Now You Know: Love, bugs, scholarship offer, road resurfacing

Will Watts
Lovebugs (two adult lovebugs are shown here) can definitely be a nuisance, but control is not possible with insecticides

If you’ve lived in Florida for more than a year, you know. Every May and September — and sometimes December in South Florida — the state is swarmed by millions of little black and red flying bugs, paired off and filling the skies as they reproduce. Welcome to lovebug season.

The worst part, your vehicle getting caked with a black, tarry mass of the dead bugs you drove through will become a daily occurrence.

Lovebugs are considered an invasive species of the march fly found in Central America and the southeastern United States. They’re always around, but in late April and May and again in late August and September females come out in swarms for mating.

Marco Island’s annual road resurfacing project is set to begin Sept. 21.

Road resurfacing begin Tuesday

Marco Island’s annual road resurfacing project is set to begin Sept. 21. Where? Copperfield Court and the side streets (approximately 1.45 miles) and North Barfield Drive between North Collier Blvd. and San Marco Rd. (approximately two miles).

City Council approved this project in August for $1.6 million. It includes road resurfacing, manhole and valve adjustments, pavement striping, raised pavement markers and thermoplastic striping, according to a city press release.

Work zone signage will be posted, and flaggers will direct traffic. Watch for workers and drive with caution. Mail and trash collection will not be impacted during this project.

Marco Island Yacht Club announces personnel moves

The Marco Island Yacht Club has made two key personnel moves, MIYC General Manager Carrie Brooks announced this week. The club elevated Brad Reich to the position of head chef and hired Youssef Oualidi as food and beverage director.

Marco Island Yacht Club Head Chef Brad Reich.

Reich joined the Yacht Club team earlier this year as Sous Chef, and his performance earned him a promotion, Brooks said. He has an extensive culinary background, which includes having managed various culinary operations in the Marriott organization. 

"With his elevation to the chef's position, Reich’s experience, creativity, and commitment to excellence will further enhance the club’s mission to provide an extraordinary member experience,” Brooks noted. 

Youssef Oualidi, the new food and beverage director, will have responsibility for all of the front-of-house staff. Oualidi has had significant experience in the Marriott organization, including the JW in Marco and the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. In addition, he was responsible for food and beverage at the LaPlaya Beach Resort in Naples and most recently has held a similar position at the Northwood Hospitality Group. 

“Youssef's talents and experience will be a great asset to our MIYC team,” Brooks said.

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Scholarship to benefit aspiring hoteliers

Friends and family of John E. Ayres, Jr. have established a memorial scholarship honoring the hard work of the legendary hotelier.

The John E. Ayres Memorial Hotelier Scholarship will support aspiring hoteliers at the Florida Gulf Coast University School of Resort & Hospitality Management. The scholarship was officially unveiled before more than 300 people attending the 31st Annual Wanderlust celebration held at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, Naples.

“For those who were fortunate enough to know John, he was many things: a leader, innovator, collaborator, ambassador, visionary and mentor. Most of all, he was a fiercely loyal friend, loving husband and father to his family and consummate hotelier,” said James Ayres. “Through this enduring scholarship, future industry leaders can pursue their passion with load lightened and the goal of emulating John’s guiding principles.”

Originally from New Jersey, John Ayres arrived in Southwest Florida in 1977 as director of sales and marketing with The Marriott Corporation at what is now the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. After leaving for the renowned Breakers Palm Beach in 1982, a return to Southwest Florida was unlikely for the Ayres family. Fate intervened and brought him back as managing partner of the Edgewater Beach Hotel in 1987. In 1989, he formed Coral Beach Hotels and Clubs, which later became Coral Hospitality.

Those interested in carrying Ayres’ legacy forward and providing a hospitality career pathway for a worthy student are encouraged to visit and selecting the “John Ayres Memorial Endowment Charity Fund” from the dropdown of options. Additional information also can be found at

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