Marco Island’s, and Southwest Florida’s, freshman U.S. Congressman came to the island Wednesday evening, spending an hour with the Caxambas Republican Club. This was a homecoming of sorts for Trey Radel, who was preaching to the choir on Marco, comfortable among a group of folks who share his conservative views and helped elect him.
It was tearful and joyful for “Miss Dottie” Weiner as the Greater Marco Family YMCA Aquatics Center was dedicated to her. Ceremonies were held Saturday next to the pool she helped design and raise the money to build. Age didn’t matter, young and older praised Dottie. “I have had many memorable experiences, but coming to Marco was the greatest of them all,” she said to an overflow crowd in and out of the spacious pavilion constructed in Weiner’s honor.
They get such a turnout, said Dianna Dohm, they can’t put on the event at the height of the season. The Marco Island Fire-Rescue Foundation held their pancake breakfast on Sunday, inside the fire station on San Marco Road, and business was brisk. For six dollars, patrons get “all you can eat” pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, coffee and orange juice. Breakfast is an even better deal for police officers and emergency responders, who eat free. A tableful of MIPD officers shared breakfast and conversation with EMT Lt. Isabel Favier.
Marco Island Academy threw an open house to dedicate their new campus Tuesday, and in the bright sunshine, the shadow of Jane Watt loomed large. She is the visionary who imagined a high school for the island, and went out and made it happen. Tuesday afternoon, MIA threw a party, an open house and grand opening to celebrate their new campus on San Marco Road. About 250 wellwishers came out to tour the facilities, congratulate the school’s creators, and in some cases, do a little school shopping for their own children’s education.
Mark and Melissa Burger mounted their bicycles Sunday, looking forward to touring Marco Island for the first time. They drove to the island from Lake Mary, Fla., and stayed at a local hotel to be sure they were up and ready for the 8 a.m. start of this year’s Tour de Marco. The Burgers joined 75 other riders on a planned 30-mile tour of Marco Island, Key Marco and Goodland. In all, nearly 180 riders joined the 5-, 15-, or 30-mile segments of the 3rd Tour de Marco. Rides were not designed as races nor were they timed or scored.
The Paradise Coast Paddlers Club 8th Annual Festival, held last weekend in Isles of Capri, is the Swiss army knife of paddling events. The festival includes something for everybody, from sea kayakers to paddle boarders to camp cooking enthusiasts, from beginners just “getting their feet wet” to grizzled veterans of the kayak world. Even surf skis were represented.
It was a great day to take a walk on the beach. Saturday morning at Tigertail Beach on Marco Island was beautiful, with a mixture of sun and clouds, and a full moon sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. If you could come back with a glow of satisfaction from leaving the environment a little more pristine than you found it, that made the walk even better. A few more people than usual for a July day strolled the beach on Saturday, participating in the Friends of Tigertail’s quarterly beach cleanup day.
As the Survivors’ Lap got under way to kick off the 2013 American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at noon Saturday, the scene could have been a promo for the movie “The Color Purple.” The cancer survivors wore purple T-shirts as a badge of honor, and they came in all sizes and ages, from 9 “and a half”-year-old Hannah Adams to ladies who were — well, considerably older. The host of purple shirts and the attendant caregivers pointed out that, as survivor co-chair Judy Mayo said before the relay’s start, “cancer touches everybody.” There are few people who have not had a family member or close friend stricken by the disease, so everyone can understand the urgent need to fight the dreaded disease in all its forms.
Sunday afternoon, some of Marco’s fine restaurants turned into sidewalk food vendors for the day, bringing a sampling of their wares out for the Taste of Marco. With sunlight filtered by a parade of puffy clouds, the temperature was a balmy 82 degrees, making a perfect day for strolling the Esplanade, trying the various food offerings, plus a little liquid refreshment, and listening to some live music. The Taste of Marco benefits the Greater Marco Family YMCA, and presumably benefits participating eateries as well, giving customers an easy way to try their food.
This was the third annual Nest Fest for the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation. The organization continues to grow, foundation president Carl Way told the group in his remarks, which blurred the distinction between a social gala and a board meeting. Moving forward, the goal is to build on their success, and expand outside of Marco Island, he said, seeking additional support both in Collier County and at the state level. The Eagle Foundation is working with national and even international groups as well, including the American Bald Eagle Foundation, based in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee where the pigeons presumably provide a good food source for any local eagles and Hancock Wildlife in British Columbia and the state of Washington.