and "I'm not making anything selling to you at this price."

3 — A coyote is blamed for the death of a cat in East Naples. Evidence pointing to the culprit includes tracks, fur and a shipping receipt for a pair of ACME rocket-powered skates.

9 — A landlord threatens to evict the operators of Handsome Harry's bistro on Third Street South. Listed grievances allege the owners are behind on their rent, have failed to live up to the terms of the lease and aren't really all that good-looking.

10 — Gov. Rick Scott is criticized for accepting low-cost health insurance from the state. Scott says his insurance is cheap because he chose a high deductible, makes sizable co-payments and elected not to take advantage of the policy's rider covering baldness.

13 — School administrators warn that nearly half of Collier County's eighth graders could be held back a year if they don't show improvement on a required civics test. Students worry that being held back might hurt their chances of being elected President of Florida or winning a seat on the Naples City Congress

19 — A Collier County preserve enjoys success attracting woodpeckers to its forest. Positive indicators include plentiful nests, holes in dead trees and a distinctive, "Huh heh heh HAA heh. Huh heh heh HAA heh. Huh heh heh HAA heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh."

20 — A crew for wildlife filmmaker Randall visits the Naples Zoo to shoot video of the zoo's honey badgers for an upcoming documentary. Honey badger don't give a #$^%.

23 — Collier County students' ACT scores show a decline. School officials sensed they were in trouble when students began applying to take the AKT.

24 — Former Gov. Jeb Bush sends a letter of advice to Gov. Rick Scott. Bush suggests Scott stay true to his principles, be honest and not let his older brother get elected president and tick everyone off.

26 — A whistleblower alleges employees of Marazzi Nissan have been submitting false warranty claims. Authorities suspect the complaint may have come from a competitor because the paperwork describes the problem as being HUUUUGE-A.

28 — A support group forms in Naples for people who feel compelled to hoard. The group disbands after its meeting space becomes too cluttered with books, old newspapers, cats, bills, broken appliances, empty soda bottles...


2— Florida Gulf Coast University students express concerns over the presence of a Chick-fil-A franchise at the school's food court. The students complain that the chain doesn't support gay rights, pushes a right-wing agenda and serves those waffle fries that you just can't put ketchup on without making a mess.

3 — Naples Community Hospital adopts a policy of not hiring smokers. Benefits include a healthier workforce, cleaner air and fewer people loitering around doorways at break time.

12 — Republican presidential hopefuls debate the issues at a public forum in Tampa. Audience members ask who will cut the budget, who will revive the economy and who names a kid Mitt?

14 — A Collier County parks supervisor is fired for refusing to throw away unopened cartons of milk at a summer meals program. His severance package includes two-week's pay, a three-month continuation of health benefits and a case of Bosco.

15 — Citing budget concerns Florida Gulf Coast University administrators announce they are scaling back the school's Spanish language program. They say the program will be limited to teaching college students essential Spanish phrases such as, "Más cerveza por favor," and "Donde está la parte?"

17 — Ave Maria University plays its first college football game. In keeping with the traditions of the sport, there are cheerleaders, a marching band and a letter of reprimand from the NCAA.

19 — A barracuda jumps over a boat off Wiggins Pass, severing tendons in a fisherman's left arm. When telling the story to his buddies, the barracuda says he severed the tendons in both the fisherman's arms.

21 — Immokalee High senior Mariela Vega is surprised to receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins ask that in return she study hard, get good grades and start for them at quarterback on Sunday.

21 — Naples City Council approves a businessman's request to sell alligator hugs at Tin City. The council rejects requests to sell porcupine cuddles and tarantula kisses.

23 — Operators of the Center for Spiritual Living Naples announce its closing. They say the center just isn't making enough money.

24 — Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan unveils his newest business venture, home delivery of gourmet double bacon cheeseburgers. Monaghan promises delivery in 30 minutes or less or else your heart attack is free.

Coming Sunday: If it's the fourth quarter, it must be Tebow Time.

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