A starfish to Lauren Embree of Marco Island.
For the second consecutive year the Lely High School graduate was involved in clinching the NCAA women's tennis championship for the University of Florida.
Embree, a junior, was named the tournament's most outstanding player — also for the second consecutive season — and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Later, she reached the round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles, finishing the season with a 31-6 singles record.
And one more starfish to another local athlete.
On the heels of pitching Alabama to its first Women's College World Series Championship, Naples High School grad Jackie Traina has been named to Team USA in the World Cup of Softball and the International Softball Federation Women's World Championships this summer.
A coconut to Florida wildlife officials.
As if to pour salt in wounds, they are looking into criminal charges stemming from a highly publicized alligator attack the other day.
It made headlines because the Everglades City tour boat operator who fed the gator lost his left hand doing so.
By now he — and many others — get the point.
The poor guy has already paid dearly.
Enough is enough.
A starfish to Naples High School.
Its marquees facing Goodlette-Frank Road offer a insprational message:
"Make Summer Matter.''
A starfish to Kiwanis Club of Naples-On-The-Gulf.
It has given Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida a $1,000 donation, which JA says will cover the costs of 50 students next year.
"Kiwanis cares about the future of our youth and wants to see them succeed in the workforce and in life by understanding how to take care of their own financial futures," says Kiwanis President Rebecca Randolph. "Several of our local members have been involved directly with Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida as classroom volunteers and have seen first-hand the impact of their programs on local youth."
A starfish to former Barron Collier High School football coach Mike Wexler.
While browsing the website of the Florida High School Athletic Association one day, he noticed the organization was looking for hosts for the baseball State Tournament Finals.
Wexler immediately thought of Fort Myers' brand new JetBlue Park.
He dashed off an email to FHSAA, and the rest is history.
The FHSAA and JetBlue are expected to sign a three year contract sometime this summer.
Local sports fans and the economy will be the winners.
A starfish to Florida Gulf Coast University President Wilson Bradshaw.
Leading by example he is declining a $60,000 bonus and a 5 percent pay raise of about $18,000 for the coming school year.
He says in a memo to the FGCU Board of Trustees that it is important for him to demonstrate "we're all in this together" as the school grapples with declining state funding for the fifth consecutive year and likely yet another 15 percent tuition increase.
Bradshaw did the same thing amid a tough budget in 2009.
For the record: He has earned all of that money and more.
HeadlineSand dollars galore for donors to the Shelter for Abused Women & Children's "Give Back — Fill a Pack'' drive.
Helpers will save money for needy clients who need basic school supplies.
The wish list includes:
Gift cards for Wal-Mart, Target and Payless for clothes and shoes, backpacks, Kleenex, pens, pencils, highlighters, folders, glue sticks, rulers, paper, tablets, calendars, calculators and scissors.
Please drop off donations by Aug. 1 at Options Thrift Shoppe, 968 Second Ave. N., Naples.
For more information, call 239-775-3862, ext. 235, or email RGrabau@NaplesShelter.org.