Photos by LAURA GATES

  • Merelin and Karime Lopez take a break from swimming to gather goodies at an informational table set up by The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida and Kohl's Cares for Kids during a Pool Safety Party at Bonita Community Pool Saturday. Laura Gates/ Banner Correspondent
  • Bonita Lifeguard Eddwie Perez helps 7-year-old Aden Chalick 'rescue' another lifeguard with a shepherd's hook during a Pool Safety Party at Bonita Community Pool Saturday. Laura Gates/ Banner Correspondent
  • Gabriel Chalick discovers what is hidden in a dirty wading pool as lifeguard Eddwie Perez and Chalick's brother, Aden, watch during a Pool Safety Party at Bonita Springs Community Pool Saturday. The exercise teaches children not avoid murky water and its potential hazards. Laura Gates/ Banner Correspondent
  • The Estero Chamber of Commerce named Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott as "political person of the year" and Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health System, as "corporate person of the year" during its annual luncheon June 15.
  • The Estero Fire Rescue Explorers , consisting of 14-to-20-year-olds exploring a career in firefighting, competed against other Explorer clubs and professional firefighters from around the state June 11 during the Florida State Firefighters' Association 2011 Firematics Competition at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • The Estero Fire Rescue Explorers , consisting of 14-to-20-year-olds exploring a career in firefighting, competed against other Explorer clubs and professional firefighters from around the state June 11 during the Florida State Firefighters' Association 2011 Firematics Competition at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • Austin Logan and Augustina Stone rescue a smoke-inhalation 'victim' during the Firefighter Training Show for kids.
  • Firefighters from Plantation compete in the running hose event. Plantation captured first place in the Florida State Firematics Competition.
  • Austin Logan and Augustina Stone polish 'Engine One' during the kid-friendly Firefighter Training Show.
  • The Estero Fire Rescue Explorers , consisting of 14-to-20-year-olds exploring a career in firefighting, competed against other Explorer clubs and professional firefighters from around the state June 11 during the Florida State Firefighters' Association 2011 Firematics Competition at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • The Estero Fire Rescue Explorers , consisting of 14-to-20-year-olds exploring a career in firefighting, competed against other Explorer clubs and professional firefighters from around the state June 11 during the Florida State Firefighters' Association 2011 Firematics Competition at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • The Estero Fire Rescue Explorers , consisting of 14-to-20-year-olds exploring a career in firefighting, competed against other Explorer clubs and professional firefighters from around the state June 11 during the Florida State Firefighters' Association 2011 Firematics Competition at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • Bragging rights and a trophy went to the firefighters from Plantation, who came in first or second in every event.
  • A Plantation firefighter sets up hoses for an event during the Florida State Firefighters' Association Firematics Competition June 11.
  • Bonita Springs Fire Rescue Explorers topple the target with a blast of water during the Running Hose event.
  • Estero Fire Rescue Explorers Nick Bestrom and Matt Pratico aim the nozzle to knock down a target in the Running Hose event.
  • Cory Heller, a former Estero Fire Rescue Explorer, now works as a firefighter in LeHigh Acres. He joined his old Explorers club for the annual Firematics competition.
  • The Chik-fil-A 'fire chief' poses with Augustina and Jeremiah Stone for a photo.
  • Estero Firefighter Clint Skelton was the first graduate of the Estero Explorers program. Now an active firefighter, he joined the Explorers for the annual Firematics competition.
  • Estero Fire Rescue Explorers quickly and precisely roll hoses in the dry hose competition.
  • Florida State Firefighters' Association judges discuss times and penalties for the Running Hose event.
  • Susanna Gates, 6, of Estero, adds beans to a dried meal mixture. One million 'Meals of Hope' will be delivered to local families in need, thanks to volunteers at the May 14 Rotary-sponsored event.
  • One million 'Meals of Hope' will go to local families in need, thanks to the cooperative effort of the Southwest Florida Rotary District and Kids Against Hunger. Event coordinator Jane Goble stands with Outreach International Director Floyd Hammer and Rotary District 6960 Governor Don Thomas in front of meal-filled boxes at the Harborside Convention Center May 14.
  • Amanda Libby, a member of the Estero High School Interact Club, weighs a packaged meal before sealing it during the One Million Meals in One Day event at Harborside Convention Center Saturday.
