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1. Collier County tallies $320M of estimated damage from Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma left about 4.2 million cubic yards of fallen trees, torn branches and broken fences scattered on roads, yards and roofs throughout Collier County, said Dan Rodriguez, deputy director of county utilities who is in charge of collecting the debris.

That dwarfs the 1.2 million cubic yards of debris left in the wake of Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It could take four to six months to remove all of it and chop it into mulch.

Collier County commissioners met Tuesday for the first time since the storm. They began to get early tallies and estimates of the damage done by the storm.

After Wilma the county spent $26 million clearing storm debris, said Mark Isackson, budget director.

"So do the math and you're staring at $100 million with this particular event," Isackson said.

Sixty-five homes, included 44 mobile homes, were destroyed in the unincorporated county, according to estimates from the county's growth management department. Another 1,008 homes suffered major damage, defined as more than 60 percent of a home's value.

When it is all added up, the storm will likely have caused about $320 million in damage to public and private property in the unincorporated county, said Jamie French, deputy director of the growth management department.

2. Blessing of the Fleet is Saturday

Stone crab season begins Oct. 15 and this weekend, despite challenges from Hurricane Irma, Everglades City will hold its annual Blessing of the Fleet on Saturday (tomorrow), at the historic Rod & Gun Club on the Barron River.

The abbreviated ceremony starts at 10 a.m. with the blessing of the boats; followed by lunch at 11.

The celebration is being organized by the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation (evergladeshistorical.org).

3. Art Center asks for your assistance

Dave Rice will be leading the effort to clean up the property of the Marco Island Center for the Arts. 

Rice is a long-time dedicated volunteer and well-known member of the community who has spearheaded many crucial projects for center.

In 2013, he created a team of volunteers to paint the center in its signature colors of red, blue and yellow.

The center is calling for volunteers to join the center from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30 and return it to its pre-hurricane artful glory. Dress for yard work and bring rakes and gloves. Pizza will be served.

Call the center at 239-394-4221.

A team photo will be taken. You must wear a red, blue or yellow t-shirt or top to be included in the photo. 

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