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1. Drive-up ashes? Naples church offering them Wednesday

Religion often takes a back seat to other pressing needs in this age of multi-tasking, multiple jobs, parenting responsibilities and entertainment options.

So this Ash Wednesday, the Emmanuel Community Park — part of Naples’ Emmanuel Lutheran Church — will try to make things a little easier for parishioners and others interested in welcoming in the Easter season. 

Taking a cue from the fast-food restaurant business, the church is offering what it is calling “spirituality on the go,” a drive-up service for people to receive ashes and prayer.

From 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, people can drive into the community’s 40-acre park at 2770 Oil Well Road and remain in their cars as a member of the clergy administers them a blessing and applies the traditional ashes to their foreheads. 

Blessings will be offered in English and Spanish.

“The reality is that a lot of people can’t get to church that day,” explained Rev. William A. Kittinger Jr., associate pastor and mission developer with Emmanuel Lutheran Church, based at 777 Mooring Line Drive. “We would rather go to them. They shouldn’t be deprived.”

2. FDA approves non-statin cholesterol-lowering drug

U.S. regulators on Friday approved a new type of cholesterol- lowering drug aimed at millions of people who can’t tolerate – or don’t get enough help from – widely used statin pills like Lipitor and Crestor.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Esperion Therapeutics Inc.’s Nexletol for people genetically predisposed to have sky-high cholesterol and people who have heart disease and need to further lower their bad cholesterol. The daily pill is to be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and the highest statin dose patients can handle, the FDA said.

High LDL, or bad cholesterol, is one of the top risks for heart attacks and other problems. Studies showed that Nexletol could lower LDL by about 25% when taken alone and by an additional 18% when combined with a statin.

“This is a nice alternative” to statins, but those medicines will still be the first choice, said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, Baylor College of Medicine’s cardiology chief. He consults for Esperion and helped test the drug.

3. Fiddler’s Creek course is a Golfweek best

For the 15th consecutive year, The Creek Course at Fiddler’s Creek is ranked among Golfweek Magazine’s “Top 100 Best Residential Golf Courses” in the country.

The signature 18-hole, par-72 Creek Course, designed by acclaimed designer Arthur Hills, is woven into the community’s lush natural surroundings and features a series of strategic and challenging holes. The course offers seven tee placements to accommodate golf enthusiasts of all skill levels and includes 7,157 yards, broad fairways and elevated greens.

Since beginning its rating system in 1997, Golfweek has developed the most respected ranking structure in the industry. The design excellence-based criterion includes overall strength of routing, feature shaping, natural setting, greens, variety and memorability of holes, conditioning and maintenance, landscape management and other statistical data.

“We are honored to be recognized in Golfweek’s Top 100 for the 15th consecutive year and to offer a world-class golf experience for our members and their guests,” said Michael Saccameno, head golf professional at The Golf Club at Fiddler’s Creek.

For membership details and more information about Fiddler’s Creek, call 239-732-9300, stop by the Fiddler’s Creek Information Center at 8152 Fiddler’s Creek Parkway in Naples, or visit www.fiddlerscreek.com.

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