  • Estero High School student Courtney Larkin helps Rotary Club members package meals during the One Million Meals in One Day project May 14 at Harborside Convention Center. Larkin is a member of the Estero High School Interact Club, which regularly participates in service projects.
  • Estero High School student Courtney Koenig seals a packaged meal during the Rotary 'One Million Meals in One Day' project May 14 at Harborside Convention Center.
  • Steve Agius, of the Bonita Springs-Noon Rotary Club, trains volunteers to pack backs of dried rice and bean meals during the One Million Meals in One Day packing project Saturday at Harborside Convention Center.
  • Estero Rotary Club President Larry Byrnes packs ready-to-heat meals into a 'Meals of Hope' box during the Rotary-sponsored One Million Meals in One Day event, where volunteers packaged meals simultaneously in Fort Myers, Naples and Sarasota to aid the hungry in Southwest Florida.
  • Jim Dati, president of the Bonita Springs-Morning Rotary Club, helps volunteers pack meals into boxes during the One Million Meals in One Day project benefitting Harry Chapin Food Bank and other local organizations fighting hunger.
  • Adrienne Hedlund pours rice as fellow Girl Scout Hannah Bennett holds the bag. Troop 246 from Estero was among 900 volunteers gathered to pack meals at Harborside Convention Center Saturday.
  • Devan Hinton, of Estero Girl Scout Troop 246, carefully adds rice to a packaged meal as she weighs the bag. Her troop took part in the Rotary One Million Meals in One Day event May 14.
  • Volunteers gather up boxes filled with 'Meals of Hope' during the Rotary One Million Meals in One Day event May 14. Meals were simultaneously packaged in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota.
  • Jane Goble headed up a team of Southwest Florida Rotarians who were hard at work Saturday at the Harborside Convention Center, training volunteers and packaging boxes of meals to be given to Harry Chapin Food Bank and other local agencies fighting hunger.
  • Young volunteers funnel rice and bread crumbs into a meal bag, along with dried beans and vegetables, to provide nutritious meals for needy families in Southwest Florida this summer.
  • Bradley Jackson was one of seven students from Heights Elementary who competed in the Pinewoods Open Chess Tournament at South County Library May 7.
  • Dylan Brogdon, a third grader at Pinewoods Elementary, considers his opponents move during the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament May 7.
  • Pinewoods fourth grader Marin Yeagle concentrates on her move during a championship match with opponent Devyn Heydolph which ended in a stalemate. Marin took second place in her division.
  • Devin Leverenz and Melanie Guillen play for top honors in the fifth-to-eighth grade division during the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament at South County Library May 7.
  • Daniel Whitehouse, a fifth grader at Pinewoods Elementary, joined the Chess Club in third grade. “In about four weeks, he was better than me,” said his dad, Glen. Daniel took home the third place trophy in the fifth-to-eighth grade division.
  • Larry J. strategizes as his opponent makes a move during the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament.
  • Bryce O. stops the clock during the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament, which was played 20-minute blitz style.
  • Pinewoods fourth grader Emily Guillen stops the clock after taking her opponents queen.
  • Pinewoods Elementary Chess Club Adviser Shelley Cooper awarded Devyn Heydolph the first place trophy in the fourth grade division during the 2011 Edgar Piehl-Pinewoods Elementary School Invitational Open Chess Tournament May 7 at South County Library.
  • Matthew Gheorghe considers his move as Pinewoods Chess Club volunteer Cesar Guillen watches the match.
  • Pinewoods Elementary in Estero sponsored an Open Chess tournament Saturday at the South County Library in Estero.
  • Marin Yeagle and a group of fellow chess players watch as Pinewoods Chess Club volunteer Cesar Guillen records results from the final round.
  • Devyn Heydolph, a fourth grader from Pinewoods Elementary, concentrates on his move. His strategizing paid off with first place honors at the chess tournament.
  • Timothy Hazel, a fifth grader from Tropic Isles Elementary, competes in the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament as his mom watches from the back of the room.
  • Owen Rhoads concentrates on his move during the Pinewoods Elementary Open Chess Tournament at South County Library May 7. Owen won third place in the fourth grade division.
  • Clara Alber points out fiddler crabs to daughter Alessandra, 2, during a guided nature walk along Rookery Bay's Snail Trail.

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