There was a strong Marco presence at Rookery Bay’s Environmental Learning Center (ELC) on Saturday for the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s celebration of Estuaries Day. This is appropriate, with the 100,000 acres under management by Rookery Bay surrounding Marco on all sides, and the ecological stewardship the Reserve provides of critical importance on this barrier island.
Pets, no doubt, are a blessing to their owners. And on Tuesday evening, some of those pets had the favor returned. As he has for eight years, ever since taking the helm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Father Kyle Bennett celebrated the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi with the Blessing of the Animals, celebrating and polishing the haloes of about 50 furry, finned or scaly friends, who showed up with their human companions to be blessed.
It was a birthday party for a five-year-old, but the guests were doing more than a little drinking. CJ’s on the Bay celebrated five years on Marco Island on Sunday afternoon, with a party around the outside bar in the courtyard at their Esplanade location on Smokehouse Bay. Curt Koon, the “C” of CJ’s, gleefully poured a five-gallon bucket of ice into the dunk tank above which Nick Catudal sat poised, forgetting perhaps that he was scheduled for his own turn in the “cold seat” later on.
Saturday, over 50 of those volunteers scoured Tigertail Beach, from the tideline in the lagoon, where Art Dobberstein patrolled the mangroves standing up and floating on his paddleboard, to the scrub around the parking lots, where hardcore cleanup veterans like Stan Hutchins collected a pickup truck bedful of debris. And the logs records of just what was found and removed from the beach, as opposed to the baulks of timber which comprise one large component of the junk played a key role in their activities.
If you’re looking for your husband, you might want to check the old firehouse. In a warehouse-style building, behind a row of rollup doors, the gear-heads of Marco Island can often be found. Some days they’re tinkering under the hood of an old Chevy, others they’re simply gathered around a spindly table, ribbing each other and telling tales of days and cars gone by.
Marco Island is prime nesting habitat for sea turtles, including the loggerhead sea turtle caretta caretta, so big they had to name it twice. These gentle giants are protected under the Endangered Species Act. For decades, Mary Nelson has worked to improve the odds for turtle hatchlings on Marco, giving them the chance to at least start their ocean journey.
The sign stating:“Danger, Africanized bee removal, keep away,” in front of a home in old Marco is enough to induce a panic attack. How can we have Africanized bees on Marco? The state of Florida considers all feral bees to be Africanized. Colonists imported European honeybees from Europe in the 1600s and 1700s. The African bees were imported to Brazil in the 1950s. African bees are the most productive but are not good for beekeeping because of their vicious nature. They slowly worked their way from Brazil to Texas and then to Florida.
There was a lot going on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. For starters, the regular “Second Tuesday” opening reception for the gallery’s exhibits bore the tantalizing title “Salon de Garage,” featuring a sale of artwork donated to the center, what outgoing Art Center executive Director Lynn Holley called “a garage sale for art connoisseurs.”
On Wednesday the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors held their September General Membership Luncheon, Trade Show and Election at Hideaway Beach. Realtors and their support networks had booths and displays leading up to a lunch and presentation of the new officers for the coming year.
The fourth and fifth grade students at Tommie Barfield Elementary were getting a look at the wonders of Florida’s natural environment, focusing on the water which makes life possible here, thanks to a visit from the WaterVentures traveling exhibit. Essentially a museum inside a semi-trailer, the display is spending six weeks in Collier County, visiting every one of the 30 elementary schools. First on the list was Everglades City, and then TBE.
Monday marked the first day of the new school year at Marco Island’s public schools, as it did all across Collier County. Chaos, for the most part controlled chaos, reigned in and around the schools as students and parents tried to navigate unfamiliar halls, and figure out where they were supposed to be first thing in the morning.
The Governor dropped in on Marco Island Tuesday evening, but he couldn’t stay for dinner. The occasion was the Summer Conference of the Florida Sheriffs Association, which had been meeting at the Marriott since Sunday. The FSA held their concluding banquet Tuesday, and Gov. Scott flew in from Tallahassee for the occasion.
On Monday, July 15, 2013, approximately 80 donors came by CJ’s on the Bay on Marco Island to raise money to help purchase the bulk foodstuffs that make up the meals provided by the Meals of Hope program. On Nov. 7, hundreds of volunteers will converge on Marco Island Charter Middle School to package nutritious, low-cost meals to feed the staggering number of families who, right in this area, do not have enough food to let them eat every day.
For many of the performances at the Naples Players’ production of Les Miz, currently in a month-long run at the Sugden Community Theatre in Naples, the face belongs to Sophia-Belle Carrasquillo, an eight-year-old girl playing her first major theatrical role. She lives with her parents in Naples, but comes every weekend to visit her grandparents, Carol and Tony Costantino, at their waterfront home on Marco Island. Sophia is a determined, self-possessed young lady, and when opportunity knocked, she was ready to answer the call.