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1. Texting and driving:  Your grace period is is nearly over

If you've received a warning by running afoul of the new Florida texting/driving laws, consider yourself lucky. Your grace period is expiring on New Year's Day.

Florida’s texting/driving laws actually went into effect July 1, and the hand-held ban in school zones and construction zones followed suit on Oct. 1. Many law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Florida Highway Patrol, gave drivers a six-month "breaking in" period with warnings, rather than fines, for basic texting infractions.

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According to the News Service of Florida, highway patrol troopers have issued about 800 warnings, although several law enforcement agencies have issued tickets that resulted in $100-plus fines once the surcharges, tax fees and court costs were added.

2. Save the date: Winter Wonderland dinner/dance

The annual Winter Wonderland Dinner/Dance will be hosted by the San Marco Columbiettes from 6:30 until 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, at the San Marco Parish Center, 851 San Marco Rd., Marco Island.

Dinner menu will include salad, prime rib dinner with all the trimmings, dessert and coffee with cash bar. Substitution for beef will be available upon request at time of ticket purchase. There will be a 50/50 drawing and fabulous raffle prizes. Entertainment for your listening and dancing pleasure will be provided by the duo of “Billy Dean & Dawn.” 

Tickets are on sale at the Parish Office at $65 per person.

Information:  Barbara DeRosa at 239-272-0158, or Mary Cay Moll at 239-394-1016, or Joan Pidherny at 239-642-1447. 

3. Women’s group to honor Fiala

The Marco Island chapter of P.E.O International will honor long-time Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala as “Woman of the Year,” Feb. 5, at a gala event that will do double-duty as a fundraiser for a variety of educational assistance programs for women.

Guests will have two separate opportunities on Feb. 5 to enjoy this event, a preview party and an evening gala.

The event will also include a silent auction of high-end items and services. The preview party, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., will include complimentary sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Preview Party tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

The evening gala with Donna Fiala begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at  7 p.m. Evening gala tickets are $125.  For ticket information, call 239-231-3972. The event will be held at Marco Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

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