Brent Batten: 2012 in review: A month of sundaes

From butterflies to butt chugging, the year in review stretches on, sort of like those stories fishermen tell.

JULY

2 — The 165-foot Coast Guard Cutter USS Mohawk is sunk off Fort Myers Beach for use as a reef. Fishermen keep referring to the ship as the 195-foot Coast Guard Cutter USS Mohawk.

6 — Lee County is in the running for a $15 million state grant to upgrade Hammond Stadium, spring training home of the Minnesota Twins. County officials say the subsidy will allow them to remodel locker rooms, add player dormitories and lower the cost of beer to $7 a cup.

7 — Local tattoo parlors identify a trend of people having medical wishes permanently inked on their bodies. Pro athletes opt out, citing a lack of available space.

9 — Statistics indicate crime in Collier County is down 6 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the first half of 2011. Police credit community awareness, increased patrols and the fact that politicians are busy campaigning for the primary.

10 — LPGA officials say the volunteer list for their upcoming tournament in Naples is nearly full. Most sought after assignments include keeping score, driving golf carts and checking Natalie Gulbis's credentials, if you get my drift.

11 — Twenty-two Collier County schools receive an A rating from the state. The schools are rewarded with recognition, additional resources and $5 from grandpa.

12 — The Shy Wolf animal sanctuary is forced to stop offering public tours. The wolf breathes a huge sigh of relief.

15 — Naples looks for ways to minimize nighttime airport operations. City officials consider warning pilots, fining aircraft owners and rolling up the runways after dark, just like they do the streets.

19 — Southwest Florida residents notice unusually hazy skies. Possible causes are listed as Saharan dust carried by high-altitude winds, brush fires in the Big Cypress Preserve and a Grateful Dead reunion concert at Germain Arena.

20 — Residents of The Carlisle assisted living facility hold a Summer Olympics Challenge. Sadly, the games are tainted when several athletes test positive for Cialis.

23 — Additional Collier County schools are rated A after the state recalculates grades. Administrators credit committed staff, hardworking students and a C-note slipped to the official scorekeeper.

25 — A bandit dubbed the "Well-dressed bank robber" is arrested at the Lani Kai. Police say he came under suspicion because he was both well-dressed and at the Lani Kai.

31 — An audit shows Gov. Rick Scott's emails aren't included in a government archive. The audit was prompted by a complaint from a Nigerian oil minister who said Scott never got back to him on his offer to split $80 million if Scott would just forward his bank account information.

AUGUST

1 — Hundreds of customers show up at area franchises on Support Chik-fil-A Day. Participants say they believe in the founder's right to follow his religious principles, to speak his mind and to cut a potato up like a waffle if he darn well wants to.

8 — Lepidopterologists converge on Corkscrew Swamp for a butterfly count. Insert your favorite lepidopterologist joke here.

10 — Collier County Commission candidate Tim Nance reports spending $100,000 of his own money on his campaign. Nance says he has the resources because he worked hard, invested wisely and answered the email from the Nigerian oil minister.

14 — Radio personality Trey Radel wins the Republican primary for U.S. House. Radel says he is committed to a strong national defense, a healthy economy and 50 minutes of commercial-free music every hour.

27 — A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says two hate groups are active in Southwest Florida. Three if you include the Collier County Commission.

28 — Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson visits the River Park Community Center in Naples. While there, Johnson is asked for his views on the economy, for his thoughts on national defense and for directions to the men's room.

SEPTEMBER

3 — The Dairy Queen in downtown Naples closes. Managers say they are looking for a new location where they can stay open on sundaes.

10 — Elections officials warn that November ballots will include lengthy descriptions of constitutional amendments. To facilitate voting they promise more voting machines, longer poll hours and an Evelyn Wood instructor at every precinct.

11 — Collier County commissioners say they will pursue a $500,000 grant to build artificial reefs off shore. Fishermen keep referring to it as a $700,000 grant.

13 — A new dormitory at Florida Gulf Coast University receives state approval. State inspectors say the new facility meets minimum space thresholds for living, studying and butt chugging.

14 — The promoters of a series of motivational seminars in Southwest Florida are sued for $12 million. The defendants consider filing a countersuit, but they just don't get around to it.

17 — Real estate professionals say Canadians are buying more homes in Southwest Florida. As evidence they site property records and an unprecedented run on Labatt down at the ABC.

20 — Two Lee County massage therapists lose their licenses after an investigation by sheriff's deputies. Needless to say, it was not a happy ending.

23 — Immokalee native Edgerrin James is added to the Indianapolis Colts' ring of honor. James joins Colts stalwarts such as Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy and the guy who drove the moving van out of Baltimore in 1984.

29 — Vice President Joe Biden makes a campaign stop in Fort Myers. If re-elected, Biden promises to fight for the middle class, protect the elderly and star in at least one YouTube blooper video every week.

Coming Tuesday: Happy holidays.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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