1. Alligator, python wrestle on Fiddler's Creek golf course; battle gets widespread attention
It was a tense situation between a Burmese python and a Florida alligator at a golf course near Marco Island.
Both animals were wrestling on the ground at Fiddler’s Creek Golf Club when several golfers noticed them, including Dr. Richard Nadler who was surprised by the scene as he was golfing with friends.
Nadler had never seen anything like it: An alligator, a native species in Florida, and the python, an invasive species, wrapped around each other.
He took a few pictures, and then went on to the next hole, later posting the photos on Facebook.
“ ‘Wild’ day on the 10th hole today! That’s an alligator and a Burmese python entwined. The alligator seems to have the upper hand,” Nadler wrote on the Facebook post.
He didn’t expect to get so many emails and phone calls trying to reach him about what he saw. “It absolutely exploded,” he said.
It’s unclear whether the python or the alligator won the fight.
Last January, a Palm Beach Post reporter took video of another python-alligator encounter at Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee. -- Oscar Santiago Torres/Staff
2. Self-storage units being built on Rattlesnake Hammock; near future Race Trac
A self-storage business to be managed by Extra Space Storage is under construction on the south side of Rattlesnake Hammock Road just west of Collier Boulevard in East Naples.
The three-story 105,000-square-foot building will have 776 storage units, according to the site plan filed last fall with the Collier County Growth Development Department. This project is one of four in the area being built for Johnson Development Associates, a real estate developer based in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
In September, Johnson Development purchased a 1.6-acre parcel of vacant commercial property on Rattlesnake Hammock and an adjoining 1.77-acre commercial lot on Sierra Meadows Drive for $1.95 million. The combined parcels along Rattlesnake Hammock are bordered by Sierra Meadows Drive to the west, Sierra Meadows Boulevard to the south and Coyote Drive to the east.
RaceTrac plans a gas station and store to the east of it on property it owns on the southwest corner of Rattlesnake Hammock and Collier Boulevard.
3. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to speak at Ave Maria University graduation
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will make her third official visit to Collier County to speak at Ave Maria University’s commencement ceremony May 5.
DeVos read to kindergartners at Lake Park Elementary in November after visiting Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School, a charter school in Fort Myers. In October she toured Everglades City School and Pinecrest Elementary in Immokalee to survey damage from Hurricane Irma.
Ave Maria president Jim Towey said he was thrilled she accepted his invitation to come back to Collier.
“It was a long shot, but I think we convinced her people that this would be a wonderful venue for her,” he said.